All posts tagged: Young Adult

Judy Blume

I don’t know Judy Blume! I write that with some incredibility in every keystroke, because Judy’s books have sold over 80 million copies in 30 some languages. That is truly amazing! Judy Blume was born in 1938 in Elizabeth, New Jersey and dreamed on a life where she wasn’t a dentist like her father nor a homemaker like her mother, but she never dreamed of becoming a writer. She always had a lively imagination, but it wasn’t until she had children of her own, that she began to put pen to paper. A plethora of children’s and young adult novels followed (and three adult novels). Judy has an amazing website, which I highly recommend. It is full of interesting information about Judy’s books, about writing, and about anticensorship. (Hurray!) Here is for example what Judy says about rewriting: [T]o me, rewriting is the most exciting part of the process. When I’m rewriting, I feel most creative. I’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle and now I get to put them together. I go through …

Asylum – Madeleine Roux

Asylum has a creepy vibe even before you open the book. The cover photo is of a girl or woman who turns her head just as the photo is taken, or maybe there is something sinister about her. That atmosphere is unease that continues through the book is Asylum’s forte. The book includes disturbing photos that tie into the story. You know there are there, but they creep you not nonetheless. And the peculiar thing is, I looked at the photos before I read the book, and didn’t find them scary, but as I turned the pages and saw e.g. the girl dressed in her Sunday best, staring into the camera with empty eyes and with a jagged scar across her forehead, I was definitely scared. Dan Crawford attends the summer programme at New Hampshire College and just happens to be housed in the old mental institution Brookline. Dan and his newfound friends Abby and Jordan explore an old office and find a disturbing photo that Abby feels strangely drawn to. Dan on the other …

Tithe – Holly Black

When I stumbled across this young adult novel in the library, I whispered the title aloud. The word “tithe” has a wonderful sound and it is one of the words that just tastes good. The definition of “tithe” is heavier than the pronunciation. Tithe is obligatory payment to a lord or the church well known in feudal societies. I pulled the small volume from the shelf and was equally pleased to see the cover. A bright pair of butterfly wings on a dark background with ornamental across the entire page. The cover lured me in like a moth to a flame. Pun intended. “Tithe” is a young adult novel, so of course the protagonist is a 16-year-old girl, lost in her ordinary life, who finds out that she is special in a dangerous, risky environment. No surprises there, but I was surprised by the ordinary life, Kaye inhabits. She is a modern nomad, who has followed her wannabe rock star mom around. She is no stranger to alcohol, wild and weird parties, and irresponsibility. The …

Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

(Includes rant about young adult fiction) I love it, I hate it, I love it, I hate it – I have the same guilty conscience after reading Beautiful Creatures as when I have eaten too much chocolate and enjoyed every bite. Here is yet another young adult novel with a supernatural twist and lo and behold, the main characters are teenagers and the balance between good and evil in the world is at risk. So far, Beautiful Creatures is generic, one in an unending line of young adult novel á la the Twilight Saga, and yes, this one is now a major motion picture. Surprised? Nah, not so much. However, Beautiful Creatures made a good impression on me and has its own identity and unique supernatural world. Winning characteristics include the male protagonist (I kid you not) and the novel’s Southern flair, which is far from the white trash in the Sookie Stackhouse series, but retains that old plantation, Civil War reenactment, history-saturated atmosphere, which the authors manage to incorporate in the plot. The uniqueness …

Matched – Ally Condie

Perhaps it is a shame that I read and reviewed “The Hunger Games” before reading “Matched”, their starting point is a dystopian society, where free will is a dream and the societal powers are manifest. In “Matched” the world is clean and organized by the officals and individuals are devided into castes regarding living conditions, jobs, and last but not least their partner. “Matched” begins with the teenage Cassia who attends her matching ball where she will learn the identity of her match. Lo and behold, the face on the screen is her best friend. Later, she sees a flash of someone else, again someone she knows, but someone who is not in the matching pool at all. Hello love triangle. The story plays out smoothly and the pages disappear quickly, but “Matched” does have a major flaw in my opinion. The story ends unresolved and with a cliffhanger. I am sure that from a marketing point of view, this is a sharp move, but I believe that any book, whether or not it is …

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Once again I have plunched into the young adult genre, this time reading the first installment of The Hunger Games Trilogy, and I found “The Hunger Games” thought-provoking. True to the genre, “The Hunger Games” features a teenager taking on adult responsibilities, including the obligatory love triangel and smoldering romance. What hooked me in “The Hunger Games” was the societal framework. The landscape of North America has changed, so that 12 provinces supply the capital while battling starvation. In memory of an attempted uprising, each province has to put forth a girl and a boy each year to participate in the hunger games – a reality show/battle to the death for the entertainment of the capital. This society is alien enough to appear fictional and yet still close enough to reality to crawl under your skin and feel ominous. Furthermore, “The Hunger Games” poses the question of how far does own fascination with reality shows goes. Where is the ethical line between entertainment of the masses and the integrity of the individual’s life, body, and …

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

Oh yes…. another young adult novel, which, surprise, is part of a series (The Mortal Instruments). It has all the characteristics of YA novels: teenage protagonist, brooding hunk, life and death situations, supernatural elements, sexual tension, and missing parental influence. There are times when I think, is this, what literature is coming to, but I also find these easy reads alluring. They are the comparable to cookie dough ice cream – wickedly good, but once you’ve had enough – you’ve really had enough.   “City of Bones” is about Clary Fray, who is raised as a mundane, but is beginning to see supernatural entities. Her mother goes missing, and Clary teams up with a group of teenage demon hunters wielding swords and a whip to navigate New York’s underworld of vampires, witches, were-wolves and whatnot. The novel is fast-paced and entertaining, but not memorable. I enjoyed a story world that integrates the different supernatural species in a convincing way. I am not speeding to the library to borrow the next in the series. “City of Bones” …