Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnik Here we have a book of beautifully witty book reports on the books that women my age read in their teen years. Somehow, Skurnik manages both to find depths in books that a) the average teenager probably didn’t notice and b) when old enough to appreciate said depths, one might not see a reason to go back to all those trashy-looking teen paperbacks. And yet, here they are – so many of the books I read as a teen: The Moon by Night and Harriet the Spy, Jacob Have I Loved and Clan of the Cave Bear. There are also chapters devoted to the books that I looked at and never read – the whole realistic teen fiction oeuvre of Judy Blume, the Lois Duncan and V.C. Andrews thrillers. I still don’t read books just to be scared. But still, Skurnik writes so enthusiastically about all of these books that I found myself reading numerous bits aloud. Madeleine L’Engle has a “vision of Christianity that an atheist devotee of the Flying Spaghetti Monster would find it hard to object to.” The sex scenes in this particular V.C. Andrews book are not really steamy enough, but still provide welcome relief between the scenes where the characters hit each other with back story like brickbats. Why has teen literature lost sight of the parents who truly deserve to die? Oh, yes, and some more well-known writers of chick lit contribute some book reports as well – Laura Lippmann, Meg Cabot, and others. But it’s mostly Skurnik, and she is delightful on her own. Go on, now. Get the book. Read a book report. I dare you to stop at just one. Me, I have some teen books to read.
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