Nothing makes me feel like a bad librarian more than my inability to solve this mystery.
In Grade 12 I took Music. It was the kind of class where everyone played their own instrument and most of the time was spent practicing (we also had to bring in our favourite song of all time for the rest of the class listen to - I brought some Beastie Boys song because I was trying to be cool). All my Music class time was spent practicing the french horn. I was not good at playing the french horn. Because I was so loud/bad, I was relegated to practicing in a storage closet.
This ended up being amazing because this was the storage closet where all the extra novel study book sets were kept! So I just spent the whole time reading. I probably read The Giver six times. It was sweet. And during this time I stumbled upon a book that I became absolutely obsessed with. I liked it so much that I...well...erm...sort of took a copy home for myself.
What I remember from the plot - most of this is taken from a post I put up on the abebooks Book Sleuth forum a couple weeks ago; a post that has had no responses
A sort of angsty, misfity teen boy falls in love with an artsy girl. I think they may have met at an art gallery. I remember that she had black hair that was cut sorta bad ass and jaggedy. They proceed to have a pretty intense sexual relationship with lots of naughty bits in the book. Then the artsy girl gets pregnant. I believe at that point they run away together. Then she has a miscarriage. Intense. The last chapter is set several years in the future (I believe) and the artsy girl is now dating an old professor. The angsty teen boy still pines for her.
What I remember of the cover:
I believe the cover was orange on the top half and white on the bottom half. The orange was that kind of bright, intense "Penguin" orange that is part of the Penguin logo.
In the middle of the cover, there was a cut off photograph showing two people on a sort of old, brown, 1970s-ish couch.
What complicates things:
This could have been a young adult novel, but it could have easily been an adult novel. We read lots of adult novels in my high school. Sadly, I KNOW NOTHING about adult novels.
I have tried the YA route whilst searching for this but have come up with nothing. I've tried subject heading searches in WorldCat, looking at reader-produced lists on teen pregnancy fiction on Amazon and Goodreads, and even lazy old Google searches. I have even checked the Penguin sight in hopes that this actually is a Penguin book (because of the colouring) but no dice. I first encountered the book circa 2000, so it was definitely written before that.
Mom, if you are reading this (because I know you probably are because you look at my Twitter all the time), is there a book with an orange and white cover with a photo on it lying around the house in Regina anywhere? If so, please mail it to me.
If anyone has any ideas, please, please, puh-lease share them with me. If you are a member of the Sheldon-Williams Collegiate faculty, you can send me a bill for the book. But I can't tell you how much the book was worth because I can't remember the title....
I don't want to be redundant with these reference question posts, but I can't help but jot something down when I find myself handing over a giant stack of books to a hungry lil' chidler.
Tonight a Grade 6 gal came in looking for some good fantasy books. The staff member on the Information Desk called me out to field this one. I joyfully skipped away from my current duty of something boring and administrativey to help out.
Fantasy is a tough genre when it comes to recommending things as it can mean very different things to different people. This is how it went down:
What she had already in her book bag:
- Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
This was a big tip-off. No Susan Cooper/Tolkien/Brian Jacques/Monica Hughes for this gal!
What she told me she likes:
- All Roald Dahl (oh, now we're talkin'!)
- Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy (d'oh! I've never read it!)
- Candy Apple and Poison Apple series (hmm...the plot thickens)
What she nixed right off the bat:
Before I recommended anything we had a bit of general chat about what's super popular in the fairy tale/fantasy genre right now. She expressed immediate disdain for the following:
- Harry Potter (never read it, doesn't want to)
- Princess Diaries series (she read some and they got "too boring")
- Spiderwick Chronicles (no explanation, just a scrunched up nose)
- The Graveyard Book (she tried it but never got into it)
- A Tale Dark And Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (I told her about the plot and she was promptly horrified)
Further adding to the challenge was that she has seen almost every movie made in the history of the world. This means she has seen lots of the terrible, terrible movie versions of very unterrible books.
What I recommended:
From what she told me, I was getting a distinct British humour/fairy tale/more-complex-book vibe from her (the Apple series aside). Here's what I recommended. I' ve put them into categories here because organization please me.
For their cheeky Dahl-esque humour:
- Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (she loved the movie so I gave her Book 4 as the movie roughly ends around Book 3)
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
- The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
- Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce (after hugging it and saying "I almost don't want to give this to you because I want to take it home again and read it")
For their fairy tale-ness:
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
- Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull
- Inkspell trilogy by Cornelia Funke
- Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley
Plug for Canadian fantasy:
- Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (it turns out someone bought this for her and she hasn't read it yet!)
What she noticed on display and took:
- Witch's Business by Diana Wynne Jones
Now that I'm sitting here writing this post, I can think of so many more, but the poor dear had to carry her bag home so I think that was quite enough for one visit.
Very interesting how these things play out...and this may be the first child I have ever encountered who claims to like fantasy, but loathe Harry Potter.