I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome several years ago, so I was understandably excited when I found out it was going to be made into a television show. This show is in its third summer season, and I’ve wondered about the teen characters. If they actually had access to books, what would they want to read? Norrie, in particular, strikes me as a tough customer. She and her moms were on their way to a camp for rebellious teens when they became trapped under the dome. Norrie’s moms see her as rebellious, and her caustic attitude does little to win her any admirers in town, at least among the adult population. If Norrie were to walk in today, what would I recommend that she read?
Backlash by Sarah Littman
In Backlash, Lara’s family and friends soon realize the impact of small things that became bigger, more complicated problems. This book would be a good one to give Norrie to help her understand why her moms were so bothered by her sexting and why they wanted to send her to a camp for troubled teens. Norrie would probably also be drawn to the drama in this story and the way few of the characters are sympathetic.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
More and more books about LGBTQ+ teens are being published every day, but there are still frighteningly few books about teens with LGBTQ+ parents. Norrie would enjoy Lola’s story for the simple fact that Lola has two dads and has to deal with the consequences of this the same way that Norrie deals with having two moms.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (2014 Pura Belpre Award)
Yaqui decides that the new girl, Piddy, is too smart for her own good and isn’t Latina enough. Thus follows a year of Yaqui torturing Piddy, to the point where Piddy is assaulted outside her home and the assault is recorded and posted online. This book might help Norrie to tone down her caustic attitude a bit and to be able to see things from the other person’s point of view, as this story follows Piddy and how she deals with the torture she’s being put through.
Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon (2009 Best Books for Young Adults)
Ben’s father is tired of putting up with Ben’s rebellion, so he and his new boyfriend take Ben and move to the middle of Montana. Ben doesn’t feel like he fits in in this new small town, and he is still very angry at his father. Norrie would relate to Ben’s anger at his father as well as the small-town setting of this book, which is very similar to Chester’s Mill.
Looking for Alaska by John Green (2006 Printz Award, 2006 Best Books for Young Adults, 2007 Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)
Norrie would definitely enjoy the countdown aspect of the chapter titles in this book, especially as she feels like she has been stuck in Chester’s Mill forever. Norrie would also likely relate to the main characters and enjoy their boarding school antics.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Norrie is trapped in a sort of dystopian-present with the bubble over Chester’s Mill. As such, she’d relate to Lena and her struggles in apocalyptic Maine. Norrie would probably also be drawn to the flowery, angst-y language of this book and Lena’s struggle with her “disease.”
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2008 Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2008 Best Books for Young Adults)
Hannah kills herself and leaves a mysterious set of cassette tapes explaining the thirteen reasons why she did this. The protagonist, Clay, is tasked with listening to the tapes and visiting the locations Hannah lists in her explanation. Norrie would be drawn to this story while simultaneously exclaiming that what Hannah did was “so messed up.” Norrie would also enjoy reading about someone else’s drama and ignoring the problems in her own life, if even for a short while.
Sweetblood by Pete Hautman (2004 Best Books for Young Adults, 2006 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)
Lucy has diabetes and is filled with teenage angst. She is obsessed with vampires and considers herself to be one, living her life through online chat rooms. Norrie would relate to Lucy’s angst and would understand the struggles of living with diabetes as one of Norrie’s moms has it as well. Norrie and Lucy would probably be friends if they ever met in real life.
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers)
Norrie likely feels as though nothing is under her control anymore, and she certainly wants to escape both the dome and the reputation of one of the dome survivors. She could relate to Lozen and her desire to escape, and she would definitely be impressed by Lozen’s prowess at hunting. Lozen’s desire to save her family would give Norrie hope that someday she, too, would be able to escape.
–Jenni Frencham, currently reading The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough