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YA/Teen Lit - Advice Needed!

 
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Jean Wan AAR



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 405
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:38 pm    Post subject: YA/Teen Lit - Advice Needed! Reply with quote

I've been spending a lot of time at Chapters lately, and I see a loooooot of young adult/teen fiction. I like reading it. But I don't have time to just read a book to see how it is, not when there are thirty that interest me. I'm also having moderately bad luck right now with young adult - I finally read Phantom Tollbooth and Tale of Despereaux, and I was underwhelmed.

I've already got Alex Flinn in my urgent TBR pile, as well as Sarah Addison Allen, Markus Zusak, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, and Suzanne Collins.

But there are so many series - soooooo many - that I can't just start everything I see. So in the interests of shortening my list, I'd be really grateful if you guys could offer your opinion on the following books/authors if you've read them (there aren't many, I swear):

Cassandra Clare - Do I read Mortal Instruments first? Or Clockwork Angel? Or do I just skip her?

Jeanne DuPrau, Ember Series - Somehow, I get the impression it falls just short of greatness.

Maggie Stiefvater - I've started Shiver, I'm at the part where Grace pulls Sam into the house (towards the beginning), and I'm still not entranced. Does it get better? If not, I'm jumping ship.

Zombie vs. Unicorns by Holly Black - The title intrigues me.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart - Ditto.

Thanks heaps. Any other suggestions, I'd be grateful. FYI, I'm sick of vampires and not interested in teen clique-y things, and I didn't like Lemony Snicket or Artemis Fowl.
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Tacilija



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 156
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jean, I don't read YA/teen fiction, but I know that my daughter looooves
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and rereads it every so often.
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merryweather



Joined: 27 May 2010
Posts: 531
Location: Encinitas, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you looked into His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman? I enjoyed it--and yes, they do have some anti-religious themes, especially in the final book. Depends on how sensitive one is to that sort of thing--but the story itself is very well done, imo.

My daughter is into the Percy Jackson series, but I have not tried them. The movie was a travesty, according to her. Same with City of Ember--movie was terrible, first two books were very good (according to her.)

She just finished Beastly by Alex Finn and liked it.

A LOT of kids my daughter's age are reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, but she has not tried them yet.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1557

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:53 pm    Post subject: Re: YA/Teen Lit - Advice Needed! Reply with quote

Jean Wan AAR wrote:


Cassandra Clare - Do I read Mortal Instruments first? Or Clockwork Angel? Or do I just skip her?



I've gone off YA lately but I loved 'em. Very appealing to romance readers. Would definitely start with the Mortal Instruments.
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Jean Wan AAR



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 405
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tacilija - That's good confirmation. Putting it down.

merryweather - I've read the Dark Materials (liked them, didn't love them). I actually used to be a very current and frequent reader of YA/Teen, but it dropped off...more or less coinciding with the vampire tsunami. I tried the first few chapters of the first Percy Jackson book, but it wasn't my thing either. The thing I hear about the Collins series is that not only are they popular, they're also really, really good. So I think I just bumped them up a notch.

willaful - Thanks for the advice. Please tell me though: Is there a love triangle? And if so, does the author jerk your chain one too many times?
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Vol Fan



Joined: 30 Dec 2008
Posts: 309
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't usually read YA, but I did read The Hunger Games trilogy. They are absolutely fantastic too! I highly recommend them.

The first one (Hunger Games) is now being made into a movie with Jennifer Lawrence (of the movie Winter's Bone) and it will be released next year.
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MMcA



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 681

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only read 'A Kiss in Time' by Flinn, and it struck me as YA that is actually for YA. That is, I think I might have enjoyed it as a teenager, but it didn't do anything for me as an adult reader.
The Book Thief by Zusak - I only got half way through it before my daughter lent it to a friend who lost it, but it was really good, and I plan to read it all sometime.
I only read the first of The Hunger Games - and it was really readable, but I didn't want to read the sequels. It was a bit too dystopian for me.

Other authors - I really like Sarah Rees Brennan. Her trilogy starts with The Demon's Lexicon, then The Demon's Covenant, and then the last one is out in June. I liked the second book better than the first, which is unusual.
I'm going to link to an excerpt:
http://sarahreesbrennan.com/the-demons-lexicon-chapter-1/
because I'd recommend not reading reviews first - better to read it unspoiled.
And in the same vein Megan Whalen Turner's books, starting with 'The Thief' - excerpt:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14877994
also better read unspoiled.

Also Chris Cruthcher - DA had a review of one of his books 'Deadline' - about a teenager who finds he has a year or so to live - and I really enjoyed it, and bought several of his other books afterwards.
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kim76



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 149
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I highly recommend Jennifer Echols's Going Too Far. It was a refreshing break from all of the vampires and dukes!
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2506

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I adore YA!

Have you read Nancy Werlin's Impossible? One of my favorites of the last several years.

I back the recommendations for Collin's Hunger Games - brilliant.

I am sure you have done the Potter's and Twilights but they are definitely not to be missed if you haven't.

I liked Stiefvater's Lament and Ballad, her two novels about fairy but am determined to wait till she has finished the werewolf trilogy before reading it. I am just tired of the series roller coaster.

I love Alex Flinn and just finished her Cloaked. Adorable!

I really enjoy Cassandra Clare.

Have you read Maria V. Snyder? Her books are selling in YA, they are terrific fantasy fiction and pretty darn romantic.

The False Princess
by Ellis O'Neal is good. Reads a bit young but very good.

I really enjoy all books by Robin McKinley and wish she would hurry up and write a sequel to Chalice.

Have you read the Artemis Fowl series? These are truly great books about a 12 yr. old criminal master mind who discovers the world of fairy.

maggie b.
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Jean Wan AAR



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 405
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for even more recs, guys!

Vol Fan: Another movie? Crikey.

MMcA: Megan Whalen Turner is awesome. I haven't gotten around to reading Conspiracy of Kings yet (I have a lot on my plate), but I definitely will. I actually started reading the books because I read the first book's spoiler somewhere else by pure, pure chance (sad, I know), and curiosity inspired me.

kim76: That's good to know. And another one goes on my wishlist.

Maggie B: I've read the Potters (which I didn't love but really liked), but only read the first book in the Twilight series. It didn't induce me to finish the series. I did read the first book in Artemis Fowl and actually found it very distasteful, but that was when they first came out, so maybe I'd feel differently. I also read Maria V. Snyder's first adult fantasy trilogy when it came out, and I thought it was pretty average. But I'm willing to try her in YA - some authors are more comfortable in one age group than others, who can write across a spectrum. I'm also a major, major fan of Robin McKinley and will read anything she writes.
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MMcA



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a follow up to say that following Jean's post I bought 'The Mysterious Benedict Society' - because I'm easy when it comes to books, and that is a fabulous title.

I don't know if this a helpful comparison for anyone, but it struck me as being very similar to the 'Molly Moon' series by Georgia Byng which my youngest loved when she was 9ish. Same level of characterisation, same sort of plot. So I could imagine children loving it, but - for me - it wasn't one of those magical children's books that enchant the adult reader.

I would absolutely recommend it as a bedtime book to read to a child, but otherwise, I'd skip it.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1557

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jean Wan AAR wrote:


willaful - Thanks for the advice. Please tell me though: Is there a love triangle? And if so, does the author jerk your chain one too many times?


I guess you could say there is one. I never felt my chain was jerked but admittedly I don't read all that much YA and possibly would feel differently with a lot more books under my belt.
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bookbug



Joined: 04 Jul 2007
Posts: 300
Location: California USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YA is one of my fave genres. I haven't read any that you listed in your original post but I really like the sound of the Benedict society novels.
Ones that I really loved are listed here

Series:
THE 39 CLUES
Rick Riordan
1~ The Maze of Bones
Gordon Korman
2~ One False Note
Peter Lerangis
3~The Sword Thief
Jude Watson
4~ Beyond the Grave
Patrick Carman
5~ The Black Circle
Jude Watson
6 ~ In Too Deep
Peter Lerangis
7~ The Viper’s Nest
Gordon Korman
8 ~ The Emperor’s Code
Linda Sue Park
9 ~ Storm Warning
Margaret Peterson Haddix
10~ Into the Gauntlet


ALEX RIDER ADVENTURE
Anthony Horowitz
Stormbreaker
Point Blank
Skeleton Key
Eagle Strike
Scorpia
Ark Angel
Snakehead
Crocodiile Tears

BLOODY JACK
L.A. Meyer
1~Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky"Faber, Ship's Boy
2~Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady
3~Under the Jolly Roger:Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber
4~ In the Belly of the Bloodhound
5~Mississippi Jack
6~ My Bonnie Light Horseman
Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War
7~ Rapture of the Deep
Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Soldier, Sailor,Mermaid,Spy
8~ Wake of the Lorelei Lee: being an account of the adventures of Jacky Faber on her way to Botany Bay

Blue Balliett
Chasing Vermeer
The Wright 3
The Calder Game
The Dangaer Box

CENTURY QUARTET
Pierdomenico Baccalario
Ring of Fire
The Star Stone
***The Windy City***
***The First Source***

THE CHRONICLES OF THE IMAGINARIUM GEOGRAPHICA
James Owen
Here, be Dragons
The Search for Red Dragon
The Indigo King
The Shadow Dragons
The Dragon’s Apprentice

Jennifer Allison
Psychic Investigator
The Ghost Sonata
The Ladies of the Lake
The Dead Drop

THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL
Michael Scott
The Alchemist
The Magician
The Sorceress
The Necromancer
The Warlock
The Enchantress

THE SISTERS GRIMM
Michael Buckley
The Fairy Tale Detectives
The Unusual Suspects
The Problem Child
Once Upon a Crime
Magic and Other Misdemeanors
Tales from the Hood
The Everafter War
The Inside Story

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT
Derek Landy
Skulduggery Pleasant
Playing with Fire
The Faceless Ones
Dark Days
***Mortal Coil***
****The Terrible Truth

Tamara Pierce
"The Lioness Quartet"
Alanna : The First Adventure
In the Hand of the Goddess
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Lioness Rampant

TTFN
Melody Smile


THEODOSIA THROCKMORTON
R. L. La Fevers
Theodosia and the-
Serpents of Chaos
Staff of Osiris
Eyes of Horus


To name just name a few
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luteran



Joined: 31 Mar 2007
Posts: 160
Location: Curacao Dutch Antilles

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 6:09 pm    Post subject: Ness Reply with quote

I really loved the Ness Triology:
The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer,and Monsters of Men
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1669

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've received enough suggestions to last a long time, but I'd definitely put Megan Whalen Turner's Thief books on your list: "The Thief", "The Queen of Attolia", and "The King of Attolia" are the books in the initial trilogy. As the review says, "things are not what they seem in this story of wit, adventure, and philosohy." The fact that they take place in a recognizable world very similar to ours, yet with a touch of the Old Magic, made these books appealing, but it is the thief who is the central character who totally captured my interest (and a bit of my heart). I recommend them highly.
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