I know what you did this summer...

I know what you did this summer...


This summer I picked up a book called “Shelf Discovery” by Lizzie Skurnick.  I had never heard of the author before, but the cover was cute and the subtitle got my attention:  “The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading.”

Since I oversee the teen/children sections at work I thought this would be a fun read.  Covering works by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and award winners like “Bridge to Terabithia” and “A Wrinkle in Time,” I thought it might be a shortcut to reading about the books I never read as a young adult.  I was dead wrong.

Skurnick’s analysis is insightful, smart and, most of all, personal.  Reading the book is like having a discussion about books with your slightly older sister’s BFF.  She is funnier and wiser than you without talking down to you.  She “gets” you.  And you would give anything to be as cool as she is.

Whether Skurnick is searching for common themes in Lois Duncan books or wishing she had a boyfriend straight out of Madeline L’Engle’s imagination, Skurnick is a champion of young heroines.  Strong, pretty, smart heroines.  Heroines that are hard to come by these days in the pages of “Gossip Girl” or “Twilight.”  Not to knock those books, at all, you should see my copies of them, I ADORE those books.  But the books from Skurnick’s young adulthood were more authentic.  Maybe the girls had ESP or could travel through time and inhabit other people, but they were girls that were normal until this other thing happened.  And the magic of that is that this girl in this book facing all these challenges could be you, the reader, sitting in the library or on your bed reading about her.

As much as I have dreamed to be as gorgeous as Serena or have a boyfriend as undead as Edward, I know it probably won’t happen for me.  I’m 26.  I’m not a teenager.

Which brings me to the other magic of “Shelf Discovery.”  When I’m reading it sitting at the pool in the sun with my feet in the water, I get to be a teenager again.  What could be better?!

Thanks to Skurnick I have spent too many paychecks on Alibris.com, a used book site, tracking down the books she talks about and more.  Just like the younger me, I am saving up my money to buy books.  Cool.


**NOTE:  I sent the picture above to Lizzie Skurnick via Twitter.  She used it as her wallpaper!  Follow @lizzieskurnick.  Follow me @hawki.