Seanan McGuire (seanan_mcguire) wrote,
Seanan McGuire
seanan_mcguire

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YA? Why not?

I read semi-constantly -- I've never really gotten past that third-grade geek-girl with a book in her hand, another in her desk, and three more in her backpack phase -- and as a consequence, I've developed some rather eclectic, rather specific tastes. I like urban fantasy, I like sociological science fiction, and I like horror with monsters in it. I like non-fiction books about horrible diseases, both modern and historical. I like modern chick-lit of the Meg Cabot school. And I like good YA.

The recent renaissance in young adult fiction has really been a miracle, at least from where I'm sitting, because it's like it went from zero to 'holy cow, look at all this AWESOME' in less than six years. Sure, there's a lot of chaff mixed in with all that wheat, but there's more than enough wheat to make a really healthy, fiber-riffic loaf of bread. I have now beaten this metaphor to within an inch of its life, and will move on.

Because I've been reading so much YA recently, I thought I should do a quick round-up of books I've read which have proven to be awesome. This isn't what I'd call a book review post, per se, since I'm not really taking the time to review things, but with as much as I read, this may be the only way to get the word out about some truly rockin' books. The word needs to be gotten. You should get the word.

First up is the fantastic Evernight [Amazon]|[Mysterious Galaxies], by Claudia Gray. This book hit shelves officially yesterday, and I've already read the whole thing twice, read some of my favorite scenes three or four times, and planned to loan it and Evernight both to my niece Kristine, because they will rock her world completely. I'm going to say something I don't say very often: Stargazer is totally worth the hardcover shelf space. If you like vampires, supernatural romance, school stories, or just plain good fiction, you should really give it a read. There will be a better review later.

Lipstick Apology [Amazon] by Jennifer Jabaley is a) non-genre, b) really awesome, and c) not technically out yet, being as it's one of those wacky advance reader copy things. How I love you, ARCs. Anyway, Lipstick Apology is sort of like a combination of Gossip Girl and I'll Be There For You (the sequel to Beaches), as written by Meg Cabot. It's smart, it's sassy, it's sentimental without becoming sappy, and it's just all-around really worth reading. I didn't find any of the lessons preachy, and all the characters were actually people, even if they weren't necessarily people we were supposed to like. I figured out the central mystery pretty quickly. I'm also substantially more well-read than most of the book's target audience, and even knowing what was probably going on did nothing to detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. I really recommend it.

I'm actually in the middle of So Lyrical [Amazon] by Trish Cook right now, and since I've never read it before, I guess I technically don't know if it's actually going to maintain its early promise and come out awesome on the other side. But frankly, I don't care. This book is like a fantastic mashup of Gilmore Girls and Rock of Love. It's snappy, it's sharp, it's trashy when it needs to be, ironic when it needs to be, and I would totally have hung out with all the main characters when I was in high school. Plus, it's in paperback, so it's not like you're taking that much of a gamble.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side [Amazon]|[Mysterious Galaxies], on the other hand, is almost like the antidote to all those sappy vampire books that seem to be flooding the shelves in the post-Twilight haze currently covering the young adult section. Beth Fantaskey has managed to create a vampire romance that's touching, interesting, and oddly realistic, with a vampire society that makes an incredible amount of sense. I mean, between her and Claudia Gray, I actually believe this genre has a lot more of a future than people give it credit for. Plus, I really like her hero, as well as her heroine. It's a win all the way around.

Because this is my post, not yours, I'm also choosing to give a quick shout-out to one of my favorite young adult books of all time: The Girl With the Silver Eyes [Amazon] by Willo Davis Roberts. It's out of print, but in today's world, that only means as much as you want it to mean, and this is the sort of book that's just like a warm, fuzzy blanket filled with goodness and warmth. The technology is naturally a bit outdated, but the social aspects of the book, and the outsider aspects, all remain very true.

That's my YA round-up for today. Because I like to share.
Tags: good things, making lists, reading things
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  • 30 comments
The Girl With the Silver Eyes YES. Ohsomuchyes.

*hugs that book*
It's a rocking book. Always will be.

erinwrites

8 years ago

seanan_mcguire

8 years ago

I thought I was the only person alive who still knew about The Girl With the Silver Eyes</>! I loved that book, and it was a great comfort to me as a teenager with budding psychic abilities and no real clue how to handle them.
I think that book meant a lot to a lot of people. I hope the author is truly proud.

dornbeast

8 years ago

seanan_mcguire

8 years ago

dornbeast

8 years ago

Deleted comment

Excellently awesome books all!

I loved Girl With the Silver Eyes. It's one of a handful of books that I'm now sorry that they were lost at some point along the move to adulthood (though it's possible I only dogeared a library copy over and over rather than owning a copy).

At least you can find a new copy if you need one.
I LOVE The Girl with the Silver Eyes. I still have my childhood copy, and it and The Tomorrow People are probably responsible for converting me to Science Fiction while I was still in single digits.

BTW speaking of YA I'm assuming you've read the Garth Nix Abhorsen books already, but just in case not, highly recommended.
I haven't -- thanks for the recommendation!

stakebait

8 years ago

I believe there are two, possibly three copies of TGWTSE in my home. The only other book that has a comparable number is Margaret Mahy's The Changeover. For similar, if slightly more age-advanced, reasons.
Both of those. Yes.

I have a deep and abiding love for Lavinia Harris's The Great Rip-Off, which may be singlehandedly responsible for my beginning interest in the geekboy as a sex object.

seanan_mcguire

8 years ago

Thanks for the recommendations!

Have you read Carrie Ryan's recent first YA novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, about a girl wondering what's beyond the fences that keep the zombies in the forest from eating everyone in her village?
Not yet! I don't buy as much new YA in hardcover as I should -- something about the combo of cost and shelving.
Have you read any of the Vampire Academy books? Those are a pretty fantastic antidote to Twilight as well.
Not yet -- thank you for the recommendation. I actually don't seek out the vampires as much as I maybe ought to.
I never stopped reading YA. I *love* YA.

I've got a library copy of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side that I haven't opened yet, but I'm going to get to it soon. :)
I think you'll find it's totally worth it. :)
I share an editor with Jennifer Jabaley (lipstick apology) so I was able to get an ARC of that one. I devoured it! It was so great. :-)
I was surprisingly, and pleasantly, delighted by the book. I mean, I'll read damn near anything, but I always find it wondrous when that anything turns out to be awesome.
Obviously, there's a whole lot of good new YA fantasy out there. (I know nothing about the book, but was greatly amused recently to pass by a YA shelf and see the title You Are So Undead To Me.)

But other than Scott Westerfeld (I really liked the Uglies trilogy), what's good in new YA science fiction?
Other than Scott Westerfeld, I really don't know. There's the Maximum Ride series -- those are science fiction, of a sort -- but beyond that, I rather draw a blank. It's a genre Renaissance, but it seems to be focused on fantasy and horror.
Yay for The Girl with the Silver Eyes. I didn't know anyone else had read that. I own a copy that once belonged to my aunt, and it is certainly a cool story.