Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Where Have All My Teammates Gone?

Freshly back from the NCTE/ALAN conferences and a two hour commute I tried to get together with my colleagues today. Lunch wouldn't work - neither did after school but two isolated conversations have led to a decision. I will let Arlene and Andrew comment on this tomorrow...but as I have learned at my conference if you want your kids to write you need to write. If I want you to blog on time, I must blog on time. 

I won’t call it cheating, but the way things worked out I had a substantial head starts in round one. A smack and school colleague gave me Popular to read during the last school year. It definitely had a catchy idea...child discovers a book from the 50s written for teens who want to be popular. Child is precocious as is her family (picture Stargirl with a couple of cups of media savvy thrown in) at least that was the way I read it. Child precedes to follow the advice then write this nonfiction account.

I have to say the my reading lens of Stargirl sell-out soured the whole thing for me...but my colleague loved it….would the other readers in my group?

Dumplin’ I listened to on audio and found it an enjoyable listen. Willowdean is mourning her aunt's death and preparing to deal with her mother who runs the town's yearly beauty pageant. Willowdean does not fit the stereotype beauty queen image but that doesn't mean she's not going to enter. Much has been made about this heroine being comfortable in her own body and I wonder if people were reading a different book. I don’t think any of us are comfortable in our own bodies but, if we are lucky, we don’t let it get in the way of our life. This is the message I took away from this book. Willowdean learns not to limit herself as the book goes along. The voice is strong and the character feels more realistic for the times she does think about her weight, does make assumptions about others and what their body types and personalities should limit them to and when she does sometimes not take a risk. Because Johnson does that Willowdean's determination to stay in the pageant is a stand up and cheer moment. 3-0 Dumplin' moves on.

Arlene? Andrew?

1 comment:

  1. Not only did Dia have a head start on the reading, she told us her preference before Andrew and I even started reading either!

    Dia and I often have differing reading tastes so I was fairly sure that Andrew and I could out vote her. However, I came to realize early on in Popular that the straight forward year-long journaling experiment, to follow the advice found in a 1950s book on how to becom popular, would likely be outdone by Dumplin which I was hearing some buzz about. Popular will find its way to readers who will love it but I think this is definitely a niche.

    Yet, I'm not so sure that the confident Dumplin' on the cover or in reviews or teasers is the same as a the one inside the book. Listening to the author talk about writing the book at ALAN gave me a greater appreciation for Dumplin' but I'm still unsettled by the disconnect. And, unlike Dia, I abandoned the audio, opting to read the book over listen to it. What can I say. I'm pretty fussy about my audiobook narrators.