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Old 05-16-2006, 11:20 AM
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I seek Young Adult literature recommendations (for a class)


Hello all,

I'm taking a summer class on Young Adult Literature, for my MLS degree. We are expected to read two YA novels a week and write reviews of each, which shouldn't be a problem. However, we have a long list of options and choices, and I'd love to get some recommendations so I can go straight to the good stuff. The professor wants one or two from each given genre or subcategory, so I can't just read Judy Blume's entire body of work (not that I think I would want to). So what do you all recommend?

From the syllabus:
Quote:
Read one or two from the following categories to total 20. (The list below is a guide only.)
Realistic Fiction (Chap. 4)
Romance (Chap. 4)
Humor (Fiction) (see Chap. 5)
Sports (Chap. 6)
Strong female character in fiction (choose any)
Mystery/Suspense (Chap. 6)
Historical Fiction (Chap. 8)
Fantasy (Chap. 7)
Science Fiction (Chap. 7)
Ethnic experience in fiction (see p. 299)
Gay experience in fiction (see websites links)
Biography/Autobiography (Non-Fiction) (see Chap. 9 or web sites link)
Curriculum related (see Chap. 9-11)
Shocker/ challenged (you can use a challenged book)
Popular adult fiction (best seller)
Information, Poetry, or Drama (see. Chap. 5 & 9)

(About half of your reviews should come from this list):

Chapter 7: Rowling, J. K.; Paolini, Christopher; Lowry, Lois (The Giver); Farmer, Nancy (House of the Scorpion); Card, Orson Scott (Ender's Game); LeGuin, Ursala; Wells, H..G.; Tolkien, J.R.R.; Lewis, C.S. any; Coffer, Eoin; Pullman, Phillip; Yolen, Jane (2041); or a graphic novel

Chapter 4: Paulsen, Gary (Hatchet or other); Zindel, Paul (The Pigman or other); Hinton, S.E. (The Outsiders-also in VHS); Cormier, Robert; Bauer, Joan (Hope Was Here); Sachar, Louis (Holes); Myers, Walter Dean; Avi (Nothing But the Truth or other); Creech, Sharon (Walk Two Moons or other); Voigt, Cynthia; Rylant, Cynthia; Spinelli, Jerry (Wringer or other); Paterson, Katherine (Jacob Have I Loved-also in VHS) or other; Jacqueline Woodson; Draper, Sharon; Sones, Sonya

Chapter 5: Hesse, Karen (Out of the Dust); Nelson, Marilyn (Carver: A Life in Poem); Block, Francesca Lia, any; Sachar, Louis (Holes); Paulsen, Gary (Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered); Kerr, M.E.; Korman, Gordon (Son of the Mob); Garrison, Keillor and READ one ethnic: Ryan, Pam Munoz, Esperanza Rising (Hispanic); Park, Linda Sue, A Single Chard (Korean); Ortiz, Judith, An Island Like You (Barrio); Angelou, Maya, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Afri-Amer)

Chapter 6: Crutcher, Chris (Running Loose, The Crazy Horse Electric Game, or other); Nixon, Joan Lowery; Sleator, William; Paulsen, Gary; Hobbs, Will; Myers, Walter Dean; Grafton, Sue; Carl Hiaasen (Hoot)

Chapters 8 & 9: - any title in chapter, i.e. Cushman, Karen; Murphy, Jim (American Plague- about plague of 1793); Avi; Hamilton, Virginia; Taylor, Mildred; O’Dell, Scott; Rinaldi, Ann; Paulsen (Soldier’s Heart); Bruchac, Joseph (The Winter People); Spinelli, Jerry (Milkweed); Kovic, Ron (Born on the Fourth of July-VHS); Piers Paul Read (Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors); Bartoletti, S.C (Black Potatoes)
So far, I just finished Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl, and I'll probably read a graphic novel to fulfill the Sci-Fi/Fantasy requirement next. I'll probably also read Carl Hiaasen's Hoot since I already love his work, but from here on out, any suggestions based on the above (or any other appropriate works) would be welcomed.
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:46 AM
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It's a categorie I never really read as a YA but:


Rowling, J. K. my kids love them so I tried them and they are very readable - terrific sti\ory values.

Hinton, S.E. (The Outsiders-also in VHS) sometimes feels dated I think Rumble Fish is the most complete.

Cormier, Robert I read Fade which isn't YA and then read The Chocolate War which must be close to the best YA book ever written because I loved it.

Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon Days manages to make mundane funny.

Angelou, Maya I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Interesting enough but check out Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas and some of her poetry for a better appreciation.

Grafton, Sue; Carl Hiaasen Anything by either of them is a joy but YA???

Piers Paul Read (Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors) terrific read that has stayed with me for decades now.
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:41 PM
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I'm not quite sure where it would fit in (Romance? Strong female character?) but I highly recommend "Stargirl" by Spinelli. I was so moved by this book. I think it may be my favorite book ever, YA or otherwise.

Realistic Fiction The Kite Runner
Romance Stargirl
Humor (Fiction) No More Dead Dogs
Sports (Chap. 6) No clue. Sorry.
Strong female character in fiction Speak
Mystery/Suspense Acceleration
Historical Fiction The Midwife's Apprentice
Fantasy Alanna (or anything else by Tamora Pierce)
Science Fiction The Giver I really don't think this is fantasy. It has clear moral ambiguities brought about by shifts in technology. But if your teacher will only accept it as fantasy, then I'd recommend Ender's Game
Ethnic experience in fiction Necessary Roughness
Gay experience in fiction Annie On My Mind
Biography/Autobiography Walking From East to West
Shocker/ challenged (you can use a challenged book) I don't know what this means
Popular adult fiction (best seller) hmm.. not sure. I like just about anything by Phillipa Gregory these days.
Information, Poetry, or Drama Grand Mothers : Poems, Reminiscences, and Short Stories About The Keepers Of Our Traditions
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:03 PM
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I'm sorry, but I just can't resist. You're getting a degree in Me?
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:07 PM
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Those are surprisingly standard and unimaginative suggestions from your professor, but hey, who am I to judge?

I heartily recommend Sabriel by Garth Nix. It's the first book in his "Abhorsen Trilogy," and I was shocked at how well-written and engrossing it was for a YA book. I was also surprised at just how dark it was for YA - a young girl inherits her father's position as Necromancer after he becomes trapped in what's essentially Hell while trying to lay spirits to rest. It inhabits that intersection of horror and fantasy, and features a strong female protagonist.
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VCO3
I heartily recommend Sabriel by Garth Nix. It's the first book in his "Abhorsen Trilogy," and I was shocked at how well-written and engrossing it was for a YA book. I was also surprised at just how dark it was for YA - a young girl inherits her father's position as Necromancer after he becomes trapped in what's essentially Hell while trying to lay spirits to rest. It inhabits that intersection of horror and fantasy, and features a strong female protagonist.
I just couldn't get into it, and it's everything I usually love about books. But I found the writing surprisingly weak and repetitive (if she "fingered her bells" once more, I'd scream - and it's not even dirty like it sounds!). I finally gave up 2/3s of the way in. Ah, well. Guess that's why there's lots of books out there - to each their dozen.
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Old 05-16-2006, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
Realistic Fiction The Kite Runner
There's no way this is YA. Way too much anal rape. Way too much brutal anal rape. This is definitely adult fiction. I would not allow a twelve year old to read this, and I can't imagine any publisher marketing it as so. It could go in popular adult fiction, but not YA realistic fiction.

All the books I'm suggesting are going to be skewed heavily towards girls, because, well, I am one.

Another from Karen Cushman, aside from The Midwife's Apprentice is Catherine, Called Birdy . One of my most favorite books. I vastly preferred it to The Midwife's Apprentice.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott--I'm not sure what category that would fall into. Maybe historical, maybe strong woman character in fiction.

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (historical fiction)--Short and sweet.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell--There are others, but that's my favorite.

You might want to consider reading one of the Redwall books by Brian Jacques as a fantasy selection. It's been a while since I've read any, but I was way into them in middle school. The world's pretty easy to grasp, though, so you could probably just pick up any book at all in the series.

I heartily second Sabriel and Lake Wobegon Days.
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Old 05-16-2006, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by don't ask
Cormier, Robert I read Fade which isn't YA and then read The Chocolate War which must be close to the best YA book ever written because I loved it.
Cormier wrote a lot of good stuff, if you don't mind that most of the stories are pretty dark and depressing.

In addition to "The Chocolate War," I recommend:

"I am the Cheese"
"Beyond the Chocolate War"
"We All Fall Down"
"The Rag and Bone Shop"

I also second the suggestion of Chris Crutcher (especially "Ironman") and add a couple more recommendations:

Lois Duncan, "Killing Mr. Griffin"
Deborah Z. Porter, "When Dad Killed Mom"
Diane Duane, the "Young Wizards" series (starting with "So You Want To Be a Wizard")
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Old 05-16-2006, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Miss Purl McKnittington
There's no way this is YA. Way too much anal rape. Way too much brutal anal rape. This is definitely adult fiction. I would not allow a twelve year old to read this, and I can't imagine any publisher marketing it as so. It could go in popular adult fiction, but not YA realistic fiction.
I agree it's not for 12 year olds. I do think it's fine for 17 year olds. "YA" is a vague term on Amazon, especially when doing searches, their search engine sucks. I don't know if there's a more rigid guideline for this class. One of the reasons I liked it so much was that it's about a culture I don't see much written about, and it was one of the few books where I had nothing - nothing - in common with the protaganist, but I cared for him so deeply I couldn't stop reading. But yeah, I'll conceed it's not appropriate for the young end of YA.

Though the troublemaker part of me wants to ask why brutal vaginal rape is OK, but homosexual anal rape isn't. Rape/molestation survivor stories are a huge chunk of YA fiction. It was one of my favorite genres as a young girl.
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Old 05-16-2006, 03:18 PM
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Hoot is wonderful. As is Michael Chabon's Summerland (a baseball fantasy - sports? fantasy?)
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Old 05-16-2006, 03:22 PM
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I think this is for younger kids (middle school age) but I suggest "My Brother Sam is Dead" - can't remember the author, but seems timely (a boy torn about the war, in this case the Revolution).
Historical Fiction
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Old 05-16-2006, 07:52 PM
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Thank you all for the suggestions so far! Please keep 'em coming! That Garth Nix book actually sounds very cool (and I should be able to fit it in under "Horror"), and I did not know about Michael Chabon's Summerland, but I loved his Kavalier and Clay (not a YA novel), and I can use Summerland as a "Sports" book.

I was a little disappointed by Artemis Fowl, but I think I'm going to use Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol: Crawling Through the Wreckage for my graphic novel sci-fi/fantasy selection just because I have it here and haven't read it yet. It's about misunderstood outcasts and freaks, so it might be just perfect as a YA title.
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:50 PM
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These are some things I read and loved around that age, many of these were even required reading. I know that YA is broad, so some of these might be considered too young/old, I don't know, but I'm thinking of what was required in sixth-eighth grade Gifted classes when I was there.


All Louisa May Alcott
All Lucy Maud Montgomery
Prydain Chronicles
Dark is Rising series
Westing Game
Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn
Narnia
Secret Garden
Hobbit
To Kill a Mockingbird
Cold Sassy Tree
Call of the Wild
The Pigman
I am the Cheese (was that the title?)
Separate Peace

Hmm, that's what I remember reading at that age (well and Romeo and Juliet for class too!). Would Lemony Snicket be YA or kids? There was some other book about a girl, Dicey's Song, maybe? I didn't like that.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:12 PM
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You really can't appreciate YA SciFi without reading the Heinlein juveniles: Starman Jones, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, Farmer In The Sky, The Star Beast, Citizen of the Galaxy, Red Planet, Between Planets, and Podkayne of Mars, which also qualifies as a "strong female character" book.
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Old 05-17-2006, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
I agree it's not for 12 year olds. I do think it's fine for 17 year olds. "YA" is a vague term on Amazon, especially when doing searches, their search engine sucks. I don't know if there's a more rigid guideline for this class. One of the reasons I liked it so much was that it's about a culture I don't see much written about, and it was one of the few books where I had nothing - nothing - in common with the protaganist, but I cared for him so deeply I couldn't stop reading. But yeah, I'll conceed it's not appropriate for the young end of YA.

Though the troublemaker part of me wants to ask why brutal vaginal rape is OK, but homosexual anal rape isn't. Rape/molestation survivor stories are a huge chunk of YA fiction. It was one of my favorite genres as a young girl.
In my mind, YA goes until about eighth or ninth grade, and then the maturity level should be high enough to handle most anything. I couldn't see a librarian forming a list of recommended YA books and including The Kite Runner in it because some parents would pick it up for their sixth-grader.

I read it originally for class this semester, and no one in the class could find a real good reason for the extent of rape there was in the book. There was no strong parallel between the rape of the land and the rape of the youth or anything like that. It just strikes me as a waste to not utilize something so bold and contentious as rape for a greater metaphorical and symbolic meaning. I guess a banana is really just a banana sometimes, but to have it be nothing more in a novel was very surprising.

I actually don't think that graphic depictions of vaginal rape in books for the middle school set is all that cool, either. I just remarked upon the anal rape in The Kite Runner because that's the only kind of rape there is in that book. I'd wager, though, that vaginal rape is more acceptable because it's the expected rape to hear about. It's perfectly acceptable for a woman to come out and talk about rape without it having any effect on her femininity, but a man doing the same thing would damage his identity in a totally different way. Not saying that being raped wouldn't be a terrible ordeal for either sex, but a man faces different obstacles in current society.
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:48 AM
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I see Joan Lowery Nixon is on your list. She's a local author here in Houston, so we all had to read a few of her mystery novels in junior high. Once she came to our school and gave a talk on writing. I read The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore and The Seance and I remember her books being okay, but nothing special.

Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars, wrote a few young adult novels, including Rats Saw God and Slave Day. I haven't read them but I've heard good things. If they're half as good as the show, which was originally conceived as a novel, those might be good bets and you can spare your professor the experience of grading the one-billionth review of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:02 AM
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Realistic Fiction (Chap. 4) Maniac Magee might qualify; it's certainly quite good. (You could also fit it under "Sports," probably).
Romance (Chap. 4): dunno.
Humor (Fiction) (see Chap. 5)
Sports (Chap. 6) Summerland? meh. Didn't much like it, but it's not awful.
Strong female character in fiction (choose any): The Hero and the Crown, definitely--one of the all-time greats! Or To Kill a Mockingbird.
Mystery/Suspense (Chap. 6): The Westing Game, a classic whodunit, or Holes, a modern mystery (that might also fit under "humor").
Historical Fiction (Chap. 8): Treasure Island! A fantastic read, especially if yuou've not read it in years. Also almost anything by Scott O'Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins etc.)
Fantasy (Chap. 7): Sounds like you've got this covered. I was disappointed by Artemis Fowl and Sabriel, but highly recommend The Golden Compass and its sequels. I also kinda like A Wizard of Earthsea, but you could probably guess that .
Science Fiction (Chap. 7): I'm not really up on my YA SF.
Ethnic experience in fiction (see p. 299): Annoying category, if you ask me (everybody's ethnic!), but you might go for Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry.
Gay experience in fiction (see websites links): Dunno.
Biography/Autobiography (Non-Fiction) (see Chap. 9 or web sites link): Too many to choose from! I'm partial to PT Barnum and Mark Twain as awesome biographical subjects.
Curriculum related (see Chap. 9-11)
Shocker/ challenged (you can use a challenged book): Shocker? Maybe Coraline, by Neil Gaiman; it's really creepy horror.

Daniel
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:51 AM
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I still have and occasionally re-read Katherine Paterson's "Jacob Have I Loved." I kinda vaguely recall seeing the movie (after-school special, maybe?) - Bridget Fonda was in it? - but the book has stuck with me since jr. high, which was 20-some years ago.
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Old 05-17-2006, 11:00 AM
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[You recommend The Hero and the Crown over The Blue Sword and Spindle's End? All of them are great, but I thought THatC was the weakest one.

He might be a little young, but anything by John Bellairs is good for creepy/horror.

For ethnic experience, Come a Stranger, by Cynthia Voigt (part of her Tillerman Family sequence), or anything by Deborah Eillis.
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Old 05-17-2006, 01:50 PM
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My first thought was The Giver, which is a pretty good book (I'm also reminded of another, similar one, with two groups of people--one in the trees and one below the roots. Can't remember the name though). I didn't realise that Ender's Game was considered YA, but I would recommend that as well.

For a more original response, I'd rsuggest Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel. It's the first of a series (Sunwing and Firewing being the others--I haven't read Firewing yet but I'd like to).
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:36 PM
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Couldn't Terry Pratchett work as either humor or fantasy?
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Old 05-18-2006, 12:19 AM
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You know, if the Jane Yolen 2041 is what I think it is, it's not actually by her. It's a collection of short stories published in about 1991 or so, including one by Yolen. Otherwise, she's just the editor. I actually still have this one on my bookshelf. Two of the stories were first published in the magazines and were then heavily altered by the authors (I've only been able to track down one of the two because it's a lot easier to find back issues of Asimov's than it is Tales of the Unanticipated.) The short stories are:

"Much Ado About [Censored]" by Connie Willis (the one from Asimov's)
"Who's Gonna Rock Us Home?" by Nancy Springer
"Lose Now, Pay Later" by Carol Farley
"A Quiet One" by Anne McCaffrey
"Moby James" by Patricia A. McKillip
"If I Had the Wings of an Angel" by Joe Haldeman
"You Want It When?" by Kara Dalkey
"Ear" by Jane Yolen
"The Last Out" by Resa Nelson and David Alexander Smith
"Free Day" by Peg Kerr (the one from Tales of the Unanticipated)
"Beggerman" by Susan Shwartz
"Old Glory" by Bruce Coville

Now, most of these are actually pretty good. A lot of them could probably have been published in the magazines if they hadn't been published in this anthology.

Otherwise, for the F&SF, Ender's Game is of course a classic choice. When the list says C.S. Lewis, I'm assuming we're talking Narnia. His Dark Materials isn't a bad read either, but it can be a little funny to read Lewis and Pullman back-to-back. And of course Heinlein's juveniles have been mentioned.

Keillor has Lake Wobegon Days, but I think you have to like either that kind of writing or PHC. (I like PHC but could never really get into Lake Wobegon Days as I generally prefer the first hour of PHC.) Happy to Be Here might be worth looking into instead. They're pretty much all short stories first published in the New Yorker.

I've never heard of half of that ethnic list and can't stand the other half. I didn't particuarly like Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya when I had to read it, but then again it's not my kind of book. Plus, I was convinced the only reason we had to read it was because he's a local author and I don't think it was incredibly well-written. Anyway, that might be a different choice.
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Old 05-18-2006, 12:31 AM
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Again, thank you all. I know I don't like Terry Pratchett, at least from trying in vain to get through the first chapter of Good Omens (like pulling teeth), but I have lots of other great selections to go through now! The only hard part will be paring them down to 20 choices.
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Old 05-18-2006, 02:59 AM
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Hmmm

Realistic Fiction: Well, anything Spinneli does is gold. Maniac Magee was one of my favourite books at intermediate. I read Stargirl last year and I loved it. The Mighty Crashman is good, but pobably a little young to be considered a YA novel.
Historical Fiction: Theresa Tomlinson's Forestwives trilogy is a retelling of the Robin Hood stories, and her Moon Riders does much the same thing with the fall of Troy, focusing on the Amazons. These would work well as 'strong female character' as well.
Fantasy: Another vote for the Old Kingdom trilogy, likewise for Northern Lights. Peeps by Scott Westerfield is a modern-day vampire tale, so I don't know if this is the appropriate genre, but it's a good read, if a little rushed at the end.
Science Fiction: Ender's Game is a classic, as are the Heinlens. Feed by MT Anderson is great. A bit bleak, but I enjoyed it. Also Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve. Set in the future, with cities on wheels, hunting each other across Europe.
Gay experience in fiction: Oh, you have GOT to read Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. The best YA book I've read all year! It's the first YA novel I've read dealing with gay themes where the characters aren't freaked out by their sexuality. Otherwise you could try Dare, Truth or Promise by Paula Boock, which is a more conventional YA novel, featuring two girls in love; a shady past; a small town; dissaproving mothers; tolerant clergymen; a thrilling car chase; a happy ending. It was pretty groundbreaking for its time, mind you.
Biography/Autobiography: There's Adelene Yen Mah's Chinese Cinderella, or Judith Kerr's excellent Out of the Hitler Time. Could Maus fall into this category? You could make a strong case for it being both, I guess.

Shocker/ challenged: What does this entail?
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Old 05-18-2006, 05:32 AM
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For the mystery/suspense, you could try the Shadow Children books by Margaret Peterson Haddix (they may be just slighty young for YA - I'd put them at 5th-6th grade, likely). Excellent boy books - lots of adventure and the like.


Also, for your Strong female character in fiction section - I recently read Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now - it either won the Printz award for YA lit recently or was one of the nominees (I don't remember at the moment and I'm feeling too early-morningish to look it up). Very interesting book.
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Old 05-18-2006, 07:26 AM
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YA: Historical Fiction

Never Miss a Sunset
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Old 05-18-2006, 08:44 AM
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Avoid Paolini. I know the kid's popular because he wrote a fantasy book at 15 (or whatever age) and now has a second to back it up, but lord, they're not very good. They're solidly in the YA category (at least I'd put them there), but they're so incredibly derivative that you (or any audience, YA and others alike) are better off reading those that did it first, and better. You'd be far better off with Lloyd Alexander or Tolkien or any of the other fantasy writers.

His books are entertaining enough, but liberally rip off anything and everything that went before. Normally, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as all writers borrow from other writers, but he was so blatant about it that I couldn't get around it. Yeah, he was young, and maturity might develop him into a better author, but he left me wondering whether he had an original thought in the entire book (or books, since there's two).
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Old 05-18-2006, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Snickers
Avoid Paolini. I know the kid's popular because he wrote a fantasy book at 15 (or whatever age) and now has a second to back it up, but lord, they're not very good. They're solidly in the YA category (at least I'd put them there), but they're so incredibly derivative that you (or any audience, YA and others alike) are better off reading those that did it first, and better. You'd be far better off with Lloyd Alexander or Tolkien or any of the other fantasy writers.

His books are entertaining enough, but liberally rip off anything and everything that went before. Normally, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as all writers borrow from other writers, but he was so blatant about it that I couldn't get around it. Yeah, he was young, and maturity might develop him into a better author, but he left me wondering whether he had an original thought in the entire book (or books, since there's two).
Agreed. I tried reading Eragon and only made it through a couple of chapters before I gave up--the kid simply doesn't write very well (for a 15-year-old kid, yeah--for a published author, no).

For a much better read, I recommend the Bartimaeus Trilogy (just checked--the third one is out now) by Jonathan Stroud, starting with The Amulet of Samarkand. Well written stories, and the demon Bartimaeus tends to steal the show away from Nathaniel, the kid wizard, whenever he's in a scene.
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Old 05-18-2006, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Bad Voodoo Lou
I know I don't like Terry Pratchett, at least from trying in vain to get through the first chapter of Good Omens (like pulling teeth)
Quick! Go look in a mirror! Do you still have a reflection? Because clearly you have no soul.
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Old 05-18-2006, 10:40 AM
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Nobody seems to have mentioned I Am David, by Anne Holm. I liked it a lot, but it doesn't seem to fit in any of those categories. It's about a boy who escapes from a POW camp somewhere in Europe to find his mother in Italy, but it's set during an imaginary and generic war.

Some great YA authors are: Lois Lowry, Jerry Spinelli, Robert Cormier, Louis Sachar (his non-Holes books can be either trite or zen depending on how you look at them), David Almond and John Marsden.

Humor (Fiction) (see Chap. 5) Gordon Korman is awesome. Try I Want to Go Home, Losing Joe's Place or one of the Macdonald Hall books.
Strong female character in fiction (choose any) Maybe one of Karen Cushman's books, or Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, or for a lesser-known read try The Breadwinner/Parvana.
Historical Fiction (Chap. 8)
Fantasy (Chap. 7) The Sandman books are a bit of a mixed bag. I really liked Brief Lives and The Doll's House though maybe the latter is a bit more A than Y.
Science Fiction (Chap. 7)
Shocker/ challenged (you can use a challenged book) I suppose The New Joy of Gay Sex is out?

I loved reading when I was a kid. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 05-18-2006, 10:56 AM
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The author's name is AVI and is one of the most popular as well as a darn good writer. Read anything he's written and yes, it is AVI nothing else.

There is a great book called "Touching Spirit Bear" which I heartily recommend.

Anone else mentioned is a good bet too.
  #32  
Old 05-18-2006, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Lissla Lissar
[You recommend The Hero and the Crown over The Blue Sword and Spindle's End? All of them are great, but I thought THatC was the weakest one.
I've never read Spindle's End--if that's her Sleeping Beauty riff, I started it and quit after a couple of chapters (due possibly to other things in life). I far prefer Hero and the Crown to The Blue Sword, however. It's one of the few books that I reread.

Daniel
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Old 05-18-2006, 04:04 PM
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Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty.

I don't know how to classify it. It's like a curried mixture of Wilkie Collins and Enid Blyton with touches of fantasy and historical fiction thrown in. For some reason it was filed in the general fiction section when I picked it up from Borders.

I'm going to review it for my blog, probably tomorrow.
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Old 05-18-2006, 04:18 PM
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Here's another good one: A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. It's a nice portrayal of a girl with synesthesia (as a synesthete myself, I was intrigued by it because I'd never seen any other fiction about the subject). It could possibly fit under "strong female character."
  #35  
Old 05-18-2006, 04:41 PM
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It's interesting to see the syllabus-setter's apparent biases - I can see all the 'right-on' buttons there: not requiring a strong male character, 'ethnic' presumably meaning non-white, gay, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I think those categories should be included, but to give them without the others displays a significant bias to me.

As for the books, you've had a lot of good suggestions, so I'll just echo the recommendations of Heinlein, Rowling, Tolkein, and Lewis and add John Wyndham.
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