Just for fun I thought I would borrow, A Novel Idea by Aimee Friedman (Simon Pulse, 2006) from my library. It is a young adult novel whose main character, 16 year old Norah, decides to start a book group. I would also like to start a book group for teenagers so I thought it would be interesting to see what that looks like in a fictitious world.

It was a fun read, not to be taken seriously. It was a bit corny, a bit convenient, and altogether unrealistic. If only life worked out that well! Nevertheless it was a light hearted romance with an entertaining main character. Norah starts a monthly book group at the local bookstore in order to boost her extracurricular activities for her college applications (a concept lost on those of us outside the US). The book group attracts a small but unusual crowd who seem more interested in pairing up than actually reading books. With more luck than skill, the book group ends up being a success and Norah meets a literary soul mate.

I don’t read many young adult novels and personally found it slightly disturbing the way 16 year olds were portrayed. Maybe I’m naïve but I believe teenagers have more going on in their heads than the self-indulgent picture that Friedman presents.