Teen Summer Reading

Beneath the Surface: Female Protagonists

From the comfort of your home or in the company of friendly and engaged teens at Teen Space, go online and sign up for Summer Reading. The reading theme is Beneath the Surface but there is no secret about the prizes and programs offered to teens this summer. The details are online and printed out in Teen Space.

Two novels with strong female protagonists that focus on what's Beneath the Surface are Code Name Verity and Beauty Queens. 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein brings readers back to World War II during the German occupation of Paris. Two young women, an aristocrat from Scotland and a daughter of Jewish immigrants, become close friends. The former is an intelligence officer and the other an airplane pilot.

The plot can be compared to nesting dolls, with each doll enclosing a deeper more intense secret of each friend's character. The 'smallest doll' or final mystery uncovers the depth to which their inner lives are meshed together and the breakdown of their individuality.

In contrast to the realism and emotional intensity of Code Name Verity, Beauty Queens by Libba BrayBeauty Queens by Libba Bray is a hysterically funny caustic critique of America's obsession with beauty. The book's cover promises a rollicking ride with a faceless beauty wearing a bandolier filled with lipsticks across her chest.

The story begins with the Beauty Queens flying off to the pageant only to have the plane crash on a desert island. What ensues is their struggle for survival during which layers of their selves become revealed.  In keeping with the book's sociological bent, a broader secret is revealed and though outlandish, it lies beneath the island's surface.