Monday, August 10, 2009

TTYL – Book #69

Title ttyl
Author Lauren Myracle
Genre Young Adult Fiction
Pages 209
Publisher Amulet
Copyright 2004

Synopsis (from web-site)
ttyl (talk to you later) is about three friends, high school sophomores who face teenage drama: Madigan Kinnick (madmaddie), Zoe Barrett (zoegirl), and Angela Silver (SnowAngel). Zoe has to deal with a flirty teacher (known as Mr.H) at school who uses Christianity as an excuse to get close. Madigan/Maddie has to deal with a manipulative and wicked classmate (known as Jana) who is popular, or thinks she is. Angela has to deal with a boyfriend who she thinks is being unfaithful.

Why I read It
This book, and its two sequels, are on the most banned/protested list. I picked this one next because my library system has all three and the titles intrigued me.

The Good
This book really opened my eyes to the friendships between teenage girls. It is totally different to anything I experienced as a young man. This look into their lives was well worth the read, especially since I am only a few years away from having a teenage girl in my house.

The Bad
This is widely known as the first book written entirely in instant messages. That includes all the slang and abbreviations. Now if you are an active IM’er then it won’t be an issue, but if you are an old guy like me who has never used IM’ing, it is like learning a foreign language. Given the limits of this format, the whole plot is moved forward through the three girls’ written conversations.

The Ugly (my opinion)
I really liked this book and will definitely read the other two in the series. I also could now write an instant message and not be a total old dude. This would be appropriate for anybody 14 and up.

The Truth? (other reviews)
Fireside Book Chat
Knoxville News Sentinel

Side-note, here is a BYU English Department lesson plan about the book.

Why It’s Banned
Teen drinking, profanity, (discussed) nudity, and sexual situations (but no sex). I would imagine most people would protest this book because of the unconsummated plot of the “Christian” English teacher who slowly seduces the 15yo Zoe by means of his church’s youth group. Anotherwords, the religious person is the pedophile which is bound to upset a lot of the “let’s ban books” type.

Mormon Mentions
Actually there was one brief mention on page 38. Zoe is fretting over doing anything special with her hair and the more outgoing Angela says “even Mormon girls use wax, like Carmen on American Idol 2, remember?” So a fairly innocuous reference to Mormons being extra straight laced, which in the grand scheme of things is not the worst stereotype to be saddled with.’

Author Biography

Lauren Myracle is the author of many young adult novels. She was born in May 15, 1969 in Brevard, North Carolina, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia.[1][2] Myracle earned a BA in English and Psychology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and after that, she worked for some time as a middle-school teacher.[3] Myracle later earned an MA in English from Colorado State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College.[1] She has written many novels, including the best-selling "IM" books, ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r.

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