Tuesday, September 4, 2012

YA summer reading

Did some summer reading - partly inspired by the kids'reading lists.

1. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamilo - enjoyed though felt somewhat flat and everything seemed expected. Good voice.

2. Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge - appealed to the Tolkien in me. Would make a great movie if someone could figure out how.

3. Scott Westerfeld - Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras - take one aspect of society - in this case teenage society’s obsession with looking good and getting noticed and turn it into a story. In a lot of cases as with this one it works okay although it felt overdone. By the fourth book I was skimming.

4. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. A series of vignettes told through the eyes of a young girl living in a poor neighborhood. Thought provoking. May have to return to this many times before getting it. It feels like a book that needs to be got rather than flipped through which was what I did. K1 is reading this for part of the term.

5. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - phew! This one was raw. I’m not quite sure what to make of it as an 8th reading assignment. I got this from DCPL. MCPL didn’t seem to hold any copies of it (why?). Part of me wants to say that it is definitely not 8th grade material but ...

6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I had similar feelings about this one. Not the rawness part - this book felt like it was written to shock and in some ways achieved it. Masturbation, alcoholism, racism abounds. The apparent easiness of his acceptance into the ‘white’ high school was somewhat surprising.

The last 2 books were award winners. I can see it for Speak but I felt that the latter was an award for writing content to shock parents particularly the masturbation. I didn’t really see any point to it. The alcoholism and racism I thought were well introduced. 

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth. This was enjoyable in the way Hunger Games was enjoyable. It’s targeted toward the teen crowd. I say this because in both series have the protagonists making life changing decisions when they are 16. I don’t really find this to be a realistic age to be making these decisions especially if these kids are our direct descendants who have been helicopter-parented. The choice of age feels more like a marketing gimmick than anything else. Both these series seem to have written with a movie in mind and in the case of Hunger Games - voila!

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