Monday, July 12, 2010

What I Read on Summer Vacation, Part II: Three good books for teens

LITTLE BLACK LIES by Tish Cohen. When Sara Black’s father takes a custodial job at Anton High, the Boston area’s most intellectually elite school, she is eligible to take the rigorous entrance exam, which she passes with flying colors. Now all she has to do is navigate the murky waters of a new school where each student has been primed since birth to succeed, with no expenses spared. Oh, yeah – and figure out a way to keep uber-popular Carling from discovering Sara’s relationship to the new school janitor. There are the usual clashes of cliques and social classes, but it’s the “nerd school” aspect, where smart girls are actually valued, that sets this one apart from other teen novels. As someone who attended a "nerd school" herself ( MSMS, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, a publically-funded boarding school), I appreciated that aspect.

JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta. When Taylor Markham becomes the reluctant leader of her boarding school’s underground “gown” movement in the seasonal war against the Townies and the Cadets, she slowly starts unraveling clues in a 17-year old mystery, linking her to both the young Cadet leader and the original students who planned the very first school war. The story just keeps building and building to an unforgettable, completely satisfying ending. Perfect for readers who are drawn to strong, complicated young women and the perpetually alluring boarding school trope.

MR. TOPPIT by Charles Elton. What happens when a chance encounter by an American tourist with a dying man in London results in a runaway-bestselling children’s series? Luke Hayman, whose alter ego, Luke Hayseed, is the protagonist in his father’s books, discovers the hard way how fame is as fickle as the medieval Wheel of Fortune, feeding his family’s dysfunctional neuroses and uncovering their secrets with every upswing in the series’ popularity. And then there's the series' ambiguous anti-hero archetype, Mr. Toppit himself, who inspires a cult-like following among readers. As quirky and unpredictable as The Royal Tenenbaums.(forthcoming this fall)

~Emily Crowe

No comments: