Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Obviously I wanted to read this because it is by Laurie Halse Anderson, but it is also one of her books that seems to be involved in a great deal of controversy often. There have been superintendents pulling this book from schools because of it touches on the subject of suicide and rape, which could send me off on a whole different tangent about any kind of censorship that I will save for a different point in time.

This is the story of Tyler, a kindof nobody kid who everyone knows his name but no one really knows him. He has a successful younger sister, parents who barely speak to each other and finally gets the attention of, well, everyone when he pulls a prank at the school...and gets caught. He then spends his summer working the hours required by court and reporting to his parole officer. When school starts again, he is ready to start the new year with a new, bigger physique, the attention of a very cute and popular girl along with everyone because of his prank. But then he gets accused of a crime he didn't commit, with no one believing him and he has to figure out how to grasp on to the life that is swirling around him.

A couple of points. One, this is the first book by Laurie Halse Anderson that I've read where her main speaker is male, and a teen male at that. I could not believe this was written by a woman. Two, the story is so true to form, so real in comparison with many of the teen boys I work with that I can't wait to get this in their hands. Three, I know that she deals with some issues that are difficult to talk about, but she does it with grace, tact and reality. There is nothing in this book that is encouraging poor behavior or that, in my opinion, would warrant it to be pulled from a school. It's an amazing book that deals with the reality that is becoming more common. If anything, I wish this book was being read by more people, not taken away from them.


Mellissa said...

You are not helping me get anything done this summer by constantly talking about all these great books! Stop it!

I completely agree that the way Anderson approaches these sensitive subjects is very well done, tactful, and understanding. I just read Speak and I loved it!

Tasha said...

Here's a hint - put all your kids in the swim lessons at the same time. As the responsible parent, you need to sit there and be present, but you get almost 40 minutes of uninterrupted reading time a day...so worth it :)