Firstly, I’ll preface this post by saying sorry that I’ve been so behind on the blogging front! If it’s any consolation, I’ve read a pile of books (seven, to be exact) since I last posted but just haven’t had the time recently to write up any reviews. BUT I’m officially back, and am going to do a better job of keeping BBB up to pace with my reading!
Book Jacket Synopsis: “On the first day of tenth grade, best friends Maddie (mad maddie), Angela (SnowAngel), and Zoe (zoegirl) vow not to let school stupidness get them down… or split them apart. But as the weeks pass and the instant messages accumulate, it’s clear that tenth grade will be a roller coaster ride of boy temptation, math torture, donut emergencies, and Queen Bee encounters. Then a jerky boy sends peppy Angela into the dumps, tough Maddie makes a mistake that has the whole school talking, and good girl Zoe gets in over her head with a flirty teacher. Will the winsome threesome make it through the year?”
Review: This is not my first time reading TTYL, but it is certainly the first time I have returned to this novel, told entirely in instant messages, since middle school. I remember my middle school self loving TTYL precisely because of its unique format; today, you’ll find many different examples of books told in creative formats but, at the time, the “Internet Girls” series was pretty much the coolest thing to hit middle school halls. However, I found this second reading to be a bit of a letdown. As my middle school mind remembered things, Maddie, Angela, and Zoe were a tight-knit trio who went through hard times but remained steadfast in their friendship. This time around, I felt like their relationships rang hollow and, honestly, many of the characters were vapid and annoying a majority of the time. In particular, Zoe’s burgeoning relationship with a young teacher is handled in an extremely bizarre way. No one reacts how you think they should, and even the conclusion is befuddling and improbable; Zoe is invited to go hot-tubbing with said teacher, and Maddie and Angela show up and join them. Not exactly the conclusion you would expect. I think the merits of TTYL lie in its unusual format, and that it can certainly help encourage reluctant readers to give books a try. Content-wise, however, I found it lacking and won’t go back for another read anytime soon. Sorry middle school self, I guess you’ve just outgrown this one.
Reason for Ban/Challenge: Not only has Lauren Myracle’s Internet Girls trilogy made it onto the American Library Association’s Most Commonly Banned Books list multiple times, but the series held the “coveted” top position in 2012. Dissenters complain that the books are sexually explicit and offensive. Parents have even complained that Myracle’s books shouldn’t count as literature due to the unconventional style in which they are written. However, I have to agree with Myracle on one account: kids most likely already know about the subject material in the books from their own school experiences. TTYL in no way corrupted me or altered my behavior. It was simply a perfect escape book that allowed me to duck out of comparatively tame middle school drama and focus on someone else’s problems.