The Real Deal: Young Adult Book Club

Story of a Girl April 18, 2009

Filed under: Story of a Girl — librarylaura23 @ 4:01 am
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Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr When she was only thirteen, Deanna Lambert became involved with her older brother’s friend Tommy. Tommy was seventeen at the time and Deanna thought he was gorgeous. Within a few weeks, Tommy starts picking up Deanna and driving to the local make-out spot in town. They start doing much more than make out, and sex becomes a regular occurrence even though Deanna is so young.

One day, Deanna’s father finds them having sex in Tommy’s car. He tells Tommy never to see Deanna again. Tommy ends up sharing this story with others, and it turns into gossip and rumors about Deanna.

Everyone thinks it was all Deanna’s idea, that she’s a “slut” at thirteen.

Two years later, Deanna’s reputation still follows her around. Her father will barely look at her. Her classmates still spread rumors about her. She doesn’t have the confidence to flirt with guys because she worries what they think about her.

When she receives a summer job at a pizza shop in town, she finds out that Tommy will be her co-worker all summer. She must come to terms with the regret of what happened and try to forgive him for the rumors he spread about her.

Discussion Questions:

Do you think rumors and reputations can change the way people act and feel about themselves?

What do you think the benefits and drawbacks are to living in a small town like Pacifica?

Why do you think Deanna’s relationship with her father has changed so much the past two years? Why hasn’t her relationship with her mother changed as much?

Why do you think Deanna’s co-worker Michael is so nice to her?

Why do you think Deanna changes her opinion of Tommy?

Awards

National Book Award Finalist

ALA Best Book for Young Adults

Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

IRA Honor Book

Capitol Choices Book

Utah Book Award Finalist

Other Works

Novels

* Sweethearts (2008)
* Once Was Lost (2009)

Essays

* Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?, edited by Marissa Walsh, 2008

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Head Case April 15, 2009

Filed under: Head Case — librarylaura23 @ 1:20 am
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Head Case by Sarah AronsonThis book tells the story of Frank Marder, a seventeen year old quadriplegic. Frank was a typical high school guy, into sports and girls, until the day of his injury, the day that he becomes, as he says, “a head.” He says that he is “a head” because he cannot feel anything below the neck at all. He used to be an independent teenager. Now he needs help with the most basic tasks, from eating to simply rolling over in bed.

Frank got injured when he drove drunk. On the way home from a party with his girlfriend Meredith, he got into an accident in which he crashed into a pedestrian and then lost control of the car and hit a tree. Meredith and the pedestrian died. Frank must deal with their deaths as well as his paralysis.

On the Internet, someone has started a site about the accident with a comments section. Many people who comment think that Frank is an evil murderer. Then Frank sees some postings from a person who posts as “Anonymous.” This person seems to understand what Frank is going through. Who is “Anonymous?” Will just a little bit of support give Frank the courage he needs to move on?

Discussion Questions:

Why do you think Frank’s relationship with his best friend Harry changed after the accident?

Do you agree with the people on the Internet that Frank should serve time in jail? Or do you agree with his attorney, that being paralyzed is punishment enough?

Who do you think the anonymous poster might be?

Frank says that he did not love Meredith. Do you think the situation or his feelings now would be different if he had?

Why do you think Frank agree to speak at his high school even though he knows what others think about him?

Awards

American Library Association Quick Picks for Young Adults

 

Wintergirls

Filed under: Wintergirls — librarylaura23 @ 12:44 am
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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse AndersonEighteen-year-old Lia has been living with her father, stepmother, and stepsister for a few months, since returning from rehabilitation for anorexia.

One morning at breakfast, Lia’s stepmother tells Lia some bad news.

Lia’s friend Cassie was found dead in a motel room last night. Lia and Cassie had struggled with eating disorders together.

Cassie was bulimic. They had wanted to be thinner than everyone else, and called themselves wintergirls because of the way they could balance between life and death. For the past few months, Lia and Cassie hadn’t been as close because Cassie, while going through recovery, blamed Lia for her disorder.

They hadn’t had a chance to make up, and now Cassie is dead. When Lia checks her cell phone, she realizes that Cassie called her the night of her death. In fact, she called 33 times.

Lia struggles with the guilt that perhaps she could have saved her friend, and the sadness of her death.

These feelings bring on a full relapse of her anorexia. As Lia gets more and more involved with her disease and its rituals, she begins to see visions of Cassie, cheering her along in her quest for thinness.

Discussion Questions

Why do you think teenage girls feel pressure to look a certain way? Where did Lia feel that type of pressure?

As Lia’s life becomes more and more wrapped up in her anorexia, what are some things that keep her connected to real life?

What does it mean to be a wintergirl?

Describe some of the problems in Lia’s life that could have led to her anorexia.

Why do you think Lia felt so connected to Elijah, the man who lived at the motel?

Why do you think Anderson chose to write the book using different fonts, crossed-out words, counting, and even blank pages?

Other Works

* Speak (1999)

* Fever 1793 (2000)

* Catalyst (2002)

* Prom (2005)

* Twisted (2007)

* Chains (2008)

 

My Life as a Rhombus April 11, 2009

Filed under: My Life As A Rhombus — librarylaura23 @ 10:42 pm
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My Life as a Rhombus by Varian JohnsonRhonda has a somewhat troubled past, but is completely focused on her tutoring and getting accepted to the college of her dreams.

Then, she has to start tutoring Sarah, who belongs to the popular crowd and the type of people Rhonda has sworn to never hang out with again.To make it worse (or better?) Sarah’s brother David is very cute and Rhonda has a crush on him.

Rhonda notices some things about Sarah that she herself went through and finally asks Sarah if she is pregnant.Through this shared bond, the two girls become friends. However, there is some turmoil between them.

Plus, David and Rhonda find out they like each other and start dating, but Rhonda’s past keeps cropping up when she has to deal with emotions and how she not only feels about David, but about other boys.

While having these boy issues, she also must somehow come to terms with her father and her feelings about him and his reaction to her pregnancy. How will she deal with David, Sarah, her friends, her father, and her own feelings about her past?

Discussion Questions:

Boys are mentioned throughout the story and have a significant impact on events. At school, they seemed lumped together into one category. How are these boys different? What are the reactions of David, Christopher, Johnnie to the news of Sarah or Rhonda’s pregnancy/abortion?A

After Rhonda’s abortion, her life changes. Her friends are very protective of her. In Sarah’s situation, she cannot tell any of her friends, not even her brother for a while.

What would your reaction be to finding out a friend of yours is pregnant? Which character do you identify with because of how they reacted to the pregnancy/abortion?

Why is college so important to Rhonda? Why is it important to her father? Are they similar or does Rhonda and her father have different reasons why college is important?

How does Rhonda escape stress and the pressures around her. What do you do to relieve stress and get away from the pressures in your life?

Other Works

A Red Polka Dot in a World Full of Plaid (2005)

 

Thirteen Reasons Why

Filed under: Thirteen Reasons Why — librarylaura23 @ 9:51 pm
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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen received a package in the mail with no return address on it and inside discovers a series of tapes. He plays the tapes and realizes that the girl he liked is talking.

The only problem: she committed suicide a few weeks ago. She starts out the first tape stating: “I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”

Clay cannot believe he is one of the reasons. He starts listening to the tapes and finds out how thirteen individuals contributed to the death of Hannah Baker.

Clay walks through the city, reliving her most traumatic moments while Hannah describes each individual. He also starts recalling all the times that he spent with Hannah trying to figure out what he could have done to contribute to her death.

He wants to understand why he is one of the thirteen reasons why. Clay doesn’t know how to feel about the individuals on the tape anymore. Should he pass on the tapes to the next individual or stop the cycle?

Discussion Questions:

Who do you consider most at fault for Hannah Baker’s suicide? Why?

Why would Hannah send the tapes to Clay Jensen? What does she hope to accomplish by sending it to him?

Besides Clay, are there any other people who received the tapes that you believe did not deserve it?

Do you think her suicide could have been prevented? How? By whom?

How would you feel about creating the tapes? How would you react to receiving them?

Awards

Florida Teen Reads

ALA Best Books for Young Adult

Commonwealth Club of California Book Awards

South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominee