I wonder if I grew up while I wasn't looking. I don't have any huge problem with You Know Where to Find Me, by Rachel Cohn. I don't have any problem with it at all, really. It's just kind of bleak, which makes it not so much my book. It's definitely not a reluctant reader book, in that it is not at all action-packed, and is in fact very moody. It actually strikes me as pretty "literary," which of course is not a term I often use in a flattering sense.
I think it's just not my type of book. The main character is depressed and angry at the world, and as we all know (probably YA writers best of all), writing about someone who's suffering from chronic boredom, ennui, or aimlessness is very hard to do well. I don't think she does the job poorly, I just think that the protagonist, Miles, is too grouchy for me. She wants to do nothing, to shut the world off, and while I understand the impulse, I just want to shake her. Her existence seems so pointless--I suppose that would appeal to teens who feel that way, but it doesn't really appeal to me.
I feel like such a crank, complaining about all these books. I'm supposed to love this stuff, right? Of course, none of these are things I wouldn't stock in a library--this person exists and needs books about herself. It's interesting, I guess there are two ways for books to use the Developmental Assets--one is to demonstrate them in use, through the plot, and the other is to have a plot about them coming into a person's life. Miles is lonely, adrift, with no purpose, self-esteem, close ties to others, supportive environment, or anything really. I assume that by the time I finish this book, things will have changed. We'll see; an upbeat ending cures many ills, for me.
In other news, I want to GUSH about The People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks, but I'll save it for another, non-class post. Suffice to say, though, that this was a wonderful, engaging, thrilling, heartbreaking book. I think the structure of the story really allowed her to do some of the surprising things she does in her other novels without my feeling that my involvement in the story has been upset the way I felt with her other novels. Really excellent.