Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shelf Discovery

I know a lot of my readers are fans of the same group of YA novels as I am--Madeleine L'Engle, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and so on--plus some insanely awesome middle grade books from the era of my youth like The Westing Game and classics like The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
All these books show up as the subjects of essays in Shelf Discovery, which as most of you already know, is Lizzie Skurnick's girl-YA Bible, a guide to life-changing, emotion-evoking tomes we used to adore.

The book, like Skurnick's Jezebel column "Fine Lines" is a nostalgia-fest with a strong dash of literary analysis. It reads humorously and breezily and if you're like me, you'll skip to your favorite books of yore first (The WOBP, A Ring of Endless Light, Tiger Eyes--all the death+ sexual awakening ones for me, I guess) and then leisurely sift your way through the rest.

The only nitpicks I have are that some of the entries are a mere paragraph--you tease us, Skurnick!--and a dearth of unifying analysis. Are these books just great reads or are they meant, subtly, to prepare young women for life as adults and adolescents? I wanted more heft and depth at times and I wonder if time constraints prevented Skurnick from tying her hilarious, wise essays together. But that's just a quibble from a dorky English major--if you've read enough of the books in the table of content, then this is a worthy purchase indeed.

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