In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Friday, July 6, 2012

37 THINGS I LOVE by Kekla Magoon

copyright date: May 2012
primarily marketed for: young adults (14 and up)

Kekla Magoon is the amazing author who won me over with The Rock and the River (historical fiction) and captured my heart with Camo Girl (contemporary realistic fiction).  I have been waiting impatiently for her latest book 37 Things I Love to be released.  Did you know she will be our visiting author for the 2012-2013 school year?  I. Can’t. Wait.

37 Things I Love has been described as Magoon’s first book that is really meant for a high school audience.  I agree.  Although, I think mature 8th grade readers will also appreciate this story.

High school sophomore Ellis is struggling to remain positive in the face of some major challenges.  Her father is on life support, putting strain on her relationship with her mother, and her best friend is becoming increasingly self-centered and self-destructive.  With little support around her, Ellis turns to a past friend when she rediscovers comfort in the old relationship.  Only that relationship doesn’t turn out to be quite what it seems either, and Ellis is faced with another dilemma.  As she begins to confront each of the challenges in her life, Ellis’s story turns into that of a teenage girl trying to grow up.

Each of the chapters that tell her story begins with one of the 37 things she loves accompanied by a short subtitled explanation.  It is even amongst these chapter titles that we are treated to Magoon’s method of crafting a deeper meaning into a simple idea.  Take Chapter 8’s title, for instance, “The Dark: There’s something perfect about not being able to see too far ahead.”  As is characteristic of Magoon’s work, there is both a literal meaning here and a much deeper metaphoric meaning. 

37 Things I Love is a story that will tug at your heart, nudge you out of your comfort zone, and remind you what true friendship really is.

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