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Crossroads

As the final hours of 2018 ticked away, I realized it was an exceptional year. A hard year. An unsettled year. A questioning year. A good year. A great year. An apocalyptic reading year. A happy year. An angry year. A year where the highs of my personal life were slightly tarnished by a professional crisis of faith. My health took a hit, but it also made great strides. I broke free of the gluten monkey. Bread is not worth my body. Finally, it was a year of answers. I think. The question I’ve been asking has an answer, but maybe it’s an ombré of an answer. What’s the question? That’s for me. What’s the answer? It’s time to evolve, but it won’t be easy, and it won’t be a straight line. You can’t hide from evolution. You can only wonder what awaits you on the other side. What will I become? Anyway. Since I’m all about evolving, which is already hard work, I’ve decided against reading resolutions for 2019. Resolutions can feel like burdens. Why burden myself with expectations and glorious purpose when I’m growing wings or an extra appendage or poisonous saliva? Honestly, I think resolutions clash with my particular brand of hedonism. Instead, I’d like to wish upon a reading star. I wish . . . 

- Rainbow Rowell would write a sequel to Eleanor & Park. She’s mentioned that the pressure of disappointing fans gave her a case of the yips, but I wonder why she didn’t have the same hesitations about writing Wayward Son, the Carry On sequel.

- Secondary English teachers (6-12) would stop asking if such and such or so and so YA or middle grade book is appropriate for their classroom library. The answer is always yes. It doesn’t matter what Common Sense Media says. Do you know them know them? Stop using them to censor your shelves. Children will self-censor if you let them, so stop doing it for them. Geez, I though English teachers were supposed to be the progressive guardians of reading not the great dictatorial blockade. Is it fear? It’s all so absurd because come September some of these same teachers will be looking for awesome lesson plan ideas for Banned Book Week. See the problem? 

- OwlCrate would stop pandering to fantasy fandoms and recommit to their own mission statement by providing a wide variety of genres in their monthly boxes. Until then I’m skipping every box where the book is a fantasy. That means you January. SPOILER ALERT:  It’s Gilded Wolves.

- I could manage to strike a better balance between reading YA and middle grade. Two years ago I leaned heavily towards middle grade, but for the past two years it’s been heavily YA. It’s time to restore the balance. 

- More book to movie adaptations were as good as Love, Simon or as pure as The Hate U Give.

- That the two best characters, Edel and Auguste, from Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles would get their own series. P.S. Remy is a bore. When I mentioned not liking Camille’s love interest, my 8th graders were momentarily horrified when they thought I was talking about Auguste. We then spent several minutes trashing Remy. They were far more adult about the situation because they actually gave Remy a second chance by reading ARCs of The Everlasting Rose. I refuse. After reading it, they hated Remy even more. I love them and will miss them terribly when they leave for high school. (Side note: How did I miss the art connection!?)

- Those in charge of writing curriculum would stop talking about ways to engage modern audiences with To Kill a Mockingbird and just replace it with something socially relevant and culturally conscious. To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t a story about racism. It’s just another story that uses black, brown, and disabled bodies to perpetuate the myth of the heroic white man. It’s just a publishing house crafted Bildungsroman with an unreliable narrator. I’m not saying it isn’t well written. It is. I’m not saying Gregory Peck wasn’t amazing in the role of Atticus Finch. He was. I’m saying that maybe it’s time to leave the “classics” of the Western Canon to English majors and those that choose to read them. Why not flip the English classroom. All the classics become independent reading and all the books written during the 21st century become anchor texts. 

- Borders would make a comeback. If we’re already looking at a second 90210 reboot, why can’t Borders stage the greatest retail comeback of all time. 

- Percy Jackson would break up with Annabeth Chase and give Rachel Dare a call.

- Netflix would stop releasing seasons of 13 Reasons Why and option other YA and middle grade books for limited series adaptation. And notice, I said limited. Don’t turn what should be 12 episodes into multiple seasons. Hey, Netflix, let me know if you need a list. I think I’d be excellent as the Vice-President of YA and Middle Grade Acquisitions. Let me know, Netflix. 

- There was a two year moratorium on books about palace intrigue, queens, courts, kingdoms, and crowns.

- I could find my ARC of Black Enough because I’d rather not wait another week to read it.