“What don’t you get, Maggie? I can’t be bothered to go to ‘bookstores’ anymore. I have a Kindle now. I thought you’d understand.”
Maggie choked down the lump in her throat and decided to say something.
“I just thought you’d want to come along, Jason. You know, you did this to me last month when you got that stupid Keurig single-cup coffee maker thing. Remember? I asked you to come with me to that new coffee shop on 6th and you told me you ‘don’t do coffee shops anymore.'”
“That was different.”
“Yeah? How so?”
“They talk about you, you know,” Maggie interjected. “You haven’t been out with us in a long time. We’re worried about you. But now I’m starting to sense a pattern here. Let me see that Kindle. This was the exact book I was going to get. Why don’t you just come with me to the bookstore and we can go to the park and read it together?”
Jason knew she meant well, but he refused to let his guard down. He had a secret to protect.
“No thanks,” he said, turning to walk up the stairs to his building. “I guess I’ll see you later. Have fun at the bookstore.”
To be continued…
Graphic novels count, too! I found this while browsing around the “Older Teen” section of the Tustin Library tonight.* I sat down by the stacks and read the whole thing. It was sad. It hit a little close to home, I guess. I don’t have a thoughtful analysis for this one, but I really enjoy Craig Thompson’s artwork.
*I almost got kicked out! Adults aren’t allowed in that section unless it’s during school hours. Thankfully, it appears I can still pass for an older teen. Also, who decided that adults don’t like graphic novels, too? Why are they in such an inaccessible spot? I am hearing about this happening in libraries pretty frequently these days and it makes me sad.
I had been following Maureen Johnson’s tweets for several weeks before I found this book at the library bookstore. She has a great charm and wit about her, and I was curious to see how that would translate into her writing.
I was not disappointed. Even though they are seniors in high school, I related on some level with all three of the members of “the Bermudez Triangle”: Nina, the studious, hyper-involved overachiever with a huge heart; Avery, the musically gifted and impulsive rebel; and Mel, the sweet, shy friend who must grow up very quickly once she embraces who she really is.*
One of my favorite things about the book was Johnson’s treatment of the girls’ sexualities. One is definitely straight, another definitely gay, and another definitely confused. She doesn’t automatically equate “confused” with “bi” (although that is addressed quite eloquently somewhere in the dialogue) and did not romanticize the character’s fluid sexuality. The character was truly CONFUSED, with all the good and bad that comes along with it.
I have more to say but my reflections are rife with spoilers. The bottom line is that this is something I’d want my daughter/niece to read when she gets into high school. Of course, by the time this happens, my daughter/niece might relate to Nina, Avery, and Mel in the same way that I relate to Nancy Drew. But I will persevere in my quest!
*I don’t necessarily relate on these levels. For descriptive purposes only.
I find myself particularly intrigued by younger people who have heard their cohort called “The Dumbest Generation,” who are continually told that their addiction to multiple simultaneous stimuli renders them incapable of the seriously focused and singleminded attention that the reading of big thick books requires. Some of them are defiant in response to such charges, but most at least half-believe them. Told over and over again that they can’t read, they begin to wonder why they should even try.
– Excerpt from Alan Jacobs’ The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction
I once heard someone make the comment that we spend most of our lives staring at glowing rectangles.
I have a list of books that I want to have read. Sometimes I want to have read a book so badly that it sucks the joy out of the actual process of reading. I cram. Then, when someone wants to talk about the book, I can’t remember a thing about it. I can’t even tell them what I liked or disliked about it.
As a child I read voraciously. Now I find it difficult to sit still in silence and JUST read. There are occasions when I am overcome with the desire to sit and read, and it usually happens during the most inopportune times. When I’m shelving books in the fiction section of the library, for example, all of a sudden my legs start to give the moment I find an interesting book and I have to fight not to sit down in the middle of the aisle, propped against a book cart. It helps to think about how disgusting public library carpets are. But I wish those moments would happen when I’m in my room, staring at my own bookshelves.
Quickest read of the year so far because of the length and the interesting narrative style. The imagery is also fantastic: the sun changes colors, the watermelons change colors along with the sun, the trout glow in the stream. And everything in the commune (iDEATH) is made of watermelon sugar.