May 3rd, 2008

Fringe, contemplative, swing

Booklist: Quirky Characters

Quirky is good in my book. Whenever someone calls me quirky, I say, "Thank you."

My favorite quirky girls in contemporary teen lit include:

Emily in Tips for Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend and Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) by Carrie Jones

Tess in Lost It by Kristen Tracy

Alice MacLeod in Alice, I Think and the books which follow it by Susan Juby

Zoe in A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Frankie in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

My favorite quirky fellas from contemporary teen lit include:

Charlie in A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian

Parker in The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

Some of my all-time favorite books have utterly fantastic headstrong characters:

Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery

Turtle from The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Please refrain from mocking Anne's hair color or tugging on Turtle's braid.
Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell, knowing

The Winnie Books: Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen by Lauren Myracle

Birthdays which are memorable, for reasons both great and bad, happy and sad, stick with us. Eleven by Lauren Myracle details a year in the life of a girl named Winnie. Every chapter highlights a month in that year, following Winnie as she deals with various goings-on at school and at home. Twelve and Thirteen are set up the same way, with one chapter devoted to each month, and each book chronicling a year.

Things kick off on Winnie's eleventh birthday. It's a weird, exciting, fun, scary age. She's not a teenager yet, much less a grownup, but she's no longer a little kid either. She's not sure what to do when her best friend starts acting differently. Aren't they supposed to be best friends forever? Happily, she finds new friends who like her for who she is; happily, her home life with her parents and siblings is comfy-cozy.

Then Winnie is Twelve. Suddenly, everything seems to be changing: her family, her friends, her life, her body. She's got plenty on her mind and plenty of people around her, including her old best friend, her new best friends, and a cute boy. Sixth grade certainly is shaping up to be more than she expected!

In Thirteen, Winnie has her first-ever boyfriend, Lars. She likes him, but she isn't always sure how to act around him. She sometimes finds herself torn between her two best friends, Cinnamon and Dinah, for although the three of them get along famously, they don't always want to do the same things. Winnie remains protective of her younger brother, in awe of her older sister, and close to her parents, especially her mom.

This trilogy will certainly appeal to kids in elementary school and middle school, as they are going through the same things Winnie is going through. Readers will wince with Winnie when she gets embarrassed and smile when she smiles.

It's been fun to watch Winnie become Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen. She reminds me a bit of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice McKinley, who also has one shy best friend, one outspoken best friend, and frank family discussions, and Lois Lowry's Anastasia Krupnik, whose relationship with her younger brother, Sam, echoes that of Winnie and her younger brother, Ty.

The next book about Winnie, Thirteen Plus One, comes out in May 2010.

Lauren Myracle is also working on:
- The Boring, Boring, Super-Boring Life of Ty, Only Not Really, the first in a series about Winnie’s little brother, Ty;
- Ten, the story of Winnie in fourth grade; and
- and two more books which are not related to Winnie: Luv Ya Bunches Too, the sequel to Luv Ya Bunches, and By Curious, a mystery.

Read my exclusive interview with Lauren Myracle.

Read my interview with E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle.

Read my review of Peace, Love & Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle.