February 15, 2016 Booklist 13 www.booklistonline.com
brutal attack into context, explaining what
it meant to his family, his community, even
the country. Though he mainly focuses on
his sibling’s story, he also explains how the
senseless attack by two sick men who wanted
to hunt people (as one confessed to his wife,
who turned him in to police) contributed
to a national loss of innocence. At the time,
parents thought nothing of letting their children pedal through woods on their own. Not
today. Now a dad himself, he shares his feelings of guilt and what-ifs. The most painful
one may be, “Perhaps if I hadn’t asked Jon
for the alligator candy, he would never have
gone that day, and he would still be alive.” In
the end, Kushner imagines his brother telling him it’s not his fault. A tragic, haunting
story. —Karen Springen
American Girls: Social Media and the
Secret Lives of Teenagers.
By Nancy Jo Sales.
Feb. 2016. 416p. Knopf, $26.95 (9780385353922). 302.
In swinging for a Reviving Ophelia–type
blockbuster, pop-culture journalist Sales
has certainly chosen a flashpoint topic: the
all-consuming social media that, with every
favorite and like, builds a warped mirror
maze around our nation’s girls. Sales weaves
in everything from the history of cameras and
the sagging of the 1990s girl-power movement to cyberbullying and body dysmorphia,
but the book’s calling card is its refrain: the
real-life teens (and preteens) whose hanging-at-the-mall interactions Sales transcribes
with heartbreaking fidelity. Theirs is a 24-
hour marathon of posting carefully edited
pictures to fish for approval, deliberating over
the call for nudes from boys whose Axe Body
Spray can be smelled through the phone,
and desperately wanting to be a “cool girl”
rather than a “prude.” It’s all here: MILFs,
dick pics, smizing, fuckboys, doxing, belfies,
and twatching, much of which plays out on
social networks parents have never heard of.
Despite Sales’ tendency to panic, the girls
profiled emerge as oddly heroic: struggling,
persevering, and thriving through what Sales
calls “a kind of unease, a sort of buzzing,
rushing, anxious state.” —Daniel Kraus
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Current
enough to include October 2015 developments, this volume is being rushed to
press—with a 150,000 first printing.
YA: Though aimed at adults, teens will
flip to see their daily lives so compellingly
and sympathetically portrayed—they may
even text each other about it. DK.
Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases,
and Fifty Years That Changed American
Women’s Lives at Work.
By Gillian Thomas.
Mar. 2016. 272p. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (9781137280053).
It has been more than 50 years since the
Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West
Title VII Amendment to the 1964 Civil
Rights Act was put into law. This landmark
piece of legislation for working women came
at a time when job opportunities were few,
career advancement was unheard of, and
pregnancy and even marriage could bring
about instantaneous unemployment. In the
years since, women have gone on to comprise
almost half the country’s work force while
rising to the highest ranks in every profes-
sion. Yet those achievements weren’t attained
with the mere stroke of a pen. There were
real women behind these accomplishments,
women who had to sue for the freedoms
that Title VII purported to have granted.
Informed by personal legal experience and
an abiding respect for the lawyers and clients
involved, ACLU attorney Thomas examines
10 Supreme Court cases that challenged
the status quo, chronicles the formidable
legal obstacles overcome, and pays overdue
tribute to the intrepid women who fought
to end discrimination and right egregious
wrongs against women seeking their civil
rights. —Carol Haggas
Parenting for the Global Age.
By Maya Thiagarajan.
Feb. 2016. 224p. Tuttle, $18.95 (9780804846028).
Thiagarajan is uniquely equipped to weigh
Eastern against Western education. Born in
India, she moved to the U.S. for high school
and college. Then, after spending 15 years
teaching in the States, she and her family
relocated to Singapore. As a teacher in an
international school, she was able to compare the Asian teaching methods, students’
progress, and cultural influences with her
American experiences. Thiagarajan is quick to
admit that her conclusions are based on small
samples, but her observations are fascinating.
In America, she observes that language and
humanities are emphasized, and students are
urged to seek knowledge through discovery and experimentation. In Singapore, the
emphasis is on memorization, testing, and
mastering mathematical principles. Not surprisingly, Thiagarajan sees benefits in both
styles. Thiagarajan examines academics, the
importance of achieving balance, and the
promotion of cultural heritages. At the end of
each chapter, Thiagarajan provides extensive
“tips for parents,” offering concrete suggestions to reinforce relevant principles and
encourage parents to become active partners
in their children’s education. This is an excellent resource for both parents and teachers.
Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated
By Peggy Orenstein.
Mar. 2016. 336p. Harper, $26.99 (9780062209726).
Sex and teenagers have always gone to-
Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for
gether, but parents reading Orenstein’s frank
exploration of current trends may still be in
for a shock. She interviews more than 70
young women between the ages of 15 and
20, attempting to understand their views on
“when sex is sex,” the nature of hook-ups,
orgasms, oral sex, abstinence, sex education,
gender identity, online pornography, and
other hot topics. What the journalist found
again and again was talk of “what the boys
expected” and the girls’ “feeling of power”
in sexual situations. Teens spoke about un-
comfortable parents dodging their questions
and educators preaching only abstinence.
They seemed at a loss when asked about
intimacy and sexual satisfaction. Orenstein
compares the U.S. to Holland, where educa-
tion includes sexual pleasure, contraceptives
are readily available, and conversations are
open. This isn’t a comfortable book to read
(Orenstein herself admits twinges a few
times), but it’s an important one. Like it or
not, if parents are to prepare themselves for
honest conversation, they need to be aware
of the situations their girls (and boys) face.
By Edward O. Wilson.
Mar. 2016. 256p. illus. Norton/Liveright, $25.95
For decades, scientist, educator, and environmentalist Wilson (A Window on Eternity,
2014) has cogently and ardently sought to
awaken us to the grand intricacy of life on
Earth and the increasingly urgent need to
protect the wondrous biosphere that sustains
The Handy Anatomy Answer Book,
The Handy English Grammar Answer Book
The Handy Hockey Answer Book
The Handy Technology Answer Book
The UFO Dossier: 100 Years of Government
Secrets, Conspiracies and Cover Ups
Distributed by Legato Publishers Group
Over 25 Years of
and Exploring the