Monday, December 21, 2015

High School Book Club December Edition

Last Tuesday was our high school book club's monthly meeting. We discussed ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL by Jesse Andres and also chose our new book.

I really enjoy MaEatDG. I thought it was hilarious and found myself laughing out loud in my bedroom consistently while reading it. On the cover, it was of course compared to THE FAULT AND OUR STARS which I thought was an unfair comparison. This book is completely different in every way except that both books have a character with cancer. The tone is different, the theme is different, the character arcs are different, and the characters sound completely different. I can see how someone might want it to ride the coattails of TFiOS, but it deserves to be on its own shelf. It's just a different book completely.

One of my students really enjoyed MaEatDG and I was surprised because he doesn't usually read the books we assign. That just shows again how subjective reading is. There were a few people who didn't make it past the first few chapters because they felt the protagonist was whiny. I, on the other hand, thought that he was just a normal self-conscious teenager. (But then again, they're the real teenagers and I'm not.) The first few chapters is what hooked me.

Many of them did not like Earl, since he was such a stereotype. One student said she knew going into it that Earl was going to be a stereotype, so it didn't bother her as much. I can understand their disappointment, but I'm used to taking things with a grain of salt (ahem adulting), so it didn't phase me as much.

Overall, I think they were getting kind of sick of the same sorts of tropes and genres that we've been reading. Most have been contemporary YA and I know a lot of my students really like speculative fiction.

I'm really excited because they picked RED RISING by Pierce Brown as their next book, which I've been trying to get them to read since September. A lot of them said they wouldn't read anything new until we read RED RISING. I also think I did a superb job pitching it as THE HUNGER GAMES on Mars with Roman mythology. A close second was WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin, which I really hope we read next, but only the votes will tell.

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