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.

R is for Resilient

R is for Resilient

It’s day 18 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter R Day for my theme

Novels for Young Adults.

Young adult readers can observe resilience in action when protagonists battle and overcome physical or social obstacles. These observations can be called up later when teens face similar problems in their own lives.

Room

Room by Emma Donaghue

Room is an Alex Award winner. The American Library Association confers Alex Awards on books written for adults that young people would enjoy. High school teachers sometimes assign students to find an Alex Award book to read and review. If you’re interested in learning more about Alex Awards, click hereRoom is narrated by a five-year-old boy whose mother was kidnapped seven years ago and kept in captivity in one small room. This one small room is the only world Jack has ever known. As the book opens, tension between Jack’s mother and the kidnapper is increasing. Fortunately, living in Room with a wise mother has taught Jack to be resilient for the arduous task ahead. This is one of those books people either seem to love or hate. Lots of 5 star and 1 star reviews. I became a fan of Room and often give this book to students to examine voice and point of view.

 

Ruined (Ruined, #1)

Ruined by Paula Morris

A ghost story! Yay! I consider myself a connoisseur of ghost novels. Rebecca feels abandoned by her dad with whom she has lived in New York City when he takes her to live with an “aunt” in New Orleans (who is not an aunt) for a year. New Orleans society does not embrace Rebecca, so she often walks alone in a cemetery near her new house. There she meets the ghost Lisette who is eager to befriend her but who has a deadly request. Rebecca must nurture her resilient nature to navigate the snobby school scene and the demands of her only true friend. Young adults who enjoy ghost lit will learn about the history of New Orleans and its diverse population as well as its history of racial division.

Who is your favorite resilient character? Have you ever taken a lesson from a novel you’ve read?

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.

 

Q is for Quick-witted

Q is for Quick-witted

It’s day 17 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter Q Day for my theme

Young Adult Novels and Novels with Young Adult Narrators.

Yesterday in the P is for Perseverance post, we discussed the challenging ordeals teen narrators face down. One way teens face down these obstacles is by using their brains to outwit circumstances. Today’s selections showcase two such young narrators.

Q & A

Q & A by Vikas Swarup

You’re probably more familiar with the title Slumdog Millionaire for this novel of a young man accused of cheating after correctly guessing all 12 questions on India’s quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? Ram Mohammad Thomas must demonstrate his quick-witted nature both in answering the quiz show questions and in convincing the police that he did not cheat. Though this book was not written specifically for the young adult market, it will appeal to mature young adult readers. I’ve been assured that the novel is less graphic than the movie. Reviewers are mixed about whether they prefer the book to the movie. After the spectacular reception of the movie, the title of the novel was changed to match.

Queen's Own Fool (Stuart Quartet, #1)

Queen’s Own Fool by Jane Yolen

Queen Mary buys the orphan Nicola to serve as her fool. Young Nicola is not only the jester of Mary, Queen of Scots, but she also becomes the queen’s friend and confidante. When palace intrigue and betrayals plague Mary, the quick-witted Nicola is there to offer advice and honesty. Jane Yolen is an eminent author and researcher who has written award winning books for young people.

Have you seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire and/or read the book? If both, which did you prefer? Who is your favorite quick-witted 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.