Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mean Girls, BFFs, and a Creeper: Belated Books Review of ttyl by Lauren Myracle

Internet Girls, #1
Lauren Myracle
209 pages

Fun, simple cover- tells you what to expect with the internet vibe and the dramatic emoticons!

I picked up this book from the library out of curiosity.  ttyl was on the ALA's Top Ten Most Frequently  Challenged Book list from 2007-2009 for "offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group."  Since it looks like a typical young teen girl book, I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about.  Interestingly, the book, which is about high school sophomores, was published the year I was a high school sophomore.

ttyl is written as a series of IMs between three best friends. Maddie is loud and funky- she really wants to be cool and edgy, so she tries to get in good with Queen Bee Jana. Angela is boy-crazy but loyal to her friends. She reminded me of Tina Hakim-Baba from The Princess Diaries.  Zoe is a very straight-laced, obedient kind of girl who is unsure how to respond to attention from her young English teacher.  She is also curious about the Christian group at her school, and she experiments with faith and religion.

The book was exactly what I expected- the crazy actions of high school girls, mixed with drama and tension between the friends.  The book contains cursing and vulgar language, but not as bad as the language online when I was in middle school.  The sexual content is not explicit, although one scene where Maddie recounts her visit to a frat party might be shocking to a sheltered girl, like her friend Zoe, whom she tries to hide what happened from.  Basically, this book was a pretty realistic picture of what high school can be like.

The dynamics between the friends were believable- they get jealous, love each other, and bicker about stupid stuff.  Their voices were authentic- I felt like I knew these girls.  They didn't say "lol" as much as I know my friends and I did and still do online- I actually can't find any "lol"s just flipping through.

I'm opposed to book banning in general, but I especially don't see why this was banned except because it was so popular and some girl wasn't subtle enough... I always kept books my mom wouldn't like in my room, or I hid them under things so my mom wouldn't randomly see them and decide to read them to get in touch with teenagers.  Whatever.

Bottom line, this book was fun but not particularly groundbreaking- I'd recommend it for light reading, or to get a young teen girl involved in reading.  I don't think I'll be reading the other books in the series right now- I wish I had read this in high school, because I think I would have loved it back then!

I checked this book out from the library.

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