Happy Birthday to the text message! ?? On December 3, 1992, the first ever text was sent from a computer to a phone. So what super important message did this first text convey? "Merry Christmas." ??
Since that auspicious day, texts have been used to tell stories. Like when you text your friend about the total hottie staring at you, or when you text your parents an excuse about why you're running late. But text messages have also been used to tell stories on a bigger scale. So given the birthday of our favorite SMS way of communicating, we're breaking down some of the YA books that use texts and other forms of electronic communication to tell their stories in unusual ways.
“ttyl”, “ttfn”, “l8r,g8r”, and “yolo” by Lauren Myracle
Format: IMs, texts, and other electronic communication.
Story: Three ?s who are besties call themselves the winsome threesome. Angela, Maddie, and Zoe share the ups and downs of their lives through messages on the ? and ?. They talk about everything from ?s to school to the mean queen ? to kissing. Lots and lots of ?. Because we only see the chats between the girls, we get an intimate look at their friendship, and the ?, ?, and ? that goes with trying to survive high school.
"iDrakula" and "iFrankenstein" by Bekka Black
Format: Emails, texts, web pages, Twitter feeds, and IMs.
Story: Both of these are modern retellings of the original ?s. In iDrakula, a teenaged Jonathan Harker is diagnosed with a blood disorder, and his girlfriend Mina and pre-med student Van Helsing discover that he'll soon fear ?, sleep in a ⚰, and drink blood. In iFrankenstein, instead of creating a monster from ???✋, Victor Frankenstein creates a chatbot that takes on a terrifying life of its own on the ?.
"Tweet Heart" by Elizabeth Rudnick
Format: Tweets, emails, and blog posts.
Story: ? likes ?, but ? likes a different ? - a tale as old as time. But there is a technological update to this story as the first ? pretends to be the second ? on Twitter to win the ?'s ?. The story is light and sweet, but it's also a reminder that you never know who you're really talking to online.
"Heart on My Sleeve" by Ellen Wittlinger
Format: E-mails, IMs, letters, and postcards.
Story: Since ? is just around the corner, Chloe goes on a college visit where she meets Julian, and they feel the ? and start a long-distance relationship. But this novel is not just about the two of them exchanging ?s, it's also about their relationships with their parents, siblings, and friends, and how people communicate differently with the various people in their lives.
"The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie" by Jaclyn Moriarty
Format: E-mails, diary entries, memos, letters, transcripts, school assignments.
Story: This novel is set at the same Australian ? high school as two previous epistolary novels and involves some of the same characters. Bindy is the smartest, kindest ? at school. Sadly, she's the only one who thinks that. She's very ? when she discovers nobody likes her and is determined to find out why. But there is an even more important mystery to be solved -- somebody wants Bindy ☠. The clues are in her ?, but time is running out to find out who's slowly killing her.
"serafina67 *urgently requires life*" by Susie Day
Format: Blog posts and comments.
Story: A ?? teen gets a shiny new ? for ? and decides to create a new identity and blog as serafina67. In her blog posts, she works out issues in her life, like the fact that her parents are ?, her dad is getting ? to a "monster," and she's trying to help a friend with an eating disorder. She's also getting over a mysterious "incident," and her goal is to be totally happy by its anniversary, but spilling her entire life on her blog may not be the best way to achieve that.
"Illuminae" by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Format: Emails, IMs, maps, files, medical reports, interviews, spaceship blueprints, and more.
Story: The mining planet Kerenza is attacked by a megacorporation, and the survivors flee in three ?s. Things get even worse when a deadly plague spreads among the survivors ?, and the ship's onboard ? goes rogue. Teens Kady and Ezra have just ?, but must awkwardly work together to find out the truth about what's happening, even if it means paying a terrible price.