Monday, July 21, 2008

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Stories about Falling in Love by Four Incredible Authors

Niki Burnham begins with her story Last Stand. Toby and Amber have known each other since kindergarten and now in their junior year, they are about to celebrate their first year anniversary. Amber is, as Toby’s best friend puts it, “smokin’ hot!” while Toby is a sax player and fairly all-around nice guy. Their relationship couldn’t be better, until Amber decides that it’s time to go further. Tables are turned when Toby…a GUY…doesn’t want to. Stereotypes fall apart in this short story and the reader gets the chance to see what happens to the nice guy.
Don’t Mind Me by Terri Clark begins with an atypical relationship. The local football god is dating Dee, the local goth chick. After a night at the movies, Dee decides to take Rick where he has wanted to go with her all along. When things starts to get hot and heavy in the truck, they end up in a small accident, in which Dee seriously bumps her head. The effect of the wreck? She can now read minds and what she reads in Rick Travers’s mind is enough to make her sick. A book? About how to bag girls in all the school cliques AND make them say they love you??? Not only is she angry, but she decides to do something about it with her new ability, her best friend, and those that Rick have already ensnared. Readers will cheer for Dee and get to see the bad guy fall.
Ellen Hopkins writes Just Plain Lisa, where the title says it all. A senior in high school, Lisa knows she will go through her last year as a wallflower and accepts that fact as well as the lessons her parents have taught her about standing strong and being true to herself. But then Chet comes into the coffee shop she where she works, and for the first time in her life, Lisa has a boyfriend. Little by little, Lisa begins to change – first her make-up, then her hair, and soon her weight…all to please Chet, who is the one to “suggest” these changes. Has Lisa lost sight of her true self, or is she really doing this for herself? Hopkins hits on an issue that readers will be able to identify with and creates a situation and character that shows both strength and weakness.
Party Foul by Lynda Sandoval ends the novel. Summer romances are the sweetest and Mia has found hers in Paige. Although neither one has come out at school, they both understand each other, and love each other….until the day of the big senior party before school starts. Paige stops texting, stops talking, and completely ignores Mia, which breaks Mia’s heart. Has she been used? Was Paige just experimenting? Mia gets help and understanding from her best friend Allison (also gay, but strictly friends) and together, they decide it’s time that their high school join the 21st century. They start a club for everyone who has ever felt left out or alienated, and it draws some very interesting and surprising members. But will this be enough to mend Paige’s broken heart and the lies she’s been subjected to? Sandoval treats this theme with respect in a world where experimentation and alienation are becoming major parts of a teen’s life.
This book will capture the teen girl readers and hold their hearts as they read through these short stories. From breaking a stereotype to exacting revenge to changing to please others and a look at redemption, girls will find one story they can relate to. Akin to Tanya Lee Stone’s “A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl,” this book will be sure to fly off the shelves and passed around from hand to hand. Keep plenty of copies handy! Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Stories about Falling Out of Love by Four Incredible Authors. (2008). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Naomi -- One of my fellow teen librarians clued me into your awesome review of Breaking Up. Thank you SO much for the great review. I'm so pleased you enjoyed our stories.