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Young Adult Fiction

May 30, 2012

One of the blogs that I follow, Word Salad, just recently posted a piece on young adult fiction. In his post, he talked a bit about why young adult fiction is awesome (which it is) and the fact that it is often dismissed and overlooked (which is also true). I’ve been considering posting something like this for awhile, myself, but every time I think my next post should be about YA being awesome, someone else goes and posts it first, and then it would look like I was totally just copying them. I’d even started collecting articles for reference and everything, see?

One thing that I particularly like about the post that I just linked to, however, is that he highlighted some of his favorite young adult books. So, with his permission (it’s not stealing if someone gives it to you), I’m going to do the same.

Okay, blah blah blah, Harry Potter, blah blah blah, Hunger Games. Those are the recommendations that don’t need recommending. Here are some books that love that you might not have read.

1. The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston

According to Amazon.com, this one’s recommended reading level is ages 8 and up. However, it was and remains one of my very favorite books. It’s sad that not many people know about it. I discovered it by accident in my local public library, and boy, I’m glad I did. I now have this book on audiobook, and I listen to it on road trips. It’s a story of magic, imagination, ghosts and faith. Beyond that, it’s hard to describe. I can say it’s unique and enchanting.

2. Heartlight by T.A. Barron

It’s hard to pick a favorite of T.A. Barron’s. I picked Heartlight because it was the first book of his I read. I have an autographed hardcover copy. It was a gift — one of the best gifts I ever got. Then I read The Merlin Effect, and I was awed by his skill as a writer. I wrote a paper on that book in college. The Ancient One I mentioned in a previous post. Most recently, I read the Lost Years of Merlin series about Merlin’s teenage years. I ate them up like cheesecake. T.A. Barron is one of the most imaginative authors I’ve read, and I continue to follow his website, newsletter, and publications. He played a large part in my love for writing when I was younger because he showed me what could be done with a pen and a bit of magic.

3. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

Elizabeth George Speare is, in my experience, primarily know for The Witch of Blackbird Pond. That book was okay. This book, though, is one of those books that you keep for years and intend to never let go. It’s about a boy and his two friends in Israel during the time of Jesus. Now, I am by no means a religious person. I still love this book. It’s a fantastic story.

4. Sabriel by Garth Nix

Beautifully dark, deliciously action-packed, this book is a gem from my childhood. It’s the first in a trilogy, but Sabriel was always my favorite. A young girl, daughter of a powerful necromancer whose duty it is to lay the dead to rest and keep the world safe, must set forth to save her father and stop a dangerous power from rising. I am in love with the world he’s created, the wild Free Magic, the chained spirits, the dead that walk, the danger and the heroism.

5. Redwall

I’d always assumed Redwall was something everyone had read, like The Hobbit or Harry PotterApparently, I’m wrong. Unfortunately, however, I can’t say I recommend you read all of the books in the series. There are a million of them, and they are repetitive. He has three main plots he follows, and it seems like after awhile he’s just switching out names and animal species but telling the same tale. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read some of them, because it is well worth it, and if you haven’t read them, you are missing something in your life. My favorites include Lord Brocktree and Taggerung. Also, these books are famous for the feasts he describes. Yes, feasts. Your mouth will be watering at the end of every food-related paragraph. There are blog posts and recipe books and magazine articles filled with adapted recipes from the novels. Google search “Redwall food” and you’ll see what I mean.

I think that’s enough for now. If I covered my entire library, we’d be here all week. Young adult books, like every genre, have their two dimensional crap and their horrible writers, but do not overlook the truly masterful YA authors out there. You’ll be glad you didn’t.

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From → General Advice

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