Posts Tagged ‘breezy’

Boy Meets Boy

November 28, 2012

Author: David Levithan

Title: Boy Meets Boy

Genre: GLBT fiction; Realistic fiction

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 185

Geographical Setting: Not specified. “Gaytopia”

Time Period: Present Day

Plot Summary: Sophomore high school student, Paul, does not have an especially profound coming out story. His kindergarten teacher simply sent a report card home to his parents that read: “Paul is definitely gay and has a very good sense of self.” Such is the laidback attitude of Paul’s town where people of all sexual orientations are treated with respect and acceptance. In this community, being gay is not considered a unique trait but rather par for the course. Paul lives in a place where the quarterback of the high school football team is a cross-dresser who also happens to be the homecoming queen. Additionally, the cheerleading squad is not your typical pom-pom crowd but rather a group of Harley-riding bikers. While Paul has had crushes spanning back to third grade, and a few ex-boyfriends along the way, none of these encounters can compare to the remarkable response Paul feels after meeting Noah. The new kid at school, Noah is artistic, kind, and intriguing. Paul falls in love deeply and quickly, yet an ex-boyfriend named Kyle has suddenly regained interest in Paul, which threatens the joy of this new romance. Paul would normally seek advice from his friends regarding the resurgence of his ex-boyfriend; however, his childhood best friend, Joni, is engrossed in a new boyfriend whose dating motives are questionable. In addition to Joni’s absence, Paul’s friend, Tony, has been put under house arrest by his conservative family. Now Paul must find a way to repair his strained friendships while also protecting his new relationship with Noah despite Kyle’s confusing advances. Inspiring and heartwarming, Boy Meets Boy is a contemporary coming-of-age story about friendships, family, and romance. Paul’s narration is unpretentious and thoughtful in this tale of believable teenage issues in an extraordinary town.

Subject Headings: Gay teenagers, High school sophomores, Infatuation in teenage boys, Interpersonal relations, Teenage boys, Teenage romance

Three Appeal Terms That Best Describe This Book: Heartwarming, Hopeful, Inspiring

Appeal: Contemporary, Breezy, Conversational, Thoughtful, Unpretentious, Unhurried, Heartwarming, Lighthearted, Hopeful, Strong Secondary Characters, Inspiring, Character-Centered

Fiction Read Alikes:

The Hookup Artist by Tucker Shaw

Aspiring to be his high school’s matchmaker, Lucas endeavors to set up his best friend Cate with the attractive new kid at school, Derek. Despite her initial reluctance, Cate falls for Derek who appears to only have eyes for Lucas. This triangle is further complicated when Lucas returns Derek’s crush which in turn threatens his relationship with Cate. Readers who are looking for additional YA GLBT fiction that discusses how first loves can complicate friendships should pick up this contemporary and humorous read.

How I paid for college: a novel of sex, theft, friendship & musical theater by Marc Acito

Recently graduated from high school, Edward Zanni has a seemingly perfect life. He has a beautiful girlfriend, an intriguing and attractive football-playing friend, and an acceptance to Julliard. When Edward’s father suddenly announces he won’t be able to pay his son’s tuition due to an upcoming marriage, Edward enlists the help of his friends to secure his collegiate future. Edward’s entourage of friends make for enjoyable secondary characters and Edward’s journey of discovering his own sexuality is endearing and believable. Adult and teen Boy Meets Boy fans looking for another humorous coming-of-age story about friendship and self-discovery might enjoy How I Paid for College.

Tale of Two Summers by Brian Sloan

Childhood best friends, Hal and Chuck, are spending a summer apart for the first time in ten years. In order to keep in touch, the two teens set up a blog in which Hal discusses falling for a young Frenchman and Chuck describes his crush on summer camp thespian. Despite Hal’s recently coming out to Chuck, their friendship remains strong and the two boys discuss love and sex in a frank and humorous tone. Boy Meets Boy fans who are looking for another witty, contemporary read about friendship and first loves might enjoy this book.

Non-Fiction Read Alikes:

The full spectrum: a new generation of writing about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and other identities

Edited by Boy Meets Boy author Levithan, The Full Spectrum is a collection of non-fiction poems and short stories written by gay teenagers in which they discuss their experiences with coming out, religion, family, friends, and love. Readers who enjoyed Paul’s believable teenage narration of traditional high school experiences might wish to explore similar true stories from gay young adults.

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to their Younger Selves

In this non-fiction anthology, sixty-four professional authors write letters to their teenage selves in which they discuss issues such as coming out and self-discovery. Readers who are looking for more traditional coming out stories (compared to Paul’s kindergarten report card) might enjoy this title.

When the Drama Club Is Not Enough: Lessons from the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students by Jeff Perrotti

In this guidebook for teens, Perrotti (the founding director of the Massachusetts Department of Education initiative) shares his experiences as an activist for teens while trying to promote gay rights in the school setting. Some Boy Meets Boy fans may find Paul’s accepting high school environment inspiring; those readers seeking materials on how to promote gay rights in their own school should read this book.

Annotation by: Elizabeth Hopkins

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Twenties Girl

October 31, 2012

Author:  Sophie Kinsella

Title:  Twenties Girl

Genre:  Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  435

Geographical Setting:  London, England

Time Period:  Contemporary

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary:  As if being recently dumped by her long-time boyfriend and struggling to manage a failing new business weren’t enough to deal with, 27 year-old Londoner Lara Lington suddenly finds herself haunted by her recently deceased, 105 year-old, Great Aunt Sadie, whom she had never met and never cared to know.  Sadie has come back as her 23 year-old self:  a beautiful, irrepressible, Charleston-loving flapper from the Roaring 20’s — and Lara is the only person who can see her.  Sadie’s ghost refuses to rest until she recovers a favorite necklace that has mysteriously disappeared from the nursing home where she resided, and she recruits a reluctant and disbelieving Lara to help with the search.  To Lara’s dismay, Sadie has no qualms about putting Lara in increasingly embarrassing situations as she relives the frivolity of her flapper days and assists in the hunt for her necklace.  Despite her frustrations, Lara soon learns that ghosts can come in pretty handy when dealing with competing love interests, high-stakes business dealings, and swindling family members.  In this heartwarming and funny tale, Lara grows to love and respect the Great Aunt she never knew, whom she learns had to cope with heartbreak and family drama not so very different from Lara’s own modern-day troubles.

Subject Headings:  Young women—Fiction; Families—Fiction; Treasure troves–Fiction

Appeal:  heartwarming, humorous, lighthearted, romantic, quirky, well-drawn characters, strong secondary characters, family relationships, imaginative, magical, strong language, contemporary, details of London, details of the Roaring 20’s, breezy, chatty, engaging, informal, witty

Three Appeal Terms that Best Describe this Book:  humorous, heartwarming, quirky

Three Fiction Read-alikes:

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Like Twenties Girl, Helen Fielding’s funny, classic chick lit tale tells the story of a young, single London woman struggling to sort out the intricacies of love, family, and career.  Bridget’s quest to achieve inner poise, lasting love, and the perfect weight unfolds in the form of a diary kept over the course of an eventful year.

The Ghost of Greenwich Village by Lorna Graham

Readers of Twenties Girl who found pleasure in the ghostly interactions between Lara and Great Aunt Sadie and enjoyed learning about a bygone era, may also enjoy this humorous title by Lorna Graham.  Single, young writer Eve Weldon has moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in search of a job, romance, and inspiration for her writing.  Once settled into her new apartment, she finds it inhabited by the ghost of Donald, a member of the Village’s Beat Generation of the 1960’s, who asks for her help in completing his own unfinished work.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Readers who enjoyed the humor, quirky heroine, family drama, and elements of mystery that form the heart of Twenties Girl, may also enjoy reading about the adventures of Stephanie Plum, the incompetent bounty-hunter at the center of Janet Evanovich’s comic mysteries.  In this first title of the series, Stephanie puts her amateur tracking skills to work in an effort to hunt down a former high-school flame who has been accused of murder.

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works:

Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring 20’s by Lucy Moore

Through the ghost of Great Aunt Sadie in Twenties Girl, readers get a tantalizing taste of the attitudes, glamour, and scandal that epitomized the Roaring 20’s.  This title by Lucy Moore provides an enjoyable and entertaining history of the 1920’s, including discussion of the real-life personalities and the many significant social and political changes that came to define the era.

He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

A major plot line in Twenties Girl involves Lara’s desperate attempts to win back the boyfriend who dumped her, despite Great Aunt Sadie’s insistence that Lara deserves much better when it comes to matters of romance.  This popular relationship advice manual counsels women on how to stop obsessing about men who don’t really care about them and to instead focus on finding someone who does.

Ghosts Among Us: Uncovering the Truth About the Other Side by James Van Praagh

The ghost of Great Aunt Sadie becomes a major influence in Lara’s life in Twenties Girl.  In this title, Van Praagh explores the mysterious world of ghosts and spirits and, through the use of true ghost stores, illustrates how they actively participate in our daily lives.

Becky King

The Committments

March 22, 2012

Author: Roddy Doyle

Title: The Commitments

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1987

Number of Pages: 140

Geographical Setting: Dublin, Ireland

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): The Barrytown Trilogy

Plot Summary: When Dublin youths Outspan and Derek decide to start a band, they enlist their friend Jimmy Rabbitte to manage them. Jimmy is that kid everyone knows who has his finger on the pulse of music. “Jimmy had Relax before anyone had heard of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and he’d started slagging them months before anyone realized that they were no good.” Instead of advising the band (And And! And) to continue doing covers of Depeche Mode songs, or turning them punk or metal or grunge, he goes way back and decides they should be a soul band. He calls it “Dublin Soul”, and surprisingly hits the nail on the head, as it turns out that soul music by African Americans has an appeal for working class Dubliners. The band expands to include Joey “The Lips” Fagan, an aging musician who has played trumpet with most of the bands the young boys are idolizing, Deco Cuffe, a talented singer with a large ego, and cute background singers The Commitmentettes. The band starts small, and then start to build a loyal following. Just when a record deal is about to be signed, the band pulls apart from ego, the saxophone player’s growing interest in jazz, and everyone wanting to get with the cutest Commitmentette. This charming coming of age novel hits that point of time when nothing else matters except the music that hits you hard. Woven into the humor is the fervor the love of music can inspire, along with philosophical musings about what soul music is really about. The Commitments also lays the groundwork for the next two books, which become increasingly personal and bittersweet as the series goes on.

Subject Headings: Working class teenagers — Dublin Ireland. Soul Music. Rock Music. Egotism in teenagers. Ambition in teenagers.

Appeal: funny, strong sense of place, dialect-rich, engaging, character-driven, colorful, urban, quirky, strong secondary characters, breezy, direct, jargon, unaffected, exuberant, impassioned, playful, eccentric, unpretentious.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: dialect-rich, strong sense of place, engaging

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom by Peter Guralnick

Someone who wants to learn more about soul music might enjoy this history of Stax Records, the company that signed many of the rhythm and blues singers that the Commitments are trying to emulate. Guralnick gets deep into not just the music, but the cultural and racial tensions that tore Stax apart in the end.

Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music by Gerri Hirschey

This book is a bit more narrative than “Sweet Soul Music.” Hirschey compiles oral tellings and recollections gleaned from years of working as a music journalist, and writes with a literary flair. It’s the best of both worlds as it’s both a comprehensive history of soul music interwoven with anecdotes about riding around in a limo with James Brown and Al Sharpton.

Me Father Was a Hero and Me Mother Was a Saint by Eamonn Sheridan

Someone interested in the Irish working class should pick up this memoir. Sheridan’s father fought for the IRA during the War of Independence against the British, then fought for the British army during WWII while his mother raised their 11 kids. Sheridan reminisces living in poverty in Dublin until they were forced to emigrate to England.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Hornby’s Rob Thomas could be the grown up version of Jimmy Rabbit, with a giant record collection, a ready knowledge of all things music, memories of his happiest times being a dj, and his own record store. When Rob questions, “Which came first…the music or the misery?” Jimmy would promptly answer, “the music” because the misery hasn’t sunk in quite yet for him.

Glue by Irvine Welsh

Carl is Jimmy’s Scottish soul mate, going to the record store every week to buy something new, and becoming attracted to an unconventionally pretty (plump) girl because she can talk about music with him. Welsh also has a laser-like sense of place for Edinburgh, Scotland just as Doyle does for Dublin, Ireland, and both have come up with their own killer dialect for their regions.

The Exes by Pagan Kennedy

After Hank and Lilly break up (and are finally back on speaking terms), they come up with a great idea for a band comprised entirely of exes. They enlist Shaz, a talented bass player who brings in her one male ex, Walt to play drums. The band starts to creak as they all want different things for this…Hank wants to find that perfect spot where a band is indie-famous without selling out, Lilly wants to be the next Gwen Stefani, Shaz has been in a major band before and just wants to play for fun, and Walt is simply trying to hold it together as he faces down his demons of depression and anxiety. The Exes are from the east coast, but the final chapter takes place in Chicago as the Exes play the Metro, and Kennedy gets the sense of place just right.

Name: Jessica

Strange Bedpersons

October 26, 2011

Author: Jennifer Crusie

Title: Strange Bedpersons

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 328

Geographical Setting: Kentucky

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary: Tess and Nick are no longer together; chalk it up to being completely different people. She’s a feminist teacher who grew up on a commune and is extremely outspoken. He’s a conservative, womanizing lawyer who wants to make partner. Of course, underneath his outer-shell, Nick is a decent guy. So when he needs a fake-fiancé for a weekend trip to Kentucky to help his career, she’s willing to play along. See, Nick has to court a Rush Limbaugh-esque writer to get a promotion, and he’s on the school board for a school Tess wants to work at. Will Tess and Nick be able to get his help, and will their closeness affect their relationship?

Subject Headings:

Thirties (age), men/women relationships, lawyers

Appeal: fast-paced, humorous, lighthearted, romantic, upbeat, steamy, conversational, heartwarming, multiple plotlines , charming, breezy, character-centered

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: romantic, lighthearted, humorous

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Brooks, David. “The Social Animal.” Brooks writes about a hypothetical couple and details and discusses soft-science about human nature as he views how the couple changes over the years, much as Tess and Nick change during the novel.

Dowd, Maureen. “Are Men Necessary?” A humorous look at changing gender-roles and relationships; quite possibly a book Tess would have on her shelf.

Gray, John. “Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex.” By the author of “Men Are From Mars…”, this book details overcoming differences and says not to change your partner—something Tess and Nick learned about.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Dahl, Victoria. “Bad Boys Do”. A HQN romance about wrong first impressions, women in their 30s not wanting to change to find a husband, and a light, goofy, tone.

Donovan, Susan. “Knock Me Off My Feet.” Both books have ‘tomboyish’ main characters with an opposites-attract romance plotline and witty tone.

Higgins, Kristan. “Just One of the Guys”.  Both have tomboy main characters, and a light, breezy, tone, although this romance here has a “will he notice me” vibe.

Name: Brian C

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

August 17, 2011

Title:  The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Author: Mitch Albom

Genre: Inspirational, Fiction

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 198

Geographical Setting: Heaven, Amusement Park

Time Period: Current day

Format:  Hardcover

Plot Summary:  This is the story of Eddie. He is a maintenance man at the Ruby Point Amusement Park and he is about to die. We learn of Eddie’s death and are told about the life he had and the people who were in it. Along the way, we start to understand that Eddie feels his life was lacking and not meaningful. The last section of the story takes place in Heaven where Eddie meets five people who he touched during his life. He then learns of how important he was throughout his life even if it wasn’t readily apparent to him. This short parable like story will have you feeling uplifted and that you have a purpose by the end.

Subject Headings:  Spirituality, Death, Inspirational

Appeal:  Easy, Heartwarming, Hopeful, Optimistic, Thoughtful, Introspective, Inspiring, Gentle, Timeless, Accessible, Breezy, Simple

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Hopeful, Heartwarming, Inspiring

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Voices of Many Waters: Irrefutable Evidence of Life After Death by Alan Youngblood-A factual study of the possibility of a life after death. This is a readable book where you can explore this topic further.

Theme Park Design: Behind the Scenes With an Engineer by Steve Alcorn-Get  a basic knowledge of theme parks and the maintenance issues that Eddie dealt with during his life.

Learning to Love Yourself: Finding Your Self-Worth by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruise-a place to gain insight into how people get over feeling like Eddie did all his life. Start now before you are in Heaven.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

  Life’s Golden Ticket: An Inspirational Story by Brendon Burchard-Another inspirational tale that is set in an amusement park. An uplifting story that will appeal to readers of The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

Name:  Mary Othic

Almost Like Being in Love: A Novel

August 3, 2011

   Author: Steve Kluger

ALMOST_LIKE_BEING_IN_LOVE3.jpg  Title: Almost Like Being in Love

  Genre: Romance/Gay fiction/Epistolary novel

  Publication Date: 2004

  Number of Pages: 368

  Geographical Setting: New York/Los Angeles

  Time Period: 1978/1998/2004

 Plot Summary:  Travis and Craig fall in love their senior year of high school.  After one amazing summer together in New York, they part ways to opposite coasts for college and soon drift apart.  Twenty years later, Travis teaches American History in California and Craig is a lawyer in New York.  They are both happy and successful, but something is missing.  Travis realizes it first and sets off on a cross country quest to find his first love and he puts it all on the line for what he hopes is true love.  Told in a mix of narrative, letters, journals, memos, and e-mails this is a funny, touching, and quirky story of romance, first love, and friendship.

Subject Headings:  First loves Fiction, Love stories Fiction, Middle-aged men Fiction

Appeal:  humorous, witty, engaging, compelling, conversational, breezy, layered, multiple points of view, well-crafted

3 terms that best describe this book:  epistolary novel, romantic, quirky

 3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works

The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy by Robert Leleux                                                                   The author’s bittersweet and humorous memoir of growing up with a larger-than-life mother.  As dysfunctional as his mother was, she sounds like just the kind of parent you wish Travis had when he was growing up and realizing he was gay.

The Baseball Maniac’s Almanac: The Absolutely, Positively, and Without Question Greatest Book of Facts, Figures, and Astonishing Lists Ever Compiled by Bert Randolph Sugar                                                                                                                              A fun book of just about anything you would ever want to know about baseball.  You can look up some of the many baseball moments that are peppered throughout the book.

Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life In and Out of Major League Baseball by Billy Bean with Chris Bull                                                                                                               Billy Bean’s memoir of coming-out after a career in the Majors is an honest and compelling book.  His love of baseball and message of acceptance comes across in an engaging manner.

 3 Relevant Fiction Works

The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story by Peter Lefcourt                                                               This is another witty love story between two men, but this book deals more with some more serious topics like coming out and gays in sports and society.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows                                                                                                                                         This book is also an epistolary novel and a love story with engaging characters.

One Day by David Nicholls                                                                                                          A good book for those who liked the romantic comedy feel of Almost Like Being in Love.  It is not an epistolary novel, but it is written in an unusual episodic way that follows the lives of the two main characters on the same day each year over two decades.

Name: Katie


Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

August 3, 2011

 

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Author:Helen Simonson

Title:  Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel                                   

Publication Date:   2010                                                                   

Pages:  355

Genre:  Romance

Geographical Setting:  Edgecombe St. Mary, England

Time Period:  2010

Subject Headings: Romance, English Culture, Pakistani Women

Appeal:  leisurely-paced, relaxed, emotionally-charged, humorous, romantic, lifelike, character-centered, resolved ending, intimate, small-town, breezy, witty

Plot Summary:  Widower Major Pettigrew develops an expected friendship with a Pakistani woman, which causes a stir in the small town.  Their racism causes the Major to view his friends and family in a different manner.  This breezy novel about the decline of English gentility is charming and humorous with an unmistakable undercurrent of social intolerance.         

Three terms that best describe this book:  leisurely-paced, romantic, humorous

Similar authors and fiction works:

The Widower’s Tale by Julie Glass

Seventy-year-old Percy Darling’s life changes when he allows a preschool to use his old barn.  The story takes place in contemporary Boston.  densely written, character-centered, breezy

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear   

In post-World War I England, Maisie Dobbs starts her own business as a private investigator.  Her first case uncovers much more than proof of infidelity leading her into a dark web of secrets.  She realizes she must face the truth about her lost love.  This is first in a series and National Bestseller.  unhurried, historical details, flashbacks

A Place to Call Home by Deborah Smith

This is a love story about a young girl and her boyfriend that lives across the tracks.  After a tragedy separates them, they reunite twenty years later leading to a rediscovery of their feelings.  emotionally-charged, humorous, character-centered

Similar authors and non-fiction works:

Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn

This is an autobiography written by Katharine Hepburn that discusses her movie career,   relationships and 27-year love affair with Spencer Tracy.  introspective, rich and famous, straightforward

The Wrong Side of an Illness: A Doctor’s Love Story by Owen Surman

The sobering story of a psychiatrist who’s life changes when his wife battles ovarian cancer. candid, authentic, intimate

Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959 edited by Robert H. Ferrell

An intimate look into Harry Truman’s love for his wife.  historical details, dramatic, nostalgic

 

Name:  Debbie