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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: media

Teen Literature has evolved into so much more than what it was when I was in middle-school/high-school. My choice of teen fic was pretty limited .. we had Sweet Valley, with beloved plots straight out of a Lifetime movie (Jessica joins a cult..really?) Judy Blume (oh to be 14 again and be warned of the dangers of some of her books by well-meaning relatives), the character-killing McDaniel books, and general assorted titles.

I worked in a bookstore for 5 years, and over the years, I watched teen fiction go from two shelves at the end of Fiction to an entire aisle. I’m enthralled with the idea of teen lit an actual “genre” now, straight up there with Science Fiction and Romance. It’s a capital T and L now.

I’ve been studying the idea of girl culture lately, and how it relates with teen literature.

As Teen Literature evolves into a bigger entity in the bookstores, so has mainstream media evolved. The marriage of self-esteem and media has always been an unhappy one. Now, more than ever, girls are inundated with images of the “perfect body” and the like. For every plus-size supermodel breaking down the walls, there’s an advertisement affirming that you’re just not perfect until you’re this size. Back in my hometown, a plastic surgery firm had the audacity to erect a billboard reading “Now, you can be beautiful.’ Even in movies, the “outcast girl” and is unveiled for her true, beautiful self when her glasses are taken off and she adds a bit of makeup.

Readergirlz is one such reader group that chooses books that celebrate the idea of being an independent strong girl who doesn’t let a television or a magazine decide who she can be.

However, there are titles that do the opposite, and that continually destroy the “be who you want to be” ideas we strive to establish for the girls in our lives.

What are some good self-esteem affirming titles for girls? And why, since TeenLit has become such a publishing source, do the hallmarks of teen movies now find themselves in TeenLit?