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.

About Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.

4 Thoughts on “This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

  1. The book This Is All is inspirational. I’ve caught myself pondering about the book and it’s main ideas in the middle of school, I’ve even noticed that I’m beginning to think in the similar manner, i.e. wondering whether or not we live in a real world or if we can even call it that, then correcting myself by saying that even a fake world is a type of world. Anyway, i love the book, and it is keeping my hooked till the last page. The only reason that I’ve taken my time reading it is because everytime that I read it, I feel that I have to digest the information and let the emotions of the part I just read sink in. I feel the need to share this book with everybody I meet and it IS a great read. I applaud Aiden Chambers and his “wonderous” writing skills.

  2. THIS IS ALL is an exceptional book. As writer Chambers and reader Chelsea say, lives and thoughts follow the patterns we read. One of my interests is the way the language, the voice, of a book can flow through my mind and alter the rhythm and rhyme of my thoughts as well as the reason. Poetry is music, as Cordelia says, but so is prose.

  3. Sarah [Visitor] on April 27, 2007 at 8:16 am said:

    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I picked it up almost by mistake at the local library and just couldn’t put it down. I would find myself thinking ablut what I’d read in the same way as everyone else seems to, I thought it was a great book.

  4. I just finished this book and thought it was brilliant and beautiful – and made me wish I could write!

    Here’s my review

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