Archive for February, 2009

Scholarly Journal (ish)

February 13, 2009

For the professional or scholarly journal I read “Give Us Faces” in The Heart Has Its Reasons.  Although I’m not entirely sure it fits under a scholarly journal, I do think it’s important as a history of young adult lit with LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trandsgendered, Questioning/Queer).  It’s important for teens who are “different” to know that literature exists with characters who may be going through similar circumstances.  It’s hard enought o be a teenager, it gets harder when a teenager feels alone or that nobody will understand.

This article goes through more of a history of LGBTQ literature, but mentions works with homosexual instances that, while originally for adults, have been adopted by young adults, such as Catcher in the Rye.  The article also dsicusses the book I’ll Get There.  It Better be Worth the Trip, by Donovan.  This novel focuses on a young teenager, named Davy, who ends up falling for his close male friend, and apparently the feelings are mutual.  However, after a terrible accident the blossoming relationship retreats in the background especially as Davy explains to his father “he isn’t queer”.

I think this chapter is quite useful as it discusses how very few novels have been written on this subject for this age group.  This is a bit sad when taken into account that homosexuality has certainly been prevalent since before the mid Twentieth Century.    There is also a discussion about “love” between the two boys, though it never goes past making out between the two.

What bothered me while reading this chapter is books for lesbians doesn’t seem to be treated in the same way.  Inf act, until the woman’s movement in the 1970’s there just wasn’t as much out there that weren’t lesbian pulp novels. Also works for young males and females who identify as bisexual doesn’t exist, in this chapter anyway.

I think the history of this is important for a librarian working with teens.  Teens who view themselves as “different”, whether for sexual identity, religion, race, or some other differentiating aspect need to know that literature exists for themt o read.  This article makes it possible to find such literature for the teens identifying as LGBTQ.


Professional Resources

February 13, 2009

I read “How Can We Help? Councelling Connections for Teens Through the Library” for my professional resource (link is:  Normally resources like this, I find, have a tendency to repeat themselves and don’t necesarilly offer new insight.  However, this article touched on many issues that teens go through, which a librarian may have to deal with when working with teens.

I liked that the article discussed different aspects of what a librarian may encounter when working with teens from anger issues, thoughts of suicide, to abuse and sexual identity questions.  They didn’t try to tiptoe around the issuess, but told it like it is with comments such as what to do about eating disorders that are quite prevalent in teen girls even today including maybe finding a clinician in the area who deals with eating disorders.  What I also appreciated was that the questions were just as blunt such as, “One of my teens confided in me that she’s bisexual and felt that the school was trying to “fix” her with councelling.  How can library staff make gay and bisexual teens feel included?”  I think that is an important issue, especially when one takes into account that being anything other than straight can be looked on as a bad thing, instead of what it is… a different biological make up.

I think the resources recommended as well as a list of signs attributed to teens who may be considereing suicide to be a smart addition to the article.   Librarians can actually work with this information and help teens that may need the advice or literature (or in some cases the professional help offered through clinics and other people of that sort).

Librarians who work with teens need articles like this if they want to be effective in helping teens out with the different types of problems teens can encounter.

Reliving ten years ago (Seventeen Prom…)

February 12, 2009

When I was thirteen I started reading Seventeen.  I had a subscription for about three years.  Maybe it was that I was in Canada, but I never found prom issues all that stimulating.  Which is strange, given that I LOVE Vanity Fair partly for it’s beautiful ads.

So I decided today to relive my past, and buy a copy of Seventeen.  However, they only had the prom issue at the store.  I realize why I love Vanity Fair, with its numerous ads, but can’t stomach Seventeen Prom.  Because Vanity Fair still has articles of substance amidst all the Prada and Mexx ads.  So flipping through this magazine it took me all of about five minutes before I wanted to throw it out the window and scream “make the images go away!”.  Maybe a normal issue wouldn’t bother me quite so much, as I remember articles about college and friends that I did enjoy reading.  But there is something about the first article in this issue being about how to whiten teeth.  Do I really need to buy a magazine to be told this?  Can’t I ask a dentist or buy Crest (or some other brand) Whitening Strips?  And right above is an article on how to take care of one’s brows.  I realize that over plucking can be an issue with girls (I’m guilty of it sometimes if I go to a new person who hates body hair), but can’t most people figure out that going to a salon for a wax a couple days before prom is a good plan?  And I’m sorry, but my grad dress was way nicer than most of the ones picutred in this magazine!

Okay I will admit that an article on bronzing isn’t a bad idea, given how bad some girls can look after a self tan.  But that begs the question as to why a tan is needed on prom when it is darkish inside.  And let’s be honest, do you need a specific pre-prom work out?  Can’t a girl just do her normal workout?  I know I did and I’ll be honest I thought the workouts in the issue before my graduation were quite dumb (yes I did try and get tips before grad.  Obviously I did not take them seriously).  I just reopened the magazine, went to a random “How to pick out a good dress” question section and threw the magazine back on the floor.  I think I’ll stick to Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, thanks.

YA novel review

February 12, 2009

Ok so I read The Luxe by Anna Godbersen.  I can honestly say it is recommended but with reservations.

The book centres around sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland, in New York City at the turn of the Twentieth Century (or rather 1899).  Basically it’s about Elizabeth being forced into a marriage to a young man she cares nothing about, because her father died and has left the family broke.  Being a high society family means the girls, and their mother, need to save face.  However, the girls, along with a family “friend” (I resist the urge to use frenemy, but really the word does fit) have issues all because of Elizabeth’s fiance.  Actually the “frenemy” describes her relationship with Elizabeth as “Elizabeth Holland, whom she [Penelope Coddington] had long ago singled out as her principal rival and thus her only possible best friend” (pg 33).  This is the best way to describe the entire novel.

For what this book is I do recommend it.  This book is about a society that doesn’t want to admit all its dirty little secrets.  It references The Age of Innocence in the beginning with ‘[i]t was the old New York way…the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bread than “scenes,” except the behaviour of those who gave rise to them’. I enjoyed reading this novel for its portrayal of the specific society.

The reservations, though, come from a few reasons.  Firstly I don’t think this book would have broad gender appeal.  I’m not even sure if many girls over the age of seventeen or eighteen would enjoy the novel.  I feel that this book would be better for early high school, when cliques are still prevalent from middle school, but before they dissolve a little bit in later junior year and senior year.  I also hold reservations because I found I got caught up in the action, but by the end there were no characters I cared about.  It wasn’t that they made me mad or upset, it’s that with each action I cared less and less about all the characters, even Elizabeth.  There is a sequel and with the ending of The Luxe, I could not bring myself to even attempt its

Godbersen, Anna.  The Luxe.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007.  Price: $9.99 (USA) $10.99 (Canada).  Rating 5q, 2p.  I did think the book was well written, gramatically and intellectually.