Tuesday, October 22, 2013

StageofLife Editors: YA Recommendations

Loki surrounded by our Editor's recommended YA reading

In honor of Teen Read Week (last week), I asked my teen editors to send me a list of their favorite YA books either books assigned in high school that they were forced to read for a grade, or books that they read on their own.  Here's what our brilliant editors and interns recommended:

From Nate:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: A great sci fi novel about a virtual reality utopia. The book is entirely filled with references and allusions to current pop culture and pop culture from the last 2-3 decades. Great book for teens into video games/pop culture.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card:   One of my favorite science fiction novels and is even more relevant now with the movie coming out soon. It's a great starting point for the genre as it doesn't get into heavy topics like Isaac Asimov or series like Dune

Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon:   Follows two teenaged aspiring comic artists during WW2. I don't have much to say other than it's a great book! A bit long though (like 800 pages)

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien: Probably my favorite book I ever had to read from a school reading list. It's a weird blend of fiction/non-fiction and deals with the Vietnam war. I think many older teens go through a phase of being really interested in war novels, movies, etc. and this is one of the best in my opinion.

From Amanda:
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: addresses danger, result of violence, and meaning/acceptance of death

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: deals with culture, racism, and ideas of love/respect

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: identity, family

From Megan: 
In high school I liked...

The Great Gatsby because I like how Gatsby's love for Daisy doesn't die after years of their separation and he refuses to give up in his search to find her again. I really like that it pulls in a lot of the elements of the 1920's and I love the new movie version! I think what really got my attention about this book is that the whole story is told through the eyes of Nick.

Tuesday's With Morrie because I never thought I would become so attached to a character, Morrie, in a book (while in high school). I loved how Morrie continued to teach even when he was no longer in a classroom, especially since I always wanted to go to school to be a teacher.

1984 because I loved how different the totalitarian government is from our own and how different the world would be if we operated under this type of rule. It made me think about what it would be like if there really was a telescreen in the wall watching my every move and how my life would be completely different.

Lord of the Flies because who doesn't love Piggy? I really like how these young boys are stranded on this island with no adult supervision at all and they still manage to figure out some way to live on this island together. Plus, young boys are not the type of people that would be expected to be all alone on this island.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan because how weird would it be for you to meet someone who has the exact same name as you in a place that can be considered to be very awkward. This book follows the lives of two Will Grayson's who lead two very different lives while following their love lives and friendships along with the usual drama of high school. 

After by Amy Efaw because the main character, Devon, is the all around good girl in her school. She ends up going to a juvenile detention after she gets caught in a sticky situation after giving birth to her own child on her own after swearing she was never pregnant. I really liked this book because it really opened my mind to what other types of things are happening out in the world and why some people make some of the decisions that they do. 

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay because this follows the history of a house that was used during the time of the Holocaust. Sarah's younger brother is hiding in a closet when the rest of her family is taken away. Years later, the history of the house is discovered through the ancestors and newspapers of the past. I really liked this book because the story does a great job at switching between the past and present without becoming confusing, and it pulls in a lot of history without making it feel as though you're reading a history text book. 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold because this book sucks you in within the first two sentences and it doesn't go down hill from there. When a book starts off with a murder, I always want to find out who did it and why. I liked this book because it always kept my attention, and it shows just how little you can trust some of the people who live around you. 

From Raisa
Zero Regrets by Apolo Anton Ohno because it teaches that the best thing that people can do in life is try their best. 

Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman  because in learning the different ways in which people like to express and receive love, we can better communicate with one another. 

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom because it teaches that everyone does have a purpose in life. 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini because it teacher that there is time to make up for wrongs. 

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson because it discusses the traumatic experience of rape and the journey to be able to speak about it. 

From Michelle: 
From Required High School reading: 

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams: The opening monologue of this play is one of my favorite monologues ever written. I have a soft spot for Williams, and this play shines for its realistic characters and symbolism. 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: An intriguing memoir that turned me onto blogging (i.e. writing about myself). The way she artfully blends fiction and reality makes for an interesting story. 

A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin: The story of a young girl learning tolerance and acceptance, especially in regard to mentally disabled people, is important. This was a supplementary class read to Of Mice and Men, but I preferred Martin's book because it was more realistic and relatable. 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: We didn't read much classic lit in high school, but this book really stood out to me for its important--and still timely--message. My freshman year Honors English teacher gave me the book as a gift. 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safron Foer: Beautifully written with a unique style and powerful storytelling. My favorite book: period. 

Recommended Reading / Non-Required books: 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: Hilarious and strange, this classic helped integrate me into the world of sci-fi literature, even when I was not the genre's biggest fan. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: This book speaks to Tumblr-loving, fandom-obsessed teens. The protagonist provides a fabulous insight into the world of an introvert who writes fanfiction for a Harry Potter-esque book series. 

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman: The guy at the bookstore sold it to me as being "sort of like Speak, but not quite as emotionally abusive." A girl who lost her family in a car accident must decide, while in a coma, whether she wants to live or die. Beautiful and emotional storytelling. 

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Poetry-prose about a girl who was the victim of a horrible crime. I love this book so much I got a tattoo in its honor. 

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler: A fat protagonist comes to terms with her body and familial relationships; an excellent introduction to body positivity. Probably my favorite YA book.

From Tracy:
Sunshine by Robin McKinley - This is still one of my favorite books to read from time to time. I think one of the things that I like most is the mysterious and magical world McKinley creates with demons, fairies, wizards, and vampires as part of the everyday. I like the tone McKinley uses to keep the tension of the book going, yet allows moments of light mysticism and fun.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer  - When I first read this book I couldn’t put it down. I read it all in one sitting. I thought the plot was so interesting and original. I felt like the plot was well developed and the depicted in a realistic manner of what could or would happen is such a scenario.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini - This book is a fantastical, magical read. The plot is full of pits and twists so that even when you think you can predict what is going to happen something comes in and changes everything. I also like how varied and memorable all the characters are. Lots of detail of the world – reminds me a bit of Tolkien.

Dragon Champion by E.E. Knight -  This book is amazing! It is so imaginative and complex! Auron’s journey growing up, fighting tooth and claw to come into his own is so full of danger, intrigue, and adventure. I love the in-depth lore about the different races of Demon, Dragon, Dwarf, Human, and Elf, as well as the dragon teachings Auron recites throughout the book.

Just Listen Sarah Dessen - I feel like this is a more realistic depiction of life as an older teen in high school which young adults can relate to. I really like the message this book conveys and the real life problems and the characters have to deal with.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer - I love the one-liner humor that runs rampant through the character dialogue. Great characters. I really enjoyed all the plotting and espionage that keep you guessing.

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