School holiday is finally here. But you look into the next room to find your preteen daughter frozen in the same position every single day, burning daylight, eyes glued to the computer screen and oblivious to whatever is happening around her. Why not suggest she reads some of these books recommended by an ex preteen who spent her otherwise lackluster summer reading the following stories of interesting, larger than life characters? It definitely beats watching yet another episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” while constantly refreshing Twitter.
“Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli
As we get older, it’s easy to lose ourselves in all the madness that surrounds our daily life. That change usually begins at school, where conforming is deemed cool and those who are different get labels that aren’t exactly nice. “Stargirl” is told from the perspective of Leo Borlock who, unbeknownst to himself, becomes wholly captured by the spectacle that is Stargirl Caraway. He watches her bring about a tsunami of individuality to Mica High in the spirit of a true non-conformist who is ceaselessly anything but normal. “Stargirl” is a truly enjoyable story that shows the pains and the pleasures of staying true to who you are, while serving as a reminder to us all that being different can sometimes be sweet.
“Shug” by Jenny Han
Twelve-year-old Annemarie Wilcox represents so many other preteens who is forced go through a rocky transition to the awkward stage of “pre-teendom,” that is usually marked by the change of one piece to two piece swimsuits and that boy you suddenly have weird feelings for. Annemarie, who is called Shug – short for Sugar – by her family members, experiences difficulty living up to her own name while living in the shadow of her gorgeous sister and trying to capture the attention of Mark, a boy who only looked but did not really see Shug the way she wants him to. “Shug” is a manifestation of our bittersweet junior high school emotional roller coaster, and a fitting book for your darling preteen who needs someone to relate to.
“Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech
“Walk Two Moons,” winner of the Newbery Medal, remains one of the most touching stories I have ever read. It tells the tale of thirteen-year-old Salamanca who goes on a road trip with her eccentric grandparents to follow along the footsteps of her missing mother in hopes of reuniting with her once more. The reader goes along Salamanca’s trip of discovery and will eventually be able to understand the fundamental quote highlighted in this book: “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins,” as walking in Salamanca’s moccasins will bring an unforgettable mixture of heart wrenching and heartwarming emotions that cannot be experienced while playing 4 hours of Sims 3.
“From the Files of Madison Finn: To Have and To Hold” by Laura Dower
Seventh grader Madison Finn has a lot on her plate this summer after just getting through her parents’ divorce. She has to deal with her dad remarrying, being a junior maid of honor at a wedding she wishes would not happen, and reciting Shakespeare in a wedding full of 150 strangers on top of the “usual” girly problems which include, her inability to keep her hair parted the right way, having a wardrobe that was more “junior high” than 6th grade and wanting to know if her crush likes her back. Like a true 21st century 12-year old, Madison keeps track of her thoughts in a typewritten diary, and seeks advice by instant messaging her BFFs and emailing her online pal Victoria, channeling every preteen’s inner drama queen.
“Nancy Drew: Intrigue at The Grand Opera” by Carolyn Keene
If your daughter is tired of reading about girly teenage drama, perhaps something more intriguing, yet as easy to comprehend is in order. No one can forget Nancy Drew, the female amateur detective we secretly wish we could be. Who could refuse a dose of adventure and mystery? From this particular edition, readers receive a tiny glimpse into the world of the opera as an added bonus. By the end of the holiday, your child could have even gained amateur sleuthing skills by simply reading more of this timeless series.