So you’ve heard all about the #READdifferent campaign but you’re not sure where to start on your journey of literary exploration and discovery. We’re here to help! Each week we will be featuring a different theme or genre that you can use to #READdifferent at the 2015 AJC Decatur Book Festival.
The beautiful thing about coming-of-age stories is that, ironically, they can appeal to people of all ages—a young adult trying to find their place in the world, or an elder looking back and reminiscing on their life. This year, the AJC DBF has a great line-up of authors with coming-of-age stories—some fact, some fiction—that can help you $#READdifferent.
In How to Write a Novel, by Melanie Sumner, a 12-year-old girl is stuck in her small Georgia town with her widowed mother. Determined to succeed in life, Aristotle Thibodeau sets out to write the next great bestselling novel by following instructions laid out in a handy guide and using her family’s issues as material. But when a dark part of her family history is revealed, Aristotle reaches a bump in the road and has to realize that every once in a while, things don’t go exactly according to plan.
Jennine Capó Crucet comes to DBF with her coming of age novel Make Your Home Among Strangers. When Lizet, the daughter of Cuban immigrants, secretly applies and gets accepted to an elite college, she is met with disdain from her family. After moving away from home and starting college, she is forced to deal with being a minority on a mostly-white campus and struggles academically and socially. Coming home for Thanksgiving, Lizet is pulled between having her own life in college and being there for the ones she loves, making this an all-around ardent and socially relevant story for young readers.
Invisible Sisters is a memoir by Jessica Handler about being the odd one out—in the worst way possible. The author writes about living at a young age with sisters who were born with two different fatal diseases, and how she had to live her childhood as the “well sibling” while watching her sisters suffer due to a bizarre coincidence. Deeply moving, Invisible Sisters is an unforgettable true story about the author’s journey to find herself in the face of immense loss.
Minnow, an award-winning fantasy coming of age story by James McTeer, follows a young boy and his dog in search of a medicine for a mysterious illness plaguing his father. He wanders through a mystery world, being constantly haunted by a witch doctor and threatened by a tempest brewing out at sea. Minnow explores the sacrifices we make for our loved ones through a journey of independence and self-discovery.
In the matriarch-centric The Star Side of Bird Hill, a novel by Naomi Jackson, two adolescent sisters are forced to move from Brooklyn to Bird Hill, Barbados for a summer after their mother can no longer care for them. Living with their quite spiritual grandmother, both sisters experience Barbados differently, leading to a unique and poignant story centering on community, betrayal, and love.