It’s so sad when a book has so much potential!
But it’s definitely not worth trudging through a lousy book when there are so many gems out there!
Like I just finished Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle. It’s been marketed (for lack of a better word) as a gay-teen book but it goes way beyond that scope to explore the universal theme of identity. In fact it’s one of the best identity books I have read in quite some time and I would recommend it to lots of teens, not just ones exploring their sexuality. I think that’s what makes this book such a winner. It also deals with friendship, which is closely tied into identity though I don’t think we always think of the two as related. I liked the simplicity and reality of the writing. It’s emotional but also funny which reflects real life 🙂
Right before that I finished Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. This book has won many awards and is always featured on school reading lists. Somehow it escaped me. I was doing some booktalking for fifth grade classes and O’Dell was one of the authors. Figured it was a good time to read Island of the Blue Dolphins and was I blown away! It’s an amazing story. If a kid looked at the book cover they might make some erroneous assumptions… dolphins, a girl…blah, blah, blah… meanwhile (sorry to say this) it’s one of the best “boy” books I have ever read! It’s classic adventure. There’s wild dogs, warriors and chiefs, hunting and weapon making, survival! But it’s also about humanity and the message runs clear without being didactic. I just wish I had read it sooner! When I booktalked it to the kids I got them into a discussion about “boy” books versus “girl” books and this book really helps illustrate that it’s more about the story than the gender of the main character.