Teen Voice: Samantha

Samantha, 14

I don’t read historical fiction books. They tend to bore me a lot, so I stay away from them when I can.

My favorite genre is romance. I just love books about relationships and love… for some reason.

I haven’t read any blogs for young adult literature. Honestly, I wouldn’t really know where I’d find them unless I searched for it. If blogs on the more popular books were more common to come across, there would be a much bigger chance that I would read them

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Godbersen, Anna. Bright Young Things. New York: Harper Collins, 2010. Print.

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Awards: N/A

Annotation:

It’s 1929. Cordelia Gray and Letty Larkspur are off to New York City. There, they meet Astrid Donal, a flapper who appears to have the city in her hands.

Booktalk:

She messed around with a bloke named Smokey.
She loved him though was cokie,
he took her down to Chinatown
and he showed her how to kick the gong around.

She had a dream that the King of Sweden
He gave her things that she was needin´
He built her a house of gold and steel
A diamond car with platinum wheels

Those are the lyrics to “Minnie the Moocher.” A Cab Calloway song written around the time Bright Young Things takes place. No better song can clearly illustrate the characters and setting of this novel so well. Cordelia, Letty, and Astrid fit the mold of this Minnie: A young woman looking for love, money, and fame. Nonetheless, Minnie succeeded in her quest. This cannot be said for Cordelia, Letty and Astrid. Basically, all of this “fun” does come at a price especially when three girls are competing with each other.

To be expected, get set for love, adventure, murder, greed and backstabbing.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Donnelly, Jennifer. A Northern Light. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004. Print.

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Awards:

2003, Los Angeles Time Book Prize for Young Adult Literature

2003, Carnegie Medal

2004, Michael L. Printz Honor Book

Annotation:

Using the horrific true story that inspired An American Tragedy, Jennifer Donnelly entwines the murder of Grace Brown with the fictitious story of Mattie Gokey. After the body of Gracie is discovered, Mattie becomes immersed in the young woman’s tragic passing and looks to find out what really happened.

Booktalk:

What was life like for young women in the early 1900s? For one, women were not allowed to acquire money on their own. In other words, a woman’s money became her husband’s fortune. During this time, women were regarded as second-class citizens. As a result, the arrangement of marriage for some was nothing more but a business venture to garner a woman’s family property.

How do romantics like Mattie Grokey fair with such an abysmal treatment of love and relationships? Stuck on the farm with her father and sisters, Mattie feels trapped. Still, she dreams of running away and becoming a writer in New York City.  Can she do it? Then, Grace Brown’s body turns up dead. Mattie has her letters. Through them, she learns the truth about entrapment, death, and deception.  The question remains, does she have the will to follow her dreams?

Teen Voice: John

 John, 16

I do not read historical fiction because (although I know this is unjust) history class bored me to death; so, I assume the books would do the same.

My favorite genre is fantasy fiction because I found it fun to pretend that I can actually do the impossible things that happen in the book.

I do not read Young Adult literature blogs. I think having a better-known celebrity would attract me to do so

Vixen (The Flappers) by Jillian Larkin

Larkin, Jillian. Vixen (The Flappers). New York : Random House Children’s Books, 2010. Print.

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Awards: N/A

Annotation: Gloria Carmody is not interested in the simple things. She wants to celebrate life to the fullest. Chicago, during the 1920s, is the place to be for a girl who just wants to have fun.

Booktalk:

Imagine living in the Roaring Twenties. The glitz and the glamour right at your fingertips. Moreover, who would not want to party at a speakeasy? You know those illegal, underground clubs that promised alcohol, music, dancing, and romance.

For Gloria Carmody, it seemed like the perfect hideaway from all that is boring with her life. However, this type of living comes at a price. Would you like to join Gloria, her not so innocent cousin Clara, and seemingly best friend Lorraine, as they willingly betray, endanger, and fall in love in the speakeasy?

Book Trailer

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1984. Print. 

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Awards:

1985, Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award

Annotation:

This celebrated coming-of-age novel tells the story of a Latina girl, Esperanza Cordero, living in Chicago and experiencing the highs and lows of finding one self.

Booktalk:

“We didn’t always live on Mango Street. Before that we lived on Loomis on the third floor, and before that we lived on Keeler. Before Keeler it was Paulina, and before that I can’t remember. But what I remember most is moving a lot”(p.3).

Do you know what it is like to move so often and then to settle in nothing more but a poor community? The house on Mango Street is not ideal for Esperanza. She sees this street and its people as sad, unfortunate, and trapped. She dreams of so much more beyond this world. To her, Mango Street embodies everything that is wrong. Will Esperanza be able to escape or is The House on Mango Street her fate?