Welcome to this week’s ‘Two For Tuesday’, a weekly post hosted by myself, The Reading Nook, where each week I pick a bookish topic and discuss two of my favourite (or least favourite) things about that topic! If you feel like joining in, feel free to use the above picture, and don’t forget to link back to the post so everyone can see!
This week’s topic : Two books from my teenage years that I can’t forget.
This week I’m focusing on two books that I read during my teenage years, and that have stayed with me as I’ve gotten older. I always think that the books we read in our younger, formative years can be so important, they can shape you and how you look at the world, and these books really spoke to me as a teenager, and still do to this day. They are :
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
I can’t remember exactly what age I was when I first read this book, but I don’t think I was much older than fourteen or fifteen. I just remember loving it so much that I pleaded with my English teacher at school to read it with us in class (she didn’t). The book is the first in a series of books, all taking place in an ‘alternative 21st century Britain’ in a world where the Crosses (darker skinned people) rule society, and the Noughts (light skinned people) are low class, usually poor, and servants to the Crosses. Sephy is a Cross, Callum is a Nought. Despite their differences, and the opposition of their families, friends, and social groups, they are friends. They grew up together, Callum’s mother was a housekeeper for Sephy’s mother, and helped raise Sephy and her sister. As they grow older, however, their friendship is seen as wrong, and inappropriate. Noughts and Crosses just don’t mix. Sephy and Callum grow to love each other, but, as is often the way, life gets in the way and they are separated. (A lot happens, I’m giving an oversight, because I don’t want to spoil the book!)
The book, to me, is very reminiscent of a modern day Romeo and Juliet, or Across The Barricades. It’s so well written, and the characters will stay with you for a long time, as they have with me. It’s one of the few books that I can remember the exact plot and all of the characters, even years after I read it. I would strongly urge everyone to read this, if they haven’t already. It’s so powerful, and a wonderful, moving, heartbreaking read.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
The second book in Two for Tuesday is Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. Who could ever forget that iconic pink cover? It’s so eye-catching, both it’s colour and it’s simplicity.
Stargirl Caraway is a bit of an enigma. Home-schooled for many years, she arrives at Leo’s school and nobody really knows what to make of her. She wears strange clothes, she brings a ukelele to school, and she sings happy birthday to her fellow students. She doesn’t fit in, but she doesn’t seem to notice, or care much. She becomes briefly popular when she joins the school’s cheerleading squad, but the fact that she cheers on both her team and the opposition means this doesn’t last long. After her short lived popularity, and after a short relationship, she and Leo eventually break up. He goes to her house just to discover that she and her family are gone. Again, this is a brief synopsis of the plot, I don’t want to give too much away.
I just loved this book so much because it was so different. Stargirl was such a unique character, and I remember being so awed by her courage and quirkiness, especially at a time when I was trying to find my own identity, as most younger teenagers are. She was just herself, and was so unapologetic about that. I’d definitely list it as one of my favourite books as a teenager.
So, have you read either of these? What did you think? And what books do you think you would choose?