Archive for Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Red’ features variety of teen perspectives

July 15, 2008

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What do you imagine when you think of the generation of America's next writers? Do you think of men with beards locked up in their rooms for days at a time writing a novel only, coming out when they really need to? Or do you think of a woman just casually writing on scraps of paper at a local coffee shop? Most of you would probably never think of teenage girls.

"Red" is a gateway to the next generation, into teenage girls' heads. The book is split into eight sections.

The first chapter is about appearance. I ate this part up because, sadly, our society today runs on who's the skinniest out in the celebrity world, and how can we look that way. It's wrong, but teenage girls deal with it all the time. The section goes from more serious topics, like eating disorders, to not-so-serious topics, like dealing with how tall you are, or how your arms look in those sleeves.

The second chapter is about family or other people you just have to live with. It involves stuff about family that drives you insane, and family that always seems to be there for you when everything goes wrong. It talks about twins and how much fun they can be, and it also talks about how crazy living with twins could be.

The third chapter is about school and what can be learned there (most girls wrote about more than the three R's), like telling a good person from a bad person. Most girls wrote about how they wanted to be popular, whether it is at the school they've been going to forever or the school that they just transferred to. It gives a much different outlook on the school I, my friends or maybe even you go to.

The fourth chapter is about friendships good or bad, about a friend being there when times are rough or about friends who back out before bad stuff can happen. I felt I could relate to this topic more than the other ones (even the crushes and first love came in a close second). I'm sure this topic could help many girls who are dealing with a friend who has backed out of a friendship know that they aren't alone.

The fifth chapter is one I'm sure we all can relate to: crushes, first love, true love, that sort of thing that makes your palms sweaty and your knees shake. About boys who you thought you loved but then it turned out you didn't. Some girls wrote fiction for this section; some wrote about personal experiences.

The sixth chapter is just about extracurricular activities. I thought that I wouldn't like this section at all; I'm more of a writing person, not a sports person, but I found that reading about extracurricular activities was really fun. I got to visit the caves in one and hear about horse riding in another. It was exciting.

The seventh chapter is about obsessions and media. One girl wrote a paper about three pages long completely about Johnny Depp - about his life, his acting career, even a little bit about his daughter. It was really entertaining, and after a while I found she wasn't too far away from what I'm like when I obsess.

The last chapter is about the world and politics - another chapter I wasn't so hot on reading. I'm not really into the politics thing, but a lot of girls were able to make it - I don't want to say fun - interesting. I found I wanted to see what the next girl's opinion was about global warming or President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy. It still wasn't my favorite chapter, but it wasn't my least favorite, either.

I would completely recommend this book to any teenage girl who thinks in any way like these girls do. It is such a good book, and I'm glad that editor Amy Goldwasser was able to make this book. As cheesy as it sounds, this book was life-changing.

Emma Machell will be a West Junior High School eighth-grader and is a member of Angle, the Journal-World's teen advisory board.

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