Young Adult Literature

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Menshevixen on Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:10 pm

Yeah, I usually just read the Mark Does Stuff entries that are for things I've seen or read. I'm enjoying his reactions so far (although Intense Debate is kind of wonky? A couple comments have disappeared, which makes me sadfaced...I just want to talk, all safely cyphered, about how Ralon and Joren compare!).
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  curryalley on Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:28 pm

I just finished Paolo Bacigalupi's The Drowned Cities and loved it even more than the companion novel, Ship Breaker. And Ship Breaker won the Printz. I think these books are good ones to reccommend for anyone who liked The Hunger Games and is looing for something similar. The two serieses (seri?) aren't so different when broken down into their base elements but I find Bacigalupi's work much more sophisticated. I especially like how real the dystopian elements are. His books are all set in a world wracked with global warming long aftr all the oil is gone. Unlike the mysetious events that create a dystopia in other books and function like background and exposition because the setting isn't the point in other books, merely background dressing to the story you want to tell. In Bacigalupi's work, you can tell how where we are now might lead to the world his books are set in. They're heartbreakingly dark but still compelling and full of amazing characters trying to survive and maybe do the right thing if they can and if the world lets them. Basically, it's wonderful book and people should read it.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Instant Monkeys on Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:52 pm

OK! I totally will. That sounds right up my alley and I mostly liked The Wind-Up Girl.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  curryalley on Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:42 pm

Yay! It's set in the same universe as The Wind-Up Girl but because it's YA it's slightly less complex. There's none of the
Spoiler:
stuff about the genetically engineered crops.
(Spoiled because it's not a YA book.)

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  allochthonous on Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:14 am

Ooh, those books sound really interesting, curryalley - which of those three do you recommend reading first? I aremember about five years ago the first time I read a post global warming disaster book the concept seemed so original, and now I've seen it done badly so often I'm a bit blah about it all.

I just read The Declaration, and perhaps I'm being a little unfair when I say that for me it felt a completely pedestrian example of the primary colours have been banned and the government controls migraines school of YA dystopia. Cliched characterisation, baddies so pantomime-villain evil that I was surprised they didn't all wear black hats, practically no plot and thoroughly unbelievable worldbuilding. I was in a bit of a horrible mood when I read it, which I suppose didn't help, but still. Doesn't how dystopic and doomed-romancy you make your YA book people, it still needs a plot!

I did quite like the Healing Wars trilogy, set in a pretty well-realised fantasy world with the conceit that healers have the power to pull pain out of others and store it in a particular kind of metal, and the trilogy was all about wars that were being fought to control the supply of this metal. Fun, smart protagonist you could root for, with a good gang of friends and even a bit of moral ambiguity from the villains. Tali's saviour complex did begin to annoy me after a while - girl's been living on the street for years and is in the middle of a war, I don't buy her constant angst about failing to save everyone who gets injured/dies within a twenty mile radius of her - but a fun, quick read, and I burned through the sequels in a couple of days.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  big chicken on Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:29 am

Hee, when I clicked on your link, the generator gave me "Christianity has been banned and the government controls language" which would have actually been a great jumping off point for a dystopia. But the second time I got "Nausea has been banned and the government controls ballroom dancing".

A problem I have with some of the YA dsytopias is that the dystopia seems to exist more as an obstacle for romance rather than an examination of an aspect of our society. I read the book description of The Declaration and the first question that comes to my mind is why a parent, knowing any surplus child will be doomed to servitude and forced to atone for their parents, would want children. That's what the story should have been about--the tension between a child who resents her parents because she has to pay for the crime they committed and the parents who decided they wanted a child no matter what her quality of life was going to be. I haven't read the book so maybe the writer does touch on this issue but based on the description it seems more like another book where the love of a rebel/outsider gives the heroine courage to reject her supposed destiny and save the world.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  curryalley on Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:13 pm

allochthonous wrote:Ooh, those books sound really interesting, curryalley - which of those three do you recommend reading first? I aremember about five years ago the first time I read a post global warming disaster book the concept seemed so original, and now I've seen it done badly so often I'm a bit blah about it all.

The Wind-up Girl is probably the best way to get a sense of the grand scope of the worldbuilding but it's not YA, there's a lot going on with a lot of different people, and it took me a few chapters to get into it. Then once I did I thought it was brilliant and one of the most creative novels I ever read. If you want to test run Bacigalupi's world, I'd start with the YA. You can choose either Ship Breaker or Drowned Cities as they're companions and don't have to be read sequentially. They do share one character but it's not really clear how he got from Point A to Point B and at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. I haven't read Ship Breaker since it was released but I like the setting for Drowned Cities much better. The scale felt larger and more epic. I'd start with that one.

Things these books have in common with Hunger Games for anyone curious:

Spoiler:
Children fighting a war - though in this one has more in common with child soldiers in long long revolutions
Genetically modified creatures - both the animal kind and the walking and talking kind
Violence
Cruelty - very bad things happen to people simply because life is hard and the world they live in makes it harder
A need to travel through a very dangerous environment - the location at the end of the book could almost pass for an HG arena
Leaders doing wrong things for what they believe are the right reasons
People living in absolute poverty

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:26 pm

I think I'll give that Healing Wars trilogy a spin and see how it goes since I'm really craving some solid YA at the moment.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  inversed on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:16 pm

I just finished The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and I so wish I'd had this book when I was 13 because Frankie is like the best YA heroine since Anne Shirley. I can't wait till my niece is old enough to read (and enjoy) it!

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:15 am

That book isn't the start of a series, right? It's just that one single novel? I really loved Frankie and would give anything for sequels.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  BreezyK on Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:19 am

It SO reads like the beginning of a series, right? What with it ending at like Thanksgiving or something and the whole second semester just hanging out there...? But sadly, E. Lockhart has changed publishers since writing Frankie, so she apparently can't revisit the character (weep!)

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Carrie Ann on Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:42 pm

Is that the reason? Wow, that really sucks. Because I could read like 8 more books about Frankie.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  QueenSix on Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:15 pm

Not wanting to derail the thread, but how does that work? Does an author not retain rights to their characters? Like, if Stephanie Meyer decided to leave her publishers but had another idea for a Bella/Edward book, she couldn't get it published? (Not that I'd mind so much in that case).

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  big chicken on Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:25 pm

I think it would depend on the contract with the publisher. The author generally owns the rights to her character unless it's one of those Nancy Drew type situations. But Lockhart's original publisher could have the right of first refusal to any Frankie Landau books and Lockhart could hate them so much she refuses to write another book about Frankie so her old publisher doesn't make any more money.

It doesn't even have to be a matter of Lockhart hating her publisher. Maybe the contract for the Landau books aren't as favorable as her contract with her new publisher and she prefers to write books that make her more money.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Gilraen on Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:25 am

I just read Son, by Lois Lowry, which is her only direct sequel to The Giver. I . . . didn't really like it, which disappoints me because I love The Giver. But in that book she showed just enough of the world for it to be searingly vivid, while still leaving it mysterious. In this one she showed us more, but - and don't get me wrong, it was really compelling to read about; she's still a beautiful writer - failed to make it plausible.

For instance, she spelled out more of the inner workings of the Community, and it just started to fall apart. And I can normally suspend a lot of disbelief in this stuff but it was so in your face:
Spoiler:
I spent the first third of the book trying to figure out how on Earth they can have (a) a small group of unprestigious birth mothers who are selected - at great disappointment to themselves and their families - from among the Community, who then (b) only have three births each, but which keep the population steady, after which (c) they're not allowed to marry themselves. Most of the women in the Community would have to be birth mothers, and then, since we know it's absolute that every family only gets two children, there's nobody to raise them. And since the novel is from the perspective of a girl chosen as a birth mother, I just kept thinking about it.

Then, outside the Community
Spoiler:
instead of the abstract hints from The Giver, we see full villages, except that I felt like they had the same amount of depth as the abstract hints from The Giver. And I was left wondering why they're all so isolated, and why the technology levels are completely random as per each town, and where all the people in Jonas's town came from, and why there's no connections between any of these places.
Which was not what I wanted to be thinking about; it was a compelling read, but I kind of wish I hadn't read it.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Esseilte on Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:25 pm

I got around to reading The Declaration. The problem I had with it; other than the pantomime villains, is that I just didn't agree as much with the 'good guys' as I was supposed to. If people had the opportunity to take a drug to live forever, it seems a bit silly to then say 'oh, but don't, because new people being born is better than you staying alive'. And of course if people live forever, they'd have to not have children or things would get crowded. But I felt like I was supposed to think 'oh, people should be fine with dying unnecessarily or with people both living forever AND having kids'. Which...actually, no. Give me the live-forever drugs and I'll sign your Declaration, no problem, where's the dotted line?



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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  inversed on Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:12 pm

Great essay on the power of YA lit.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Paris, Texas on Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:41 pm

Great article, inversed, cheers for that.

Does anyone know what the new YA trends are, following dystopias?

Listened to Insurgent in the car (thank you so much, nieces) which contains the most laughable, stupidly constructed straw-man society in the current era of dystopian fic. That dead-eyed machine of a heroine was dull and in-human and almost every possible way.

Reread A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt for the first time in about 15 years and am relieved that it is as striking as it was at school. I just loved the relationship between Jeff and The Professor, the salve of the boating and their cabin, and the awesome Father Thomas all over again. Got a completely different perspective on Melody as a person now I am an adult. As a young teen I saw her as genuinely loving but carelessly drifting as a mother. Now I see her as a kind of person I have come across in the years since - a damaged and self-deceiving moral relativist.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  particle_person on Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:01 pm

inversed wrote:Great essay on the power of YA lit.
Not sure I totally agree that children's lit is always explicitly intended to instruct. That is a very 19th century viewpoint. A lot of authors explicitly rebelled against that moralistic tone in the 20th century (including people like Diana Wynne Jones, IIRC). It's true that children learn what the world is like and what is acceptable from what they read, in part. But that doesn't mean every book is trying to impart some lesson. Some books do, some don't, and that is equally true of adult lit.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  mokey75 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:37 pm

I just finished Requiem, the last of the Delirium series, and I know it's difficult to wrap up a trilogy, but I was kind of disappointed.

Spoiler:
I thought it was a big, jumbled mess, and the love triangle turned into everything I dreaded at the end of the second book. I hated that it was so open-ended. If you're going to build to a conclusion, and get people to stick with you for three books, then you should, you know, actually conclude it. I don't know why it bothered me so much, but it did. It definitely needed a Mockingjay style "10 years later" post-script.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:58 pm

I couldn't even get through the second book. It just felt like a total melodramatic drag though I'm curious about
Spoiler:
what eventually happened with the heroine's mother
.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Carrie Ann on Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:10 pm

Lizzie Skurnick is getting her own imprint that will reissue out-of-print YA from the 30s-80s! I used to love her column at Jezebel, so I know she has great taste.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  epudom on Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:15 pm

Started reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone the other day, (a birthday present from QueenSix) and if I ever form a band, I think I might have to call it 'The Inessential Penises.' I'm enjoying it a lot and already know I'll be getting the second book on the Kindle as soon as I've finished this one.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:50 pm

I've had my library copy sitting here for 3 weeks, epudom. I don't know why I keep putting off reading it!

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  QueenSix on Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:03 pm

I'm glad you're getting to read it, epudom. It dawned on me the other week that while I had started the book and made great progress with it, I'd never actually finished it, though I was full sure I had. The fact that I couldn't recall how it ended was a big clue, as was the bookmark that was about half way through the book faithfully waiting for me to return and move it on a bit! I've been eyeing up the sequel in the bookshop but feel I should finish this one first before getting it.

whathedeuce, it's a good read. You won't be sorry when you start it.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

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