Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review: "ttyl"

"ttyl" by Lauren Myracle
First published in 2004
My rating: 4 out of 5
(image source)

A couple weeks ago, I read a news article announcing that "The Hunger Games" was toward the top of the American Library Association's list of challenged books for 2011, which includes books that were banned or that people sought to have pulled from school and library shelves. That wasn't particularly surprising, but what really caught my interest was the brief mention that Lauren Myracle -- who's apparently always on the list and who has a really cool name -- was back at the top. I was intrigued to see what has parents so freaked out about Myracle's writing, so I decided to check out the first book in her controversial "Internet Girls" series.

And just as I suspected, it's obvious that the people (presumably parents) demanding its removal are either 100 percent oblivious to what goes on in a high school, didn't actually read the book and/or weren't able to look past the occasional profanity, drinking and talk about sex to see the real value in Myracle's novel.

Written entirely in instant messages (the forerunner to texting), "ttyl" introduces us to three best friends just starting their sophomore year of high school: happy-go-lucky, boy-crazy Angela; moody, witty and no-nonsense Maddie; and straight-A good girl Zoe. We read over their shoulders as they IM with each other about -- and have the occasional tiff over -- issues like an overly flirtatious teacher, drinking, boys, sex, parents, religion, driving, the high school popularity contest and other various teenage issues.

I can see how some of those topics may ruffle feathers, but what those book-banners fail to see is that Myracle's novel is actually a (fun, interesting, subtle) guide on how to handle these things. The girl who goes to a college party and gets irresponsibly drunk suffers some tough consequences. The girl who's being seduced by her 24-year-old English teacher finally realizes -- just in the nick of time -- that he's a creep. They talk about sex, but they're all still virgins by the end of the book. In addition, the book casually brings up some girly growing-up issues and, in an understated way, assures readers that these things are normal.

As expected (after all, I'm a fairly non-conservative 26-year old and I can still vividly recall my high school days -- which were in many ways similar to the girls' experiences in the book) I have the opposite opinion on Myracle's writing from those who call for her books to be banned. This book (and assuredly the others in the series) tackles tough issues that most teen girls wouldn't feel comfortable talking to their parents about and -- rather than facing banning -- should be hailed as a vaulable resource.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Lindsay, sorry I haven't commented in awhile, I've been a lazy blogger! ;0)
    The whole list of books to be banned drives me nuts...the more you tell someone dont read this, you cant read it...guess what they'll read it! HA, or at least I would anyway, but I'm a rule breaker like that. I can not tell you how much I loved Hunger Games. This TTYL sounds pretty good.
    I wanted to ask: Have you ever read Kristin Hannah? She writes amazing stories about woman and the relationships they have. Fire Fly Lane is my favorite, it's also the first one of hers I read...I also liked Winter's Garden.
    And finally, I wanted to tell you we made the Orange Julius' and the kids loved them. The second time I made them I switched sugar to powdered sugar, it seemed to mix in a bit better. Delicious! Thank you! Happy Reading!


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