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)

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 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!

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!** 

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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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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!** 

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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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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 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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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 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)

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 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)

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 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)

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 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)

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 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)

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 43: The Egypt Game

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The Egypt Game

Published in 1967, Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s Newbery Honor-winning book The Egypt Game is the story of April Hall and Melanie and Marshall Ross, three smart, imaginative kids who create their own land of ancient Egypt in the backyard of a mysterious local curio shop. They establish a series of rituals and ceremonies and even go on to welcome three more children into the group (boys included!). In this episode, Alli breaks down the story with debut author Andrea Bartz. Together, they discuss diversity in kid lit, the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, teasing as a form of flirting and social currency, the importance of imaginative play, bossiness, mental illness, the way we talk to kids about hard things, and more!

Follow Andrea on Twitter @andibartz and Instagram @andibartz.

CHECK OUT ANDREA’S BOOK: The Lost Night: A Novel

CHECK OUT ANDREA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

Miracle Creek: A Novel by Angie Kim

The Age of Light: A Novel by Whitney Scharer

The Affairs of the Falcóns: A Novel by Melissa Rivero

MORE READING:

“A Second Look: The Egypt Game” (The Horn Book, 2017)

“Danger and Diversity: The Egypt Game” (The Bookshelf of Emily J., 2015)

Follow SSR on social media!

Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

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 42: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

It’s the 1930’s in rural Mississippi, and nine-year-old Cassie Logan is learning to face the realities of racism. She has her brothers — Stacey, Christopher John, and Little Man — to help her find her way, and a host of strong-minded adults to guide her in figuring out the best way to approach the tensions and prejudice she faces. This is the set-up for Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and we’re talking all about it on Episode 42. You’ll hear conversations about family legacy, pride, annoying friends, institutional racism, the opportunity gap, The Hate U Give, and so much more.

Join guest Renée’s Book Girl Magic community! Follow her on Instagram @book_girl_magic and on Twitter @bookgirlmagic. Join the party on Facebook and YouTube, too!

CHECK OUT RENÉE’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

MORE READING:

“What’s the Most Terrifying Book You’ve Ever Read?” (The New York Times, 2014)

“A Second Look: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” (The Horn Book, 2016)

“28 Days of Literary Blackness With VSB | Day 9: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor” (Very Smart Brothas, 2019)

Follow SSR on social media!

Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

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 41: The Golden Compass

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The Golden Compass

On Episode 41 of The SSR Podcast, we’re diving into the fascinating world of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. And it is fascinating — and complicated! Tune in to hear discussions about politics, a child’s loyalty, the Garden of Eden, the pros and cons of seeing the future, the nature of souls, puberty, loneliness, ruling religious bodies, failed movie adaptations, and so much more.

Thanks to Refinery29 entertainment writer Elena Nicolaou for joining Alli for this episode! Follow Elena on bookstagram @booksandelena and on Twitter @elenawonders.

CHECK OUT ELENA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Evie Drake Starts Over: A Novel by Linda Holmes

MORE READING:

The Golden Compass” (Publisher’s Weekly, 1996)

The Golden Compass Turns 20 (Its Daemon Has Probably Settled)” (NPR, 2015)

“His Dark Materials is ripe for an onscreen do-over. Enter the BBC.” (Vox, 2018)

“A Conversation With Philip Pullman” (Slate, 2015)

The Golden Compass: atheist manifesto for kids, or theological masterpiece?” (Denver Post, 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 40: Little Women

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Little Women

A century and a half after its publication, it’s time to give Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women the SSR treatment! With the help of comedy writer and satirist Caitlin Kunkel, Alli relives the adventures of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March, as well as their parents and suitors. Together, they reflect on the 1994 movie, fangirl about Gerta Gerwig’s forthcoming adaptation, discuss the big questions — Do we all want to be Jo? Why must Louisa May Alcott kill Beth? Is Little Women a feminist novel? — and discover whether or not it’s possible to effectively ruin a classic.

Follow Caitlin on Instagram @kunkeltron and Twitter @kunkeltron and check out The Belladonna, too!

CHECK OUT CAITLIN’S BOOK: New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay

CHECK OUT CAITLIN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Witch Elm: A Novel by Tana French

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

MORE READING:

“Yes, Little Women Is a Feminist Novel — And Here’s Why” (Book Riot, 2018)

“We Regret to Inform You That Little Women Is Not a Feminist Novel” (Vulture, 2018)

“The Lie of Little Women” (The Atlantic, 2018)

“How Little Women Got Big” (The New Yorker, 2018)

“Why Little Women Endures 150 Years Later” (Smithsonian, 2018)

“10 Things You Might Not Know About Little Women” (Mental Floss, 2018)

“The big trouble with Little Women” (The Guardian, 2017)

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 39: Speak

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Speak

On Episode 39, we discuss Laurie Halse Anderson’s groundbreaking 1999 novel Speak, which explores the troubling issues of sexual assault and trauma through the story of 14-year-old Melinda. Alli and guest Morgan Hoit — better known as nycbookgirl — talk about the value of the diary-style/epistolary novel, chat about their experiences with high school gossip culture, and break down in great detail Speak’s role as an entry point to an understanding of rape and sexual assault for so many young readers.

Follow Morgan’s adventures in all things books and New York City on Instagram @nycbookgirl and on her blog, NYC Book Girl!

**TRIGGER WARNING: This episode includes discussion of rape, trauma, sexual assault, self-harm, and depression.

CHECK OUT LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON’S BRAND NEW MEMOIR SHOUT!

CHECK OUT MORGAN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Trust Exercise: A Novel by Susan Choi

MORE READING:

Speak” (Publishers Weekly, 1999)

“15 Years of Speak: An Interview With Laurie Halse Anderson” (Book Riot, 2014)

“Laurie Halse Anderson on her groundbreaking book Speak being reissued as a graphic novel” (Entertainment Weekly, 2018)

Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson Is Still Painfully Relevant In The Age Of #MeToo” (Bustle, 2017)

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 38: The Face on the Milk Carton

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The Face on the Milk Carton

You may know her as @molliereads from her blog Mollie Reads and her podcast No Thanks We’re Booked, and on this week’s episode of SSR, Mollie Turbeville joins Alli to discuss Caroline Cooney’s 1990 YA thriller The Face on the Milk Carton. In Episode 38, they break down the plot that’s been freaking teens out for the last three decades (what if you suspected that your parents might have kidnapped you???), gossip about pushy boyfriend Reeve, and compare notes on how the author portrays trauma on the page.

CHECK OUT MOLLIE’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

MORE READING:

The Face on the Milk Carton Series Included Some Stuff You May Have Missed As A Kid” (Bustle, 2014)

“Resentments I Have Formed Against Characters From The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney” (The Toast, 2016)

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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 37: The Boxcar Children #1

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The Boxcar Children #1

Allow us to (re)introduce you to Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden. You probably know them better as The Boxcar Children and the protagonists of the now 150+ titles in the beloved series of the same name. Having been orphaned, the children are left to fend for themselves, and they rebuild their lives in an abandoned boxcar. In Episode 37, writer and educator Abby Wolfe joins Alli to chat about the first book in the series (The Boxcar Children #1). Tune in to listen to them talk about important lessons of resourcefulness and perspective, discuss the heteronormative stereotypes that are so often imposed on young children, and speculate on just how many pine needles it would take to turn a boxcar into a cozy home.

Follow Abby on Twitter @shmabbywolfe and Instagram @shmab, and stay tuned for her forthcoming podcast!

CHECK OUT ABBY’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

In the Woods: A Novel by Tana French

The Likeness by Tana French

Faithful Place by Tana French

MORE READING:

“What the hell happened to the Boxcar Children’s parents?” (AV Club, 2015)

The Boxcar Children and the Spirit of Capitalism” (The New Yorker, 2016)

“The Boxcar Children are getting a movie. Here’s how they became immortal crime fighters.” (Vox, 2016)

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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!** 

The new Boxcar Children cover — very controversial!

The new Boxcar Children cover — very controversial!

Episode 36: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

If there’s one book that’s been requested for the podcast time and time again by women of all ages, it’s Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. This 1970 novel has served as a kind of guidebook for girls preparing to navigate middle school, puberty, and all of the confusing things that come with them for the last four decades.

Joining Alli to talk all things religion and being a lady on Episode 36 is Emma Gray. Emma is a senior reporter focused on women’s issues at HuffPost and the author of A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance: A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good. She is also the co-host of the Bachelor-themed podcast “Here to Make Friends,” which was named a “must-listen” by The Daily Dot. Follow Emma on Twitter @emmaladyrose and Instagram @emmaladyrose.

CHECK OUT EMMA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

MORE READING:

Are You There God? book redesign has Judy Blume fans in an uproar” (Today, 2018)

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret remains a guide for puberty” (AV Club, 2017)

“If Are You There God? It’ s Me, Margaret Happened in 2014, Here’s What It Would Look Like” (Bustle, 2014)

“Judy Blume Grants Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Screen Rights To James L. Brooks & Kelly Fremon Craig” (Deadline, 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 35: I Know What You Did Last Summer

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I Know What You Did Last Summer

Before I Know What You Did Last Summer was a blockbuster hit movie, it was a 1973 young adult thriller by Lois Duncan, and with the help of Literary Roadhouse’s Anais Concepcion, we’re chatting about it on Episode 35. Of course, we break down the plot, but we also talk about hotness in YA, discuss the roots of the #MeToo movement in chauvinistic literary characters, and LOL at various relics of the ‘70s.

Follow Literary Roadhouse on Instagram @literaryroadhouse and Twitter @litroadhouse and follow Anais on Twitter @anaisconce.

CHECK OUT ANAIS’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Sympathizer: A Novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Milkman: A Novel by Anna Burns

TUNE IN TO THE LITERARY ROADHOUSE EPISODE FEAT. ALLI — HERE!

MORE READING:

“Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer Is the Perfect Book to Revisit Right Before Halloween” (Bustle, 2014)

“The story behind Last Summer Writer: Lois Duncan will use the film version of her book, I Know What You Did Last Summer, to draw attention to the murder of her daughter” (The Baltimore Sun, 1997)

“Book vs Movie: I Know What You Did Last Summer” (Florence In Print, 2017)

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!**