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Tag: amy kathleen ryan

YA Lit, Roe v. Wade, and the Future of Girls’ Bodies

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Photo by Flickr user gtall1

It’s hard to believe that it’s been forty years since Roe v. Wade– forty years of continuous discussion, dissension, and dramatic debate on both sides of the issue. And the conversation is hardly over; earlier this year Wendy Davis made filibustering history and just last month the Women’s Health Protection Act was introduced into Congress. Given the prominence of women’s reproductive rights in the news today, it is no wonder that YA literature is also tackling this highly controversial topic.

when she woke hillary jordan coverThe books examined below can all trace their thematic heritage back to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke (2012 Amelia Bloomer List) is the most obvious successor to this seminal work on women’s reproductive rights.  A reimagining of The Scarlet Letter, the book is set in a future theocratic American where abortion is illegal and women who are found guilty are charged with murder. Crimes are punished by a method called “chroming” wherein one’s skin is genetically altered to become a color that correlatesto the crime committed. The novel follows the story of Hannah Prynne who becomes pregnant after a steamy affair with a celebrity preacher. Her decision to abort the fetus and keep her lover’s identity secret results in an engaging, albeit disquieting, tale of the limitations of love, the effects of criminalizing abortion, and ultimately one woman’s quest for independence.

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“…But I know it when I see it”: Science fiction in today’s strange world

isaac asimovYesterday, January 2, was National Science Fiction Day. It’s not an official day, but who cares! It’s Isaac Asimov‘s birthday, and therefore an excellent day to acknowledge the marvel that is science fiction.

What is science fiction?

People say a lot of things about science fiction — the general consensus is that its lack of true definition is what defines it. In my own mental organization, I put it into two completely made-up and semi-useless categories: earth-based sci-fi and space-based sci-fi. Think The Matrix vs. Star Wars. Within these categories, you can find numerous sub-categories, rubbing the line with post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, as well as other forms of speculative fiction like gaslamp, alternate history, steampunk, cyberpunk, and so many others that I’m just going to send you to the science fiction Wikipedia page.

What’s going on with it now?

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Taking Teens to Brand-New Worlds with YA Science Fiction

As a child of the Eighties, and a blossoming prolific reader, sadly I went through what many a science fiction lover had to face: the dreaded direct leap from children’s to adult books. I was a teen before the dramatic growth of young adult literature in general, and before the arrival of a distinct science fiction genre in the young adult age bracket. Not only was my library’s young adult collection a very short span of shelves that were closely guarded by vigilant adult librarians, but what little there was did not include very much in the way of science fiction. While I found–and obsessed over–Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, I never uncovered those other children’s sci-fi classics like William Sleator’s books or Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key (though I did see the movie, later!).

My first distinct memory of reading a chapter book was exploring Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong, Dragondrums, and Dragonsinger with my mom. Shortly after, I devoured the few Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones books I could find. My mom actually went out of her way to buy me more of these books when I couldn’t get them at the library. Those books were my gateway into a fantastical new world. I soon discovered, though, that even as I was ready for more, for a longer, more challenging read, the only direction I could go in led me to books like Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer series, and Asimov’s novels.


Over the river and through the wood to Grandmother’s house we go!

With the holidays coming up, that could mean lots of travel time for everyone. Whether it’s by car, plane, or train, there will be plenty of time to read a book this holiday season without having to make extra time for it! Have you tried an exciting audiobook lately? YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults lists are chock full of great recommendations for a perfect adventure over the holidays. Forget traveling to grandma’s house or being stuck listening to boring stories from your relatives. Pop in your earbuds and listen to a story to get away from all the holiday hubbub (and those annoying relatives!)

Some of my recent favorite audio listens include Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, read by Ilyana Kadushin and Matthew Brown. You’ll leave planet Earth in this space adventure. When Waverly is kidnapped to another ship, her world is shattered forever by the revelations she discovers. This is not your grandma’s story-telling.