Shelf Discovery [NOOK Book]


Remember that book you read at that time in your life when everything seemed to be going crazy—the one book that brought the world into focus and helped soothe your raging teenage angst?


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Shelf Discovery

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Remember that book you read at that time in your life when everything seemed to be going crazy—the one book that brought the world into focus and helped soothe your raging teenage angst?


Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
She calls her popular website Old Hag, but there's nothing grandmotherly about 30-something Lizzie Skurnick's response to teen novels. In fact, this former Johns Hopkins creative writing teacher has contributed her own novels to the Sweet Valley University, Love Stories, and Alias series. In Shelf Discovery, this frequent NPR contributor reflects on teen reading that continues to resonate. A perfect fit for eager readers.
Publishers Weekly

Launched from her regular feature column "Fines Lines" for, this spastically composed, frequently hilarious omnibus of meditations on favorite YA novels dwells mostly among the old-school titles from the late '60s to the early '80s much beloved by now grown-up ladies. This was the era, notes the bibliomaniacal Skurnick in her brief introduction, when books for young girls moved from being "wholesome and entertaining" (e.g., The Secret Garden and the Nancy Drew series) to dealing with real-life, painful issues affecting adolescence as depicted by Beverly Cleary, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle and Norma Klein. Skurnick groups her eruptive essays around themes, for example, books that feature a particularly memorable, fun or challenging narrator (e.g., Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy); girls "on the verge," such as Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret or "danger girls" such as Duncan's Daughters of Eve; novels that deal with dying protagonists and other tragedies like child abuse (Willo Davis Roberts's Don't Hurt Laurie!); and, unavoidably, heroines gifted with a paranormal penchant, among other categories. Skurnick is particularly effective at spotlighting an undervalued classic (e.g., Joan Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase) and offers titles featuring troubled boys as well. Her suggestions will prove superhelpful (not to mention wildly entertaining) for educators, librarians and parents. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Adapted from the popular "Fine Lines" column of the female-centric blog, this collection of essays offers sentimental retrospectives blended with a little literary criticism on beloved children's and YA classics, most of which are popular with girls. Jezebel contributor Skurnick collects her own essays and a few others by an all-female ensemble of contemporary YA luminaries such as Meg Cabot ("The Princess Diaries") and Cecily von Ziegesar ("Gossip Girl"). The essays are written in the frank, effusive style of a well-read best friend, complete with exclamations of OMG. Beyond the fond remembrances of girlhood fictional crushes, however, lie compelling examinations of how spunky heroines and their sometimes controversial but all-too-familiar trials and tribulations helped a generation of readers navigate the perennially perilous waters of adolescence. VERDICT Some of the essays are regrettably short—a book like Julie of the Wolves, for instance, deserves a more substantial analysis than the two pages it's given. Together, however, they are likely to provide any woman who grew up loving books with a satisfying voyage to the past, as well as a list of books to reread.—Megan Hodge, Randolph-Macon Coll. Lib., Ashland, VA

—Megan Hodge
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061878664
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Lizzie Skurnick

Lizzie Skurnick has written on books and culture extensively for the New York Times Book Review, Times Sunday Styles, the LA Times,, The Washington Post and many other publications. Her blog, Old Hag, was a Forbes Best of the Web pick. Look for Shelf Discovery on Facebook.

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Customer Reviews

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( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A must-have for anyone who loves YA literature

    Lizzie Skurnick's new book muses over all those teen/young adult books we all just read to tatters. Spanning over one hundred years of YA - Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Louisa May Alcott, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle, Beverly Cleary, Katherine Paterson, Joan Aiken, Paul Zindel, Robert Cormier - Skurnick's essays, and those by contributors such as Meg Cabot, Laura Lippman, and Jennifer Weiner, cover approximately one hundred beloved books, and, just like our favorites, this book is very, very hard to put down. There's a little something for every type of reader, too. If you haven't read the majority of books covered in Skurnick's pieces, get yourself to the nearest library or bookstore and start reading with Shelf Discovery to point the way! Shelf Discovery is a winding trek back through the library trips and under-the-cover-with-flashlight reading sessions of my childhood and adolescence; I enjoyed every minute of it and I now have a towering list of books to re-read (I have to dig them out of my parents' basement first).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    A waste of time and money

    I had to read this book for a book club. It took me 6 hours to plow through it. I can read almost anything and find it interesting. This, however, gave me "the nods". It was boring and repetitive. As a compilation of blogs, I realize there will be repeated themes. As such, perhaps merging similar genres, or perhaps different blogs about the same author, would have made this more interesting. Instead, there were two chapters about Laura Ingalls Wilder, two about Jean Auel, several for Judy Blum. Not to mention, when discussing the "young love" genre, several about sex, rubbing your special place, etc. What a boring person this writer must be, with a boring library. Did you read no detective novels, no horror, no war, no horse stories, no science/fiction fantasy (one Madeleine L'Engle mentioned)? There was one chapter that had a prisoner of war in it, but was set in the United States.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2010

    Fun revisiting my adolescence

    Reading this book is like attending an elementary/ jr. high school reunion. You'll revisit old friends and find new ones. I am now deep in the "Flowers in the Attic" series after reading this book.

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    Posted September 3, 2010

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    Posted October 22, 2010

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    Posted May 1, 2010

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    Posted November 20, 2009

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