Teenagers: Donut Club. VI

Lockers, chewing gum, headphones, tumblr, angst: teenagers.
I still feel like a teenager most of the time, and most think I am still one, so this month’s teen-aged theme was easy (for me).

R’s first pick was Jennifer Donnelly’s A Gathering Light, a fictionalized account of a historical crime. As some books do, reading it makes you want to know everything about the crime. The second novel that she chose was Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind, a book she originally read just after she decided to move to Barcelona. It is a tale of secret books, of the magic of reading, and the “echo of words” allowing us to return again and again to the books that touched us.

The ultimate teen books that I would never recommend to teens: The Virgin Suicides. I loved this book a and first read it in a strange fervor. A suburban group of boys are obsessed with the sheltered and elusive five Lisbon sisters – who all, one by one, commit suicide.
My second choice was the most formative book of my teen years: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. My school blazer had a pocket just big enough to fit this gem; I would carry it around with me and read it when I was supposed to be doing class work. A book that I loved, it changed me, and made me obsessed with 90’s grunge.

H spoke of We Need to Talk About Kevin and it’s portrayal of the mother of a teen killer. Nature vs. Nurture debate ensued.

Lost and never replaced by someone (who we all agreed is a jerk), T could not bring Louise O’Neill’s Asking for It, but she told us about how it looks at rape culture and victim blaming in a small Irish town. The book is horrific in it’s subject matter, but what is more horrific is that it is something that is real and happening in society today.

Finally, B had chosen (like myself) Perks but loved it for different reasons, he read it when he was no longer a teen, which shaped the way he saw and experienced the characters. His other pick was the short story The Grownup which left him horrified after reading it home alone; only Gillian Flynn could write about hand-jobs and haunted houses in the space of a few pages.


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