Quick list of my summer reads:
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak. I know I am way late to this party, but in case anyone else is in my position of just-hadn't-gotten-around-to-it-yet, may I say GO! Read it Now!!! It is one of the best books I have read, and the book I am giving to people like my Dad and my high school English teacher as a pinnacle of great YA writing. The charcters are so well drawn, it is just abstract enough in its narration to be sophisticated without daunting teen readers. I loved it.
The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman. Lately there has been an increase in my library of teens asking for books about crime, street life, jail, drug dealing, etc. which is the main reason I read this book. I was hoping it would be a good one to reccommend. I am not sure how I feel about it. The basic premis is that 3 kids living in a halfway house find themselves living as model citizens, even against their will, because their group leader sustained a devestating head injury and they know that if they make any mistakes, their situation will be uncovered and they will all be sent back to lock-up. The author tries really hard to acknowledge and address how improbable it seems that they are able to pull of the deception, but this wasn't enough for me to not find it distractingly far-fetched. But I think if you are a teen reluctant reader that might not bother you and the story would be action-packed enough to pull you along.
Kieron Smith, Boy by James Kellman. So this is actually an adult book, winner of Scottish Book of the Year, and I know I have a more vested interest in it than most because I went to school in Scotland and wrote a thesis about the role of slang in adolescent male novels, and this book fits right in with those two interests as the narrative of a young boy coming of age in industrial Glasgow. The author does a pretty amazing job of seeing the world through a young boy's eyes, leaving unexplained things that he can't make sense of, depicting the casual brutality of older brothers, introducing family tensions that you only half-observe at that age. I find it most interesting for how violence is taken in stride and even celebrated as an unavoidable occurence, and for this reason I think the book is worth mentioning to anyone who works with young men and has never been one herself.
Most of my newest titles are out now, which is part of the reason I am catching up on some past reads and adult books!