Teen addicted to Glee? Hand your stagestruck young adult one of these fun titles!
by Annabel Lyon
ISBN: 978 0 14 317741 8
Audience: younger teen or tween girls
Edie’s arrival in high school is, let’s say, not smooth. It doesn’t help that she has a sister who seems to be perfect, popular, and favoured. And when her cousin Merry moves to town and she has to start walking her to her class for special kids, she starts feeling misunderstood and sometimes, downright mean about everything. Could things get worse?
She tries joining the school musical to solve some of her problems, and ends up turning things on their head one after another and alienating even more people before the night of the show, even when her intentions are good, and it takes some major explaining and some serious last-minute switchups to turn certain disaster into redemption.
Edie is an interesting character, and I think one that most teens would relate to in that she is interesting and smart, but sometimes a bit of a square peg in the high school world of round holes. She also isn’t perfect, or even always good – she can feel pretty nasty towards her family and even her friends at times, and is easily confused by other people and even her own behaviour, which I think rings true. How many people don’t have those feelings they are not proud of at times? But at the heart of it, once she makes the effort to deal with her own feelings and figures out how to tell people what she was aiming for, and once she backs it up with her actions, things do become easier – an ending I think is worthwhile, if only because it’s not in the least heavy-handed. Instead, I could see Edie’s potential to grow up to be amazing some day.
Edie is also a younger teen, just starting high school, and initially shrugs off the approach of a boy she knows, only to feel a little surprised and hurt to see him start going out with her sister. She’s not really ready for that, yet, though, and I think all in all, I would suggest that the audience of this is really younger tween and teen girls.
Also available as an ebook.
Only in the Movies
by William Bell
ISBN: 978 0 385 66769 2
Jake has the movie bug – bad. He figures he can’t tell his parents, until the day his dad puts his name on the side of his carpentry company’s truck, and Jake blurts it out. *gulp* Turns out his parents are not only accepting, but supportive of his dream, and help put some pressure on a local school for the arts to get him admitted. Once there, he finds himself friends with a guy nicknamed Instant and a fascinating new girl, while lusting heavily after another new girl whose charms are, it must be said, mostly of the physical variety.
Jake, being a teenaged guy ruled by his blind ambition to get with Alba (the hot one), is a bit of a bonehead, and not only gets dragged into stage managing her school play project, but also ropes Vanni (the smart one) into a scheme straight out of Cyrano de Bergerac. Surely this can’t end well? Predictably, he is a bit of a jerk to his good friends, but he makes a major realization at the end, and yes, the ending is straight out of a John Hughes movie. awww…
The characters here are strong. Jake is a pretty average kid, really – stupid at times, but essentially a good guy. His parents are real, three-dimensional people who have his back. And Vanni is so smart and sassy that I fell a little bit in love with the character myself. This book talks a lot of about language as well, and I can see that the author lavished some attention on that, but I also think its weakest point is the movie script scenes written by Jake, who writes in cheesy cliche. I do like that this is a book that could appeal equally to boy or girl readers, and although it doesn’t have content to worry about, I think mid-teens would get it a bit more than younger ones.
Also available as an ebook.