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We Love Teenagers
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We Love Teenagers

By 49thShelf
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Some of the best Can Lit featuring young people whose stories are beyond their years.
What It Feels Like for a Girl

What It Feels Like for a Girl

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : canadian

'What It Feels Like for a Girl' is a book-length series of poems that tell the story of two teenage girls as they delve into the big, strange world of sex. 'What It Feels Like for a Girl' is about many things: the friendships girls have at the most intense times in their lives. Pornography and its "lessons" for the young woman who has never experienced sex in an unfiltered way. What sex and love have to do with each other-if anything. How confusing desire can be. How so many things inthis world …

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Monoceros

Monoceros

edition:Paperback
also available: Audiobook (CD) eBook
tagged : literary

Winner of the W.O. Mitchell Book PrizeWinner of the 2012 Relit Award for Best Novel
Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Shortlisted for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction
Shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Award for Best Fiction
A Globe and Mail Best Novel of 2011

A seventeen-year-old boy, bullied and heartbroken, hangs himself. And althoughhe felt terribly alone, his suicide changes everyone around him.

His parents are devastated. His secret boyfriend's girlfriend is relieved. His …

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Fruit

Fruit

A Novel About a Boy and His Nipples
edition:Paperback
also available: Audiobook eBook
tagged : coming of age

Thirteen-year-old Peter Paddington is overweight, the subject of his classmates' ridicule, and the victim of too many bad movie-of-the-week storylines. When his nipples begin speaking to him one day and inform him of their diabolical plan to expose his secret desires, Peter finds himself cornered in a world that seems to have no tolerance for difference. Peter's only solace is "The Bedtime Movies" - perfect-world fantasies that lull him to sleep every night. But when the lines between Peter's fa …

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Girls Fall Down

Girls Fall Down

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : literary

The 2012 One Book Toronto title
Shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award

A girl faints in the Toronto subway. Her friends are taken to the hospital with unexplained rashes; they complain about a funny smell in the subway. Swarms of police arrive, and then the hazmat team. Panic ripples through the city, and words like poisoning and terrorism become airborne. Soon, people are collapsing all over the city in subways and streetcars and malls.

Alex was witness to this first episode. He’s a photograph …

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Lemon

Lemon

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : literary

Lemon has three mothers: a biological one she's never met, her adopted father's suicidal ex, and Drew, a school principal who hasn’t left the house since she was stabbed by a student. She has one deadbeat dad, one young cancer-riddled protege, and two friends, the school tramp and a depressed poet. Figuring the numbers are against her, Lemon just can't be bothered trying to fit in. She spurns fashion, television, and even the mall. She reads Mary Wollstonecraft and gets pissed off that Jane Ey …

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Hey Nostradamus!

Hey Nostradamus!

edition:Paperback
tagged :

GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE
GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE

Using the voices of four characters deeply affected by a high-school shooting, though in remarkably different ways, Douglas Coupland explores the lingering aftermath of one horrifying event, and questions what it means to come through grief – and to survive.

The first narrator in Hey Nostradamus! is Cheryl, who is waiting in the Delbrook Senior Secondary cafeteria for Jason, to whom she is secretly married. Just that morning, she tol …

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Excerpt

Part One
1998: Cheryl

I believe that what separates humanity from everything else in this world -- spaghetti, binder paper, deep-sea creatures, edelweiss and Mount McKinley -- is that humanity alone has the capacity at any given moment to commit all possible sins. Even those of us who try to live a good and true life remain as far away from grace as the Hillside Strangler or any demon who ever tried to poison the village well. What happened that morning only confirms this.

It was a glorious fall morning. The sun burned a girly pink over the mountain ranges to the west, and the city had yet to generate its daily smog blanket. Before driving to school in my little white Chevette, I went into the living room and used my father's telescope to look down at the harbor, as smooth as mercury, and on its surface I could see the moon dimming over East Vancouver. And then I looked up into the real sky and saw the moon on the cusp of being over-powered by the sun.

My parents had already gone to work, and my brother, Chris, had left for swim team hours before. The house was quiet -- not even a clock ticking -- and as I opened the front door, I looked back and saw some gloves and unopened letters on the front hallway desk. Beyond them, on the living room's gold carpet, were some discount warehouse sofas and a lamp on a side table that we never used because the light bulb always popped when we switched it on. It was lovely, all that silence and all that calm order, and I thought how lucky I was to have had a good home. And then I turned and walked outside. I was already a bit late, but I was in no hurry.

Normally I used the garage door, but today I wanted a touch of formality. I had thought that this morning would be my last truly innocent glance at my childhood home -- not because of what really ended up happening, but because of another, smaller drama that was supposed to have unfolded.

I'm glad that the day was as quiet and as average as it was. The air was see-your-breath chilly, and the front lawn was crunchy with frost, as though each blade had been batter fried. The brilliant blue and black Steller's jays were raucous and clearly up to no good on the eaves trough, and because of the frost, the leaves on the Japanese maples had been converted into stained-glass shards. The world was unbearably pretty, and it continued being so all the way down the mountain to school. I felt slightly high because of the beauty, and the inside of my head tickled. I wondered if this is how artists go through life, with all of its sensations tickling their craniums like a peacock feather.

* * *
I was the last to park in the school's lot. That's always such an uneasy feeling no matter how together you think you are -- being the last person there, wherever there may be.

I was carrying four large binders and some textbooks, and when I tried shutting the Chevette's door, it wouldn't close properly. I tried slamming it with my hip, but that didn't work; it only made the books spray all over the pavement. But I didn't get upset.

Inside the school, classes were already in session and the hallways were as silent as the inside of my house, and I thought to myself, What a day for silence.

I needed to go to my locker before class, and as I was working my combination lock, Jason came up from behind.

"Boo."

"Jason -- don't do that. Why aren't you in class?"

"I saw you parking, so I left."

"You just walked out?"

"Forget about that, Miss Priss. Why were you being so weird on the phone last night?"

"I was being weird?"

"Jesus, Cheryl -- don't act like your airhead friends."

"Anything else?"

"Yes. You're my wife, so act like it."

"How should I be acting, then?"

"Cheryl, look: in God's eyes we're not two individuals, okay? We're one unit now. So if you dick around with me, then you're only dicking around with yourself."

And Jason was right. We were married -- had been for about six weeks at that point -- but we were the only ones who knew it.

* * *

I was late for school because I'd wanted everyone out of the house before I used a home pregnancy test. I was quite calm about it -- I was a married woman, and shame wasn't a factor. My period was three weeks late, and facts were facts.

Instead of the downstairs bathroom I shared with my brother, I used the guest bathroom upstairs. The guest bathroom felt one notch more medical, one notch less tinged by personal history -- less accusatory, to be honest. And the olive fixtures and foil wallpaper patterned with brown bamboo looked swampy and dank when compared to the test's scientific white-and-blue box. And there's not much more to say, except that fifteen minutes later I was officially pregnant and I was late for math class.

* * *

"Jesus, Cheryl . . ."

"Jason, don't curse. You can swear, but don't curse."

"Pregnant?"

I was quiet.

"You're sure?"

"I'm late for math class. Aren't you even happy?"

A student walked by, maybe en route to see the principal.

Jason squinted like he had dust in his eyes. "Yeah -- well, of course -- sure I am."

I said, "Let's talk about it at homeroom break."

"I can't. I'm helping Coach do setup for the Junior A team. I promised him ages ago. Lunchtime then. In the cafeteria."

I kissed him on his forehead. It was soft, like antlers I'd once touched on a petting zoo buck. "Okay. I'll see you there."

He kissed me in return and I went to math class.

* * *

I was on the yearbook staff, so I can be precise here. Delbrook Senior Secondary is a school of 1,106 students located about a five-minute walk north of the Trans-Canada Highway, up the algae-green slope of Vancouver's North Shore. It opened in the fall of 1962, and by 1988, my senior year, its graduates numbered about thirty-four thousand. During high school, most of them were nice enough kids who'd mow lawns and baby-sit and get drunk on Friday nights and maybe wreck a car or smash a fist through a basement wall, not even knowing why they'd done it, only that it had to happen. Most of them grew up in rectangular postwar homes that by 1988 were called tear-downs by the local real estate agents. Nice lots. Nice trees and vines. Nice views.

As far as I could tell, Jason and I were the only married students ever to have attended Delbrook. It wasn't a neighborhood that married young. It was neither religious nor irreligious, although back in eleventh-grade English class I did a tally of the twenty-six students therein: five abortions, three dope dealers, two total sluts, and one perpetual juvenile delinquent. I think that's what softened me up for conversion: I didn't want to inhabit that kind of moral world. Was I a snob? Was I a hypocrite? And who was I to even judge? Truth be told, I wanted everything those kids had, but I wanted it by playing the game correctly. This meant legally and religiously and -- this is the part that was maybe wrong -- I wanted to outsmart the world. I had, and continue to have, a nagging suspicion that I used the system simply to get what I wanted. Religion included. Does that cancel out whatever goodness I might have inside me?

Jason was right: Miss Priss.

From the Hardcover edition.

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English Stories, The

English Stories, The

edition:Paperback
tagged : literary

Cynthia Flood's The English Stories offers a series of twelve linked fictions detailing the story of Amanda Ellis, a young Canadian girl who goes with her parents to England “for a year that stretched into two,” and her life at St. Mildred's school. Unlike many linked story collections which come to mind, however — Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women and Sharon English's Uncomfortably Numb are among two of the best — Flood's suite is not limited to first person narration by the heroin …

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When Fenelon Falls

When Fenelon Falls

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : literary

A spaceship hurtles towards the moon, hippies gather at Woodstock, Charles Manson leads a cult into murder and a Kennedy drives off a Chappaquiddick dock: it’s the summer of 1969. And as mankind takes its giant leap, Jordan May March, disabled bastard and genius, age fourteen, limps and schemes her way towards adulthood. Trapped at the March family’s cottage, she spends her days memorizing Top 40 lists, avoiding her adoptive cousins, catching frogs and plottingto save Yogi, the bullied, butt …

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