If anyone could appreciate creating lists of books for their favorite TV and movie characters, it’s Jessica Day. She would probably assign book suggestions to her stuffed animals and then present them in the form of a jaunty song. While we patiently wait for the next season to start up, I thought I would compile a list of books that the characters of New Girl would enjoy.
New Girl provides a large cast of characters that are so over-the-top that it feels authentic. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a round of “True American” and climb atop furniture while spouting random historical facts? For those who are not familiar with the premise for the show, it’s fairly simple. Jess answers an ad in Craigslist and moves in with three guys, Nick, Schmidt, and Winston. The guys are not used to living with a girl, and Jess turns out to be much more than they expected. Jess has several quirks that set her apart from the other girls they know, but it soon comes out that they have their own bizarre traits as well.
If you haven’t seen the show, I suggest watching it immediately. After watching an episode or twelve, come on back and see what books each character would read.
Jess – While this title is a bit on the older side of YA lit, I would not be surprised if Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli was sitting on Jess’s shelf. Stargirl wears granny dresses and plays the ukelele, which are two things I would most definitely see Jess doing as well. Jess has a celebratory air about her and she would relate immensely to a girl who wants to do her own thing, despite how many people around her wish she would just conform to the rest of the crowd. In a similar vein, I would also give Jess Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick. Amber Appleton would most assuredly be buds with Jess and Stargirl, but this book skews slightly into drama when Amber’s story is revealed. Continue reading What Would They Read?: New Girl
I don’t read as much horror as I probably should, since it’s very popular with a lot of teen readers. So, I was very happy to attend this YA Literature Symposium session presented by the two Paulas (Paula Willey and Paula Gallagher) both from Baltimore (MD) County Public Library. Not only did I hear about some horror books I wasn’t familiar with, I also won a scary shark t-shirt! Thanks to their generosity, lots of us in the audience got prizes of galleys of YA books, and everyone got creepy body part shaped candy and packets of Old Bay Seasoning (Why? Because it’s made in Baltimore).
I can’t describe their presentation any better than they did:
“Teens of all types gravitate to horror fiction – perfectly nice kids with perfectly comfortable lives (as well as perfectly nice kids with difficult lives) seek out books by Darren Shan, Alexander Gordon Smith, Jeyn Roberts and the like. In our presentation, we will make the link between the psychological developments that characterize coming of age and the metaphors of horror, and argue that just because it’s all in your head, that doesn’t mean it’s not real.”
They mentioned that teens who like horror are nostalgic for series they read as kids like the Goosebumps series, Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories, or David Lubar’s Weenies series. Teens today are cutting their teeth on new horror TV shows, and films, even foreign ones like Let the Right One In and are big consumers of media, especially horror series like The Vampire Diaries.
Paula Willey explained why it’s important that we understand why teens like horror:
1. We may need to overcome our own revulsion; people who don’t like it don’t understand the appeal.
2. Horror is unusually good at shining a light on concerns of adolescents in ways other types of fiction do not. Horror is a window into their worries.
They also said that issues of morality can be explored in horror. Alexander Gordon Smith can talk abut good vs. evil in his Escape the Furnace series and get away with it. I had to laugh when they showed a slide from their PowerPoint stating that adolescent development is characterized by poor decision making; risk-taking; and a changing sense of identity and the image on screen was a photo of Bella and Edward from the Twilight movie.
It’s the day before Halloween and perhaps this month you’ve watched a horror movie marathon or read a scary book. Have you ever been watching one of those movies or reading one of those books, and it’s the scene where the hero/heroine walks into the dark, obviously haunted house to hide from the killer and you scream, “Don’t go in there!?”
Then they do. You all know better, right?
I often have this experience and wonder what I would do if I was in those terrifying situations, running from zombies or trying to fend off a serial killer. Since I don’t have a lot of confidence in my survival abilities, I will turn to the hobby I have a lot of confidence in: reading! I propose turning to the examples of plucky, resourceful, and brave heroes and heroines in YA literature to save you from the frights of Halloween and beyond.
Here are a few books you may want to read to prepare you for a few scary situations.
Scary situation # 1: Haunted by Ghosts
Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones: Have you considered reasoning with the ghosts that haunt you? It works out fairly well for Sam Toop even though he is trying to save the ghosts, not save himself from ghosts. A little kindness goes a long away and maybe the ghost haunting you just wants a friend.
The Name of the Starby Maureen Johnson (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults): It’d be great if you could see the ghosts haunting you and could send them away with the tool of a special too like Rory, but if not consider assembling a crackerjack team of ghost hunters. Safety in numbers is always a good idea.
The definition for teen mysteries seems to be slightly less strictly defined as in comparison to their adult counterparts. First, there is usually “something” to solve. Generally, it is a crime, but in some cases it can be a secret that is not necessarily illegal or punishable by law. For example, why someone killed themselves or discovering that someone is cheating in a contest or academic endeavor. Also, while adult mystery novels usually have detectives at work at solving mysteries, in teen novels it is often an average teen with an inquisitive nature–someone who is a true amateur.
Teen mysteries are similar to their adult counterparts, however, when it comes to the plot unfolding. The clues are presented to the main character(s) and to the reader, and steps are taken as to get more information to discover the how, what, why, who, and sometimes even the where and when. Ultimately, we are given the final reveal at the end of the novel.