Feature Shelf #36: The Edgy Books Edition


Books in this Episode
Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange http://bit.ly/ejl-dead-ends
Period 8 by Chris Crutcher http://bit.ly/cc-period8
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson http://bit.ly/lha-memory
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews http://bit.ly/ja-dying-girl
Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick http://bit.ly/mq-peacock
This is Feature Shelf, a series that provides book recommendations based on theme or title suggestions. This shelf was inspired by something Erin Jade Lange said when she spoke at the Tucson Festival of Books this year about how she doesn’t think of her books as “edgy” really, and I thought it’d make a good topic for us here. This is Feature Shelf #36, the “Edgy Books” edition. My name is Eli, I’m also called the Supplier. Thanks for watching.
So today we have five “edgy” books. Or rather, according to the students I’ve talked to about this particular topic, we have five books that are just like real life.
We’ll start with Lange’s new book, Dead Ends. Looking at the cover, it has a Freak the Mighty kind of feel to it. And the story does too — but only in that the two protagonists form an unlikely friendship.  One boy, Dane, is a bully, the other, Billy D, has Downs syndrome.   Billy D is convinced that his father left him clues about himself in an atlas, so he and Dane go on a quest following those clues and learn about what happened to his father.
Another author I really like is Chris Crutcher.  Crutcher’s stories don’t shy away from anything that is real and I think that’s why I like them so much. We could probably put all of his books on this list, we’re going to go with Period 8 because it’s one I haven’t talked about before.  Period 8 is a place where kids can come together and talk about issues.  Any topic is fair game. And people can talk as much or as little as they choose.  The only rule is that anyone who participates is honest. So what happens when someone in Period 8 isn’t honest? And what if someone disappears or is kidnapped…
Third up on the shelf this week is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Me and Earl and the Dying girl has an Outsiders feel to it in the circular storytelling. Earl and Greg are best friends and filmmakers. THE Greg’s mother convinces him to befriend Rachel because she has cancer and could use friends. Greg doesn’t want to, but he does anyway. Andrews writes characters who are real and snarky and interesting.
Our penultimate “edgy” book is The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. Hayley Kincain and her father have moved back to his hometown to start over. Because he’s dealing with PTSD, she spends a lot of time taking care of him instead of the other way around. But Haley has some secrets of her own that she’s trying to deal with. I had this one with me when Laurie Halse Anderson and Erin Jade Lange spoke in Tucson and I left it in the car so I couldn’t get it signed, which was a total bummer.
The last book on our edgy shelf is Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick.  It’s Leonard’s 18th birthday. Instead of expecting presents from his friends and family, he goes to school with presents for the most important people in his life. The final present involves the gun he has in the bottom of his bag; he plans to give out the presents, kill Asher Beal, who used to be his best friend, and then himself. The story is in finding out why this violence is the only answer that THE MAIN CHARACTER can come up with to ease his pain.
So that was five books you might like if you like “edgy” books: Dead Ends, Period 8, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Impossible Knife of Memory and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.
And that’s it for this episode. For the Feature Shelf archives and show notes, both video and podcast, or to request your own Feature Shelf check out thebooksupplier.com/featureshelf. You can also send me requests on Facebook or Twitter at thebooksupplier (all one word) or an email at thebooksupplier at gmail dot com.
I’m going to leave you there now, dear readers. Thanks for listening to Feature Shelf #36: The Edgy Books Edition. As always, I am the supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.


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