Thursday, December 15, 2011

Girl Meets Boy

Title: Girl Meets Boy     
Edited by: Kelly Milner Halls
Short Stories by:  Chris Crutcher, Kelly Milner Halls, Joseph Bruchac, Cynthia Leitich Smith, James Howe, Ellen Wittlinger, Rita Williams-Garcia, Terry Trueman, Terry Davis, Rebecca Fjelland Davis, Sara Ryan and Randy Powell
Publisher: Chronicle Books  
Publication Date: January 2012   
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Short Stories 
Summary: A collection of six amazing stories where each story is told by two different authors from different perspectives. She tells it from the girl's point of view and he tells it from the boy's point of view. Stories of love and heartbreak from both sides of the relationship! 
What I Think: I wish there were stories and book like this one when I was in high school! It took me a long time to realize that my girly brain works much like all the mushy happy-ending movies out there while my husband’s operates much like the action-adventure-comedy movies that he enjoys. Sometimes we’re on the same page and sometimes we’re thinking completely differently. I’ve often thought it would be interesting to get inside his brain and understand his perspective on things.

Just like readers bring their own background knowledge to a reading of a book, we as people, bring our background knowledge or experiences to any situation in life. This collection of stories helps give some definition to what this might look like. The idea of being able to walk around in another person’s shoes and to see life from his or her perspective is not a new one but it can sometimes still be a difficult one. What does our world become if we can’t try and empathize with others and to try and understand how life is different when you are younger or older, more or less fortunate, a girl or a boy, gay or straight, black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Middleastern?

I love how the stories in this book don’t just tell simple stories of kids in love. They show complex stories of how love crosses boundaries and what one person can mean to another. I know high school students who would devour these stories and identify with the emotions that are experienced by the characters. 

I haven't read a collection of short stories in a while and I had to remember how a short story can be so different from a novel. In short stories a lot has to happen in such a short time. The author has to get things done in such a short time. In a way, the reader has to put different strategies to work in order to keep up with these short stories. I felt like a lot of things had to be inferred because I didn't have endless pages to get to know the characters. I also had to really be paying attention because every detail the author gave me was an important clue to puzzling together who the characters were and what they were about. (Not that novels give superfluous information, but it just seems to unroll differently.) Reading this book was such a great reminder to me of how reading and writing short stories is different from reading and writing longer pieces of literature.
Read Together: 9 - 12  
Read Alone: 9 - 12 
Read With: Thirteen Reasons Why By Jay Asher, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Zombies Vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Snatch of Text:  
“’All right, Whitepath!’ I yelled.
A couple people next to me covered their ears, and my best friend, Neddy Coming, dropped his bag of popcorn. The worst part, though, is that she actually turned my way, cocked her finger, and pointed in my direction. Probably telling me to close my piehole. I was down fast and tried to keep my mouth shut for the rest of the game. She wasn’t about to forget my idiotic behavior, though. From then on, every time she made a basket she looked in my direction and did that pointing thing. I wanted to crawl under my seat and hide. But it was too good a game to miss, so I just stayed there.” p. 52-53
From Joseph Bruchac’s Falling Down to See the Moon

“My b-ball danced through my fingertips, rose up to fly-
‘ALL RIGHT, WHITEPATH!’ It was like the roar of a dragon, the call of a hero, the geeked-out screech of a fan boy in love. That was it, breaking over the cheering crowd, shimmering and sincere. Mystery solved. And a huge surprise, may I just say.
I pointed and held my grin.
It quieted Bobby Wildcat a minute, the first time I pointed his way, and I wondered if I’d misread him. But then he perked back up, adding his cheers to the crowd’s.” p. 64
From Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Mooning Over Broken Stars

All quotes were obtained from an advance uncorrected proof from Chronicle Books 
and are subject to change and page numbers may not be accurate.
Reading Strategies to Practice: Making Connections, Making Inferences, Making Predictions  
Writing Strategies to Practice: Narrative  
Writing Prompts: Write a story and then write the same story from a completely different perspective of someone or something in the first story. Write a story and then give it to a partner to write the same story from the perspective of a very different character. Reflect on how you influence each other or the discussions you did or didn't have as you went through this process.
Topics Covered: Relationships, Friendship, Loyalty, Perspective, Love, Family, Adversity, Trust, Determination, Empathy, Feelings 

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