It’s A Matter of Opinion…
Have you ever seen a book that was so hyped up by critics that you just had to go ahead and grab a copy but got to the end and wondered what in the world they were talking about? I bet we’ve all been there before; scrolling down our Goodreads account marking every title that’s been given five stars with a “Want to Read” status only to be crushed with disappointment after reaching the last page. We might even blame ourselves for having poor taste or perhaps missing key concepts that would have otherwise made the story a favorite. It can be depressing to say the least but actually, there’s a perfectly logical reason why this often occurs around highly publicized material created by some of the industry’s leading authors…
We’re not all searching for the same media nourishment at the same exact time.
At different moments of our lives, we typically seek an eclectic variety of characters and plot lines to entertain ourselves, sometimes hoping for a distraction from daily reality or the opposite- to find sympathy in tales told by similar situations we have experienced. It all depends on where we are since it is safe to assume that most titles capable of reaching the “New York Times Best Seller” stature more times than not, tend to deserve to be there. In the circumstance of a book being publicized for the sensationalism of conflicting opinion (“I LOVED it!”/ “I HATED it!”), we can be drawn towards reading a book just to be able to form our own perception. Some of the best discussions are derived from stories which fit inside this category and can make excellent topics for a stimulating book club conversation. Take “Girl on a Train” by Paula Hawkins for instance. How many raved about this novel with feelings of empathy while others flat out became annoyed by Rachel Watson who just couldn’t get her act together? Or how about “An Abundance of Katherine’s” by John Green who either pulled audiences in with this teen romance or left readers with dissatisfaction compared to his other more poignant pieces? These are the books that drive critical thinking to its potential when we consider what we really liked or disliked about a story and kids lit is no exception. With a variety of librarians working together, we all have our personal preferences for media and are always interested in how our coworkers and patrons feel about the material we are excited to promote! If you’re seeking thought provoking titles that have strong contrasting reviews, here are a few that I’ve come across that are sure to spark conversation with your middle grade/teen son or daughter.
“They Both Die in the End” by Adam Silvera
“We Were Liars” by E Lockhart
“Rogue” by Lyn Miller-Lachmann
“The Seventh Most Important Thing” by Shelley Pearsall
“One Hundred Spaghetti Strings” by Jen Nails
“Looking For Alaska” by John Green
“Frannie and Tru” by Karen Hattrup
“Speak” by Laurie Anderson
“I Kill the Mockingbird” by Paula Acampora
“Sure Signs of Crazy” by Karen Harrington
"Lily and Dunkin" by Donna Gephart