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Michelle and Colleagues:

I reviewed Zoe Trope's debut "Please don't kill the freshman" for SLJ and,
personally, found it very compelling. I tore right through it one splendid
summer day on the hammock.=0D

I can understand why memoirs--both fictive and authentic--are such a hot
genre right now: I got a speedy and voyeuristic kind of thrill reading=
the private life of this precocious young woman, and I found myself
imagining what it must have been like to have suddenly landed a six-figure
book deal around the same time most kids get their driver's licenses.

Yeah, it's caustic; she hates just about everything about high school and
uses her verbal flamethrower pretty effectively. (She slams a bad school
librarian pretty effectively, I seem to recall, saying about our profession
something like 'would ANYONE actually WANT to devote their LIFE to doing
THAT?) Zo=EB basically writes like most smart, urban kids speak, with a
sophomoric sophistication that naturally is punctuated with some class-A
cussin'.  And yeah, it's candid; she lets you know all about her emergent
homosexuality--(maybe "pansexuality" would be a better term for her moony
eroticism)--and stuff but, despite all the self-conscious edginess, the=
somehow remains just the rambling diary of a sweet and thoughtful teen
figuring stuff out.

I'd put it in my High School Library, if I HAD one (any job openings out
there?) though it's undeniably a pretty obvious target for censors. And,=
problem with that is, if the book ever is contested, it's simply not great
literature (Not that it attempts to be) which would make it much more
difficult to defend. If your colleague is interested in using it in a
secondary teaching situation, it may not be a good fit; I can't really
imagine any strict, curricular utility it could be put to, unless you=
to have a state standard calling for familiarity with the "angst-ridden=
memior" genre.
Jeffrey Hastings
Highlander Way Middle School Library=0D

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