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Adapted from the popular "Fine Lines" column of the female-centric blog Jezebel.com, this collection of essays offers sentimental retrospectives blended with a little literary criticism on beloved children's and YA classics, most of which are popular with girls. Jezebel contributor Skurnick collects her own essays and a few others by an all-female ensemble of contemporary YA luminaries such as Meg Cabot ("The Princess Diaries") and Cecily von Ziegesar ("Gossip Girl"). The essays are written in the frank, effusive style of a well-read best friend, complete with exclamations of OMG. Beyond the fond remembrances of girlhood fictional crushes, however, lie compelling examinations of how spunky heroines and their sometimes controversial but all-too-familiar trials and tribulations helped a generation of readers navigate the perennially perilous waters of adolescence. VERDICT Some of the essays are regrettably short-a book like Julie of the Wolves, for instance, deserves a more substantial analysis than the two pages it's given. Together, however, they are likely to provide any woman who grew up loving books with a satisfying voyage to the past, as well as a list of books to reread.-Megan Hodge, Randolph-Macon Coll. Lib., Ashland, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Launched from her regular feature column "Fines Lines" for Jezebel.com, this spastically composed, frequently hilarious omnibus of meditations on favorite YA novels dwells mostly among the old-school titles from the late '60s to the early '80s much beloved by now grown-up ladies. This was the era, notes the bibliomaniacal Skurnick in her brief introduction, when books for young girls moved from being "wholesome and entertaining" (e.g., The Secret Garden and the Nancy Drew series) to dealing with real-life, painful issues affecting adolescence as depicted by Beverly Cleary, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle and Norma Klein. Skurnick groups her eruptive essays around themes, for example, books that feature a particularly memorable, fun or challenging narrator (e.g., Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy); girls "on the verge," such as Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret or "danger girls" such as Duncan's Daughters of Eve; novels that deal with dying protagonists and other tragedies like child abuse (Willo Davis Roberts's Don't Hurt Laurie!); and, unavoidably, heroines gifted with a paranormal penchant, among other categories. Skurnick is particularly effective at spotlighting an undervalued classic (e.g., Joan Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase) and offers titles featuring troubled boys as well. Her suggestions will prove superhelpful (not to mention wildly entertaining) for educators, librarians and parents. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved