Tag: YA Literature

Mar 13

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 15

Howdy Bookworms!

It has been a BUSY couple of weeks, let me tell you what. First of all, I want to thank everyone so so so much for all your incredibly supportive and sweet comments regarding the impending arrival of Babysaurus Bookworm. I’ve been overwhelmed in the best possible way with all the love and spoiling this little dude has already received. Last weekend I visited with some of my favorite BEA Bookworms (Stacey and Julz wrote adorable recaps) and I visited one of my ride or die BFFs who made me the world’s best guacamole. Seriously, Chrissy. I’m still daydreaming about that guac. I’d love to write a sonnet to that guacamole, and one day I might, but in the meantime, I thought I should probably attempt to make a dent in the giant pile of books I’ve read that I haven’t yet told you about. So let’s start with a fun one, shall we? It’s Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy!

Willowdean Dixon lives in a tiny town in Texas where the biggest event of the year is a beauty pageant for teenage girls. Will (or “Dumplin'” if you’re her former beauty queen mother) has always been comfortable in her own skin, but she has also always known that her body type does not fit society’s standards of beauty. It’s not until she begins dating a super handsome jock that she begins to feel truly insecure about her size. But Will won’t go down so easily. Not with her best friend by her side, a dash of moxie, and an abiding love of Dolly Parton.

I loooove a book with a heroine with some meat on her bones, y’all. There are oodles of YA books out there full of impossibly beautiful teenage girls. Granted, they normally don’t realize they’re impossibly beautiful until a boy comes along, but I love the idea of a main character who couldn’t be played by a typical Hollywood glam girl in the movie version, you know? Because as much as I love me some cheesy 90s teen movies, glasses and a ponytail don’t actually make a gorgeous actress look awkward. Just one of the reasons I loved Dumplin’. Some of the other reasons are a bit more personal…

Did I ever tell y’all about the time I was in a pageant? Sorry, “scholarship program.” Yes, they used the same line that’s used in Miss Congeniality. My teenage self was a study in contradictions, because while I was busy wearing really huge pants and listening to the angstiest grunge the late 90s had to offer, I was also still very involved in dance classes and, to a lesser extent, high school theater. Which is why, for reasons twisty and confusing, I decided to compete in said “scholarship program.” This book brought SO MUCH of that back. So much. Whew. (In case you’re wondering, I did not win that pageant, I came in first runner up, which legitimately did net me enough scholarship money to pay for my first semester’s books in college. Also, the thought of my talent routine makes me cringe to this very day. It involved pig tails and tap shoes and Bjork. Because of course it did.)

Moral of the story? Read Dumplin’. And please, if you have an embarrassing high school story, share it. Because pig tails and tap shoes, you guys.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Apr 30

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Audio Books, Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 23

Good Day Bookworms,

It’s always a good day when you’ve got an audio book to hand, I think. I don’t typically read/listen to a whole lot of YA literature, but several years ago I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and it was intense and amazing and fabulous. When I saw that another of her books was on sale via Audible, I snatched it up. Good books, good deals: my vices are few but powerful. And thus, I embarked on my listening journey with The Impossible Knife of Memory.

impossibleknifeOoooh you guys. Laurie Halse Anderson doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff, no siree. The Impossible Knife of Memory tells Hayley Kincain’s story. She’s a teenage girl living alone with her father, an Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD. They’ve been on the road the last few years, trucking and home schooling, when Andy (AKA Dad) decides they ought to settle down in his hometown so that Hayley can have a more “normal” life.

Hayley’s transition into “normal” isn’t without some bumps in the road, though she does meet a hottie named Finn who has his own bag o’ secrets. Because, you know. It’s not enough to be a teenager and deal with hormones and school and boys. Dealing with the fallout from major psychological trauma on top of all that? It’s enough to make me want to jump through the pages and give the girl a hug!

Thank heaven for Laurie Halse Anderson. I mean, YA literature needs voices that tackle life’s difficult issues. It’s not that I don’t love me some YA dystopian novels, but someone’s got to talk about REAL things. Katniss rocks, but realistically? Nobody’s putting kids in an arena and making them fight to the death. However, there are a lot of REAL veterans out there that are REALLY struggling and a lot of them have REAL families. A book like this can do actual good. Teens going through similar challenges will read it and feel less alone. Teens who aren’t will gain some empathy. Plus, teens reading books? Yep. That right there is a win-win-win situation.

Talk to me Bookworms. Are any of you big into the YA scene? Are there more authors who take on these types of topics, or shall I simply crown Laurie Halse Anderson the queen of awesome? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Mar 24

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Young Adult Fiction 27

Greetings, Bookworms!

I turned 31 this weekend. The fact does not thrill me. In order to combat the “I’m getting old” blues, I thought it would be a good time to write about some YA fiction I read recently. My body may be aging but my mind can remain immature indefinitely, right? I ADORED The Fault in Our Stars (my review), but when I went on to read An Abundance of Katherines (my review) I got all cranky and decided to take a break from John Green. Now that a reasonable amount of time has passed, I thought it would be safe to give Green another shot and read Looking for Alaska.

lookingforalaskaMiles is a typical tall, lanky, invisible teenage boy living in Florida. Because his social prospects are so grim, he decides to pursue attending boarding school at his father’s alma mater in Alabama for the remainder of his high school career.

Shortly after his arrival on campus, Miles discovers what he’s been missing. He is quickly dubbed “Pudge” (ironically of course) by his roommate “The Colonel,” and accepted into his crew of misfits. Cigarettes, booze, and the quintessential “manic pixie girl” give Pudge the high school experience he never would have had at home.

Alaska Young is beautiful, smart, and fascinating. She is also moody, mysterious, and self destructive. OBVIOUSLY Miles falls head over heels for her. He’s drawn deeply into her world… And then? Nothing is ever the same.

You know what, Bookworms? I really liked this book. Part teen angst, part cautionary tale,  Looking for Alaska satisfied my hankering for some Young Adult drama. Were there occasions when my old-ness resulted in rolling my eyes at the kids in this book? Definitely. Did it feel even remotely like MY high school experience? No. Although… That’s probably not the worst thing, because, well, there was a lot in this book that I’m glad I didn’t have to live through. In any case, I definitely give Looking for Alaska the green light for the next time you’re looking for a YA fix.

So tell me, Bookworms. Do you feel your age? Sometimes I feel like an old soul, and other times I’m pretty sure I’m still about 14. Anybody else got that age confusion thing going on?

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