Summer of Shelf Discovery Week 7, Chapter 7: “She Comes by It Supernaturally”

My summer read-along is the Summer of Shelf Discovery, where we’re reading a chapter of Lizzie Skurnick’s book memoir, Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading and some of the book selections she discusses in that chapter. This is week 7 (we’re more than two/thirds through!), and chapter 7 is “She Comes by It Supernaturally: Girls Who Are Gifted and Talented.”

The books Skurnick writes about in chapter 7 are:

Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck. (my review here)
A Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan
The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts
Stranger with My Face by Lois Duncan
Hangin’ Out with Cici by Francine Pascal
Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp
Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

This type of book–girl approaches puberty and comes into “powers” of some sort–was huge with me as a girl. Some memories:

Ghosts I Have Been: sparked obsession with Titanic sinking, which I followed with Peck’s Amanda/Miranda.
A Gift of Magic: the book I flagrantly ripped off in one of my first attempts, ca. 4th grade, to write a novel
The Girl with Silver Eyes: asking my 7th grade science teacher, grumpy Mr. D, about this when we were learning about genetics. He was not amused.
Down a Dark Hall: entered a library picture contest and had it posted on the side of the kids card catalog. (My friend Karen won for her entry on Farmer Boy. She was and is a talented artist.)
Obsessions with Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Isis, Jean Grey/Phoenix, Bionic Woman, even Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.

Without knowing the mythologic implications of a girl coming into powers that frighten men when she hits adolescence, I devoured these books and books like them: And This is Laura, The Girl with Something Extra, Carrie, and the fantasy vein of them–the Anne McCaffrey Pern books. Long before the Spice Girls made it a buzz word, I think these books spoke to me of a Girl Power that I longed for.

What did you read this week, and what did it bring back for you?

Previous Posts on the read along:

Chapter 6 “Girls Gone Wild: Runaways, Left Behinds and Ladies Living off the Fat of the Land”
Chapter 5 You Heard It Here First: Very Afterschool Specials.”
Chapter 4 “Read ‘Em and Weep: Tearing up the Pages”
Chapter 3 Danger Girls: I Know What You Did Last Summer (Reading)”
Chapter 2 “She’s at That Age: Girls on the Verge”
Chapter 1 “Still Checked Out: YA Heroines We’ll Never Return”
How To Read Along

4 Responses to “Summer of Shelf Discovery Week 7, Chapter 7: “She Comes by It Supernaturally””

  1. Amy Says:

    I’m reading A Gift of Magic now. I’m a little behind this week because I decided just to finish the frackin’ Telegraph Avenue and get that out of the way. I loved supernatural books too. They scared me to pieces, and I still couldn’t stop reading them.

  2. Alice@Supratentorial Says:

    I loved supernatural books too. I was a big Lois Duncan fan and read all of hers. Also Stephen King.

    For this week I read The Girl with the Silver Eyes which was one of my all time favorites. I can’t remember who wrote the essay in Shelf Discovery but I think they got it exactly right when saying that this book appeals because of the nerdiness and bookishness of Katie as much as because of the supernatural powers. I think I always felt a little bit of an outsider and would have loved to discover that there was a secret group of kids just like me that would become my best friends. Of course for me those kids would have the power of reading a lot and never having the exact right clothes rather than telekinesis. But still, it would be good to have a group.

    Because I’m reading it now with my son, I think the modern equivalent is The Mysterious Benedict Society. Not as much supernatural giftedness (except Constance and her ESP) but still the nerdy/odd gifted kids finding their own tribe. Also, of course Harry Potter.

  3. shannon Says:

    hey alice, my son LOVES the mysterious benedict society too!

    as for me, i read Down a Dark Hall, and Stranger With My Face this week. the former was familliar and i may have read it when i was younger, but the latter was definitely new to me and really scared me :)
    i tried to astrally project all the time when i was in high school - i even used an audiocasette with subliminal messages… if i had read that book back then, it would have frightened me off it! as it was, i tried lots of occult stuff - hexing my sister with a defaced photo and some of her hair (!) the ouiji board was my favorite sleepover activity.
    i had forgotten all about those crazy things i did until i delved into this ’supernatural’ chapter…

  4. crystal Says:

    I reread TGWTSE. I loved this book then and still love it now. A great geek-empowering, standuptothebully book that is also very entertaining. A great escape from reality this week.