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Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Readingby Lizzie Skurnick
Synopses & Reviews
Remember that book you read at that time in your life when everything seemed to be going crazy — the one book that brought the world into focus and helped soothe your raging teenage angst?
"Launched from her regular feature column 'Fines Lines' for Jezebel.com, this spastically composed, frequently hilarious omnibus of meditations on favorite YA novels dwells mostly among the old-school titles from the late '60s to the early '80s much beloved by now grown-up ladies. This was the era, notes the bibliomaniacal Skurnick in her brief introduction, when books for young girls moved from being 'wholesome and entertaining' (e.g., The Secret Garden and the Nancy Drew series) to dealing with real-life, painful issues affecting adolescence as depicted by Beverly Cleary, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle and Norma Klein. Skurnick groups her eruptive essays around themes, for example, books that feature a particularly memorable, fun or challenging narrator (e.g., Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy); girls 'on the verge,' such as Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret or 'danger girls' such as Duncan's Daughters of Eve; novels that deal with dying protagonists and other tragedies like child abuse (Willo Davis Roberts's Don't Hurt Laurie!); and, unavoidably, heroines gifted with a paranormal penchant, among other categories. Skurnick is particularly effective at spotlighting an undervalued classic (e.g., Joan Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase) and offers titles featuring troubled boys as well. Her suggestions will prove superhelpful (not to mention wildly entertaining) for educators, librarians and parents." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[These essays] are likely to provide any woman who grew up loving books with a satisfying voyage to the past, as well as a list of books to reread." Library Journal
"Shelf Discovery is a dizzyingly crowded, joyful hodgepodge of book reports. This is potent nostalgia for girlhoods past; the strawberry scent of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers practically wafts off the pages." Time Magazine
"Shelf Discovery repaints the stories of our childhood much they way our English teachers did their versions of the classics....Skurnick treats the dime store paperbacks with reverence, and in her re-readings, we find messages of feminism, empowerment and sometimes just a simple story to grow older with." Babble
"Reading is often viewed as a solitary act. Shelf Discovery is a reminder that reading connects us to other readers and writers, providing a common frame of reference through which we can share our own lives." TeenReads
From Beverly Cleary's novels to Judy Blume's whole oeuvre, Shelf Discovery looks at the importance and, for many adolescent girls, life-changing nature of young adult literature.
About the Author
Lizzie Skurnick is the columnist for Jezebel.com's "Fine Lines" and the author of ten teen books in the Sweet Valley High, Love Stories, and Alias series. She has written on books and culture extensively for the New York Times Book Review, Times Sunday Styles, the LA Times, NPR.org, The Washington Post, and many other publications. Her blog, Old Hag, was a Forbes Best of the Web pick. Look for Shelf Discovery on Facebook.
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