Thursday, May 19, 2011

Very Late to the Party: Three (Okay, Four) Recent YA Reads I Loved

I have a confession to make. I'm a big reader but up until relatively recently, I haven't read very many YA/Teen books. I read a ton of Middle Grade books when I was a kid and then, once I outgrew those, I pretty much skipped right to adult books. This could have a lot to do with the fact that there wasn't much YA around when I was a teen and that the genre has really taken off in the past decade.

I decided I desperately needed to remedy this situation, so for the past two months I've been playing catch up and reading some books I know most of the YA-reading universe has already read and discovered. Here are three four books I absolutely adored. And, yup, I'm aware I'm super late to all of these parties, but I figure book love is always good to put out into the universe.

Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
I loved them both! And I appreciated that they were very different from each other and yet both told by such a distinct voice (how on earth does he do that?). Anyway, I found An Abundance of Katherines hilarious and sweet and Looking for Alaska emotional and raw. I'm so looking forward to reading his third book, Paper Towns.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This one came highly recommended to me and it's plain to see why. This is not your typical romance because Perkins is not your typical writer. The characters are so wonderfully nuanced that the book ends up going much, much deeper than you'd expect it to. It's simply a joy to read through and through. Two companion books are due to come out this year and next and you can bet I shall be purchasing them.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
I realize saying I recommend this book is something akin to saying, "Have you heard of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? It was good! You should read it!" Speak is a YA classic and a seminal work, end of story. I'm still going to tell you how much I was blown away by it, though. Nothing felt cliched, nothing felt overwrought because Anderson embodies main character Melinda's pain, but also her wit, in such a real way. Just tremendous writing and I'm in awe.

What about you? Is there a book you know "everyone has already read" that you just got around to? Is there one you fell in love with?


  1. This may not be as exciting to you as it is to me, but I thought I'd share anyway. John Green went to my high school (obviously not at the same time as me), the setting for Looking for Alaska is based on that very same school! I have been meaning to read the book for a long time now, and your post was the final reminder I needed. I just picked it up! Can't wait to get started!

  2. Um, that is VERY exciting! I can't wait to hear what you think of the book.

  3. I enjoyed "Paper Towns" and I'm curious about "Abundance of Katherines" which I've not yet read.

    I jumped on "Hunger Games" after the first two had already come out, so I was kinda late to that party but quickly became obsessed, reading the first in a day and a half, and the second in a day. Of course, then I had the agony of having to wait a year for the third. In retrospect, maybe I should've been even LATER to that party and read them all in a week.

    I've heard great buzz about "Please Ignore Vera Dietz" by A.S. King and "Ash" by Malinda Lo so when I get a free moment I need to pick those up.