Why? A Good Book!

Cover of "The Astonishing Life of Octavia...

Cover via Amazon

I work in a high school library so it’s not surprising that I read a lot of YA fiction (that’s Young Adult to those of you outside the publishing/library world).  In fact, it would be safe to say that at least half (if not more) of the fiction I read is YA.  This is not just because I feel slightly less guilty about reading at work when I’m reading something from the collection — because part of my job is recommending books to students who ask for “a good book”, and how can I know which ones are good if I haven’t read them all? — but because this stuff is really GOOD.

Back when I was a “young adult” (way back in the Jurassic period when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the Sony Walkman was state of the art) there wasn’t a whole lot of good YA fiction.  It was mostly Judy Blume and Paul Zindel and everything had some sort of silly title like “Will You Be My Hamburger?” or “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” or “Run For Your Life, It’s a Giant Turnip!” (Can you guess which one of those I made up?)  Reality fiction and “problem fiction” ruled the roost and everything else seemed to be fluffy romance or sports books for boys.

Today, the YA market is amazingly varied.  Vampires and “Pretty Little Liars” wannabes are popular, of course, but that’s not all that’s out there.  I have read some lovely and thought provoking books over the last few years (and a few that are just plain fun):

  • His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman (fantasy)
  • Chanda’s Secrets by Alan Stratton (AIDS in Africa)
  • Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (science fiction – dystopia)
  • The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Vol. 1 : The Pox Party by M. T. Anderson (historical fiction)
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (life on the rez with a sense of humor)
  • Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison (just silly British fun)
  • Airborn series by Kenneth Oppel (steampunk adventure)
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (eating disorders)
  • The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (science fiction – dystopia)
  • Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld (steampunk awesomeness)
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (historical fiction)
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (fantasy with man-eating water horses)
  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray (inspired insanity — literally, it’s about a kid who gets Mad Cow disease)
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (satire and wackiness complete with beauty products and pirates — plus an exploding volcano)
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (a glimpse into the future?)
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (historical fiction)
  • anything by John Green (just read his books, they are damn good)
  • A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd (an amazing Irish writer who sadly passed away last year)
  • Impossible by Nancy Werlin (contemporary fantasy)
  • Maze Runner series by James Dashner (science fiction adventure)
  • Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (road trip romance)
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (supernatural thriller)
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley (quirky historical fantasy)

I could go on and on (and on and on …) but my hands are getting tired of typing.  Suffice it to say that if you are looking for a good read, the YA section of the library or bookshop should be your first stop.

One thought on “Why? A Good Book!

  1. Pingback: Day 314 – Accept and Start Small « A Year Of Living Wisely

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