Book 2 Book is an idea that I had based on some conversations with fellow educators. Most English teachers that I've talked to do not participate in the YA blogging world and some are not readers of YA to the (crazy) extent that I am. Because they are not as interested or well-versed in this world as some of the bloggers I've met in my travels around the blogosphere, they might not know about the abundance of great YA available. And, so much YA can be used in the classroom because it connects to the classics that we teach.
My inspiration for this post comes from Sarah MacLean's The Season. The setting for this book is 1815 London. The title refers to the marriage or courting season, which is opening as the book starts. Like several characters in Jane Austen's novels, the main character Alexandra is an eligible beauty who seems to have little to no interest in marriage, at least for herself. She's much more of a free-thinker and would like to become a writer, thinker, or traveler--anything but a dreary old wife.
This leads to my first comparison, which is with Jane Austen's Emma.
This is an easy choice because the girls in the novel talk about Austen's writing and her characters quite a bit. It is interesting that The Season takes place in the very year that Emma was published. I think that the most interesting use of this book bridge would be to use The Season to talk about historical accuracies/ inaccuracies as they exist in the book. Or, it would be a great to use for a student who is not quite able to read Emma, or who loves reading historical fiction of this time period.
The next pairing includes A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf.
To me, this is the most interesting book pair. Though A Room of One's Own was not written until over 100 years after The Season takes place, the freedoms and rights for women that Woolf argues for are similar to the freedoms and rights the girls of The Season crave. It would be interesting to study these texts together as part of a women's studies course or unit. And, A Room of One's Own is rather short and can be made accessible to most readers. So, it would make a solid nonfiction essay to pair with a fresh YA novel.
The Season is not the most accurate historical fiction that I've ever read, but it is extremely engaging and included elements of mystery and romance. The girls are a bit too forward and risque for their day, but this book is not so outrageous that it is rendered useless in an educational sense. I had a lot of fun reading it and hope that it finds its way off of the free reading shelves in my room and into the hands of an interested reader!