An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Book Info
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
© 2006 Dutton Juvenile, Boston, MA
ISBN 978-0525476887

Plot Summary
Some people have a certain type, such as tall blondes or mysterious brunettes, but Colin Singleton’s type consists solely of girls named Katherine. At the young age of 17, Colin has already dated, and been dumped by, nineteen Katherines. In the aftermath of his most recent relationship with Katherine the 19th, Colin and his best friend Hassan decide to embark on a soul searching road trip. While driving through Tennessee, they come across a town called Gutshot that claims to be the resting place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose death sparked the beginning of World War I. They soon become acquainted with Lindsay Lee Wells and her mother Hollis who offers them work in the town’s factory that produces tampon strings. During their stay in Gutshot, Colin struggles to make sense of life and perfect his theorem for predicting the fate of relationships. Colin has to learn the hard way that not everything is predictable or necessarily makes sense, especially when he falls for his first Lindsay.

Reader’s Annotation
After nineteen in a row, Colin Singleton only seems to date girls named Katherine. After being dumped by each and everyone, Colin sets out on a road trip to heal and make sense of the world, only to find that not everything makes sense.

Critical Evaluation
The main character, Colin, would probably be considered a bit of a nerd. He is a wealth of what most would consider useless information, a whiz at anagrams, and in order to explain his failures with romance and hopefully predict the future, he works to develop a theorem to discern the fate of a relationship between two people. The book is a fun-filled story with many laugh-out loud moments and interesting epiphanies for both the characters and the reader. I personally had a hard time with the overuse of the word “fug” or “fugging” as a replacement for the more controversial “f-word.” I couldn’t understand that if the author would allow this word to be used so frequently, why not just use the more vulgar version? The vulgar version probably wouldn’t have bothered me or stood out so much. Thankfully, later on in the book, the author explains through the voices of the characters their reasoning for using the word “fug” when they get called out on not just using the intended vulgarity, just as I had wished to do as the reader.

Information about the Author
John Green is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been published in more than a dozen languages.

In 2007, Green and his brother Hank ceased textual communication and began to talk primarily through videoblogs posted to youtube. The videos spawned a community of people called nerdfighters who fight for intellectualism and to decrease the overall worldwide level of suck. (Decreasing suck takes many forms: Nerdfighters have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight poverty in the developing world; they also planted thousands of trees around the world in May of 2010 to celebrate Hank’s 30th birthday.) Although they have long since resumed textual communication, John and Hank continue to upload three videos a week to their youtube channel, vlogbrothers. Their videos have been viewed more than 75 million times, and their channel is one of the most popular in the history of online video. He is also an active (if reluctant) Twitter user with more than 1.1 million followers.

Green’s book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Booklist, a wonderful book review journal where he worked as a publishing assistant and production editor while writing Looking for Alaska. Green grew up in Orlando, Florida before attending Indian Springs School and then Kenyon College.

From the author’s website.

Genre
Realistic Fiction, Nerd Lit

Curriculum Ties
Mathematics, History

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss what Hollis has done for the town through the factory. Do you agree or disagree with her course of action?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
15+

Challenge Issues

  • Foul language.
  • Sexuality

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.
    • The overuse of “fugging” is explained later in the book. Be aware of the justification for using that word.

Why Included?
I have seen some of John Green’s Nerdfighter videos on Youtube and was happy to have found a picture that included one of my favorite quotes from one of his videos to include as his author photo. After seeing his rather clever and adorable videos, I was eager to check out his contributions to young adult literature.

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The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Book Info
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
© 2007 Arthur A. Levine Books, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0439895293

Plot Summary
The Arrival is a striking wordless graphic novel that artfully illustrates a moving story surrounding a father’s commitment to his family. The small family of three lives in a town that is overcome by poverty and the story begins with the father embarking on a journey with only a small suitcase of belongings and a very small amount of currency in search of better financial prospects. He journeys by boat to a strange land with new and unusual architecture, customs, creatures and language. He is required to strategically figure out how to communicate with the people in this new place in order to find a lucrative job, a place to stay, and food to eat. He meets a number of interesting characters along the way, each with their own story to tell, and longs for the day he will be reunited with his wife and daughter.

Reader’s Annotation
Shaun Tan’s The Arrival is a stunning graphic novel that possesses the unique ability to tell a beautiful, creative and moving story through pictures alone.

Critical Evaluation
Having little experience with graphic novels to begin with and absolutely no experience with wordless graphic novels, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with The Arrival. I “read’ through the book a couple of times, keeping attention to detail and still had a hard time trying to interpret exactly what was being implied on each page. I finished the book with a basic idea of the story and I thoroughly enjoyed the artwork and magical creatures that were portrayed, but it wasn’t until I did further research and read other reviews that I felt like I really understood it all. I’m not sure if this is because of my age, my lack of experience with comic books, or if it really is just difficult to understand, but seeing how others were able to take things from the book that could look back and clearly see, I decided it was my own shortcoming. I would hope that teens who are more in tune with graphic novels would have an easier time.

Information about the Author
Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the suburbs of Perth, a remote city on the coast of Western Australia. As a kid, there were few things he liked more than an opportunity to make something; drawing and painting things he saw around him, as well as monsters, space-ships, and writing and illustrating poems and story books about other worlds. Most of his practical artistic education came from good art classes in high school; beyond that, he doesn’t have much formal education in painting and drawing practice. He studied English and Fine Arts theory, history and criticism at the University of Western Australia, but eventually decided he wanted to try working as a painter or illustrator. He began by specializing in science fiction and fantasy subjects, initially for magazines, newspapers and books. He soon became involved with ‘pictures books for older readers’ through his contact with young adult writers and publishers, and now most of his time is spent as a writer and illustrator working within this medium. He’s also recently been involved with a number of theatre, film and animation projects, including work as a conceptual artist for Pixar.

His most widely published work, The Arrival , tells the story of a nameless man who must leave his family to seek a better life in a strange and distant land, all told in hundreds of wordless drawings. He am currently working on a collection of very short, whimsical stories called ‘Tales from Outer Suburbia’, about strange things happening in very ordinary places.

Visit the author’s website.

Genre
Graphic Novel, Wordless Graphic Novel, Steampunk

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Describe your initial interpretation of the story.

Discuss what it would be like to be in a foreign place where communication was difficult to impossible.

Reading Level/ Interest Age
15+

Challenge Issues
N/A

Why Included?
I was intrigued by the concept of a wordless graphic novel and thought it would make a unique addition to my blog project.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

Book Info
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
©2006 Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY
ISBN 978-0618723928

Plot Summary
Donnie, AKA Fanboy, just started his sophomore year of high school and it’s already off to a terrible start. The bullies at school seem to have made it their personal agenda to make Fanboy’s life a living hell, and to make the matter worse he’s been all but abandoned by his supposed best friend, Cal, in favor of sports and popularity. His home life isn’t much better since his mom recently became pregnant, and the fact that he and his step-dad clash on many levels. Pretty much the only thing he finds solace in is the secret graphic novel he’s been working on, and the bullet he carries around in his pocket, until he meets a kindred spirit in Kyra, AKA Goth Girl. She is cynical, foul mouthed, shares his love for comics and graphic novels and hatred for the jocks and popular jerks. Goth Girl is everything Fanboy needs, but will he realize it before it’s too late to save her and himself?

Reader’s Annotation
Fanboy and Goth Girl were lost in the overwhelming world of high school jocks and bullies, until fate brought them together. She is a cynical rebel with a foul mouth, and he is a shy comic book writer, but can their mutual understanding help them overcome those who misunderstand them?

Critical Evaluation
After reading Lyga’s controversial novel Boy Toy, I was eager to take a look at his other work. I was not sure what to expect, but The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl was far from disappointing. While it’s not quite as controversial as Boy Toy, this book still deals with tough issues and deep and meaningful subject matter, specifically surrounding the potentially harmful effects of teen bullying. The writing is so intense that the reader follows Fanboy into some of the darkest places of his mind, really ensuring a vivid image of what it would be like to actually be in Fanboy’s shoes in this awkward stage of life. But through the darkness comes light, and the book teaches valuable lessons, asserting that no one’s life is perfect and everyone, and I mean everyone, has their own demons.

Information about the Author
After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Barry Lyga worked in the comic book industry for ten years. He wrote comics for part of that time, but also was responsible for spearheading and developing Free Comic Book Day, the comics’ only industry-wide promotion. During those years, he was a spokesperson for the industry in general, quoted in countless newspaper and magazine articles, as well as appearing on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” He co-wrote a book on incorporating comic books and graphic novels into school libraries and has spoken on the topic at regional and national conferences.

In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. USA Today called it “an entertaining read no matter what age you are.” VOYA commented, “A triumphant finale leaves readers wanting to read the novel again and again.” SLJ listed the book as one of the best of 2006. His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJ, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. VOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, hit stores in Fall 2008 and, according to VOYA “proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”

Lyga lives and writes in the big city. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.

From the author’s website.

Genre
Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Coming of Age

Curriculum Ties
Sociology, Psychology

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss Fanboy’s relationship with his bullet. Do you think he would ever commit violence?

Discuss teen bullying and its effects.

Reading Level/ Interest Age
15+

Challenge Issues

  • Sexuality
  • Violence
  • Suicide

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.

Why Included?
I wanted to experience other books by Barry Lyga after reading his controversial novel, Boy Toy. I was also drawn to the idea of a geeky underdog and his Goth girlfriend as the protagonists.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Book Info
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
©2006 Atria Books, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0743298858

Plot Summary
Books have always been important to 12-year-old David, but as he mourns the death of his mother, they have mostly become his only company. His father soon remarries and moves David to the country to live with his new step mom, where he is given a room filled with books. David is angry that his mother was replaced so easily by this new woman and the baby on the way, but becomes distracted by his books whispering to him and strange figures in his room. One day while he is in the garden, he sees a German bomber falling towards the garden and with few options, jumps through a crack in the garden wall. At once, he is transported to a bizarre world with all kinds of creatures and monsters, complete with an eccentric King. David must find the King and his mysterious “Book of Lost Things” in order to finally get back home.

Reader’s Annotation
As he mourns his mother’s death, 12 year-old David finds comfort in books. But when he is thrust into a magical fantasy world where fairy tales are more like reality, he must embark on an odyssey to find the King and his “Book of Lost Things” to finally get home.

Critical Evaluation
Connolly does an impressive job of weaving fairy tale and major life issues such as death, grief and recovery in this story of a young boy dealing with the loss of his mother. Through escapism, a young boy copes with the death of his mother and grows emotionally and mentally while struggling to find his way through a strange, violent and dangerous world. In the beginning the book seems like many other children’s books, but as the story progresses it evolves into a very adult dark fantasy. Connolly takes classic fairy tales and puts his own complex, and sometimes dark and twisted, spins on them. These fairy tales are spun into the back story of the larger plot at play. This concept of reinterpretation is not a new model, but Connolly does a good job of fitting it into his story and reinventing with his own unique touch.

Information about the Author
John Connolly was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which he continues to contribute.

His first novel, Every Dead Thing, was published in 1999, and introduced the character of Charlie Parker, a former policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Dark Hollow followed in 2000. The third Parker novel, The Killing Kind, was published in 2001, with The White Road following in 2002. In 2003, John published his fifth novel—and first stand-alone book—Bad Men. In 2004, Nocturnes, a collection of novellas and short stories, was added to the list, and 2005 marked the publication of the fifth Charlie Parker novel, The Black Angel. John’s seventh novel, The Book of Lost Things, a story about fairy stories and the power that books have to shape our world and our imaginations, was published in September 2006, followed by the next Parker novel, The Unquiet, in 2007, The Reapers, in 2008 The Lovers, in 2009, and The Whisperers, the ninth Charlie Parker novel, in 2010.

John Connolly is based in Dublin but divides his time between his native city and the United States, where each of his novels has been set.

Visit the author’s website.

Genre
Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

Curriculum Ties
English, History

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss escapism, and aside from books, what are some examples of other modes of escape?

Discuss David’s evolution throughout the book.

Reading Level/ Interest Age
12+

Challenge Issues
N/A

Why Included?
A friend recommended this book and it sounded like something I would enjoy reading and something that would be interesting for older teens.

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

Book Info
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
©2007 Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY
ISBN 978-0618723935

Plot Summary
Nearly everyone has been “hot for teacher” at one point in their lives, and Eve Sherman was the seventh grade history teacher that all the boys had a crush on. For 12 year old Josh, it became much more than just a crush when Eve took him back to her home one day when he missed the bus and seduced him into an ongoing sexual relationship. Eventually, the cat gets out of the bag, and Eve went to jail.

This was five years ago, and now Josh is trying to pick up the pieces of his life in the aftermath of his experience with Eve. He was damaged and victimized, now suffering from violent anger and fear of relationships. He has a crush on his childhood friend, Rachel but is afraid and unsure of how a real relationship should be. So far, he has managed to cope by immersing himself in baseball and trying desperately for a scholarship, but Eve is about to be released on parole. Can he overcome his past?

Reader’s Annotation
“How to please a woman” isn’t something often found on a twelve-year-old’s list of things learned in school, but for Josh Mendel it was number ten of ten. Now seventeen, Josh is trying to put the broken pieces of his life in order, recovering from being seduced by his seventh grade history teacher so many years before.

Critical Evaluation
Boy Toy is yet another book that I learned about while doing research for my intellectual freedom paper. I had read that the author had received feedback from many librarians, praising the book and saying how well written it was, but that they just couldn’t justify stocking in their library. I interpreted this to mean that this book about a female teacher’s sexual relationship with a student tells a great story, is incredibly well written, but is perhaps a  little on the graphic side in the manner in which the controversial tale is told. Usually, when I hear something like this, my instinct is that there is even more reason to include such a book in a library’s collection. A librarian should be prepared with defenses because the things that people don’t want to talk about and that make them feel uncomfortable are exactly the stories that need to be out there being told. This book lived up to all of my expectations and I am proud that my local library has this in its collection.

Information about the Author
After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Barry Lyga worked in the comic book industry for ten years. He wrote comics for part of that time, but also was responsible for spearheading and developing Free Comic Book Day, the comics’ only industry-wide promotion. During those years, he was a spokesperson for the industry in general, quoted in countless newspaper and magazine articles, as well as appearing on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” He co-wrote a book on incorporating comic books and graphic novels into school libraries and has spoken on the topic at regional and national conferences.

In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. USA Today called it “an entertaining read no matter what age you are.” VOYA commented, “A triumphant finale leaves readers wanting to read the novel again and again.” SLJ listed the book as one of the best of 2006. His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJ, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. VOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, hit stores in Fall 2008 and, according to VOYA “proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”

Lyga lives and writes in the big city. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.

From the author’s website.

Genre
Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss the effects that Josh’s ordeal had on the rest of his teen life.

Why did Eve seduce Josh, and what do you think she got out of it?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
16+

Challenge Issues

  • Sexual explicitness
  • Foul language

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.
    • Be familiar with awards and positive feedback the book has received.

Why Included?
I was introduced to the book while doing research for a term paper on intellectual freedom. It seemed like exactly the kind of book I would want to read and include in my collection.

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

Book Info
The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson
©2006 Sleuth Viking, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0670060085

Plot Summary
In the town of Silverton, Colorado, seventeen year-old Cammie is the daughter of the town Coroner. Cammie dreams of following in his footsteps to become a forensic pathologist and all but begs him to hire her as his assistant. Cammie’s father gives in, and ends up being very impressed by her observations and contributions to her first case and let’s her continue, but the next case is a little more serious. A serial killer is at work in Silverton, known as the Christopher Killer, and the latest victim is one of Cammie’s friends. Grieving her loss, Cammie dedicates herself to finding the killer, but must be careful to ensure that she doesn’t wind up the next victim.

Reader’s Annotation
Interested in a career in forensic pathology, Cammie is excited to finally be allowed to work as assistant to her father, the town coroner. But she may be in for more than she bargained for when she has to work on the case involving one of her friends who was murdered by a conniving serial killer known as the Christopher Killer. Will she be next?

Critical Evaluation
Gripping, suspenseful, and cleverly written, The Christopher Killer is like “CSI” for young adult literature. Ferguson’s writing keeps readers on the edge of their seats, searching their memories for clues and hints that might have been dropped and overlooked on previous pages. It is an interesting departure from your typical Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew book and I hadn’t ever encountered a mystery of this kind. I was very impressed by the unique premise in comparison to other books that are popular right now. I picked it up out of curiosity, and then could not put it down until I reached the end. I found myself constantly attempting to predict what would happen next, only to be taken in a completely different and shocking direction as each clue is uncovered. Aside from being smart with her clues and twists, Ferguson is also very vivid in her detail of describing autopsy scenes and forensics for readers that would be otherwise unfamiliar.

Information about the Author
Alane Ferguson is an author who has won the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery novel in 1990 for Show Me the Evidence. Ferguson was born in Cumberland, Maryland, in 1957. Her mother is children’s author Gloria Skurzynski.

Alane is the author of many novels and mysteries, including the Edgar Award winning Show Me The Evidence. She does very intensive research for her books by attending autopsies and interviewing forensic pathologists.

Visit the author’s website.

Genre
Mystery, Forensic Mystery, Crime, Drama

Curriculum Ties
Science

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss Cammie’s relationship with her father.

Cammie must work on a case involving the death of one of her friends. In this situation, would you be able to rise above the personal involvement to work on the case professionally?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues

  • Graphic imagery
  • Murder

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.

Why Included?
I came across this book while browsing books in the young adult section of my library, and found it to be a fairly unique concept and addition to the genre of mystery. I was eager to read it and see if it lived up to my hopeful expectation.

Dramarama by E. Lockhart

Book Info
Dramarama by E. Lockhart
© 2007 Hyperion Books, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0786838158

Plot Summary
In the “razzle dazzle deprived” small town of Brenton, Ohio, Sarah was just a tall girl with a big nose who loved dancing and was obsessed with musical theater. Deep inside of Sarah is a star waiting to be born, or as she calls it, “a lurking bigness.” This star is Sadye – a diva who is full of charm, talent and charisma just waiting to be set loose on the stage! When the flyer for Wildewood Academy Summer Drama Camp auditions went up, Sarah knew this could be her ticket out of Brenton where Sadye could be fully unleashed. Sadye is admitted to Wildewood along with her gay best friend Demi – who has a heaping amount of bigness himself – and together they embark on a journey that could determine their future. But when Demi steals shows and hearts while Sadye struggles along, the strength of their friendship is also put to the test. Will Wildewood Academy set them on the path towards Broadway Stardom? Will they overcome the stress on their friendship? Or will they learn that life is not just a cabaret?

Critical Evaluation
This book was a well written, enjoyable read. The characters were realistic, and the situations that took place were very believable, all while weaving in important themes and messages. With a personal background in music and performing arts, I was able to relate to the book and found it rather enjoyable. While I didn’t get every single one, I was able to at least understand most of the references to plays, musicals and Broadway performers. That said I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself the “norm” and can definitely see how someone with little to no interest or knowledge of musical theater would struggle with this book, but would highly recommend this to big fans of the television show “Glee.” Some may also find issue with the mentions of underage drinking, and that the book also has a strong LGBT factor since the best friend of the main character is gay. People who are uncomfortable with the homosexual themes or innuendo might shy away from this book. Ultimately providing a positive LGBT message, the book illustrates the struggles of Demi as an African American, gay teen in a small town where homosexuality is largely unaccepted, and how at home he feels at drama camp where he can be himself in all his “fabulosity.” The book claims to focus on the relationship between Sarah/Sadye and Demi, and how attending the Summer Drama Camp puts their relationship in jeopardy, but I felt that much more of the focus was on the development of Sadye on her own from what she was able to learn from her fellow classmates.

Reader’s Annotation
How do you get from a small town high school to the Broadway Stage? For Demi and Sadye, Wildewood Academy Summer Drama Camp is their best bet and you can expect their summer will be chock full of drama — both on and off the stage.

Information about the Author
From the author’s website:

My books have been translated into 10 foreign languages. Or maybe more. I have a doctorate in English Literature from Columbia University and have taught composition, literature and creative writing courses at Columbia, Barnard and NYU. I have given guest lectures on writing for children at places which include Hamline University, VT College, Hofstra University and Kindling Words.

Twenty-one things you don’t know about me, even if you’ve read through this whole website:

1. I have wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old.
2. I wrote two novels in third grade.
3. I was the fastest typist in my 8th-grade typing class. We learned on manual typewriters.
4. Now I write everything on computer, sometimes with my eyes closed.
5. Favorite lipsticks: Bobbi Brown Cherry. Clinique Black Honey.
6. Movie star crush: Daniel Craig.
7. First car: a white 1964 Volvo with a push-button starter.
8. I make a lot of home movies. You can see the book-related ones here.
9. I am a vegetarian and for a number of years ate a vegan diet (no animal products whatsoever) because I object to the way animals are treated in the meat and dairy industries. I will probably go back to eating vegan again someday, but for now:
10. My favorite ice cream is Häagen Dazs dolce de leche.
11. I swam with sting-rays once.
12. I like wax museums.
13. I used to like roller coasters, but now I’m scared of them. Even so:
14. I love amusement parks. My favorite ride of all time is Pirates of the Caribbean.
15. I used to cry after my fiction writing class in college, because the criticism was so harsh.
16. The teacher of that class was so bored by my work he admitted to me he didn’t even read the final drafts of my stories.
17. I have never kept a journal for more than a couple days. I like to write for an audience, even if it’s only an imaginary one.
18. My advice to aspiring writers: read, read, read. Read the great novelists, especially. Try Great Expectations. Pride and Prejudice. Jane Eyre.
19. More (contradictory!) advice: follow your reading bliss. Gnaw your way through the local library’s sci-fi or romance collection, if that’s what does it for you.
20. I am difficult to recognize. Despite a large and unusual tattoo, people often forget they’ve met me, or tell me I look very different from the last time they saw me.
21. I used to not reveal my first name, just to be mysterious, but then I had to change my website URL.  I couldn’t have e-lockhart or elockhart because they were taken or infected by spambots; emilylockhart was the best address available, so now everyone knows.

Genre
Realistic Fiction, Chick Lit, LGBT

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Sadye’s penchant for recording her and her friends for posterity gets her in trouble when her roommate listens to the tape where Sadye is saying mean things about her. How would you feel if you happened upon something mean a friend said about you? Would you be able to forgive them?

Demi feels like he has to make himself invisible at his high school as a gay black teen in a small town. Should he not be able to be himself?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues

  • Positive LBGT themes and occasional homosexual innuendo.

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.

Why Included?
I came across this book while browsing the downloadable audiobooks available from my library. As a musical lover and musician myself, I was drawn to the concept of the book and decided to read it for inclusion it in my blog project. While I found the book to be slightly cheesy at times, I’m glad to have read it and am sure I will encounter situations to use this book as a reading suggestion.

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