Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Saturday, March 26, 2011

Plot Summary:
After much debate, and confusion, Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley have finally put out a definitive guide to the term "Emo." According to this Simon & Kelley, " Emo is a kind of music, but more than anything, it's a state of mind"(p. 1). The term "Emo," is for "emotional," which can be applied to music, fashion, literature, and film. To be "emo," individuals are highly sensitive and in-tune with their sadness and use it to their advantage; hence, the success of Dashboard Confessional, one of the recent, and most popular, Emo bands.

Critical Evaluation:
Teens are at an age where they are not only experimenting with fashion trends, but are beginning their search for themselves and where they belong. In this guide, there is tons of information on Emo ideology, fashion, lifestyle choices (becoming a vegan or vegetarian), music selection, taste in movies, literature that should be read, history and television show NOT to be watched. Basically, this is a beginner's guide to everything Emo as well as handbook for those who have already converted. The humor and sarcasm are not only entertaining, but required since sarcasm is usually a teenager's best friend. Teens, and adults, will get a kick out of this book since it reads like an authoritative text, but, by no means, is authoritative. The drawings, time lines, fact boxes, and suggestions are incredibly useful, especially when deciphering the different types of Emo.    

Information about the Authors:

From the Back Cover of  Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture

Leslie Simon currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio and  is the managing editor for Alternative Press (AP) Magazine. She has made appearances on FUSE TV and MTV; her writings have appeared on E!Online, Stuff, and Teen People. When she has a few moments to herself, she makes Conor Oberst paper dolls (see link).

Again, according to the back cover of Everybody Trevor Kelly also works for AP Magazine as a leading contributor who currently lives in New York. He has also published articles with Spin Magazine, NME, and Harp Magazine. According to Kelly, his favorite emo album of the past ten years is Tell All Your Friends by Taking Back Sunday.

Teen Nonfiction; Pop Culture

Booktalking Ideas:
Before talking about this book, I would ask the teens what the term "emo" means to them and teen culture. I would then ask if they know anyone, or who happens to be, "emo." After hearing their response, I would read the "Foreward" by Leslie Simon and see what kind of reaction I get. Fads are a touchy subject for some teens (since they don't want be made fun of) so I would be careful not to offend those who currently practice. In stead, I would make this booktalk a mini-lecture about popular culture and its various subcultures; I would even go so far and tell them that I had a Goth phase.

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

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Awards & Recognition:

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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