Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Publication Date: June, 2011
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
Summary: Brooklyn never seems to make the right choices. She fell in an abandoned mine shaft when she was two and it has been down hill since then. Now that she is 15, nothing has changed and the book starts with her arrest for arson, trespassing and underage drinking after throwing a party at a model home and ultimately burning it down. She has to figure out how to make better decisions! Or why not let others make decisions for her?! Brilliant! So, Brooklyn starts a blog where her users can vote on her next decision. Through her followers' decisions, Brooklyn learns more about herself than she bargained for.
What I Think: First, I have to say that I love the concept of this book! Although Brooklyn and her problems are very similar to other protagonists you may find in YA books, Jessica Brody throws in a nice twist with the addition of the blog. It gives the novel the uniqueness that makes it stand alone. I also love Brooklyn's narration and had more than a couple laugh out loud moments.
I loved the boys in the novel (yes, there is a romantic story line), but I will say that it bothered me that it was the nerdy, smart debate boy vs. the sexy, bad boy smoker. I felt that they were both a bit stereotypey at times; however, I will say that Brody made sure that they were both loveable characters so that the choice was even harder. The "bad boy" was overall a nice kid (although I hate that bad boy always has to smoke) and the "nerd" was more than what he seemed to be.
The message that this novel sends is very obvious, but it is done through an enthralling story so it never seems naggy or preachy. I think it is a message that many teens need to hear. Most teens make decisions like Brooklyn does and watching her go through them might help them reflect on their own choices in life. Actually, thinking back to when I was a teenager, this whole idea of having others make teenagers' decisions is pretty brilliant :)
Finally, I will say that there was a suprisingly touching moment in this book that had me crying and I found that it was the major turning point in Brooklyn's life. I liked that something that didn't seem too important to Brooklyn ended up being the thing that ultimately affected her the most.
I loved that this book could make me laugh and cry. It was truly well done.
Read Together: Grades 8+
Read Alone: Grades 8+
Read With: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, Not that Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
Snatch of Text:
My parents have been telling me for years that I make "bad decisions." But I never believed them. Because, you know, they're parents. And since when are parents ever right about anything?...
So it isn't until now, at this very second- with sirens blaring, the crowd of people gathering to try to steal a gossip-worthy peek, and the overall chaos of a bod idea turned very bad- that I start to think my parents might just be onto something.
Because when you're being handcuffed and lowered into a backseat of a squad car, you kind of have to start reconsidering that way you live your life. (p. 4-5)
The police station smells like burnt toast. As if someone popped a piece of sourdough in the toaster oven and forgot about it. Or maybe the flecks of smoky odor are just lingering in my nostrils from the fire. Rebellious stowaways clinging to the inside of my respiratory system like an annoying guest who refuses to leave long after the party is over. (p. 6)
Mentor Text for: Humor, Plot Development, Voice, Predicting, Cause/Effect, Making Connections
Writing Prompts: Write a blog post like Brooklyn explaining a situation you are in and the decisions you need to make.Topics Covered: Popularity, Choices, Friendship, Love, Change
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