Category Archives: Teen

371A: The Girl Attends All Boy Calligraphy School

I’d read this in the 8th grade which I’d loaned from my schools library but it’s about this young white girl who attends an all boy’s calligraphy school at the calligraphy teacher’s farm home. I don’t remember how she got the chance to attend the school but I remember she’s not well off and her youngest brother is sick. Before she leaves on the train to the school her older brother buys her a grey wool bonnet and writes to her while she is away. 
There was a page of the book that had shown one of her brother’s letters written in the crosshatching/ cross writing technique. While at the school the girl has an assignment that a boy in her class sabotages by spilling ink on it. Little details i remember are her needing a stack of bricks for her to place her feet on because she cannot reach the floor white sitting on her desk, the girl helping a woman remove garden peas from the pod, and her getting ready for a fourth of July festival in the town her school is in. There’s also a mention that her teacher has written his calligraphy in his own blood. 
I believe this was set within the late 1800’s – early 1900’s in the United states. 
I’ve been looking for this book for years so any help whatsoever is appreciated! Thank you so much! 

370X: The Dark Fairy Prince

I read this library book as a teenager in the mid-1970’s, and it’s one of the last books from my childhood that I haven’t managed to track down, so it’s always lingered in the back of my mind. In fact, I may have sent a Stumper before, and it might even have been solved, but I can’t remember!
The plot involves a teenage girl -a young woman – on the cusp of adulthood anyway, who I believe is sent to live for a summer with an older woman in a rural wooded area, possibly in England, possibly in the US.  She might be an orphan, this might be her aunt or some kind of guardian. Or maybe she is the maid?
I think a traveling caravan full of circus performers and a fortune teller comes to town and she falls for a young man, the leader, who is exciting with an unpredictable whiff of danger about him and this is where the novel becomes a fantasy as I think he may be a fairy prince. I seem to remember the caravan exists in two worlds – the everyday, and then a dark/dream world, which maybe the girl can only access by drinking a tea or some such. She develops a relationship with the fortune teller also. It might be that her lover becomes ill and she nurses him and earns the gratitude of the others, maybe a disapproving mother?
The older woman warns her to be careful, but eventually the caravan moves on and the girls turns up pregnant, but I think this is only hinted at. She pines for her dark (fairy?) prince.  I think he eventually returns, to find she has a child, and maybe there is a happy ending? She doesn’t regret what’s happened and still loves him.
I think there is a ballad that provides a theme for the book, and something about corn. Summer of the corn?  I think the legend of the “Green Man” might be an underlying theme. The book is written in the first person. Maybe called “Corn Summer”?
It’s very possible I’m confusing the plot of two books here. Fantasy romance was right in my wheelhouse back then (still is.)  But I’ve never forgotten the hold this book had on me and would be happy to rediscover it.

Thank you so much.  

370V: Teen boy wakes up and nobody can see him, he thinks he’s dead (Solved!)

I read this book as a kid in the 1970s. I don’t remember much, except that a teen boy wakes up in the morning and soon realizes that nobody can see him. He thinks he’s dead. He can’t really interact with the world, but he does manage to ride a bus without falling through the floorboards. It might be that he never existed–I seem to remember that people weren’t wondering where he was. It might have the word “disappear” in it.

370R: Teen boy with blue hair (maybe!) flees bad guys and escapes to parallel world with help of mongoose (maybe!) (Solved!)

I read this book as a teen in the early 1970s. It had a typical teen book dust jacket design from the 70s: pen/watercolor painting of profile of boy with blue hair (I think) and I have a memory that it was called “The Blue Boy” or something similar but all searches have turned up nothing appropriate. 
Anyway, this memory is decades old, but what I recall is that this teen boy (probably orphan? no parents present in the story that I can recall) is somehow involved with a gang of bad people. Perhaps boy has magical abilities that they are taking advantage of for ill-gotten gains? Perhaps boy has blue hair as a gimmick? Maybe there is no blue hair but I swear there was. In any event, boy decides to escape from his situation and is pursued by bad guys who want to recapture? kill? otherwise cause problems for him. Boy is on the lam and has an unexpected mysterious ally who brings him food and perhaps finds him safe spaces to live. In my memory this ally is a talking mongoose, but crikey, how does this narrative even make sense? The boy is astonished to get ripe mangoes when in his world (the world of our narrative), mangoes are still green and unripe; months and months away from ripeness. It turns out this ally is from a parallel world, and the book ends with the ally helping our boy escape his pursuers by moving to the parallel universe. In my memory, book ends with boy on a sunrise-shining beach in this parallel world. 
I read it in English, but nothing about the story seems to be set in North America (mongoose and mangoes, or at least mangoes even if the mongoose is a figment of my imagination or faulty memory). 

370C: Mexican beaches in a jalopy – early 1940s

An American couple explores the beaches and coastal towns of the west coast of Mexico driving a jalopy. The story ends with the start of WWII, compelling them to return to the States. I read this as a kid in the mid-1960s. I’m not sure whether it was intended for young adults or grown-ups, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

365W: 1970s(?) book about kid spies

I am looking for a book that is a children/tween/teen book from the 60’s or 70’s (I borrowed it from the Bookmobile in the very early 80’s) about 3 or 4 teenagers who fly a glider and get involved in a spy plot where an organization (maybe called Chaos or similar acronym) with a plan to put a memory drug into the water supply. Originally they are set astray by misinformation that it is going into the milk supply. I think one boy is super athletic and one is the brainy one. There is one part where they fly the glider over a compound and later break in. It is guarded by a lion that has been fed the drug and doesn’t attack them but is reliving a memory. It turns out the parents of one of the kids are actually spies and assist them in the end.