Young Adult Literature

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Poubelle on Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:26 am

I was a little surprised to see "the Betsy-Tacy series" on the list, too. I know the later books cover her teenage and young-adult years, but in the first book the kids are 5, for god's sake. And in the subsequent books they are 8, 10, and 12. If that's not MR territory I don't know what is.
I could see the high school books (starting with Heaven to Betsy) being YA, but like the Anne series, the Lovelace books go into adulthood and marriage, too. Maybe don't pick entire series that cover a huge chunk of a character's life? I wouldn't insist that the Little House books are universally middle reader or YA, either. At least the Harry Potter books stay within a reasonable adolescent age range, even the first two are screamingly still aimed and kids and not teens.

I keep thinking of the Newberry/Printz thing, and y'know, the Printz award itself clearly doesn't care about adult themes or stuff like "encounters with the pervert in the stairwell" since it's picked stuff like Speak and Tender Morsels (I haven't even been able to bring myself to read Morsels because it just sounds like more than I can handle. Though I have heard that the author didn't write it as YA, the publisher just decided that was how to market it. BUT STILL).
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Jasmine on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:14 am

The Betsy Tacy books are definitely YA. The first few books in the series are childrens, but the high school years are YA, and even the two books post-high school are YA, no matter what their age cut off is. The "mature themes" thing is bullshit.

YA/MG used to be split up in bookstores by mass market vs. bigger books, but no more, because so many YA books come out now in trade paperback or hardback.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Instant Monkeys on Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:52 am

Jasmine wrote:YA/MG used to be split up in bookstores by mass market vs. bigger books, but no more, because so many YA books come out now in trade paperback or hardback.
Ah, see, I was wondering about that, because it was several years ago when I worked there, and I couldn't remember noticing it lately. And it hadn't occurred to me but yeah, I don't really recall ANY YA books in hardcover when I was a kid.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  choubetcha on Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:41 pm

The top 100 list is out.

I find it interesting that as the contest (?) progressed, NPR seemed to lean toward calling it best teen instead of best YA. Maybe a reaction to all the complaints about books being left off? I'm having trouble finding the earliest posts in the series, but I think that the headlines initially called for YA nominees and mentioned teen books in the text and now that order has been switched.

Considering the long list, I think the top 100 is pretty solid. I was surprised by how many VERY recent books made the long list, but most of those seem gone from the top 100 unless they are seriously excellent.

A heads-up to those looking at the printable list, a bunch of authors and titles are paired incorrectly on there but are correct on the fancy one.

ETA: In non-NPR news, Megan McCafferty is writing middle-grade prequels to the Jessica Darling series.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Gilraen on Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:52 pm

Should I be reading John Green? I've seen his books around, but they always seemed like standard teen issuefare, so I didn't give them a close look. But he's all over that list.

Also, I'm a little distressed that, for instance, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is ranked below not one but two of Cassandra Clare's series, Twilight, and the Insurgent books, but I guess that's the nature of popular vote lists and I should make my peace with it.


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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  BreezyK on Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:04 pm

Gilraen I think he's far from standard, or if they are standard, they're distinguished by the care and "voice" that he has. They're generally told from a sensitive male protag's POV, and he's not great with girl characters (they can veer towards the MPDG stereotype), but I think he's a really excellent writer. I would rank them:

1) John Grayson, John Grayson - I think this is a really excellent introduction, with the caveat that he shares authorship with David Levithan, whose character I think is stronger in this one.
2) The Fault in our Stars - tearjerker. His one female protag, a cancer afflicted teen. This is his most recent and it is beautiful.
3) Then the other three which are more similar - I might suggest reading those in publication order so you can see how his writing has developed - but they're a little same-y, so if that bugs you, I think probably Looking for Alaska is my favorite.

Please report back on how you like them!

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Gilraen on Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:16 pm

Thanks, Breezy! I might start with The Fault in the Stars. I finally read If I Stay (which is as lovely as everyone says) and it put me in the mood for tearjerkers.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  katesti on Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:30 am

Definitely read John Green. I sped through them this spring.

My rankings:

1) The Fault In Our Stars (BY SO MUCH)
2) An Abundance of Katherines
3) Will Grayson, Will Grayson
4) Paper Towns
5) Looking For Alaska

But really, I loved them all, so you'd probably be okay reading them in any order.

And YAY for If I Stay. I'm so glad my former friend returned that before we broke up recently. Have you read Where She Went yet?

My new book club (official title: "A Club For Books, Movies, and Snacks, but Mostly Snacks") is starting with Dark Water by Laura McNeal. I just got it from the library tonight and will start it in the morning. Anyone read it? (Accompanying movie is Like Crazy, accompanying snacks will include Dark and Stormys.)

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:26 am

With the sole exception of Paper Towns, I've greatly enjoyed all of John Green's novels. He takes such care when writing teenage characters and gives them tremendous depth, range, and purpose.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Gilraen on Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:44 pm

katesti wrote:

And YAY for If I Stay. I'm so glad my former friend returned that before we broke up recently. Have you read Where She Went yet?

I have read Where She Went! I didn't love it as much as If I Stay, but it was lovely too. It's funny - it read a little like (really good) fanfiction to me. I felt like a really interesting version of where they ended up, but I was also left feeling like I'd love to read other takes on it as well.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  mayram on Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:55 pm

I finally read If I Stay (which is as lovely as everyone says) and it put me in the mood for tearjerkers.

I just read that one a month ago, I loved it. Very sweet and sad.

I have read Where She Went! I didn't love it as much as If I Stay, but it was lovely too. It's funny - it read a little like (really good) fanfiction to me. I felt like a really interesting version of where they ended up, but I was also left feeling like I'd love to read other takes on it as well.


I agree, I wasn't really sure how it was going to wind up and I can't decide whether I would have wanted it to end differently or not.


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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  SarahJanet on Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:02 pm

If you're looking for a tearjerker, I think The Sky is Everywhere might be the hardest I've ever cried in a book. God, it was so good.

I like John Green but I think his dominance of that list has little to do with the quality of his books and much more to do with his large, vocal, web savvy fanbase.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Jasmine on Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:02 am

SarahJanet wrote:If you're looking for a tearjerker, I think The Sky is Everywhere might be the hardest I've ever cried in a book. God, it was so good.

I like John Green but I think his dominance of that list has little to do with the quality of his books and much more to do with his large, vocal, web savvy fanbase.

Hahaha, Sarah Janet you and I share a brain, because I was literally coming to this threat to say exactly this. He has a huge huge obsessive fanbase (not because of his books, but they read his books too), which is why he's all over that list. I like his books, don't get me wrong -- Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars the best, but I like all of them. I like Will Grayson, Will Grayson the least, but that's not John Green's fault, it's because I only liked the half of the book that he wrote.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Gilraen on Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:44 am

Hahaha, Sarah Janet you and I share a brain, because I was literally coming to this threat to say exactly this. He has a huge huge obsessive fanbase (not because of his books, but they read his books too), which is why he's all over that list.

I seem to remember some Science Fiction list that John Scalzi ended up all over (not the NPR one - a British newspaper maybe?) for the same reason.

I started reading The Fault in Our Stars last night and then all of a sudden it was 1:30am. Work it kind of painful this morning.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Luthien on Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:44 am

I enjoy Green's vlog in moderation (I haven't been able to decide if I prefer John or Hank overall; probably John though Hank's a good songwriter), but I've never been able to get into his books. I tried Looking for Alaska but didn't like any of the characters, and it's hard to keep going when I can't like anyone. Friends whose tastes I trust have told me that Fault in Our Stars is far and away his best, so I'm planning to give that a try one of these days.

I'm reading A Brief History of Montmaray, and while I'm enjoying it, I keep getting reminded of I Capture the Castle, and that just makes me want to re-read I Capture the Castle.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  curryalley on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:03 pm

I've been marathoning Diana Wynne Jones now that some of her titles are back in print. I started with A Tale of Time City since that was the first book of hers I ever read when I was a kid but found it doesn't hold up as well and didn't care much for it. I just finished Dogsbody which was sweet and charming and had me blinking away tears at the end. Love. Love love love. I'm on the last one of hers I got in my most recent round of book buying, Fire and Hemlock. I remember liking it but not understanding it when I was a kid but now that I'm a third away through, all I want is to keep reading it. It's an incredibly special piece of work.

And did I tell y'all I read Team Human and liked it a lot? I adore Sarah Rees Brennan and will read anything she does but I was slightly concerned about Justine Larbalestier - I thought some of Liar was problematice. I liked the book a lot. It was funny, gently mocked the creepier aspects of Twilight, the vampire is essentially Edward from Growing Up Cullen (AHAHAHAHA), and the whole thing is about letting people have their own agency and be responsible for making decisions in their own lives. A light, fun read.

Also the Fug Girls' Messy. Which I adored and think I enjoyed more than Spoiled, actually.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Cynara on Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:26 pm

Is The Sky is Everywhere the British one told in first person by the girl who's dying of cancer and she falls in love? Because, yes, I read that all the way through in B&N and I was actually weeping a little. It was much, much more heartwrenching than The Fault In Our Stars, at least to me.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Kiran on Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:36 pm

Thats Before I Die by Jenny Downham. She also read Me Against You which was quite good. It was about two teenagers on the opposite sides of a rape case (his sister is the victim, her brother is the accused) who fall for each other. Sky is Everywhere is about a girl whose sister has died.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Menshevixen on Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:07 pm

I'm reading When You Were Mine for the Forever YA book club and mostly wanting to slap all the characters.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  BreezyK on Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Oh my god, RIGHT, Menshevixen? Is she a friend of theirs or what? Because usually their choices are spot on, but this one was reeeeeaaaalllly mediocre. AND it wasn't available at the library, which means a) that there can't have been too many people clamoring for it and b) that I had to pay for it on my Kindle, which uuuuugggghhh.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Menshevixen on Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:56 pm

Yes! Yes! It was SO HARD to find--I have two really excellent large urban library systems near me, and one of them didn't have it at all and the other only had two copies in two different branches, both of which were checked out. I borrowed it from another book club member who got hers through ILL. Like...what is this book? Why exactly was it chosen?

I'm only halfway through, but I'm reading it really halfheartedly. For one thing Rob drives a Volvo. Never a good sign.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Cynara on Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:47 pm

Kiran wrote:Thats Before I Die by Jenny Downham. Sky is Everywhere is about a girl whose sister has died.
Oh balls. Well, it made me cry in public. Good times.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Menshevixen on Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:43 am

Anyone else stupidly excited that Mark Reads has just started Alanna: The First Adventure?
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  inversed on Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:03 am

WHAT!!! I was never a fan of Mark Reads because the conceit just doesn't do anything for me, but I may get over that for this one.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Gilraen on Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:52 am

I'm enjoying it! I was worried he'd think it was too childish, but he seems to be taking it for what it is. I know that the Alanna books aren't technically as complex or probably good as what Pierce wrote later, but I read them when I was the perfect age and I've always loved them completely uncritically.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

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