Elaine Shircliff

Do you think this is a book to introduce into high school curriculum? Not so much for literature purposes but to teach teenagers that they are worthy of love and forgiveness.

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Lisa Maxwell My opinion, as the mom of two young twenty-something men, is that I wouldn't have wanted them to learn about "love and forgiveness" from this book. It sets up the YA reader for an unrealistic expectation. The heroine, Victoria, is rewarded for her churlish, anti-social behavior by a too-good-to-be-true cast of supporting characters who treat her with a God-like agape-type of love that is rarely found in this world. She is continually the beneficiary of others' generosity without ever giving back; and she never acknowledges the gifts that others have given her, never thanks them. She is a "taker" throughout, and she cuts and runs too often. As a mom, I don't see that as a constructive lesson for teens. As chick-lit and book club fodder, it's a good read. For YA readers, not so much, IMO.
Bre Teschendorf Okay, this question is so old, I don't think I SHOULD answer it but I want to throw my hat in with Lisa. I don't think this is a good book for teenagers. While I understand that Victoria's negative behaviour is the result of the total LACK of love she received growing up and a lot of teens go through similar circumstances, I agree with Lisa that the cast of incredible characters around her are although not completely unrealistic, are not going to be a reality for many many many of the teens you are dealing with. And in the end, the book might be more discouraging then encouraging. "At least a handful of people loved Victoria. But no one loves me. " Sadly, the reality is, kiddies need to find another source besides people to "fill their cup" because people never will. Furthermore, Victoria has this extreme talent, almost supernatural talent, which launches her into commerical success. Not every teen has that either.. in fact, most of them don't! Who does? And even if they DO have some incredible talent what are the odds of it opening up the door to a successful business for them within a year?
In otherwords, in my option, despite the reality of Victoria's horrible situation, the rest of the book is way too far off the mark of reality to be a real inspiration to hurting teens.
Hope I think this story illustrates so well some of the issues of growing up. The 'oh yeah?! you say you love me, then prove it past this! I don't believe you, but please prove me wrong.' mental gymnastics from Victoria are what so many teenagers experience, albeit taken to the nth degree. So many times we adults seem to forget what it feels like to be a child. Victoria believed completely that she was unlovable but also wanted so badly to be proven wrong. I think that in careful hands, this could be an excellent book to foster discussion on the nature of love, the nature of forgiveness and on how children can't see past the now and how they will try to force adults in their life to prove their love and how, we as adults too often fail them. Someone else wrote of Victoria's churlish and anti-social behavior as if it occurred in a vacuum instead of being a manifestation of her inner pain. Also, we must remember that Victoria is not necessarily a reliable narrator.
Bambi Rosario-wyatt I just finished reading this story and think it would be a great book to introduce to high school students. It deals with a child growing up in the foster care system. Learning to love. Dealing with family. Resilience. Could lead to great discussions. The version I read also had questions for discussions in the back.
Nora I thought about this (the question) as I read the story. Because it shows perserverance, I think it's a good book for 11th-12th graders. It also shows that being a teenage mom is NOT easy. Two points I believe are worthwhile for teenagers to know about.
Plus Victoria is a "worker," she moves forward because of her strong work ethic, and she brings other vulnerable girls into the fold. Good examples from someone who doesn't think she is lovable.
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