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.

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.

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.

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.

The Fight (Drama High #1) by L. Divine

Book Info
Drama High #1: The Fight by L. Divine
©2006 Dafina, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0758216335

Plot Summary
Jayd Jackson is a sixteen-year-old, proud resident of the stereotypically gang affiliated and drive-by shooting ridden Compton, CA. Jayd and about 30 other black teens from her neighborhood are bussed into LA every day to the predominantly white and wealthy South Bay High, aka Drama High. Jayd was dating basketball hottie, KJ, until he dumped her because she refused to give it up to him. With higher hopes of scoring, KJ started dating Trecee, resulting in a situation to make Drama High live up to its name. Motivated by Jayd’s former best friend Misty, Trecee challenges Jayd to a fight in order to prove that KJ is out of bounds. Jayd certainly isn’t looking for a fight and could do without the drama, and now she will discover who’s got her back and finds comfort in some unlikely places, specifically her nice classmate, Jeremy.

Critical Evaluation
Urban lit is a genre that is growing in popularity. I personally want to be able to enjoy and appreciate all genres, and while I can appreciate urban lit as a genre, understand its appeal and the role it plays at getting certain demographics to read, I have a hard time actually enjoying it from the books I have encountered thus far. I hoped The Fight would shine some new light on this genre for me, but as I read the book, I found myself unable to take it at all seriously and it seemed more like a literary version of cheesy and overly dramatic reality television similar to “Jersey Shore.” The series is called “Drama High,” and there is absolutely no shortage of drama. In fact, I found the drama to be exaggerated and overdone. I can see how it might appeal to a teen, but as an adult reading this book, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. I also tend to be very aware of blatant repetition and found myself distracted and annoyed by the author’s repeated use of the euphemism “give up the cookies” for having sex. It was admirable and moral for Jayd to be strong willed against sexual pressure before she is ready, but the slang made it feel kitschy and laughable.

Reader’s Annotation
As one of 30 black students bussed in to a predominantly white and wealthy high school, it’s no surprise that Jayd’s life is full of drama, and it gets even more so when basketball hottie, KJ, dumps her because she won’t give it up. KJ’s new girlfriend decides to challenge Jayd to a fight, to rightfully defend what’s now hers, but Jayd just wants things to be calm and drama-free. Can Jayd escape the drama of Drama High?

Information about the Author
In April of 2001, L. Divine began work on her series of books for young adults appropriately titled “Drama High.”  As a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, L. Divine noticed a rapid decline of literacy among youth.  Her motivation for writing for teenagers was to create material that would simply inspire them to read for pleasure.

When not writing, L. Divine guest lectures and holds workshops for writers and young adults. She is also involved in community activities and serves as a writing expert on various panels. L. Divine served as a Visiting Scholar in the Center for the Study of Women at UCLA and continues to be an active member of academia, researching issues in African Diaspora and Women’s Studies.

L. Divine was raised in Compton, California and has lived all over Los Angeles, as well as in Jamaica, West Indies. She now resides in Atlanta with her young daughter and son.

Visit the author’s website.

Genre
Urban Lit, Chick Lit, Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties
Sociology

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss the impacts of sexual and peer pressure.

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues
N/A

Why Included?
I included this book to add variety to my selection and also to take another shot at the genre urban lit. This series was something I often had to order when I worked as a book buyer for a company that served public and school libraries nationwide.

Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi

Book Info
Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi
©2008 Dutton Children’s Books, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0525479956

Plot Summary
In the wake of her parents’ divorce, Maddy finds herself in a new town and a new school. All hopes of a fresh start are quickly thrown out the window when an unfortunate accident on the first day of school lands her the nickname “freak girl.” In the city, she had a tight group of friends, but now she has no one and feels like she’s destined to stay that way forever. She finds herself retreating into her drawing – manga art – until she receives the new online role playing game Fields of Fantasy. Here, Maddy can escape the horrors of her real life and finally be herself. She immerses herself into her character Allora who is not only powerful, strong and brave, but a beautiful Elfin princess as well. Through Allora, Maddy even manages to find virtual love when she meets fellow gamer and valiant champion, Sir Leo. Unfortunately everyone knows you can’t escape reality forever, and Maddy must eventually face the Haters. Can she use the confidence and strength she has developed in the game to overcome her problems in real life?

Reader’s Annotation
Video games can serve as magical escapes, and for Maddy who is recovering from her parents’ divorce and struggling in a new town, Fields of Fantasy is just that. Unfortunately, she can’t avoid her problems forever, but can she use the skills she has acquired in the game to help her combat her real life problems?

Critical Evaluation
The world of online gaming is largely male dominated, so as a female and former PC gamer I was really excited by the premise and female gamer point of view of this book. While I ultimately enjoyed the book, I was mostly unimpressed in its execution. On the plus side, I was able to relate to it pretty well, it was an easy read and the writing was well done. I enjoyed the rotation between the excerpts from the in-game chat and the first person narrated story. I found the dialog to be incredibly realistic. Mancusi really captured how gamers talk which made me feel nostalgic, but for someone not familiar with gamer-speak, it might seem slightly confusing or weird. My major complaint about the book is that the story felt very cliché which left me feeling slightly disappointed.

Information about the Author
Mari Mancusi used to wish she could become a vampire back in high school, but she ended up in another blood sucking profession –journalism — instead. Today she works as a freelance TV producer and author of books for teens and adults.

When not writing about creatures of the night, Mari enjoys traveling, cooking, goth clubbing, watching cheesy horror movies, and her favorite guilty pleasure–videogames. A graduate of Boston University and a two time Emmy Award winner, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob and their dogs Mesquite and Bowie.

Visit the author’s website.

Genre
Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Nerd Lit

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss the similarities and differences between online friends/relationships and those in real life. Can you really be friends with someone you’ve never met?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
12+

Challenge Issues

  • Occasional 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.

Why Included?
I read Cory Doctorow’s For the Win and despite including female gaming characters, seemed mostly geared towards a male audience. I came across this book and was eager to see how gaming was portrayed from a female point of view.

Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum

Book Info
Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum
© 2010 WestSide Books, Lodi, NJ
ISBN 978-1934813416

Plot Summary
After coping with years of sexual abuse at the hand of her step-father while her mother turned a blind eye, 15 year old Ashley Asher is finally in a stable home. Though shame kept him away since Ashley’s birth, her father, along with his wife Bev, have rescued her and are both dedicated to helping Ashley rebuild her life in her new home of Patience, Texas. With the help of her new family and exceptional therapist, Ashley struggles to grow and overcome the post-traumatic stress disorder that plagues her and causes her to spend many sleepless nights hiding in her closet, and even cut herself. Follow Ashley along her road to recovery as she learns to come to terms with her past and to love herself and find her own value as a person, but that road never comes without a few bumps. Will Ashley be strong enough to overcome?

Reader’s Annotation
At 15, Ashley Asher is finally free from a childhood of sexual abuse, but the mental and emotional scars remain. Follow her in Hope in Patience as she journeys down the rocky road to recovery.

Critical Evaluation
I found this to be a very moving and emotional story. When discussing the book in class, some criticized the writing, but knowing that Beth is writing from the heart and personal experience, I really didn’t notice or mind anything less than stellar in her writing ability. I have no personal experience with abuse or PTSD, though I do have friends that have attempted suicide or were cutters, so it was very interesting to take a peek into the mind of someone who has been through something traumatic. Such a book is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to better empathize with someone in their life who has gone through a similar situation.

Information about the Author
Beth was born in Dallas, Texas, and has one brother, who is a police detective. She and her husband were high school sweethearts, and married young. Together they have three daughters: the oldest is getting her doctorate in Sociology; the middle daughter is headed West soon to start her MFA in Publishing and/or Creative Writing, and the youngest child is studying to be a neonatal nurse.

Beth is still a teacher, currently teaching 5th grade students in a bilingual education program in East Texas. She is fortunate to love both of her jobs, as teacher and author! She loves being surrounded by the birds and wildlife that live in the woods where she lives. She has a flower garden and enjoys to edit and revise while sitting on her porch swing and watching the hummingbirds swarm to the feeders.

From the author’s website.

Genre
Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties
Psychology, English – Literature references

Booktalking Ideas
Ashley’s past may have been a troubled book, but the book seems to have an overall positive message. What do you feel are the overlying themes of the book?

Coach Griffin had a grudge against Bev, claiming that she took his son away from him. Do you think T.W.’s actions and behavior were her fault?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues

  • Sexual abuse.
  • Self mutilation.
  • LGBT acceptance.

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.
    • While these are heavy issues, many teens are victim to these kind of experiences, and such a book can be a great tool for coping, or empathizing with a peer who is troubled.

Why Included?
Hope in Patience is included because it was assigned reading for my Libr-265 class. It is not the type of book I would typically pick up so I am glad I was exposed to it, and feel like I have grown from reading it.

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