Friday, May 7, 2010

YA Novels: Ripped from the Headlines

  On Tuesday we had our second to last High School TAB meeting and one of the books discussed was Sisterwife by Shelly Hrdlitschka. This is a book about a young girl who grows up in a community where the men take more than one wife and often marry much younger girls. Sound familiar? Two years ago there was this big story out of Utah.

Just like an episode of Law and Order, sometimes current events set off the imaginations of YA writers.

This seems to be the case with this topic. Just recently there have been multiple titles on this subject:

 Sisterwife by Shelly Hrdlitschka
Celeste was born and raised in Unity, yet she struggles to fit in. Perhaps it's because of Taviana, the girl who has come to live with them and entertains Celeste with forbidden stories, or Jon, the young man she has clandestine meetings with, or maybe it's the influence of Craig, the outsider she meets on the beach. Whatever it is, she struggles to accept her ordained life. At fifteen she is repulsed at the thought of being assigned to an older man and becoming a sister wife, and she knows for certain she is not cut out to raise children. She wants something more for herself, yet feels powerless to change her destiny because rebelling would bring shame upon her family.
Celeste watches as Taviana leaves Unity, followed by Jon, and finally Craig, the boy who has taught her to think "outside the box." How will Celeste find her way out of Unity?

 Keep Sweet by Michele Greene
Alva, not quite fifteen, is content with the strict rules that define her life in Pineridge, the walled community where she lives with her father, his seven wives, and her twenty-nine siblings until she is caught giving her long-time crush an innocent first kiss and forced to marry a violent, fifty-year-old man.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
 Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don't count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her. But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever. 

 The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante
Agnes and Honey have always been best friends, but they haven't always been so different. Agnes loves being a Believer. She knows the rules at the Mount Blessing religious commune are there to make her a better person. Honey hates Mount Blessing and the control Emmanuel, their leader, has over her life. The only bright spot is the butterfly garden she's helping to build, and the journal of butterflies that she keeps. When Agnes's grandmother makes an unexpected visit to the commune, she discovers a violent secret that the Believers are desperate to keep quiet.

Alis  by Naomi Rich
In this science fiction tale, fourteen-year-old Alis has never been outside her strict religious community. But when her parents arrange for her to marry a forty-year-old man, she flees desperately to the dangerous, unfamiliar city. She learns quickly that the only way to survive there is to become a thiefaor worse. Facing an impossible choice between a forced marriage or life on the streets, Alis seizes control of her own fate. But the path she chooses sets off a disastrous chain of events that leave her accused of murder. Steadfastly loyal, Alis must decide: will she betray a loved one or sacrifice herself?

Have you noticed other trends for YA novels that were "ripped" from the headlines?

picture from: here 
Summaries from BookLetters unless otherwise noted.

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