JEAN AND JOHNNY

When fifteen-year-old Jean Jarrett transfers her affections from television idol Kip Ladish to an arrogant classmate, the whole kaleidoscope of adult relationships overwhelms her. Socially inept, Jean's impulse is to act without guile in her pursuit of her new found beau, a strategy which time and experience prove to be ineffective. Her transformation from a drab little girl to a poised young lady, her trial and error struggle to adapt herself to a feminine role, set against a mid-western small town background, are treated in a refreshing manner. Beverly Cleary is perhaps better known for her books (Henry Huggins and others) for younger readers, but The Luckiest Girl and Fifteen gave her rating with Junior High and up. Hers is a revealing looking glass for the many readers who will instinctively identify themselves with Jean.

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 1959

ISBN: 0380728052

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1959

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HATCHET

A prototypical survival story: after an airplane crash, a 13-year-old city boy spends two months alone in the Canadian wilderness. In transit between his divorcing parents, Brian is the plane's only passenger. After casually showing him how to steer, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. In a breathtaking sequence, Brian maneuvers the plane for hours while he tries to think what to do, at last crashing as gently and levelly as he can manage into a lake. The plane sinks; all he has left is a hatchet, attached to his belt. His injuries prove painful but not fundamental. In time, he builds a shelter, experiments with berries, finds turtle eggs, starts a fire, makes a bow and arrow to catch fish and birds, and makes peace with the larger wildlife. He also battles despair and emerges more patient, prepared to learn from his mistakes—when a rogue moose attacks him and a fierce storm reminds him of his mortality, he's prepared to make repairs with philosophical persistence. His mixed feelings surprise him when the plane finally surfaces so that he can retrieve the survival pack; and then he's rescued. Plausible, taut, this is a spellbinding account. Paulsen's staccato, repetitive style conveys Brian's stress; his combination of third-person narrative with Brian's interior monologue pulls the reader into the story. Brian's angst over a terrible secret—he's seen his mother with another man—is undeveloped and doesn't contribute much, except as one item from his previous life that he sees in better perspective, as a result of his experience. High interest, not hard to read. A winner.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1987

ISBN: 1416925082

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1987

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A messy, imperfect, and necessary portrayal of a drastically underrepresented identity.

LOVELESS

A British teen works on accepting her aro-ace identity.

Eighteen-year-old White British Georgia is tired of feeling different. She loves the theoretical idea of romance and isn’t opposed to reading a steamy fanfic now and then, but real-life romantic and sexual experiences make her feel squicky. Heading off to Durham University, she’s determined that if she tries hard enough, she can have these types of attractions despite not understanding how her friends can be “out there just craving genitals and embarrassment.” When she and her two best friends—masc-leaning Colombian British lesbian Pip and White cishet Jason—join her new roommate Rooney’s attempt to revive their uni’s Shakespeare Society, drama abounds. Rooney and Pip feud and flirt, Georgia and Jason attempt to date despite Jason’s clear interest and Georgia’s clear apathy, friendships are ruined, friendships are repaired. Outgoing pansexual Rooney’s supposedly sex-positive attitude is undermined by her use of hookups as a method of self-harm. Georgia’s third-year mentor, nonbinary Indian Sunil, is a homoromantic asexual, and her older cousin Ellis is aro-ace, but their main functions are to facilitate infodumping centered on Georgia’s experiences rather than to provide rich explorations of the impact of intersectional identities. Readers should be prepared for many pages of Georgia’s vivid, unrelenting internalized aro- and ace-phobia, making this an incredibly validating mirror, an eye-opening window, or, for some, a read where the pain may outweigh the gain.

A messy, imperfect, and necessary portrayal of a drastically underrepresented identity. (resources) (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75193-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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