Posts Tagged ‘RadReads’

RadReads#4…A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Stone

April 16, 2010

Oh!  Oh!  Oh!  A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl is such a great great great RadRead.  And it’s written in verse so it reads supa fast.  Uh-huh.  Try it. 

It’s kinda like the girl version of Doing It by Melvin Burgess which we sort of reviewed here.  But Doing It is a lot longer and not written in verse.  (And it’s a really great RadRead, too, especially for dudes!)  Anyways.  A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl features the experiences of three pretty different girls who don’t really know each other and they end up falling for the same “bad boy” around the same time period.  It’s cool to see how he subtly hooks each of them in different ways and it’s even cooler to see how each of the girls handle the experience.  Oh, and it’s kinda racy, too. 

Can’t say we didn’t warn ya!

 To summarize:  Both very excellent reads.  Both radical in their own right.  Both worth it.  Check ‘em out.  And National Library Week is almost over!  Have you hugged your library yet?!

RadReads#3…Lush by Friend

April 14, 2010

Up next in our National Library Week celebration is the RadRead titled Lush by Natasha Friend.  While the tone of Lush is a little more gentle than some of the RadReads we’ve featured thus far, the topic it covers is still pretty heavy and one that probably affects more teens nowadays than any of us realize.  It centers around a teenage girl who is trying to live a normal life but finds it nearly impossible as she tries to cope with her alcoholic father.  Ugh.  As if being a teen isn’t hard enough already, right?!?

This is one of the books that will get recommended over and over and over again for a variety of reasons.  First, it’s well written with a smooth, realistic, and highly appealing tone that tons of teen readers will respond to.  Second, as the book highlights, being part of a family which includes an alcoholic is a hush-hush topic so reading books with characters in similar situations can sometimes act as a much needed source of solace to those that can identify with the circumstances.  And lastly, let’s face it–drinking alcohol is an opportunity that presents itself in nearly every young adult’s life.  For whatever reason, it seems to be such a huge part of our culture and the coming-of-age experience.  If it doesn’t happen at the high school level it’s bound to at college.  Whatever choices you make it’s wise to read up on the experiences of others and see how the decisions they make play out.  And we do get to see what happens to the teen in this book when she tries alcohol for the first time.  Let’s just say it’s not pretty.  Read it to find out!

In the meantime, check out what the book jacket has to say: 

Samantha has a secret…It’s hard to be a thirteen-year-old girl.  But it’s even harder when your father’s a drunk.  It adds an extra layer to everything–your family’s reactions to things, the friends you’re willing to bring home, the way you see yourself and the world.  For Samantha, it’s something that’s been going on for so long that she’s almost used to it.  Especially when it starts to get worse. 

Sam knows things have to stop.  But she doesn’t know how to make them stop.  So she picks a random girl in the library and start sending her notes, asking for advice.  And she keeps an extra-close eye on her little brother, trying to protect him from getting hurt.  Sam doesn’t want her family to fall apart.  But that might be what has to happen for things to be okay again.

But the most valuable thing about the book might be that it lists terrific resources in the back as a way of pointing readers towards more great info and help if they need it.  Several hotlines and books are listed, not to mention these websites: 

Alanon/Alateen–Support for teens who have friends and/or relatives dealing with alcoholism

National Association for Children of Alcoholics–Offers support to children of drug/alcohol dependent parents

Children of Alcoholics Foundation–Help for families dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction

And if you liked Natasha Friend’s RadRead Lush, be sure to check out her other three bestselling titles Perfect, Bounce, and For Keeps.

RadReads#2…Boy Toy by Lyga

April 12, 2010

It’s National Library Week and we’re celebrating by featuring RadReads everyday this week.  We consider RadReads to be the books that hook you, shock you with their authenticity, and don’t let go until the end–and then, of course, you find yourself left wanting a sequel or even a whole series!  Sometimes though, RadReads are the books that are sooo hard to read because they are soooo real, or because they remind teen readers of similar distressing moments in their own lives.  But that is why RadReads are sooo valuable because they offer readers a safe space to feel, to acknowledge, to heal, to laugh, to cry, to be mad, and to sometimes just process the bits of life that are hard to process on your own.  And on that note we’d like to give a GIANT shout out to all the RadReads authors for giving teens the stories that they want, need, and love. WOOOOOOT!

And yes, part of that shout out goes to you, Barry Lyga!  Oh man, it doesn’t get much more taboo than up in Barry Lyga’s book Boy Toy.  (Yes, that’s the same Barry Lyga who wrote the very fantastic Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, not to mention its sequel Goth Girl Rising!)  Boy Toy is a very racy considering it’s focused around the extremely inappropriate sexual relationship between a female teacher and a male teenage student.  The topics are heavy to say the least and Lyga has bravely delivered us a read that is, unfortunately, very relevant to our culture these days.  This is an important read for students and teachers alike.  Recommended for readers age 16+

And now it’s time for one of our favorite reviews of the book:

School Library Journal (Starred Review, October 2007 edition) 
 “For the past five years, Joshua Mendel has struggled with the aftermath of being sexually abused by his seventh-grade history teacher. Now a high school senior, he still experiences ‘flickers,’ his name for vivid, mini-flashbacks of his times with Eve. He still refuses to associate with Rachel, his seventh-grade romantic interest whose insistence on a game of spin the bottle at a party led to the exposure of his abuse, a trial, and Eve’s imprisonment. Rachel is eager to resume their long-abandoned tentative romance, Eve has been released from prison, and Josh wants nothing more than to win a baseball scholarship to a college far from his small town where he feels certain everyone knows about his past. Despite years of counseling, Josh is unable to move on until he reveals the complete details of his experiences with Eve to Rachel and to his friend, Zik, and finally learns to accept the truth about it. Short groups of chapters set in the present alternate with much lengthier segments entitled ‘Flashbacks, Not Flickers,’ in which Josh describes his relationship with Eve from the beginning to the emotionally wrenching trial. The well-paced plot begins slowly, describing Eve’s initial approaches to Josh as she wins his confidence and loyalty, then speeds up as their more frequent contacts move into the realm of inappropriate teacher/student behavior. Lyga’s skillful writing subtly reveals Eve’s cleverly calculated abuse of Josh in a way that older teens will find fascinating, distressing, and worthy of their attention.”

Such events that take place in Lyga’s Boy Toy are, sadly, all too common in schools across the country these days.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, or know someone who is, get some help and tell someone.  It’s not right and it’s not your fault.  Really.  It’s not right.  It’s not your fault.  Tell someone you trust because help is readily available.  You can also check out these links for further assistance and info:

ChildHelp USA –link to National Abuse Hotline and general information for kids, teens, adults, and professionals

TeenTalk –Sexuality and relationship information from Planned Parenthood

RAINN–Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network featuring 24/7 online hotline

Stay tuned all week as we continue to celebrate with more RadRead recommendations and helpful links in honor of 2010′s National Library Week!

RadReads#1…Crank by Hopkins

April 11, 2010

It’s National Library Week and we’re celebrating by featuring RadReads everyday this week.  RadReads are books that really push the envelope, stretch readers to their limits, and explore topics that many people choose not to even talk about.  Yeah, these are the books that a lot of parents don’t want you reading.  But honestly, they’re the books you love, the ones you can’t put down, the ones you’ll pass around to all your friends, and the ones you read under your covers at night with a flashlight because you really just can’t get enough.  They are also the titles that offhandedly offer guidance and support because somehow they illustrate precisely what the reality of being a teenager right now is actually like, or could be, and what you can do to deal with it, or even change things, as you’re trying to navigate your way down the zany path of life into adulthood. 

First up is Crank by Ellen Hopkins.  Bet you can’t guess what this one’s about…

Yeah, that monster of a drug Crystal Meth.  Crank is an extremely popular YA book and the first novel for Ellen Hopkins.  She loosely based it on her daughter’s experiences with the drug and all the insidious madness that such a risky venture entails.  The book clocks in at 500+ pages, yet it’s a ridiculously fast read mostly because it’s written in verse. 

The verse form lends itself fantastically to the characters’ experiences.  As the lead character, Kristina, goes from being a gifted student and well-behaved daughter to visiting her father and messing around with boys and crank, a new side to her personality emerges, one the author calls Bree.  Bree goes on one wild journey and such a journey may be important for many teens to read about, especially if they’re a Kristina.  It’s also an important read for many parents, especially those who may have experimental teens.  Most appropriate for readers in 8th grade or higher.

Even more important might be the following links that have valuable info that you or someone you know might find of use…

Above the Influence –Honest answers about drugs

Go Ask Alice –Columbia University’s Health Education Questions on teen health issues

Teens Health –Great resource for a variety of teen health issues including drug abuse

And I’m willing to bet that if you read Crank and just couldn’t put it down you’ll want to check out Hopkins’ other hot RadReads.  We own them all so reserve your copies today.