I read FOUR books this weekend. I was sick and trying to stay as still as possible and so I channeled Ms. Alissa and sat my ass down and read. :)
First, I read Fat Cat by Robin Brande. I loved Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature, but this one was a little off the mark for me. I liked the general idea of looking at body image and health through the lens of science, but in the end, I thought the message got swallowed by the inevitable romance. Why can't fat girls decide that they don't need boys to be happy?!? Anyway, it's a fun read for someone who likes high school drama romances.
Then, because I was on the body image theme, I picked up Purge. I haven't read many teen novels specifically about bulimia. It seems like authors stick to anorexia... or am I missing something?
Anyway, I thought this was a pretty good portrayal of a complex eating disorder. Because it takes place in a hospital, the author is able to brake down some stereotypes about eating disorders and gender, etc. I especially liked the fact that the parents had breakthroughs of their own. While it wasn't as beautifully written as Winter Girls, it was still a decent novel about an important topic.
After all that girl drama, I picked up Ostrich Boys. I LOVED this story. How often do we get to look into the murky world of grieving boys? Never. This is a great exploration of the confusion and guilt and anger that goes along with the grief of losing a best friend. The end is neither neat nor sappy, but it definitely does the job. I suspect that a lot of boys will pick this one up because it's a great adventure story about 3 goofy 15 year olds on a haphazard roadtrip. But the deeper messages about friendship will get through.
Ok, so this one is short... and that's the best thing I can say about it. I know it will appeal to reluctant readers because it's about teen pregnancy and it can be read in an afternoon. But, I found the tone to be lacking. This story is written in verse like Ellen Hopkins wildly popular novels. While Hopkins really delves into the angst and pain of these tough issues, I felt like this one just grazed the surface. It almost glorified teen pregnancy which did NOT make me happy.
I mean, it's nice to see a story about a kid who ends up having the baby and being ok with it, but I really wanted to see more.