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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Burning Bleeding Brilliance

girlfirethorns1 198x300 Burning Bleeding BrillianceA big thank you to all who encouraged me to take a second, closer look at The Girl of Fire and Thorns, which I did last week, just before the Morris Shortlist came out.

It’s really pretty marvelous. It’s full on fantasy—no urban or paranormal modifiers needed, no fairy tale retellings or alternate history to be seen. In fact, examined closely, there are tiny hints that this is a Pern sort of fantasy with a science fiction underpinning (this is a new world, one not meant for humans).

So, it’s straight up fantasy (aside from that tantalizing hint about the unknown backstory), but it avoids almost all the tropes: Elisa is not a spunky girl or a badass princess or a typical damsel in distress; she’s smart but lazy; destined for greatness but full of doubts—although also with enough backbone to push through them. She’s lousy at being a princess but she might just be an amazing queen, and the journey she takes from one pole to the other makes for some great reading. It’s also, from the characterization angle, difficult writing: a first person narrator, who needs to tell us all the ways she’s kind of a mess and all the ways she’s becoming fierce and fearsome, without become so telly that it becomes plodding and didactic is no small task to write.

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Roundup

divergent1 198x300 RoundupSo, I’ve been pretty busy lately.

One of the things keeping me busy is the launch of an annual outside reading project I do with my 9th graders, called Read, Write, Recommend, which involves independent recreational reading and Goodreads. It’s an awesome project and I am really proud of it and someday (someday!) I will write a whole article about it because it has been fantastic at getting students reading and talking about books.

Anyway, a huge part of RWR is the recommend element, and at the start of the year, many of the recommendations are in the form of reader’s advisory consults with me (later in the year, they’ll be recommending more to each other while I hover around holding up shiny new books). I love love love standing in the library with a dozen students crowded around me asking for books and asking have I read this or that or do I have something they’ll like given a past love of X,Y, or Z.

And as I’ve stood there passing out book recommendations and basking in the thanks the next day, I’ve been thinking about how books fall into a number of categories:

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