Partly Cloudy: Poems of Love and Longing

Partly Cloudy: Poems of Love and Longing

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by Gary Soto
     
 

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A poignant, humorous collection by acclaimed poet Gary Soto

The fleeting emotions of teenagers, as changeable as the weather, ring true in these emotionally resonant poems. Told from the point of view of both boys and girls, narrators of various ethnicities fall in love for the first time, pine over crushes, and brood over broken hearts. Tender, lighthearted, and

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Overview

A poignant, humorous collection by acclaimed poet Gary Soto

The fleeting emotions of teenagers, as changeable as the weather, ring true in these emotionally resonant poems. Told from the point of view of both boys and girls, narrators of various ethnicities fall in love for the first time, pine over crushes, and brood over broken hearts. Tender, lighthearted, and surprising, this collection will capture teens, tweens, and anyone who remembers what it’s like to be a young person in love.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Young teens will enjoy the “love sick” puns and the metaphors, lyrical and sad, that show that there is poetry in the way that they speak."--Booklist
 
" . . . the free-verse poems all somehow ring true: appropriately corny, rich with image, accessible and believable . . . the simple, open design encourages browsing, and readers flipping through are bound to find the right words when they need them."--Horn Book
 
"Since many of the narrators are 13 or 14 years old, these short, accessible poems will appeal to middle schoolers, especially. A great addition to poetry collections."--School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

Teenagers pine for, revel in and recover from early loves and relationships in Soto's (Mercy on These Teenage Chimps) collection of nearly 80 poems, divided into two sections: "A Girl's Tears, Her Songs" and "A Boy's Body, His Words." From those in love, there are moments of joy-"Love, I like how your hair is shaggy,/ That your sweater, when wet, smells of dog./ And that you itch when I'm around" as well as poignant humor: "I checked my e-mail and my cell phone/ A hundred times a day./ You were a fake. I was the one who helped/ You in math. You didn't learn anything!" says a girl in "For the Love of Dogs." Certain poems take a more despairing tone, as in "An Act of Kindness," in which a boy muses, "The world is cruel. People have knives,/ And even their teeth look like knives." Ultimately, the effect is akin to experiencing all the seasons in one day, as the simplicity of the unrhymed verse thinly veils the undercurrent of complex emotions at play. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

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VOYA - Jan Chapman
Soto's new book of verse about adolescent love is remarkable. He divides the poems into two separate sections based upon gender, first exploring love from a feminine perspective and then, in the second section, from a masculine viewpoint. One might expect each section of poetry to be markedly different. They are not. The powerful universality of love and longing is actually highlighted by the contrasting poems. One is struck by the similarities of the experience for both sexes - the vulnerability, awakening sexuality, jealousy, and loss that are part of young love. The language of the poems is spare but evocative, with not one word wasted. Each poem invokes the power of a simple daily moment, such as a quick glance in the mirror, to bring readers vividly into the emotional experience of the poem. "The Facts of Life," with its playful imagery reminiscent of John Dunne, gives a look at a brief flirtation that quickly fizzles. Other poems, like "Mirror," bring to mind the lyrics from an indie emo band. Teens will find these poems very engaging and will relate to how the emotion of love is expressed in everyday moments. Despite their deceptively simple surface, these poems are nuanced and complex, striking deep into the human experience. The book will attract teens just beginning to explore poetry and teens who are already hooked on it. Reviewer: Jan Chapman
Children's Literature - Jordan Uhl
"The world is cruel. When it bites us, We cry sweet little tears." Soto's novel is a 100-page book composed of various poems divided into two sections. A young girl narrates the first section, which is titled "A Girl's Tears, Her Songs," and a young boy narrates the second section, which is titled "A Boy's Body, His Words." Soto's book discusses "young people as they venture toward their first kiss, brood over bruised hearts, and feel the thrill of young love." These poems mainly discuss stereotypical love whether good and hopeful, or bad and hurtful. In the first section, the female's narrative begins full of emotion and intensity but ends with a more somber realistic tone. By expressing her raw emotions and feelings toward her lover she beings to realize what "puppy love" or immature love really is. On the other hand the boy's section is centered on sexuality, an expected stereotype. He states, "But she was a different kind of flower, With pink buds beneath her blouse." Surprisingly enough, however, great emotion and intensity is also included within the second part of the book. These two young lovers deal and suffer with jealousy, their first sexual experience, cheating, distance, growth, barriers, and multiple other issues with which relationships come in contact. Whether you are young or old, everyone has at one point in his or her life experienced love. All of the specific poems have wonderful meaning and great depth, which makes this book very enjoyable and highly recommended. Gary Soto's book is a must-read for everyone, not only young adults. Reviewer: Jordan Uhl
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

Soto skillfully captures the voice and emotions of young teens in love. The free verse poems are grouped together in two sections: "A Girl's Tears, Her Songs" and "A Boy's Body, His Words." There are selections about first kisses ("I haven't been kissed, /But I'm waiting"), young love ("We were young, not yet fourteen./What chance could our love have/In a world so rough?"), jealousy ("You narrowed your eyes at me,/Flashed red coals from deep inside you"), and rejection ("When she said no,/I took my loneliness to the river"). In "Danger" a boy says, "If I knew you were in trouble,/I would take a shovel and shovel my way/To your house, six blocks away,/And risk live wires hissing like snakes./Love, I know, can be hazardous to my health." Since many of the narrators are 13 or 14 years old, these short, accessible poems will appeal to middle schoolers, especially. A great addition to poetry collections.-Ann Nored, Wilson Central High School, Lebanon, TN

Kirkus Reviews
Soto's volume of tender and truthful love poetry for teens is divided into two sections, the first titled "A Girl's Tears, Her Songs" and the second called "A Boy's Body, His Words." The deceptively simple poems examine love from many angles in verses that are by turns funny and poignant. In "Obsession," a girl talks about having so many pictures of her boyfriend that her optometrist says, "A curious case. Young lady, there's a picture / Of a boy at the back of your retinas." "Vegan for Your Love" features a boy bemoaning all the types of food he must relinquish (and the four pounds he's lost!) for his vegan girlfriend. In "Faces" a boy draws happy faces on his girlfriend's fingertips only to inexplicably fall in love with another girl later that day. When he breaks the news-and his girlfriend's heart-he looks at her fingertips: "the ink had run. / Each little face / Was sobbing, dropping / Little black tears." A gentle, affecting collection. (Poetry. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152063016
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
02/01/2009
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
1,327,679
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Young teens will enjoy the 'love sick' puns and the metaphors, lyrical and sad, that show that there is poetry in the way that they speak."—Booklist   "The free-verse poems all somehow ring true: appropriately corny, rich with image, accessible and believable . . . the simple, open design encourages browsing, and readers flipping through are bound to find the right words when they need them."—Horn Book   "Since many of the narrators are 13 or 14 years old, these short, accessible poems will appeal to middle schoolers, especially. A great addition to poetry collections."—School Library Journal

 

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