Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spring is in the air

Well, it was snowing here in Ohio, but in the literature I read, it was prom time.

Dorian Cirrone's Prom Kings and Drama Kings was a worthy and noble Pink read. Sure, it has the pink cover, but espouses a better message. As Emily's mother said "Do something that will make people cheer for you," and while Emily hasn't figured out yet what this is, she is trying.

Emily is crushing on her next door neighbor, basketball player Brian. Following him one night, she sees boys from her school trying to cut down a tree at a rival school, and she and her fellow reporter, Daniel, are the ones who get nabbed by the police. They have to perform community service together, and end up helping out at a nursing home. In the meantime, Emily helps facilitate a romance for Brian's grandmother (a very fun lady) and Brian invites her to the prom. Complications ensue when Emily and Daniel plan an article about how wasteful the prom is, a prom for the nursing home, and a lower cost prom in Emily's back yard. Emily comes closer to finding out what she can do that will make people cheer for her, and to no one's surprise, no one cheers louder than Daniel.

Beany-esque. This is my highest compliment. I started reading this at 4:30 and finished it at school, which I rarely do. It made me sigh big, contented sighs. Oddly enough, I remember not liking this author's other book, Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You. I may be wrong, but there may have been some inappropriate language early on. I may have to take another look.

A more serious book, but with a similar plot element (and I'm jealous. Even the very overweight Jamie has two boys interested in her, which is two more than I had in high school) is Susan Vaught's Big Fat Manifesto. This was a very powerful book about personal identity. Jamie has embraced being "Fat Girl" as hers, but comes to question this in the course of the book, especially when her boyfriend has bariatric surgery and loses a lot of weight. The details of this surgery are quite graphic, but informative.

There's a lot of discussion about weight, obviously, and interestingly enough, Jamie never really thinks about going on a diet. She's in good health, but her doctors are obviously concerned. She herself is not happy that she can't find "cute" clothes and isn't cast in the leading roles in the plays. She writes a "Fat Girl" column for the school newspaper and hopes that this can help her get a college scholarship, only to have her entry thrown out because it is not "in the public good". This is a conflicted novel, but very interesting. I loved Jamie's in-your-face attitude at the beginning (the turns of phrase were almost worthy of Sonnenblick), but I understood when this tone became more serious as she struggled to strike a balance between who she wanted to be, and who she was afraid she might become.

More of a high school book, although the profanity is limited to lots of "sh**", I still think I will get this for my problem novel readers. This would be a great book club book for a mother-daughter discussion group.

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