Archive for April 16, 2010

Food, Girls and Other Things I Can’t Have

I recently put out a display and created a book list featuring books about body issues. There’s a lot of really great teen fiction dealing with everything from eating disorders, hating a big nose, weight acceptance, and dealing with teasing. A lot of the books feature a funny (girl) protagonist who has a makeover and learns a lesson when she tries to become someone who they aren’t. Okay, so now you don’t have to read the books, since I gave away the endings.
But wait!
There’s a lot that can happen within the confines of that formula.
In the book Food, Girls and Other Things I Can’t Have, by Allen Zadoff, the formula is stretched to include male body issues. And I’m going to really streeeetch the metaphor to include Andy Zansky and all of his 306.4 pound glory. Andy is a sophomore who is the second fattest kid in his school. This is somehow worse than being the fattest, because he doesn’t even get the satisfaction of being the fattest. He is a Model U.N. member, a good student, and has a crush on the new girl in town, April. Andy is comfortable fading away in the background, not being noticed by anyone.
After an embarrassing gym class incident, he is approached by the football coach about playing center for the team. He’s a big guy, but they think he can be molded into the right kind of big. So, by forging his mom’s signature on the permission form, Andy begins to play, and realizes he has an “in” to help him with April and becoming popular: his new-found buddy and class hottie O. Douglas. He’s a god among the student population and everyone knows and loves him. Can Andy ride the wave of popularity, learn how to play football and get the girl – without losing his true self in the end? Well, pick up the book to find out.
I really enjoyed the main character, Andy and felt he was very true-to-life. His relationships with his family and friends were well-developed and you really root for him and hope he’ll forge his own path by the end of the book.
If you are interested in other books on this topic, stop by the 3rd floor to check out the display and book list , “Rock What You Got: A book list about body issues”.
Sharon Long
Teen Services Librarian

The Good Earth – Classic Book Review

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Book review by Katherine Kuang
A farmer’s life is not easy; it is unstable, fully dependent on nature’s whims. The long days of toiling in the fields with the sun scorching your back and sweat dripping down your face are endless, but what you reap at harvest time is often well worth the back-breaking work. In Pearl S. Buck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Good Earth, the life of a man tied to the earth in more ways than one is told. Buck illustrates with beautiful vivid language the hardships of a farmer trying to survive on the land of his ancestors and enrich it for generations to come. The story is truly one for the ages because while it is set in early 20th century rural China before the onset of the ground-shaking Communist Revolution, it will touch the heart of anyone who understands the dignity of hard work especially when rooted in survival.
The timely masterpiece is the perfect blend of heart and thought because it appeals to your emotions as well as your brain. It makes you think about your life in terms of the big picture. What is the meaning of life? We may never find out in our lifetime, but a decent answer is to be the best that we can be, to leave a mark on the world and make it a better place. Sure, the protagonist Wang Lung loses his way a few times during his climb up the Chinese social hierarchy, but what’s important in the end is his far-reaching influence on his family. A beautiful illustration of the cycle of life that encompasses the universal theme of ambition, The Good Earth is a must-read that no wonder won Pearl S. Buck the Nobel Peace Prize and has stood as a classic for many decades.
[Note: this was the first classic book review, but if anyone would like to review a classic or a new Young Adult title for the blog, please contact me at Thanks!]
Sharon Long
Teen Services Librarian

Best of Glee on April 6th

OMG! Did you see the Glee season finale? No? Well, Tuesday might be your chance to catch up with what you missed before the new episodes air.
Best of Glee – we’ll be showing 2 episodes from the hit Fox series Glee in the theater (onthe big screen) on Tuesday, April 6 from 2-4:00. Please come and bring your Glee-loving friends. You can still vote on which of the 2 episodes we’ll air by coming into TeenSpace, but act fast!
Glee returns on Tuesday, April 13th!!!
Sharon Long
Teen Services Librarian