This week The Broke and the Bookish want to know what we would recommend to people who never read X. I solved for X and came of with recommendations in a variety of genres.
If you never read TEEN HISTORICAL FICTION, try these:
1. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Josie is the seventeen-year old daughter of a prostitute. It is 1950 and the French Quarter is home to organize crime, brothels, and bars. It is also home to the small bookshop where Josie works. The money she earns there will be her ticket out of the Big Easy. Her dreams are close to becoming reality when her mother is implicated in the death of a tourist. Plenty of local flavor, a murder mystery, and a girl with big dreams make this one a winner.
2. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. In 1918 Americans were dying at home and abroad. At home the deadly Spanish Influenza pandemic had the nation gripped with fear. Abroad, WWI would eventually claim the lives of 110,000 Americans. In San Diego, sixteen-year old Mary Shelley Black watch as streams of mourners turn to seances and spirit photographers to contact their dead loved ones. The historic photographs only enhance the haunting text. A hint of romance and a whole bunch of creepy!
3. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. The year is 1914, and Europe is on the verge of a war. Prince Alek, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne is on the run from the Clanker Army. Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy, is an airman for the British Air Force learning to fly the genetically engineered air beast, the Leviathan. The two form an uneasy alliance as they struggle to protect their secrets and stay alive. Leviathan will appeal to readers of science fiction and steampunk, but one can argue that it also has a strong historical component!
4. In Darkness by Nick Lake. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, a teenaged boy is trapped alive in the rubble of a hospital. Alone in the dark, “Shorty” counts the story of his life, his involvement with a gang, the family members he lost, and all of the violence he witness and caused. Along side his story, readers learn the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture, a Haitian rebel who led a slave rebellion and helped to drive Napoleon and the French out of Haiti. This powerful story is truly deserving of the Printz Award.
If all you know about TEEN CONTEMPORARY FICTION is John Green, you need to branch out and try these:
5. Reality Boy by A.S. King. Seventeen-year old Gerald Faust was the child star of a reality TV show. Twelve years later, Gerald is still haunted by his anger-filled past. Convinced that nothing will ever change, despite the fact that he works so hard to be nothing like that TV boy, Gerald is ready to snap. When a new girl at work shows interest in him, he is naturally weary. He tries to avoid her, with no success. This book is disturbing and heartbreaking, like most A.S. King’s books. However, her characters always manage to find some thread of hope, some form of redemption or have some realization that things can get better.
6. Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller. Callie has spent her entire childhood on the run. Kidnapped from her family by her mentally ill mother, she can’t even remember what it is like to be normal. When her mother is finally arrested, Callie is reunited with the father she doesn’t know anymore. Living in a small town with big family is overwhelming as Callie has to learn to live in the present and be a part of a family. This one is gritty and sexy!
7. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Eighteen-year old Leonard Peacock plans to spend his last birthday on earth saying goodbye to the four people he cares about. Leonard is sad and weird and the target of his former best friend’s torment. He has had enough and he has a plan to put an end to all of the pain he is in. This is a powerful and haunting novel.
If you don’t read TEEN SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY because you think it’s all supernatural romance and Hunger Games-type dystopian, think again and try these:
8. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. In an alternate reality past, the American Isles are being threatened by Wild Chalklings (yes, chalk monsters). Rithmatists have the power to bring two-dimensional figure to life to battle these creatures. Joel, the son of a chalkmaker, must satisfy is desire to learn Rithmatics by sneaking into lectures at the Armedius Academy. When students start disappearing, leaving trails of blood behind, it is up to the Rithmatist to solve the mystery. As the professors work to find the missing students they also discover that Joel, despite not being one of them, has some unique talents of his own. Unique, unusual, steampunk-ish.
9. BZRK by Michael Grant. In a not-so-distant future a battle is taking place. What is at stake? The human mind. Free will. The combatants? On the one side you have the batsh*t crazy conjoined twins, the Armstrong brothers. They want to create utopia. Opposing them is a radical fringe group known as BZRK. The battle ground is the brain and the weapons are nanotechnology. Things end one of two ways: victory or madness. This series is both exhilarating and terrifying.
10. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This fractured fairytale of a story features a cyborg Cinderella, a handsome prince, a wicked stepmother, and an evil Lunar queen. An orphan and a cyborg, Cinder is a second-class citizen, but she is also a gifted mechanic. It this skill that brings the young Prince Kai to her stand at the market. A malfunctioning android, a mysterious plague, and the threat of war loom large and Cinder may be the key to saving everyone. Fans of sci-fi and fairy tales alike will love this fresh twist on a classic story!