Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Part 3: Books Part 2 - YA

Young Adult books, just by their name carry a stigma to some, but I say trash that, as my friend said over on her blog the other day, Ya for A! Young Adult books are no longer just for the teens, do not feel bad for looking at these books in the bookstore! With authors like Neil Gaiman stepping into this genre and winning the Newbury, you can see that these are books everyone should be reading (a note, a Newbury winner doesn't guarantee a good book, but pick up The Graveyard Book and you won't be let down). I personally believe that while Young Adult books have always been around and good it wasn't until Harry Potter came that J. K. Rowling was able to dent the preconceived notion of what defines childrens and what defines adult literature. She broke down the stereotypes to an extent, opening the flood gates to a whole new world of well written extremely successful Young Adult authors, from Shannon Hale, even to Stephenie Meyer.

Young Adult seems to be broken down into two categories. The first is the more true to life, or at least mildly realistic and more confessional books. These range from The Gossip Girl series, which can be over the top, some would say overly mature for their age bracket, to my favorite, the Georgie Nicholson books by Louise Rennison. I love the Georgie Nicholson books because they are quite literally if Bridget Jones had written books as a teenager. Georgie is very British, very funny and her, some would say, bastardization but I will say inventiveness, with the English language is priceless. (There is even a British to American, aka Hambuger-a-go-go-ese, dictionary.) Her tenth and final book is out this month in England, look for it stateside in the fall.

The second category is Science Fiction/Fantasy, where I usually dwell. In fact a lot of my favorite authors are considered part of this genre. I personally like Young Adult Sci Fi/Fantasy because unlike the adult books you don't get unnecessary graphic sex. I'm not a prude, but I think that the sex should be a part of the story and occur naturally, and not all be lesbian, I mean come on, not all women in this genre will go for other women if given the chance no matter what the typical fanfic and slash writers think. Even George R. R. Martin falls prey to this with some of his characters and I ask why? Young Adult writers are doing pretty good without it (aside from Stephenie Meyer) thank you!

So I suggest you go out to your local library or bookstore and spend some time in the Young Adult section. You might get some strange looks, but I guarantee you will find something you like, and maybe even something you love.

Authors I would strongly recommend:
Cornelia Funke - Her Inkworld series dealing with literally inhabiting books is wonderfully dark and very reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm. The first book, wrongly translated as Inkheart, it's real title is Inkblood, is the weakest, but the final two should not be missed.

Neil Gaiman - If you haven't read his teen books you are missing his best writing, check out Corlaine and The Graveyard Book.

Shannon Hale - Her books of Bayern, starting with a re-telling of the Brothers Grimm's Goose Girl are wonderful. Also recommended is her Book of a Thousand Days.

R. L. LaFevers - Her Theodosia Throckmorton books encompassing the world of Egyptology are fabulous. I'd especially recommend her for fans of Arthur Conan Doyle, The Mummy, or what it reminds me most of, the best movie ever, Young Sherlock Holmes!

Christopher Paolini - I love him, though most people say his fantasy about Dragons is just a mish-mash of other writers, I still love them, and find them better written than most.

Terry Pratchett - His Tiffany Aching series about a young witch brings back all the Discworld witches we know and love and uses them as background for a young witch in training. And the Nac Mac Feegles! Och Eye!

Louise Rennison - Bridget Jones if she was a slightly funnier and loonier teen.

Authors I would avoid:
C.S. Lewis - Narnia, yeah it's good for awhile, but it goes all religious weird and then he kills everybody! Except Susan, cause she likes make-up...personally I'd be siding with Susan if it meant I lived.

Stephenie Meyer - What started out as a good series with a chance to be different ended up showing us that even in a world of Vampires you need to have a man and a child to be complete.

Authors I have not made my mind up on:
Melissa Marr - I just started her Wicked Lovely series, and I like the dark fairies and the different courts, but it does have a boy that can it might be headed the way of Stephenie Meyer...


I absolutely can not agree with you more on Narnia and Twilight. Seriously, oh my god! It's like you took the words out of my mouth.
Cornelia Funke is awesome, have you read The Thief Lord, it's such a page-turner!

Anyways I found your blog on the GR wildthings group, and just had to comment/become a follower!

Why thank you for joining! It's nice to find people of like mindedness. I have not read The Theif Lord yet, but it's on my to read book, I just can not believe how awesome Cornelia Funke is. I was hesitant because I wasn't wild about Inkheart, but it just goies to show that you should always be willing to continue on because Inkspell and Inkdeath are amazing.

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