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In pop culture, YADA-YADA usually means "blah, blah, blah" or "more of the same." For this blog, YADA-YADA is an acronym meaning "Young Adult Discussions About Young Adult-Designed Art." Check out my summaries and reviews of teen media. Chime in and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog No. 13 -- Metamorphosis: Junior Year by Betsy Franco

GENRE: Bildungsroman

Title: Metamorphosis: Junior Year
Author: Betsy Franco

Bibliographic Information:
Published 2009
Candlewick Press
Grade Range: 9 and up, Age Range: 13 and up
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3765-1
Young Adult Fiction

None yet.

Reader’s Annotation:
Ovid is a sensitive high school student who happens to be an artist, and as he watches his life fall apart around him, he turns to a journal to confide in.

Plot Summary:
When Ovid’s meth-addicted sister, Thena, leaves the house, Ovid’s parents need him to be the perfect son. The pressure is almost too much for Ovid to bear, so he relies on a journal for his escape. He writes about his classmates’ lives like a modern day Roman myth, and slowly reveals his fears and doubts about himself. By the end of the year, his sister is still gone and he is still trying to find himself, but he feels that life is not as dark as he once thought, and he has something to keep the light alive: his creativity.

Critical Evaluation:
With characters named from Roman myth, this book has the right mix of cold reality and playful fantasy. High school is a difficult adventure for almost every kid, and this book captures the truest and most undesirable hardships faced in those four years. Although Ovid’s experiences do not match that of every teen, the main theme of finding one’s place is relevant and universal.

Reading level/Interest Age:
Due to issues with drugs and drinking, I would recommend this book for grades 9 and up, ages 13 and up.

Information about the Author:
Metamorphosis is Betsy Franco’s first young adult novel, and she has written or edited over eighty books for children. Her three sons, James, Dave, and Tom (who did the illustrations for the book) all provided a lot of support and inspiration for Betsy on this project. She lives in northern California with her husband, Doug.

Curriculum Ties: None.

Booktalking Ideas:
Wouldn’t it bite to have to be the perfect child for your parents just because your sister has totally messed up her life with drugs? Would you want to be the stand in for the perfect child? Metamorphosis is about the changes a family—particularly a teenage boy—has to go through when his older sister is no longer the model or favorite child. Such pressure!

Challenge Issues:
Betsy Franco has a strong reputation as a children’s author. This is her first YA novel, and as such, her “fans” may find this frightening and may challenge it. They need to merely be reminded that this book was written for OLDER teens.

Why I Included This Book:
My daughter once again convinced me to read one of her favorite books, mainly due to the fact that the author is the talented James Franco’s mother. She also thought I would enjoy its references to Roman mythology. She was right. I see where James gets his talent (and his handsome features, too)!

Cover image courtesy of: http://www.betsyfranco.com/

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