Tag Archives: Coming of Age
“When the world isn’t selling what you’re looking to buy, you just have to take it upon yourself to cut your own pattern” (Murphy 305).
So much YA is coming-of-age stories, and Pumpkin by Julie Murphy is no exception to that rule. Since adolescence is a time of identity formation it’s really no big surprise that YA novels focus on protagonists accepting or rejecting identities–either identities they’ve formed or those thrust upon them by the world–and finding their place in their world.
10 days ago, I was in Lititz, PA. It is a cute little town with an AMAZING independent bookstore, Aaron’s Books. Aaron’s Books is a small store, but it is beautifully curated. I found myself needing to practice restraint, or I would have blown all my vacation money in one spot. I left Aaron’s with the newest Nicola Yoon–signed edition–the newest Julie Murphy–also a signed edition–three Selena Montgomery paperbacks, and the newest A.S. King–also signed. In fact Aaron’s is Amy King’s local bookstore, so they had every single one of her books signed.
In addition to teaching 8th grade ELA, I also teach Research Methods and Capstone Writing in the Urban Teaching Residency (UTR) program in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) at UPenn. (That knowledge and $1.25–if you have EZ Pass–will get you across the Delaware on Rt 295 in Mercer Co.) As it’s May, I’m just finishing up reading my students’ theses for completion of their Master’s Degree. One of my students designed her study to be a case study of two formerly incarcerated men. She wanted to find out how their former incarceration affected their children’s education. One of the men received a pardon, and the other is going through the pardon process. What she found and wrote about was heartbreaking.
In exploring This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey, I’m going to do something I normally don’t do. I’m going to start with a very brief summary. I’m playing with the structure of the blog a bit, and I really think this post lends itself to lists. So you’ll see a lot of them this week.
It’s 1998, and Jess is a junior in high school. She’s dealing with normal high school things:
- A crush on her best friend, Tyler
- An unwanted date to the Spring Formal
- Trying to get out of the house even though she’s grounded
“But people forgive each other. It’s like a dance.”
“I wish I knew how to do that dance,” Adri said.
“Oh,” Lily shook her head. “I don’t think it’s that you can’t do it. I think you’re thinking the whole thing is a lose-lose. Like, what if someone actually likes you? That causes all sorts of problems. Then each time you see them, you have to try and keep them. And then even if you manage that, you lose. You end up losing. Even if you go through all the work of accepting someone and occasionally looking like a fool in front of them and then figuring out if they can accept you and you can forgive each other for everything you screw up, you lose them eventually.”