All tagged Jenny Han

Listorama: 11 Books for the Younger YA Crowd

This week, Middle Grade and YA author Lisa Schroeder* made couple of great observations on Twitter about the importance of books that bridge the gap between younger readers and the upper young adult books that have a high crossover appeal to adults. 

Adult crossover appeal is huge in the YA market at the moment (though I question this on some level, since the numbers aren't as huge as we're lead to believe), so it makes sense that these are the books that get attention, especially in the online reviewing world. But Lisa's comment got me thinking about that space in 7th, 8th, 9th grade where there's definitely a gap in terms of attention to the appeal of that audience in online reviews. So, I thought it would be useful to put together a list. (Please add your recommendations in the comments, if you're so inclined.)

And thanks to Lisa for helping with some suggestions!

Recommendation Roundup: May 2014

Holla, people! 

Try not to be too stunned, but I think this is the first time ever I've managed to post our monthly roundup of recommendations on the actual first of the month. I know, right? Stunning!

I have to say, I read some pretty great YA this month, which was a real treat, since I've had a whole slew of not-finished YAs recently. Have you checked out the last book in Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone series yet? Woo boy, is that good. I listened to the audiobook because one of my favorite narrators does that series and it was loooooong, but so worth it. I also enjoyed Jenny Han's new book, Liz Fichera's seemingly under-the-radar sweet YA romance, Jennifer Echols new book and a couple of other goodies as well. 

Clock through for 14 recommendations we read this month! 

List-O-Rama: Tangled Like/Love/Lust That Doesn't Suck

I know, I know... the love triangle is everyone's favorite trope to hate. But sometimes... just sometimes, it's kind of fun/intriguing/compelling.

Here are a handful of like/love/lust triangles that I've enjoyed--seriously.

The "Summer" Series by Jenny Han: Belly, Jeremiah, Conrad

Triangle Type: The Classic - Two Brothers Heart One Girl; Girl Hearts Two Brothers--Yo, It's Complicated!
This series not only features a love triangle (and it's really "love") because Belly really cares about both brothers, Jeremiah and Conrad, and they care about her. Their shared history of summers spent together at the shore makes the complexity of the relationships completely believable--it's achy and the dramatics are irresistible. Read my review here.

Amazon | Goodreads

Links + Things: "Sick Lit," Writing Economics, Book Cover Woes and More

In addition to these links, there are a bunch of recaps of the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits, including my own, popping up.

Anna from Verity Books rounded up links to a few posts and Liz Burns has a comprehensive list of all the award winners. 

Onward, ho!


The Controversy over “Sick-lit” (The Hub)

However, although the term “sick-lit” may be new, the range of situations the teens in these books are experiencing certainly aren’t. Abuse, depression, suicide, terminal illness; YA authors aren’t fabricating these topics. Many teens throughout the world have already been, and still are, living these tragedies every second of every day.

Over at The Hub (the Young Adult Library Services Association's blog), Dena took a look at the idea of "sick lit" as criticized in a recent Daily Mail column. She hits the nail on the head in critiquing original piece. 

Honestly, some "sick lit" bothers me because it feels a bit (or a lot exploitative), but some is done very, very well. Ultimately, like so much related to literature, it's all in the execution.

Series Review: The "Summer Series" by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny HanIn my post yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve been reading as many summery novels as I can find. Naturally, I had to check out Jenny Han’s popular “Summer” books about three teenagers who spend each summer together at a beach house. 

I realize I’m probably the last person on the planet to read this series, and I blew through all three books in 24 hours, so I understand why people find them so unputdownable—there’s just something about these books that make you want to keep on reading. 

(Incidentally, since this is a series review, I’m going to be intentionally vague, so as to not ruin the books.)

In the first book, The Summer I Turned Pretty, Belly (Isabelle) returns with her mother and brother to Cousins Beach, where their family friends own a beach house. Now that she’s older, and as the title implies, prettier, she’s hoping to capture the attention of her long-term crush, Conrad, the eldest son of her mom’s best friend, Susannah. She’s also excited to reconnect with her good friend, Conrad’s younger brother, Jeremiah. 

I’d nursed a crush on Conrad for whole school years. I could survive for months, years, on a crush. It was like food. It could sustain me. If Conrad was mine, there was no way I’d break up with him over a summer—or a school year, for that matter.

The Summer I Turned Pretty is the novel in the series I connected with the most.

One of the wonderful things about the Summer books is that they feel very timeless. A lot of books featuring teen characters read in a way that I often wonder if they’ll be dated rather quickly. These books, and particularly the first one, made me feel nostalgic for summer fun as a teenager (and I hated being a teenager!). While I never was so lucky as to spend entire summers at the beach (that’s pretty much my dream), the sense of summer, where the days drift away amidst sun and sand was really wonderful. 

I was sitting on the La-Z-Boy reading Emma—mostly because I thought it made me look smart, not really because I enjoyed it. If I was reading for real, I would be locked in my room with Flowers in the Attic or something and not Jane Austen.

One of my favorite aspects of The Summer I Turned Pretty are the flashbacks relating the backstory and dynamics between the characters. We see them as kids each summer and how the dynamics between these “summer friends” evolved. Being the youngest, Belly is always hoping to be included with the boys, but often finding herself left out, pining away for Conrad. 

And this is the point at which I’m morally obligated to disclose something about the Summer books: there’s a love triangle.