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text 2017-05-27 07:08
My Personal Literary Canon: Begin at the beginning
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
Then Again, Maybe I Won't - Judy Blume
Deenie - Judy Blume
Tiger Eyes - Judy Blume
Forever... - Judy Blume
The Luckiest Girl - Beverly Cleary
Up in Seth's Room - Norma Fox Mazer

I'm going to start with the books that on the surface might strike some as the most trivial, but realistically, because of the age I was when I read them, would have had the biggest impact.

 

Hands down, the undisputed winner for most influential YA writer has to be Judy Blume.  In my previous post I mentioned I didn't come from an open family.  When speaking about my adolescence, I cannot put too fine a point on this:  my entire sex education consisted of a short movie and forgettable lecture in 5th grade that left me horrified, and the works of Judy Blume.  

 

But I got so much more out of her books too.  Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret might have enlightened me on the more embarrassing aspects of puberty, but I also learned the importance of making up your own mind about your beliefs, and that there was no right answer for everyone.  I also noted the dangers of jumping to conclusions about people you don't know; that their reality is not mine.  

 

Then Again, Maybe I Won't taught me that while change was rarely welcomed, sometimes good and unexpected things came out of it.  Deenie was my personal adolescent nightmare writ large; scoliosis terrified me; after reading Deenie it still terrified me, but I could see how someone might survive it and own it.  Tiger Eyes taught me we all carry guilt, even for the things we aren't guilty of and can't control, and while that may be the nature of things, we should never stop trying to let it go.

 

Then, of course, there's Forever...  I doubt I have to list all that I learned from this book, but the most lasting lesson was this: I'm allowed to choose for myself.  I get to make my decisions on my own terms and I'm allowed to change my mind.

 

This, in my opinion, was Judy Blume's strength.  She never preached to her readers, either directly or indirectly.  She created characters that were confronted by the things her readers confronted, and then gave her characters the rational capacity to find the answers on their own. Adults don't play Yoda in her books; the kids reach their own conclusions, and as a result they serve as examples to their readers.

 

There are other teen authors from back in the day that come to mind:  Beverly Cleary, of course, although not for her much more famous Romana series, but for The Luckiest Girl.  At 16, Shelley leaves her family to spend a year in California with a family she barely knows.  While quite a bit of the book is dated now and even a little twee, what stuck with me all these years was her bravery in getting on that plane by herself, her openness to experience new things, and her unapologetic, unabashed delight in the world around her. I admired her for that - I wanted to be like that too, and I am, mostly. I'll forever be grateful to Beverly Cleary for Shelley.

 

Finally, there's Up in Seth's Room by Norma Fox Mazer.  Like Forever this deals with the weighty issues of first love and how far do you go?  This book fascinated me because it straddled two myths:  If you defy your parents you're automatically wrong, and if you're dating someone older, you're going to be unable to say no.  Finn is 15 and falls for a 19 year old.  She defies her parents after she's forbidden to see him, but she calls the shots with Seth.  She decides what she is and isn't comfortable doing and she sticks to her guns.  As a stubborn teen, Finn spoke to me in ways nobody else ever did.

 

I give my mom (deservedly) most of the credit for the strong-willed, independent woman I am today, but it's just as accurate to say these women deserve to share the credit with her; they went where she was unwilling or unable to go, and I doubt she could find much fault with their lessons.

 

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review 2017-05-13 06:45
The Elementals
The Elementals - Francesca Lia Block

edit: After so careful thought and reading a few other reviews I decided to drop my rating. There is just too much wrong with this book, and "pretty words" can't fix it. As on review stated very well: "fucking weird". The author wrote about college like she hadn't ever set foot on a campus. You don't get bullied for wearing sweats in college. Most people wear sweats in college. And Ariel, the MC, hallucinates or dreams more than any healthy person. Any time her boyfriend comes on to her, she "goes to the otherland". Wtf does that even mean? I enjoyed reading this book, but I hated every character. I had no sympathy for any of them. The final climactic scene was a mess that was impossible to follow. And there was an epilogue like something out of a weird fairy tale. I quit. 

 

update:

I'm too tired and in pain for a full review. Let's just break this down to the basics. The writing style was very pretty and fleshed out. But it had a few errors, like using the same word as both an adverb and adjective in the same sentence. That just makes things sound redundant. 

 

The story itself was...uh....weird. It was trying so hard to be deep, and it ended up being whacked out, like it was written by someone on LSD. The main character spent 200 pages crying and starving herself and wandering the streets looking for her missing friend. When she isn't weeping like a maniac, she's being a horrible human being to all around her or just being a total shut in that's never seen the outside world. The description of college life seemed more like high school, with the way the guys bully and torture the MC. Stuff happens that goes unexplained, a lot of her behavior is never addressed,  and even on the last page of the book, you are left feeling like maybe MC was high the whole time and the whole damn book was just a bad trip. Getting naked in a rose garden at night? Rolling in mud for strangers? Dancing on the beach with a bunch of strangers dressed as faeries? I really have no clue what I just read.

 

The mystery I had figured out by page 50. Not much of a mystery. All in all, fucking bizarre. But 3 stars because it was written so pretty. 

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review 2017-05-11 20:30
I'm really liking this author
Highland Song (The Highland Brides) (Volume 5) - Tanya Anne Crosby

I'd read one Crosby before, the first o this series actually, and I remembered it as one of those rare romances that have alpha males that I did not hate, very sweet, a bit sad, and with some awesome bits of humor.

 

This was hilarious. Short, fast, and by a third in I couldn't stop laughing. Because of Cat's self-assurance and free approach to sex mostly, like this bit of her thinking:

 

He had been such a grouse at first but now his mood had lightened considerably. No longer did he brood, and she concluded that he must have needed to appease his willy. It made sense to her. A man could simply not go his entire life without a little love—and he had, she was certain because he’d had that pinched look about him of a man whose bollocks were petrified from lack of use.

 

Or Piers insistence on complimenting the roof. Or... well, you get the drift.

 

I had fun, and I'm glad. I was looking for something to clean my palate from The Sun Also Rises cynicism (I'm starting to feel stuck), and this was perfect.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-09 14:50
Maybe Not
Maybe not: Roman - Colleen Hoover,Kattrin Stier

Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 144 Seiten
  • Verlag: dtv Verlagsgesellschaft (7. April 2017)
  • Sprache: Deutsch
  • ISBN-10: 3423717254
  • ISBN-13: 978-3423717250
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 16 Jahren
  • Originaltitel: Maybe not

 

Roman

 

Jetzt auch als Taschenbuch

 
 

Ein Mädchen als Mitbewohnerin in der WG? Nichts lieber als das, denkt Warren. Vor allem, wenn besagte Mitbewohnerin so überaus attraktiv und sexy ist wie Bridgette.

 

Doch Warren gegenüber verhält sich Bridgette kaltschnäuzig und abweisend. Offensichtlich hasst sie ihn aufs Blut … oder doch nicht? Was, wenn die Leidenschaft, mit der sie ihn verabscheut, eine ganz andere Leidenschaft verbirgt? Genau die plant Warren aus ihr herauszukitzeln. Ein gefährliches Spiel beginnt, bei dem Warren Gefahr läuft, sein Herz zu verlieren …

 

Meine Meinung:

Ich habe ja vor einiger Zeit Maybe Someday der Autorin gelesen und war daher sehr auf diese Zusatzgeschichte gespannt. Freundlicherweise wurde mir das Buch vom dtv Verlag zu Rezensionszwecken zur Verfügung gestellt. 

 

Der Schreibstil von Colleen Hoover war natürlich wieder total toll und das Buch sehr flüssig zu lesen. Da es ja auch nur eine kurze Geschichte ist, was ich natürlich schnell damit durch. 

 

Hier ging es um Warren, der in der WG mit Ridge (Hauptprotagonist aus Maybe Someday) wohnt. Dann lässt Ridge Bridgette in die WG einziehen und Warrens Gefühlsleben gerät durcheinander. Mehr möchte ich da jetzt gar nicht verraten. 

 

Die Charaktere Warren und Bridgette haben mir sehr gut gefallen, es hat Spaß gemacht, ihre Geschichte zu erfahren. Vor allem Warren fand ich sehr humorvoll und liebenswert.

 

Alles in allem hat mir diese Kurzgeschichte sehr gut gefallen. Was Kurzgeschichten ja leider an sich haben, sie sind einfach etwas kurz gehalten. Es hat mich aber gut unterhalten und ich gebe dem Buch sehr gute 4,5 Sterne. 

 
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review 2017-05-02 00:00
Maybe This Love
Maybe This Love - Jennifer Snow For a person who doesn't normally gravitate towards sports, I seem to keep falling in love with stories about them. There are only a handful of authors able to get me to fall hard and Jennifer Snow is one of them. She puts the heart into a heartless sport with Maybe This Love and brightens up a male dominated world with a bit of girl power. Olivia and Ben are classic romantic comedy with a modern day twist.
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