Saturday, October 13, 2012

Young Adult Books: Some Great Books For Teens

I'v always been an avid reader. I'm also a very fast reader. That comes from having been a journalist for so long. When you're working against a deadline, you don't have time to waste when it comes to doing research. So I've learned to plow through articles, books, newspapers, etc. very quickly.

That said, I average about three books a week. I was against ereaders at first because I do like the feel of physically holding a book in my hands. However, I love my Kindle because if I crave a book, I can download it right away and have it in my library. Plus, it saves a lot of space. My husband has a bad habit of leaving stacks of books all over the house. A good chunk of my books are now on my laptop.

I love to read all different types of genres -- horror, women's fiction, historical fiction. I also adore young adult books. I read plenty of these, partially because as a YA writer myself, I believe that it's my job to do so... but I really do enjoy teen literature when it's written well. As I said earlier in this blog, I like coming-of-age stories and the idea of characters experiencing things for the first time.

There are many, many wonderful YA books out there, but here are a few recent ones that I've read and think are worth checking out:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: This follows a day in the life on a mean girl on her last day alive before she's killed in a car accident. She then gets six more chances to live out that day, Groundhog Day-style, before making things right. At first, the character is rather unlikeable, but by Day 7, you're really rooting for her and praying for her to somehow stay alive. Each section is one (repeated) day; it's just a very fast-paced and intriguing story.

Farsighted by Emlyn Chand: This is the first in a series about a group of teens with special powers. That's been done before, but what's interesting about Chand's tale is that the lead character, who is able to "see" the future, is blind. What I also love about this story is that it's very character-driven. There is a lot of action, but a big portion of the book centers on the narrator's relationship with his father and love interest. It's a very well-writtern, realistic tale, which is quite a feat considering the fact that it's paranormal.

The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot: This series has been around for a while, but is one of my faves. It centers around Suze, a "mediator," who can see the dead and her love interest, Jesse, who's a ghost. Suze is a kick-ass narrator and heroine and Jesse is hot and sweet. Their romance takes time to develop and they make a great team. Meg Cabot's written many wonderful books over the years, but this series in her best, in my opinion.

Just As Long As We're Together by Judy Blume: This one's an oldie, but goody! I think I feel a special connection to it because it came out in 1987, when I was 13, and the characters were 13. Also, the narrator Stephanie's birthday is February 2 and mine is February 3... which would mean that if she were alive, she'd be a day older than me. But I digress. Though the book is 25 years old, the story itself it still very modern. It's basically about Steph's life as she drifts away from her old best friend, Rachel, and becomes close with a new best friend, Alison. Meanwhile, Stephanie also deals with her parents' divorce and her first crush. It's a very simple, sweet family/friendship drama, but this is something that we can all relate to, regardless of our ages. Still, I do laugh whenever they talk about old tech things like the idea of computers being a novelty. This also makes me feel very old!

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: I finally read this fabulous book this year, right before Jon and I went to see the movie. Both were great, but the book is slightly better. This was seriously one of the best teen novels I've ever read. It follows the life of Charlie as he deals with his freshman year of high school. He tells his story through letters to a never-named "friend" and the book reads like a journal. Charlie is hardly perfect, but is basically a sweet, good kid who's just trying to fit into the world and find his place in it. The story is raw and heartbreaking at points and you'll be thinking about it long after you're finished reading.

I could go on and on with recommendations, but I'm going to save more books for another blog entry. Meanwhile, please check out and review my book REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

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