In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.
One of the reasons why I love blogging is I get to meet such lovely readers. Today, I have here a good friend of mine, who I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for the blogosphere. Please give a warm welcome to Michelle of See Michelle Read. Michelle was a former librarian and I guess that’s where she gets her talent for recommending books. I was very flattered when Michelle started commenting on my early posts (even when they were still in LJ) and I’ve gotten some pretty great recommendations from her. I read all her posts and I even comment on most of them! If you’re into YA and fantasy like I am, I highly recommend that you go over Michelle’s blog and check out her reviews.
Why do you love YA?
Truth be told, I wasn’t much of a YA reader as a teenager. Like many teens (at least those who grew up before the current YA explosion), I moved immediately from The Baby-Sitters Club chapter books straight to The Lord of the Rings and The Bourne Identity series. Not a bad jump, but it still left me missing out on quite a lot to be sure. I do often wish some kindly librarian would have stopped me during one of my many library rambles to point out some treasures like Alanna or The Dark is Rising or even The Changeover.
But luckily, I’m now making up for lost time. See, I’m no longer a teenager, but one of the reasons I always make a beeline for the YA section in any bookstores is this: YA books are intense by nature. I simply don’t think there is any other genre that captures the awkward newness that permeates every particle of your life as it does when you are a teenager. I particularly enjoy reading about teens who are dealing with complicated relationships. Relationships with their family, with their friends, and especially with the opposite sex. This aspect could also be stretched to include a protagonist’s struggle to establish a relationship with their own self.
Basically when they are confronted with tough situations that force them to make a choice that is neither black nor white and one that they can only decide for themselves – no matter how hard it may be.
Above all, I love those YA books that contain clever dialogue and witty observances on life and those around them. I love that change is a necessary part of every teenager’s existence and I am ever so grateful to those authors who are able to capture it in seemingly effortless ways.
What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
Whew. This is going to be a hefty list. My favorite books (whatever the genre) tend to include characters that are complex, intelligent and driven by some larger purpose. I cannot tell you how much I love it when a book is able to catch me by surprise. And I’m not just talking about plot-revelations-surprise but also in terms of character growth and development. Also, if it has any references to Russia I’m probably going to love it.
The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty
The President’s Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Demon’s Lexicon, The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spear
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White
A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
If you haven’t read a YA book yet, why not? This truly is a genre with something for everyone, no matter your reading preferences. There are countless superbly written fantasy, contemporary, dystopian, and even humor books to tempt even the pickiest readers. And if you are worried about any stigma being attached to reading YA, don’t be. No one should be able to pick which books you like or dislike. If you start something and it’s not what you are looking for, put it down and go find something else. There are simply too many amazing and memorable novels available to waste your time on something you don’t enjoy. That said, don’t be afraid to give something new a chance too. Because after all, isn’t part of being a teenager all about trying new things for the very first time?
Thank you for your wonderful answers, Michelle! I agree with you on the intensity that can be found in YA novels. I also feel like I’m making up for lost time when it comes to YA books. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back in time and recommend some of our favorite YA books to our younger self?
I love your list of favorites, by the way. There are a lot of familiar titles in there and those that aren’t familiar will be added to my wishlist. Now on to recommendations, I think it’s hard for me to recommend books that you haven’t read because you’ve read so many. So I checked Goodreads and it seems like you haven’t read Elizabeth E. Wein’s books and I’d love to know what you think of them. I started with The Sunbird and followed that up with the Mark of Solomon duology: The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom. I’m curious if you’ll like the main character, Telemakos, as much as I did.
Since you also enjoy humor in books, I recommend the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud: The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye and Ptolemy’s Gate because I find Bartimaeus pretty hilarious. I also love Garth Nix’ Abhorsen Trilogy: Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen and I have a feeling you might like his particular brand of fantasy as well.
For contemporary fiction, I know you’ve read Jellicoe Road and I wonder if you’ll also like Melina Marchetta’s other books, Saving Francesca and Looking for Alibrandi? Also, I’m not sure if you’ve given the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty a try. It starts with Sloppy Firsts and the male protagonist in that one is one of my fictional crushes (I ♥ Marcus Flutie). You also know how much I enjoyed reading The Sky is Everywhere so I’m throwing out that suggestion too.
Okay, I think that’s it. I’m out of suggestions. What about you, dear readers, what are your recommendations for Michelle? 🙂