Yesterday in the library I had a chance to booktalk a number of this year's Golden Jaguar nominees to a group of 8th grade students. While I was talking I mentioned how excited I get as a reader when I stumble across a book that has a fresh plot (to me). A couple of books came mind.
The first book, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zavin, is one of this year's GJ nominees. It is a circle-of-life story turned inside out. Liz, the story's main character, dies almost immediately (no spoiler here) and finds herself in an afterlife called Elsewhere. As a reader my imagination was sparked by the notion of being reunited with loved ones, and then the catch is revealed. People in Elsewhere age in reverse until they become infants and are reborn in this world. What the!? My mind was spinning at all of the complications this would create. I could hardly wait to finish reading so I could start talking it up to my students.
The second book, A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz, is a melodrama that stars an orphan (so typical) and the swindling, seance old biddies that adopt her. Hello! I couldn't stop giggling at the depiction of these old women who bring this little girl home only so she can "play" the ghost they bring back to life at their staged events. Talk about a unique storylines! I can always get excited about talking books with students, but some authors sure make it easier than others.