Category Archives: Judy Blume

#CaitlinMoranShouldRead – What It’s About

If you follow anyone in the UK & Irish YA community, you may have come across this today: #CaitlinMoranShouldRead

I don’t really know who Caitlin Moran is: comedian, journalist, “social commentator”, who knows? (I’m Australian; I don’t know UK celebrities.) Anyway, her YA novel (or an adult novel with a 16-year-old protagonist), How to Build a Girl, will be published soon, so The Bookseller interviewed her. The full interview is behind a paywall or something, so we’re stuck with this short piece. Possibly the quotes aren’t in context, so we misunderstand. Thus out of context, her words come across as…well, naive and ignorant towards the YA book community. One of the most commonly given writing advice is to READ a lot in your chosen genre, but the article’s quotes seem to suggest that Ms. Moran hasn’t done her research.

…she was moved to write about teenage sexuality…in response to the Fifty Shades of Grey…phenomenon, which she said had made her “angry and despairing”.

She’s not alone with that last point: that E. L. James’s series seems to portray psychological abuse as “romantic” is a major concern. But that trilogy is aimed at an adult audience, or maybe New Adult – NOT young adult. So linking Fifty Shades with teenage sexuality doesn’t really make sense.

…argued that writing about sexual adventures was important for that age group. “…I wanted to get in there before anyone else and talk about sex.”

That quote: derp. Judy Blume, Jacqueline Wilson, Cecily von Ziegesar. And that’s just the stuff I read – there’re probably many more authors that spring to mind for other readers. Ms. Moran is hardly the first author to think, “Hey, teen girls have sex – I should write about that.”

“It’s always about teenage boys going off and having amazing adventures. You don’t see teenage girls anywhere unless they’re being bitten by vampires so I wanted to write about a funny, weird teenage girl having adventures, particularly sex adventures.”

Apparently, Twilight is the only young adult novel ever published. Who knew. *headdesk* (Besides, Breaking Dawn is all about bed-breaking sexcapades that result in the scariest pregnancy since Alien, and the freakiest child who’s “imprinted” upon as a youngster by the mother’s best friend, and supposedly that’s not paedophiliac, though it kind of is… This book’s totally bonkers, which could be why I find it the most entertaining of the saga.)

And thus #CaitlinMoranShouldRead appeared on Twitter, to…well, recommend books that Caitlin Moran should read. Not sure who started it, and I don’t think Ms. Moran has responded to it yet.

(Kind of off-topic: There’s a car ad with a 1980s synth-pop song about “Space Invaders”. The tune is in my head, but the lyrics are now “sex adventures”, due to that article. Thank you, Ms. Moran.)

So, Caitlin Moran should read…which books about teen girls’ sex adventures?

Gabrielle Carey & Kathy Lette’s Puberty Blues: The voice is spot-on, the scenarios believable.

Judy Blume’s Forever: Don’t put aftershave on testicles!

Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls in Love (series): Don’t think I’d heard the term “slag” before reading this.

Mel Sparke’s Sugar Secrets (series): There’s a funny scene (don’t know in which book) about condom-shopping…

Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl (series) Avoid the spinoffs, and stick with the original series. It’s actually quite satirical and hilarious: Vanessa’s pretentious films, Dan’s pretentious writing, and Chuck Bass is all monogrammed scarves and a monkey on his shoulder. (Don’t know if the monkey was in the TV adaptation.)

But all these are no longer being published, and I read adult erotica (Tiffany Reisz, for the win!) so I don’t know about current teen-girl-sexcapades novels…

Huh. In that case, maybe Ms. Moran has a point.

August 2008 Reads

9 books. Because I’m not going to finish a 10th before midnight (it’s almost 10PM).

28 Days Later: The Aftermath – Steve Niles, Dennis Calero, Diego Olmos, Nat Jones

LifeMate Connections: Eryn – Keri Arthur “…the mystery itself is actually quite interesting…” Buy

The Taste of Night – Vicki Pettersson “The Neon Boneyard is a brilliant setting as always, and Joaquin’s underground lair is genuinely creepy. The melding of science and magic is a big part of what makes this series a winner…” Buy

Some Writers Deserve to Starve! – Elaura Niles

Already Dead – Charlie Huston “…like me you’ll be hoping to encounter the second Joe Pitt novel, No Dominion, in the near future.” Buy

Silver is for Secrets – Laurie Faria Stolarz “…compulsively readable…Upon finishing I immediately wanted to read the next in the series…Laurie Faria Stolarz is my kind of writer.” Buy

Moon Called – Patricia Briggs “This series has its fans, and there’s reasonable enough evidence in the world-building and class structure.” Buy

Wifey – Judy Blume “That something published in 1978 seems more believable, realistic and relatable than most books on the market today says a lot.” Buy

Darkling – Yasmine Galenorn “Everything fits together well, the characters seem well formed, and the plot’s intriguing.” Buy

[REVIEW] Wifey – Judy Blume

Judy Blume
Wifey
Penguin Berkley (US: 6th September 2005)
Buy

That something published in 1978 seems more believable, realistic and relatable than most books on the market today says a lot. It’s also more depressing with widespread racism, elitism and repression/suppression. It doesn’t romanticise love, sex or marriage, but rather spotlights things as how they really are for the population that isn’t often written about.

This is Wifey.

Tez and the City, Part II

To the left we have Victoria’s own Simmone Howell, author of Notes from the Teenage Underground and the upcoming Everything Beautiful. To the right we have America’s Rachel Cohn, author of…more books than I can count on one hand. (I’ve read all except Cupcake and the co-written with David Levithan Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List.) Both authors are doing several sessions at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, and because they’re part of the Schools programme, the tickets are cheap ($6). And even those of us older than schoolies can attend. They’re witty and urban women who unintentionally made me realise I don’t know my own city very well. But who cares? I managed to find Gloria Jean’s on Flinders near Elizabeth, which means victory is mine!

And hooray for public transport, which helped me get reading done. I finished Patricia Briggs’s Moon Called yesterday, and read half of Judy Blume’s Wifey in bed. And I finished that off today on the train and in the aforementioned Gloria Jean’s. And read the first two chapters of Yasmine Galenorn’s Darkling on the train home. This is as productive as my reading as been lately, so lap it up.

And dear A. J. Menden’s Phenomenal Girl 5 cover flat arrived today, and thus I photographed. The cat had just woken up from a nap and wasn’t ecstatic. I tried to take a second photo, but by then he was licking himself. So while I don’t have photographic evidence, I can assure you that Manny did sniff the cover flat. He did ignore the MendenPen on his side, but what can you do?