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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Massachusets Statehood: My Favorite Mass Authors

On this day in 1788, Massachusetts became the 6th State. To celebrate, here are some of my favorite authors from the The Bay State.

    

Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins. When her father goes to the US to find work, Asha and her family move from Delhi to their grandparent's house in Kolkota. In addition to leaving her home and friends, her grandparent's house is more conservative, and Asha misses her freedom. Her only release is escaping to the roof and writing in her journal.

Feed by M. T. Anderson. This book has one of the best first lines in fiction--"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." In this future world, everyone has a brain chip that allows you to surf the web and message your friends. Banner ads tell you what to think, do, but most importantly, buy. But when someone hacks into the Feed and turns it off, a population that's never thought for itself has no idea what to do.

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black. When Kaye moves back to New Jersey, she discovers that she is actually a changeling child-- a pixie left by the faeries to replace the human child they stole. This is a retelling on Tam Lin. It's time for the 7-year tithe and Kaye's friends are it. Kaye's changling status lets her straddle both worlds, and she can save her friends, but if you don't know the ways of the faerie, it's a dangerous game to play. One of the first and one of the best books we've seen in the faerie explosion of the last few years.

    

Impossible by Nancy Werlin. Lucy doesn't know it, but she's subjected to a family curse. That's why her mother's crazy and she lives with foster parents. But, then the Elfin Knight comes for her, and she has limited time to do impossible tasks-- it's the only way to break the curse, to free herself and future generations. If you've ever wondered about the tasks set forth in the ballad "Scarborough Fair" this novel based on the song gives a pretty good explanation.

Parrotfish by Elen Wittlinger. Angela has always felt like a boy. One day, she cuts her hair and renames herself Grady. In his new life as the boy he's always felt like, Grady has to deal with practicalities (which bathroom does he use?) but also rejection and confusion from family and friends.

The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young. Dani has undiagnosed OCD. Sometimes, when she gets a thought, she can't shake it, can't make it leave her alone. This is what happens when she starts getting visions of killing the boy she babysits for and adores. Her obsession with this makes her feel like a threat. She confesses these feelings to get help, but becomes the target of a town's fear and hate.

    

 The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. In this highly autobiographical novel, Plath introduces us to Esther, an intern at a fancy magazine. But Esther struggles with depression and it's pulling her under, this time for good. Published for adults, this modern classic has found a teen audience for decades.

On the Road: The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac. Kerouac and the Beats are published for adults, but best discovered in high school. This version of the now classic book undoes many of the edits, returning it to Jack's original. Names in this one aren't changed (I mean, we all know Dean Moriarty was Neal Cassidy anyway) and there are also no paragraph or chapter breaks. But, it will introduce a new generation to Jack's travels across America.

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson. I've loved Emily since I first met her in English class. She's a breath of simplicity when slogging through early American authors and you can sing all poems songs to 'Yellow Rose of Texas' or the theme from Gilligan's Island. I think she's also a fairly accessible poet, while still having enough there to really dig through and keep coming back to.

Who are your favorite authors from Massachusetts?

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