Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let's talk YA.

So Jonathon Scott Fuqua's King Of The Pygmies was pretty interesting. It's about a teen boy named Penn who starts hearing voices. His parents are concerned about mental illness, while his alcoholic uncle insists they have the power to hear other people's thoughts. I liked how the book stayed ambiguous enough to allow the reader to wonder and hope along with Penn, but also realize with him what he needs to do about his situation.

Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe was a lot of fun. I loved the characters and the playful writing style. It's been compared to the Lulu Dark books and rightfully so, but there's more of a scientific CSI bent in this one that I enjoyed.

Ally Carter's I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You and Cross My Heart And Hope To Spy were very, very cute. They're about a spy academy for girls disguised as a swanky private boarding school. I really had a lot of fun with these, especially when they added in the boys in the second book.

Overall I enjoyed K. L. Going's Fat Kid Rules The World, although Going has a distorted view of what 300 pounds looks like on a 6'1" frame. She obviously picked that weight as some sort of arbitrary point above which she believes someone is too fat to function. I was disappointed in that aspect, but I liked the punk rock stuff.

How They Met And Other Stories by David Levithan wasn't entirely consistent, which is understandable given that he included Valentine's Day stories he's written since high school. It's worth reading though, because there are a few really excellent ones. My favorite was the the Bar Mitzvah story with the dancer and his little brother.

Claire recommended I read The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt and I predictably loved it. It's about a young teenage boy named Holling who is forced to attend a one on one study hall once a week with his least favorite teacher, Mrs. Baker. They begin with regular classroom work, but as they begin to work toward an understanding they touch on many things from Shakespeare to baseball while the Vietnam War and other outside events color the backdrop.

I'd never read Am I Blue: Coming out from the silence edited by Marion Dane Bauer, which seemed odd given my interest in the subject, so I finally grabbed it. And now it's been so long since I read it that I pretty much only remember the story about the people turning various shades of blue. The only other thing I have in my notes is that 1994 seems like a really long time ago. So, uh, yeah.

And then Maureen Johnson's The Bermudez Triangle started out a little too cutesy for me and I nearly tossed it, but it got better. It's about the fallout among three close friends when two of them start seeing each other.

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