Because Neil Gaiman is right - there aren't enough holidays which mandate the gifting of books - check out his new site for All Hallow's Read.
What scary book do you recommend for kids and teens? Become a follower and post your pick in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Neil Gaiman's middle grade novel Coraline. Contest closes November 1, 2010, at midnight MST. (That's mountain standard time, not monster. Just in case you were wondering.)
Oct 29, 2010
Author: Lauren Myracle
Publisher: Amulet Books
Book Source: personal collection
This year's Banned Book Week was September 25 to October 2, which means I totally missed it, being out of the country at the time. By some odd coincidence, however, I started reading TTYL on October 2.
TTYL is the story of the winsome threesome - Maddie, Angela and Zoe - and their attempts to survive the tenth grade with their sanity, their reputations, and their friendship intact. It's told entirely in instant messages (hence the title, an acronym for "talk to you later"), and is wry, funny, and occasionally heartbreaking.
It's also, along with its sequels, the most frequently challenged book of 2009. What's more, this series is the 9th most frequently challenged over the last decade.
Which naturally begs the question, what is it about TTYL that so many people find offensive? According to the American Library Association, reasons include the following, which - WARNING - may contain spoilers.
- Drugs. Yes, there is in fact underage drinking.
- Nudity. This strikes me as a weird complaint to make about a book (as opposed to a visual art form like movies), but yes, the characters discuss topics that include the kind of grooming only nudity would reveal. Maddie also, due to ill-advised drinking at a party, reveals a little more of herself than she ever would have sober.
- Offensive language. True, although I feel obliged to point out that I hear more offensive language from teens riding public transit than actually appears in this book.
- Sexually explicit. Since none of the girls actually have any, this might be a stretch. However, it's true that the relationship between Zoe and her favorite teacher quickly approaches the borderline between inappropriate and illegal.
- Unsuited to age group.
I don't dispute parents' rights to determine what is appropriate for their kids. However, those choices should never be made in ignorance, without first-hand knowledge of the content of the book. And no one has the right to prevent other people from making those choices for themselves.
Banned Book Week is over, but that's no reason to stop reading and discussing controversial books. If you like, you can start with the 13th-most-frequently-challenged classic, Charlotte's Web.
Oct 14, 2010
Author: Michael Grant
Book Source: review copy from publisher
I have returned from the hermit cave (also known as Roatan, Honduras, which incidentally is a place of awesome) and bring you, as promised, the first book in Michael Grant's new series, The Magnificent 12 - The Call.
Let's begin with this completely fantastic book trailer, which has reminded me, several weeks after reading the novel, of all the things I totally loved about it:
To summarize, we've got:
- Mack, a totally neurotic main character who forms a surprising alliance with a bully, due to weird dudes that can stop time
- creepy grasshopper-like creatures with weapons
- terrifying but strangely attractive villains
- a dangerous round-the-world search for eleven more Magnifica
- and, let us not forget, the golem
Due to its combination of fantasy action, a totally unlikely hero, and laugh-out-loud humor, I wholeheartedly recommend The Magnificent 12 for fans of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I can't wait for the next book.
For more information on this series, including extensive online activities for fans, visit The Magnificent 12 website. You can also preview The Call at the link below.
Browse Inside this book