Saturday, June 27, 2015
Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting (And Lives to Tell About It)
Katie Friedman is an expert multitasker. She's the kind of tech user who would have ALL THE TABS open. As we begin she is texting her friend Hannah, posting a pic of her dog, receiving some texts from Becca, and sending texts to bff Charlie Joe Jackson. This is all before breakfast. During breakfast she gets some texts from Nareem, Eliza, Hannah, and Becca. Then on the bus ride to school Katie is texting with Charlie Joe, and her mom. Whew! Exhausted yet?
The thing is, it's pretty easy to send a text to the wrong person. Especially if you are texting multiple people at the same time. Lots of times, it's kind of funny to send the wrong text to the wrong person. But sometimes it's really not. Especially when you're texting about something personal. Something like not liking your boyfriend so much anymore...and sending it to your boyfriend.
Hitting send changes everything for Katie. Not only has she gone and really hurt Nareem's feelings, but she begins to realized how far into their phones her friends are. She thinks about the fact that it just seems easier to text people instead of actually talk to them.
Inspired by her musical heroine, Jane Plantero, Katie sets out on a quest. A quest to live without her phone for a while. And Jane says if Katie can convince 10 of her friends to give up their phones for a week, she will come and play a show for them. The twist is that Katie is not allowed to dangle to carrot of the concert.
How hard will it be to convince a bunch of middle schoolers to give up their phones?
Tommy Greenwald has tackled the topic of kids and phones without making it seem like a "topic". Gweenwald nails the voice as usual, and if I didn't know better, I'd say he was a teacher. Charlie Joe pops up throughout the book to lend his sarcastic wit with segments like, "Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Why Texting Is Awesome". Where Greenwald shines is in writing the relationships. They are messy and fickle and constantly shifting ... totally like in middle school. Katie isn't all good, just as Charlie Joe isn't all snark. This is a book that should just show up on library tables, and in living rooms all over the place. I think this would make a fantastic book club book, and the kind of classroom read that will get kids talking.