Two-World Problem

Two-World Problem

At the beginning of Robin McKinley’s 1982 young adult fantasy novel The Blue Sword, Harry Crewes has been living in a colonial desert outpost after the death of her parents. The Homeland, where Harry is from, is a thinly disguised Victorian England. The lone Homeland...
Detective Stories

Detective Stories

I read Sad Cypress, one of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels, several times while I was in junior high. It was probably my favorite book featuring the dapper, egotistical, foreign (to the English) sleuth. In Agatha Christie’s 1940 murder mystery, young and...
Problematic Fave

Problematic Fave

Central to Anne Stuart’s 1991 contemporary Southern Gothic romance, The Night of the Phantom are kidnappings, violence, fanaticism, revenge. There’s also attempted suicide, ableism and perhaps appropriative and exploitative depictions of race. Frankly, I lost count of...
Herbs and Things

Herbs and Things

Beverly Cleary, author of many funny, wise classics of children’s literature, turned one hundred years old on April 12. She is known for having created such characters as Ralph, the motorcycle mouse, Henry Huggins, and Ramona and Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby.   I...
Dear Ellen Conford

Dear Ellen Conford

In Ellen Conford’s 1976 young adult novel, Dear Lovey Hart, I Am Desperate, freshman Carrie Wasserman finds herself writing an anonymous advice column for her high school newspaper.   The column becomes wildly popular to the dismay of Carrie’s father, the...

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