Wednesday, November 3, 2010

She's a Loser, But She Still Keeps on Trying

Okay, so the Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge came and went in October. And despite there being only a handful of people entered on this woman's website, I still didn't manage to win the coveted tote bag, much less the re-issue of Carney's House Party or Emily of Deep Valley, or even a piddly book mark! Sad and pathetic.

Nonetheless, while I may be a loser in Library of the Mind's eyes, I'm still a champion in mine. Why? Because I finished what I set out to do--I re-read Carney's House Party, and then last weekend, as frosting, I re-read Emily of Deep Valley. And true to my promise to review middle-grade and YA books for--ahem!--suitability, I thought I'd give you the run-down.

Be warned: there are things more appalling than sex, violence and language in these books.

While Carney (of guess which title) is a student at Vassar College, after she graduates she just wants to be a wife and mom. Shocking lack of ambition! Is this why her parents are paying the big bucks? And (spoiler alert!) her heart may not be set on the Stanford student she used to love. Uh, he goes to Stanford--what's not to love? Parents, beware of this book if you plan to spend much $$$ on your daughter's college education in hopes that she'll become a surgeon or diplomat. Worse yet, there's no bad language in Carney's House Party and only one kiss--which doesn't even involve Joe Willard!-- so I can only recommend this delightful book with reservations.

And--more alarming yet--Emily (of Deep Valley) doesn't even go to college and learns to be content without it. Is this the message we should be sending our children? In her defense, she is pretty bummed about her abortive education at first, but she manages to fill her life with fallbacks like caring for her aged grandfather and reaching out on behalf of misunderstood Syrian immigrants. What's that about? Again, no cussing, hardly any kissing, and not one single rape scene. Nor is the title Joe Willard of Deep Valley, so get by as you must. Despite all these things, I read the book in one day. A sweet one.

Speaking of sweet ones, I talked with the book designer yesterday, and it looks like Mia and the Magic Cupcakes will hit Planet Earth at the end of November. Whoo hoo! Book parties and cupcakes! I'll keep you posted.

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