Tag Archives: coming-of-age stories

Coming Of Age With Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep

978-0-8129-7235-1By Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep: A Novel (Random House Trade Paperbacks, November 2005).

When Prep was published, I was thrilled that it resonated with so many people. Countless readers sought me out to tell me that it captured their own feelings of awkwardness, insecurity, and excitement when they left home for the first time. What I hadn’t anticipated was that, in most cases, they were referring to their experiences not at boarding school but in college. Although my protagonist, Lee, is fourteen when she travels to Massachusetts to enroll in the elite Ault School, her adventures and misadventures actually reflect those of many college freshmen: her exposure to other students whose intelligence and sophistication impress and intimidate her and whose families are either far wealthier or far poorer than hers; her shifting relationship with her own family at home; the intimacy of dorm life, where she might find herself brushing her teeth next to someone she’s never spoken to; and the confusion and joy of early sexual experimentation. Continue reading

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The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights to read Gardens of Water

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights program has just selected Alan Drew’s novel Gardens of Water for their “One Book, One Community” read.

Set in a small town outside Istanbul, this “remarkable” (New York Times Book Review) novel tells the story of a man and his family whose lives are thrown into chaos when the earthquake of 1999 destroys their home and way of life. When his daughter falls in love with an American boy whose father intercedes to help, the tensions between two cultures, two fathers, two faiths, explode.

The book has been previously selected as a “One Book, One Story” read in Pasadena, California and is a School Library Journal Best Adult Books for High School Students 2008.


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A Hope in the Unseen chosen from North Dakota to Maryland!

a hope in the unseen

It is 1993, and Cedric Jennings is a bright and feociously determined honor student at Ballou, a high school in one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods, where the dropout rate is well into double digits and just 80 students out of more than 1,350 boast an average of B or better. At Ballou, Cedric has almost no friends. He eats lunch in a classroom most days, plowing through the extra work he has asked for, knowing that he’s really competing with kids from other, harder schools. Cedric Jennings’s driving ambition — which is fully supported by his forceful mother — is to attend a top-flight college.

In September 1995, after years of near superhuman dedication, he realizes that ambition when he begins as a freshman at Brown University. A Hope in the Unseen chronicles Cedric’s odyssey during his last two years of high school, follows him through his difficult first year at Brown, and now tells the story of his subsequent successes in college and the world of work.

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