I love parades.I looove parades. Let me say it with feeling. I LOVE PARAAAAAAAAAAAAADES!!!
Let me say it with a GIF:
Parades are the best. They are like, “Hey, sorry it’s too cold to go to the beach now, but how about some free candy and an awesome marching band version of an old Michael Jackson song?”
And I’m like, “That sounds good. Throw in a float and we’ve got a deal.”
And then the parade is like, “Ok, but you’re probably going to run into someone you went to high school with.”
And THAT is when I started thinking: parade season is a great time to read a Homecoming Read! That is, a book about going back home, back in time. A book that might make you remember what it’s like to be a teenager living in a dead-end town or a big city with its arms wide open.
Hey guess what?: the public library has those! Here are few suggestions. Come get one! Holding one of these books will make you look super smart while you are standing on the side of the street waiting for people to throw Tootsie Rolls at you.
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler: Boyhood friends who grew up together in Wisconsin and a woman, once a girl, who has impacted all four of their lives at one point or another. A wonderful novel about place and the place where you come from. A bestseller and partly inspired by the life of the author’s real-life hometown friend, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame.
Say Nice Things About Detroit by Scott Lasser: David retreats to his hometown of Detroit, twenty five years after he left. Can he put his life back together? Can Detroit?
Life Sentences by Laura Lippman: A woman goes back to her hometown to investigate the story of an old classmate who is in jail for a heartbreaking and terrible crime. She only wants a tale to tell for her new novel. But as she digs deeper into the life of this classmate, she pulls up the dirt of her own past as well.
Two Guys from Verona: A Novel of Suburbia by James Kaplan: Two old friends meet back up at their 25th high school reunion. Both lead very different lives and each feels sorry for the other. It gets good and dark.
Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: What if you actually had married your high school boyfriend? What if you hadn’t? Reid tells both stories, one next to other, in this exploration of love and fate and time.
Local Girls by Caroline Zancan: Girlfriends who grew up together in a “one-horse” Florida town spend their restless summer nights at the local bar, where one night they run into a celebrity. Funny, relatable, and exciting.
The Fever by Megan Abbott: Get back the feeling of being a teenager while simultaneously celebrating Halloween by freaking yourself out in The Fever. Jodi Picoult called this a “panic attack of a novel”. Then get your mean girl on reading another stellar Abbott novel, Dare Me.
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes: The author says his graphic novel is about “the lives of two recent high school graduates from the advantaged perch of a constant and (mostly) undetectable eavesdropper, with the shaky detachment of a scientist who has grown fond of the prize microbes in his petri dish.” I say it’s a engaging story about the complexities of teen friendship. Also a movie.
Rocket Boys by Homer Hickman: This memoir about Hickman’s 1960s youth in coal country was turned into the movie, October Sky. Hickman grew up to be a NASA Engineer. So now he’s a rocket scientist AND a bestselling author. But you’re probably doing ok, too.
Carrie by Stephen King: Let’s hope you’re not reliving any high school memories when you read this book. Unless you were unfortunate enough to be a teenager named Carrie in 1974.
An Almost Perfect Moment by Binnie Kirshenbaum: “For all of her loveliness, Valentine was a spaz.” This is one of my favorites. A teenager in between girlhood and womanhood in 1970s Brooklyn. High school teacher crushes, mah-jongg, heart, it’s all there.
Fear Street series by R.L. Stine: If you really want to remember what it was like to be a teen, read something you actually read when you were that young. I still can’t apply red lipstick without checking to see if someone put a needle in it (What up, Silent Night, supah chiller).