I stressed out about this list – what would I put on a syllabus if I could choose to teach anything… Yikes. I don’t know why, but I really wanted to come up with something that could actually be used in a classroom. I have a friend who’s an English teacher. I send her book suggestions all the time. I feel like this list is important, even though it’s really just for me. I also didn’t want it to seem like a repeat of the lists I’ve done in the past. I thought about gender roles and female representation. Group mentality. Collective behaviour. Male protagonists. Self-discovery.
What I ended up doing was going through my Goodreads list and jotting down every book I think would be interesting to discuss in a group setting. I then had to whittle the list down a lot. A lot! If I’d let my OCD take over, I would have pulled out my old university syllabuses and went through what I read then to see what fit where, but that’s just too much research for a TTT post.
I finally decided on Death and Dying in Young Adult Fiction. This was one of my favourite sociology courses, and since I like my books dark, it seems appropriate. I’ve listed an initial discussion perspective for each of the books. There are probably deeper levels we would get to through discussion, but this isn’t a real class. It’s just the idea of a class.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Collective behaviour towards torture and death when religion and faith are involved. As well as the treatment of girls involved in crimes related to death.
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Death as an instrument of release from a lifetime of torment. How does mass catastrophe impact the way individuals deal with death.
We Were Liars by e. lockhart
Death and mental illness. The destructive nature of family in the face of extreme loss.
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Teens forced to deal with the death of a peer and the idea of mortality.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
How do you deal with a death from an illness you also suffer from. In this case, an out of control eating disorder.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Where does blame really lie when it comes to suicide. How to deal with teen suicide before and after.
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Coping in the loss of not only friendship but romantic love.
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Reflecting on drug abuse, overdosing, and death
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
From the perspective of two ghosts, the most interesting aspects of this novel is actually about the idea of a soul leaving its body while the host is still alive. This would probably be a theologically slanted discussion.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The impact of the loss of parents on their children. Denial of actions leading to death.
Any other suggestions for this “class”? Anything else you’d want to talk about on any specific book?