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Teen Titles are Terrific! August 19, 2010

Posted by stacey in Genre Book Discussion, Young Adult.
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Do you know one of my favorite things about teen books? They have the same amount of drama, action, and character development that you’d want to find in any good adult book, but they don’t have a lot of the distracting chatter. Or maybe I should have said: teen books are succinct! But you don’t have to take my word for how awesome teen books can be, you can read what everyone thought about the book they read right here:

Carol: A Spy in the House by Ying S. Lee takes place in May 1858, during London’s “Great Stink.” In the attic of a boarding school is the “Agency,” an elite, all-girl group of private investigators. Ex-thief, hotheaded 17-year-old Mary Quinn, is the Agency’s newest hire. A Spy in the House is not just a great mystery. It’s intricately plotted, humorous, and set against a well-written and well-researched historical backdrop. It stars a fabulously feisty heroine and includes a bit of romance too. What could be better? Oh yes, the second book in the Agency series, The Body in the Tower, comes out this month, I’m (not so patiently) waiting.

Megan: Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey. Solange Drake is the first female vampire born to the Drake family. According to an ancient prophecy if she survives her transformation on her sixteenth birthday she will become the next Vampire Queen. As if the threat of death from the bloodchange is not enough, the current queen, the local anti-vampire league, and a couple of rogue vampire tribes are all out to kill her. When Solange is kidnapped just days before her birthday it is up to Lucy, her human best friend, and her seven overprotective brothers to save her before it is too late.

Janet: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi is set in the futuristic gulf coast area of the United States. Nailer, a teenage boy, leads a day to day existence stripping copper from old, grounded oil tankers. After a hurricane Nailer discovers a wrecked clipper ship full of valuables and a beautiful young girl which may lead him to a better life.

Evelyn: The Christopher Killer: A Forensic Mystery by Alane Ferguson. Cameryn Mahoney wants to become a forensic pathologist. She talks her father, the county coroner, into letting her become his assistant. When the latest victim of a serial killer is found near their small town, Cameryn learns that the victim is one of her friends and is forced to use her own intuition and forensic knowledge to help find the killer. This is the first in a planned series for young adult readers. The characters are well developed and interesting and the author includes fascinating, detailed forensic information. I wish they had books like this when I was in high school.

Emma: Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman is the diary of 12-year-old Catherine. It’s 1290 and Catherine documents daily life with lots of detail on family, friends and food. Catherine’s father, the beast, is trying to marry off his young daughter for the best price. Catherine is very clever in trying to avoid marriage, especially to smelly old men. A wonderful funny story.

Julie: Sabriel by Garth Nix is a wonderful teen fantasy book that begins the Abhorsen trilogy. Sabriel is at school living a fairly normal life when she must cross over the wall into the Old Kingdom to search for her missing father. The world of necromancers, magic and a very angry cat named Mogget is an unusual and engaging place to let the reader’s imagination loose.

Ann: The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton is a wonderful book. Crime, mystery, teen angst, and coming-of-age blend together into one of the most unusual books I’ve read in a long time. Michael discovered at an early age a special talent- he could open locks. It is precisely this talent that gets him into so much trouble that he can’t find his way out. Combine that with the fact that Michael hasn’t spoken a word since he was eight years old due to a traumatic event, and you have a narrative that zings. For most of the story, Michael is a teenager, and while this book is not written specifically for teens it definitely will appeal to teenage readers.

Dori: Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd tells the story of fourteen-year-old Holly Hogan who has lived in a residential care facility in London for most of her life. After finding a wig, she decides to take on a new, more courageous identity as “Solace” taking to the road to find her mother in Ireland. Holly’s voice is funny, sarcastic and smart, and her journey is realistic and uncompromising.

Stacey: Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue was an interesting book to read, both for the plot and for the subtle Christian lessons learned along the way. Fifteen-year-old Jessie has ADHD and her mom has a mental illness. When things horribly wrong at home, Jessie finds herself relocated to a new state with a father she’d never met before but it could be the best thing that ever happened to her. It just doesn’t seem that way but can the cute boy who owns his own motorcycle help Jessie find happiness?

A pretty satisfying, wide array of choices in this list, don’t you think? Me too! And while you’re selecting something from the teen room, you could also be selecting a book to read from our next genre … historical fiction! The only guideline I’ll provide this time? You’ll want to choose something set at least 25 years in the past. Enjoy the hunt, I know I will!

-Stacey

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