Sunday, November 14, 2010
Book of the Week: The Julian Games by Adele Griffin
Raye is quick, and shows Ella a fake facebook profile that she created with Natalya as a bit of a joke. The profile is for a beautiful girl named Elizabeth, who claims to have recently come to the US to attend college. Natalya and Raye have fun using this profile to "friend" those that would never talk to them in real life. When Raye offers up Elizabeth as a way to get revenge against Julian, Ella jumps all over it.
Julian takes to Elizabeth quickly. Raye poses as Elizabeth for hours and hours every day, having great conversations with Julian. Quickly, the conversations become more and more intimate. Eventually, Raye is going to have to decide whether or not she can continue as Elizabeth, or try to date Julian for read. If she chooses to play along as Elizabeth, Julian will lose interest and realize that it was all a bad joke. If Raye chooses reality, Ella is going to punish her. And Raye knows that it will be painful.
I loved this book. The cover is great, and so is the message: Social networking can be dangerous. This message is obvious, but it never felt all that preachy. I didn't feel as though my students would be turned off from it. Certainly, my students are not over-privileged teens causing trouble online. But, there have been many cases of cyberbullying and online harassment in the past few school years.
I think that this topic of the dangers of social networking and the different types of bullying that have resulted from new and emerging technologies is here to stay in YA lit. There is a lot of room for more of this topic in YA, and I'd be interested to hear about more titles that incorporate this topic into their plots.