Thirteen reasons why is a coming of age realistic fiction novel exposing the true feelings of a suicidal teenager. The story takes place in San Luis during modern times. The main characters in this story are Hannah Baker who killed herself and created thirteen recordings on seven cassette tapes explaining who's fault it was and why she did it. The majority of the story is through the point of view of Clay Jensen. The novel includes his adventures around town listening to the tapes. By the end of the story he is a completely different person. Another main character is Jessica Davis. She was one of Hannah's closest friends until she became extremely aggressive and competitive and hit Hannah leaving her with a scar on her forehead forever. Alex Standall is a boy she befriends but he becomes the cause of Jessica hitting Hannah. Tyler Down is a peeping tom that would try to capture photos of Hannah through her bedroom window. The last main character is Mr. Porter who is the school psychologist. He could of saved Hannah's life but he didn't. An interesting part of the book is the very end on the last page where Clay notices Skylar walking through the hallway in the same manner that Hannah did before she killed herself. He decides to meet her and prevent her from ending her life as well. I enjoy this part because it shows that Clay learned something very important from the tapes and potentially saves someone's life. I believe children and adults will enjoy this book although I would not recommend this for children below the age of thirteen. For the most part, I believe teenage girls would enjoy this story the most. In conclusion, the story is very heavy with tough topics to deal with but is written in a such a wonderful way you won't be able to set it down.
Esperanza Rising, written by Pam Munoz Ryan, is a realistic fiction about a Latina girl living in Arvin, California during the 1930's, in her new life full of hardships and poverty. Over the duration of the story she learns how to overcome being a migrant worker. She learns to respect what she has and be grateful for all she has earned and worked for. She lived in a prosperous and powerful wealthy family until her father was murdered and her house was burnt down. She then left to California with her mother and former servants. Once arrived, she realizes how different her life will be there. She must live the life of the people she used to look down upon. Soon, her mother becomes ill and she must work to pay the bills. Eventually, after long periods of hard work, her grandmother joined her in California. Around this time, Esperanza learned to accept her new life. Her mother healed from her illness and Esperanza's family was back in once piece again. She faces many forms of discrimination from white Americans throughout the story. An interesting part of the story is when Esperanza's abuelita arrives in California. Another interesting part of the story is when Esperanza must babysit for the first time and doesn't know what to do. I would recommend this story to girls ages eleven to fifteen because they could most likely relate to the main character and be able to compare their lives as a young woman now to young women during the great depression.
I have been reading many realistic fiction and historical fiction books recently. I find them pretty interesting.
1) Book Thief by Markus Zusak: The book thief was a very well written book in my opinion. It had such creative and descriptive writing and was great at spurring emotion among the readers.
2) The Anatomy of a Single Girl: Dominique had just gone through a tragic breakup with her old boyfriend.. She returns home to meet a handsome boy named Guy. They date until the end of summer break when she goes back to college and her family moves houses.
3) Simple as it Seems by Sarah Weeks: Verbena was having many troubles at home and it was having a strong affect on how she acted around other people. She found out she was adopted and began to feel angry all the time. It became uncontrollable at times. All she needed was a friend to rely on like Pooch.
4) Zeitoun by Dave Eggers: This novel really made me think about how difficult Hurricane Katrina really was. Even though Zeitoun is a non-fiction story, it seems as though it is so outrageous it is a fiction. Topics included in this book are racism, damage from hurricane Katrina, and living in jail.
5) Dragonwings by Laurence Yep: Dragonwings is a lovely story about a young Tang boy that immigrates to America to be with his father. His father has a dream of flying. Throughout the story you learn about their adventures meeting demons, flying, and growing together as a father and son.
As Simple as it Seems is an endearing and charming tale of a friendship with a twist. While the story seems slightly outside the boundaries of being true, I would mostly consider it a realistic fiction. The story takes place in a small tourist attracting town a few hours outside of New York City around 2010. The main character is Verbena Colter also known as "Verbie". She suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and she is adopted. Her birth father, Mike Colter, is in prison for murdering another man. Also further in the novel she befriends her new neighbor who is a boy named Pooch. Verbena's best friend at the beginning of the story that she later loses contact with is Annie. Her mother and father are the most loving and caring people for Verbie, but after she discovers the truth about her birth she goes through very difficult times. She starts to have trouble controlling her anger. An interesting part of the book is when Pooch moves in next door and the encounter eachother for the first time. Another interesting part is when Verbena discovers that she is adopted. I believe children in grades 4th through 8th would have an interest in As Simple as It Seems. I think this because, Verbena is eleven years old and it can be a great story to help with children around her age going through difficult situations with growing up or family issues.