Realistic fiction is a unique genre in YA because it illustrates challenging situations you may not have personally experienced but connects you to emotions you have. Whether it's uncovering life-altering secrets, making a tough choice, coming to terms with your sexuality or finding your voice, realistic fiction addresses themes relevant to real life. To highlight some of their fantastic realistic fiction, Macmillan established their ReaLITy program. Our Teen Board decided to check out these reads and respond to them in this blog series.
I don’t think many people realize how fortunate they are until they are forced to look at life with a different perspective. I cannot lie and say that I have that perspective myself; I’m 17 going on 18, have a horse that I love dearly and don’t have to worry as much as some about where I will be going to college. This day and age, there are few that can say the same.
However, when I received the opportunity to read MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL, I was forced into said perspective. I had to put myself in the same situation as Angel: being a teenaged prostitute with mismatched shoes that had to look after a child and get paid enough to keep Call happy. I didn’t believe that this would be too hard to do, seeing how Angel and I are practically the same age and both have a fetish for high heels. Yet, author Martine Leavitt made this national book award finalist a complete learning experience for me.
Written like a poem instead of a traditional young adult novel, Leavitt’s incredible story left me contemplating the world as a whole, instead of my own, which is very small by comparison. Angel has seen and done more in 9 months than I will most likely do in my lifetime. And it’s refreshing to see just how she handles every demon that comes her way.
Leavitt also kept me guessing. Instead of allowing the reader to figure out just what Call’s "candy" is, we are required to determine that for ourselves; thus we begin to form our own thoughts on "adult topics," such as sex trafficking and the legalization of prostitution. MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL is so much more than a book of life; it is a book of strength, a book of courage, and a book that will stay with its reader for many a year to come. I know that I will be praying for an angel from now on, and perhaps I’ll even start my own book of life. However, I doubt it’ll be as impactful as Angel’s.