Shelf Sitters that Shouldn’t

Rats Saw God (Rob Thomas, not that Rob Thomas): Actually I could include all Rob Thomas books. You know I enjoy Veronica Mars, although I preferred Season 1 to the sophomore season; there was not nearly enough screen time of Logan and V. together, I have never liked Duncan, and why did Wallace disappear for half a season???? Of course several things about the finale rescued it: Mac, Weevil’s arrest (Whaa???? In the middle of graduation???? Truly?), and an Aaron Echolls death, but the plane blowing up? – it was a stretch; Beaver? – saw that coming 3 weeks prior. So why am I writing about VM in what is supposed to be a book list? Because I like VM but I wish Thomas would return to books. I miss looking forward to his next book, and I thought his last was the weakest. People seem to generally feel that Rats is the best, and I should probably re-read it, so I can do it justice in recommending it. I just feel in general people should read his books more.

Dangerous Angels (Francesca Lia Block) – More people should read her too. She is a Margaret Edwards award winner – lifetime achievement thingy – but don’t let that scare you off. MAE winners have been pretty cool cats. I find it hard to market the Weetzie Bat books, and gushing about how much I love something generally doesn’t work (which make the King Dork entry a risk but blogs are for gushing.) :::gush:::: :::::gush:::::.

I love Weetzie, I love the language, the description, the semi- magical realism, etc. Love Weetzie ::::gush:::: Ok get it? Read at least one, they are short. Perhaps begging will help?

Life is Funny (E.R. Frank) – Oh more gushing. I love the multiple narrators, the voice for everyone, and the time span of character growth. It is funny, charming, tragic, melancholy, all of it. Another book I think if I could find the right reader would get great word of mouth.

Make Lemonade (Virginia Euwer Wolff) – It occurs to me I could say the same thing over and over. In this case the format stands out. One of the first novels-in-verse I read, and still the best. Unfortunately I think that scares readers, or more accurately turns them off. It shouldn’t. This book rocks!

The Watcher (James Howe) – This is one of the few that you won’t find a few hundred other teen library types gushing about as well. Shame, I think. James Howe is a fine writer, which we know from other stuff, but this is my favorite, and one written for older kids. In particular I like how the fairy tale is interwoven with the story so that it is an allegory within the novel. I suppose the knock could be that it is a “problem” novel with too pat an ending, but I disagree. While there is some relief in the end, not really the future still is muddy on several fronts and this goes beyond a simple formula.

The boyfriend list (e. lockhart) – There is a much longer subtitle on this book. I think I have just mis-shelved this and that is why is sits because it has a very typical chick lit sort of cover. I should put it in the “pink books”. The thing about this book that I love is that it is not what is expected. I expected your typical teen chick lit (my fave, I admit it.) but what I got was a book that really pissed me off – her friends suck! I mean really. They were righteous bullies! I hated their actions. And I completely sympathized with the narrator. I guess it really just punched my buttons.

Aimee (Mary Beth Miller) – This isn't a great book in terms of literary quality and all that stuff, but I still really enjoyed it and wish it moved more. Zoë was present the night her friend Aimee dies, and there is some question of how responsible she was/is for Aimee’s death. I think this walks the Lorene McDaniel edge, and others have complained about the voice being “too adult” but I really liked it.

Born Blue (Han Nolan) – The last few books say a lot about my preferences because I have a thing for the angsty teen novel. I am not a fan of formulaic problems novels but I do enjoy good teen angst and Han Nolan is an amazing writer. I loved Dancing on the Edge but this is my favorite and probably the most accessible. As a foster child Janie/Leshaya knows something about the blues. Often you want to shake this girl who sabotages herself again and again but there is also something true about her.

Uglies (Scott Westerfeld) – I could almost move this off the shelf-sitters list because it is beginning to get some play. In Tally’s world everyone gets plastic surgery at a certain age so they can be beautiful, and after that all they do is party. And like most Utopias while at first blush it sounds fabulous, there is more to it than initially meets the eye. It is a fun universe that Westerfeld creates, and the plot has enough action to keep it moving along.

Oh I am sure there are more – maybe I’ll do a Shelf Sitters Part 2 someday.


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