Monday, March 19, 2007

YA, Anyone??

Because I've been working on some YA (a.k.a. Young Adult--books for teens) projects lately, I've been reading a lot of YA lately. Some new stuff, and some of the YA books that I read and loved in my youth. I must say, I'm REALLY enjoying it. There's a lot of interesting things happening in YA right now, and it's a fun genre to read, even if you're an adult (like me!).

My whole YA kick began when I read TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer a couple of years ago. I can't even say *why* I bought it--at the time, I wasn't reading YA. I simply walked by it on the shelf at at Waldenbooks, and the cover (a hard cover!) caught my eye. I picked it up, read the back blurb, and knew I HAD to buy it. I started reading it that night, and pretty much stayed up half the night reading it. It was, in a word, fabulous. The best book of any kind I could remember reading in a long, long time. It's paranormal--with a vampire hero--but really a 'human' story.

So, I started looking for other YA books, and discovered Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY. Again, the cover caught my eye--it looked like what I had envisioned for my debut book, UNLACED. It's also paranormal, but historical. It's a very intelligent book--one thing I particularly like about Libba's books (and Stephenie's, too) is that I don't feel like they are written in a 'dumbed down' fashion for teens. These are smart books for smart kids.

I've since read the sequels to both--Meyer's NEW MOON and Bray's REBEL ANGELS, and eagerly await the next books by both authors, now auto-buys for me. I've also read and enjoyed Meg Cabot's MEDIATOR series (SHADOWLAND was the first), and BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE by Annette Curtis Klause.

And then I ordered reissued copies of the paranormal YA books that I remebered reading--and loving--from my own youth, and this is pretty much *everything* by Lois Duncan (especially STRANGER WITH MY FACE and SUMMER OF FEAR--both those books have stayed with me all these years!). I'm happy to report that they were all as good as I remembered them, even now, though they are somewhat dated.

Even if you're way past the YA target age, I still recommend that you give some of the modern YA a try--I think you might be pleasantly surprised. I've seen a wide range of sensuality, from nothing but kisses, to kisses with a *hot* undercurrent of sexual tension (that would be TWILIGHT and NEW MOON, particularly!), to older teens having sex (though it happened 'off stage' in the book I read).

My question to you is, were there any YA books you read in your youth (i.e. pre-teen, early teen years) that made a strong impression on you, that you *still* remember? If so, have you tried re-reading them, and what did you think this time around? Any contemporary YA authors that you've read and enjoyed?


meardaba said...

I LOVE young adult novels. While I was growing up (granted, not that long ago), there was nothing except "She's dying of cancer and is falling in love!!!" crap that I hated. (Funny, too, because I am a great lover of romance novels now). Now I read all of the new and great YA novelists like Libba Bray, Tamora Pierce, Kristopher Reisz and Holly Black.

One book that stuck with me for years was THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD by Robin McKinley; it was one of the few interpretations of Robin Hood that I actually enjoyed. Her other titles are fantastic, too. Another author that is a great favourite of mine, and one who changed how I saw science, is Madeline L'Engle. She is by and far one of the best YA authors of all time. A SWIFTLY TILTING PLANET and A WRINKLE IN TIME are masterpieces, and enjoyable for all ages.

Kristina Cook said...

I'm going to check out the Robin McKinley book--thanks for the recommendation!! And I'm with you on Madeline L'Engle. Actually, I just bought a new copy of A WRINKLE IN TIME last week--can't wait to read it again!

meardaba said...

Honestly, anything by Robin McKinley is worth the money you spend on it. She did a lot of "re-writes" of fairytales in the 80s/90s, and they're classics.

Ann Christopher said...

I mentioned the other day that I'm reading (and really, REALLY loving) TWILIGHT.

And I have Libba Bray on my teetering TBR pile, but haven't read her yet.