Pub. Date: April 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
288ppAs most of my friends are on unemployment, underemployed, or “freelancing”, during most worldly encounters, including reading, I have begun to take notice to the ways in which folks make money in the world. Now, reading a piece of young adult fiction is less about the contours of a remarkable story, and more about the audacity of its author. Before reading the book’s description and accollades on the back cover or inside jacket, I first go to the author’s bio and study her photograph. Vanity overrides my better judgement: I question her beauty, her smarts in choice of photographer, her boldness for allowing her face to be so mutilated by onlookers like myself, and question her economic well-being as a result of my touching her book. How could I not? For all of my reading pleasures, I must acknowledge that I’m keeping someone employed, that by reading this title, I’m actively not sustaining some other aspiring best-selling author.
This week, I’ve sustained the closely cropped, red-headed Josie Bloss. Her bio sold me, because she left her position in law to relocate to a quiet town, (likely with a cushioned savings account) to write books…really, she is living my dream. The best part, is that she mentions her truest love, BAND, yes, as in marching band. So still, someone as ballsy as her, still has unrelinqished potential. As authors go, Bloss passes my litmus test for worthy-to-be-read, but I still have questions regarding her sexual politics.
An example of what I mean, is that for a young adult novel, I was surprised by the blow-job, but not even a single girl-on-girl grope. I mean, the premise was about band, but the underlying story asked, does she pick the girl, or does she pick the guy. I’m always routing for the girl, of course. And as I read on, I consulted with friends who often teased, “what, does the lesbian die in the end?”
Not your standard contemporary pulp novel, Bloss was able to outline the inner turmoils of the “questioning” generation. Beyond the ultimate question of, what do I do with my life, (which Obama would call a high-class problem to have), when your parents have a trust-fund for you to pick the college of your choice, of course the next question would be, “do I date this even cooler girl?”
Perhaps the novel led me to wonder if I was tired of reading the story from the perspective of the questioning. Contemporary references of Lindsay Lohan aside, I found myself wanting a deeper analysis of character distinction. Although as easy to read as a blog, one-dimensional characters shouldn’t have identity crises beyond what to wear.
I recommend this book to teens who are unsure of which paths to choose. But still, I wonder, are we still in the age of classic pulp, where the dyke dies as she aims to lure the young voluptuous maiden? Plainly, should we continue to endorse young adult novels with lesbian characters, where the questioning girl doesn’t love the lesbian in the end? And I ask this, even with respect to the audacious author who gives us new hope for an employable future.