OVERVIEW: The Patron Saint of Nothing was nominated for a National Book Award. You can read a review of the novel by clicking here. You can read about it's nomination by clicking here. The author, Randy Ribay, is an interesting guy. His undergraduate degree is in English, but his MA is in language and literacy through Harvard's College of Education. In that way, he is uniquely suited to writing YA: he understands the literature part of YA and he also understands a point that we've been trying to make all semester long: that YA lit teaches important literacy skills. The question for today's class is how do we see this in the novel itself?
PROMPT: In roughly 300 words, this YA novel was a finalist for a National Book Award? What, in your opinion, merits that recognition for a YA novel? Considering our YA/literature discussions, (a relationship to authority/coming of age/melodrama), how does that work in this novel? As always, treat the novel as worthy of serious discussion as a piece of literature. That means you need to identify what the theme of the novel is and what in the novel makes you think that. It's fine to include your reaction to the text, but the larger point is to analyze the text as you would in any 300 level literature class whose focus was on more obviously canonical works.
REPLY: once you've posted, reply to at least one colleague. You can identify another aspect of the text that supports the theme someone wrote about it. You can disagree with someone's reading of the text and explain why. You can take issue with what someone says about why it should be or shouldn't be recognized by the National Book Award folks. In any response, be sure to not simply say "yeah I totally agree."