Myracle, Lauren. ttyl. Harry N. Abrams. 2005 (First published April 1, 2004). ISBN 0810987880
Reader’s Annotation: Follow the ups and downs of BFFs, Zoe, Maddie and Angela, as they traverse their sophomore year through a series of instant messages between the three.
Plot Summary: Zoe-zoegirl, Maddie-mad maddie and Angela-Snow Angel have been BFFs for years and are each facing their own “crisis” as they navigate their sophomore year of high school. Through a series of instant messages they relay their loves and heartbreaks, crisis between Zoe and the guy who is hitting on her and also happens to be her teacher and Maddie’s one moment of horrible judgment that is emailed to the world (or at least her high school classmates).
This is a cute and fun read for younger teenage girls. The entire book takes place through a series of instant messages between the three girls. The format works well as we follow the girls deal with crushes, break ups, personal crises the possibility that they are just growing apart. The three crises that the girls face all were very realistic. What girl doesn’t have her heart crushed when the boy she was crushing on ends up going out with another girl? This is what happens to boy crazy Angela and she has to learn how to deal with heartbreak and move on. Zoe’s issue with an overly friendly teacher may not be an everyday situation but it’s not unheard of and Maddie’s poor judgement calls in the name of gaining popularity is all to common.
One downside is that we don’t get to see much of what goes on in each girl’s head but I still felt like we get to know each girl pretty well. The other more serious issue I had with the book was how the relationship between Zoe and her teacher was handled. As a reader we obviously know that what the teacher is doing is wrong but the resolution was so vague. It doesn’t deal with how Zoe deals with the aftermath or what happens to the teacher.
All in all this is a quick read for the younger girls but not one I would suggest as a guide to dealing with tough situations.
About the author
Lauren Myracle is the author of a number of young adult and tween books including several that take place through instant messages. Her first book, Kissing Kate, was also selected by ALA as one of their “Best Books for Young Adults” back in 2004.
Her recent book, Shine, is set in North Carolina and deals with the controversial topic of a girl seeking out the perpetrators of a hate crime against her gay friend. Her books have been among the most challenged books due to scenes about sexuality, homosexuality and alcohol use.
Book talking idea
Carry out a conversation about what the book is about in a chat format by using chat lingo or cards with IMs written on them.
Ages 12 and up.
Inappropriate teacher/student relations, sexually explicit content.
I would have the library’s collection management policy on hand and explain that the library is not here to filter what patrons read. If questioned about this policy I would direct the patron to the ALA Bill of Rights. I would also point out that it does not glorify any of the behaviors in question and serve as a warning against such behaviors.
Why did I include this book?
I’ve always heard about how controversial Myracle’s books have been and since this book is the first to take place all in instant messages my curiosity was peaked.