Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Help a Reader Out.

Doug just finished the first book in the fabulous Bartimeaus trilogy and will soon blow through the rest. Kate and I are cackling with glee, of course, because this means yet another convert to relay the greatness that is Jonathan Stroud, but I'm in a bit of a quandary. You see, I have yet to find another Intermediate (or Young Adult) author that captured me the same way that Stroud did. In my defense, I rarely venture into the Children's section at the store unless someone forces me (its a scary, messy place, people). I've gotten better than I used to be, but I just don't have the knowledge to give Doug what he needs.

That's where y'all come in.

Do you have any suggestions for great Children's literature books (ones that, in your opinion, are really much better suited for adults)?

Give me the names (and some reason why they are so great) and we'll compile a list for everyone because a good read is always appreciated.

See also: "One of those big questions" if you are feeling in a discussion type mood.


Milady Insanity said...

Holly Black's Tithe. I didn't think the follow-up, Valiant, was as good, but it was still worth a read.

It's also a fantasy, and there was just something about that book that made me read it twice despite the towering TBR pile. Plus I really love her voice.

Diana Peterfreund said...

I thought Valiant was better than Tithe. It's an urban fantasy about runaway kids who live int eh sewer and work as drug dealers for a troll.

Any book by Scott Westerfeld, especially the ones he's writing for Simon Pulse and Razorbill. The Uglies series is 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.

One of his Razorbill books, So Yesterday, has been optioned for film. 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.

TEACH ME by R.A. Nelson is 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.

SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson, about one girl's spiral into depression and invisibility after a serious trauma in her life (was also made into a television movie).

I've also heard good things about LOOKING FOR ALASKA, which won all kinds of major awards, but I haven't been able to find it on shelves. (There's a travel book by the same name, but this is the one set in a southern boarding school.)

A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY and its sequel, REBEL ANGELS, by Libba Bray, is the 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.

Check out some of the Penguin Razorbill books, in general, BSC. They're a YA imprint who is trying to put out some very thought-provoking and interesting novels.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Thought of some more:

ELSEWHERE, by (somebody) Zevin, published by Farrar, Straudd, Giroux, which is a Capra-esque examination of the afterlife.

The Philip Pullman "His Dark Materials" books, which I venture to say are misshelved in children's fantasy, and veer much closer to metaphysical horror. 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.)

The Giver series by Lois Lowry. The Giver won a Newberry many many years ago, I think, and seh's recently come out with two more books in the series -- Gathering Blue and another whose title escapes me. Another Future dystopian tale.

lady t said...

Cornelia Funke's Ink series(Inkheart and Inkspell)is 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!

I haven't read this book yet but it's on my TBR pile-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.

It's being marketed to teens but getting reviewed with the adult books in alot of places.

Melanie Hayden said...

I have to agree with Diana that A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY and REBEL ANGELS are among the best YA I've read recently. I couldn't put either of them down. Check out Stephanie Meyer's TWILIGHT, too. It may even be better than Bray's stuff. I hear Meyer's next is due out this fall. I'm waiting with baited breath.

jmc said...

I'll second (third?) the votes for Tithe, Speak and Inkheart. I've got A Great and Terrible Beauty, Twilight and The Book Thief in my TBR pile. I'm just finishing up Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, which is an adventure set in an ancient-Greece-like place. Other favorites: Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt, set in southern Illinois during the Civil War; Tamora Peirce's two Trickster books; A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly; and almost anything by Cynthia Voigt, especially her Tilghman family series.

Uh, it looks like I read a lot of YA books, doesn't it? I do read them regularly, but really, I sent a list to another blogger recently, so I just pulled the list up and picked the ones I liked best :)

Bethany K. Warner said...

Garth Nix. the Abhorsen trilogy. Also, what he's released so far of the Keys to the Kingdom series is fantastic.

also, very different genre, but Gennifer Choldenko's "Al Capone Does My Shirts" is very good.

Lisa Hunter said...

When I was a kid, I couldn't stand books about talking animals and magical worlds. I never read anything but comic books until I was old enough to read Madame Bovary. I only recently started reading children's classics (Narnia, et al.), so I could discuss them with my son.

I have to admit that Gulliver's Travels is 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.

Kate R said...

I love the truckers trilogy by Terry Pratchett but that is Pratchett, so I suppose you know it (for kids and NOT disk world--it's about gnomes)It's great.

And we're reading the Septimus Heap which has nice touches of humor. Two books so far and I still like it, though it's more obviously for kids.

Do you do Dianne Wynn Jones? Yes?

I like Megan Farmer's stuff too. ear eye nose? No, that's not what it's called. And she's not the author. Bother. I'll go put kids to bed and look it up on Amazon. (where I have a list of kids books I like to read aloud)

Jana J. Hanson said...

I've got to second (or third) the nominations for TWILIGHT, A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY and REBEL ANGELS, and TITHE.

I'm also enjoying MIDNIGHTERS by Scott Westerfield, as well as some romance-y YA books.

Doug Hoffman said...

Thanks! This is great. And good timing, too -- we're going to Vegas tomorrow, and that means real bookstores!

Anonymous said...

Summerland by Michael Chabon, the Abhorsen books by Garth Nix, and the Midnighters books by Scott Westerfeld.

Alex said...

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, and its followup Rebel Angels. I was immeditaly captivated and yearned for a cold rainy day where I could just curl up and read.

Kate R said...

oh YEAH Summerland. Absolutely.

Milady Insanity said...

Oh how could I have forgotten about Twilight?

I'm a new Pullman fan too--just finished the book a couple of hours ago.