In honor of The Anime Ewo Awards, I present the YA Agony Awards! Voting by rounds. Expect spoilers, though honestly these books are not exactly surprising, ie, the dog dies.

Please argue for your favorites or nominate others in comments.



[Poll #1138597]
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ext_12911: This is a picture of my great-grandmother and namesake, Margaret (fish slapping)

From: [identity profile] gwyneira.livejournal.com


The Red Pony is definitely traumatizing, but I think Where the Red Fern Grows is worse because of the second dog dying of grief thing.

Also, I was expecting depressing going into Taylor Five (since Siberia and Dr. Franklin's Island aren't exactly lighthearted), and the sheer grimness of it still managed to surprise me. Sheesh.

From: [identity profile] torrilin.livejournal.com


Or, this is why NO ONE sane gives a Newberry award winner to a kid.
chomiji: Hotaru from Samurai Deeper Kyo, a little closer to Kyo's blade Tenrou than he'd like, with the caption Uh Oh Crap  (Hotaru-uh oh!)

From: [personal profile] chomiji



You know, I was going to staunchly pipe up "But I love Roller Skates and re-read it frequently." And then I remembered that, yes, I do that - despite the fact that Trinket (the little girl Lucinda babysits) dies of pneumonia, and Princess Zaida (the foreign lady Lucinda befriends) is stabbed to death and Lucinda finds the body.



OK, The Good Master is cheerful! (But the sequel - set during WWI - makes up for it.)


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From: [identity profile] princesselwen.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-05-07 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand

Another Cheerful Newbery

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oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

From: [personal profile] oyceter


You are a young girl forced into marriage to a 50-yo man who gropes at you, so you decide to:
a) starve yourself, embroider insects on your quilt, and document how anorexia affects your body
b) kill yourself
c) kill your parents
d) kill the guy
e) all of the above!

(I don't know if b through e exist, but I'm sure they must be somewhere in the wilds of YA literature!)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Doh!

I also forgot about Sounder: Racists shoot and horribly mangle the kid's beloved dog, then his father is railroaded to prison on a trumped-up charge and comes back horribly mangled, and then the mangled Dad and dog die, and the protagonist is left to grieve in the evil racist country that killed his Dad and dog.

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From: [identity profile] heyoka.livejournal.com


You know, I think when I was little, my brother borrowed The Red Pony from somebody for me to read, because I was a horse nut and the book was about a pony, right? (He'd never read it.)

I remember wondering why Mom got rather upset and grabbed it from us and wouldn't let me even open the book.

From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com


You are part of the entourage of the Japanese emperor, your side loses a war, all of the ladies in waiting and the emperor drown themselves, but you wimp out and stay alive. You struggle through the wilderness and wind up with an ancient deformed potter. You look straggly and ugly. Your old admirer shows up and is horrified by your appearance. You marry the ancient deformed potter, but life is somehow better and more meaningful than when you were a courtier.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


That's Katherine Paterson, right? Author of "No one loved me or understood me, until I met my best friend Leslie. Who drowned."

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From: [identity profile] coraa.livejournal.com


You go blind from doing stunts with your pony.

Oh god, I remember that one (I think -- I seem to remember a dramatic leap into a body of water, a lake or possibly a pool). I had somehow suppressed the memory. Unless I'm remembering a different traumatic YA movie involving blindness and a horse.... which is distressingly possible.

When I was about eight, and starting to read YA in addition to kids' books, I got depressed over it -- suddenly it became evident that life was so much more bleak when you got older. Then, about a year later, my mom started me on novels for adults, and I was heartened by the way they were less depressing, as though maturity might not be a long slog through horrors.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken! She leaps into a pool and gets her eyeballs knocked out or something.

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From: [identity profile] spectralbovine.livejournal.com


1. Definitely rabies because you have to deal with the "It's not really my dog anymore" angst, and you're really just putting it out of its misery.

2. The dogs saved your life! And one dies of GRIEF. Come on now.

3. "And you're a clone" takes the cake.

4. More manners of death = more agony.

5. Dude, you accidentally killed your MOM. AND YOUR HANDS ARE MANGLED.

6. Please, you're blind! That's way more agonizing than a blind PONY.

7. A victory that ends in defeat!

8. Someone else takes away your happiness and then drags you into hell? Winner.

9. Um, you're insane. That wins the agony prize.

10. I think killing a sibling hurts way more than killing a parent because a sibling is younger and has more potential and is probably closer to you as a person (as in, similar).

This poll was awesomely sad.

From: [identity profile] karenhealey.livejournal.com


I am so with you on number 6. I would be sad about a blind pony! BUT I WOULD BE MORE SAD IF I WAS BLIND. Especially since ponies don't live as long as people and don't read LJ.
ext_6428: (Default)

From: [identity profile] coffeeandink.livejournal.com


Every single comment on this post is reminding me why I hated mainstream literature as a kid and gravitated to fantasy and science fiction WHERE NOT EVERY PERSON AND ANIMAL YOU LIKED HAD TO DIE.

Gwyneth Jones would have scarred me. Like Lord of the Flies.

the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)

From: [personal profile] the_rck


I couldn't read Lord of the Flies. I tried at least twice but never got more than about ten pages in before my instinct for self-preservation kicked in and prompted me to abandon the book. One of my high school English teachers claimed that that was because I already knew what the book was trying to convey-- That children aren't really human.

I disagreed with her assessment as I rather thought that children were quite human. Adults treat each other dreadfully, too, after all. They may dress it up differently, but it's still there.

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From: [identity profile] jalendavi-lady.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-07-30 01:25 pm (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] ellen-fremedon.livejournal.com


Last of the Winnebagos is Connie Willis, and it's not actually YA. (Though, who knows, it seems like just the thing to be grabbed up as the token SF story in an eighth-grade English textbook.)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Oh, I know. I put it on as a bonus, because a recent YA novel had the exact same plot.

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From: [identity profile] tekalynn.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-02-15 09:39 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] rushthatspeaks.livejournal.com


I feel that there should be extra points given if the book has been assigned as school reading, making it not only depressing but involuntary. For example, I had to read Julie of the Wolves in eighth grade, and no one in the class ever forgave anyone responsible. And I know I've heard of The Red Pony being assigned to middle-schoolers, though I didn't have it myself, and I'm pretty sure other books mentioned turned up on reading lists too.

The astonishing thing about Roller Skates, mentioned upthread, is that it isn't actually in any way depressing. I love that book.

My nominee for an addition would be It's Like This, Cat, a book I have not read in years and years but remember vividly because the protagonist's cat, to which he tells everything, does not actually (I think) die, but his grandfather does, and the government who come to tell him that he is being thrown out of the house and sent to foster care where he won't be able to take the cat STEP ON HIS KITTEN which THEN DIES. I could be wrong about the details. I didn't reread the book. I have just never been able to forget about the STEPPING ON THE KITTEN badly enough that IT DIES.

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From: [identity profile] eegatland.livejournal.com


Given the plotlines, I swear, I do not understand why I don't have a newbery award yet. Clearly I haven't killed enough pets. [scurrying off to set THAT item straight!]

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


I think that comment perfectly illustrates the difference between "angsty" and "depressing." You fail at depressing!

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From: [identity profile] takumashii.livejournal.com


I would recommend the book Welcome to Lizard Motel to anyone who is loving the awesomely depressing books. It's about the author's experiences as a mother whose children are assigned depressing books, and more generally is torn between protecting her children and not being able to... I had mixed feelings about it, but I don't think any book I've read so deliciously excoriates gratuitous emoness.


From: [identity profile] free-the-goats.livejournal.com


I know the "abandoned in a mental hospital" one, but not the "manuscript found by your starved corpse" one, can I get a hint? >_>

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


The Girl in the Box.

It doesn't actually say whether the manuscript or her corpse was ever found or not, but it's pretty clear that she dies alone in the dark, never knowing why.

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From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com


One of my children, looking at the middle-school summer reading assignments: "It's like they want kids to be depressed."

From: [identity profile] free-the-goats.livejournal.com


"Lord of The Flies"
"The Chocolate War"
"I am the Cheese"

All SCARRED me as a kid. The guy who wrote "I am the Cheese" apparently his life goal is to convince 12 year olds the world over that life sucks and suicide is the only way out. ALL his books make me want to kill myself.

From: [identity profile] veejane.livejournal.com


That was Bob Cormier! He was great. The nicest, gentlest little old man you ever met, who wrote these staggeringly disturbed stories about adolescent destruction!

(My favorite is Tenderness, which is a straight-up serial killer -- adolescent serial killer -- story. It's YA horror, but at least it's honest YA horror, not pretending to be uplifting and educational and shit.)

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From: [identity profile] rymenhild.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-02-15 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com


Next round, include Bridge to Terabithia.

From: [identity profile] panjianlien.livejournal.com


What exact kind of "trick" is it that you do with your pony that leaves the rider blind?

Sex writers of America need to know.

From: [identity profile] shaenon.livejournal.com



I voted for all the ones involving dogs, because it's always sadder when the dog dies.

From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com


ohhhh Dog of Flanders I fought bitterly against teaching that stinker...and as soon as i retired, the owner stuck that back in the curriculum. I hear that the kids loathe it just as much as ever.

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From: [identity profile] cija.livejournal.com


I was leafing through this oldish NYT Guide to chidren's lit, and they give a little capsule summary and judgement of each book, and one recurring comment they make about "problem" novels is, "this is a genuinely affecting novel, not just 'bibliotherapy'."

Which sounds good but actually means, 'it is safe to give this book to a kid with a dead doggrandmother, because it will not make them feel better about it or anything, don't worry.'

From: [identity profile] karenhealey.livejournal.com


You get up to all sorts of hijinks to save your old ex-circus horse from the glue factory, but in your final attempt to escape the glue man's clutches, you order the horse to rear and his HEART EXPLODES.

From: [identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com


Damn it, what about when your CAT dies?!!!

[stomps off, feeling neglected]

[also glad I never had a dog, because I would now be traumatized]
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