1. Parent Magazine's Camp Mom has a whole bunch of book lists by age on their site. When you visit, expect ads. It's a magazine. That's how they roll.
2. I just returned from a StoryFUSION committee meeting at Northampton Community College. This festival is HUGE with events Thursday, Friday, Saturday AND Sunday, March 29th through April 1st. I will tell you much, much more tomorrow on Storytelling Thursday.
3. So, book reviews. I am finally reading Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Here's a warning. This is not a good, relaxing bedtime read. Once you get used to the narrator's annoyingly self-absorbed self-deprecating remarks, this book is hilarious. It's sad, too, but mostly, it's laugh out loud funny.
I haven't reached the end, though, so maybe it gets depressing. But I laughed so hard - several times - last night that I jazzed myself awake. My poor long-suffering husband retreated to the sofa. Yeah, it's that funny.
And when I finally decided that I had to close the book, I lay there trying to figure out how I would tell people about this book. Here's the set up. Greg Gaines has managed to reach senior year of high school without committing to any group, doing any extra-curricular activities, or making any friends - except for Earl, his film-making buddy. He is a "normal" teenager who has decided that invisibility is the key to survival. His attempts to remain under the radar have succeeded so far but they create a great deal of anxiety for him.
Then, his mother emotionally strong-arms him into visiting Rachel, a girl he "dated" in sixth grade. (Do sixth-graders even go on dates? What? They're 11!). Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia and is pretty darn sick. The book is about Greg's attempts to "cheer up" poor Rachel. Then he gets Earl involved and the films he and Earl hoped would never see the light of the screen are shared in an attempt to keep Rachel's spirits up.
To Greg and to the reader, Rachel is a shadow character, there to reflect (Do shadows reflect? See, now Greg has me doing this questioning-the-writing-as-it-goes thing.) Greg's lack of self-esteem and to convince him that he is a loser supreme. OK, SHE doesn't convince him; his own self-loathing convinces him that he is a loser. She actually likes him and his films.
I am two thirds through the book. I hope that Greg manages to keep his act together and graduate. Right now, he is concentrating on Rachel so much he's blowing off his school work. I hope one of his films is shown to be a work of genius - comic perhaps. Or, that he manages to accept that he can't be a total loss if he worries so much about keeping someone else happy. I hope that IF Rachel dies - and I'm not sure she will though that's because I am an eternal optimist - that her death is not sobbing-pathetic.
There's a lot of Teen Guy specific bad language and obsessions in this books - just a head's up.
Oh, I just went to the publisher's page for this book and I have to go finish it - RIGHT NOW!!
ADDENDUM: I finished the book. The publisher's blurb promises something and the book delivered it - in a totally consistent way. I was a little worried there that this book would be - um - socially redemptive in a smarmy way. No worries. No smarminess involved.