SLJ Battle of the Books: Universality

I'll get right to it. I love this one. Here is the quote from Fire today:

She wondered if a person could be powerful, but inside be broken into pieces, and shaking, all the time.

Oh heavens, yes.

One thing I love about this book is that, even though it seems to be about adults, there's this commonality of emotion and human experience that makes it so accessible to teens. As a 30...something...parent, wife, friend, employee, etc., I soooo understand this passage. And you don't think a young teenager feels this way? Of course they do. We all feel this way.

On that same note, I sat on a bus with Kristin Cashore at an ALA Annual event a couple years ago, and I actually asked her (as it relates to Graceling), paraphrasing: "You used the term 'lover' when describing Po and Katsa's relationship. Do you think that...um...bumps it up to an adult level? Isn't that an adult sensibility?" To be honest, I actually don't remember Kristin's answer - I was too busy being embarrassed about the question. But it was there in Graceling and again in Fire - that adult sensibility.

But here is what I love about that: as an author, Cashore does not talk down to teens. For better or for worse, even if they don't understand the adult nuances, many teens know what it feels like to have (or be) a lover. They know what it feels like to be confused about sex and all its complications and implications. They know what it feels like to be shaking and vulnerable and scared...but capable of so much strength and power. Especially young teen women. This book is for them.

Game on!

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