December 11, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

‘Gatsby’ and ‘Brideshead Revisited’ Readalikes for Teens | SLJ Spotlight

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Teens are often fascinated with stories about how the other half lives. Here are two titles that give them a sumptuous peek:

Finch_The_Last_Enchantments_SpotlightFINCH, Charles. The Last Enchantments. 336p. St. Martin’s. 2014. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781250018717; ebk. $11.99. ISBN 9781250018700.

Will, an American at Oxford University, never wants what he has, whether it’s his longtime girlfriend whom he left behind in NYC, the townie girl with whom he has a few flings, or any of the possibilities open to him at the end of college. But he also doesn’t have what he wants, namely, the even more maddening Sophie. Will’s melancholy realization, “I think of it sometimes, and feel sad to contemplate how it will be, this place I love so much, finished with me before I finish with it” is likely to resonate with teens coming into their own sense of an ending as they go on to their next life stages.–Jamie Watson, Baltimore County Public Library, MD (Excerpted from Adult Books 4 Teens blog)

PHILPOT, Chelsey. Even in Paradise. 368p. HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.Philpot_EveninParadise-Spotlight99. ISBN 9780062293695; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062293718. LC 2013047956.

Gr 9 Up –Julia Buchanan is an enigma with a famous name—thanks to her father, a former senator. When she arrives at St. Anne’s boarding school in her junior year, the other students observe her from a distance, assuming they know everything about her because of what they’ve heard. Charlotte Ryder, a scholarship student, doesn’t even give much thought to Julia until a random act of kindness brings them together. The girls quickly form the kind of close friendship that, to the outside world, looks like they’re falling in love. An artist who collects objects to remind her of special moments, Charlotte savors every second she spends with Julia. Being Julia’s best friend introduces her to a new normal: sneaking out of the dorms at night, spending summers in Nantucket, and keeping dark secrets. As Charlotte spends more time with Julia and the rest of the Buchanans, she begins to love them all as though they were her own family, and they come to rely on her to keep Julia from falling apart. There is tragedy in the Buchanan past, and Charlotte’s need to know the truth—and her growing feelings for Julia’s older brother, Sebastian—threaten to disrupt a delicate balance. Philpot’s debut is a mournful meditation on the intensity of love in all its forms: familial, platonic, and romantic. Inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the text blends elements from these novels to create something that is a modern romance and classic tragedy. Readers who enjoy deep explorations of emotions and human frailty will relish this work.–Joy Piedmont, LREI, New York City

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