Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Books You Should Be Reading...

(So just ignore the fact that they are shelved in the Young Adult or Intermediate section of your local bookstore.)

Tired of the same ol’ same ol’? Young Adult and Intermediate books are the new realm for storytellers to boldly go where they’ve never gone before, so if you’re in the mood for an adventure then check out this reader generated list.*

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

Bartimaeus footnotes his thoughts, snarks at the wizard world, and helps save humanity even when he thinks the world might be better off without them. No where will you find a character as dynamic, sarcastic, and altogether morally ambiguous as Bartimaeus in his adventures with the humans Nathaniel and Kitty. First book: The Amulet of Samarkand.

Tithe and Valiant (Modern Faerie Tales) by Holly Black

Urban-gothic (fantasy) setting where “everything was strange and beautiful and swollen with possibilities.”

Any book by Scott Westerfeld specifically:

The Uglies and The Pretties (The Specials is not yet out)

“A future dystopian story about a society where everyone receives plastic surgery when they are 16 that makes them drop dead gorgeous. But what else are they giving up in order to live in their "pretty" world? Chilling portrayal of where our conspicuous consumption and focus on one particular type of beauty might bring us in the near future, suitable for both teens and adults who are interested in the barrage of "perfected" images that we face every day.” (Diana)

So Yesterday

It's the story of professional "cool hunters" who are the ones that invent the trends that everyone else follows. Suitable for anyone who ever wondered why we tried to follow a trend. (Diana)

The Midnighters Series (First book: The Secret Hour)

A group of children born at the midnight who has magical access to the 25th hour of the day and all the horror and powers that come with it.

Teach Me by R.A. Nelson

“Another Razorbill offering about a young woman who has an affair with her highschool teacher. Very real, very raw, very moving. Not exploitive or gratuitous, but a realistic and emotional portrayal of a very difficult situation.” (Diana)

A Great and Terrible Beauty and its sequel, Rebel Angels, by Libba Bray.

“NYT bestselling story of a girl in a Victorian finishing school who discovers a magical realm, but deals with issues of feminism, sexual awakening, class struggles, etc. Also, the covers are DIVINE. Sell themselves.” (Diana)

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

“One girl's spiral into depression and invisibility after a serious trauma in her life (was also made into a television movie).” (Diana)

(Diana also says to check out anything by Penguin’s imprint Razorbill)

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

“Capra-esque examination of the afterlife.” (Diana)His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman

“They're about a little girl, but deal with some very very serious issues. Not children's books at all, really. They're about the nature of childhood and the nature of God. And there's sex. (They're making a movie out of this one, too, but Harry Potter it ain't.)” (Diana)The Giver series by Lois Lowry.

“The Giver won a Newberry many many years ago, I think, and she's recently come out with two more books in the series -- Gathering Blue and the Messenger. Another Future dystopian tale.” (Diana)

Ink Heart and Ink Spell by Cornelia Funke

“Truly wonderful,especially for those already in love with reading. It crosses over quite well into an adult audience-why they haven't yet escapes me!” (Lady T)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“The thief of the title is a young Munich girl in Nazi Germany who copes with the stress of the war by swiping every book she can get her hands on. One of the main characters is Death,who also is the narrator.” (Lady T)

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

There’s nothing like high school romance, especially when the boy you love is a vampire. Melanie says, “It may even be better than Bray's stuff.”

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

“Follows the life of Jethro Creighton through five Aprils, from the April beginning of the Civil War to the April of its end. The war, unsurprisingly, changes everything thing in his life, including his family. While still a boy Jeth shoulders the burden of supporting his family and running the family farm.” (JMC)

Trickster series by Tamora Pierce

“These are the story of Aliane, daughter of Alannah, the King's Champion, and George, Master of Spies, from one of Peirce's earlier series. Ali becomes embroiled in a political intrigue in the Copper Isles through the machinations of the trickster god, Kyprioth. Trickster's Choice is the tale through the early stages of planning a rebellion. Trickster's Queen is the heart of the rebellion, along with a few surprising twists and turns with respect to who the new Queen of the Copper Isles will be.” (JMC)

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

“Mattie has ambitions beyond marriage and life on the family farm, despite the attentions of a handsome neighbor. While working at the local hotel in the Adirondacks, she meets a guest who later drowns. The guest left letters with Mattie with instructions to burn them, but instead Mattie reads them and learns that she was pregnant by her employer. Based on real life murder mystery from the turn of the 20th century.” (JMC)

The Tilghman Family series by Cynthia Voigt

“They are a little bit dated (one takes place during the Vietnam War), but still good. Set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The first book (I think) was Dicey's Song, which tells the story of how Dicey, a teenager, brings her brothers and sister home to the grandmother she doesn't know after her mother either disappears or is committed or dies, don't remember which. Mostly about a young person who is used to being responsible learn to trust and how to give up control to an adult. The other books are about her siblings, her uncle who died in the war, and then about people in her circle of friends. Solitary Blue is a good one of the series, as well.” (JMC)

Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Here’s a review by JMC.

Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

“To preserve life,the Abhorsen must enter Death.” (Amazon)

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Moose has a lot to deal with: an autistic sister, a mother obsessed with getting her killed, a new school and his dad’s new job at Alcatraz in 1935.

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

The four fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver.

“One of the funniest, filthiest books I've ever read. I can't believe I missed it all these years. Of course, I doubt I'd have gotten the jokes when I was nine.” (Lisa Hunter)

Bromeliad Trilogy by Terry Pratchett

“In a world whose seasons are defined by Christmas sales and Spring Fashions, hundreds of tiny nomes live in the corners and crannies of a human-run department store. They have made their homes beneath the floorboards for generations and no longer remember -- or even believe in -- life beyond the Store walls.” (Amazon)

Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage

“At birth, Septimus Heap is carried away for dead, and his father, Silas Heap, is entrusted with a baby girl. When the villainous Supreme Custodian tries to assassinate the now 10-year-old Jenna, who, it turns out, is the daughter of the murdered queen, the girl flees to the Marram Marshes along with some family members, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, and a young army guard known only as "Boy 412.”” (Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR)

Summerland by Michael Chabon.

An American Narnia.

5 comments:

Kate R said...

I forgot one -- City of Ember by Duprau and errrr the book after it.
and you forgot the Pratchett truckers series. No really, check it out.

Kate R said...

oh. Whoops! No you didn't forget it. I forgot how to read.

And I forgot Megan Turner wrote The Thief which my kids and I liked a lot.

OH, and An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden. I loved that book when I was a kid. I liked almost any Godden book.

jmc said...

Kate, I just read The Thief and enjoyed it thoroughly...a poster let me know that Turner wrote a follow up titled Queen of Attolia that is a much darker book.

BSC, I meant to come back and post summaries for the books I recommened. Hope it's not too late.

Across Five Aprils: follows the life of Jethro Creighton through five Aprils, from the April beginning of the Civil War to the April of its end. The war, unsurprisingly, changes everything thing in his life, including his family. While still a boy Jeth shoulders the burden of supporting his family and running the family farm.

Voigt's Tilghman family books. They are a little bit dated (one takes place during the Vietnam War), but still good. Set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The first book (I think) was Dicey's Song, which tells the story of how Dicey, a teenager, brings her brothers and sister home to the grandmother she doesn't know after her mother either disappears or is committed or dies, don't remember which. Mostly about a young person who is used to being responsible learn to trust and how to give up control to an adult. The other books are about her siblings, her uncle who died in the war, and then about people in her circle of friends. Solitary Blue is a good one of the series, as well.

Peirce's Trickster books. These are the story of Aliane, daughter of Alannah, the King's Champion, and George, Master of Spies, from one of Peirce's earlier series. Ali becomes embroiled in a political intrigue in the Copper Isles through the machinations of the trickster god, Kyprioth. Trickster's Choice is the tale through the early stages of planning a rebellion. Trickster's Queen is the heart of the rebellion, along with a few surprising twists and turns with respect to who the new Queen of the Copper Isles will be.

A Northern Light - Mattie has ambitions beyond marriage and life on the family farm, despite the attentions of a handsome neighbor. While working at the local hotel in the Adirondacks, she meets a guest who later drowns. The guest left letters with Mattie with instructions to burn them, but instead Mattie reads them and learns that she was pregnant by her employer. Based on real life murder mystery from the turn of the 20th century.

Anonymous said...

The first book in Cynthia Voight's series on the Tillerman family is Homecoming; Dicey's Song is the second (arguably the best of them), which won a Newbery award. They're long-time favorites of mine, but I also think they hold up well.

Doug Hoffman said...

Thanks, everyone. I may need to make a second trip to Barnes and Noble.

How's this for shortsightedness: they don't have an outside Internet line at B&N. I wanted to go online to check this discussion, but I couldn't. Just think how many more books they could have sold me if I'd been able to do that.

This list looks interesting to me, but I can hear my son complaining about all the female protags. Oh, well -- my wife likes reading this stuff, too!