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****************NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST****************
The Best Thing About this Book is either what Bekah does for Nina in a time of need or the art works referenced and explored.
Premise: Nina loves her boyfriend Seth. She’ll do anything for him. She’ll worship him. But something about that doesn’t settle in to her experiences with her mom, who tells Nina there’s no such thing as unconditional love, and takes her to Italy to visit iconic sculptures of women.
Target: 16 and up (technically YA, but I wouldn’t bookend it there)
Title: Make sure you know this nursery rhyme (called “What Are Little Boys Made Of?”) to be able to fully analyze this title. Elana K. Arnold adds assistance to understanding the title in the Author’s Note at the book’s end. Highly Recommend It. I’ll just give you this little teaser: “I now see that the stuff of girls is meant to be consumed — sugar and spice and everything nice — yummy sweet treats that melt in your mouth. And it reads to me now as a warning […]”
Main Character(s): Nina 16 y/o (she/him) with flashbacks to 14 y/o
Motifs (not exhaustive): womanhood, body, consumables, identity, sexuality, sex, reproduction, excrement, love, male gaze, worship, motherhood
Great for…* (readers): who want to think deeply about female gender roles and latent messaging in art and society.
Great for…* (teachers): I wouldn’t use this one in a classroom unless it’s past high school. However, selections could be used to study the female role in society and/or the nature of flashbacks and structure compounding overall meaning.
Parental Warning(s): Some cursing, holds nothing back in description of bodily functions, doctor visits, sexuality alluded to and pictured
Interact: What is your memory of nursery rhymes as a kid? (especially if you grew up with “What Are Little Boys Made Of”)
*The “Great for” category is not exhaustive and does not intend to neglect the multitude of readers/teachers who could learn from this book in any number of ways.
٭ = DNF, would not recommend
٭٭ = would not recommend
٭٭٭ = enjoyable, would recommend
٭٭٭٭ = very good, would recommend
٭٭٭٭٭ = amazing, would definitely recommend