Episode 63: Homecoming

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Homecoming

If you feel like every episode of The SSR Podcast is basically just a lovefest about whatever book we happen to be discussing (and you’re sick and tired of it!), then you should definitely check out Episode 63. Our feelings about Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming are A LOT more complicated. Let’s just say it’s a love/hate thing.

On this episode, Alli and guest Kelly Jensen try to look at this 1981 novel from every spot on that love/hate spectrum. They also swap stories about their own middle and high school English classes and compare notes on the kinds of books they were reading in the nineties. There’s talk of birth order, mental health, religion, circus performers, and cold hot dogs — a little something for everyone!

Follow Kelly on Instagram (@heykellyjensen) and be sure to check out her work on Book Riot!

CHECK OUT KELLY’S BOOKS:

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health

… AND HER BOOK RIOT BSC ARTICLE: “Thirty-Plus Years After Kristy’s Great Idea, What Makes The Baby-Sitters Club Endure?”

CHECK OUT KELLY’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Taking Sides by Norma Klein

Domestic Arrangements: A Novel by Norma Klein

Mom the Wolf Man and Me by Norma Klein

MORE READING:

“Book review: Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt” (MuggleNet, 2013)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 62: To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird

Ever since its publication in 1960, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has been earning accolades and showing up on school required reading lists. In more recent years, the conversation around this book — more specifically, around what it has to say about race and racial injustice — has become more complicated. On Episode 62, Alli and guest Amy Jo Bunselmeyer take a good, hard look at this classic and try to make sense of the role it should play in our larger dialogues about important social issues.

Thanks to Amy Jo for guesting on this episode! You may know Amy Jo better as bookstagram’s @literaryjo. Check out the book reviews on her blog, as well!

CHECK OUT AMY JO’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel by Claire Lombardo

MORE READING:

“Just How Good Is To Kill a Mockingbird?” (The New Republic, 2015)

“11 Facts About To Kill a Mockingbird” (Mental Floss, 2015)

“Why everyone should read To Kill a Mockingbird” (The Tab, 2015)

“Why To Kill a Mockingbird Keeps Getting Banned” (History, 2018)

“Why To Kill a Mockingbird Should Be on Your Business Reading List” (Inc., 2015)

“Let’s Stop Pretending To Kill a Mockingbird Is Progressive on Race” (NCTE, 2017)

“Why Are We Still Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird in Schools?” (NBC News, 2017)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 61: Hatchet

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Hatchet

On Episode 61 of SSR, we’re taking to the Canadian wilderness — but unlike thirteen-year-old Brian in Gary Paulsen’s 1987 Newbery Honor-winning novel Hatchet, we’re not going alone. It’s a team effort to journey through the many conversations that come with this book! Tune in to hear us talk about the way Hatchet busted the “boy/girl book dichotomy” when we were kids, Paulsen’s presentation of trauma, and how shocked we were to realize as adults that we’d missed Brian’s suicide attempt when we read the book years ago. We also fangirl over Paulsen’s beautiful writing and chat about what makes certain children’s books stand up as classics, while others do not.

Follow author Sara Faring on Instagram (@sarafaring) and Twitter (@sarafaring).

CHECK OUT SARA’S BOOK: The Tenth Girl

CHECK OUT SARA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

The Need by Helen Phillips

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino

The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer

MORE READING:

“13 Wild Facts About Hatchet and Gary Paulsen” (Mental Floss, 2015)

“30 Years Later, Hatchet Remains the Best Nature Book for Boys” (Fatherly, 2018)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

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Episode 60: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

It’s finally happening… we’re talking about Harry Potter on the podcast! More specifically, Episode 60 of SSR is all about the book that started it all: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. In this episode, we talk about why the books have been challenged by conservative communities, obsess over the amazing world of Hogwarts and beyond, and chat about what we would have liked to see more of from Rowling’s female characters. Alli also reveals her true feelings about the movie adaptations and takes a guess at which House she would be sorted into. And that’s just the start… there’s so much to talk about when it comes to Harry!

Learn more about guest Gemma Hartley by following her on Instagram (@gemmalhartley) and Twitter (@gemmahartley).

CHECK OUT GEMMA’S BOOK: Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward

CHECK OUT GEMMA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATION:

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

MORE READING:

“Things 20-somethings will notice re-reading the Harry Potter books” (Pottermore)

“Twenty years of Harry Potter — the 20 things we have learned” (The Guardian, 2017)

“A Definitive Ranking of the Harry Potter Books” (BuzzFeed, 2014)

“19 Fascinating Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Harry Potter Books” (Mental Floss, 2015)

“Living Through Death With Harry Potter” (The Atlantic, 2018)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 59: Ender's Game

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Ender’s Game

In Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, we meet Ender Wiggin, a six-year-old boy who has been identified as a high-potential child soldier in a future human society readying for war with an alien species known as “the Buggers.” To prepare him for life as a military leader, high-ranking officials send him to Battle School, where they put him through a series of war games and simulations while isolating him from his peers in an effort to hone his fighting skills. Ender excels, and in the book’s twist ending, we discover that he’s been given way more responsibility than he expected.

On Episode 59, we consider the book’s real antagonist, talk about what Ender’s Game has to say about good and evil and the moral implications of war, and discuss the lack of representation and social progress in a book meant to portray a more evolved future. We also spend quite a bit of time at the top of the show talking about the author’s problematic politics.

This week’s guest is Katy Rose Pool, author of the forthcoming YA novel, There Will Come A Darkness. Follow Katy on Instagram (@katyrosepool) and Twitter (@KatyPool).

CHECK OUT KATY’S BOOK: There Will Come A Darkness

CHECK OUT KATY’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

MORE READING:

“I Finally Figured Out Why I Hate Ender’s Game, The Cult Sci-Fi Novel That Everyone Else Apparently Loves” (Business Insider, 2013)

“Stranger in a Strange Land” (Grantland, 2013)

“Orson Scott Card Talks Ender’s Game in Rare Interview” (Wired, 2013)

“A Primer on Orson Scott Card and the Ender’s Game Controversy” (Vulture, 2013)

“The twisted mind of Ender’s Game” (Salon, 2013)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 58: Go Ask Alice

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Go Ask Alice

Originally billed as the real life diary of an anonymous teen drug addict, Go Ask Alice offers plenty of food for conversational thought — not only because of its graphic content, but because of the many questions of authorship that have emerged around it since the book was published in 1971. In Episode 58, Read It Forward’s Abbe Wright joins Alli to consider how much these questions of authorship really matter and to discuss the role that Go Ask Alice has played in drug and alcohol education for teens over the last few decades.

Follow Read It Forward on Instagram (@readitforward // @bookbento) and Twitter (@readitforward). Follow Abbe on Instagram (@abbewright1) and Twitter (@AbbeWright), too!

CHECK OUT ABBE’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life by Tiffany Jenkins

City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

MORE READING:

“In the 1970s, this fake diary scared — and tempted — teenage girls all over America” (Timeline, 2017)

Go Ask Alice Is Still Awash in Controversy, 43 Years After Publication” (Bustle, 2014)

“The Book That Defined My Teen Anxiety Turned Out to Be a Lie” (Electric Literature, 2019)

“Lines from Go Ask Alice That, In Hindsight, Should Have Tipped Me Off That This Was Not A True Story” (The Toast, 2014)

“A Queer Reading of Go Ask Alice” (The Paris Review, 2018)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 57: Running Out of Time

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Running Out of Time

Alli’s called a lot of SSR books her favorite… and this one is no exception! On Episode 57, she’s joined by writer and debut author Rebecca Fishbein to discuss Margaret Peterson Haddix’s 1995 thriller Running Out of Time, in which we meet a thirteen-year-old who thinks she lives in 1840s Indiana but is actually part of a weird tourist attraction plopped right in the middle of 1996. It’s up to her to escape to the modern world and save her loved ones from diphtheria — no pressure.

Tune in to this episode to hear Alli and Rebecca chat about their shared love of Colonial Williamsburg, the lack of adventure books geared toward young girls, accusations that the movie The Village was plagiarized from the book, and some plot points that didn’t hold up so well on the reread. They also consider whether or not the premise of Running Out of Time would be as shocking to kids in 2019 as it was to them in the nineties.

Follow Rebecca on Twitter (@bfishfish) and check out her forthcoming book of essays Good Things Happen to People You Hate, out in October 2019.

CHECK OUT REBECCA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Conversations With Friends: A Novel by Sally Rooney

Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney

MORE READING:

“Film vs. Book: M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village & M. Peterson Haddix’s Running Out of Time” (DB Movies Blog)

“Author Says New Film Is Similar to Her Novel” (The New York Times, 2004)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 56: The Outsiders

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The Outsiders

As a high schooler, Alli missed the boat on reading S.E. Hinton’s iconic 1967 novel The Outsiders, but all that changed for Episode 56 of SSR! Along with guest Esther Zuckerman — a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist — she discovers the original context of “Stay gold, Ponyboy,” discusses the book’s unique portrayal of masculinity, and considers the ways in which its representation of marginalized youth and communities is (sadly) still relevant in 2019. Alli and Esther also talk about S.E. Hinton’s fascinating overnight journey from (literal) teen to publishing sensation and the larger cultural significance of The Outsiders.

Follow Esther on Twitter (@ezwrites).

CHECK OUT ESTHER’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong

Normal People : A Novel by Sally Rooney

MORE READING:

“Why The Outsiders Still Matters 50 Years Later” (Rolling Stone, 2017)

“22 Reasons to Read The Outsiders” (Penguin Teen)

“Why The Outsiders Lives On: A Teenage Novel Turns 50” (The New York Times, 2017)

“12 Fascinating Facts About S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders” (Mental Floss, 2018)

“Happy 50th Anniversary to The Outsiders, The Book That Created A Genre” (HuffPost, 2017)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 55: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

With the help of a cult fan base and a 2012 movie adaptation, Stephen Chbosky’s 1999 epistolary novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower has become a beloved piece of YA history for people of all ages. Chbosky’s beautiful writing has made the book iconic, and the way he presents sensitive subjects (sexual abuse, abortion, dating violence, suicide, drug abuse, and more) to teen audiences has made Perks a valuable lifeline for readers braving their own traumas. In Episode 55, Alli and guest Caitlin Flynn discuss the universal nature of Charlie’s story, chat about the nuances of high school social groups, consider how many heavy topics are too many heavy topics for one book, and dig deep into what The Perks of Being a Wallflower has to say about trauma, coping, and personal growth.

Caitlin Flynn is a freelance journalist who covers travel, politics, culture, and health through a feminist lens. Follow her on Twitter (@caitrose609) and Instagram (@thecaitlinflynn) and learn more about her work on her website.

CHECK OUT CAITLIN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Gifted School: A Novel by Bruce Holsinger

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Long Bright River: A Novel by Liz Moore

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales

MORE READING:

“How Books Help Charlie’s Mental Health in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)” (Tolstoy Therapy, 2013)

“A Wallflower’s Lasting Impact” (CNN, 2012)

Perks of Being a Wallflower Banned After Parent Complains” (American Booksellers Association BTW, 2015)

“How The Perks of Being a Wallflower Restored My Faith In Infinity Without God” (Bustle, 2016)

Follow SSR on social media!

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 54: Sweet Valley High // Double Love

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Sweet Valley High // Double Love

SSR is back for year TWO, and we’re kicking things off with a conversation about the first book in Francine Pascal’s beloved Sweet Valley High series, Double Love. In this episode, we (sadly) reveal a lot of problematic messages in the book about sexuality, class, privilege, and relationships. We also dive into the emphasis that these characters place on physical appearances and on the lack of female empowerment we see in Sweet Valley. There’s a hilarious game of FMK, a little Jessica vs. Elizabeth debating, and reflections on our own awkward teen years and misguided fashion choices.

Thanks so much to Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman, hosts of the Bad on Paper podcast, for joining Alli for Episode 54! Follow Bad on Paper (@badonpaperpodcast), Grace (@graceatwood), and Becca (@beccamfreeman) on Instagram, and be sure to check out more content from Grace on The Stripe.

TUNE IN TO OUR OTHER SWEET VALLEY HIGH EPISODE (FEATURING GABRIELLE MOSS, AUTHOR OF PAPERBACK CRUSH) HERE!

CHECK OUT BECCA + GRACE’S BOOK RECOMMENDATION:

The Idea of You: A Novel by Robinne Lee

MORE READING:

“12 of the Sweet Valley High Books’ Most Ridiculous Plotlines” (Mental Floss, 2017)

“How the Sweet Valley girls grew up” (The Guardian, 2012)

“Confessions Of A Former Sweet Valley High Addict” (NPR Books, 2014)

“Oh Sweet Joy, The Sweet Valley High Books Are Getting A Movie Adaptation” (HuffPost, 2017)

“20 Ways The Sweet Valley Series Defined Our Adolescence” (Thought Catalog, 2015)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 53: Bonus Q+A #2!

BONUS Q+A #2

It’s round two of SSQ Q+A! Tune in to hear Alli talk about mental health, favorite music, podcast behind the scenes, favorite movies, body image… and for plenty of book talk, too. Thanks so much for all of your support in the first year of the podcast!

Follow Alli on Instagram (@ahoffkosik) and Twitter (@ahoffkosik).

LISTEN TO THE FIRST Q+A EPISODE HERE!

ALLI’S FAVORITE BOOKS FROM CHILDHOOD/ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown Ups by Kay Thompson

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

The Clown-Arounds by Joanna Cole

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (episode HERE)

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (episode HERE)

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (episode HERE)

ALLI’S FAVORITE READS OF 2019:

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

A Woman Is No Man: A Novel by Etaf Rum

ALLI’S FAVORITE SSR REREADS:

Are You There God? It’s Me. Margaret by Judy Blume (episode HERE)

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (episode HERE)

ALLI’S MOST DISAPPOINTING SSR REREAD:

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (episode HERE)

ALLI’S TOUGHEST SSR READS:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (episode HERE)

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (episode HERE)

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander (episode HERE)

Animal Farm by George Orwell (episode HERE)

ALLI’S FAVORITE READ OVER-AND-OVER AGAIN TITLE:

Prep: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

WANT TO BE A GUEST ON SSR?

Drop us a line at hellossrpod@gmail.com or send a DM on Instagram!

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

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Episode 52: Walk Two Moons

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Walk Two Moons

Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons was published in 1994 and went on to win the celebrated Newbery Medal in 1995. It’s the story of thirteen-year-old Sal’s journey — both literally and metaphorically — to learn (and accept) the truth of her mother’s recent disappearance, to empathize with the struggles that her peers are going through, and to find her own identity in the chaos of life. Walk Two Moons is populated with lovable characters and perfectly poignant moments… to say nothing of the beautiful writing!

Guest Katharine Scrivener joins Alli to discuss everything from guilt and grief to motherhood and mental health. You may recognize Katharine as bookstagram’s @readwithkat, and as one-fourth of The Bookly Club (@thebooklylcub)! Follow Katharine on Instagram (@katharinescriv) for more book hoarding, as well as resources about Cystic Fibrosis.

CHECK OUT KATHARINE’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert

MORE READING:

“What is the lesson in the book Walk Two Moons?” (eNotes)

“Thoughts on Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons” (American Indians in Children’s Literature, 2010)

Walk Two Moons Resonates Even More Today” (Bustle, 2014)

Follow SSR on social media!

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

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Episode 51: Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

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Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

Among the Harriets and Nancys of the mystery world, Sammy Keyes has always been a breath of fresh, relatable air for kid readers. The first book in her eponymous series — Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thiefwas published in 1998, and author Wendelin Van Draanen went on to expand Sammy’s world with a whopping seventeen more titles! In Episode 51 of SSR, we take a closer look at the first book, reminiscing about how much we loved the zany cast of characters, reflecting on the lessons it teaches about avoiding snap judgements, discussing its take on interpersonal relationships, and swapping notes on a few elements that have aged a little less well. We also make lots of hilariously random pop culture references.

Thanks to LA-based writer and comedian Jocey Coffman for guesting! Follow Jocey on Twitter (@joceydotcom) and Instagram (@joceydotcom) for biting room temperature takes.

CHECK OUT JOCEY’S BOOK RECOMMENDATION:

How Music Got Free: A Story of Obsession and Invention by Stephen Witt

MORE READING:

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief Review” (Publishers Weekly, 1998)

“Sammy Keyes changed everything” (Lompoc Record, 2003)

Follow SSR on social media!

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 50: Bridge to Terabithia

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Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson’s beloved Bridge to Terabithia is the perfect subject for SSR’s milestone FIFTIETH episode! The winner of the 1978 Newbery Medal, this novel is perhaps best known for its truly heartbreaking ending and the way it introduces young readers to grief. Drawing on her own experience watching her young son lose a best friend to a tragic accident, Paterson touches on themes of imagination, friendship, poverty, conservatism, religion, and more in Terabithia. We take a deep dive into all of these subjects in Episode 50!

This week’s guest is Meg Elison, who identifies as an LGBTQ writer and essayist. She also writes satire and stage comedy for her sketch group, The Mess. Meg is well-known for a viral McSweeney’s essay entitled “If Women Wrote Men The Way Men Wrote Women,” and her novel The Book of the Unnamed Midwife  was named a “Best Book of the Year” by Publisher’s Weekly. Her latest novel is called The Book of Flora. Follow Meg on Twitter (@megelison).

CHECK OUT MEG’S BOOKS:

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The Book of Etta

The Book of Flora

CHECK OUT MEG’S BOOK RECOMMENDATION:

Riverland by Fran Wilde

MORE READING:

Bridge to Terabithia By Katherine Paterson” (Banned Library, 2016)

“Sudden Death: What Bridge to Terabithia still teaches us” (Slate, 2007)

“Connecticut Residents Seek to Ban Two Newbery Medal Winners from School” (BTW, 2002)

Terabithia Inspired by True Events” (NPR, 2007)

Follow SSR on social media!

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Support SSR on Patreon!

**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 49: Weetzie Bat

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Weetzie Bat

Published in 1989, Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat is the story of an LA native named Weetzie Bat who finds and creates family on her own terms, alongside her best friend Dirk and their partners Duck and Secret Agent Lover Man (these names!). The book explores themes of identity, sexuality, addiction, and suicide, and is ultimately a celebration of transcendent love, acceptance, and inclusivity. On this episode, we discuss the book’s queer themes, the beauty of found family, the problems with “cancel culture,” and the lessons that Weetzie Bat can teach all of us about how to be a good friend and ally. And don’t even get us started on how beautiful the writing is!

Thanks so much to author and illustrator Maia Kobabe for guesting on Episode 49! Maia identifies as nonbinary and queer, and eir first full-length book Gender Queer: A Memoir is now available from Lion Forge. Follow Maia on Instagram (@redgoldsparks) and Tumblr (@redgoldsparks), and learn more about eir work on Patreon.

CHECK OUT MAIA’S (BRAND NEW!) BOOK: Gender Queer: A Memoir

CHECK OUT MAIA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

MORE READING:

Weetzie Bat: The Book For Girls Who Ended Up Taking A Gay Dude To Prom” (Jezebel, 2008)

“Anya Taylor-Joy, Nick Robinson & Sasha Lane Star In Weetzie Bat Film Adaptation” (Deadline, 2018)

“Children’s Books: Pretty In Punk” (The New York Times, 1989)

“Is Weetzie Bat a Good Role Model?” (The New York Times, 1989)

Weetzie Bat Proves Someone Understands” (Los Angeles Times, 1994)

Follow SSR on social media!

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 48: The Brothers Lionheart

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The Brothers Lionheart

Quite possibly the darkest and most unique book we’ve read to date on SSR, The Brothers Lionheart is the story of brothers Jonathan and Rusky, both of whom die tragically in the first two chapters (!!!!) and find themselves in a seemingly idyllic afterlife called Nangijala. Once there, they get involved in a resistance movement against the evil Tengil. Written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren in 1973, the book has themes of bravery, sacrifice, and unconditional love. Many thanks to this week’s guest for introducing me to this novel (which we break down in great detail on the episode, for those who aren’t familiar!).

Amy Ignatow is the author and illustrator of The Popularity Papers series, The Mighty Odds, and Revenge of the Sis. Follow her on Twitter (@amyignatow).

CHECK OUT AMY’S BOOKS:

Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers #1) 

The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers #2)

Words of (Questionable) Wisdom from Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers #3)

The Rocky Road Trip of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers #4)

The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers #5)

Love and Other Fiascos with Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers #6)

The Less-Than-Hidden Secrets and Final Revelations of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers #7)

The Mighty Odds (The Odds Series #1)

Against the Odds (The Odds Series #2)

Odds & Ends (The Odds Series #3)

Revenge of the Sis (Star Wars: Jedi Academy #7)

CHECK OUT AMY’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren

Dig by A.S. King

Munmun by Jesse Andrews

MORE READING:

The Brothers Lionheart: My Favorite Childrens Book” (Read Aloud Dad)

“What happened to the Brothers Lionheart?” (Astrid Lindgren Company, 1974)

The Brothers Lionheart review” (The New York Times, 1976)

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Episode 47: Charlotte's Web

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Charlotte’s Web

In celebration of Mother’s Day and special ladies everywhere, Alli welcomes her own mom Deb Cummins Stellato to Episode 47, in which they discuss a book they loved reading together years ago: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Tune in to hear them discuss childhood reading rituals, the importance of listening, the value of friendship, and loss. They also share about their love of animals and take a close look at the personalities of Charlotte’s Web’s animal characters and their own pets. Deb even dishes on a few embarrassing stories from Alli’s childhood!

Learn more about Deb’s work with Think Good Leadership, and follow her on Facebook (Think Good Leadership) and Instagram (@think_good_leader // @deb_cummins_stellato).

CHECK OUT DEB’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

The Pilot’s Wife: A Novel by Anita Shreve

Becoming by Michelle Obama

MORE READING:

“Some Book! Charlotte’s Web Turns 60” (NPR, 2012)

“Some Book: Celebrating 60 Years of Charlotte’s Web” (New York Times Sunday Book Review, 2012)

“Books That Made Us: Charlotte’s Web” (LA Review of Books, 2011)

“10 Things You Might Not Know About Charlotte’s Web” (Mental Floss, 2015)

Charlotte’s Web: Radiant, Terrific, Some Book” (Book Riot, 2012)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 46: Anastasia Krupnik

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Anastasia Krupnik

Unless you can get yourself a time machine, there are few better ways to go back to childhood than to read a middle grade book — and Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik is written from such an amazing kid perspective that you’ll feel like an elementary schooler all over again when you pick it up. The first in a series of nine books, Anastasia Krupnik isn’t a fantastical journey or magical quest. It’s the story of a relatable (and cheeky and funny and dramatic) kid dealing with relatable — maybe even boring — things (baby brothers, crushes, ailing grandparents, and more). Writer and editor Kayleen Schaefer joins Alli on Episode 46 to discuss Anastasia’s misadventures, along with “cool parents,” misguided hairstyles, and the things that can easily go over a kid reader’s head.

Follow Kayleen on Instagram (@iknowkayleen) and Twitter (@kayleener).

CHECK OUT KAYLEEN’S BOOK + KINDLE SINGLE:

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship

Fade Out

CHECK OUT KAYLEEN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

How to Build a Girl: A Novel by Caitlin Moran

MORE READING:

“Why Anastasia Krupnik Was Way Ahead of Her Time” (Book Riot, 2019)

“Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik Is Still Wonderful Today, And Here Are 7 Reasons Why” (Bustle, 2014)

“Anastasia Krupnik Is the Neurotic YA Heroine You Forgot You Loved” (The Cut, 2014)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 45: Island of the Blue Dolphins

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Island of the Blue Dolphins

It’s Episode 45 and about time that we take a journey to the Island of the Blue Dolphins — AKA a small island off the coast of California where a woman actually survived alone for eighteen years alone in the nineteenth century. This woman’s incredible story inspired Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, a book written in 1960 that won the Newbery Medal in 1961 and has continued to be a favorite for so many in the decades since. It’s certainly not without its problems — and we talk about those! — but we also discuss the pure badassery that is main character Karana.

Thanks to Perrin Brown for joining as a guest on this episode and sharing her thoughts on the book from the perspective of intersectional feminism. Follow her on Instagram @feministscript and @celiacqueen.

LISTEN TO THE BAD ON PAPER PODCAST HERE.

CHECK OUT OUR LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE EPISODE HERE.

CHECK OUT PERRIN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

MORE READING:

“15 Facts About Island of the Blue Dolphins” (Mental Floss, 2017)

“How the true story behind Island of the Blue Dolphins is being kept alive” (Ventura County Star, 2019)

“What Archaeologists and Historians Are Finding About the Heroine of a Beloved Young Adult Novel” (Smithsonian, 2017)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 44: Alanna: The First Adventure

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Alanna: The First Adventure

In Episode 44, Alli is introduced for the first time to Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet, and HuffPost’s Claire Fallon joins to discuss the first book in the series, aptly named Alanna: The First Adventure. In it, our heroine Alanna seeks to circumvent the expectations of girls in her society by dressing as a boy named Alan and taking her twin brother’s place at the palace, where she can begin training to becoming a knight. The book raises questions of identity, gender, conformity, and whether or not violet eyes are really ever found in nature.

Follow Claire on Twitter @ClaireEFallon and Instagram @claireefallon. Listen to the Here to Make Friends podcast!

CHECK OUT CLAIRE’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Trust Exercise: A Novel by Susan Choi

Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney

MORE READING:

“Impostor Syndrome vs. Exceptionalism in Alanna: The First Adventure” (The Fandomentals, 2017)

“Happy 35th Anniversary, Alanna the Lioness” (Book Riot, 2018)

“She’s a Man, Baby!” (Forever Young Adult, 2016)

“Gender in the Song of the Lioness Series” (FanFiction, 2011)

“What a Cross-Dressing Lady Knight Taught Me About Gender and Sexuality” (Electric Literature, 2017)

“Why Tamora Pierce Doesn’t Shy Away From Sex In YA Lit” (Refinery29, 2018)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!**