Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sorry about the font colors!

OK I get it now!

Someone told me that the font colors I have been using are really hard to read... and I was confused because in order for them to show on a black background, I have to use light colors. Anyway, as a test I subscribed to my own blog on bloglines, and sure enough, it transfers over my font colors!

I am going to work on finding a way that my text shows on both black and white backgrounds! Sorry for all the eyestrain!

Debbie Harry Sings in French-- Meagan Brothers

Debbie Harry Sings in French? What an awesome book title, wish I'd come up with it! ;-)

In this book, the main character, Johnny, is a recovering alcoholic... and he is still in High School. After his father dies, Johnny finds solace in bottle after bottle of booze. After he nearly overdoses on a lethal combo of drugs and alcohol, his mother sends him to rehab, and then on to live with his uncle. While in rehab, a girl give Johnny a Blondie mix tape... and Johnny becomes obsessed with Debbie Harry (lead singer of Blondie). She becomes his strength. Whenever he is tempted to take a drink of alcohol, he imagines that he is Debbie Harry-- strong, tough, hot, ass-kicking, confident, and beautiful in that hard rock-n-roll way. It's not that Johnny is in love with Debbie Harry... he wants to BE Debbie.

Johnny is adapting well to his new life with his uncle. He even falls for a girl, Maria, who encourages his Debbie preoccupation. For me, this is why the book is so good. Even though Johnny enjoys cross-dressing, his girlfriend is not threatened by this. Of course, there are times in the book where her faith wavers, but the main story this book tells is that just because a person explores gender roles, it does not mean they are gay. I really think this is a common misconception... many people assume that a man who is dressing like a woman is gay (or a woman dressing as a man). This often not the case. Cross-dressing is more about gender then it is about sexuality, and this book does an excellent job in clarifying that misconception while wrapping the "lesson" in a really compelling and engaging story.

Can you tell I really enjoyed this book? P.S. The non-book cover image is a photo of Blondie (Debbie is the hot blond of course) just so you can get a feel for the look Johnny is going for...

I would recommend this book to teens who enjoyed Julie Anne Peters' Luna or Ellen Wittlinger's Parrotfish.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gone-- Michael Grant

Rarely do I find a book that I could recommend to teens of any age and gender. However, Gone by Michael Grant is one of them. Grant is the coauthor of the popular children's series "Animorphs", but this book is decidedly teen.

In Gone, a giant impermeable dome surrounds the Perdido Beach area of California... but even more alarming is the fact that all people over the age of 14 have disappeared. They literally vanished, all at once, and never returned. Gone is the story of the children who were left behind, how they cope with a world without adults, and the micro-society they form. And, on top of everything else, some of the kids have developed superpowers, like shooting fire out of their hands, superfast speed, and super strength. However, not just the kids are developing powers. Animals are mutating too, and are becoming more dangerous to humans every day. How did this happen? How will they all survive?

While the book is decidedly science fiction (superpowers and an altered universe, hello?), it actually reads very realistically. There are both male and female main characters, although the story is narrated by a boy, and I feel both boys and girls would be interested in it. It is definitely a clean read, and there were places where the author could have dirtied it up a bit and chose not to. It is kind-of a newer, hipper, more scientific, and more full of adventure Lord of the Flies. I would recommend this book to any teen within the 12-19 age bracket. Also, I just learned this will be a 6 part series, and the newest book will be published each summer. Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Appetite for Detention-- Sloane Tanen

Who says that picture books are for kids?? Over the years, there have been many picture book style books for teens, but Appetite for Detention was particularly fun to read. Sloane Tanen has written a bunch of similar books for children, but this title is definitely for a teen audience. What makes this book so fun is the contrast between the pictures and the text are particularly good.

When you see fluffy little chicks you don't usually think about Juicy Couture handbags, eating disorders, depression, the SATs, gym glass, detentions, school dances and kisses.
I recommend picking up this book and perusing the pictures. In order for teens to find it, it will need to be on display or pointed out to them by a library staff person. I think teens who are looking for a fun, super-quick lighthearted read will enjoy this.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Breaking Dawn-- Stephenie Meyer

Now that I have finally completed Breaking Dawn, life can continue... I am sure there were many, many people who stayed up waaaaaaay too late trying to squeeze in one more chapter before bed, just like I was!

Where to start? How can I even begin to discuss this book in a way that briefly captures how I feel. First, I must say that what Stephenie Meyer has done for YA Literature will be appreciated by readers and authors both for many, many years to come. She has brought YA Lit into the forefront of peoples' minds, and has proven that books for teens are just as important as books for kids and adults. No matter how I feel about her writing style, storylines, characters, etc, her magic touch is something that will affect those of us who pay attention to teen literature for a long, long time.

But... back to Breaking Dawn! I'll just come out and say it; I really liked it. It didn't *love* it the way I did Twilight (but the first book of any series is always special), still I appreciated it for what it is. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to write a book that millions of people are waiting for with baited breath. I felt like this book let Bella come out of her shell, and I appreciated the creative way Meyer wrapped up the Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle. I felt like her characters went through some pretty major transformations, which was good because they felt a little stagnant to me after three books.

While some portions of the book were extremely predictable, others offered a nice twist. There were some scenes that made me a little queasy (Bella's birthing scene anyone?) and I do wonder if guys will enjoy this book as much as they liked the other ones... for whatever reason, this final book in the series is "girlier" to me than the other books were. No matter how sloppy Meyer's writing style can be, her words are still compelling and it is very easy to be seduced by her storytelling. For those of you who want to recommend this book to teens, while there is definitely
sensuality in this book, sex heavily is alluded to, but not described. I would feel comfortable giving this book to 12 year olds and up.

Most of all, I cannot wait to chat with teens about this book! I visited the Breaking Dawn party that Powell's hosted and was amazed at the energy, excitement, and utter joy expressed by the teens at the event. A 12 year old girl actually started weeping when she held Breaking Dawn for the first time. Weeping for joy over a book? That is something that just warms my librarian heart!