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Literature / Anastasia Krupnik

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Anastasia Krupnik is the first book of a popular series of middle-grade novels by Lois Lowry, depicting the title character's life as a girl "just trying to grow up". Anastasia deals with everyday problems such as popularity and the wart on her thumb. The book is written in episodic fashion, each chapter self-contained with minimal narrative link to the others. At the end of each chapter is a list written by Anastasia, listing her likes and dislikes, showing the character's growth and development through the story. Other books, with the exception of two, also had a link with each of the other chapters, such as Anastasia's science project, her "Chosen Career" essay, etc.

The Anastasia Krupnik series was 29th on the American Library Association's "The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000" for reasons such as references to beer, Playboy magazine, and a casual reference to a character wanting to kill herself. The series was also criticized because one novel of the series featured Anastasia replying to a personal ad and lying about her age and her life to an older man; however, the two never have any romantic experiences and when they meet, the man has no idea that Anastasia is the woman to whom he had been writing.


Tropes in these books include:

  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: At the end of the first book, Anastasia' baby brother Sam is born the day after their grandmother dies.
  • Child Naming Request: In the first book, Anastasia's parents say that they'll let her name her baby brother and promise to stick with whatever name she chooses. She writes down the chosen name in her diary, "the worst name she could think of". She doesn't actually use "the worst name," which is "One-Ball Reilly"; she names him Sam after their deceased grandfather.
  • Cold Cash: Variation: In one of the books, it's revealed that Anastasia's father keeps his manuscripts-in-progress in the crisper, in case the house burns down.
  • Did Anastasia Survive?: At one point, Anastasia learns that she was named after the historical Anastasia from her parents and promptly declares that she must be the missing Romanov. Her dreams are quickly dashed when her parents point out that as a 10-year-old in 1979, she is far too young to be that Anastasia.
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  • Innocent Inaccurate: Anastasia, many times, especially when answering a personal ad and sends him a picture, thinking thirteen is old enough to write to a man in his late twenties. Her last letter says "Someday...when I'm fourteen?"
  • Sweetie Graffiti: A non-romantic version: when Anastasia's family moves. Battling her sadness over this, Anastasia writes, This is my room forever. Anastasia Krupnik in small letters on her bedroom wall, then goes downstairs to her father's study to have a conversation with him, during which she acts like nothing is wrong. As she's leaving, she notices his name on the wall.


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