The Literary Horizon: My Mother the Cheerleader, Bliss

Today, we’re looking at a pair of young adult books starring girls set in the 1960s, although their subject matters are quite different—race and murder.

My Mother the Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow

Louise Collins was pretty certain that nothing all that exciting would happen in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where she lived with her mother in their boarding house, Rooms on Desire. Every day was almost the same: serve cranky Mr. Landroux his meals in bed, visit Antoine’s Pick-a-Chick with Charlotte, and wear out the pages of her favorite novels by reading them over and over. But when desegregation begins, Louise is pulled out of school and her mother joins the Cheerleaders, a group of local women who gather every morning to heckle six-year-old Ruby Bridges, William Frantz Elementary’s first African-American student.

Then one day a Chevy Bel Air with a New York license plate pulls up to the house and out steps Morgan Miller, a man with a mysterious past. For the first time, Louise feels as if someone cares about what she thinks. But when the reason for Morgan’s visit comes to light, everything Louise thinks she knows about her mother, her world, and herself changes, abruptly and irrevocably.

via Amazon

This recommendation came out of my children and young adult literature class during some reading. I’ve always wondered about people who feel the need to spread their hate, especially towards children—this addresses that issue, obviously.

Becky at Becky’s Book Reviews enjoyed it, although she notes that it can be quite brutal. Tirzah at the Compulsive Reader found it compelling.

My Mother the Cheerleader was published on April 24, 2007.

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Myracle offers a spine-tingling, unforgettable story of friendship gone very, very wrong.

Lauren Myracle brings her keen understanding of teen dynamics to a hypnotic horror story of twisted friendship.

When Bliss’s hippie parents leave the commune and dump her at the home of her aloof grandmother in a tony Atlanta neighborhood, it’s like being set down on an alien planet. The only guide naive Bliss has to her new environment is what she’s seen on The Andy Griffith Show. But Mayberry is poor preparation for Crestview Academy, an elite school where the tensions of the present and the dark secrets of the past threaten to simmer into violence. Openhearted Bliss desperately wants new friends, making her the perfect prey of a troubled girl whose obsession with a long-ago death puts Bliss, and anyone she’s kind to, in mortal danger.

Lauren Myracle has taken the ubiquitous friendship novel to a new, dark place.

via Amazon

Anastasia’s fault. Really, it is. I only know Myracle from TTYL, which I loathed on principle as a thirteen year old (back when I was still years away from sanity and proper shoes) since it utilized text speak in a book. Oh, had I only known what was to come… in any case, hippies, teenage girls, and murder.

Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog absolutely loved it, calling it The Craft in the 1960s. (I surprised myself by really liking that movie.) Trisha at The YA YA YAs thoroughly enjoyed it as well, especially noting the design of the book and its role in creating tension.

Bliss was published on September 1, 2008.

One thought on “The Literary Horizon: My Mother the Cheerleader, Bliss

  1. Bliss was so good! And what impresses me the most about Myracle is her ability to write across many borders. She’s impossible to label in one genre, unless it is something as general as YA.

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