Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Favorite Books to Give: Young Adult Fiction

When I got the news that Lucky Press would be publishing my first novel, Max and Menna, I was overjoyed… and confused. The publisher indicated that she intended to market this novel, full of sex, violence and other “adult themes” as YA. At the time, I knew YA as Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High and had no idea how my novel would fit into that world.
My quest to learn more about YA led me to Libba Bray. I’ve now read almost everything by her, and had the delightful opportunity to meet her in person once (read about it here). The book that sucked me in was Going Bovine.

I guess this could be called fantasy, depending on your point of view. I just call it brilliant. The School Library Journal review sums this one up rather perfectly:

In this ambitious novel, Cameron, a 16-year-old slacker whose somewhat dysfunctional family has just about given up on him, as perhaps he himself has, when his diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jacob, "mad cow" disease, reunites them, if too late. The heart of the story, though, is a hallucinatory—or is it?—quest with many parallels to the hopeless but inspirational efforts of Don Quixote, about whom Cameron had been reading before his illness. Just like the crazy—or was he?—Spaniard, Cam is motivated to go on a journey by a sort of Dulcinea.
This book made me realize that YA today is made of much tougher stuff than Nancy Drew (though I still love me some Nancy). It is a great book for any YA reader on your list, though I recommend reserving it for age 13 and above.

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