Annie's Reviews > Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading

Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick
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's review
Mar 08, 2016

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, non-fiction
Read in September, 2011

I'll admit, when I first heard about this book I avoided it out of bitterness. Writing essays about re-reading my favorite books of adolescence as an adult was my idea! How dare Skurnick beat me to the punch?

But I got over it, and when I flipped through the table of contents while randomly picking it off the library shelf one day, I knew that I had to read it.

Skurnick is about a decade older than I am, I think, but her reading list as a teenager was very similar to mine. There must be a book list teachers are given for smart and sensitive young girls. "Harriet the Spy," "Jacob Have I Loved," "The Witch of Blackbird Pond," "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret," and lots of Madeline L'Engle are some of the books covered here. Like the idea of "Shelf Discovery," I thought I was the only person on Earth to love these books. I don't remember ever talking about them with classmates. Instead of being bitter over having to share, though, it was delightful to know that someone else was affected by these books, too.

The one drawback of "Shelf Discovery" is actually good news for me, because while the nostalgia was fun, it felt like most of the mini-essays were more summary than literary criticism. I might still have the opportunity to write that book, yet.

It did make me wonder, though, if smart and sensitive girls are still being given these novels, and what new ones have been added to the list since then.
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03/08 marked as: 2011

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