Posts Tagged ‘descriptive writing’

Finding H.F.

April 11, 2012

Author: Julia Watts

Title: Finding H.F.

Genre: GLBTQ, YA

Publication Date: 2001

Number of pages: 165

Geographical Setting: Kentucky, Georgia, Florida

Time Period: Present day

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: H.F. is a sixteen your old girl who is living in Morgan, Kentucky and being raised by her grandma.  H.F.’s mother left her shortly after she was born and was never to be heard from again.  H.F. stands for ‘Heavenly Faith’, representing her Memaw’s hopes for her when she was born.  H.F. loves her devoutly Baptist Grandmother, but would not dare let Memaw know she is a lesbian.  After falling for Wendy, the new girl in school, H.F. is sure that an eternity of Memaw’s hell would be worth it to be with Wendy.  Wendy reciprocates H.F.’s feelings for her, but is not ready to accept who she is.  After one night together at Wendy’s house, Wendy tells H.F. to leave and forces her walk across town back to Memaw’s.

H.F. discovers a letter hidden in her Grandmother’s room one night that prompts her to take a road trip to Florida.  She drags along her best (and only) friend Bo.  Bo is an outcast at school and at home for being too effeminate and not living up to his dad’s expectations.  He may also be gay like H.F., but she can’t be sure.  Bo happens to also own an old beat-up Ford Escort.  Together they leave Kentucky for the first time in Bo’s old Ford.  On their way to Florida they make several stops in the towns and cities along the way.  The two friends discover how different and big the world is outside of small town Morgan, Kentucky.

Subject Headings: lesbian fiction, southern fiction, homelessness – youths, homophobia

Appeal: descriptive writing, the south, character centered, religion in the GLBTQ community, class distinctions, optimistic outlook, coming of age, romantic, road trips, lesbian relationships, alcoholism, bullying, self-discovery, adopted children, encouraging

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: coming of age, lesbian relationships, self-discovery

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Living at the Edge of the World: How I Survived in the Tunnels of Grand Central Station by Tina S. and Jamie Pastor Bolnick

This book is an autobiographical story of a teenage girl who is trying to survive homeless in the city.  This is similar to the story of the three homeless teenagers H.F. and Bo meet in Atlanta.

Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and its Consequences by Sarah Schulman

This nonfiction work outlines the cultural problem of the domestic abuse of gay and lesbian youth.  Homophobia in family members is a constant theme in Finding H.F..

Lifeguarding: A Memoir of Secrets, Swimming, and the South by Catherine McCall

This memoir is about the harsh family life of a lesbian girl growing up in Kentucky.  This story also deals with  alcoholism.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

This book is an award winning classic GLBQ YA novel.  Liza and Annie struggle with the consequences of homophobia in their schools and at home in New York.  This story also deals with class distinctions, as does Finding H.F.

Finding Somewhere by Joseph Monninger

This Ya novel is about two sixteen year old girls who go on a road trip west to save a horse who was scheduled to be euthanized.

Gravity by Leanne Lieberman

This coming of age story is about a teenage girl who struggles with being caught between her family’s Jewish religion and her own sexual orientation.

Name: Noel M.

Shanghai Girls

February 15, 2012

Author: See, Lisa

Title: Shanghai Girls

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 314

Geographical Setting: China, United States (Los Angeles)

Time Period: 1937-1957

Series: 1st of sequel (Dreams of Joy)

Plot Summary:

Sisters, Pearl and May live a care-free and enjoyable life of modeling and luxuries wealthier Chinese were afforded in the 1930s until one day their lives were changed forever.  Forced into arranged marriages with two brothers, the girls are forced to flee war-torn China and head to America to be with their husbands.  Life in America is hard for the women, forced to live with and work for in-laws that appear to be cruel.  The women must rely on each other through the many struggles they face. This book explores complicated family relationships and the difficulties of immigration, especially for Chinese in the 1950s.

Subject Headings: Chinese-American women, Immigrants-United States, The Thirties (20th century), Sisters, Chinese-American immigrants, Father and daughter, Husband and wife, Family secrets, Betrayal, Loyalty.

Appeal: leisurely paced, bittersweet, moving, emotionally charged, well-developed characters, strong secondary character, character-centered, unresolved ending, historical, descriptive writing, sobering, family-centered

3 Appeal terms to best describe book: moving, character-centered, family-centered

3 Fiction read-alikes:

Paradise Alley, by Kevin Baker. This book was chosen because it is about immigrants, and suspicion being cast upon them. This book is also historical fiction, and explores racism, and parts of history that aren’t often discussed.

Away, by Amy Bloom. This was chosen because it deals with issues of immigration in the early 20th century.  It also deals with a mothers love for her daughter.  It also has rich, fully developed characters, and is read at a relaxed pace.

The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka. This book is similar in that it is about women immigrants to the U.S.  and it deals with stereotyping and skepticism during the war. It also explores the hardships of raising children in the U.S. with a culture very different from yours. Like Shanghai Girls, it is character driven, historical, moving, and sobering.

3 Non-fiction read-alikes:

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family, by Mary S. Lovell.  This book explores the lives and relationships between 6 sisters who take different paths in life.

Girlfriends: Invisible Bonds, Enduring Ties, by Carmen Renee Barry. This book explores the loyalty and sometimes complicated relationships between women friends. The friendship between May and Pearl is an important theme in the book.

The Rice Groom: Growing up Chinese-American: From Number Two Son to Rock ‘n’ Roll, by Ben Fong-Torres.  This book is about growing up Chinese in Oakland’s Chinatown in the 1950s, and facing discrimination.