Crossing Over

I am often asked what is the attraction of teen literature. We are noticing that not only are teens reading crossover titles like Lovely Bones but that adults in their late twenties and early thirties are picking it up or continuing to read authors like Julia Alverez who have crossed down. Jo Knowles is why. Her crisp characterization and tight writing produces a portrait of adolescence we rarely see. New in paperback is Lessons From A Dead Girl, a look into an abusive friendship relationship. Knowles allows us to enter this secret world of teens, that many kids would find it impossible to talk about.
In Jumping off Swings, Knowles takes into the lives of a girl who has casual sex with boys in to fill a lack of love in her life, her best friend, the boy who got her pregnant, and his best friend. With an unforced alternating point-of-views we watch the pregnancy and all its consequences unfold. This is real life with its imperfect parenting, unfair school administrators and a sympathetic grown-up.  This is not the quirky fun of Juno, with its patter-dialog and happy endings but a perceptive portrayal of the every-day life of high school. Not to be missed.
Jumping Off Swings
Jo Knowles
August 11 2009 Candlewick
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (August 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763639494
Lessons From a Dead Girl
Candlewick; Paperback Reprint edition (August 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763644854
ISBN-13: 978-0763644857

We label books as being “YA” or “Adult,” but many readers happily ignore our labels. Teens read adult titles like Lovely Bones. Adults in their late twenties and early thirties continue to read Laurie Halse Anderson, even if they have technically “outgrown” her.  When Julia Alverez “crosses down” to the YA category, her adult fans go with her.

Jo Knowles is another “YA” author whose books appeal to older readers as well as young adults. Her crisp characterizations and tight writing produce portraits of adolescence we rarely see.

New in paperback is Lessons From A Dead Girl, a look into an abusive friendship relationship. Knowles allows us to enter this secret world of teens, that many kids find impossible to talk about.

Lessons from a Dead Girl
Jo Knowles
Retail Price: $7.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Candlewick – (2009-08-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0763644854 / 9780763644857

In her new book,  Jumping off Swings, Knowles takes us into the lives of several people — a girl who has casual sex with boys in to fill a lack of love in her life; her best friend; the boy who gets her pregnant and his best friend. Through unforced alternating points of view we watch the pregnancy and its consequences unfold.

This is real life with its imperfect parenting, unfair school administrators and a sympathetic grown-up. It is not the quirky fun of Juno, with its patter-dialog and happy endings but a perceptive portrayal of the every day life of high school. Not to be missed.

Jumping Off Swings
Jo Knowles
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Candlewick – (2009-08-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0763639494 / 9780763639495

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