Sunday, December 5, 2010

Steal from Your Child's Bookshelf? Why you should DO IT

When my friends Lisa and Fia came over for girls' night yesterday, the last thing I thought we'd do is discuss fantasy and dystopian YA. But it turns out that my friends had just experienced their first real crossover-YA novels with the Hunger Games series and were lamenting finishing up the trilogy and having no other series to read.

"What?!" I said in dismay. "Come to my bookshelf. I will show you the way."

So, after I thrust book after book in their faces, talking to them about plot synopsis, tones, and which ones are must-reads, they were both optimistic about diving further into the crossover-YA pool. With my lesson successfully taught, I was ready to get back to our girls' night plan (vino, beef bourguignon, the movie "Julie & Julia," and chocolate chip cookies), but then Fia announced that she had gotten the Hunger Games suggestion from Oprah's list of books to steal from your teenager. The tables had turned--I had never heard of this list!

This morning, of course, I scoured the internet for said list. I was saddened to find it only has four books on it--and to find it's not really "Oprah's" picks but those of a guest writer for O Magazine, YA author Lizzie Skurnick:
The Lost Conspiracy
By Frances Hardinge

J.R.R. Tolkien has nothing on fantasist Hardinge, who creates a complex universe of tribes and lands and codes of conduct, into which he then drops two very different sisters out to save their world.

The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins

Reading Collins's massively popular thriller/survival narrative/romance is like enjoying a blockbuster movie you didn't think you wanted to see. This one stars surly loner Katniss Everdeen, a courageous, cranky, and accomplished heroine who also happens to look great in a dress.

I, Robot
By Isaac Asimov

Don't laugh! If you think Asimov is meant only for 13-year-old boys obsessed with computer games, it's time to look at this classic collection of brilliantly plotted gems t
hat anticipate not only our completely gadget-dependent world but also the philosophical implications of turning our lives over to smartphones.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
By Elizabeth George Speare
Laurel Leaf

When her grandfather dies, proud but penniless Kit Tyler must abandon her Caribbean plantation to bunk with cousins in a drab Connecticut colony where her brilliant silks and haughty manner go over like a bowl of corn gruel. Living in 1687, amid Royalist clashes and timeless romances, a persecuted Kit eventually finds the sweet spot between strength and will.

See the article HERE

All good reads, Skurnick's list is solid. But there are some I personally would've added to this baby:

The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse) - An amazing futuristic trilogy jam-packed with adventure, emotion, and thought-provoking ideals. I couldn't put it down and have shoved it at the majority of my friends...and my book club.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak) - Powerful and heart-wrenching, this dark contemporary novel is told from the perspective of a mute teen who suffered some serious trauma. One of my all-time favorite crossover-YA's. The film adaptation actually is pretty good too!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (Knopf Books for Young Readers) - A clever and creative trilogy that "attacks" the Catholic church and serves as a spiritual allegory, all while providing readers with an exciting and fantastical
story. Definitely a must-read for anyone new to the genre.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Knopf Books for Young Readers) - Taking you back to the dark days of the Holocaust, Zusak's incredible tale of a young girl with a penchant for stealing books. It made me laugh and cry and just run the gamut of emotions as I savored each page.

I could probably continue this list for hours, but seeing as I have a bunch of stuff to do before I head off to a hockey game (Go Sens Go!), I should probably cut myself off.

What are YOUR must-read crossover-YA novel recommendations?

1 comment:

  1. I like your list better! Though Witch of Blackbird Pond is a classic... Man, I haven't read that one since my elementary school days. Almost forgot about it.