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Break These Rules
Cover of Break These Rules
Break These Rules
35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself
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Middle grades and young adult authors speak candidly on the unspoken "rules" of adolescence in this collection of moving, inspiring, and often funny essays. This unique volume encourages readers to...
Middle grades and young adult authors speak candidly on the unspoken "rules" of adolescence in this collection of moving, inspiring, and often funny essays. This unique volume encourages readers to...
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Description-

  • Middle grades and young adult authors speak candidly on the unspoken "rules" of adolescence in this collection of moving, inspiring, and often funny essays. This unique volume encourages readers to break with conformity and defy age-old, and typically inaccurate, orthodoxy—including such conventions as Boys can't be gentle, kind, or caring; One must wear Abercrombie & Fitch in order to fit in; Girls should act like girls; and One must go to college after finishing high school. With contributions from acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning young adult authors—including Gary D. Schmidt, author of The Wednesday Wars; Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook; Sara Zarr, author of Story of a Girl; and Wendy Mass, author of A Mango-Shaped Space—this collection encourages individuality by breaking traditionally held norms, making it an ideal resource for tweens and teens.

About the Author-

  • Luke Reynolds has taught middle school and high school English in Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as composition at Northern Arizona University. He is the coeditor of Burned In and Dedicated to the People of Darfur and the author of A Call to Creativity, Keep Calm and Query On, and A New Man. His writing has appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun, the Hartford Courant, Mutuality magazine, the Sonora Review, Tucson Weekly, and the Writer. He lives in Boston.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 29, 2013
    From “Never Talk About Religion” (Sara Zarr) to “Boys Don’t Cry” (Chris Lynch), 35 writers contribute essays titled by “rules” for teens to break or ignore. Editor Reynolds proves he’s not above rule breaking, too: despite the subtitle, several contributors (Rob Buyea, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Mike Jung, among others) are technically middle-grade authors. Much of the advice—from rejecting conventional standards of beauty to not worrying about fitting in—may be familiar to many readers, though that doesn’t make it any less sound. In the strongest entries, the writers use examples of their own past struggles to subtly drive home their messages. Matthew Quick is honest about the nervousness, and rewards, that come with leaving one’s comfort zone; Gary D. Schmidt describes a moment of betrayal and awakening in a church youth group; Margo Rabb hilariously imagines Georgia O’Keeffe as a guest on What Not to Wear (“Go to hell,” the artist tells the hosts, before hopping on a motorcycle to New Mexico, “where she can wear whatever she likes”). Thanhha Lai perhaps puts it best: “There is no rule to follow; there is no rule to break. You follow and break rules just by the act of living.” Proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the Children’s Defense Fund. Ages 12–up.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2013
    Thirty-five essays encourage young readers to break the rules. "Be tougher, be thinner, be smarter, be sexier, be funnier, be quieter, be louder, be better dressed, be more aware of what's cool, be better at: everything." Young people growing up awash in electronic media and the images and lifestyles they sell are often easy victims, never realizing the extent to which they are being brainwashed. Add to that, their fellow students are conforming to the same societal expectations and preying on those who are too different. Young people are in danger, as recent suicide statistics suggest. In this collection, 35 writers encourage readers to stop obeying the voices telling them how to think, dress, act and believe. In "Don't Get Fat," Lisa Burstein writes about leaving behind the "warped, sick, eating-disordered" frame of mind fed by a voice that is "the mayor of crazy-town." In "Be Clean!" Gary D. Schmidt tells of rejecting the mind control of a youth pastor trying to save his soul. The best writers here couch their lessons in stories, but others lecture, and some sound like inspirational graduation speeches. After a whole volume of such essays, the mantra "Break These Rules" itself begins to sound like a rule to question. A well-meaning but uneven collection. (about the contributors) (Essays. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2013

    Gr 7 Up-Nearly three dozen young adult authors each address a "rule" that should be bent or ignored, such as "always sit in your assigned seat," "dress appropriately," "never be alone," or "don't quit." Each contributor shares personal experience and advice, which makes for good, varied reading that will surely offer something unique for many readers. The essays are inspiring and thought-provoking, and many offer truly funny moments. Reynolds provides an excellent flow between essays. This title could easily be read cover to cover or by individual selection based on theme. There is a nice mix of male and female voices. Especially good are Leslie Connor's "Don't Tell Lies," in which she confesses to actually liking rules; Lisa Burman's essay on eating disorders, titled "Don't Get Fat"; and Chris Barton's "Go to College After High School," because it allows readers to think about their options. As readers head back to the classrooms this fall, these essays can serve as discussion starters and give readers a jumping-off point for thinking about the bigger picture and life after high school.-Elaine Baran Black, Georgia Public Library Service, Atlanta

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    October 15, 2013
    Grades 7-12 Thirty-five writers use the 20/20 hindsight of their adult perches to look back and give back. Weaving together this caring anthology is the message to teens to pump up the volume on their inner voice and to consider writing as a vehicle to traverse adolescence. While each contribution is deeply heartfelt, the shining stars of the collection are those that elegantly guide the reader with authentic, personal specifics on journeys that are genuinely transformative. Matthew Quick shares the experience of attending a wedding in Namibia with his wife, Alicia Besette; Luke Reynolds and his brother Chris run the London Marathon; and Lynda Mullaly Hunt's extraordinary big brother Ricky introduces someone who could shape readers' future relationships with friends and family. The contributors' biographies reveal more personal insights along with professional accomplishments, and teens might well use the biographies as references to read more from a favorite new author.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

  • School Library Journal "Each contributor shares personal experience and advice, which makes for good, varied reading that will surely offer something unique for many readers. The essays are inspiring and thought-provoking, and many offer truly funny moments."

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Break These Rules
35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself
Luke Reynolds
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35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself
Luke Reynolds
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