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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Scarlet Letterman - Cara Lockwood

This book was recommended to me by an 8th grader. I liked it a lot, but I think it's a better choice for a high school collection. One thing they did in this novel that I think older readers would appreciate much more than younger readers, is include tons of literary allusions. The teachers at the boarding school where this story (and series, in fact) takes place, are all ghosts who were writers of major works of fiction, like William Blake, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Bronte. Not many kids at the school know they're ghosts, but Miranda, the main character, and a few friends do.

I thought it was cool how these authors were included and their works referenced - Blake's "Tyger, Tyger" poem is, in fact, a huge part of the story, but I doubt most kids reading it would even get it. Middle schoolers aren't often reading Blake. In high school they probably do - I wonder when? I'm not sure it makes a big difference as to whether a reader would like the story, but I do know that you'd get a lot more meaning from the story if you DO have that background as opposed to not having it.

If you were the person who recommended this book to me, please leave me a comment. Of course you may leave me a comment even if you aren't that person and you have something to say. :)

Have a great day!

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