I chose the middle book of this hat trick, ttfn by Lauren Myracle, to read and review because it was the first of the three available at my local library. Thus far in my reviews of the ALA’s Top 100 Banned Books of 2000-2009 I’ve been bemused at why certain books are one the list and ardent in my defense of other books (because their literary merits far outweigh any “colorful” language), but with this one… yeah. You got me.
Don’t get me wrong I’m still against the banning of any book… but it is a parent’s job to be aware of what their child is reading and to guide them in their choices. So if little Jimmy or Janie really must read a hip book where the kids take drugs and indulge in risky sexual behavior I would strongly suggest something that is much better written with characters that are fully drawn and who are capable of both evoking and generating some sense of empathy. (See: The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
The hook of these books is that they are written as if they were text messages. So if you like things like grammar, spelling, capitalization and punctuation you are in for a long and very frustrating 230 pages. Still… if the characters had been just a little bit believable / interesting / kind then MAYBE it would be worth it. Alas we’re stuck with Mad Maddie, Snow Angel (Angie) and Zoegirl. Of the three Zoe rises above the other two ethically, but a budding romantic relationship with Doug and a series of crude dares from Maddie seem intent on saving her from her good girl image. Not only would I not want my daughter to read a book about this three girls, I wouldn’t want her to have to go to high school with them. As one Amazon.com review stated “TEENAGERS ARE NOT THIS STUPID IN REAL LIFE.” (The choice of all caps was theirs, not mine.)
So where did ttfn fall on our Banned Book matrix? Offensive Language, Drugs, Alcohol, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited for Age Group (it is marketed to Tweens as young as 9).
I forced myself to read to the end because I wanted to check it off the list. I really took one for the team here people. I hope you appreciate it.