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

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Justin Torres’ “We the Animals”: A Fresh and Animalistic Twist to the Coming-of-Age Narrative

When constructing the list for my doctoral exams, I wanted to include novels that discussed issues of development, coming-of-age, and sexuality from multiple perspectives. Justin Torres’ We the Animals not only caught my attention because it was favorably reviewed by authors such as Michael Cunningham, but also because it contains Puerto Rican representations—and as some … Continue reading Justin Torres’ “We the Animals”: A Fresh and Animalistic Twist to the Coming-of-Age Narrative

John Donovan’s [I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip] – The First YA Novel With Gay Content

During the same political and cultural climate that produced the 1969 Stonewall Riots, John Donovan's I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip was published.  Although the riots were not causal of the books publication, it is no coincidence that both events were symptomatic of the tensions and pressures faced by the newly forming gay … Continue reading John Donovan’s [I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip] – The First YA Novel With Gay Content

My Ultimate Reading Challenge – The Reading List for My PhD Candidacy Examinations

Part of the requirements for the doctoral degree in English at the University of Notre Dame are written and oral exams (which I will take in March of 2014). The exams are a requirement that demonstrate that all doctoral students have in-depth knowledge of a major field, a secondary field, and a literary theory/methodology, in … Continue reading My Ultimate Reading Challenge – The Reading List for My PhD Candidacy Examinations

Male Prostitution and [The Hunger Games] – The Case of Finnick Odair

Perhaps one of the most shocking moments of Suzanne Collins's Mockingjay is when the reader finds out that Finnick Odair--a past victor of the Hunger Games tournament who is attractive and always surrounded by suitors--reveals that he was sold and used as a sex slave for wealthy patrons residing in the Capitol. This confession is broadcasted across the dystopic … Continue reading Male Prostitution and [The Hunger Games] – The Case of Finnick Odair

A Brilliantly Transgressive YA Novel: Kelley York’s “Hushed” (A Review)

Murder. Love. Torment. Loss. Redemption. What more can you ask for in a book? When first approaching Kelley York's Hushed, it would be easy to classify the novel as a young adult adaptation of Showtime's notorious show Dexter (a television program that one of my friends calls "every English major's favorite show"). And while the novel's main character has strong … Continue reading A Brilliantly Transgressive YA Novel: Kelley York’s “Hushed” (A Review)