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Archive for July, 2010

Instant solvation, Tuesday edition #plotfinder #finelines #shelfdiscovery

The requests are coming thick and fast, all with HELP! I feel so guilty! Please help these people!

Remember, if you have a plotfinder, you can friend me on FB, where the solvation is more rapido.

From Lori:

perhaps not your typical young adult novel??? historical novel set in ancient Eygpt, in the reign of Queen Hatshepset, the main character is one of the Queen’s slaves. I recall that grave-robbing is a crime you will get killed for, and there’s something about a young nobleman who the main character falls in love with, who, of course, may or may not be involved in graverobbing, and she actually gets enlisted to help with graverobbing. There perhaps is a young boy who is a fellow slave or her brother. I remember this book mostly for the descriptions of diaphonous cotton or linen clothing ….

From Megan B.:

A young woman and her family move into (rent?) an old hous for the summer and don’t really know anyone (kids are bored). I feel like there is a younger sister involved too. On a night with no power, they decide to have a seance for fun and try “Automatic Writing,” wherein the girl is hypnotized and given paper and pen to write whatever message the communicating spirit decides to share. Some kind of scary mystery ensues. It may involve a grandmother or previous owners of the house and mysterious death of a child (who wears a white dress?). I feel like there’s a climactic scene where an injured person is driven to the hospital in an old car, and I’m sure there’s a cute boy thrown in the mix too. Can anyone help, it’s been plaguing me for years?!! Automatic Writing is the key here, it’s the one thing from the book that I remember vividly. I wrote a book report on this as a kid and I’d really like to find it again!

From Leanne T.L.:

I am racking my brain trying to remember this series. A couple of books stand out-one was the kids swapping places with school staff for a day. The kids working in the cafeteria had trouble making enough cole slaw to feed all the students. Another book had the kids swapping families. There were several main characters, but a rich girl and a boy who’s family owned a restaurant stand out.
Thanks!

July 13th, 2010 at 11:17 am

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“Help” gets you to top of line: in need of solvation #plotfinder #finelines #shelfdiscovery

UPDATE: Solved by Jennifer G: The Year of Senior Insanity, by Sonya Levitin (who I also loved for “Journey to America,” a book I couldn’t remember for ages).

Plotfinder from Jenn. C.

The book is about a teenage girl who is class…Kewpie Doll? The uniform/costume involves a fluffy sweater, which she shrinks at one point by putting it in the dryer.

Her parents are away & boyfriend comes over to devirginize her — brings a bottle of Blue Nun, which they open, & then get busy on her waterbed — but the corkscrew punctures the bed.

Help?

July 12th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

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Don’t send me the ’80s paperback edition of “A Gift of Magic” with Nancy’s face emerging from a red-tinged cloud. I’m not ready

I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in used book vendors. Once or twice every few years, when I’m wondering if I’m on the wrong path in my life, I wander over to their tables and ask them (the tables, not the vendors) for a sign.

The last time I did this, right as I wandered into the vastly fiscally unremunerative but intellectually and philosophically satisfying life of a funny ha-ha cultural critic, I found the edition of “The Arabian Nights” for which I’d written flap copy in my first week as an editorial assistant in my first real-life big corporate job.

This seemed SIGN-like but I was not entirely certain how to read it. (Remember how you didn’t follow this whole life path? Well played?)

THIS time, however, I received the oddest but most remarkable sign:

The Trouble With Thirteen!

There is no reason for anyone who is not crazy and the compiler of some weird “Fine Lines” concordance to know this, but this is the book that, for years, has been my UR-PLOTFINDER, the title of which however often I am reminded I can never retain. (I can only ever remember blue and orange dresses, and you call Avenue of the Americas Sixth Avenue, not Avenue of the Americas.)

Again, I don’t know what it means, but it seems promising career-wise and in any case was not a remaindered copy of my own book.

I had also been vastly itchy over yet another article of the “Blah, blah, and in summation, PEOPLE WITH CHILDREN LEAD FULLER, REALER, HAPPIER LIVES THAN YOU. Despite the urine” variety. PEOPLE OF BABBLE. It is not a competition and STOP MAKING IT ONE. (Though if it is, just fyi, this is all true and we win, especially as we can get on board at any time, ha ha ha!)

Anyway, the table also bore the following intimations:

Penny Candy!

Please Don't Eat the Daisies!

As the table must have known, Jean Kerr is my favorite writer of what I consider the golden age of parenting literature! Actually, I consider almost anything but our current age the golden age of parenting literature! I do love that Sandra Tsing Loh, though. Basically I want a few weary drinks and a funny story, and I’m happy. Thank you table.

The table bore no further signs for me but did have the hilarity of the following:

CAMPUS NYMPH

TEENAGE GIRLS IN TROUBLE!

A REPORT: SEX LIFE OF THE AMERICAN PROSTITUTE!

And also

So You Know I'm Not a Perv

…for which I had been searching. Check out that tagline.

Having a boyfriend is not the answer!

I see now it’s a very choose your poison display, isn’t it?

I also picked up copies of Cakes and Ale, Wait Till Helen Comes, Klute, Karen, Socks, Catherine, Called Birdy, The Man Who Loved Children, The Glimpses of the Moon, and first edition hardcovers of The Stepford Wives, A Kiss Before Dying, and Fear of Flying. I’m taking the position these augur nothing.

FIRST FREEBIE: If you can add 5 more, we’ll have 100! And I’ll alphabetize them too!

UPDATE: 10 MORE I MEAN. Taking position here my vast critical capacities have exercised eminent domain over math part of brain. I really did once do physics!

Forgot this one too

Just to show you the font of taxonomies of ’70s and ’80s YA lit is without limit, 45 MORE options from readers (5 from me; I’m not WITHOUT USE)  for my recent AWL Listicle Without Commentary: The 45 Greatest Teen Titles You Have Never Heard of From the Era When They All Mentioned “I,” “Me,” “You” or Some Other Key Person That Are Not ‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’

  1. A Horse Named Peaceable
  2. A Star For The Latecomer
  3. About David
  4. After You, My Dear Alphonse
  5. Anything For A Friend
  6. Came Back to Show You I could Fly
  7. Catherine, Called Birdy
  8. Class Pictures
  9. Deliver Us from Evie
  10. Read the rest of this entry »

July 11th, 2010 at 11:18 am

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Mutual Solvation #plotfinders #jezebel #finelines

UPDATE: Alice A.’s is This Stranger My Father, by Robert Hawks. Go Kendra!

You guys are YET AGAIN miraculous. I don’t even know who’s FTW. You’re all FTW.  Nicole T.’s plotfinders have been answered as, respectively, Don’t You Dear Read This, Mrs. Dunphy and Invisible Lissa.  YOU ARE AMAZING. However, poor Alice A. is still SOL. Anyone?

From Alice A.:

The book is about a teenage girl who lives with her father, and they suddenly have to go on the run because he’s been discovered by the police. It turns out that he sold secrets to the Russians when he was younger (possibly some secrets about a calculator?), and his partner was arrested while he escaped. The girl and her dad go on the run to escape the police (although now that I think about it, it might not be the police chasing them). I distinctly remember a scene where she cuts and dyes her hair in a public (or motel) bathroom. And I’m pretty sure the dad dies, and the book ends with her leaving the book (or her diary) in a bathroom or bus station so that her story would be told. I’ve had absolutely no luck googling this and have been thinking about it for years! Help!

July 6th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

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Plotfinder, OMIGOD HOT edition #plotfinder #finelines #jezebel

I can’t believe how hot it is. It’s difficult to continue with any other statement but an emphatic recitation of the previous: I can’t believe how hot it is. That said, many of you are somewhere with air conditioning, I assume? Here are two plotfinders to keep you amused, if not chilled to the bone. (Remember, to follow these with greater ease, you can always friend me on FB, where in great part the Shelf Discovery community resides, or you can subscribe to this feed at www.lizzieskurnick.com/feed. I think you can also just bookmark them here and check back, but again, how can you click something extra when IT IS THIS HOT???)

From Alice A.:

The book is about a teenage girl who lives with her father, and they suddenly have to go on the run because he’s been discovered by the police.  It turns out that he sold secrets to the Russians when he was younger (possibly some secrets about a calculator?), and his partner was arrested while he escaped.  The girl and her dad go on the run to escape the police (although now that I think about it, it might not be the police chasing them).  I distinctly remember a scene where she cuts and dyes her hair in a public (or motel) bathroom.  And I’m pretty sure the dad dies, and the book ends with her leaving the book (or her diary) in a bathroom or bus station so that her story would be told.  I’ve had absolutely no luck googling this and have been thinking about it for years!  Help!

I like it when you say “Help.” It makes me feel my life’s work is not entirely preposterous. Next one, from Nicole T.:

#1:Middle-school aged girl, outcast-ish. Has a little brother with a lisp who I think was supposed to be cute and endearing but who I found to be incredibly irritating as a character. Made celery sticks with cream cheese and raisins to share with friends at school, which sounded revolting to me. Cheerleading uniforms made of felt – and I think they were soccer cheerleaders? There were two male classmates, one with a thing for warts and the other with knobby knees (who may have been likened to a grasshopper at some point). A big school project that entailed crafting tiny clay native americans with ambiguous genitals. And above all, the FUNCHY Club – there was a club called FUNCHY, very exclusive as I recall, but I have no idea wtf FUNCHY means, and it shall drive me insane unless I find out. #2:The protagonist is a high-schooler whose name starts with a T (Tess? Tish?). T has teased bangs and exceptionally crappy parents – dad was abusive/absent, and mom just up and abandons T and her sibling (little brother?) early in the book. This was a pretty short read (100 pages or so) and focuses on T trying to survive without anyone knowing that her parents had bailed. I remember T shoplifting ground beef by stuffing it in her parka and trying to figure out how to keep the utilities on. The book ends when the family moves to Florida with the grandparents and T is confounded by the flat, straight hairstyles. The title is addressed to one of T’s teachers – like, “Dear Ms So-and-so, Something Something.”

XX

Remember, you can write me at jezziefinelines@gmail.com if you need HELP!!!! with a Plotfinder.

* Found BIBF photo here — many thanks!

July 6th, 2010 at 10:03 am

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