What Would They Read?: Glee
Glee is a wonderful show that comprises a plethora of teen issues portrayed in both dramatic and comedic ways. I’ve watched the show for years, but there is one thing that has always bothered me. Why don’t any of the Glee kids read? There is not one member who discusses a favorite book comments on what he or she is currently reading. One of the few times the library gets any attention is when a small group of the Glee members sing M.C. Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This” in the library in hopes of getting into trouble. Sure, Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight Saga” is mentioned, but only in reference to Tina’s clothes and Principle Figgins’s fear of vampires. So I’ve decided to take it upon myself to educate the Glee club on books. They’ve been taught about acting, dental hygiene, Spanish, and several other topics. It’s about time that they opened a book.
Finn Hudson – I understand that due to devastating real-life circumstances (the tragic death of actor Cory Monteith), Finn is no longer on the show. However, I would still like to include the character in this experiment of Reader’s Advisory because the character is still important to the show. Finn is an interesting character to analyze. He was the first of the jock/popular crowd to join the Glee club. While at first, viewers may see him as a dumb jock, a deeper, more thoughtful Finn has been revealed over the course of the show. I would recommend Knights of Hill Country by Tim Tharp. The plot of this title can be compared to the relationship between Finn and Rachel. Knights of Hill Country tells the story of a football hero, Hampton, who begins to see more than the football in a town that eats, sleeps, and breathes football. He begins to notice Sara, a girl who usually would not speak to and would definitely not consider dating. Knights of Hill Country is a thought-provoking story about creating your own identity instead of living the character created by others. The death of his father has always been something on Finn’s mind. He might be interested in reading a book about war and the effect it has on those left at home. For a fiction title, I would recommend Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie, which discusses a teen whose brother died in Iraq. If Finn preferred something from the non-fiction shelf, I would give him Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-year-old GI by Ryan Smithson. In Ghosts of War, Smithson talks about his experiences in Iraq.
Rachel Berry – Rachel is probably one of the easiest to read when it comes to book recommendations. Rachel wears her opinions and interests on her sleeve. Anything involving becoming a star on Broadway would definitely be a contender. Dramarama by E. Lockhart is one of the first books that come to my mind. In fact, I can see Rachel and Kurt passing this back and forth as it would appeal greatly to each of them. Dramarama (2008 Best Books for Young Adults) is the story of two friends who were accepted to Wildewood Academy for a summer of performing arts classes. The characters of Sadye and Demi are very similar to Rachel and Kurt which would allow them to identify with the story. Keeping with the E. Lockhart recommendations, I would also give her 2009 Printz Honor book, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau- Banks. It’s true that is does not include singing and theater, Rachel’s passions, I do believe that she would truly enjoy the character of Frankie. Rachel would admire Frankie’s determination as she often uses a high level of resolve to accomplish her goals as well. While most of Jen Calonita’s series, “Secrets of my Hollywood Life” take place in California, there is one title, Secrets of my Hollywood Life: Broadway Lights, that takes Kaitlin to New York to perform on the stage rather than in front of a camera. In addition to all the fiction titles, I’m sure Rachel would also fill her bookshelf with biographies of past Broadway stars such as Barbara Streisand, Liza Minnelli, and Patty LuPone.
Quinn Fabrey – Quinn was known in McKinley High as the head cheerleader and the girl who got pregnant. Quinn had to make a difficult decision in regards to her pregnancy. Dancing Naked by Shelley Hrdlitschka would be my first choice for Quinn. The plot mirrors Quinn’s life in that the main character, Kia, loses her virginity to a popular bad boy at school. After she discovers she is pregnant, Kia must make difficult decisions. Also, Kia and Quinn experience similar circumstances in which they uncover who their true friends really are. The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez (2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers) is a great non-fiction choice about a girl who fakes being pregnant to see how her high school life would change. Quinn could relate to this situation and compare her own experiences with Rodriguez’s story. Finally, I’m sure Quinn would like a more upbeat choice as well. How (not) to Find a Boyfriend by Allyson Valentine is the story of a popular cheerleader, Nora, who falls for the smartypants new student Adam. Nora was trying to hide her intelligence in order to be viewed as popular, but is now reconsidering her choice in order to get close to Adam. Quinn could find common ground with Nora as she proved to secretly be a good student by getting into Yale. Finally, I would recommend Zombie Blondes by Brian James which is a story of a town in which all the cheerleaders look the same and act like mindless zombies. This choice has no bearing on Quinn’s behavior, but I do believe she would find it enjoyable.
That’s it for the first installment of “What Would They Read?: Glee.” Check out next month when I choose a few more crooners and recommend more titles.
-Brandi Smits, currently reading Unbreakable by Kami Garcia