Young Adult Crossover Fiction: Crumbling Borders between Adolescents and Adults
“Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” Series at Oklahoma City University, Winter 2017
Note: The OCU campus will be closed from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2 for Winter Break
Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma (LTAIO) offers more than your average book club. The Oklahoma Humanities Council sponsors the reading program throughout the state, bringing readers together to discuss books on a theme, with the assistance of humanities scholars as facilitators.
At each session, a Humanities scholar will make a 35-45 minute presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussion will follow with experienced discussion leaders.
Free copies of the books are available to borrow on a first-come/first-served basis, but because of demand, we ask that only those who plan to fully participate in the session borrow books. Books may be picked up at OCU’s Dulaney-Browne Library Room 211 or 207.
All sessions take place in Walker Center, Room 151, beginning at 7:00 PM.
READINGS AND DATES: Winter 2017
January 10, 2017 After the First Death by Robert Cormier
Through a richly textured narrative structure, Cormier juxtaposes the haunting parallels between two relational pairs: sixteen year old preppie Ben and his patriotic father General Marchand, who masterminds a secret anti-terrorist army project, and the terrorist teenager Miro and his mentor Artkin, who masterminds a brotherhood of freedom fighters trying to regain their homeland. The complex disguises and betrayals of trust are dramatized amidst the suspense of a hijacked school bus full of small children and their teenage bus driver, Kate, and the relationship that develops between Kate and Miro adds additional complexity and tension to the story. Dr. Liz Willner
January 24, 2017 Monster by Walter Dean Myers
In the novel, sixteen year old Steve finds himself in jail on trial for a murder his is not sure he had anything to do with, or anything significantly to do with. In spite of his middle class status, he is a black teenager in Manhattan who may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, he is unsure and feels like he has walked into the middle of a film uncertain if he belongs. To probe his recent past, he decides while waiting in jail for his trial to make his own movie in his head, to write a screenplay to come to terms with his own experience. He wants to discover if he is what the prosecutor calls him: a “Monster.” Dr. Paul Lehman
February 7, 2017 True Believer by Virginia Ewer Wolff
Luminous Wolff pens her novel in lines of free verse that capture the flow of feelings and thoughts running across the psyche of fifteen year old LaVaughn, determined to go to college and grow beyond the socioeconomic class she struggles within. Conflicts with girlfriends who try to escape the real feelings of emergent adolescence by retreating within a distortion of religious meaning add to her sense of isolation, and difficulties in the relationship with her friend Jody lead LaVaughn to challenge her self-confidence and question her identity. In spite of the emotional intensity of her strong relationship with her mother, she begins to lose her grip on reality and will have to decide if she believes in possibility, in the hope that she can remain resilient in the process of coming of age. Dr. Harbour Winn
February 21, 2017 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
In this novel from acclaimed writer Sherman Alexie, protagonist Arnold, a young boy growing up bullied on a Spokane Indian reservation with a stutter and a lisp, decides that to get a good education he must transfer to all-white Reardan high school in a neighboring town where the only other Indian is the school mascot. To survive being accused as a traitor by his own people and being mocked by his new peers, Arnold resorts to humor and wit in a mythical struggle to rise above the life everyone expects him to live. Mr. Russ Tallchief
March 7, 2017 Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
With Annie John, Kincaid tells the semiautobiographical tale of a young girl coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s in Antigua. Growing up in what could seem a paradise along the ocean, Annie exalts in the all-consuming devotion of her mother’s time and care, at least until she turns twelve. Then her life changes in ways often mysterious to her: she instinctively rebels against authority both in the figure of her mother and in the cultural assumptions of her colonized British island education. She revolts from her mother’s unconditional adoration and the trunk that symbolically stores the totem objects of her past. Torn between love and hate, attraction and revulsion, Annie wrestles with the need to escape from the mother she once knew and now begins to mourn. Dr. Karen Schiler