Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick

Although Shelf Discovery is tagged "The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading," the books featured are about half middle-grade and half young adult (middle grade being for younger kids, pre-teens and tweens, in case you're not familiar with the term), although a handful of books for adults are included too. It mostly consists of book reviews--not reviews focusing on the quality of the books, but on the things girls like about the books and what the books offer to girls.

And the book is exclusively for girls--or, rather, the women the girls have grown into. Almost all the books featured were published in the 1970s and 80s. I just counted, and there are 73 books featured (unless I miscounted, which is entirely possible). I was a voracious reader as a kid, but I've only read 18 of the books featured here. The selection is skewed strongly to the V.C. Andrews and Lois Duncan readers. Except for Madeleine L'Engle, there aren't many truly speculative fiction books included.

I was surprised at the omissions. Naturally there's a limit to how many books can be included in a project like this, but why cover Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret but not include the third book in that trilogy, Scout? Is it because Scout has a boy as the main character? I loved it as a kid. And why do Laura Ingalls Wilder, Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, Madeleine L'Engle, and a few other authors get so many entries--added up, those four authors probably account for a quarter of the books covered.

So the book is basically a list of books the author liked (actually, there are seven contributors to the reviews, but there's a reason these reviews were chosen from the "Fine Lines" column). It's certainly not a comprehensive look at different types of teen girl reads, and not meant to be. I was disappointed that there wasn't more I could sink my teeth into, though. But the reviews are entertaining and breezily written, and I did enjoy reading about some of the books I'd nearly forgotten about. I even found a few books that I want to read for the first time.

B&N link


Kelly Robinson said...

So, yet another book that's made up of material that's already on a website? I certainly don't begrudge bloggers getting a book deal, but when the book is SOLELY from the site, I gotta ask "Why?"

K.C. Shaw said...

I think there are a few new additions, but most of the entries look to be from the website. Oh well.