YA Novel Review
I took the summer off from writing this newsletter but I didn’t take time off from reading. I read wonderful novels this summer (Matt Haig’s The Humans, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles, J Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements to name a few).
Perhaps my favorite YA of the summer was Jessi Kirby’s GOLDEN (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers). I’ve loved Jessi’s other books and this one just proves she keeps getting better and better. The story follows “golden” girl Parker Frost (she has that famous last name for a reason), who, at the end of her senior year realizes she’s always taken the road most expected. When she uncovers the secret journal of a former golden girl of her small town (a girl with a tragic story), Parker has to decide if the road less traveled truly is worth exploring. Jessi weaves lovely Frost references throughout this sweet coming of age tale as Parker picks her path and takes her chosen journey (with the help of her best friend and a darling boy, of course).
In the novel, Parker’s English teacher asks them to keep a journal at the end of their senior year detailing their dreams, wishes, hopes, fears, etc. Then, at the end of the year, they turn the journal into him and he’ll mail them back ten years later. I’m not sure I’d love to get a time capsule from my senior year (oh, the bad poetry!) but it’s a clever idea.
For this writing project, have students write a “Letter to Future Me”
They can write it as a list poem or as an actual letter. Most importantly, encourage them to focus on what it is they hope for themselves; not just the normal practical things (I hope to have a job) but also the little, specific things they love (I hope to still be eating mint ice cream while watching the stars).
Outside Reading School Project
Jessi peppers the novel with snippets of Frost’s poetry. Have students look up three or four of the complete poems she uses and discuss the way they relate to Parker’s character throughout the novel using specific examples from both the poems and the novel to support the argument.