I am attracted to teen angst books. You might say that all books about teens must be about angst, it being their overriding M.O. But some books are really about angst, and I just love ’em. It must say something about my need to process my own teenage years over and over again by reading these books, but we’ll not go there.
What I Call Life, by Jill Wolfson, drew me in with its title, which reminded me of the long-gone but excellent series My So-Called Life. And the book was... okay. The girl’s mother has an mental episode in a library (always in a library) and the girl is send to a group home until her mother can take her again. There’s an interesting cast of characters, lots of self-discovery and knitting. ’Cause knitting is the new thing, y’know.
Spitting Image, by Shutta Crum, jumped off the shelf at me. Not literally, or this would be an entirely different entry. It is an interesting book about a girl growing up in poor, rural Kentucky in the early sixties. I enjoyed it and felt invested in the character. Good job, Shutta, on a nice transition from writing picture books.
I could have written Flashcards of My Life, but Charise Mericle Harper got there first. This book was so funny, and so true to my own experience of preteen years. It is all girls and friendships and liking boys and first kisses and embarrassing parents and all the things that go with growing up. Perfect for a middle-school girl, or for my peers wanting to relive those horrifying years with some... let’s say, perspective.