April 29, 2008

spring kidlit spree

Friday April 25 to Friday May 2 has been declared YA Fiction Week. By me.

Kicked off on Friday with No Talking, followed by Oggie Cooder (effectively, a comic book in words about a "talented" misfit's harebrained brush with fame) on Sunday. Yesterday I read Minerva Clark Goes to the Dogs, whose protagonist - struggling with a diamond mystery, an electronics class forced on her by a well-meaning brother acting in loco parentis, and a doofus boy who won't call her from his family trip to Montana - has a voice reminiscent of Sharon Creech's Mary Lou Finney. Today it'll be The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis (check out his very cool page), or Deep Down Popular by Phoebe Stone. Depends if I'm in the mood for global tragedy or middle school tragedy.

Update: Don't judge 'Tween Lit by its cover. Deep Down Popular it is, and at page 58 I am already pleasantly surprised. I was all set to snicker right through it - the cover and title suggest a "Hills"-esque view of the shallow life on the middle school fast track - but it is set in the (fictional) town of West Taluka Falls, Virginia, not LA, and it explores (in unexpected ways) themes of family and friendship. It also features a twist on the ever-elusive creature so many fifth-graders seek: popularity. So far the week's protagonists (with the exception of Clements' Dave Packer) are all archetypal misfits of one kind or another, although Minerva (what with her electroshock-induced confidence) is less inclined to care what the Popular kids think of her and Oggie is simply oblivious to Donnica's nastiness. Jessie Lou, a "sorry Southern tomboy," is so far the closest to my heart.

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