Contemporary US Fiction for Teens

For this blog post I wanted to share two novels and a film adaptation that I have recently enjoyed that are recent representations of US culture for teens and young adults.

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park is a book about a girl: Eleanor, who lives in a house hold with four other siblings, her mother and abusive dad. She doesn’t own necessities such as a toothbrush or proper clothes so she is often bullied for this. It’s also about a boy: Park, a boy who comes from a loving family but thinks of himself as a disappointment. He stands up for Eleanor and wants to become her boyfriend but as Eleanor’s abusive father won’t let her have a boyfriend they are seeing each other secretly. I am reading this book at the moment and would definitely recommend it!

About the Author: Rainbow Rowell (born February 24, 1973) is an American author of young adult and adult contemporary novels. Her young adult novels Eleanor & Park (2013) Fangirl (2013) and Carry On (2015) have been highly recommended!

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by popular young adult author John Green, is about a sixteen year-old girl called Hazel Grace Lancaster who lives in the USA. She has cancer that has spread to her lungs and believes that her whole life will consist solely of hospital appointments and therapy from then on. One day her mother signs her up for a cancer patient support group, Hazel is mortified and thinks this is the new, worst thing in her life.

At the group she meets a seventeen year-old boy, Augustus Waters (who lost one of his legs to cancer). Augustus is there to support his friend Isaac (whose remaining eye is to be removed due to cancer). Hazel and Augustus immediately bond and decide to swap novels, Hazel recommends to Augustus a book about a girl with cancer whose life is similar to hers written by a Dutch author called Van Houten who disappeared after the novel’s publication. Augustus is horrified to realise that the book that Hazel recommended ended abruptly and decides to try and track down the author’s personal assistant and starts up an on-going conversation via E-mail.

A year later he surprises Hazel with tickets to Amsterdam where he confesses his love for Hazel. Hazel and Augustus meet Van Houten but are disappointed with his selfish behaviour. Augustus also confesses a secret to Hazel which propels the novel to it’s tearful ending! I enjoyed both the book and the film adaptation of the story and would recommend (though not if you need cheering up!).


Broken River Book Review

We have been crazy  busy already at the start of this Summer and look to being busy right up into Autumn too!

I (Jo) have been doing lots of creative writing which is published from time to time on Yorkshire Writers Lunch Blog and from where you can read lots of other interesting stories and poems from other member of the Yorkshire Writers Lunch Group.

I have also received a very large reading list for the holidays! This is comprised of a combination of virtual and paper publications which are currently and will keep her very busy in the near future! Season 3 of Poldark is on now, Marvel’s The Defendants begins in August on Netflix and Season 3 of Outlander starts in September! So there’s also lots of TV to be catching up with also!

As for the others at CLC towers; Kyle is currently on a Summer work placement, Ross has been busy at work and college and Grace has many concerts and workshops right up to when school finishes and beyond! Phew! So as you can see, it’s been pretty hard to get posts done as well but I wanted to talk briefly about a book that I recently read called Broken River.

Broken River

Broken River: The most suspense-filled, inventive thriller you’ll read this year by J. Robert Lennon is a fascinating book. It is part gothic thriller, part detective fiction, reminiscent in places of Johnathan Franzen’s epic family based stories. It tells the story of an deserted house in the small town of ‘Broken River’ in upstate New York.

A tragedy occurred there twelve years ago where a man and his wife were murdered and their bodies never discovered. They had a young daughter who escaped the atrocity and mysteriously disappeared.

Twelve years later Karl (a sculptor), his novelist wife Eleanor and their twelve year old daughter Irina move into the property. Ostensibly the move was to get Karl away from the temptation of New York City as he had been serially unfaithful to Eleanor, but Karl is not a likeable character and problems seem to follow the family wherever they go. Eleanor also has secrets of her own as does their daughter Irina. When Eleanor and Irina become obsessed with the past events that occurred on their property then they open up a whole Pandora’s box of trouble!

The story is told from multiple viewpoints (Karl, Eleanor and Irina’s) but also new characters in Broken River itself such as Louis a man who may have been involved in the past murders and most intriguingly a omnipresent observer who can follow different characters around and appears to be incorporeal, without body like a ghost. This is not an easy read but it pushes the boundaries of fiction and is definitely one to try as it makes you think.