V is for Vicissitudes

V is for Vicissitudes.

So, this will be brief. I’ve been at jury duty all day.

This will also be brief because there are very few novel titles, let alone young adult novel titles, that begin with the letter V. I found one:

The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

 

I’ll admit I haven’t read this though I have read another of this author’s works–Middlesex, which I found quite interesting. True confessions: I’m a little creeped out by the concept of The Virgin Suicides–five daughters of one house all commit suicide within the span of one year. Some have said this novel is darkly comic. Another critic compared The Virgin Suicides to Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” as a sort of modern Gothic in which “a family decays from the inside out.” This particular reviewer recommended this novel to any lover of great literature.

There you have it. Whether you want your teen to read this novel is a matter for discussion. It would depend on that teen’s personality and mental makeup.

Have you read The Virgin Suicides? Then tell me, how can this novel be comic?

In case you’re dropping in for the first time, you’ve just entered the A to Z Challenge. Bloggers from all over the world write 26 posts in the month of April, one blog for each letter of the alphabet, six days a week with Sundays off. Anyone who blogs or likes to read blogs can join in. Click here to get started! And be sure to visit other participating blogs and leave comments.

 

U is for Untamed

U is for Untamed

It’s day 21 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter U Day for my theme

Novels for Young Adults.

Sometimes teens just want to have fun and thrills. Just let their hair down and turn wild and untamed, if only vicariously through literature. Today’s two selections–one classic and one contemporary–offer untamed possibilities.

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Undercover Cat by Gordon and Mildred Gordon

(Not a typo. The first author’s name really is Gordon Gordon.) If you’re hankering to take a trip back in time, visit this 1963 classic about an untamed, naughty cat who inadvertently stumbles into a jewel theft ring. A kidnapped woman manages to send a message on the cat’s collar, which alerts his owner and prompts the search. This novel was later made into a very popular movie called That Darn Cat starring Hayley Mills.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Many readers call this novel a roller coaster thriller. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer features Mara who wakes up one morning in a hospital with no memory of how she got there or of the accident that killed her friends. Apparently, this novel plays with the notion of extra-human possibilities; readers can decide for themselves if untamed supernatural forces are at work in this thriller.

Do you have a favorite untamed character?

In case you’re dropping in for the first time, you’ve just entered the A to Z Challenge. Bloggers from all over the world write 26 posts in the month of April, one blog for each letter of the alphabet, six days a week with Sundays off. Anyone who blogs or likes to read blogs can join in. Click here to get started! And be sure to visit other participating blogs and leave comments.

 

T is for Tested

T is for Tested

It’s day 20 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter T Day for my theme

Novels for Young Adults.

A key aspect of moving from child to adult is to face adversity, and, hopefully, learn from it. Sometimes if we’re lucky, we can face adversity and grow stronger through characters. Growing up can be a lot less painful if characters do some of it for us. I can’t think of a good young adult novel in which the young narrator is not tested. The two novels today feature two main characters who are severely tested.

This is How I Find Her

This Is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky

Teenage Sophie is the caretaker of her mentally ill mother, a fact she must keep secret or the two will be separated. Every day when she rushes home from school, Sophie cooks and cleans and cares for her mother, but one day, Sophie returns to find her mother nearly dead from a suicide attempt. With her mother hospitalized, Sophie can no longer maintain her secret life and must move in with an aunt she has never known. Sophie has been tested all her life, but now that she is no longer in charge, she faces new challenges of family and school life.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Most readers are familiar with this classic of American literature. The young narrator Scout is tested in many ways. She must learn painful truths in a 1920’s Southern community divided by race and class. Her resolve not to “act like a girl” (as brother Jem taunts her) is also tested in a society that tries to push her into rigid gender roles. And as young as she is, she must confront nothing less than the forces of good and evil. Though not a young adult novel, this Pulitzer winner is a fine introduction to courage that young people have benefited from for generations.

Who is your favorite tested character? What type of test did this character confront?

In case you’re dropping in for the first time, you’ve just entered the A to Z Challenge. Bloggers from all over the world write 26 posts in the month of April, one blog for each letter of the alphabet, six days a week with Sundays off. Anyone who blogs or likes to read blogs can join in. Click here to get started! And be sure to visit other participating blogs and leave comments.

S is for Special Interest

S is for Special Interest

It’s day 19 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter S Day for my theme

Novels for Young Adults.

Sometimes teens and other readers can pick up interesting information as they follow along with characters. For instance, I learned about making honey from the coming-of-age novel The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I love acquiring new knowledge from characters, and many teens do, too.

Something like Normal

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

In Something Like Normal, it is not the main character with the special interest, but his old friend Harper Gray. Her special interest is newborn turtles. She camps out on the beach when turtle eggs are hatching to guide the babies using her flashlight into the safety of the sea. A problem baby turtles face in our modern world is light pollution. They are programmed to follow the light of the moon to the sea, but because of seaside hotels and apartment buildings, the babies become confused and are vulnerable to predators. You never know when a character’s special interest will help you. One of the knowledge tidbits I gleaned from Something Like Normal is what baby turtles are called. This helped me win a game at my daughter’s baby shower. The test involved providing the names of various baby animals. By the way, baby turtles (in case you ever have to take a similar test) are called hatchlings.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Like Room, which we discussed yesterday, Special Topics in Calamity Physics is one of those love-it-or-hate-it books. I happen to be a fan, and one of the reasons I’m a fan is the special interest of the main character whose name is Blue. Blue loves research and learning stuff, some of it esoteric, but a lot of it centers around literature. If you’re a lit fan, you’ll find lots of allusions to books you’ve read and heard about. I love when this happens. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is another one of those must-read novels for lit loving title-droppers.

How about you? What special interest of a character do you find fascinating?

In case you’re dropping in for the first time, you’ve just entered the A to Z Challenge. Bloggers from all over the world write 26 posts in the month of April, one blog for each letter of the alphabet, six days a week with Sundays off. Anyone who blogs or likes to read blogs can join in. Click here to get started! And be sure to visit other participating blogs and leave comments.