Showing posts with label realistic fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label realistic fiction. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2016

Reality Scoop

I have been interested in writing about the issues of teens and have found that many of the issues that they face are very difficult.  Since I read so much YA fiction, I have seen that there a lot of books that tackle teen topics in a very sensitive and conscious manner.  A few years ago I started to write about real topics that teens are dealing with such as depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, stress, and other mental health issues and pair these topics up with YA realistic fiction books in a column I called Reality Scoop.  I came up with this idea because I feel like many teens could relate to issues they might be dealing with by reading books they can check out from their library.

Here are a few articles that I have written for my column Reality Scoop on the YALSA Hub:

Random Acts of Kindness
Holiday Stress Released
Depression in Young Adult Literature
Autism Awareness
Mental Wellness

I'm thinking of continuing Reality Scoop here on this blog and I am currently working on a list of topics for 2017,

This will be a fun writing project for the upcoming year!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reality Scoop - I love Realistic Fiction!

Reality Scoop by Kimberli Buckley

I love Realistic Fiction!
This month I want to take a look at something totally different. Think about this… YA books can actually save lives! Yes, this is an ode to Realistic Fiction that shows us teen tragedy and hard luck circumstances. Whether or not you are someone with excellent grades and no drug record, chances are you know of someone who has struggled in school, struggled with friends and grades, probably smoked, maybe they experimented, maybe they even took risks. And if you didn’t know someone in real life, you knew a fictional character that experienced all of that, and it opened your eyes to hardships in life. That’s right, YA books teach us a lot and they say to us “You’re not alone,” you could also say that YA books mirror reality. And it’s because of this terrifyingly perfect, realistic depiction of teen tragedy that some of the best realistic YA books have been banned.

Realistic Fiction is not only for escapism, but also a place of comfort, a home for those who feel they have nowhere to turn, that no one understands. Many YA authors are successful because their readers respond to realistic depictions of teen issues, such as death, sickness, abuse, or drugs. These kinds of stories aren’t a one-size-fits-all teens, but it can provide a powerful presence for the teens that have experienced some of life’s more difficult events.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48% of teen deaths are caused by unintentional injuries, and 73% of those injuries were from vehicle accidents. 11% of deaths are from suicide, and 6% are from cancer. Through realistic fiction, YA literature allows readers to sympathize with the girl or boy in the back of the classroom, silent and misunderstood, holing up their problems and blaming themselves for sad events that have happened to them. If we can learn about hardship and suffering through a book, then maybe we can begin to understand what it’s like for those that have difficult lives.

Here are a few YA books that respect the intelligence of the reader, move the reader, and accurately portray teen tragedy.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira - When Laurel starts writing letters to dead people for a school assignment she begins to spill about her sister's mysterious death, her mother's departure.

Looking for Alaska by John Green - Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at a private school in Alabama is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan - Duncan gets wrapped up in the tragic tale of Tim Macbeth, a former student who had a clandestine relationship with the wrong girl, and his own ill-fated romance with Daisy.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley - Cullen's summer is marked by his cousin's death by overdose and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher - Sixteen-year-old Gemma is abducted while on vacation with her parents and taken to the Australian outback, where she soon realizes that escape attempts are futile.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - high school student Clay Jenkins receives thirteen cassette tapes recorded from his friend Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night recounting the events leading up to her death.

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor - Twelve-year-old Addie tries to cope with her mother's erratic behavior when she and her mother go to live in a small trailer by the railroad tracks

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - Ed Kennedy begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to addresses where people need help, and he begins getting over his lifelong feeling of worthlessness.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky - A tale of adolescence whose hero is Charlie, a high school freshman in Pennsylvania. The novel follows Charlie as he is introduced to love, literature and friendships.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - The struggle of three brothers to stay together after their parent's death and their quest for identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society.

Happy to Reading to You!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finding Your Way Through Hard Times

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

This month I read the very amazing Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. The title kind of throws you off a bit because maybe you are wondering what does the knife have to do with it and how does it affect the memory. Well, I can tell you all about that! Anderson is one of my favorite authors because he writes with such honesty and grit. She has bravely touched upon very sensitive topics such as rape, eating disorders, suicide and addiction. In doing so, she has helped build the current landscape of contemporary young adult literature. Anderson writes the hard truth, stirs up the debate and discussion among both fans and objectors, and ultimately has created the long overdue conversations about the real issues teenagers face every day.

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own. Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over?
The Impossible Knife of Memory portrays a growing, complex problem particularly relevant in the United States today: the devastating ripple effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. After five years of being home-schooled on the road with her truck-driver Dad, Andy, a veteran who is tormented by memories of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hayley Kincain finally has a home. But instead of finding a fresh new start her senior year at public school, Hayley is barely getting by. She feels lost and alone in the sea of “normal” students that she refers to as zombies, Hayley never knows if her Dad is having a good day or a bad day, unfortunately until it is too late. He has been drinking so heavily and so much that he goes into rages and then blacks out.
Hayley’s only friend, Gracie, knows Hayley is struggling, but she’s busy with her own problems —Then Hayley meets Finn, a sharp-witted boy who manages to bring out the smart, clever girl others don’t see. But Hayley doesn’t trust Finn enough to share her secrets. In fact, she doesn’t trust anyone — and that’s the problem.
Anderson’s portrayal of a family broken by war, death, divorce and addiction is very honest. “Killing people is easier than it should be but staying alive is even harder.” Andy tells a teen on Veteran’s Day. Despite the heavy subject matter, Anderson’s observations offer very realistic and emotional depth and validation to this story. At the heart of it is a tough yet fragile girl who lives in a world with a rocky foundation beneath her feet that is constantly shifting and the relentless challenge to keep balance has worn her out.
The Impossible Knife of Memory is a beautifully written book. I loved how Anderson describes memories and situations. The relationships are heartbreaking, yet there is hope, and I think that’s what makes this book so emotionally draining. There is so much love and yet there is the knowledge that it might not be enough. The supporting characters in this book are full of drama, and distraction, but ultimately help the story and Hayley to come to a place of peace.

Mrs. Librarian Lady is a cool cat who loves to read YA books!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Love, Laughter & Loss + Forgiveness = Real Life

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker (named
after John Lennon), bookworm and band
geek, plays second clarinet and spends her
time tucked safely and happily in the shadow
of her fiery sister Bailey. But when Bailey
dies suddenly, Lennie is catapulted to center
stage of her own life—and, despite her
nonexistent history with boys, finds herself
struggling to balance two. Toby was
Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s
own. Joe is the new boy in town, a
transplant from Paris whose nearly magical
grin is matched only by his musical talent.
For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon;
one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the
other comforts her in it. But just like their
celestial counterparts, they can’t collide
without the whole wide world exploding.
I can safely say The Sky is Everywhere
is one of my favorite books ever. I have never
finished a book and felt this emotional before,
last night when I turned the last page I felt like
crying, laughing, writing and running in a field
to nowhere in particular, and all at the same
time. It’s now been almost 12 hours and I can’t
stop thinking about this book!
I wasn’t really looking for a serious book I just
chose this one because it was sitting on the
shelf in the YA room looking a bit lonely. From
start to finish, my heart broke and got glued
back together more than once and I feel like
the cast of characters are now permanently
stuck to my life. The things from this book that
really stuck with me are how close Lennie and
her sister Bailey were, Joe’s eyelashes (bat,
bat, bat), Toby’s sad eyes and Gram’s

Beautifully written, The Sky is Everywhere
is about loss, grief, pain, healing, hoping and
love. The sudden death of Bailey a vibrant
nineteen-year-old is at the center of the story,
and her family’s struggle to cope is
heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same
time. Bailey and Lennie have been raised by
their grandmother and uncle, as their mother
abandoned them years before. The girls talk
about their mother as if she is on a journey
around the world and she’ll be back someday
to stay. The love stories in this book are
many and multi-layered. They include the
love between sisters, the mother-like love
between grandmother and granddaughter,
and breathtaking head-over-heels first love.
Music and poetry bring together the
instruments of healing for Lennie and her
family in this wonderful story about loss, love
and forgiveness.

Happy Reading To You!!!
Mrs. Librarian Lady

Friday, August 10, 2012

Finding Meaning and Purpose in Your Life

The third book I have read on the YALSA Top Ten Nominees is "What Happened to Goodbye" by Sarah Dessen. I have been a long time fan of Ms. Dessen because I love Realistic Fiction. She writes with such passion and lets the reader dive right into the main characters life and problems. Hope you will read this one because it is very good! What Happened to Goodybye by Sarah Dessen (2011) McLean's parents are divorced and she is struggling to adapt to a life without her parents together. She goes with her dad each times he moves from town to town because he works a restaurant consultant. Each time she moves she changes her name and her persona, sometimes she a sweet prep girl, or a cheerleader or sometimes even a wanna be bad girl. However this new town she has just landed in has managed to reach out and grab her like no other town has before. This time she just might be able to work on becoming the real McLean and also figure out just where she belongs. As she learns more about herself, she realizes that Dave Wade the boy next door may have some excellent words of wisdom. He inspires McLean to search her soul and find out who her "2 a.m. person" will be. Dessen always create such interesting and diverse characters in her books. I loved the deep conversations that McLean has with Dave and with herself. Finding yourself when you are in your teens is sometimes hard and going through divorce with custody issues, having axes to grind, and being stressed over family separations would only make it harder. I think this is a great book for teens to read, especially for those that enjoy realistic fiction! Happy Reading!! ♥ Mrs. Librarian Lady

Perks of Reading "Wallflower"

I just finished reading "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky! This was my second time reading this book and I have to say it was just as good if not better than the first time. This storyteller Charlie is such a sweetie th at you can't help but love him. He tells the story of his first year in high school and how he meets friends and tries new things. He also writes to a person that he calls "Dear Friend" and we never really know who this person is, but in the end I felt like I was the friend that Charlie was writing to. Charlie has so many sad things to tell and also many interesting stories that the book is extremely readable for teens. I'm sure many teens could relate with Charlie's story. Even though it is over 20 years old the "Perks of a Wallflower" is an age old story. I wanted to re-read the book before the movie comes out on September 21st 2012!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Your Best & Worst Night Ever!

"I Love You Beth Cooper" by Larry Doyle 2007

This book is funny in a strange sadistic sort of way. It gives hope to those who go after what they really want and basically don't mind getting smacked in the eye, falling out of a window, almost ran over by a Hummer, losing their pants, and being bitten by a thousand mosquitoes just to be near the one that they adore. I would recommend this book to older teens 16+ that don't mind a few obscenities here and there. Doyle's writing is seriously hilarious and will have you laughing and snickering when some things are inappropriate, yet somehow still funny. I love this book because I can just hear sci fi nerds all over saying hurray for Denis Cooverman! Check out the movie on DVD too it's not too different than the book.

The Final Destiny of Love

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous and majorly hot plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, "The Fault in Our Stars" is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. I hear there is already talk of making this book into a movie. One of my recommendations is to make sure that you are reading this book that you have a whole box of tissues nearby because the last quarter of the book is super emotional. I recommend this book to lovers of realistic fiction. It gets the most points I can give it for being dark,emotional,hopeful and stirring. Way to go John Green you did it again!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Real Deal

This week’s featured genre is realistic fiction. What I find interesting is that I am a huge fantasy lover and at the same time I love to read realistic stories as well. I feel that young adult realistic fiction has a lot to offer teens today because many of the topics focus on the issues that they are going through at the time. Some of the books that I have read lately have touched on suicide, depression, drug addiction, and child abuse. These issues may not come up in the average teens daily lives, but I think that working with teens has brought me a lot of insight on how they think and deal with things and it can be very helpful for them to read fictional stories that help them to understand that the world is a very big place and they are going to encounter so many different issues as they learn and grow and get older. With that said, realistic fiction can sometimes be a downer, but as with all things in life it has its ups and downs, which makes for pretty great reading most of the time. So here are a few of my favorites and I highly recommend that you read them because they are awesome!

"A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it."

~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

As always, Happy Reading To You!

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (2006) Michael Printz Award Honor 2007

What can I say about this book? Well, for starters, it is brilliant and funny and just plain amazing! John Green has a fantastic way of weaving humor into the mundane world and does it with such style that reading this book feels like watching a movie or taking a ride on a Ferris wheel. Colin Singleton is a child prodigy who never made it to a full blown genius and boy that saddens him. He loves to make anagrams and can anagram his ass off in any given situation. Alas, poor Colin has girl issues and he just can't seem to get over the break up with his girlfriend Katherine. Oh and by the way, she is the 19th Katherine that he has gone out with over the course of his 17 year life.
The story just keeps getting funnier and funnier and his best friend Hasan is hilarious too with his smart quips and snide namecalling. The two are always badgering each other with a barrage of insults, but of course there are some compliments in there somewhere I just know it. The two decide to go on a road trip and by golly they end up in some back woods town in Tennessee called Gutshot, and it's there that they meet the adorable Lindsey Lee Wells. From there on things just get funnier because Lindsey has a boyfriend named Colin who the guys nickname TOC which stand for "the other Colin" and Colin decides to come up with a theorem for why he has been dumped by so many Katherines. This lively coming of age tale is wonderfully written and is quite spunky and full of life. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a good book to read that is totally engaging and will have you laughing and crying and cheering in the end for Colin Singleton and his friends. An Abundance of Katherines was also a 2007 Michael Printz Award Honor Book.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan (2010)

I’m gonna start this out by saying that John Green is totally brilliant! Ah, but you knew I was going to say that right? Of course, I also have to give props to David Levithan for this one too. This is one of the few novels written in alternating points of view that I totally loved because it just works. This book is definitely a wild ride for anyone who reads this book. The story is told in two different voices and these voices are two different characters both named Will Grayson.

Even though the book is titled after these two, one thing for sure is that the whole story focuses around the biggest person of all in the story and that is the magnanimous Tiny Cooper. Tiny is such a fun, spontaneous, and joyous young man, and a sheer force of love and power to be reckoned with. That is why both Will Grayson’s find him so irresistible. The first Will Grayson is Tiny’s best friend and confidant, the other is his love interest. By a strange chance meeting the first Will Grayson meets the other in a seedy porn shop called Frenchie’s. This chance meeting alters both of their lives forever. Add to the mix, Tiny’s amazing and genius life story, which is a musical that is written, directed, and produced by none other than Tiny himself. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is an inspirational tale that is creatively written, seductively cool, and so uncontrollably witty you’ll find yourself crying at times and laughing out loud uncontrollably. A must read for anyone that loves a good story!

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams (Simon & Schuster, 2010)

Sisters Lizzie and Hope are only one year apart and best friends until Lizzie suddenly tries to end her life. Hope can’t understand why Lizzie would do such a thing and their mother has never paid much attention to either of them. Hope had been having awful nightmares which she really felt like she was awake and Lizzie had been having crying fits for a long time before she tried to kill herself. What does all of this mean? Hope must figure out the puzzle while Lizzie wastes away in a mental institution, and unravel the secrets that will lead her to save her sister. Written in verse, Williams has created a riveting story that is very edgy and provocative!
This novel caught my attention straight away as it is completely written in verse. It is extremely emotional and written very tastefully. The glimpses we as the reader get into Hope’s life are incredible and as I read I became overwrought with grief for her and her sister. This book reminded me that there are so many children out there being abused even by their own parents, which is really very tragic.
I would recommend this book to older teens that enjoy reading realistic fiction on various life issues. It is a fairly fast read because reading the verses goes a lot faster than regular text. I think this book is for older teens because of the nature of the situations involved in the story and the seriousness of suicide and sexual abuse.