Posts Tagged ‘strong secondary character’

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

March 21, 2012

Author: Green, John (and David Levithan)

Genre: GLBT, Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 310

Geographical Setting: Chicago

Time Period: Current

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  Will Grayson and will grayson, are troubled teens that live around the Chicagoland area. One is straight (Will Grayson) and the other is gay (will grayson). The straight Will Grayson is a teen who does not want to draw attention nor be noticed by anyone, but having a friend named Tiny Cooper, who is a big lovable gay teen who is in search of romantic relationships and is planning to make a fabulous musical about his life, does not help. The gay will grayson is a teen who has nothing good going on in his life, except for a boy he met online named Isaac and his friend Maura. Both Will Grayson and will grayson end up crossing paths when will grayson goes to meet Isaac. This meeting changes the lives of Will Grayson, will grayson, Tiny Cooper, and Maura, who has an interest in will grayson. This story is dramatic throughout the book and is very realistic. The story is very moving, full of bittersweet romance but funny.

Subject Headings: Interpersonal relations Juvenile fiction – Dating (Social customs) – Homosexuality – Overweight persons – Theater – Names, Personal fiction – Chicago (Ill.) Fiction.

Appeal: Fast-paced, intricately plotted, bittersweet, funny, gentle, dramatic, moving, hopeful, romantic, thoughtful, compassionate, multiple points of view, realistic, strong secondary character, touching, thought-provoking, and sympathetic.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Bittersweet, funny, and touching.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Huegel, Kelly – GLBTQ: the survival guide for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens (Guide/advice for GLBTQ teens)

Swain, Keith W. – Dynamic Duos: the alpha/beta key to unlocking success in gay relationships (A guide for gay men to finding Mr. Right)

Bergquist, Kathie – A Field Guide to Gay & Lesbian (A guide for gay and lesbians around the Chicago).

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Elkeles, Simone – Perfect Chemistry (series) (A love relationship between two teenagers, where their friends disapprove of their relationship. This is told in multiple perspectives and it is a realistic fiction)

Hopkins, Ellen – Tricks (GLBT/realistic fiction told in multiple perspectives. A story of five teenagers that falls into prostitution and tries to find their way back to freedom and happiness)

Magruder, James– Sugarless (GLBT fiction which takes place in Chicago suburbs. A story about a teen who copes with his life by joining a speech team. He later has an affair with a speech coach from a rival school).

Name: Jun Yoon

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.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

June 21, 2010

Fun Home Cover

Author: Alison Bechdel

Title: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir, Gay/Lesbian, Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2006

Geographical Setting: Beech Creek, Pennsylvania

Number of Pages: 240

Time Period: From the early 1960’s through the 1980’s

Series: No

Plot Summary:

The author’s memoir, based heavily on her childhood journal, is the story of the relationship between a girl and her closeted homosexual father. Fun Home is both the local funeral parlor, owned and run by her closeted homosexual father, and the Victorian house where Alison grew up.  The author chronicles her life experiences including her relationship with an aloof and distracted mother, the “maybe” suicide of her father, the realization her father is gay, and the growing awareness and recognition that she is gay as well. This graphic novel is filled with many literary references. Alison Bechdel, a well known cult-favorite comic artist, uses clean pen-and-ink drawings to tell her story.

Subject Headings: Father and daughter, Closet gay, Lesbian teenagers — Coming out, Gay men, Parent and child, Death, Cartoonists, Autobiographies (Adult literature), Graphic novels (Nonfiction), Domestic fiction, Family, Family secrets, Family relationships.

Appeal: Poignant, engrossing, detailed, insightful, introspective, reflective, strong secondary character, character-centered, domestic, family-centered, flashbacks, layered, literary references, sexually explicit drawings, thought-provoking, detailed setting, small-town, candid, contemplative, introspective, reflective, psychological, unaffected, complex relationships, conversational, frank, simple, unpretentious, informative, entertaining

Three Terms that best describe this book: Introspective, Contemplative, Poignant

Similar Authors and Works:

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Anonymity by Susan Bergman. Bergman intertwines moving ponderings with memories of childhood. Bergman’s father, a closeted homosexual, died of AIDS at the age of 45. His death was preceded by Bergman’s brother three months earlier. Devastated, Bergman, her mother and her two sisters are left behind to pick up the pieces. This book is similar to Fun Home in that it is poignant, engrossing, and character- and family-centered. Like Fun Home, complex relationships and closeted gay fathers figure prominently.

Likewise: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag by Ariel Schrag.  The third in a series of three volumes, this memoir follows the author’s senior year of high school. In the graphic novel format, Ariel experiences a tumultuous year that includes pining for an ex-girlfriend, dealing with her parents’ divorce, and discovering the world of James Joyce. This book is similar to Fun Home in that it is a poignant memoir about a lesbian written in graphic novel format. (literary references, character-centered, frank)

Thrumpton Hall:A Memoir of Life in My Father’s House by Miranda Seymour. This memoir is the tale of the Seymour’s family who suffered through their father’s obsession with the family home (a Nottinghamshire estate). At question are her father’s original intentions when marrying Miranda’s mother and his relationships with several young men later in his life. This memoir is similar to Fun Home in that it is about the author’s complex relationship with her (potentially) gay father who has a preoccupation with restoring the family home. (Poignant, introspective, reflective, contemplative)

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Fresh Men: New Voices in Gay Fiction selected by Edmund White; edited by Donald Weise. A compilation of 20 stories that examines a variety of gay experiences including coming out, isolation, integration, and family response. Like Fun Home, this collection is candid, full of complex relationships, and character-centered.

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd. The summer before college, 18 year old Dade Hamilton must cope with his parents’ crumbling marriage, a dreary job, his first public relationship, and coming out of the closet. This novel is similar to Fun Home in that it is character-centered, has complex relationships, and is poignant and thought-provoking.

Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of New Queer Girl Writing edited by Michelle Tea. A collection of brief works by 22 lesbian essayists that examine coming out and other lesbian/female homosexual cultural issues. The array of essays includes two comic strips. This set of writings is similar to Fun Home in that it is character-centered, insightful, psychological, and sexually explicit.

Name: Laona Fleischer