Tag Archive for Young Adult
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton (part of Penguin)
TITLE: The Between
AUTHOR: Lisa J Cohen
Seventeen year old Lydia is being stalked by Clive – and it’s freaking her out. When, during a bus trip home, he rescues her from a swarm of dark things called Darklings then drags her to a place called The Between, she goes from freaked out to angry. Discovering Clive wants to take her to Faerie where she will be under Oberon’s rule in The Bright Court, does little to improve her mood. Nor does discovering she is in fact a fae – and one that is being fought over by Oberon’s Bright Court and Taitania’s Shadow Court.
Ignoring the popular advice to avoid portal fantasy plots, Lisa J Cohen has crafted a beautiful story of a young girl discovering that sometimes what we want to do and what we need to do are very different things. And that the choices we face may not be as obvious as they seem.
This is the first time I’ve read any of Cohen’s work and I was impressed. The characters are well rounded and plausible; the good guys are complex and the bad guys have enough depth to warrant your attention.
Faerie itself is presented as a cliché – woods, greenery, canvas tents and masque balls – but Cohen not only acknowledges the cliché, she points it out. And it works – you find yourself wondering why you would expect Faerie to be anything but what she has presented.
My only – very minor – disappointment was the lack of elaboration as to why iron was a problem in Faerie but I should add that it did not distract from the story in any way whatsoever.
Although perfect for the 11 to 16 age group, The Between is a comfortable read for an adult.
There is mention of a possible sequel – and I hope that does happen but in the meantime, find a sunny spot and curl up with The Between and get lost in Faerie with Lydia. It will be worth it.
Angelique Jurd (originally posted for The Kindle Book Review on Amazon)
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
I struggled a little with Cinder when I first started reading it but by around chapter three I was hooked and I have to admit, I’m really eager to read the next installment in The Lunar Chronicles.
A play on the fairytale Cinderella, Cinder is not only set in a post apocalyptic future, it is set in the East – Cinder is Asian. Well, technically she’s more than that but to say any more would come in to spoiler territory. Part cyborg, Cinder is not a parlour maid but a mechanic and a very gifted one at that. Like the traditional Cinderella though she has a cruel stepmother and two stepsisters and there is a ball to which all the girls in New Beijing are invited. The Emperor’s son will be present and will perhaps choose his bride so of course all the girls are going. All except Cinder.
Cinder has resigned herself to this and if she hasn’t exactly made peace with it, accepts. Everything changes however, when the Prince turns up at her little mechanic’s booth – and Cinder’s life is turned upside down.
This first novel from Meyer is exceptional. Beautifully crafted with a heroine you find yourself cheering for out loud (okay maybe that was just me), Cinder takes an unusual and fresh look at the old fairy tale in a way that even the die hard Twilight groupies will find satisfying. My challenge at the beginning, I suspect, had more to do with expectations based on the fairy tale more than anything else as the writing is clean and clear and really enjoyable. Notably, Meyer does not write down to her YA audience which is great to see – and of course is the secret behind the Twilight phenomena – the target audience does not feel as though the writer is condescending to them.
This may not ever reach the heights of Twilight’s success as I’m not sure it has the mass movie market appeal, but I shouldn’t be at all suprised to see the series become a cult leader – and deservedly so. I’m expecting big things from this author – and so should you.
AUTHOR: Suzanne LaFleur
I have an 11 year old dyslexic daughter who, thanks to Twilight, has discovered she thinks reading is worth the struggle she has with it. The only problem we have is finding books that appeal to her, because although she loves Twilight and one or two of the Harry Potter series (Chamber of Secrets and Deathly Hallows), she isn’t really in to the paranormal in any way. Nor is she an especially precocious 11 year old – she’s in that hazy area between being a little girl still and being a lip gloss wearing, boy focussed teen.
To say Eight Keys is the perfect book for her might be minor exaggeration – but I’m going to say it anyway. It was perfect.
The heroine Elise is 11 and has been brought up by her Aunt and Uncle since the age of three. Elise’s mother died when Elise was born and her dad passed away a couple of years later. When Elise turns 11 her life is turned upside down when she finds herself caught between her lifelong best friend and fitting in at school. At the same time a series of mysterious keys begin to show up – each one fitting the door of eight rooms in her Uncle’s barn.
Beautifully written, Eight Keys is in no way a ‘kiddies’ book – it speaks in a true voice for the age of the characters (trust me on this one – if it’s something I’m used to listening to it’s 11 year old tomboys who are just entering puberty). The mystery of the eight keys is in fact a sub-plot to the reality of Elise finding her own peace as her life begins to evolve and she faces questions she has about her life – but in no way is it distracting.
LaFleur writes with a nice, gentle cadence and no pretense – this is no adult voice masquerading as a child,it is Elise speaking from the page. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work.
The ending which could have been saccharin or even a let down by giving in to the urge to flip into fantasy, held its ground and delivered a satisfying conclusion – leaving both mother and daughter pleased to have read.
Give this one a whirl- you won’t be disappointed.
AUTHOR: Sean Olin
The story of Will and Asheley, a brother and sister who have been left to their own devices most of their lives. Abandoned by their father and brought up by an emotionally, and sometimes physically, absent, alcoholic mother, the pair have made it through high school mainly by sheer determination.
Will, although having left behind acne and bad clothes, is still socially awkward and given to outbursts of violence, while Asheley, quiet and solitary, is looking for more acceptance.
Told in alternating points of view and as if the pair are answering questions being asked in a police interrogation, Brother/Sister paints an increasingly disturbing picture of a dysfunctional family and teens who have stepped across the line from social angst to social danger.
Olin skilfully paints both characters in a way that it is impossible to not feel both sympathy and horror for them. He closes in on subjects like incest without any squeamishness or attempt to make it sound acceptable or inevitable; nor is there any glorification of any of the violence that unfolds.
Stark rather than graphic, it’s impossible to not feel something when reading this book. It does require a more mature reader – in emotion if not chronological age – and probably would appeal more to boys than girls. Be prepared for questions if the reader is younger and be very sure you are prepared to be as honest in your answers as Olin is in his writing.
I’m not sure you can call this an enjoyable read but it is definitely a very good read and a timely one given we live in a society and an age where violence is often glorified and the true horror of having performed an act of violence rarely expressed.
Olin also managed to surprise me with the ending – a rare occurrence indeed as I’m usually one of those annoying people who figures plots out (I spent the entire time watching Sixth Sense muttering “oh come on people, he’s dead, what is wrong with you all?”)