Enough talk of books about Andean plane wrecks, Soviet nuclear disasters, and Templar knights. It's time for a quick review of a few Young Adult books I've read recently.
I've discussed this topic before (and I'm happy to discuss it again), but my opinions have recently been clarified: there are three types of YA books out there. First, there's the cool kids, books like the City of Bones series, or A Great and Terrible Beauty. Sure, they're technically "young adult," but they're mature beyond their years and sometimes they smoke and drink a little, at least figuratively if not literally.
Then there are the nerd books, like Hattie Big Sky or The Girl Who Could Fly. These are simple, sweet, endearing books that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
The final category are the books that can kind of hang out with everyone. Books like the Harry Potter series, or maybe the Aragon books (I can't say for sure because I haven't read that series, but they strike me as being ubiquitous so I'm making an educated guess). They're hip enough to belong to the cool crowd, but they are widely appealing and generally inoffensive.
All of these books have merit. What you will personally like, however, just depends on your taste.
According to my analysis described above, Hattie Big Sky is a nerd book, and I love her for it. This is YA fiction the way I remember it best: a young kid rising to overcome a tough situation, good family values, a strong sense of place and time, and of course, a backdrop of war (preferably with Germans). I heard about this book from Lark and I wanted to help spread the word that the type of book I loved when I was actually a young adult (Jacob Have I Loved, Johnny Tremain, Stepping on the Cracks, etc.) is alive and well.
If you read enough books like City of Bones, though, you tend to forget that.
I've read two out of the three books in this series (which definitely belongs to the cool kid category) and I have mixed feelings about them. I think my reservations would largely disappear if these books weren't classified as Young Adult. I most likely would not let my young teenager read them. On the other hand, they are compelling books that are perfectly appropriate for the right audience. I've read two of them so far, and I am planning to read the third. Make of that what you will.
Back in the nerdy category is Victoria Forester's The Girl Who Could Fly. Stephenie Meyer said it best when she described this book as being a cross between X-Men and Little House on the Prairie. That sounded really odd until I read the book. She's right; it is. And it works beautifully.
Is anyone else reading any good YA books lately? Do you agree with my cool kid/nerd/everyman classification?