YA Lit Dream Interpretation: Spiders

In your dream everything seems normal, its not a nightmare at all.  Then something touches your arm.  You brush it away but still persists.  Your concentration is broken so you look for the source of your distraction.  To your horror you see a giant spider.  No matter how you try you cannot brush it off your clothes. 

In a panic you wake up.  Terrified and feeling a bit like Ron Weasley who is equally terrified of spiders, you wonder “Why spiders? Why couldn’t it be “Follow the butterflies?” (IMDB)   Freud might have a lot of explanations for your dream.  But a better interpretation is: you need fiction to solve your nightmarish concerns.  No need to psychoanalyze when some reader’s advisory  has the cure.

To see a spider in your dream indicates that you are feeling like an outsider in some situation. Or perhaps you want to keep your distance and stay away from an alluring and tempting situation. (DreamMoods)

While all dreams have positive and negative connotations, this dream interpretation will focus on the good outcomes of seeing a spider in your dreams.  Spiders can represent going against the popular crowd and finding your own way.  These YA novels will inspire you reject disruptive influences in your life by thinking about who your friends really are.

  • Conversion by Katherine Howe – Strangely similar illnesses strike the students at St. Joa18667792n’s
    Academy in Danvers, Massachusetts as the disease that sicked girls in Salem Village three centuries ago.  Colleen Rowly is determined not to panic as the symptoms spread among other students and several of her friends.  While accusations fly and talk show hosts salivate over such a juicy story, only Colleen sees the connection between to the Arthur Miller play, The Crucible.  Can Colleen find the cause of the illness before she becomes sick as well?


  • Shelter by Harlan Coben – After tragic events tear Mickey Bolitar away from his parents, he is shelterforced to live with his estranged Uncle Myron.  After switching high schools, Mickey finds both friends and enemies, but when his new new girlfriend, Ashley, vanishes, he follows her trail into a seedy underworld that reveals she is not what she seems to be.  Other mysteries wait to be unraveled as Mickey’s dad may not be dead.  Secrets from the Bat Lady and his mother’s drug addiction create a reality of suspicion and intrigue for Mickey to navigate solo.

Continue reading YA Lit Dream Interpretation: Spiders

ALA Annual 2014: The Margaret A. Edwards Award Brunch

alaac14_logoThe Margaret A. Edwards Award, sponsored by School Library Journal,  is presented annually to an author whose works are deemed “a significant and long lasting contribution to young adult literature.” Previous winners include Lois Lowry (2007), Chris Crutcher (2000) and Gary Paulsen (1997). On June 28th, at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, YALSA presented the 2014 Margaret A. Edwards Award to Markus Zusak specifically for his novels The Book Thief, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger.

I was really excited about this year’s presentation for two reasons: 1. I Am the Messenger is one of the best books I have ever read and 2. the ceremony was being held on my birthday. There was also an extra added bonus- I’m a native Las Vegan, so I didn’t have to travel to ALA this year. Instead, it came to me!

MAE Program MAE food MAE Books

The Edwards Award ceremony was a brunch this year instead of the traditional lunch, which appealed to me because I’m a big fan of breakfast at any time.  When I arrived at the Las Vegas Hotel there were already people in line waiting to get in and the ballroom was all set up and ready for us. In addition to coffee, quiche and other sundries attendees also received copies of two of  Markus Zusak’s books. The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, and reading group guides for both books. Attendees eagerly anticipated the presentation of the award and the acceptance speech and chatted throughout brunch until the presentation started.

For those of you who may not know, Markus Zusak hails from Sydney, Australia, so he came from the other side of the world to accept this award (and he has a lovely accent.) He  listed Chris Crutcher, Gary Paulsen and Lois Lowry as heroes, and expressed some awe at being given an award that they had all previously won. After putting aside his speech and telling us he was going to keep it for reference, he told us that his writing career started in the backyard where he grew up, and shared some of the hijinks he and his siblings would get into, including setting up a tennis court in the house, boxing with one glove, and  finding new ways of getting his mother to swear, like ruining her garden playing football (or soccer, for those of us who live here in the U.S.), because when she swore in her  non-Australian accent it was hilarious. Continue reading ALA Annual 2014: The Margaret A. Edwards Award Brunch

In Defense of Gossip Girl

photo by flickr user Josh Meek

In the 2012 film 21 Jump Street, Channing Tatum’s character enjoyed his popularity quite a bit in high school. When he goes back, years later, as an undercover cop, he assumes high school has stayed the same–that homophobic jokes, making fun of nerds and not trying hard in school will help him relive his glory days. In fact (spoiler alert) he discovers that the landscape of high school has changed. The new popular kids are good students, LGBT-accepting, and nice to everyone. The tables have turned, and what follows is both hilarious and oddly realistic.

I’m worried that some YA authors are making the same mistake. Why does young adult literature assume that all its readers are coming from a particular social situation? Why do we lump together entire groups of people as “shallow” so that our precocious narrator looks down on them? Even the Harry Potter series, my all time favorite, leaves a bad taste in my mouth regarding Lavender Brown, Ron’s first girlfriend. She and her friends are portrayed as simpering and idiotic compared to the virtuous, brilliant Hermione. Or how about in Twilight where Bella instantly writes off practically an entire school of people? Is it fair to say that some authors are projecting their own high school insecurities by writing thinly-veiled versions of themselves who orchestrate revenge, or at least quietly devastating wit, on the social elite? Perhaps. Continue reading In Defense of Gossip Girl