Aug 30, 2013

Friday Five: Taking a Stand Books that Aren't Dystopias

I'm reading Partials, by Dan Wells, right now because the teens kept telling me that they loved it.  And I agree with them. The addition of a scientific focus has been refreshing, and I'm really enjoying the book.  But...I'm getting dystopia fatigue.  I've been reading and keeping up with dystopias over the past 2 years because that's where my students show a ton of interest.  They're all jumbled up inside my head and keeping up with the sequels has become exhausting.  Which reminds me, whatever happened to the single serving novel?

So here are five books that share the dystopian spirit of challenging institutions and/or the norm and taking a stand, but that aren't classified as dystopian.

1. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth

Cameron is a closeted lesbian growing up in the 90s in the middle of America. On top of that, she lives with the guilt that her sexuality is the reason her parents were killed in an accident. Her religious guardian sends her to a conversion camp where Cameron decides to stand up for her feelings and demand respect.

2. The Loud Silence of Francine Green, by Karen Cushman

Set in Hollywood during the Red Scare, Francine Green focuses on how people need to look for the truth and not just accept the news as delivered by others. Francine was a meek and timid girl, always following the instructions of the nuns at her Catholic School. Then she meets Sophie, a loudmouthed girl who can't control herself and her desires to hold impromptu anti-bomb protests, and suddenly she questions why she has always been so accepting of what she is told.

3. The White Bicycle, by Beverly Brenna

In this novel, the institution is Taylor Jane's mother, a woman who doesn't believe teenage Taylor is capable of taking care of herself because of her Asberger's Syndrome. The mother is also representative of all who doubt the abilities of those with developmental disorders.  Taylor takes control of her life, going out on adventures without her mother's permission, and learns more about herself along the way.

4. Does My Head Look Big in This?, by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Amal makes the decision to wear the hijab full-time as a reflection of her faith. Her family, friends, and school aren't sure this is the right move. As the only Muslim at her school, a school that has a strict uniform policy, it's hard to find understanding. Her family and friends worry that Amal's decision will alienate her and attract problems. Regardless, Amal stays true to her decision and embraces her faith in the eyes of the public.

5. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly

It's the end of the nineteenth century in Texas, and Calpurnia is more interested in charting the differences between grasshopper types than learning how to sew.  The society she lives in requires her to be more feminine, after all, she's going to be someone's wife one day.  However, Calpurnia puts that aside and joins her grandfather in his scientific endeavors.

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