Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and (more than a) Bit of a Rant....

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath writes Simon Snow fan fiction; spending her time writing, rewriting, and hanging out in Simon Snow forums. She and her twin sister Wren have always done things together-dressed the same, written together, and had the same friends. But now the twins are headed to college and entering a whole new world. Fangirl is a wonderfully written coming of age tale complete with fan fiction, first loves, and family heartbreaks.

Let me begin by saying brava to Ms. Rowell for a book well crafted. Themes of betrayal, rivalry, abandonment, and independence flow throughout the book. Rowell even deals with mental illness in a very honest way. Beautifully written and poignant, I could not put this book down.  

I'd love to rally behind this book and recommend it highly to each and every reader, but this being a children's book blog I have to be honest when I say that I can't. I love, love, love this book-it's amazing and I'm all for kids having access to all kinds of books. No book bans here! But I'm not for kids having access to books with themes and ideas that are just flat out inappropriate for their age. Fangirl has alcohol, sex, and mature themes. Children don't need to be sheltered, but they need to have some understanding of what they're reading. Parents: if you choose to let your child read this book, be sensible and read it before them or read it together.

And here's the rant - or my two cents about finding books that are a good fit for your reader.

The Young Adult genre in literature is relatively new. When I was growing up (yes, in the dark ages) "Young Adult" wasn't the booming genre that it is today. There were books for children and then there were books for adults. Anything in the middle usually ranged from classics to the Sweet Valley High series that my mom forbade me to read. Sometimes I wish that publishers would determine a book to be "Young Young Adult" or "Older Young Adult." I would imagine that they can come up with a more creative title, but the idea is there. Please use caution when choosing what to allow your tween or young teen to read. Just because it's at the library or a friend is reading it, doesn't mean that it's appropriate for your child. Read together or choose to preview their books. Be available to talk about these very mature themes and questions that they kids might have. Give this book a try, but please carefully consider your child's ability to handle adult subjects and language.

Finding books that are appropriate and provide kids well crafted, challenging material can be frustrating and feel impossible as a parent or teacher. It is our responsibility as adults to help our kids find "good fit books" or books that are on par with our children's abilities, personalities, and disposition.

Now get out there and read on!


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