Monday, December 29, 2008

Young Adult

Rita, let me assure you I was not offended in the LEAST by your observation … in fact, I thought it was funny. And completely accurate! I was actually thrilled to realize how much I enjoy young adult, as it opens up a whole new world for me at the library. I’m sure I’ll be sinking my teeth (Ha-ha, get it?! Another Twilight joke!) into many more YA books in the coming months and like you, am just glad to be reading.

Kathleen in GA, the rule in our house (normally, unless I’m being lazier than usual) is you have to read the book *before* you can see the movie. Without a doubt, knowing that Twilight was coming out in movie form was incentive for Brayden to stick with such a long book. It was actually the Harry Potter series that made me create that rule for my kids …. No WAY can they fit everything from a 500 page book into a two hour movie, and this rule makes me happy and hopeful that my kids won’t miss as much as they might if they were to go straight to the movie (probably because I’m a meanie-face-bossy-pants, but oh well.)

Tammy in OH, there are lots of things about this series that I admire. ::warning – spoiler alert – spoiler alert:: I read online (although I have no idea if this is true) that the author is Mormon, and I do see some of that spilling over into the book. None of the teen characters drink or smoke, except for one brief scene where the grown men are having a beer while watching a football game, I believe. The language is not exceptionally bad (or maybe it is, and because I’m a potty mouth myself I just didn’t notice …. But I really don’t think so.) It is very, very clear that the characters in this book (parents, siblings, and friends, not just the two central love figures) care deeply about one another and want to protect each other. Loyalty is key. Bella is very concerned throughout about not hurting her parents with her actions, which I also admire. (Not to say she doesn’t wind up doing it anyway, but at least it gives her pause most of the time.) Selflessness and sacrifice are central themes. The two main characters *do* wait until they’re married before they have sex, and in addition, Bella, the heroine, was still a virgin when she met Edward at the age of 17, something I was glad to read the author make note of. I think the first two books portray a very accurate perception of obsessive teen behavior, or “love”, if you will. I think the author spot-on nailed the longing and the wanting and the fanatical infatuation that can happen. (Ahhhhh, happy memories of my high-school sweetheart …..) But, I also think those feelings and emotions won’t make much sense to my eleven year old. Dear Lord, at least I hope they don’t! I also think the “longing” and “wanting” is much more detailed in book three, which is why I will make Brayden wait awhile before moving on past book two. And like others have said, the sci-fi element of book four was not as enjoyable to me, and definitely beyond the concept of what my eleven year old can grasp, understand, and enjoy. So for now, Twilight and New Moon will be as far as she can go.

Cate, I had every intention of making Brayden send you a thank you e-mail, and I’m embarrassed it hasn’t happened yet. She loves her t-shirt more than you can know … thank you!

Thanks also to those of you who’ve put your favorite YA books in the comment section. Ya’ll should know I’m a total book hound who is always looking for a suggestion. Or two or eight or ninety. Since a few of you asked about my recent reads, I thought I would share the list. For some odd reason, many of them are sci-fi, even though that’s not the genre I usually choose. I think because it’s what my kids have been reading for school, it’s where I gravitated as well. And, in a don’t-knock-it-until-you-try-it mode, I’ve discovered books I enjoyed thoroughly, that I probably wouldn’t have taken notice of, otherwise.

YA books I’ve read lately and enjoyed:

The Shadow Children Series by Margaret Haddix. Read the first one on Kellen’s recommendation, he and I both read them all, but not together. I am REALLY looking forward to starting her next series, Found.

Uglies, Pretties, and Specials by Scott Westerfeld. Read the first one because Brayden was reading it, went on to finish the trilogy on my own. However, I only recently discovered there is another book, the Extras, so I guess I need to track it down as well.

The White Mountains by John Christopher. Read it because it was required reading for Kellen’s book club. Didn’t enjoy it *quite* as much as the others, but still a good read.

Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen. Found it a little unbelievable that a 12-year old girl could fend for herself so successfully for so long, but it was a good read.

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, and Notes from the Midnight Driver, both by Jordan Sonnenblick. Extremely enjoyable, and want another of his books, Zen and the Art of Faking It, next.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. I know, it looks silly, and it sort of is. But it’s funny! I also enjoyed DWK 2, Roderick Rules, but I think the Do-It-Yourself Wimpy Kid book 3 is nothing more than a pathetic marketing attempt to sell something to kids and make a profit. Don’t sell my kid what is essentially a bunch of blank notebook pages for the price of a hardback book. Oh, wait. You already did.

YA books I have read lately and didn’t enjoy:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. Is it against the law for me to admit that? I know it’s considered a children’s classic, but, well, Kellen and I both were bored to tears. It was for a book report and in fact, about three quarters of the way through we bagged it and he read a Hank the Cowdog book instead. Yep, Hank the Cowdog. Now *there’s* a classic!

The Secret Prince by D. Anne Love. This is the abandoned book that led Brayden and I to read Twilight …. Totally uninteresting to both of us. In fact, this is exactly why I’ve never bothered with Lord of the Rings, because I assume it will be just like this. Prophecy. Quests. Magic swords. Yawn.

And there you have it. Everything young-adult I can think of off the top of my head that I’ve read the past two or three months.

I also recently read Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. Shockingly, simply reading the book did not, in fact, give me financial peace. Do you think that’s because I charged it at Barnes and Noble?


Anonymous said...

We took the Financial Peace class at church last year, and the book was pretty boring. We still don't have any peace, maybe because we still haven't put any of the points into play yet! However, several couples in our class made huge strides in paying off debts and are doing quite well. We work better under pressure though, and I guess our finances must not be bad enough yet. Hmm, a few more trips to Target with my red card are maybe in order....

Karalyn said...

A Wrinkle in Time-UGH. You're not the only one who hated that book. My son had to read that this year and like yourself, I usually read the book while he is. But his one I could not get through.

Jacqueline said...

I didn't go back and check the other comments, so I apologize in advance if there are some repeats. I was going to say the Wrinkle in Time series (there are actually 4 books), but you said you didn't like the first one. I would encourage giving it another chance...the last 3 books are especially good and the final book is interesting in that it is a different take of the Noah and the ark story. Anything by Lurlene McDaniel is good...she writes stories about kids and people with illnesses a lot of times. My favorite series is the Angels trilogy about a girl who falls in love with an Amish boy. Also, can't go wrong with Bill Wallace books, although I prefer his older stuff (like pre-1995) to the newer stuff. The Outsiders is good, and might be required reading for 7th grade in Oklahoma (it was about 13 years ago when I was in 7th grade)...Number the Stars and The Giver...Night of the Twisters is a good one...obviously the CS Lewis books (although I admit, I haven't read any of them)...A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my all time favorites, but Brayden might be a little young for that...I think I was 14 when I first read it. Can you tell I love reading?

Liz said...

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Excellent book!

DeLynn said...

I have enjoyed your blog for a long time---I don't think I have ever left a comment. If you are ever in search of a good book, site is wonderful.

The recommendations are broken down into age categories. Looking at this list makes me, an avid reader, feel as though I am not very well read! Our children (20, 17, 15, and 10) have greatly benefited from this site (with encouragement from Mom and Dad over the years!).

Blessings on you!

Donna said...

Since you admitted to the sci-fi bent, I'll toss in my latest YA fantasy/sci-fi adventure: Ender's Game/Speaker for the Dead/Xenocide/Children of the Mind. Written by Orson Scott Card in a 4-book series, it's about what happens if the world faces a threat outside itself and how far adults are willing to go to save it (at the expense of some of its brightest children). Read it on a whim when I saw it in the high school library. Card also has a series that incorporates a fantasy theme into the settling of the American West--the Alvin Maker series--which I have not read yet.

ACMSTheaterArts said...

Your favorite Camp Sunshine/ Clinic worker turned teacher here... Okay I left a whole long comment with book reccs and neat-o info on Twilight. I'll just make it shorter and sweeter now.

The Mortal Instruments Trilogy- Cassandra Claire*
Tithe (and the others in the series)- Holly Black*
Any book by Meg Cabot*
Any book by Sarah Dessen*
The Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

If it makes you feel better, I hated with the passion of a thousand suns the Lord of the Rings trilogy- which amongst my geeky friends is a sin.

*- might be more appropriate for 7th grade and up, but I did read (aloud) How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot this summer to my girls at Camp Sunshine and they LOVED it. It might be a good read aloud 'cause you can edit it pretty easily.

Tiffany said...

Kristie, I did the same thing with the twilight books, I read the first one before allowing my 9...almost 10 geez(her attitude) yr old to read it as I was concerned about any inappropriateness in it and then I decided to let her read it. She didnt injoy the first chapter so she has given up....will wait another year probably before she attempts again. I on the other hand am HOOKED on the books, I'm headed to day to buy books 3 and 4. I too enjoy some of the YA books.

Erika M said...

Oh my goodness! I felt the exact same way about "A Wrinkle in Time" and the other books in that series. The other two in the trilogy get a lot worse, but they is a 4th one called Many Waters that is more readable.
You should definately read Tamora Pierce's books, especially The Immortals Quartet (starts with "Wild Magic") about a girl who can speak with animals and The Lioness Quartet (starts with Alanna, the First Adventure) about a girl who becomes a knight. Both series are great, although they do delve into sex/relationships in the later books, but not nearly as bad as in Twilight. :)
Happy Reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie! My just turned eleven year old got some books from Santa this year that I wanted to "pre-approve". I'm reading "Thirteen Reasons Why", and love it. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it, and am still deciding whether to let my 11 year old read it. I'm no book critic, so I won't even try to go there. But google it or Barnes and it and read the reviews. Like I said, I love it...I'm just not totally convinced that my 5th grader is ready for some of the content.

She's currently reading "Hoot" and loves it...has a hard time putting it down.

Good luck...and happy reading :)


Stephanie said...

Yes, Stephenie Meyer is Mormon. I LOVE her books. Have you read The Host yet? Alyssa loved the Twilight series but doesn't want to read The Host. Alyssa also loves the Uglies books, but I haven't read those yet. She did a diorama of the setting of one of the book for a project for school -- very time consuming!!

Mom2Toribug said...

YES! YES! YES!!! It is probably b/c you charged Financial Peace that you didn't get it :-) No, just kidding! We are in week 10 of the class and are loving it. We have paid some stuff off and are making great strides on the rest. He is a cash only kinda guy. He won't even let you charge his class. I would recommend taking the class through a bible-study kinda thing to totally understand his principles. He has great videos and the videos are on CD so you can listen to them in the car. I have not been reading YA lately, but now that you have told us how great they are, I am going to. I was a little worried about my niece reading a vampire book "Twilight", but I prejudged it without reading it.

Mom2Toribug said...

I should have mentioned that my all-time favorite book is The Shack. The best book I have ever read. Really not an easy read, but well worth it. Let us know if you have indeed read it.

Anonymous said...

I am a 50 year old mom/teacher/reader of young adult books! My favorite right now, though I am somewhat ashamed to admit it are the GOSSIP GIRL series! Loved twilight too!

Lauren said...

I'm such a sucker for young adult fiction, and I'm a late-20's English teacher (who also hates "A Wrinkle in Time," incidentally). I have to admit I haven't tackled the Twilight series, though - I generally have a tough time getting into science fiction of any sort, and vampires don't appeal to me at all. So many people say it's fantastic though!

Two sci-fi YA books that I LOVE are "Life As We Knew It" and "The Dead and the Gone" by Susan Beth Pfeffer - the premise is that an asteroid has hit the moon, knocking it off its course and drastically altering life on earth. Both books are fantastic. The Gossip Girl series are my guilty pleasure, and I LOVE Megan McCafferty's "Sloppy Firsts" series, although probably not for someone Brayden's age. :) Also, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "Alice" books are A+++ in my book - the earlier ones are definitely appropriate for Brayden, and the more recent ones are more suited to someone in high school, but they're among my favorite books ever.

Cindy in Yukon said...

I apologize beforehand if this offends anyone, but here goes. My kids are now 20 and 17. Ideally, we would like to protect and shelter our kids from certain situations in books, etc. Whether it be drugs, sex, or anything else we are not comfortable with them being exposed to just yet, let me assure you they WILL hear about these things anyway at school or through friends. All I'm saying is, if you read these books together this can be the perfect opportunity to discuss sensitive subject matter. YOU, the parent can be the one to answer their questions before someone else does! Just something to think about.................. :<)

Cate said...

We just had a bad snow storm right after I mailed it and everything got delayed so I wanted to make sure it actually got there.

Glad she likes it!

Cate said...

Oh, and I hated A Wrinkle in Time too, but I'm a sucker for young adult reading though at the moment I'm flying through Marley and Me.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for your comments Kristie. DD saw the movie with a friend. I don't think she would have seen it otherwise. I actually have to wrench books from my 12 year old and 8 year old's hands sometimes. They both read voraciously and have each finished 3-4 books on this Christmas vacation. I was thrilled to find that our local Goodwill was a great source for very cheap books in addition to the library.

I have to agree on your comments about the books and the morals that they portray. I think it was one of the things that attracted me to the books too.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for your comments Kristie. DD saw the movie with a friend. I don't think she would have seen it otherwise. I actually have to wrench books from my 12 year old and 8 year old's hands sometimes. They both read voraciously and have each finished 3-4 books on this Christmas vacation. I was thrilled to find that our local Goodwill was a great source for very cheap books in addition to the library.

I have to agree on your comments about the books and the morals that they portray. I think it was one of the things that attracted me to the books too.

Connie Archer said...

Have you tried the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.(sp?) My kids turned me onto these.

Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I've taken the time to read your blog, Kristi, but I HAD to put in my two cents about YA books, too! I LOVED the Twilight series, and I agree with you. My eleven year old has read the first two, but she will need to wait for the last two. Not age-appropriate for a 5th grader. She is obsessed with Twilight, however! My 16 year old is too! :O)
Another WONDERFUL series is the Libba Bray trilogy- A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and A Sweet Far Thing. They are WONDERFUL! I could not put them down!
Kristin Simmons
Plano, TX

Trish in Leesburg, VA said...

I have for many years been a Lurlene McDaniel fan. It began back in about 4th grade (although the subject matter apparently wasn't considered age-appropriate by the school librarian, a few books managed to make it into the book fair!). I still to this day look forward to her books.