Saturday, August 15, 2009

Analysing my YA reads

For the last month, Ana and Thea from The Book Smugglers have been hosting Young Adult Appreciation Month. Over the last few weeks, the Smugglers have been hosting many different authors, guest bloggers, book reviews and giveaways all designed to show the love to YA readers, bloggers and authors. To quote from the girls "we will be discussing the merits of the genre, the apparent boom of YA literature, and the crossover appeal of YA novels."

I first started keeping a fairly accurate track of my reads just over four years ago, and a quick look at my stats reveals a quite varied level of reading during that time as per below:

2005 - 6 YA novels read
2006 - 4 YA novels read
2007 - 8 YA novels read
2008 - 7 YA novels read
2009 - 12 (so far) YA novels read

I expect the number for 2009 to end up being much higher as just recently I have started reading four YA series - the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, the Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner, the House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast and most recently The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - and I definitely intend to keep reading all of those series as soon as I can.

Over the last few years some of the books I have read include the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series by Ann Brashares, the first two books in the His Dark Materials trilogy (one day I will read the third one), the Twilight books (of course), as well as the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix.

Whilst I read across a few different genres most of the time, my main genres are really historical fiction and romance, with some fantasy and mystery thrown in there. One thing I find interesting is that almost all the YA books that I have read are fantasy. I get that there isn't much straight YA romance novels, and to be honest I am not sure I would want to read them even if there were, but it does surprise me a little to see how little historical fiction YA I have read. As for mystery, are there even YA mysteries around?

So why do I seem to enjoy reading YA fantasy in particular so much? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy well written adult fantasy (you know what I mean), but I must confess that my preferred fantasy settings are ones that aren't too far from the world we live in so while I need some world building, I don't need huge amounts. I am far more interested in the relationships between the characters and I think that is something that a lot of YA books do really well. The friendships between the characters, the discovery of the new emotions associated with young love and trying to discern a way through those emotions in an adult world are all

If my lack of historical fiction YA is one area that I am lacking in, then the other is really Australian authors. Over the last four years I have read seven YA books by Australian authors. That doesn't sound that bad, until you realise that six of those seven books were actually written by one author, and are all part of one series (Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix).

One example that I do have of a book by an Australian author, with a historical setting is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Despite the fact that I really enjoyed this book when I read it, I still haven't managed to read more from this local author. I really should rectify that! In the meantime, in honour of YA Appreciation month, I will repost my review of The Book Thief in the next few hours.

So, I am looking for recommendations for two different types of YA books, the first being YA historical fiction and the second being YA written by Australian authors. Are there any absolutely must read YA novels out there that I haven't mentioned?

I look forward to hearing everybody's recommendations!


  1. *rolls sleeves*

    Margs, I just recently read a YA written by an Australian author, which I LOVED called Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell. It is straight contemporary though, not Fantasy in any way or form. But still, very much recommended and with a little bit of romance.

    as for Historical, this is one that Thea and I have been looking for as well. I would recommend, A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson, which I just read and it is fabulous - set in London 1919 and with great romance and humour.

  2. Straight contemporary is okay. I don't mind reading those, I just don't seem to read very many of them!

    I have had Ibbotson on my TBR list for ages, but I just haven't been able to get to her yet. I have heard fabulous things about her though.

    Thanks for the recs.

  3. Historical YA: Libba Bray
    Oz YA: Justine Larbalestier

  4. I have read the first two books by Libba Bray and I am part way through the third one. I didn't really count them as historical - there is the Victorian setting, but also the fantasy stuff as well.

    You know, in all the cover controversy about Justine Larbalestier's books I never once caught the fact that she was an Aussie!

  5. Marg, have you read The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby- YA Historical. It's quite good and I can't remember if you've read it or not.

  6. I haven't yet. I have had it on my radar for a while but haven't been able to get hold of it yet.

  7. If you're looking for some YA historical romance, you've GOT to read THE SECRET COUNTESS by Eva Ibbotson. It's a wonderful, wonderful book. Ibbotson's style is quite similar to that of many magical realists, but the story itself is not at all fantastical.

    As far as Australian YA goes, I enjoyed Alison Goodman's THE TWO PEARLS OF WISDOM, which appeared as EON: DRAGONEYE REBORN on this side of the Pacific. It's one of those dodgy books that's considered YA in some countries and adult in others. And if you're open to children's novels as well as YA, I highly recommend the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan.

  8. As far as Australian authored YA, I highly recommend JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta. Oh. My. Word. What a story. The first hundred pages are a bit confusing but it's intentional and necessary for the story, I think. After that you're just so into it.

    And as for historical YA I second (or third!) the Eva Ibbotson suggestions. Anything by her. I particularly love A SONG FOR SUMMER and A COMPANY OF SWANS. I also adore THE ROAD HOME by Ellen Emerson White. It's set during Vietnam and follows an American nurse's experience in the war and at home after. Incredible stuff.

  9. I was also going to recommend Justine Larbalestier. Also, Allen & Unwin publish Girlfriend Fiction, which I think are all by Aussie authors. I've been meaning to try some of their titles, but my TBR pile is defeating me at present.

  10. Aussie YA books? Pretty much anything by John Marsden. The Tomorrow Series is an excellent read, pretty much a must in my opinion.

    "So Much to Tell You" is powerful stuff as well.

  11. Historical YA:
    Fever, 1793 by the excellent Laurie Halse Anderson
    Also loved her Chains which is a bit on the younger side.

    Loved M.T. Anderson's The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing vols. 1 and 2. Beautiful.

  12. I was going to recommend the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray as well, but I see not only did someone mention it already, but you're reading the last book! I've read the first two stories, but still need to get to the third.

    The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen. Takes place in Manhattan in the early 1900s, if I recall correctly. All kinds of outrageous debutante drama in an historical setting.

    Although Charles de Lint is a Canadian author, I read his YA novel Dingo that features an Australian protagonist and is based on Australian folklore.



Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP