More "Fine Lines": Why obsess over the NYTBR when you can obsess over 80's YA?

Hell to the yes. "Fine Lines," the newish Friday feature at ultimate lady-blog Jezebel just keeps getting more and more delish. The past fortnight showcased two of our especial YA favorites: The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger and Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Read them both, then come back to us, if you choose. YA-Rant Alert!

We own almost every single Danziger book. We bought most of them used at garage sales or from that Scholastic book-buying catalog thing they always had once a month at our school (which furnished most of our youthful library! when the books came it was like nerd holiday and birthday all in one!). Cat is probably our pet Danzinger tale, mostly because it's written about an outcast from the perspective of said outcast, it never gets overly precious, it's raw and honest and lonely and real, and shit, Marcy is a total card! What a hidden firecracker!

So yes, we adored her in Cat, but then suddenly we found ourselves SERIOUSLY DISAPPOINTED in Danziger for turning Marcy's whole life story around in an unpleasantly cliched manner. The sequel novel about our girl, There's a Bat in Bunk Five, catches us up to Marcy about a year later: she's lost a ton of weight, is suddenly pretty (no more awkward adolescence at 15? how nice for her!), and scores one of the cutest, wittiest, guitar-playing dudes at the artsy fartsy camp Ms. Finney and her hot, bearded husband run instead of teaching English to ungrateful public school kids. Phew. It's like -- what gives? One of the things that was so wonderful about Cat is that at the end, everything doesn't turn out to be 100%! And that's cool! Because newsflash! Not every social wallflower BLOSSOMS LIKE A LOVELY DELICATE FLOWER in two seconds after their phsycial appearance changes for the better. Duh! It's just upsetting. We felt as though something was STOLEN FROM OUR HEARTS after we read Bat. The worst part? Yes, we were jealous of Marcy! When we were supposed to be relating to her! What happened?!

On the other hand, The Witch of Blackbird Pond always satisfied and freaked us out to the nines every time we read and read and reread it in middle school. So delicious! Such a perfect teen precursor to our beloved Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, the sort of haunting romantical coming-of-age mystery creep-fest that makes life worth living! Kit, dear, headstrong Kit, is flawed -- and yet -- she's all fierceness and fabulosity. Old Hag has her totally figured out: she screws up, but we can't help but love her to pieces by the end. Plus, the Purtians! Connecticut colonial wilderness! Crippled Mercy and her big blue eyes! Boys in breeches! Sharp-tongued Nat! CONSIDERING the idea of marrying simply to get out of doing back-breaking housework! Oh, god. Where, oh where, is that Scholastic book catalog when we need it? Or a used bookstore? Or a library? We want tea and old books, now, forever, yesterday.

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