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Out of Our Comfort Zones, episode 3: Sarah reads “Wandering Son” and Ted reads “The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt”!

In this ongoing series, Sarah Debraski and Ted Anderson try to broaden our horizons: we each made a list of the types of YA books we didn’t read, and then each chose a book for the other person to read from those categories to deliberately force ourselves outside of our comfort zones and read something we normally wouldn’t. In our third episode, Sarah picks a historical novel told in scrapbook form for Ted, while Ted picks a slice-of-life manga with serious themes for Sarah–and both are part of the 2012 Best of the Best Challenge. Check the podcast for our opinions!

Sarah’s pick for Ted: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

Cover to 'The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt'Sarah: I chose The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt for Ted (from the Alex Awards) because I had really liked it, it’s a short quick read, and I assumed he would definitely not choose this on his own. It definitely skews “girl” book. But knowing his appreciation for visual graphic novels, I was curious to see how he would respond to this very visual book.

Ted: This book didn’t exactly thrill me, but I can definitely see a history-loving teen reader getting into it. The format is really interesting: it’s not exactly a comic, but it owes a lot to comics, so I dug that quite a bit. Like Sarah and I talked about, this book does kind of have the Forrest Gump effect, where this one character just happens to run into so many important figures in this period. At the same time, if she didn’t, it might be a more boring book! I’m giving this a tentative thumbs-up: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt may not be exactly to my tastes, but I can’t deny it’s well-done.

Ted’s pick for Sarah: Wandering Son by Shimura Takako

The cover to 'Wandering Son', vol. 1Ted: I’ve been reading this series for quite some time, and it’s one of my absolute favorites. This story of two very young transgender kids, who are only just beginning to realize why they feel so different from everyone else, is very quietly told, but extremely well-done. It’s a difficult read, not because of the subject matter, but because Shimura’s storytelling style is so subtle. I highly recommend it not just for manga fans, but also for any readers who might be interested in works dealing with transgender/transsexual themes.

Sarah: Ted’s choice for me, Wandering Son, is a graphic novel, but is also a challenge for me as it was manga. Definitely not the sort of graphic novel I would normally choose. However, the story-sensitive kids grappling with sexual identity was right up my alley. While the format was a bit of a struggle for me, I did enjoy the book. I was very conscious of how I was reading the story, though, and was sure that I was missing certain nuances. Glad I read it and had the chance to discuss it with someone, plus I get to check off one more book on the reading challenge!

Enjoy the full podcast here! And don’t forget: keep reading outside your comfort zones. You never know what you may find!

— Ted Anderson, currently reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

— Sarah Debraski, currently listening to Are These My Bazoombas I See Before Me? (Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults) and reading Wheels of Change (Nonfiction Award nominee)