Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Reading Greenlit and more....

 No doubt inspired by the movie, The Fault in our Stars, several articles about GreenLit have crossed my screen recently. A.J.Jacobs seems to be the person who coined the term for “realistic stories told by a funny, self-aware teenage narrator”. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/12/books/review/winger-by-andrew-smith.html?_r=2&

Most of the more recent articles were highly critical of the term, one declaring it “so damn reductive in how we talk about YA books”. http://www.stackedbooks.org/2013/05/the-reductive-approach-to-ya.html 

The following may or may not be Greenlit but all are contemporary, set in the real world, have humorous moments, and are worth reading. 

Rainbow Rowell Fangirl (Pan MacMillan) 

Eleanor and Park was one of the best books I read last year. Fangirl is different and, for me, much less poignant but still a very readable coming of age story.  Cath, a fanfiction writer with a very large following, and her identical twin Wren have moved away to college.  Wren has moved into a room with another person, become a party goer and is living life to the fullest.  Cath is lost and so shy that she lives on protein bars rather than risk moving outside her room to find the canteen.  Eventually she becomes ready to try new experiences, meet new people and learn about love. 

Kate Gordon Writing Clementine (Allen & Unwin) (to be released July 2014).

This is another coming of age, struggle for identity story about a young wannabe writer.  Through a series of letters to her teacher, 14 year old Clementine reveals her confusion at the changes in her friends (who’ve become boy crazy), the changes in her family which she feels she should “fix”, and an introduction to new people and new experiences in the form of a Steampunk Society. Writing Clementine is set in a public high school in north western Tasmania. It is a heart-warming story which should inspire young people to live their own lives and not be clones of their friends. 

Bill Condon The Simple Things (Allen & Unwin)

This doesn’t qualify as Greenlit as it is for Younger Readers rather than Young Adults but nevertheless it’s a delightful story.  Eight year old Stephen has to spend his holidays with his mother and father and his grumpy old great aunt Lola. His only communication with her has been brief “thank you” notes for birthday and Christmas presents. After a rocky start, they develop a firm friendship.  Meanwhile, with the help of next door neighbour, Norm Smith and his grand daughter Allie, Stephen learns the simple things – fishing, climbing trees, cricket and family. 

Erin Jade Lange Dead Ends (Faber)

This story is gritty realism with many surprising twists.  It centres on the relationship between two outcasts, Dane, a 16 year old with anger management issues, and Billy D., a highly-functioning boy with Down's Syndrome. Billy D. believes that he can find his father by solving riddles and Dane is forced to help.  

Gabrielle Zevin The Collected Works of A.J.Fikry (Little Brown)

This is marketed as Adult in Australia and Crossover in USA.  AJ is a widowed bookseller compiling a list of short stories for Maya, his adopted daughter.  This story is an affirmation of the love of reading and of books. 

While not really interested in discussing the furore around the term “Greenlit” and very much acknowledging that there are countless better authors (many of whom are Australian), I’d like to hear your suggestions about more recent contemporary and funny YA titles.


1 comment:

  1. Well! I got all excited when I read the title of this blog - at last, a feature on books for children on Green issues! Perhaps that sets me off on preparing for my next blog......