Monthly Archives: March 2013

Too much too soon?

At the Nicholas Library, we’re fully supportive of students making their own reading choices. When you read as a teenager, you start to discover new worlds, ideas and issues that you might not have been exposed to before. Sometimes, these things can be a bit confronting, but that’s ok – it’s all part of the learning process. If you start a book and you don’t like it, it’s cool to simply put it down and stop reading.

But there are many people out there who believe that Young Adult fiction should be censored; that young adults should not be exposed to such complex, confronting issues at such a young age. This article was published in The Guardian, and features some of your favourite titles and authors in its discussion. What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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Some of the new stuff!!

The Nicholas Library has just received its latest bulk order of fiction, so we’ve got heaps of new books on display at the moment! Here are three newbies that have caught my eye…

If you like Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. etc…

The latest offering in the dystopian fiction/survival genre is Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi.  Those who have devoured books like the Hunger Games and are ready for more will be interested in this one!

Aria has lived her whol life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim. Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’ searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be the only person who can keep her alive…

If you like chick lit and celebrities…

Lots of students have read (and loved) Wendy Harmer’s previous offering, I Lost My Mobile At The Mall, and are muchos excited about her latest novel, I Made Lattes for a Love God.

Elly Pickering has a juicy secret. A secret her PR mum won’t let her tell anyone because if the kids at Oldcastle High knew that mega-star Jake Blake (yes, THE Jake Blake, teen sensation and all round heart-throb) was coming to Oldcastle to film his latest movie, they might just explode with excitement. Elly is determined to get on set and to get more than a glimpse of her Hollywood crush. But now thanks to an unfortunate incident involving a car, a red handbag and the paparazzi, it looks like Elly’s lost a lot more than her opportunity to be close to Hollywood royalty. She’s lost her dignity, her job and her best friend. How can she get everything back to normal? 

If you like to be scared…

Most people never consider reading short stories, but they really are the way to go if you have a busy school schedule.  The latest offer from Joyce Carol Oates is a series of scary/creept/eerie/disturbing novellas entitled the Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares. Read one or all of them, but perhaps not right before you go to sleep!

Marissa is an innocent girl, with hair the colour of corn-silk. She does not hold others in strange thrall, as some young women do, she obeys her parents, she does not stay late after school, lingering on her walk through the swaying heads of maize. She is the perfect sacrifice…

Book Review: Alex as Well

I’ve read a few books by Alyssa Brugman before, and she likes to deal with some of the tough issues that teenagers have to face.  Her latest novel, Alex As Well, is probably one of the more confronting YA novels I have ever read.

What do you do when everyone says you’re someone you’re not?

Adolescence is all about changes – big changes.  But what happens if you’ve been living your life as a boy when you know deep down that you’re a girl? Alex is born with a condition that means she has both boy bits and girl bits. So what is she/he? Her parents raised her as a boy, but sixteen year old Alex has begun to realise her true identify – as a girl. In a series of rapid changes, she decides to stop taking her medication, change schools and begin living the way she’s always wanted.  But her masculine side is not giving way so easily, and she has to deal with the controlling nature of her parents and the pressure of fitting in with the girls at school.

This novel is both confronting and heartwarming.  Brugman presents Alex as two people – both her feminine and masculine sides – and it works really well. Narrated by Alex, the novel is interspersed with blog posts from her mother, so we get to see all perspectives on what is a very difficult situation. It’s difficult to like either of Alex’s parents, and I couldn’t help but cheer on ‘Vic’ a person who posts challenging comments on Alex’s mum’s blog.

In many ways, this novel is about an issue that most of us would struggle to identify with, yet Brugman manages to normalise an abnormal situation, making Alex a strong, vulnerable, funny and determined person that we can barrack for.  Gender identify may not be an issue for many of us, but the general notion of identity and finding a place in the world is pretty universal.

This is a really interesting book that you will not forget easily. I recommend it for Year 9 students and above.

I give it four stars!