Happy Poetry Friday. I've got a terrific YA novel and poem pairing to share with you this week.
|Katya at Write. Sketch Repeat. is hosting|
this week's Poetry Friday link up.
One of the best parts about being a debut novelist has been connecting with other children's authors in the class of 2016.
I loved THE GIRL WHO FELL by S.M. Parker. It’s contemporary YA about Zephyr, a star field hockey player who has her life together and her college plans in place, until she meets a boy. At first, it’s all racing heart beats and cute kissing at the playground after dark, but over time Alec goes from needy, to possessive and manipulative, to full on abusive stalker.
I have to admit that this book was difficult to read because of my own history. When I was in high school, an ex-boyfriend stalked me for several months. You can read about it here (scroll down to the UPDATE).
I had to take it slow – a chapter or a few pages at a time. There were many times when I wrote Zephyr a note in the book: “No, Zee!” and “Wake up, Zephyr!” I was so invested in her character and in Zephyr finding her way back to herself.
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This contemporary YA launches on March 1, 2016. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
His obsession.Her fall.
In this dark kissing book, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.
Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.
But love has a way of changing things.
Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.
Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?
But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.
So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.
If she waits any longer, it may be too late.
THE GIRL WHO FELL is appropriate for high schoolers and up.
Who will like it?
- · Teens who like edgy romance.
- · Athletes and kids who struggle to balance social life with commitments.
- · Readers who love first person narrators.
What will readers learn about?
- · Abuse is complicated. A victim can feel attracted to, and have a healthy sex life with, an abuser.
- · Indicators that someone has the potential to be abusive or controlling, e.g. forbidding you to spend time with other friends and family.
- · Especially for teens, the importance of putting your own needs first, before those of your romantic partner.
The poem I'm pairing with THE GIRL WHO FELL was published in Little Patuxent Review (the literary journal for which I edit poetry) earlier this year. It’s by Maryland poet and educator Rachel Eisler.
If I were Zephyr’s teacher, this is the poem I would hand to her, to remind her how strong she is as an athlete and as a young woman.
I shared the poem with Shannon Parker, who said, “I love how this turns objectification on its head and makes women have all the power.”
It’s Lovely to Watch Young Women
By Rachel Eisler
It’s lovely to watch young women
elbow opponents as they strive
in each others’ shining faces to make the shot.
They pound down the boards,
dribbling and swiveling, seek allies,
in the frantic five.
It’s lovely to watch young women,
so passionate and cool,
as the fouls squeak silent, the lines fade
into screens, fake-outs, and passes
to move and seize the ball.
Their pure ferocity
the urge to wrest
something from someone
because you want it more
right then and you
better best them.
Someday, it may get old or tame
headlong lose or wild win,
both such cool water to a woman
parched by politeness,
hungry for this fight.