Having dallied long enough in the wondrous Land of Short Fiction, I am finally giving in to peer pressure and embarking for Novel-landia. More precisely, Young Adult Novel-landia. If short stories are the gateway drug of writing, then YA novels are undoubtedly its crack/cocaine. Not that I am encouraging young people to do drugs. Or to mix metaphors, for that matter.
As part of my “research” (aka fun things made to sound like work), I’ve been reading a whole bunch of young adult novels. Here are some of the ones I’ve read recently (in no particular order):
- Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series (the stuff of awesome; one of the few times I actually went out and picked up a sequel immediately after finishing book 1 of a series)
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
- Changeling by Delia Sherman
- Working my way through the Harry Potter series
- A whole bunch of classic Heinlein science fiction YA, including Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and Double Star
- Black Juice by Margo Lanagan (yes, technically this is a short story collection, but so good I had to include it, plus I wanted the list to make it well into the teens)
- Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (see the note for Lanagan above, a typical Kelly Link rock-out)
- Thirsty by M.T. Anderson
- Tithe by Holly Black
- The Phanthom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Mmmm, there are probaby some others but those are the ones that come to mind after glancing at my shelf. Most of these were very good to excellent, and I have a feeling I’ve been managing to read the cream of the crop.
Up on deck are the ubiquitous Book Thief, Alex Sanchez’s gay-themed YA books, Phillip Pullman’s Dark Materials series, Julia Alvarez’s YA-oriented stuff, some Garth Nix stuff (any specific recs?), and some stuff by Justine Larbalestier, which I have heard tell is very good. I’m also thinking about going back and re-reading some of the books I loved when I was a wee Y. myself, like Madeleine L’engle, Narnia, Lloyd Alexander, and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I also feel the need to read more of the trashy stuff to truly immerse myself. I don’t know, maybe I’ll read a Gossip Girls book or some-such.
Questions? Disagreements? Recommendations? Anything I simply must read in order to comprehend the essence of the YA genre?