Monday, November 12, 2012

Integrated Advisory: Between

I loved Kathryn Bergeron's presentation at MLA 2012, and I want to use the sources and methods she suggested to try another multi-type, or "integrated" advisory post.  Here goes.

by Jessica Warman

Liz Valchar dies on her 18th birthday, and then spends the next several months with another dead teenager.  They visit old memories and watch their family and friends, trying to figure out what happened to them.  This book is filled with teen angst, which I love.   Liz and her friends are all rich, privileged teens with secrets and problems they hide from each other - and even from themselves in some cases.

Themes and subjects include: death, teens, anorexia, wealth, drowning, drug use, ghosts, afterlife, murder, and unsolved crimes.

Using Kathryn's method, I used NoveList to identify appeal factors. Adding to my own terms above, they include writing style: compelling, location: Connecticut, storyline: character-driven, and genre: mystery.

Now, off the top of my head, read-alikes I can come up with are:

Before I Fall 
by Lauren Oliver

A teenager keeps re-living the day of her death until on the seventh day she finds a way to save herself.

by Gabrielle Zevin

A teen girl is killed in a car accident, and must learn to live in her new place - which is sort of like Earth...but not really.

As well as: Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, The Life Before Her Eyes by Laura Kasischke, In a Heartbeat by Loretta Elsworth, I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

Movies I come up with on my own:

Dead Poets Society

Rich teenagers with family problems and death (suicide in this case). Obvious choice in my eyes.
Ordinary People
(Also a book by Judith Guest)

More teens, issues, and death.

Here's the problem with my choices: they're all related by subject, and not by other appeal factors like tone. You can definitely say they're all depressing, dark, and maybe even "reflective," but let's see what some other tools come up with.
I went with Mood: Gloomy and then zeroed in on "emotional" and added Genre: Melodrama  Jinni's suggestions that seem like good choices include:

My So-Called Life
(A TV show from the mid-1990s)

This show centers around a teenage girl who navigates through high school, and all that high school kids deal with: love, friends, family, sexuality, drugs, and fitting in.

This is actually a great choice - a nice match that I wouldn't have come up with on my own!  Like Between, it is emotional, reflective, angsty, and character-driven.

The Mask
A movie starring Cher from 1985

This is another great pick that I wouldn't have come up with on my own. It includes teens, death, single parenting, disabilities, and physical appearance.  Next to each other, this movie and the book Between don't make an obvious match, but they share a lot of appeal factors, like being emotional, dramas, dark, reflective, and compelling, and character-driven.
It seems easy to come up with dark, teenage, emotional, angsty music (I'd go with Alanis Morissette or Pink.) Let's see what Musicovery comes up with.

I went with the moods very dark and mostly calm. Here are some good matches.  Musicovery doesn't have direct links to songs, so I'll link to YouTube here.

For My Love
by Sinead O'Connor 
This song has a sort of other-worldly feel to it.  It's haunting.  I can also put two of the characters in Between into this song: Liz and her boyfriend Richie.  Maybe Mera and Topher too.

by George Gershwin
"Summertime, and the livin' is easy."  The main character of Between died in August, at the end of the summer.  Her livin' was easy because she was rich and popular...or was it?  This is a sad song that makes me think of growing things dying at the end of the summer and into fall.

Charlotte Sometimes
The Cure
This song is based on a book by Penelope Farmer written in 1969.  It's about a school girl who travels back in time and finds herself in another girl's shoes.  The girls communicate with each other by writing in a diary.  Again, the word "haunting" comes to mind.  This reminds me of the way that the after-life Liz and her ghost friend Alex watch their family and friends and how they re-visit memories from their pasts.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these RA posts! I am really working on trying to do better with RA.

    Wish I could have made it to MLA this year.