Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle & Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle & Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

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.

See Alli’s review for another take on Kissing Kate!

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