Archive for August, 2008

The V Club by Kate Brian

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 280 p.

Eva, Debbie, Kai, and Mandy are all really good friends who in their own way need a way to help pay for college. When a new scholarship comes up offering enough for any of them to go wherever they want to go for four years, they all jump at the chance to apply. The only catch is that a stipulation of the scholarship is for the recipient to be “pure.”

Eva considers herself a perfect candidate since she has only even daydreamed about kissing a boy.  Mandy and long time boyfriend Eric have discussed taking the relationship further, but haven’t yet.  Debbie is shocked to learn that everyone assumes she has shared many sexual partners when in fact she hasn’t.  Kai, the new girl, seems mysterious about the entire discussion of purity.  As each girl struggles with her own personal battles they start to drift apart and get overly competitive for this scholarship money.  The question  is not whether or not their virginity is in tact, but whether their friendship will be after all of the drama that ensues.

The idea of purity to a high school student can vary depending on the student.  This open, honest book about four realistic high school students and their many struggles with relationships, parents, and even college planning will resonate with many high school girls.  It is not preachy in the direction of abstinence or sexual activity, but just tries to show the variety of reasons why high school students do or do not choose to stay virgins.  An interesting, realistic read about a very important but often ignored topic.

Crushed by Laura and Tom McNeal

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of pages: 308 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Audrey and her two friends grew up going to a very small school and feel uncomfortable finishing their education in a large high school where gossip and bullying are rampant. They all manage by supporting each other. All of that begins to change when a new boy arrives and begins giving Audrey special attention. He seems enamored with her big house and expensive clothes. Everything goes great until Audrey learns that her life is not as financially stable as she thought it was. At that point, the new boy’s interest in her begins to wane.  At the same time an underground gossip newspaper begins mysteriously appearing in the halls and revealing deep secrets of both students and teachers.

This book highlights some of the many issues facing high school students today such as gossip, bullying, dating, money, friendship, and status.  High school students often feel like nothing can hurt them and believe the best in everyone, but this is also the time when they start to experience how tough it can be to be an adult by facing harsh realities from their families, teachers, and peers.  Audrey thought the worst thing that could happen to her was bullying, but quickly learns that many of the aspects of her life she thought were stable were anything but.  Most high school students will be able to identify with some aspect of Audrey’s life whether it be an unstable homelife, bullying, trouble academically, and betrayal from those close to her.  A powerful, but realistic story.