Log in

Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens

September 28th, 2015 (08:40 am)

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: Just Enough by Aslyn

One afternoon in the bookstore, a young woman in her late teens approached me and said, "Excuse me. Can you help me? I want some books like . . . " She named a few teen fiction titles that dealt with drug abuse and anorexia. She looked slightly uncomfortable but mostly excited. I told her that I could recommend many good books. Within minutes, she was sitting on the floor in the teen fiction section, a plastic basket full to the brim with books, with additional titles in her hand and next to her knees and her feet.

We had a great discussion. I was happy on any levels: happy that she felt comfortable enough to come to me, happy that she was open-minded, happy that I got some realistic, well-written books in her hand. This urged me to make a list of books dealing tough issues - eating disorders, loss and grieving, addiction, abuse, and so forth.

Due to subject matter, many of these books are recommended for older teens as well as adults, be they parents, teachers, librarians, or simply avid readers.

I've read every title on this list, and have given each book a rating according to the United States movie rating guide - G, PG, PG-13, or R - based on content, and a number of stars - four being the best - based on quality (my personal opinion).

PARENTAL ABUSE OR NEGLECT - Physical or emotional abuse, alcoholism, etc.
Read more...Collapse )

ABUSE BY OTHERS - physical or emotional abuse; date or acquaintance rape; accusations, secrets and lies
Read more...Collapse )

TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - be they romantic relationships or rumors or no romance, but a definite abuse of power
Read more...Collapse )

POSITIVE & PLATONIC TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - teachers positively influencing and educating their pupils
Read more...Collapse )

PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS - reconnecting with or distancing oneself from absentee parents, dealing with restrictions and expectations
Read more...Collapse )

LONG-LOST SIBLINGS - reconnecting with siblings, or meeting them for the first time
Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

PHYSICAL DISORDERS/INJURIES/SPECIAL NEEDS - protagonist, siblings, friends
Read more...Collapse )

BODY CHANGES - growing up and dealing with natural physical changes (as opposed to health, weight, or body image issues; disorders/injuries are in a separate list above this one)
Read more...Collapse )

TEENAGE PREGNANCY - may also deal with adoption and/or abortion
Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

DIVORCE, SEPARATION, AND/OR STEPFAMILIES - parents dating, getting remarried, etc
Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

CAR ACCIDENTS (and similar accidents)
Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

ADOPTION - Also foster care, group homes, and counseling
Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

ACADEMICS - cheating, excelling, or otherwise dealing with academic pressure
Read more...Collapse )

SOCIAL STATUS - at school or otherwise with peers; popularity, bullying, et al.
Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

INTERNET SAFETY - and/or cyberbullying
Read more...Collapse )

SEEKING SHELTER - family shelters, homelessness, runaways
Read more...Collapse )

I hope that this list helps readers of all ages find books they may be too shy to openly discuss with a bookseller or librarian. I want those readers to know they may leave a comment here and tell me which books they have found valuable. Most of all, I want them to know they can talk to their friends or adults they know in order to get the answers and help they may need.

If you would like for me to add more titles about a certain subject, or if you want more information about any of the books on the list, please leave a comment.

Special thanks to those who have shown their support of this list by offering me links, comments, and compliments, such as Jen Robinson, Bookseller Chick, Robin Brande, Sassymonkey at BlogHer, Daisy Whitney, Caroline, Bookstore People, and Jennifer R. Hubbard.

Little Willow [userpic]

I Read Banned Books: Celebrating Intellectual Freedom and Literacy

September 27th, 2015 (06:50 pm)

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: TCM commercial music

Banned Books Week is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
-- The American Library Association

Learn more about Banned Books Week at the ALA website, which provides background about Banned Books Week, lists of frequently challenged books, details about related events, and more.

"If you don't like a book, you can close it. But you have no right to say I can't open it." - from The Cupid Chronicles by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Listen to This

Say these statements aloud and note how different they sound:
"YOU shouldn't read that book!"
"NO ONE should read that book!"
"That book is amoral. I am appalled that you read it and that the author wrote it!"
"I haven't read that book. It doesn't sound interesting to me."
"I don't like that book. I read it, but I didn't like it."
"I love that book. Everyone should read that book."

Or these:
"The writing was poor."
"The plotline was full of holes."
"That book had many grammatical errors and typos."
"The story was appalling due to the language/violence/situations."

One Man's Junk is Another Man's Treasure

I personally don't like things which are crude, so I choose not to read books that are, say, collections of filthy jokes. But that's my opinion. I'm not going to read those books, but at the same time, I'm not going to stop someone else from reading what he or she wants to read.

I also don't read westerns or romances, but that's completely different; I don't tend to read those genres because I'm not all that interested in them. There are other genres which interest me more, much more, like dramatic fiction. At the same time, I don't like fictional melodramas, soap operas, or woe-is-me stories. I like a well-written story with unique characters and intriguing plots. I like horror and fantasy as written by the likes of Christopher Golden and Michael Ende. I like justice being served. (Hence my addiction to the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Cold Case, and Without a Trace.) I like to think, to dream, to imagine, to cheer, to hope, and thus I enjoy books that inspire those thoughts and moods.

There are so many different books, written for so many different reasons, written for so many different audiences. There are books which are realistic, books that are humorous, books that are mysterious, books that are satirical, books that are dystopic, books that challenge the readers due to the vocabulary used, books that challenge the readers to think and discuss.

I can't stand it when I hear that a library pulled a book off of its shelves due to the jacket summary and/or title, without the librarian and/or the challengers actually having read the book. I firmly believe that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Read it for yourself, THEN decide if it is a good book. Some covers are lovely and the stories are lacking; some stories are lovely and the covers are lacking. Some authors choose the titles of their books, others do not - or they did, but it was changed by the publisher or editor. There are books with racy titles that actually have tame stories and vice-versa. Some jacket summaries describe the plot quite well, while others are very far off the mark. Still others describe the book a little too well and give away crucial plot points.

If you see a book and are concerned that it might not be appropriate for your children, your students, or your library, I again encourage you to read it for yourself, then decide.

Discretion vs. Ageism

I think that rules based on general ages or grade levels can be silly. Examples: "You are 12, and no one is allowed to read this until the age of 13," or "This book is too difficult for a fifth-grader to read." The reader's age isn't the only thing to take into consideration; one must also consider his or her emotional maturity and reading level. There are 8 year olds who can read, retain, and understand The NeverEnding Story and The Tale of Two Cities. There are 18 year olds who can't. There are 48 year olds who can't. There were many times when teachers and school librarians gawked at my literature selections, thinking I was too young to comprehend those books. Those who got to know me realized their assumptions were incorrect.

Should an 8 year old read a book filled with profanity and adult situations? I wouldn't recommend it. Should that same kid see a movie filled with the same? I wouldn't recommend that either. Again, that's my opinion. It's amazing how some parents will not permit their children to read books due to their content, then allow them to turn on the TV or go see a movie that has similar if not older/racier/naughtier content. I often use the American movie rating systems to convey content to parents, teachers and librarians.

There is a difference between discretion and banning. Discretion is supposed to be about selection and is more personal. Banning has more to do with censorship, permission and judgment.

A bookstore might specialize in a certain genre or be for a certain age group. A children's bookstore, for example, probably has mostly picture books and chapter books; I wouldn't expect it to have the newest western paperbacks for adults. Likewise, a shop that specializes in westerns probably wouldn't carry titles for newborns. A librarian at an elementary school might not wish to stock One Hundred Years of Solitude or The Scarlet Letter.

My Favorite Banned Books

The protagonists of my favorite banned/challenged books share the same name: Alice.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll, was banned in China in 1931 because "animals should not use human language" and that it was "disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level." This was quoted at Lenny's Alice in Wonderland Site, as originally from The File Room. View all Bildungsroman posts related to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The Alice McKinley series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has been challenged every which way due to its realistic portrayal of adolescence. The books follows Alice's life at home and at school, from 3rd grade through (currently) high school. The series is heartwarming, humorous, sweet, and straightforward. Read more about the Alice McKinley series.

I have read many banned and challenged books, including . . . Collapse )

I did not read any of these books BECAUSE they were banned. I read them because they sounded interesting to me. In the case of some of the contemporary books, I read them BEFORE they were challenged or banned.

I read banned books, and I'm proud of it.

I even have the bracelet to prove it.

In 2006, I found the I Read Banned Books bracelet created by Carolyn Forsman via the ALA website. I shared the news and the link with my friend the Romanov Princess, who promptly placed an order. The bracelet is available in two sizes, one size for adults, one for children.

Mine is child-sized.

I wear the bracelet during Banned Books Week and other special events. I have also worn it on stage. In the summer of 2008, I thought it suited a character I played - a girl who read Anna Karenina for fun - and got the director's approval to wear it for the duration of the run.

Read Read Read

Read a book because it's interesting to you - because it's a good book - because it sounds delightful - because it sounds intriguing - because you want to imagine, to learn, to belong, to consider, to challenge yourself, to dream, to wish, to cheer, to think, NOT to think, to escape. Read what you want to read. Read BECAUSE you want to read. Share your love of reading with others.

In conclusion, I'll say what I always say:

Open a book. Open your mind.

Many thanks to those who have commented upon and linked to this article, including TubTalk, Lisa Chellman, and Lessons from the Tortoise.

Related Posts:
They Tried to Ban This Book Today, or, There's a Sticker on the Cover of This Book - inspired by the challenge of Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson: Too Cool for School?
Banned Books & Tolerance & Commercials & King & King
View all Bildungsroman posts related to banned books

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: The Lesson by William Wordsworth

September 25th, 2015 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: good
Current Song: The Writer by Ellie Goulding

There is a flower, the lesser celandine,
That shrinks like many more from cold and rain,
And the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, 'tis out again!

- the first stanza of The Lesson by William Wordsworth

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

September 23rd, 2015 (05:32 pm)

Current Mood: okay
Current Song: The X-Files score music by Mark Snow

When Robyn Plummer walks into Room 13B, Adam falls in love at first sight. That may sound like a typical boy-meets-girl story, but, thankfully, this book is anything but cliché. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten is refreshingly honest, anchored by a memorable main character.

Adam, age 15, is vulnerable, loyal, and sometimes confused by his feelings and by the actions of those around him. He is quieter than some, a little more in his thoughts, which are expressed in limited third-person narrative. His parents are divorced, and he lives with his mom most of the time. She pretends everything is okay while enduring her own private struggle, something Adam tries to both respect and understand. Meanwhile, his father has remarried, and while Adam gets along all right with his dad and his stepmom, the member of that household that undoubtedly enjoys his visits the most is his little brother, Sweetie, who is full of life and full of love. (Kudos to Toten for creating a young, vibrant character that sounds and acts his age. Absolutely spot-on depiction of a preschooler.) It is interesting to note what (and who) each member of Adam's family clings to, and what they're willing to fight for when the going gets tough.

When Adam isn't in one of his two homes, he is usually in Room 13B. Room 13B isn't a classroom; it's a meeting place for a young adult OCD support group. This book gave me what I wanted but didn't get from the TV show Red Band Society: a realistic look at a diverse group of kids who meet due to a medical diagnosis but are not defined by their condition; people who are not the "worst" examples of their condition nor the "best"; characters who are relatable but not cookie-cutter. Each teen has a distinct personality, appearance, and medical history. Their bonding sessions both inside and outside of Room 13B are wonderful. They honestly try to help one another rather than sabotage or one-up each other. When Chuck, the friendly, caring doctor who oversees the group, asks the kids to adopt nom de guerres, almost all of them select superhero names. Robyn picks Robin, prompting Adam to immediately declare himself Batman.

Adam is determined to win Robyn's heart. He has never been in love before, never had a girlfriend, but he falls head over heels for Robyn. He is not simply on a quest for love, but actually fascinated by this specific girl. As the story continues, their friendship develops and deepens. Adam's unconscious need to protect others extends easily to Robyn as he learns more about her, and he tries to be a better person (and taller) so he can be worthy of her. His OCD rituals are both aided and exacerbated by his new goals and his growing awareness that things aren't entirely right at either of his homes.

This book is good. It's solid and it's interesting and it's realistic and it's good. It sheds light on a condition that many people suffer from in silence and shame, and instead of reducing OCD to a punchline or over-dramatizing it, Toten offers believable characters with various rituals and paths to healing. The story moves at an easygoing pace with decent plotting. And most of all, it has a realistic protagonist who is a truly good egg. Adam is dealing with that wonderful, frustrating time when you don't want to be treated like a child but you sometimes wish you were still a carefree little kid, when you want to be independent but you can't drive yet, when you realize your parents are people with their own histories and bad habits and secrets. Just as the author does with his little brother, Toten is also able to capture the appropriate tone for Adam's age and situation. Adam sits at neither hero-with-a-burden character extreme, not wallowing in unbearable darkness and cursing the weight of the world that sits upon his shoulders, nor grinning from ear to ear and boasting that everything's going to be fine. He's simply trying to live his life. As his heart gets broken and mended, so will the hearts of readers.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten is a beautifully simple, steady coming-of-age story that I highly recommend, especially to fans of Jordan Sonnenblick and David Levithan.

This review was cross-posted at GuysLitWire.

Little Willow [userpic]

The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski

September 23rd, 2015 (09:38 am)

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Laying Me Low by David Cook

It's time for a cover reveal for a new series: The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski.

The Demonists by Thomas E. SniegoskiFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Fallen series and the Remy Chandler series comes a new dark fantasy series filled with demons, exorcisms, and the fight against the darkness.

There is more to our world than meets the eye - darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they're not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer...

It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora's thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.

John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora's possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield - and without John and Theodora's intervention, there is no chance for salvation...

Published April 5th, 2016
Available at Amazon.com
Available at Amazon.co.uk
Published by Roc
ISBN-10: 0451473523
ISBN-13: 978-0451473523

Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Male Protagonists in Teen Fiction

September 18th, 2015 (07:00 am)

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: I Believe by Jennifer Love Hewitt

Melissa asked for recommendations for a 16-year-old boy, specifically modern-day realistic fiction with male protagonists. In alphabetical order by author:

Feed by M.T. Anderson
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Funny Little Monkey by Andrew Auseon
Nothing but the Truth by Avi
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
Candy by Kevin Brooks
13 by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish (inspired by the musical 13, also written by Brown and Elish)
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
Breaking Point by Alex Flinn
As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway
Playing in Traffic by Gail Giles
Shattering Glass by Gail Giles
Storm Warning by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski
Looking for Alaska by John Green
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Godless by Pete Hautman
Totally Joe by James Howe (Sequel to The Misfits)
Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player by Antony John
Are We There Yet? by David Levithan
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Wide Awake by David Levithan
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
Big Slick by Eric Luper
Bug Boy by Eric Luper
So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow, illustrated by David Ostow
The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
Loser by Matthue Roth
Play Me by Laura Ruby
The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Flavor of the Week by Tucker Shaw
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
- Companion: After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
The Sleeper Conspiracy by Tom Sniegoski (two-book series)
- Book One: Sleeper Code
- Book Two: Sleeper Agenda
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (Love, Stargirl, the sequel, is from her POV)
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (Follow-up, not a direct sequel: The Last Days, from other people's POV)
So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger (Sequel: Love & Lies: Marisol's Story, from her POV)
Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt
I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak

Here are some of my fantasy favorites with teen male protags:

The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski
- The Fallen
- Leviathan
- Aerie
- Reckoning
- End of Days
- Forsaken
- Armageddon

Prowlers by Christopher Golden
- Prowlers
- Laws of Nature
- Predator and Prey
- Wild Things

The Secret Journeys of Jack London by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
- The Wild
- Sea Wolves
- White Fangs

Legacy by Tom Sniegoski

Snowblind by Christopher Golden (Note: This is adult fiction, typically shelved in the horror or sci-fi/fantasy section of bookstores.)

Straight on 'til Morning by Christopher Golden (Note: This is adult fiction, typically shelved in the horror or sci-fi/fantasy section of bookstores.)

Magical, mythical series that my customers love:

The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
Percy Jackson and the Olympians books by Rick Riordan

Before it was a movie, it was a book:

Beastly by Alex Flinn (This retelling of Beauty & the Beast is a contemporary fantasy.)

Two protagonists, one of each gender, split the POV in these realistic novels:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Naomi and Ely's No-Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Please consult my Multiple Narrators booklist for additional titles.

Two or more protagonists, at least one of each gender, in various genres:

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (second in His Dark Materials trilogy, following The Golden Compass)
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (third in the trilogy)
The Misfits by James Howe (then read the sequel, Totally Joe, listed above)
The Watcher by James Howe

One of my favorite books has a rather interesting POV:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Death, the first-person narrator, is genderless)

I would also like to add two with female protagonists:

The Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala - Though the main character is a teenage girl, many of the supporting characters in this intriguing murder mystery series are male, including but not limited to the medical examiner, his assistant, and one of the main detectives, not to mention Jenna's father, who is a criminology professor, and her friend Hunter. There are ten books in the series, all of which are written in third person. Start with the first book, Body Bags.

What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci - The title character, Lani, is the boy who befriends the main character and changes the way she views her popular friends' values and virtues (or, rather, lack thereof). This book is the anatomy of a hate crime. It is brilliant.

Related Booklist: Male Protagonists in Juvenile Fiction

A portion of this list was printed at GuysLitWire in November 2008. Thanks, Colleen!

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: That Old Planet - Doctor Who

September 18th, 2015 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: nostalgic
Current Song: Doctor Who score music

A little something different for Poetry Friday this week: a quote from the Doctor Who episode Gridlock, in which the Tenth Doctor fondly remembers his home:

"Oh, you should have seen it, that old planet. The second sun would rise in the south, and the mountains would shine. The leaves on the trees were silver, and when they caught the light every morning, it looked like a forest on fire. When the autumn came, the breeze would blow through the branches like a song."

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Person

September 14th, 2015 (10:20 am)

Current Mood: artistic
Current Song: TCM commercial music

In sixth grade, we were instructed to draw a poster depicting life in Ancient China. My teacher pointed to my poster and asked me why a dog was pulling a cart.

"That's a horse," I replied.

See the Art in the Text

The protagonists in the following stories are much better at drawing and painting than I am. Some are photographers while others like to make crafts. Some paint while others sculpt. Clickable titles lead to my book reviews.

Chapter Books
Winnie books by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis
- Winnie Dancing on Her Own
- Truly Winnie
- Winnie at Her Best

Juvenile Fiction (alphabetical by author)
The Education of Ivy Blake by Ellen Airgood
Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant (verse novel)
Brushing Mom's Hair by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Nicole Wong (verse novel)
Miss You, Mina by Denene Miller
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
Various books in The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, especially those revolving around Claudia
Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell

Teen Fiction (alphabetical by author)
The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappell
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher
- Companion novel: My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher
Girl to the Core by Stacey Goldblatt
Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Breathing by Cheryl Renée Herbsman
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough
Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby
A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
Rain is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz (series)
This is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone
Fact of Life #31 by Denise Vega
A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian
Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Bundle Up

As I said in my reviews of The Opposite of Invisible and Graffiti Girl, these books really ought to come packaged with sketchbooks. I wish more books about artists actually featured their artwork, just as I wish books about singers or musicians came with CDs. However, all of the books I listed above are so enjoyable that I'm content to simply imagine the artwork.

Art Works

Ooh! Let's not forget about The Plain Janes graphic novels by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg or Twice Told: Original Stories Inspired by Original Art, an anthology of short stories written by various authors and inspired by the artwork of Scott Hunt.

Word of the Day: Künstlerroman
As defined by Wikipedia:

A Künstlerroman (pronounced [/ˈkʏnstlɐ.roˌmaːn/], German: "artist's novel") is a specific sub-genre of Bildungsroman; it is a novel about an artist's growth to maturity. Such novels often depict the struggles of a sensitive youth against the values of a bourgeois society of his or her time.

Additional Artsy Booklists
But I Don't Want to Be Famous!
But I DO Want to Be Famous!
I Am a Dancer
Sing Sing Sing
Filmmakers in Fiction

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: If I Were by Mary Oliver

September 11th, 2015 (07:41 am)

Current Mood: grateful
Current Song: The Authority Song by Mary Oliver

There are lots of ways to dance and
to spin, sometimes it just starts my
feet first then my entire body, I am
spinning no one can see it but it is
happening. I am so glad to be alive,
I am so glad to be loving and loved.
Even if I were close to the finish,
even if I were at my final breath, I
would be here to take a stand, bereft
of such astonishments, but for them.

- If I Were by Mary Oliver

I found this poem thanks to the fabulous Courtney Sheinmel.

Related Posts at Bildungsroman:
Next Time by Mary Oliver
How I Go to the Woods by Mary Oliver
The Uses of Sorrow by Mary Oliver
Starlings in Winter by Mary Oliver
I Want to Write Something So Simply by Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

September 7th, 2015 (05:43 pm)
Tags: ,

Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Song: Forgiven Not Forgotten by The Corrs

Whenever I looked back on that summer, I'd think of the bet as what set all the changes in motion. Even though the actual trigger was something that had happened long before. Before Mom left, and before I walked out the door myself - going anywhere I could to escape home. - the opening lines of the novel Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

Twelve years ago, Lorrie Hollander's mother left Lorrie and her younger sister Susannah with their aunt Gigi, an eccentric woman living in Edgewater, a decaying mansion that no longer holds any of its original splendor. While Gigi and Susannah are more likely to give into their whims and whimsy, to adopt wild animals and act on impulse, Lorrie would rather have a more structured life, to act like she has everything under control, and make sure no one ever, ever comes over to the house. As the years went on, Gigi's hoarding problem has only gotten worse, causing the mansion to resemble a ruined, abandoned landmark more than a home.

Attending boarding school helped Lorrie escape the chaos of her home; she also found solace in riding horses. But this summer, everything changes. When her aunt fails to make the proper payments for equestrian camp, Lorrie is sent home. While trying to deal with her aunt, whose handle on both finances and reality are only getting worse, and her sister, whose idle boyfriend is now living with them, Lorrie learns that they don't have the money for her to return to school, either. As her world crumbles around her, Lorrie begins working at a stable to earn money and take care of her horse, Orion. She leans on her best friend Lennox for support occasionally, but she mostly keeps her problems private.

Then she becomes friends with Charlie Copeland, a senator's son. Though the Copelands throw Gatsby-like parties and always smile for the camera, Lorrie learns that Charlie's life isn't all that it's cracked up to be. As their friendship deepens, Lorrie must decide whether or not to confide in Charlie - and whether or not she's ready for the truth about her own family.

Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel is the story of a girl taking a deeper look at the cards life dealt her and finally learning how to deal with them. It's about taking off the blinders and dealing with the truth of the matter rather than trying to hide things from others and from yourself. It's about what to accept, what to keep, and what to let go. Put this book in the hands of those who enjoy Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti. They won't be disappointed.

Read an excerpt of the book.

My favorite lines from Edgewater include:

That was my life these days: a series of doors slammed shut. - Page 62

If Mom had stayed, surely my sister would be a different kind of girl. And Gigi wouldn't be headed back to the house of horrors in tears. And I wouldn't be standing here, lost between them. - Page 124

This is what it's like when someone you love disappears on you: You try to find the pieces to hold on to, the things no one can take away. - Page 231

It was the story I told myself, and my sister, and my friends. It was the story I put out into the world. [...] There are the stories people tell you about your life, and then there's the truth about it, which is completely your own. - Page 312