As I've been picking up ARCs at the conference, I've been mentally sorting them into "for me" and "for work". Because we have a Book Fair in April, the "for work" books are the ones that are going to get immediate attention, right? So what better thing to do than start a book here?
I chose Polly, by Amy Bryant as the First Read. The back looked interesting - a girl's coming of age, as shaped by eight relationships. Didn't read much closer than that, else I would have noticed the "punked-out 1980s suburban romance" line. First of all, the 1980s are not far enough away to qualify as historical fiction. Second, I just don't think my students are going to buy realistic fiction that doesn't include the things that they are familiar with: running home to wait for a phone call? where's the cell? roller skating???? getting high on acid? flipping an LP? Nope - they're not going to relate to this character, no matter how interesting the story. They'll get hung up on the stuff that's "just not quite right" rather than the overall message.
As a school librarian, I'm also not sure I want the constant swearing. It's not that I'm a prude, it's more that I know my population - the parents will be concerned because even though this is about a high school student, it'll be read by middle schoolers and they are still in that "semi-protected" state.
When I went to get the link, I realized that this is an "old" book, one that was released in 2005 or 2006. So... what does it tell you when the publisher brings stacks to a conference that predominantly has unread, not-yet-published books? If the pile was recalls, or unsolds, that's not a great message. Not to mention the fact that someone didn't edit properly: it's AXL Rose, not AXEL Rose...