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Purple Daze Hardcover – March 22, 2011
Tim Wynne-Jones, author of The Uninvited
“Purple Daze is an explosion: a moment in time smashed into a thousand glinty, sharp-edged pieces, precise and dazzling.”
Valerie Hobbs, author of Sheep, California Young Reader Medal
"I stayed up half the night reading Purple Daze and didn’t want it to end. Ziggy, Mickey, Cheryl, and Phil have found a permanent home in my heart."
Ron Koertge, award-winning author of Strays
"Sherry Shahan took me right back to the 60's with this deftly-written, politically charged novel-in-verse. Be warned -- "Purple Daze" will put a spell on you, too!"
Rita Williams-Garcia, author of “One Crazy Summer,” National Book Award Finalist, Newbery Honor, Scott O'Dell Historical Award, Coretta Scott King Author
"Shahan's PURPLE DAZE puts us on the front lines of funky times, from Los Angeles to Da-Nang. A far out, implosive, psychedelic trip that ends in indictment. This is spectacular."
“Shahan captures the tension and desperation of ‘60s young people who were caught up in the events, while also highlighting the chaos with song lyrics. PURPLE DAZE will enable young adults to identify on a personal level with The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (Houghton Mifflin, 1990), which is often included in curriculum lists.”
“It’s a fast read and the story is really thought consuming. It also incorporates history. I could not stop reading until I was finished.”
Book End Babes.com 1/18/11
"Sometimes a book can surprise you. Sometimes you open a book and don’t know what to make of it. Sometimes you stay up until midnight reading a book and then stay up until three, reading it again. Sometimes all three are true, and (for me) that was the case with YA novel PURPLE DAZE by Sherry Shahan"
"A raw and stunning portrait of the 60’s. For those who lived them, Purple Daze will bring your past to life. For those who didn't, this story will make you feel as though you did."
"Compelling authenticity and emotional force."
"Deftly written, politically charged… Purple Daze will put a spell on you."
Purple Daze is a cutting-edge novel, strategically written to keep you wanting more as you delve deeper into the love and conflict of the rocky 1960s.
Told from the viewpoints of six main characters—Ziggy, Mickey, Phil, Nancy, Cheryl, and Don—Purple Daze gives the reader a dynamic experience of both the social and political ups and downs of a critical time in history. Not being your average historical fiction novel, Purple Daze is a combination of letters, journal entries, notes, and newspaper clippings jaggedly put together in free verse to express a timeline of war, relationships, political movements, and rock ’n’ roll.
Although sometimes hard to follow along, this story provides an insight into the mindset of teens during the year 1965, specifically into their exciting, sometimes funny, and always dramatic lives. Through life changing experiences like witnessing firsthand the Vietnam War, these six friends find themselves and discover the true meaning of friendship and sticking by what you believe in.
Slammed by the consequences of their actions, whether with relationships, parents, partying, or high school, Ziggy, Mickey, Phil, Nancy, Cheryl, and Don eventually grow up and learn to make the right choices. Touching upon controversial issues during this time, Sherry Shahan effortlessly describes how the six teens deal with whatever hits them; yet despite the plethora of action, Ms. Shahan manages to develop and maintain the characters’ individual personalities and perspectives throughout the entire story.
Eccentric yet tasteful, Purple Daze is uniquely and beautifully written, highlighting author Shahan’s one-of-a-kind writing style and technique. Whether the reader is looking for a blast from the past purposefully executed, or a rollercoaster ride of a novel, Purple Daze is sure to please both young adult and adult audiences.
School Library Journal
"Infidelity, abortion, friendship, grief, personal growth, and forgiveness are just some of the issues involved... Reluctant readers may be the best audience to enjoy this fast ride through the period."
Bethesda Library Teen Galley Reader
“It seems nothing’s changed from the ‘60’s and present day. Purple Daze touches on all the issues that still are alive today, and show how badly people were affected by them. Filled with teen angst, heart break, love, racism, and much more, Purple Daze is a must read.”
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If you're a Baby Boomer, this novel will take you on a trip down memory lane. Even if you weren't a teenager in 1965, you'll still remember what took place. If you're a teenager today, this will give you a good idea of what your grandparents' lives were like. The harsh reality of being drafted into a war that nobody wanted to fight in, besieged young teens in 1965.
The only caveat I had was that all the letters had the same voice. I wanted to hear a difference in the style of writing and speech patterns between the different teens. Also, the teens' stories could have been written over a longer period of time to show how things changed, or stayed the same.
Overall, a good read.
A good, quick read for young and old alike.
There were several times I had to reread something to figure out what had happened, where a certain subplot had come from, or how all these people were connected to one another. Normally I love books with more than just one protagonist, but the way this book was written, they felt a bit disjointed from one another. It felt like the book ended before it had really begun. A lot of things happened, but not a lot seemed like it were actually accomplished. I'm still trying to figure out just what the plot trajectory was supposed to be, other than covering a year in the lives of six young people in 1965. There needs to be more structure and focus than that to hang a storyline on, even if a book is more about character development than fast-paced action.
At times, it reminded me a bit of the NBC tv movie The Sixties, where they tried to pack in everything but the kitchen sink about the decade. It's just not realistic, even for heightened drama, to have so many events and popular movements all happening to one group of friends. A few of them felt kind of gimmicky and out of nowhere, like the early stirrings of women's lib and a coat hanger abortion. A subplot as serious as that shouldn't just be glossed over. There needs to be a reason it's in the story other than calling attention to when it's set. A few of the pieces of prose were even narrations of historical events that happened in 1965, like Malcolm X's assassination. Yeah, that's historically significant, but what exactly does this have to do with the characters or the storyline? It also seemed a bit anachronistic to have a teacher with the title Ms. Did any women before the early Seventies use that title or even know of its existence?
Overall, this wasn't a very memorable book. It would've felt better for me had it been in traditional prose, and without so many competing characters.