P is for Persevere

P is for Persevere.

It’s day 16 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter P Day for my theme

Novels for Young Adults.

You’ve no doubt noticed that in most young adult literature (as well as most literature of any kind) the main character faces obstacles–usually both external and internal. A teen’s job is to figure out ways to overcome the obstacles of life. By following along with characters facing terrible odds, young people learn strategies to cope with these struggles. Teens observe characters who persevere.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Charlie is a wallflower, one who observes, one who stands apart. But along the way Charlie searches for a place for himself on the edges of high school society. At first, it appears it is only Charlie’s differentness (probably not a word, but difference just didn’t cut it) that keeps him apart. Later, the reader will see that Charlie fights a battle inside himself–a dark secret from his past. When Charlie manages to persevere despite the odds and the heartbreak, his victory is that much sweeter. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is also an excellent movie. In fact, I watched the movie before reading the book.

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride is a delightful book and movie (one of those instances in which I liked the movie more) about two would-be lovers, Buttercup and Westley, who persevere through terrible odds (including a death that may or may not be final). The Princess Bride contains elements of whimsy with a giant who rhymes and an out-of-work swordsman searching for a man with six fingers. An excellent movie for the younger set, and for the older young adults, a first look at meta-fiction (the narrator embeds a literary sleight of hand in one S. Morgenstern).

Who is your favorite character who never gives up? Do you prefer the book of the movie of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Princess Bride?

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.

O is for Orphan

O is for Orphan

It’s day 15 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter O Day for my theme

Young Adult Novels and Novels with Young Adult Narrators.

Have you ever noticed how many young adult novels feature an orphan as the main character? That’s something I’ve thought about for some time. A docent at the Mountain View cemetery in Oakland once told me that the orphan is a symbol of rebirth. (She also told me the pelican is a symbol of rebirth, something to do with the way it feeds its young; I’m still trying to digest that one.)

Orphans are on their own and must re-invent themselves…hence the idea of rebirth. For today’s selection we have two classic young adult novels brought to you by the letter O.

Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Forced into poverty, young Oliver finds himself the prey of an evil master thief who coerces Oliver into servitude and near starvation. This is a wonderful tale of good triumphing over evil with some anti-workhouse morality thrown in. The language and sentence structure of Dickens can be pretty challenging for young readers, so a good alternative is to watch the movie or see the play.

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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Ponyboy is luckier than Oliver Twist in that, though an orphan, he has a family that cares for him. But Ponyboy is caught between two worlds. He feels allegiance to the working class world into which he was born, but is drawn to the intellectual pursuits of the upper class in his community. As part of Ponyboy’s rebirth, he must create a place to exist between these two worlds that too often clash with violent results.

What is your favorite young adult novel featuring an orphan? Have you read either of these?

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.

N is for Never

N is for Never

It’s day 14 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter N Day for my theme

Young Adult Novels and Novels with Young Adult Narrators.

N is for Never.

There’s something about the word never that conjures magical feelings. Maybe it’s growing up devouring the magic of Never Never Land from 19th century writer J.M. Barrie in his memorable work Peter Pan. Other writers no doubt felt the same inspiration and even included the word in their titles. Here are two:

The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

What I love about this story is that it touches on the pain of bullying. Chased by bullies, the narrator Bastian darts into a dusty bookstore and happens upon a book called The Neverending Story. Soon he finds himself not only immersed in the story but also a part of it. As Bastian encounters the dangers in the magical land of Fantastica, he begins to see his own strength and value–qualities he can take back with him into his reality. The book is fairly long, so if you don’t have time to read it, the movie The Neverending Story is absolutely beautiful and well worth viewing.

Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Never mind that this is not a young adult novel. It is a novel older young adults will enjoy reading. In fact, one of my students listed Neverwhere on his college personal statement as his favorite book, and another student used a quote from Neverwhere in her personal statement. I was so tickled that I had introduced this novel to both of them! Neverwhere would make it onto my own list of ten favorite books. Neverwhere contains magic, humor, pathos, romance, literary allusions. Everything that makes a work of fiction memorable, Neverwhere has.

What memories do you have of stepping into the land of never? What is your favorite magical book?

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.

M is for Momentous

M is for Momentous

It’s day 13 of

the A to Z Challenge!

Otherwise known as the letter M Day for my theme

Young Adult Novels and Novels with Young Adult Narrators.

Momentous.

My big, fat dictionary defines momentous as “of utmost importance’ and “having grave consequences.”

There is nothing more momentous in our everyday lives than losing a loved one, especially when that loved one dies before her time. Both of today’s young adult novels explore the momentous effects of losing a teen sister.

Minty

Minty by Christine Banach

I first came across Minty when I was searching for a twin book, which was one of the categories for the Book Challenge by Erin that I participate in. Minty and Jess are twins with matching dogs. As the book opens, Minty dies trying to save her dog from drowning, and Jess must learn to cope without her. The process is made more difficult when Minty re-enters her life as a ghost. (Yes, another ghost book! Who would have guessed?) I’ve never been a twin, but I cannot imagine a death more devastating than that of a young twin.

The Moment Before

The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello

Not twins, but Brady and Sabine are less than a year apart in age. They couldn’t be more different in personality. Brady is artsy and introspective while Sabine was wild and extroverted. When Sabine dies in a cheerleading accident, Brady’s life seems to crumble around her. In the wake of this momentous event, Brady finds herself re-examining relationships and discovering betrayals she was previously blind to before she can rebuild her life without her sister.

What is the most momentous book you’ve read–either containing a momentous event or having a momentous effect on you?

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.