Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Snack Size Reviews #7

They're back! A selection of bite-sized reviewlettes at 100 words apiece. This week I picked three titles I read earlier this year, all of which involve teenage boys and examine male identity and sense of self. Enjoy:

Sprout - Dale Peck
Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2009
Length: 288 pages
Sprout is the story of an openly gay teenager, Daniel ‘Sprout’ Bradford, living in rural Kansas and his entry into a personal essay writing competition. Through his essays, we learn about Sprout’s deceased mother, his alcoholic father and his house (covering completely in vines and surrounded by tree roots), and his wry observations are insightful and amusing. However, I found the scenes between Sprout and Ty, a young man with severe emotional issues, to be intense, confronting and quite haunting – quite a change in tone. Peck’s coming-out and coming-of-age narrative manages to be both humorous and heartfelt with a lingering effect.

After - Sue Lawson
Publisher: Black Dog Books, 2009
Length: 288 pages
Callum, or as he used to be known, CJ, gets shipped off to live with his maternal grandparents in the country, following a horrific event involving his best friend. Callum now must face life in a new school, in a small town with family members he’s never known. Whilst he uncovers secrets of his past and family history, Callum is also forced to deal with the plaguing after-effects of recent events. Sue Lawson has written an incredibly authentic voice in Callum – his anger, hurt and fractured sense of self is skilfully handled. After is a fresh and engaging Australian teen story.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little, Brown, 2009
Length: 288 pages
Arnold Spirit (better known as Junior) shakes things up at the Spokane Indian Reservation by choosing to attend an all-white and non-reservation high school. He finds himself stuck somewhere between two ‘tribes’ – being unable to fit in at school due to his background, but also shunned by his old friends at the Reservation for breaking with tradition. Alexie’s writing is raw and honest, you truly feel for Junior, who along with being cast as an outsider, struggles with racism, poverty and a number of family issues. There are some lovely moments of humour though, predominantly through aspiring cartoonist Junior’s comics and sketches (drawn by Ellen Forney).


Nomes (inkcrush) said...

LOL @ the cover of Sprout :)

I havent read any of these. Which one was your fave? I think a branch of the Coffs library has After...

Megan said...

Hahaha I too love the cover of Sprout!

Girl Friday said...

Nomes - it's quite cute (and Sprout actually has green hair in the story), it definitely caught my eye at the library. My favourite is definitely After - I'd highly recommend it for a genuine, Australian teen boy story.

Megs - it's so quirky and cute - that's why I initially picked it up (am shallow and totally judge books by their cover)

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

I'll have to read After for sure then... I think it's at the branch 30 mins away, but the staff will pick them up and take them to your closest branch (5 mins) if you ask :)

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