The reviews you have been reading this past month are all part of an assignment looking at books with a coming-of-age theme. I love this theme and see it in almost all YA (teen) books. It is a point in a young person's life when they look beyond their every day life, and make decisions that will have an impact on their whole life. It can be a decision to stand up for someone who is being bullied, or refusing to listen to jokes that make fun of a group of people; could be ethnic jokes, blond jokes, or any group. Coming-of-age can also be a time when you come to understand someone's (usually a beloved relative) behavior and accept the person for who they are, not for who you want them to be. It can also be a story where the protagonist must make adult decisions. In other words, no matter what age, the character comes of age to accept and truly make decisions that make a difference in their own life or their family's life.
I enjoy reading these stories because I put myself into the specific character and wonder if I could take that adult step. Of course, as an adult I already have had to do that, but adults need to be reminded of those important roles we play, how we must mentor to students and always try to do our best. Fiction helps us see not an individual situation, but a universal situation that we project into our own life. It's an amazing process.
Here are some more guest reviews from Voorheesville Middle School;
Schmidt, Gary. The Wednesday Wars. New York. 2007. Print.
“Mrs. Baker hates me.” The Wednesday Wars is a great fun, and an exciting book. Mostly takes place at a school in the 1960s. The main character in the book is a kid named Holling Hoodhood. He thinks that the English teacher hates him.
But in the end he finds out her life story. And how it is not right to judge until you know what the problem is. Mrs. Baker’s husband has been lost in a special mission in Viet Nam and it almost ruins her. You’ll need to read the book to find out what happens. I like the book because it is interesting and there is always something going on. ~Adam
Connor, Leslie. Waiting for Normal. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008. Print.
Award-winning writer Leslie Connor is the author of the terrific and life changing story, Waiting for Normal. Imagine having to lie to your step-father every time he would call to check in. Eleven years old, Addie, is in this situation. This sweet story takes place in Schenectady, New York, in a trailer across the street from the minimart. It’s an amazing journey that at some parts may make you cry, laugh, or even giggle.
Addie is stuck between choosing which life she wants to live, either with her step-father, Dwight or her “all-or-nothing” mother, Mommers. Over the course of the story Addie grows and matures and begins to realize which life she wants to live. Along the way she makes some friends, Soula and Elliot, who work at the minimart. Later, Addie comes to a conclusion that Soula has cancer. Things then get rough. Read the book, Waiting for Normal, to find out which life she chooses and find out if Soula is going to be okay. The Recommended ages for this book are 10-14.~Jaynie
Hinton S.E. The Outsiders. N.Y.: Del Publishing Co. 1982. Print.
What would you do if you were running away from a murder? And what if the murderer was your best friend? Unfortunately for Ponyboy and his friend Johnny it isn’t an image in his head it is really happening to them. Ponyboy and his friend live in the rural part of Oklahoma in the 1960’s. In the city there are two main gang groups, the Greasers and the Socs. Johnny and Ponyboy are part of the Greasers along with Dallas, Two-Bit, and SodaPop.
The way Ponyboy came of age is when he turned himself in because he helped a murderer escape the hands of the police. Another way he came of age is when he saved a bunch of kids in a church. A lot of people would like this book; maybe people who like suspense, action, and thrills. The book had a good beginning and middle but the end was not so good.~Cameron