It has been an emotional week for me. As I mentioned a few posts ago, my oldest started middle school, and my youngest started kindergarten. We’ve had to get up extra early, and then around 1:30, I start to really miss my baby, who was always with me by that time when he was in preschool. I worked full time for at least part of my oldest two kids’ lives, but I’ve always worked from home with my youngest, and he’s been my daily companion for five-and-a-half years. It’s hard to let go. We left up the Civil Rights Movement post, because the anniversary wasn’t until Wednesday. We hope all of you did something to commemorate the March on Washington. I highly recommend the BBC’s video of the “I Have a Dream” speech read not only by MLK but by famous activists, scholars, poets, novelists, and catalysts for social change (and also, Stevie Wonder!).
But back to the world of YA Lit. I’ve reviewed a few books on Common Sense Media recently and wanted to share a bit from each of my last few book reviews.
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Engaging novel shows teens’ lives altered by tragedy.
The Beginning of Everything was originally titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, and despite the macabre connotations of that original title, it evokes the overarching theme of the story: that tragedy may divide your life, but that doesn’t mean it has to define who you are, how you live, who you love… Precocious high school readers will love Schneider’s references and the realistic portrayal of a relationship in the last year of high school.
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
Love story about two Iranian girls is sad but educational.
In If You Could Be Mine, debut author Sara Farizan tackles extremely difficult subjects in a setting that will be utterly unfamiliar — and unthinkably oppressive — to most Western readers. She shows that regardless of where they live, teens in love are relatively the same the world over, even in places where that love is punishable by death…There aren’t any big speeches, and neither girl rails against Islam in the book; but Sahar does make it clear that in a world where being a man gives you more rights, no one — man or woman — has the basic freedom of loving whom they please in Iran, and that’s a sad fact indeed.
OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
Unique novel about OCD teens in love is disturbing but good.
Bea isn’t exactly a likable character; she’s an unreliable narrator who can’t see the truth for most of the story: She’s extremely obsessive compulsive, and her need to check in on (eavesdrop, follow home, call, etc.) Sylvia and Austin (and her ex-boyfriend, who took out a restraining order) isn’t just a quirk; it’s disturbing…After getting through group and exposure therapy together, Bea and Beck share a remarkable commitment to each other that’s touching and intimate. In the end, although much has gone wrong for them, they — with a lot of a help — realize that life can and does indeed get better.