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My New Book!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

March 23-24, 2019: Crowd-sourced YA Lit

[In a development that I’m sure will shock precisely no one, my 13 (!!!) and about-to-be 12 year-old sons are both huge readers. They are fans of many authors and books, but for this week’s series I wanted to focus on, well, series—Young Adult series in particular—that they love. This crowd-sourced post is drawn from the responses and recommendations of fellow YALitStudiers—add yours in comments, please!]
Responding to Monday’s Rick Riordan post, Jamie Lynn Longo writes, “Riordan wins my everlasting affection for the epigraph to The House of Hades: ‘To my wonderful readers:/Sorry about that last cliff-hanger./Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA./But seriously, I love you guys.’ (For those unfamiliar with the series, the previous book ended with people literally hanging off a cliff.) I already deeply loved all of his series, but that little zing made my day. I can't wait to introduce 9 to Percy.”
Natalie Chase agrees, adding, “I’m sure others have recommended this, but I hear my students talk about the Percy Jackson series more than any others!”
Responding to Thursday’s Timmy Failure post, Irene Martyniuk writes, “I was going to email you about Timmy Failure. He is our family favorite, without question.”
Responding to Friday’s Chronicles of Prydain post, Abby Mullen Tweets, “I just started my 7yo reading those, which were some of my absolute favorite books as a kid, and I'm thrilled to see her responding to them in the same way.” She adds, “And I'm currently reading her The Phantom Tollbooth, which is my favorite book of all time of any genre.”
On the same post, Sara Georgini Tweets, “Great post, Ben! I, too, tore thru those books--always hoping I'd grow up to be Eilonwy.” And Katherine Keena adds, “I took a kiddie lit course wherein I discovered these books! My children loved!”
Other YA lit and series recommendations:
Diego Ubiera nominates Elizabeth Acevedo, and specifically The Poet X. Katy Covino agrees, writing, “Heard her give a reading. Amaze.”
Katy shares, “Enjoying David Levithan - another moving reader! 13 Reasons Why - for the class discussions. Kate Chopin - same.”
Paige Wallace writes, “The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han. They’re easy reads, well-written, and lighthearted. I devoured them.” She adds, “Also, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.”
Rachel Weeks Bright shares a long list: “Rick Riordan. His cast of characters are very diverse. He’s also a huge supporter of younger YA writers esp women & POC (see the Rick Riordan Presents imprint). Lumberjanes. Graphic novels/novels that are the books that I needed to read as a teenager (but didn’t exist). My boys love them too. Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Fortunately the Milk (Neil Gaiman). The Sisters Grimm (series). Descendants of the storytellers, they solve fairy-tale based mysteries. Hamster Princess (series). Also based on fairy tales, Harriet is a hamster and a kick-ass princess. How to Train Your Dragon (series). Far better than the movies IMO, very dark at times, but with hope. Harry Potter (of course). Bone (graphic novel series). There are really so many good YA graphic novels available right now—excellent artistry and deep storytelling. American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Secret Coders (Gene Luen Yang) The Witch Boy (graphic novel series). Awkward, Brave (graphic novels by Svetlana Chmakova). Mysterious Benedict Society (series).
Melissa Mazzone writes, “I absolutely adore the genius Leigh Bardugo and her Shadow and Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology (both set in her “grishaverse” world). Laini Taylor is phenomenal with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. Both Fantasy series that are considered more “upper YA” and rich with magic and lore.” She adds, “Oh! Marissa Meyer has a fantastic series called The Lunar Chronicles that includes 4 amazing sci-fi fairytale retellings. A few of my favorite contemporary YA authors are Courtney Summers, Emery Lord, Nova Ren Suma, and Sarah Dessen.”
Anna Consalvo nominates Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyami.
And Jamie Lynn Longo writes, “In addition to all the awesome books others have shared, I would include these series and stand-alones.
**Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty series and The Diviners series. The latter has become one of my very favorite things because of its inclusiveness. It is set in the 1920s, but features multiple characters of color and characters on the LGBTQ spectrum, and they are major players, not merely fodder to kill off tragically.

** Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park, which is one of the loveliest books I've ever read. I was particularly struck by Park's parents in this book. Both parents have moments where you want to shake them and say, ‘Can't you see how this choice is hurting ____?’ But they also both have moments where something clicks into place and they see the full picture and act without hesitation to do to the right thing. It's kind of beautiful.

** Nnedi Okorafor's Binti "trilogy" of novellas ("trilogy" because there's now an additional short story) and Akata Witch series, both of which are amazing Afro-futurist awesomeness

** Oddity, by Sarah Cannon, which is straight-up one of THE FUNNIEST books I've ever read. Imagine the SciFi show Eureka with a dark twist: children going missing. A group of middle-schoolers tries to find out what's going on.

** Justina Ireland's Dread Nation -- What if the Civil War had been interrupted by zombies and free Black women were actively trained to fight them off and Lincoln had been shot but survived?! This is an intended series for which I'm anxiously awaiting the next entry.

** The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, by Sonia Manzano (Sesame Street's Maria!), which takes its initially unlikeable protagonist on a journey into social justice. That makes it sound SO BORING, but imagine a 16-year-old Nuyorican discovering the Young Lords when they take over her church. It's amazing.

** Sometimes We Tell the Truth, by Kim Zarins. Zarins came to the brilliant conclusion that Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are basically Boccaccio fan fiction, so she updated the Tales using contemporary fandoms as a set of stories told on a school bus trip from CT to DC.

** Laurel Garver's currently two-book series Never Gone and Almost There (with maybe other books in the works). These two books explore a teen girl's grief over her father's death and how she tries to make sense of the world (and her faith) in the aftermath.

I tried to limit myself to Americans, since much of my favorite YA is from elsewhere.”
PS. Other YA lit series, books, or authors you’d highlight?

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