The leader of our Bookmarked review group, Elizabeth Kahn, is always looking for new ways to keep her students engaged and entertained. Elsewhere in this issue of SLJTeen, you can read about a recent visit to her library by Ruta Sepetys, author of the award-winning Between Shades of Gray (Philomel, 2011). Elizabeth also recently wrangled a stop from Cory Doctorow, who is on the road promoting his latest title, Pirate Cinema (Tor Teen, 2012). Her advice on getting authors to visit your school or library? Just ask—the worst they can say is, “No,” and odds are, eventually you’re going to hear, “Yes.”
ROWELL, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. St. Martin’s Griffin. February 2013. Tr. $18.99. ISBN 9781250012579.
Gr 9 Up—It’s 1986, and Eleanor and Park are sophomores in high school. As if life as a teenager isn’t already challenging enough, both are dealing with difficulties at home as they struggle to find themselves. They find solace in one another and even more than that—they find love. Family conflicts, as well as ones at school, put their love through a test neither ever expected.
I was drawn to the book because of its simple but eye-catching cover, a cover that, I soon discovered, is the perfect illustration for the novel. Despite the fact that the story takes place almost 30 years ago, it was easy to connect with these characters. I fell in love with them, as they did with one another, and spent many moments frustrated with the obstacles that they had to overcome to be together. Rowell’s Eleanor & Park taught me about first loves and also about the importance of keeping an open mind—because sometimes the people you meet on a whim are the people who will change your life forever.—Destiny B., age 15
CROMPTON, Laurie Boyle. Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains). Sourcebooks Fire. February 2013. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781402273438.
Gr 9 Up—High school senior Blaze doesn’t have much of a social life; she spends her time driving her brother and his friends to soccer games in her minivan and only breaks from her soccer-mom lifestyle when IM’ing with her two best (and only) friends, reading comic books, or fantasizing about the soccer coach, Mark. When Mark seems to take an interest in Blaze, things start to shake up a little bit for her. Blaze is completely smitten, but Mark has ulterior motives that lead to revenge and humiliation for both parties involved. Soon, Blaze is facing family issues, a ruined reputation, and no social life. But with the help of her brother and his friends, a cute comic nerd named Quentin, and a killer collection of some of the best comic books ever written, maybe Blaze can pull through.
Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillians) starts out as an exciting and fun story about an average teenage girl. But unfortunately, the novel soon becomes predictable and slow. Too many conflicts are introduced without being fully resolved. The comic book references are a nice touch, even for me, even though I’m not really a fan of comic books. Overall, Blaze left a lot to be desired.—Kayla T., age 16
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