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

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

Perfectly dreadful

Sones, S. (2013). To be perfectly honest: A novel based on an untrue story. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Genre: Romance, realistic, verse Intended audience: Teenage girls Personal reaction to the book: Colette, the protagonist, is one of the most annoying characters it has ever been my displeasure to see through… Continue reading Perfectly dreadful

Boy21 for the ages

Quick, M. (2012). Boy21. New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Genre: Realistic Intended audience: Any teens, especially boys Personal reaction to the book: A book about the transformative power of friendship. Wow. We've been reading a lot of YA books with a background of mental illness for this class (Wintergirls, It's kind of… Continue reading Boy21 for the ages

Death or glory, just another story?

Myers, W.D. (2008).¬†Sunrise over Fallujah. New York: Scholastic. Genre: War / realistic Intended audience: Mid-teens and up Personal reaction to the book: This is a standard war story: Hero is wounded; buddy dies in heroic attempt to save an innocent. It wants to be an anti-war book, but spent too much time describing the details… Continue reading Death or glory, just another story?

Retro worth a shot

Kerr, M.E. (1989). Dinky Hocker shoots smack. New York: Harper Trophy. (Originally published 1972). Genre: Realistic fiction Intended audience: Teens Personal reaction to the book: The fourth book I read for the course and the first one I enjoyed reading. It had believable characters, a flow that never felt like it was sketched out from… Continue reading Retro worth a shot