Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Gianna and Jenna
Have you met them yet? Gianna is a 12-year old scatter-brain who loves to run and draw, and is desperately trying to finish a leaf project so she wouldn't miss out on an important cross-country race, and just as desperately trying to accept what is going on with her grandmother.
Jenna is a 17-year old who woke up from a yearlong coma to a new life that leaves her confused and angry. She too has a grandmother who loves her and who helps her deal with the difficult questions she faces.
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner is a realistic, contemporary middle-grade novel that shows how a girl deals with family and changes, and her struggles with difficult choices that she would rather not face.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson is an almost-realistic, almost-contemporary, sci-fi young adult novel that shows how a girl deals with family and changes, and her struggles with difficult choices that she would rather not face.
The stakes are higher for Jenna and the voice and structure of these two novels are very different, but I was struck by how, at the core, young people all have the same basic questions: who are they? Who do they matter to? Who matter to them? What are they going to do about the supposed path they're told to take that they don't want to?
And what to do with the one who flutters their hearts, of course.
Have you read either of these books? What do you think?
Tomorrow I will discuss how I think these two books exemplify the differences between MG and YA novels.