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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Before Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park
You’ve got your Romeo and Juliet, your Tristan and Isolde, and now there’s Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. They meet on the school bus. She has a cowed mother and an abusive stepfather. He feels weird because he’s half-Korean and perhaps not the guy he wants to be. They don’t like each other, and then they love each other. In rapidly alternating voices, they develop a relationship that is urgent, moving, and, of course, heartbreaking, too. There’s something about linking names in a title that curls them tightly. What other couples have eponymously named books?
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. By Benjamin Alire Sáenz. 2012. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (9781442408920). Gr. 9–12.
When Aristotle and Dante meet in the summer of 1987, they are 15-year-old opposites: Dante is sure of his place in the world, while Ari feels he may never know who he is or what he wants. Dante is also open about his homosexuality, while Ari suppresses his. In this thoughtful read, Sáenz treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other.
Beatle Meets Destiny. By Gabrielle Williams. 2010. Marshall Cavendish, $16.99 (9780761457237). Gr. 9–12.
He’s Beatle because his name’s John Lennon. She’s Destiny McCartney. Their meeting is unexpected and intense and perfect and romantic. It’s not until several chapters later that readers learn there’s an impediment in the form of a girlfriend, Cilla, who happens to be best friends with Beatle’s twin, Winsome. The story line is deliciously plotted, as delicate as the chair embroidered by Wallis Simpson, which Destiny steals from her neighbor, albeit unintentionally. Although it does lead to the woman’s death. Bummer.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. 2006. Knopf, $16.95 (9780375835315). Gr. 10–12.
“Would you mind being my girlfriend for five minutes?” So begins an epic evening for Nick and Norah, both nursing broken hurts, roaming Manhattan, listening to music, confronting past pains, and hurtling toward romance.
Stacie & Cole. By RM Johnson. 2007. Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, paper, $8.99 (9781423105985). Gr. 10–12.
Stacie and Cole have been dating since freshman year. Time for that age-old question to rear its head: Do you love me enough to go all the way? Cole, not surprisingly, is ready. Stacie has issues. There’s some steamy sex here (thanks to Stacie’s friend, who catches Cole at a vulnerable moment) but also the kind of teen angst to which kids will relate.
Stoner and Spaz. By Ron Koertge. 2012. Candlewick, $15.99 (9780763616083). Gr. 9–12.
Ben’s a 16-year-old with cerebral palsy. Colleen’s the school’s druggie. She’s also a self-esteem booster, aphrodisiac, and eventually, seducer of Ben. But Ben also has a good effect on Colleen, tamping down her drug use. Longing meets insecurity. Innocence, say hello to acceptance.
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