Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Five books with a 14-year-old girl's BFFs

Brooklyn native Rachel Cline lived in Los Angeles from 1990 to 1999. During that time she wrote screenplays and teleplays, designed interactive media, and taught screenwriting at USC. Her first novel, What to Keep, was published in 2004. Her newly-released second novel is My Liar.

At The Happy Booker in December 2007, she recommended a few books for the young teenage reader. Here is her introduction and the first book on the list:

When a young girl stars showing signs of bookishness, friends and relatives can be relied upon to introduce her to Pippi, Harriet, Nancy, the Judy Blume gang, and maybe even Lyra Bellacqua. But as girl readers turn the corner into teenagerdom, there are many fewer fictional oddballs on offer and many more sylphs with perfect hair hanging around. (And one should not have to suffer sylphs in the privacy of the fictional world!) So, here's a list of five books containing the kind of BFFs I was always looking for at around age fourteen. Admittedly, most are old chestnuts, but there can be something very encouraging about a character who's held her ground for as long as these girls have!

1.Cress Delahanty by Jessamyn West
An unusually dry-witted and restrained portrait of a Californian with a mind of her own. Episodically told, the novel has the vividness and awkwardness of real life and none of the dull parts. Cress dances around naked, suffers a mortifying pimple, adopts a ridiculous hat, survives a crush on a boy, a crush on an older girl, and an uncomfortable encounter with a male piano teacher.

Read the full list.

Read an excerpt from My Liar and learn more the author and her work at Rachel Cline's website.

The Page 69 Test: My Liar.

--Marshal Zeringue