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"I don't have anything to wear!" The pink shirt is too babyish - the tank top is too tacky. The black jeans are too "emo." "Mom - I can't wear skinny with baggy, don't you know anything!" The list goes on.
Too tight, too wide, too tall, too small - my daughter is like Goldilocks when she dresses each morning. If only I could make everything just right - but these days I am not the Mom who can kiss the boo-boo and make it better. That is so last year - I am the mother of an almost 13-year old whose favorite retort (with an eye roll) is "I know..." Far be it for me to offer any kind of advice - although, that doesn't stop me from trying.
In spite of everything, there is still one area I seem to have some sway - books. She eagerly sorts through the piles I bring home and curls up with a book every night before bed. So, here are a few teen titles to try this summer:
For those who never feel like they fit in, try reading or listening to the confessions of Georgia Nicolson in Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. (We have both print and audio-book versions of this series.) The laugh-out-loud antics of Georgia, a 14 year-old British girl who is trying to reduce the size of her nose, tame her wild cat and romance a popular boy at school make this a popular selection for vacation time. (And as there are multiple titles in the series, reading about Georgia could last all summer long...) Another title to try is Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. I think the title says it all.
For the girl who enjoys school settings and the social scene, a light summer read would be the L.B.D. books by Grace Dent - a series about "Les Bambinos Dangereuses" - three fast friends who put on a rock concert at their school. Lily Archer's Poison Apples about a trio of unlikely friends who meet at boarding school and all have evil step-mothers would also be a good choice.
For Harry Potter fans who enjoyed the romance between Ginny and Harry, try the romantic and comic novels of Sarah Mlynowski. The series begins with Bras and Broomsticks and continues with Frogs and French Kisses and Sleeping Bags and Spells.
For those who liked the darker side of Harry Potter, try the Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney. The first title is Revenge of the Witch and it follows one young man, Thomas Ward, who must fill the shoes of an aging Spook who has protected the local villages from evil. Twenty-nine apprentices have failed, only Thomas is left. As there are 4 books in the series, you can guess he is successful, but there are some genuinely gruesome and heart-stopping adventures along the way. Also, in a similar vein is Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landry in which a young girl inherits her odd uncle's estate -and at the reading of the will she is joined by a walking, talking skeleton who persuades her to join forces with him to save the world.
For the paranormal romance fan, Stephenie Meyer's vampire/werewolf series has been hugely popular with teens. The first in the series is Twilight - the 4th book Breaking Dawn will be published on August 2nd - just in time for a summer read. If your teen can't wait till then, try The Silver Kiss or Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause or Owl in Love by Patricia Kindl.
For those who contemplate the unknown, try Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, a remarkable envisioning of what happens when you die. It focuses on the sudden death of a 15 year old girl in a car accident, imagining her reactions to her own death. Also of interest might be Gossamer by Newbery-award-winning author Lois Lowry in which she creates a fantasy back-story for how and why some folks have pleasant dreams versus nightmares.
For those in search of a mystery, try the light-hearted Lulu Dark books by Bennett Madison. The series begins with Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls and continues with Lulu Dark and the Summer of the Fox - Lulu is a reluctant sleuth with a satirical wit and the books are fast-paced, smart and funny. Speaking of reluctant - if you are trying to coax your computer-oriented child into reading, try Cathy's Book: If found, call (650)-266-8233 by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman. This fast-paced mystery includes telephone numbers that readers can call and an interactive website to visit to help solve the mystery.
And as far as I am concerned, you never get too old to be read to. A book for parents and teens to read aloud together is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. This coming of age tale set in Brooklyn at the turn of the century still holds up. And hey, if you can't get them to sit with you at home, try popping the story into your car stereo at the beginning of your vacation trip. Happy summer reading and listening!
To see a listing of all the books mentioned here, see the Library's Reading Room webpage.Posted in Books, Column, Reading Room | No Comments »
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