Monday, June 1, 2009

How to Steal a Car

What doI like best to read in the children's lit realm? Ever since (well obviously before) I started teaching I have been drawn to two types of books, a perhaps strange combination, picture books and Young Adult literature. This probably demonstrates an unwillingness to grow up, but I always liked picture books (this may also account for my weakness for magazines with good pictures-in another life I will be a photo stylist) and I read The Outsiders when it first came out(which was a long long time ago-I was a teenager) which may have begun my weakness for those realistic YA books. I just read a children's novel and as enjoyable as it was I am still frozen somewhat in adolescence. Getting to work in primary classrooms this year has really fed the picture book habit and the best part of working with high school teachers may have been the feeling I need to be up on YA lit.
As you may have guessed, my latest read has been an advance copy of How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman (winner of the National Book Award for his novel, Godless)which is set in an upper middle class suburb of Minneapolis. Having recently been to Minneapolis where I acquired the book for free at the International Reading Association convention, I was able to have a sharper sense of the setting of course. When I picked up this book I thought it would probably be about some underprivileged delinquent boy but instead it is about a rather privileged teenage girl who although she doesn't yet have a driver's license has an ability to steal cars. An interesting book as we begin to peel away the layers of why she is stealing cars. I think I would love the opportunity to discuss this book with some teenagers. I kind of love the humour and descriptions of this book. I also like the surprises which when closely examined perhaps aren't that surprising. It's due out in early fall. I think I am planning to read more of his novels.

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