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
With the movie Paper Towns coming out in theaters in just a couple days, there seems to be a buzz in the air about John Green once again. Paper Towns, like all Green’s books, holds its own right up there on my bookshelf along with An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in our Stars, and Looking for Alaska.
The movie is directed by Jake Schreier and is based on the 2009 Teens’ Top Ten winning title by John Green. I love how the story is cleverly declared as an American comedy-drama mystery film. That seems to sum it all up right? Paper Towns features the adorable Quentin Jacobsen who has loved his gal-pal neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman since they were young. One night entices Quentin to go out on the town and play a bunch of revenge pranks on her cheating boyfriend. The night is a whirlwind of fun and outrageous pranks that brings the two closer than ever. Then Margo suddenly decides to disappear without a trace. What I love about Quentin is that he never gives up on Margo and that is so darn romantic. After Margo turns up missing Quentin soon unravels the pieces of the puzzle (literally) that she has left in her wake. Paper Towns comes out Friday, July 24, so don’t miss this coming-of-age story that you know you won’t want to end!
Here are five books that satisfy your taste for the young and the restless until the Paper Towns movie comes out.
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults) – Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.
- Looking for Alaska by John Green (2006 Printz Award winner) – Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School includes making good friends and playing great pranks. A sudden fatality shakes Miles to the core and he contemplates what life and death are all about and how to carry on after you lose that one person that lights up your life.
- The Spectacular Now by Tim Thorp – In the last months of high school, Sutter Keely stays drunk or high most of the time, but that could change when he forms a friendship with his classmate Aimee.
- Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer – Carson Phillips decides to create a literary magazine to bolster his college application, which means he needs submissions. Carson resorts to blackmailing his classmates and he doesn’t realize how his actions will be the cause and effect of his plans for the future.
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2008 Best Books for Young Adults) – Clay Jenkins finds a mysterious box with his name on it filled with 13 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah a classmate who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Clay must listen to the tapes and follow the clues that Hannah leaves to find out the mystery of her suicide.
With all the ways to watch TV today including; on demand, DVR, and instant streaming it is possible to watch an entire series’ episodes back to back rather than in a serialized week to week format. This kind of watching has been dubbed “binge-watching.” Maybe when you hear this term, an image comes to mind of someone mindlessly watching hour after hour of TV whilst eating chips. As fun as that sounds, “binge-watching” can also mean focusing on just one show over the course of many days or weeks. As a reader the way I become immersed in the characters and world of a good book are a familiar, comforting feeling, and binge-watching a quality show can offer a similar (on-screen) experience. Here are some great YA read-alikes inspired by some of my binge-worthy favorites.
Orange is the New Black – One of Netflix’s original binge-worthy series. This is the story of a Piper, a privileged woman who has to serve prison time for a crime committed in her 20s.
* Monster by Walter Dean Myers (2000 Printz Award Winner, 2000 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers , 2000 Best Book for Young Adults) A story told in the form of a screenplay by a young man incarcerated in a juvenile detention center.
* Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos (2003 Printz Honor Book, Popular Paperback for Young Adult 2006 , 2003 Best Books for Young Adults). When Gantos was a young man with heavy debt and a promising writing career he agrees to help sail a ship packed with drugs from the Virgin Islands to New York City. This memoir describes this well known author’s short-lived criminal career and his incarceration.
* Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. The book that inspired the show; Kerman tells the tale of how she spent a year in prison the humiliations she endured, and the relationships she forged.
Continue reading Bingewatching YA Read- Alikes
Glee is a wonderful show that comprises a plethora of teen issues portrayed in both dramatic and comedic ways. I’ve watched the show for years, but there is one thing that has always bothered me. Why don’t any of the Glee kids read? There is not one member who discusses a favorite book comments on what he or she is currently reading. One of the few times the library gets any attention is when a small group of the Glee members sing M.C. Hammer’s â€œYou Can’t Touch Thisâ€ in the library in hopes of getting into trouble. Sure, Stephenie Meyer’s â€œTwilight Sagaâ€ is mentioned, but only in reference to Tina’s clothes and Principle Figgins’s fear of vampires. So I’ve decided to take it upon myself to educate the Glee club on books. They’ve been taught about acting, dental hygiene, Spanish, and several other topics. It’s about time that they opened a book.
Finn Hudson â€“ I understand that due to devastating real-life circumstances (the tragic death of actor Cory Monteith), Finn is no longer on the show. However, I would still like to include the character in this experiment of Reader’s Advisory because the character is still important to the show. Finn is an interesting character to analyze. He was the first of the jock/popular crowd to join the Glee club. While at first, viewers may see him as a dumb jock, a deeper, more thoughtful Finn has been revealed over the course of the show. I would recommend Knights of Hill Country by Tim Tharp. The plot of this title can be compared to the relationship between Finn and Rachel. Knights of Hill Country tells the story of a football hero, Hampton, who begins to see more than the football in a town that eats, sleeps, and breathes football. He begins to notice Sara, a girl who usually would not speak to and would definitely not consider dating. Knights of Hill Country is a thought-provoking story about creating your own identity instead of living the character created by others. The death of his father has always been something on Finn’s mind. He might be interested in reading a book about war and the effect it has on those left at home. For a fiction title, I would recommend Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie, which discusses a teen whose brother died in Iraq. If Finn preferred something from the non-fiction shelf, I would give him Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-year-old GI by Ryan Smithson. In Ghosts of War, Smithson talks about his experiences in Iraq.
Continue reading What Would They Read?: Glee