At every conference I go to I hear the mantra read, read, read, read, read! Okay great guru’s of the publishing industry I shall heed your word! So I’ve been piling up on the library books, audio commute companions, and book store treasures in order to stay up on the market. And as a reader I always think it’s good to share the books that blew you away! So, if you’re looking for a recommendation or two, the following three books have really stood out in my young adult reading rampage.
I can easily say this book is one of my top ten favorite YA books OF ALL TIME! Yes, it’s that good. (Or maybe it reflects my own personal taste). Either way, this delicious romantic drama made me salivate one second and cry the next. Its a book that I’m ready to read again, and I only finished it a few weeks ago.
When seventeen-year-old Lennie’s older sister dies unexpectedly, she finds herself unraveling. Caught in a love triangle between the sexy new guy and her dead sister’s boyfriend (yikes!) Lennie is wrought with guilt, sexual tension, and doesn’t know what to do with the big hole in her heart. Filled with poetry and gorgeous prose, this book will take you on a journey of redemption that will cause you to open up and understand why the sky is everywhere.
Liar is an interactive book. You won’t realize it until you’re halfway through it, but the story isn’t just about Micha (a compulsive liar), it is also about you. In the first paragraph Micha informs you that she never tells the truth, but this time (for you) she’ll make an exception. As Micha starts to recount the events surrounding the mysterious murder of her boyfriend, the story hop-scotches between the real world and the paranormal, only to ground itself in a confession of lies (which of course is not very grounding). And all along you find yourself wondering what to believe. Not only is this book expertly plotted (I am amazed at Larbalestier’s ability to weave lies and truth together to fluidly), but LIAR forces you to become an active participant. As the narrative unfolds you find yourself asking: Is that true? No way! Oh maybe that part is real. Oh wait, that makes sense, taking into account what she said in the second chapter. And so on. When the novel ends you wonder if any of it is true, and if the whole book is a lie. And there in lies the paradox. Because – yes – all of it is a lie. Every book and work of fiction that we read is a lie. None of these stories are true. LIAR masterfully pulls back the veil between reality and fiction and you realize that this story has come alive – because you – here in reality have become a part of the story. And in the end the question isn’t – is Micha telling the truth – so much as what does the book reveal about you, and what you’ve choose to believe.
Okay, I know what you’re going to say. “What!!! You just read The Outsiders for the first time?!” Yes, it’s true. Despite my thirty years on this earth, I had not read The Outsiders. But let me explain my initial hesitation. Reading The Outsiders is like watching a black and white movie marathon. The movies are old, the stories don’t hold up, they’re boooooring! After all The Outsiders was written in 1967 (over 40 years ago) and it’s about the social clash between teen greasers and socialites in the 50’s (yawn!). How can a modern gal relate? And yet, at every conference I hear editors and authors raving non-stop about this book. It’s a classic! It changed young adult literature! You must read it. I must? Really? So after years of avoidance I finally picked it up.
And let me tell you – was I wrong! I was 100% wrong!
This book is incredible. It shows that stories can be timeless and good writing is good writing, period! The book is fresh, vivid, and authentic. And it’s a boy book – about male friendship and loyalty (which I don’t read much either). Yet, I found myself involved and really caring about these character. I even cried. That’s right a book from the 60’s, and written by a 16-year-old, made me cry. Like a girl (okay, I am a girl.) Like Judy Blume, The Outsiders is timeless, and if you’ve been avoiding it too, well the time has come to pick it up and give it a shot.
Happy Summer Reading!