Thursday, February 6, 2014

What I've been reading: YA edition

Back before I has children, I used to read All The Things, All The Time. I wandered after my mom in the grocery store with my nose in a book. I stayed up until midnight to get a new Harry Potter book, then generously let my sister read first, knowing she would fall asleep and I've have it all to myself- at 2am. I've always had a special place in my heart for YA fiction, reading it long before and after I was actually a young adult. I've been reading it more again lately, since the bearing and raising of children has alternately turned my brain to mush and made me so emotional adult books get thrown in the trash. Here are some of the latest:

Divergent Series: I've heard about these for a while, and they didn't seem particularly interesting. But, more and more people had read them, and finally something tipped me over the edge and I impulse-bought the first paperback from T*rget. The first half of the first book was good, and it trailed off after that. By the time I got to the third book, it was like a train wreck- I just couldn't look away. I read these pretty fast, as we had a fever in the house and I was spending a lot of time holding and comforting sad sick children. If it weren't for that, I may have gotten distracted and not finished the second and third. On the other hand, I'm a sucker for YA dystopian romance, so perhaps not. I thought the ending was distinctly unsatisfying, which I feel is a common issue in this genre. The political storyline, in particular, frequently goes through so many twists that by the end, I just don't care.

Wonder: I really enjoyed this. It chronicles the school year of a kid with an extreme facial deformity attending school for the first time, in about 6th grade. I found out after I read it that it was a "middle-grade" book, which I guess is for younger kids than YA. I loved the different narrators, and felt the different perspectives brought a lot to the story. While the ending was maybe a little cheesy, it was also very fitting.

Eleanor and Park: This is a story of young love, and is really all about the characters. The plot is cute enough, and I was grateful that most of the tension in Eleanor's life was about things that could happen, not that had. The character of Park made this book, though perhaps Eleanor made Park.

Fangirl: By the same author as Eleanor and Park, this is about a socially anxious twin- Cath- attending her first year of college. A very, very cute and clever story, though I sometimes found the alternate story- excerpts from the fan fiction Cath wrote, and the book she wrote it from- more entertaining than the main storyline. Though, perhaps, that made Cath's obsession with it a little more realistic. In this book, the male protagonist was a bit weaker, though still a fun a quirky character. Rainbow Rowell has two other books out, and while they don't look particularly appealing, I may give them a try. I look forward to seeing what else she does. (Can that really be her real name?)


  1. I just finished Wonder, too, and really enjoyed it. I've enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's stuff--but I've wondered the same thing about her name! No idea what the answer is. :)

    Thanks for sharing your reads with us!

  2. You have me convinced. Wonder is going on my list. :)

  3. Thanks for the list - I'm always looking for new books. Have you heard of the "Gone" series? It's probably more "middle years" but I read the first book (titled "Gone") b/c Dan's middle school niece was reading them. I haven't read beyond the 1st, but I'd like to... Also, we just watched the movie "Ender's Game" and it was based on a book. I might read that one too, we'll see.

    1. I've been thinking of reading Ender's Game, also- you might have just convinced me. I'll have to check out the "Gone" series, I haven't heard of it, and I don't have anything lined up to read just now- thanks!