"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

15 June 2018


Talley, Robin. Pulp. Harlequin Teen, 2018.

Abby's magnet school requires every senior to complete a special project connected to one of their classes. Abby chooses her creative writing class and delves into the world of 1950's lesbian pulp fiction. She begins researching one particular author and is captivated both by her story and by the story she writes. Abby is determined to meet this author, if possible, but since she wrote under a pen name, this is proving to be very difficult.

The best word I can use to describe this book is "meta." There is Abby's story of living in 2018 and going to protests and working on her senior project, and then there's the story of Marian Love, the author she is researching, and there is the story that Marian herself is writing in the 1950s. There are times when it feels a bit like one of the holodeck episodes of Star Trek: the reader is not always sure which layer of story they are reading.

I loved Abby's research and the disparity between the world Marian was forced to live in and the world Abby is growing up in. I, too, am now tracking down as many of these pulp novels as I can get my hands on. Although there aren't many teens who can relate to attending a school where they are encouraged to attend protests (or where their teachers join them at protests) or where they can work on such a large capstone project, I think most teens will be drawn in by Abby and her group of friends and will enjoy reading about Abby's research into the "ancient history" that is the 1950s. Highly recommended.

Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: homophobic language, particularly in the scenes of Marian's life; quite a bit of sexism as well in Marian's life - all of this is appropriate for the time period described
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Read-Alikes: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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