Books in this Episode
Perfect Chemistry http://bit.ly/se-chemistry
Eleanor & Park http://bit.ly/rr-eleanorpark
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist http://bit.ly/rcdl-playlist
This Is What Happy Looks Like http://bit.ly/jes-happy
This is Feature Shelf, a series that provides book recommendations based on theme or title suggestions. This week’s shelf was requested by Joselyn, and because she wants a number of different things, this is Feature Shelf #37 The Real Lovey-Dovey from Multiple Perspectives Edition.
To be a little more specific, when I asked Joselyn what she wanted on this shelf, she said books with multiple narrators, real language that teenagers use, something like The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler or with gangs in it like Romiette & Julio by Sharon Draper as well as including lovey-dovey stuff. So I’ve got five books on the shelf this week that fit into as many of these categories as I could get them to. Man did she make me work.
We’ll start with the books like Romiette & Julio
First, Perfect Chemistry by Simone Eckles. Like Romiette & Julio, Perfect Chemistry is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. It’s told, in alternating sections, by Brittany and Alex. Brittany has a perfect life and a reputation to die for. Alex is a gang banger from the “wrong” side of town. After they become lab partners in chemistry class, Alex makes a bet with his boys that he can essentially make Brittany fall for him. When he realizes that he should imagine her complexly and falls for her himself, well, let the battle of the Montagues and Capulets begin.
The second loose retelling of Romeo & Juliet is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell made waves in 2013 — so many of my friends in the book community read it. Like all the stories on our list this week, it’s told in alternating perspectives. The story is set in the 80s, told over the course of one school year, and is about unlikely first loves. Eleanor and Park fall in love slowly, but the dynamics of her family threaten their relationship. Since it’s set in the 80s, there are no cell phones, no Internet (an as such, no Facebook, Twitter, Vine or SnapChat or whatever it is you guys are using these days) to facilitate their conversations when they can’t talk on the phone. And when things become violent with the parents of one of the characters, Eleanor and Park’s relationship might not be able to withstand it.
Third on our shelf this week is Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. You want a book where characters use real language, here you go. Nick and Norah meet at a party and their relationship begins when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes so he can avoid his ex. From there, they traipse about New York on an epic first date in which they’re searching for the next great band. Be forewarned, the book and movie are different, and Nick and Norah don’t spend the entire time searching for Fluffy.
In Bruiser by Neal Shusterman Tennyson isn’t thrilled that his twin sister Bronte is dating Bruiser Rawlins, a kid who keeps to himself, doesn’t have many friends, and who everyone thinks is kind of a freak. Tennyson notices, though, that the more Bruiser’s around, the better Tennyson gets at sports because he doesn’t have the soreness that accompanies a tough workout. Told from four points of view: Tennyson, Bronte, Bruiser, whose real name is Brewster, and Brewster’s younger brother Cory, Bruiser is a story about the consequences of good fortune.
Last on the shelf this week is This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. This one doesn’t fit the multiple narrators category, but I include it because I know Joselyn liked The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Graham Larkin is a teenage movie star. He accidentally sends an email to Ellie O’Neill about his pet pig. This accidental email begins a back and forth that, from the book’s description, has a You’ve Got Mail kind of feel to it — they don’t actually know anything about the other’s background, including names. When Graham decides to shoot a movie in Ellie’s town, he also decides he wants to meet her. Check this one out to find out if their witty repartee can survive Graham’s celebrity status.
So that was five books you might enjoy if you like lovey-dovey stuff, as Jocelyn says, or multiple narrators, or the real language that teenagers use, or are like Romiette & Julio or The Future of Us. Man that was a mouthful. So Perfect Chemistry, Eleanor & Park, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Bruiser and This is What Happy Looks Like.
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 #37: The Real Lovey-Dovey from Multiple Perspectives Edition. As always, I am the supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.