Category Archives: Coming of Age
“When the world isn’t selling what you’re looking to buy, you just have to take it upon yourself to cut your own pattern” (Murphy 305).
So much YA is coming-of-age stories, and Pumpkin by Julie Murphy is no exception to that rule. Since adolescence is a time of identity formation it’s really no big surprise that YA novels focus on protagonists accepting or rejecting identities–either identities they’ve formed or those thrust upon them by the world–and finding their place in their world.
10 days ago, I was in Lititz, PA. It is a cute little town with an AMAZING independent bookstore, Aaron’s Books. Aaron’s Books is a small store, but it is beautifully curated. I found myself needing to practice restraint, or I would have blown all my vacation money in one spot. I left Aaron’s with the newest Nicola Yoon–signed edition–the newest Julie Murphy–also a signed edition–three Selena Montgomery paperbacks, and the newest A.S. King–also signed. In fact Aaron’s is Amy King’s local bookstore, so they had every single one of her books signed.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins has been on my tbr list for a loooooong time. However, I just never found myself getting it to read. Until I happened upon the pretty 10th Anniversary Edition in my local Barnes and Noble.
It felt like fate was telling me to put this book on my summer reading list. So I did. There was a lot about this book I really loved–despite not being the intended audience.
I can’t tell you exactly why I put The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand on my nook. It was probably on Book Bub, and it probably sounded good. It also probably compared it to Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. But for whatever reason it ended up on my nook, it ended up being the next book up to be read. And it’s the same as Thirteen Reasons Why in that both protagonists are struggling to understand why another character committed suicide.
In addition to teaching 8th grade ELA, I also teach Research Methods and Capstone Writing in the Urban Teaching Residency (UTR) program in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) at UPenn. (That knowledge and $1.25–if you have EZ Pass–will get you across the Delaware on Rt 295 in Mercer Co.) As it’s May, I’m just finishing up reading my students’ theses for completion of their Master’s Degree. One of my students designed her study to be a case study of two formerly incarcerated men. She wanted to find out how their former incarceration affected their children’s education. One of the men received a pardon, and the other is going through the pardon process. What she found and wrote about was heartbreaking.