All tagged Lindsey Leavitt
This week, Middle Grade and YA author Lisa Schroeder* made couple of great observations on Twitter about the importance of books that bridge the gap between younger readers and the upper young adult books that have a high crossover appeal to adults.
Adult crossover appeal is huge in the YA market at the moment (though I question this on some level, since the numbers aren't as huge as we're lead to believe), so it makes sense that these are the books that get attention, especially in the online reviewing world. But Lisa's comment got me thinking about that space in 7th, 8th, 9th grade where there's definitely a gap in terms of attention to the appeal of that audience in online reviews. So, I thought it would be useful to put together a list. (Please add your recommendations in the comments, if you're so inclined.)
And thanks to Lisa for helping with some suggestions!
Clearly, I had a much better reading month than my CEFS compatriots, with a number of books I quite enjoyed.
By far, my most surprising read was Zac & Mia, which is one of those review copies that I downloaded on impulse because the folks at Harper Collins have me auto-approved for their books. Little did I know that it had won the Text Prize in Australia a couple of years ago, because that would've been my first clue that it was a good one. It's getting a lot of comparisons to The Fault in Our Stars, but I'm not sure that's an apt one, though the subject matter is similar. If I were to compare it stylistically to a "cancer book," I'd probably say it's more similar to The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder, but that's not that best comparison either. It's actually just unique, with a distinctive voice and style.
There were so many intriguing/interesting/irritating things on the internet this weekend, guys--It's hard to pick just a few!
This is a Post About Literary Rape (Maggie Stiefvater)
What I want is for there to be less gratuitous literary rape.
I’m not talking about books like Speak. I’m talking about novels where the rape scene could just as easily be any other sort of violent scene and it only becomes about sex because there’s a woman involved. If the genders were swapped, a rape scene wouldn’t have happened. The author would’ve come up with a different sort of scenario/ backstory/ defining moment for a male character. Really, this sort of rape is such a medieval, classical way to tell a story. Need to establish some stakes? Grab a secondary character and rape her. Possibly with a god or a mythological object if you have one handy.
And that starts to feel a lot less like realism and more like a malingering culture of women as victims. And it starts, especially when the author is male and the rape scene is graphic, to feel suspiciously like the goal is titillation. It starts to feel like the author believes the only interesting sort of GirlAngst is sexual abuse.
Maggie Stiefvater writes one of my favorite author blogs. Even when I don't agree with her (like her take on what is and is not a review), I respect that she puts hers thoughts out there in the world in an unapologetic way--so many authors avoid anything controversial because there's risk involved with wading into big issues.
Last week she wrote very eloquently about the problem of literary rape, how rape is constantly used as a plot device, often with no purpose. Go read Maggie's post on the subject--she's 100 percent right on all counts.
He said focus. The word focus. I hear angels singing. Everything goes dark except for a light that beams down on Sean. It is a God-given sign- like when people see the Virgin Mary in their grilled cheese, except this isn’t religious and I’m actually not a big fan of dairy. I stare at the back of his head. His HEAD. Something I see every day but never really see because it’s been there forever. Since the first day of third grade.
I crumple up my web. I don’t need it. Praise be, the Focus Gods have spoken.
I am going to write about Sean Griswold’s Head.
According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It’s supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head.
In the first few pages of Lindsey Leavitt’s Sean Griswolds Head, I found myself thinking this was too young and immature for me, but it wasn’t long before I was hooked into a story that has fold upon fold of serious and not-so-serious issues.
Payton, whose point of view the story is from, is a young high school girl who excels at everything she does. There’s nothing she doesn’t do or handle well until she stumbles upon her mother giving her father an injection which they clarify isn’t for recreational purposes—her father has MS.
They just change. Their body changes. Their abilities - the things they do that make them who they are - leave, sometimes temporarily, sometimes forever. Every day they wake up with that big what if?
And nothing is scarier than a life filled with what ifs - living by day without predictability and control. Some people end up losing feeling. Some have uncontrollable spasms. Some can’t function. Some end up blind or in a wheelchair. Some end up bedridden and paralyzed.
It’s hard to know who “some people” will be.