Archive for April, 2008

Slam by Nick Hornby

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  309

RAC Book:  Yes

Sam is a fifteen year old boy who loves Tony Hawk and skateboarding, althought he calls it skating.  He meets a girl named Alicia and they hit it off right away.  She is pretty and funny and they find they cannot see enough of each other.  Despite their reservations, they end up having sex fairly early into the relationship.  Sam was apprehensive about beginning a sexual relationship because his parents were sixteen when they had him and he has always felt like he ruined their lives.

When Sam begins to drift away from Alicia she becomes desperate to talk to him.  In a dream he flashes to the future where he is living in Alicia’s bedroom and they have a son.  Even though he is not sure how he zapped into the future he believes it is true and Alicia is pregnant.  He must decide how he can face her, his parents, and his very altered future.

Sam is a likable teenage boy who really did not want to get into this predicament, but did nonetheless.  Since teenage pregnancy has been such an issue lately with celebrities like Jamie Lynn Spears and movies like Juno making it look cool, this book shows how hard it is to be a teenage parent.  It also shows how plans of college, travel, and even leisure activities go away the minute a baby is in the picture.  At the same time, the teens in this story have very supportive parents, which is not true of all cases.  An interesting read.

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  360

RAC Book:  Yes

Amal, an Australian-Palestinian girl living in Melbourne, decides to “go full time” and wear her hijab, the Muslim head scarf, at all times.  This is a very big decision for Amal because post 9/11 there are a lot of mixed feelings about Muslims all around the world.  Amal decides that she wants to show her devotion to her religion by wearing her head scarf at all times knowing how difficult it will be.  For example, her parents are concerned about how Amal will feel if she gets any negative attention cast toward her.  Her prep school principal has trouble with it and doesn’t want to alter the strict dress code.  The students at her school are also confused the first time they see Amal wearing her head scarf, but once they feel comfortable enough to ask questions they come to understand why she wants to wear it.

All of Amal’s friends are dealing with different cultural and societal pressures at the same time she is coping with this big change.  Soon Amal comes to see that her life is not nearly as difficult as some since her parents are always so supportive and never force her to do anything she doesn’t want to.  The supporting characters are all interesting and reflect different viewpoints at this time of growing diversity.  Although this might be a tough sell to teens I think those who do read it will gain a lot of knowledge about tolerance and understanding in this complex time we live in.