Big little brother

Doctorow, C. (2008). Little Brother. New York: Tor Teen. Genre: Dystopian / realistic / near-future cyberpunk Intended audience: Mid-teens and up; anti-authoritarians and rebels Personal reaction to the book: This is thought-provoking if a little didactic (OK, a lot didactic at times). It's a well-researched and totally subversive guide for teens. I would have read… Continue reading Big little brother

Heavy-handed message

Zusak, M. (2002). I am the messenger. New York: Alfred E. Knopf. Genre: Realistic / fable Intended audience: Older teens Personal reaction to the book: SPOILER ALERT: Review contains spoiler. I really enjoyed the book until the final chapter or so. For most of the book, the game for a reader was guessing who was… Continue reading Heavy-handed message

Not enough lipstick for this pig

Zindel, P. (1972). The pigman. New York: Harper & Row. Genre: Mainstream fiction Intended audience: Teens Personal reaction to the book: Really badly written book. It is told from the point of view of two teens, a boy and a girl, but the author is unable to endow either with a unique voice (for example,… Continue reading Not enough lipstick for this pig

Sad ending to Funny Story

Vizzini, N. (2006). It's kind of a funny story. New York: Miramax. Genre: Realistic Intended audience: Mid-teens and older Personal reaction to the book: This has strong overtones of One flew over the cuckoo's nest. It's not quite in that league, but a good read. Somehow the book is both less dismissive of and less… Continue reading Sad ending to Funny Story

Mostly harmless

Turner, M.W. (2005). The thief. New York: Greenwillow. (First published 1996.) Genre: Fantasy Intended audience: Tweens / young teens Personal reaction to the book: The thief got the Douglas Adams review: Mostly harmless. You have read better fantasies; you have read worse fantasies. It is appropriate for younger teens / tweens and is a safe… Continue reading Mostly harmless

Presto! C’est chic

Tobin, P., & Coover, C. (2013). Bandette, Volume 1: Presto! Milwaukie, Oregon: Dark Horse Comics. Genre: Graphic novel Intended audience: Mid-teens and older Personal reaction to the book: A fun option to the dark violence and manga subgenres that dominate so much of the graphic novel scene. Bandette is a very French protagonist (think Amelie,… Continue reading Presto! C’est chic

Tapping at my chamber door

Stiefvater, M. (2012). The raven boys. New York: Scholastic. Genre: Supernatural, adventure Intended audience: Mid-teens and up. Personal reaction to the book: Loved it. Well-rounded characters, believable motivations, good dialogue; by turns funny and emotionally satisfying. It does not talk down to its audience. The only book for the course thus far (out of six)… Continue reading Tapping at my chamber door

Stargirl abides

Spinelli, J. (2002). Stargirl. New York: Scholastic. (Originally published 2000.) Genre: Realistic fiction Intended audience: General YA Personal reaction to the book: It's sweet without being sappy; it's a quick read; it's got enough fun to blunt the angst. It's everything good about YA fiction. Stargirl is one of those characters (Owen Meany) who it's… Continue reading Stargirl abides

Mighty Maus

Spiegelman, A. (2008). Maus, I: A survivor's tale: My father bleeds history. Paw Prints: Charlotte, North Carolina. Genre: Graphic novel / memoir Intended audience: Older teens, adults. Personal reaction to the book: Originally published in 1986, Maus pretty much set the standard for “serious” graphic novels, and it's hard to separate reputation that from the… Continue reading Mighty Maus