Friday, April 9, 2010

Colorado Teen Literature Conference - Tangled

Tomorrow I am presenting at the Colorado Teen Literature conference, which is my favorite conference of the year. I am going to talk about new book bundles, which are YA novels that are grouped thematically. In addition to talking about 25 new books, I will also suggest classroom activities for each bundle. One of the bundles involves books that have multiple narrators. Caroline Mackler's Tangled is one of the books in this group. Told from the points of view of four different teens, the story chronicles the time they spend together at a Caribbean resort, as well as the four months that follow. The story is narrated in a linear fashion, beginning with Jena's story. She is a hypercritical girl, who is her own worst critic. She accompanies her mom and her mom's best friend and daughter Skye to the resort. Skye is a gorgeous young actress who doesn't seem to want to give Jena the time of day. Little does Jena know, that Skye, who narrates the next section, is struggling with emotional problems. They both meet Dakota, a boy who seems confident and sexually aggressive. He initially spends time with Jena, but dumps her when he meets Skye. He narrates the third section which takes place when he returns home. Finally, we hear from Owen, Dakota's introverted brother, who spends most of his time working on his blog "Loser with a Laptop." Jena begins following his blog and they ultimately meet in NYC. As the story progresses through the vacation, and its aftermath, the reader begins to realize that the facade these kids present to the world hides a very different person on the inside. I loved these characters and think kids will really connect with their insecurities.
Although I'm really looking forward to my presentation, I am most excited about the two visiting authors, Matt de la Pena, the author of Mexican Whiteboy, and Ellen Hopkins, the popular author, who writes cutting edge novels-in-verse. I am also profiling her latest novel, Tricks, in my novels-in-verse bundle. In my next blog I will let you know about the conference and meeting these two authors.

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