Category Archives: teen lit
Hey, know a boy who should be reading more? Stumped how to lead this horse to water? Check out Guys Read, a website designed by author Jon Scieszka to encourage boys to find great books and read them. There’s a lot more than Harry Potter out there.
These books look good. I may read some.
Excruciatingly heart-breaking, Sold introduces us to Lakshimi, a Nepali girl, just thirteen when her parents, a hard-working mother and gambling step father sell her.
A National Book Award finalist, this poetic novel for teens, tells the story of a girl who’s never seen a phone, bus or TV is pulled away from everyone she knows and loves and traded like chattel for a pittance, which her stepfather is sure to soon waste. She’s taken from city to city till she reaches India and is kept in a brothel enslaved and unable to earn enough to ever pay off her debt.
The story’s power comes from its first person narration, Lakshimi’s sensitive and simple observations of all around her, the other girls, their children, Mumtaz, the woman who runs “Happy House.” This novel shows readers the fate of the nearly 12,000 Nepali girls who’re sold to Indian brothels every year.
Mitali Perkin’s Monsoon Summer tells the story of likeable Jasmine Gardner’s summer in India. Her mother was adopted as a tot from an orphanage where she gets a grant to start a clinic. Leery at first, India’s monsoon madness eventually infects even guarded Jazz as she opens her heart to her mother’s homeland and uses her business acumen to help Danita, an orphan and friend whose considering marrying a rich geezer for financial security. Throughout the summer Jazz worries about her friend/object of unrequited love, Steve who’s back in Berkeley running their business and fending off cool girls.
I enjoyed the characters especially Jazz who overcomes her own doubts and preconceptions about herself as the summer progressives. The teen novel shows a realistic encounter with a different culture and addresses issues bi-cultural people feel as they come to terms with their identity and how others relate to them. This won’t be the last of Perkin’s books for me.
Wendelin Van Draanen’s novel for teens shows two takes on the same events, which neighbors Juli and Bryce experience. As soon as Bryce moves to the neighborhood, Juli is smitten. Bryce is definitely not. At all. Instead he’s annoyed. As they move from second to eighth grade the tables are turned.
Each chapter describes one main character’s view of the same events and people carefully showing how each person has a different take on life and how incomplete views warp our responses and opinions.
The story shows the ups and downs of being a child coping with school, peers, parents and grandparents. Although I sometimes found myself doubting that the dialog was realistic, I did enjoy this perceptive novel.