One of this year’s hot debuts is Dietland by Sarai Walker. Written for adults, the novel is related by the immensely likable Plum Kettle, an intelligent young woman who responds to “Dear Kitty” emails from adolescent girls in need of guidance. Beyond that, Plum hides. Weighing in at over 300 pounds, Plum attracts all the wrong kinds of attention, and it’s just unbearable. Her plan is gastric bypass surgery, after which she can reclaim her given name, Alicia, and wear all the cute clothes she’s been storing in her closet.
But Plum’s life goes completely off course when she meets a group of woman who battle society’s preoccupation with physical beauty. Plum alternately loves them and hates them, reactions, no doubt, shared by many readers. What seems to be a straightforward story about one overweight woman explodes into a high stakes action adventure featuring a terrorist group known as “Jennifer.” This book packs a lot, but perhaps most poignant are the “Dear Kitty” emails. Teen readers will come to love Plum through her thoughtful and funny responses. Continue reading Crossovers: Weighty Issues
I had the pleasure of attending the Breaking the YA Mold Tour which included Julie Murphy at the Arlington Heights Public Library in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The evening began with some Dolly Parton music and button making.
Julie Murphy’s second book, Dumplin’, is about an overweight girl who finds love and confidence. During the visit, an audience member claimed that her thin teenage daughter loved Dumplin’ and she wanted to know how Murphy was able to make a book about a fat girl relatable to all girls. Murphy answered by saying that readers can replace the word fat with whatever makes them feel left out. Murphy also said that many of us present an air of confidence, but when someone wants to touch our body, we get insecure. She believes we have to stop thinking that when someone loves us and our bodies we will begin to love ourselves, because that is a shortcut. We have to love ourselves first. Willowdean, the heroine of Dumplin’, prides herself on her confidence, but when a boy wants to touch her, she gets insecure. Dumplin’ enters a beauty contest and ultimately discovers that it is up to her to find her confidence. Continue reading The Traveling Librarian: Breaking the YA Mold with Meet Julie Murphy
Welcome back! It’s another hump day and we are exploring some more of our favorite literary tropes in YA fiction. “Trope” is defined as an overused theme, and we embrace and enjoy them again and again. Last week we investigated old clunkers: cars with “character” driven by some of our favorite characters. This week let us delve into the “I already know you introduction.” Typically, it goes something like this:
“Hi, I’m so-and-so.”
“I know who you are, we’ve been going to the same school since [fill in the blank] grade.”
And a friendship is sealed.
Continue reading YA Literary Tropes: The “I Already Know You” Introduction
Next week, the highly anticipated movie based on John Green’s 2012 Teens’ Top Ten winning title The Fault In Our Stars will be released. The first post I ever wrote for The Hub offered a list of books that fans of The Fault in Our Stars would enjoy and with the movie coming out so soon, now seems like a good time to add to this list.
Since my last post, I have discovered even more books that will appeal to fans of TFiOS, so whether you are looking for a book to occupy you until you see the movie or a list of books to fill your summer, hopefully you will find what you are looking for here.
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy: Alternating between points of view and points in time, this story slowly reveals glimpses of Alice’s battle against cancer, but at its heart it is really the story of the relationship between Alice and her best friend Harvey, who she enlists to help her complete her bucket list. This is a book about what happens when you don’t die, and how difficult it can be to decide to grow as a person.
The F-It List by Julie Halpern: Another book about a bucket list, in this case, Alex is left to complete her best friend Becca’s bucket list when Becca is too sick to do most of the activities herself. After months of not talking due to Becca’s inexcusable actions on the day of Alex’s father’s funeral, the list helps to bring the two back together and allows Alex to work through her grief after her father’s death. Halpern creates characters who are real in both their strength and their flaws. Continue reading For Fans of The Fault In Our Stars: What to Read Next