Unrealistic Expectations: (Meta)Narrative in Andrew Smith’s [Winger]

Warning: The following post contains major spoilers for Andrew Smith's Winger.  After reading Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle, I immediately knew that I had to read other works written by this author--and Winger seemed like the obvious choice. I finished reading Winger a couple of weeks ago. Typically, I write analyses and reviews of books soon after I read them, but for this novel, … Continue reading Unrealistic Expectations: (Meta)Narrative in Andrew Smith’s [Winger]

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Escaping the Labyrinth: Suffering in YA Fiction and the Case of John Green’s [Looking for Alaska]

  How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering? --A.Y. - John Green, Looking for Alaska (p. 158) What is the role of suffering in young adult literature? I've been obsessed with answering this question since one of my dissertation committee members asked me it a couple of weeks ago. My desire to answer this … Continue reading Escaping the Labyrinth: Suffering in YA Fiction and the Case of John Green’s [Looking for Alaska]

Queer Time in Edmund White’s [A Boy’s Own Story]

Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story is a coming-of-age novel centered on the sexual awakening of a queer teenage boy in the Midwest during the 1950s. The novel discusses topics such as the corruption of innocence, the pressures of masculinity in the lives of young boys, the emergence of childhood sexuality, and the exploration of humanity through … Continue reading Queer Time in Edmund White’s [A Boy’s Own Story]

J.C. Lillis’ [How to Repair a Mechanical Heart]: A Gay YA Novel on Fandom, Religion, and Canonicity

If there is one thing that gay young adult fiction should be thankful for, that thing would be the internet. Because of the advent of the web, we have witnessed the increase of self-published e-novels distributed through online stores such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Self-publishing, in my opinion, greatly expands the possibilities of … Continue reading J.C. Lillis’ [How to Repair a Mechanical Heart]: A Gay YA Novel on Fandom, Religion, and Canonicity

John Barth’s “Lost in the Funhouse”: A Postmodern Critique of the Developmental Narrative

"Lost in the Funhouse" is a short story in John Barth's book of the same name, originally published in 1968.  The stories within this collection are typically approached as postmodern due to their self-reflexivity, their self-awareness, and their use of self-reference. The short story "Life in the Funhouse," in particular, is known for its active … Continue reading John Barth’s “Lost in the Funhouse”: A Postmodern Critique of the Developmental Narrative

Structure and Development in Mark Haddon’s [The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time]

The publication history of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the God in the Night-Time (2003) is indeed very curious, mostly because it was deliberately marketed as both a children's book and an adult novel. This leads me to invoke a pressing issue among scholars and readers who are concerned with narratives of youth: is it possible, nowadays, … Continue reading Structure and Development in Mark Haddon’s [The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time]

John Corey Whaley’s “Where Things Come Back” – A Haunting and Truly Thought-Provoking Read

It is difficult to find quality young adult novels with a sensitive male teenager as the protagonist. While this has to do with the stereotypes generally tied to readers of the genre, the rarity of this character also has a lot to do with issues and perceptions of gender in contemporary society. There is something … Continue reading John Corey Whaley’s “Where Things Come Back” – A Haunting and Truly Thought-Provoking Read

Daniel Keyes’ [Flowers for Algernon] – On Disability, Animality, and Structure

I think I'll begin by stating that Flowers for Algernon is perhaps one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking books that I've read recently. In the narrative, Algernon is the name of a laboratory mouse who successfully underwent an operation to increase its intelligence. The main focus of the novel, however, is Charlie Gordon,  a man suffering … Continue reading Daniel Keyes’ [Flowers for Algernon] – On Disability, Animality, and Structure