This is the best book I’ve read this year. Are your teens taking it out?
A hefty 800 pages, This is All is literally ALL: a brain dump of a nineteen year old’s intimate chronicling of her late adolescence, leading up to the birth of her daughter, with whom she intends to share the pillow book when the daughter turns sixteen. Cordelia, who lost her mother as a very young girl, does have guidance as she navigates her teen years; adult mentors come in the form of richly drawn characters of an aunt and an English teacher.
At the ALA President’s Program last year, Aidan Chambers said he believes life imitates art – that young readers look to their literature to discover how to BE – and Cordy is a model for supportive adult relationships, planning and decision making, spending time constructively, even reading for pleasure (she adores Shakespeare, whom she affectionately calls Shakes). The volume is unabashedly sexual, but teens are sexual beings, and everything in it rang true for me, and though her romance with clever musician Will is the hinge on which the plot pivots, Cordy’s writings address many many other universal issues of faith, friendship, ethics, loss, trust, and ponders her future writer and the nature of poetry.
Just a reminder – if there is something you read and loved this year, it’s too late to NOMINATE IT! Deadline was December 15, 2006 for YALSA selection lists. Nominations from the field are ALWAYS encourages, and the Printz award committee only discusses nominated titles (by themselves and YOU!). Suggest a winner for 2007 published titles after January 1, 2007.
I’ll be waiting breathlessly on Monday January 23 2007 to hear the winners announced, and to see if any of my contenders are in the running.