On this day in 1787, New Jersey became the 3rd state. To celebrate, here are some books written by authors from, or books that take place in the Garden State.
Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian. Henry and Eva are best friends, each destined for greatness in different areas. This summer, Henry's off to tennis camp to escape her father and find love. Eva's off to a ballet program where the voice in her head that says she's not good enough will make her starve.
So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother by Micol Ostrow, illustrated by David Ostrow. In order to be cooler, Ari starts a band at his Jewish day school. It's a motley crew of misfits, but they seriously rock. If only they could find away around school, parents, and romantic issues. Parts of it are told in graphic novel format, which works very well. David Ostrow lives in Hoboken.
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe. Sara's excited to get a scholarship to study with a professional ballet company in New Jersey, but the reality is different. She has to move and start at a new school. Used to being the best dancer, she finds herself technically less proficient than her classmates, many of whom have been studying with the company for years. Lost and lonely, she finds romance in the arms of an older and unsuitable boy.
Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman. After the summer ends on the Jersey Shore, sisters Rosie and Skate navigate their feelings about their father being in jail, and Skate's boyfriend goes off to college, and Rosie's drawn to a boy in their Ala-teen group.
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. Jessica ("Not-So") Darling is one of my favorite characters in YA literature, her sarcastic and cynical look at New Jersey high school life is wonderful. In this book, she's mourning the fact her best friend, Hope, has moved away and can't escape Marcus Flutie, the stoner best friend of Hope's older (and recently deceased) brother. There are five books in the series, follow it with Second Helpings. McCafferty lives in Princeton.
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.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. This is a quirky love story that takes place in a town where the drag queens have their own clique (and one, Infinite Darlene is the star quarterback), being gay isn't a big deal, and the cheerleaders drive motorcycles. During pep rallies. They're biker gang cheerleaders. Levithan lives in Hoboken.
Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci. by Carol Plum-Ucci. After a New Jersey town is infected with a mysterious flu, it's discovered that someone has infected the water supply. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, a young hacker discovers the chatter about the virus, and works to warn everyone while he can. Check out the sequel, Fire Will Fall. Plum-Ucci grew up on Brigantine Island and now lives in Atlantic City.
Mermaid Park by Beth Mayall. Amy is sick of her family and her life. While they vacation with a family friend on the Jersey shore, Amy finds a job against her mother's wishes as one of the mermaids at Mermaid Park. Over the course of the summer, she learns the truth about her family and herself. Plus, I get a chance to link to this photoessay of the mermaids at Weeki Wachee Park in Florida.
What else will you be reading as you listen to Springsteen and Bon Jovi?
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