Thursday, February 24, 2005

Good morning all. Slept in today since my online chat last night with my undergrad. YA class ran until 11 p.m. Boy were they an interactive group - it was a delight to see how strongly they interacted with the YA novels they are reading.

My grad class also had an online chat last night with Lara M. Zeises. It was very interesting to hear about her writing process. I think all entering 9th grade girls should read her Contents Under Pressure to help prepare them for the assertive older guys. They are such "fresh meat" and not all girls will be as lucky as Lucy is to be dating Tobin, a more experiences Junior who is willing to wait until Lucy is ready, which may be a long time since she is dealing with the family repercussions of her older brother's pregnant girlfriend living with them. Lucy and Tobin discuss sexual boundaries in relation to what Lucy is ready for. Really cool book with wonderful secondary characters as well. As one of my students said - her writing is very tight! :-)

I did love Bringing Up the Bones - Zeises' first book for older teens. Bridget is taking a year off before she goes to college to deal with her grief over Benji's death. Benji is/was the love of Bridget's life, but although he loved her, he wasn't in love with her. That in itself is something to grieve over - the loss of a love you really never had, your best friend Elle did. Jasper enters the picture and Bridget isn't quite ready to let go of Benji yet, but Jasper helps her take those first steps, the final one she needs to take on her own, alone.

We talked about how the covers on both of Zeises' books have face shots of girls and how most of us found the covers appealing. Covers are such an important element of a book - drives me nuts when some libraries take the book jackets off the books, or the jobbers do, only giving you the cover art, or worst yet, a blank front and back with only the author and title on the spine. How appealing is that? I want all the good stuff - the art, the book blurb and the stuff about the author. I picked up Crank by Ellen Hopkins because of the cover and because it is a 2005 Quick Pick. A thick but quick read due to the free verse format. The cover shows the title "written" out in lines of crank on a black cover. It might be a quick read but it sure isn't an easy read as you spiral into crank addiction with Kristina - alter ego Bree - as she enters into a drug induced high that causes her to do and say things she would never have done before. If only she hadn't gone to visit her drug using father none of this would have happened. If only she hadn't let Adam talk her into cigarettes, then pot, then crank. If only, if only - but how does she get herself out of this alive? Does she?

Okay - that's it for today. Need to get some grading done.