Tag Archives: YA

May top reads

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May was a busy month with little time for serious reading but, of course, I still managed to pick up some good ones. It seems I overloaded on sci-fi and fantasy this month! Everything I read and watched is, as always, reviewed here. (For last year’s reviews, go here.) 

  • Bumped, by Megan McCafferty – post-apocalyptic YA fantasy that almost has you believing it could happen. 
  • Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn – brilliantly written but very, very disturbing.
  • Bellwetherby Connie Willis – funny, satirical, romantic sci-fi, and only a little bit disturbing. 

The best of the month’s movies were…

  • Saving Grace – light-hearted and funny
  • Thin Blue Line – you’ll either love it or hate it – British humor 
  • The Mountains of the Moon – powerful and intense 

So what have you read or watched lately that’s worth sharing?

February top reads

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February was a big month for reading – a total of eight books, plus a compulsion to consume every blog on WordPress in its entirety. I think in March I will aim to do more living and writing and less reading. Spring is coming and it’s time to be up and doing!

Meanwhile, everything I’ve read since around September last year is briefly reviewed on my Books, etc. page (with last year’s books here.) Some of them are well worth your attention!

Here are the ones I enjoyed most this month:

  • The Divorce Diet, by Ellen Hawley – an upbeat light read with drool-inducing recipes that threaten to tip me off my carb-free lifestyle
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple – one of the best books I’ve read in a long while
  • Wonder, by RJ Palacio – like all the best juvenile and YA fiction, it’ll refresh your literary palate
  • Keto Clarity, by Jimmy Moore – a must-read for anyone interested in the ketogenic way of eating

I didn’t watch many movies, and only one worth sharing: 

  • The Longest Day – a powerful and moving docudrama

There was a disturbing trend in that much of my reading this month seemed to be about broken or breaking marriages. That’s a topic I will try to avoid for a while; even when the writing is good, too much of it stops being entertaining. 

“The Significant Burden of Being a Grownup”, by Andrew Smith

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I don’t know Andrew Smith’s work but will definitely be looking out for “Grasshopper Jungle”. Because I LOVE reading YA literature, firstly – not all of it; I dislike the really dark stuff (and it’s out there), and I REALLY dislike the stuff about nasty girls doing mean things to each other. But beyond that crud, you’ll often find the most creatively adventurous out-of-the-box imagining in YA lit.

What particularly encourages me about Smith’s comments here, however, is his statement that YA is a genre, it’s not about the age of the readers. That is so true, yet it had literally never occurred to me! It gives a whole new perspective to my own book, “Raven’s Way”, and for the first time in a long while I feel inclined to dig it out, throw off the restrictive bs I’ve “learned” about “writing for kids”, and get serious about rewriting the story I want to tell, the way I want to tell it.

Nerdy Book Club

In the summer of 2011, an awful lot of terrible things happened to me. It was kind of like the end of the world in many ways (cue apocalypse inspiration). My son, who was only 16, was getting ready to leave home and go away to college, and then one of those predictable and periodic internet/social media firestorms erupted over an opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal describing the harm inflicted on young people by the dark and negative content in Young Adult literature.

You know the piece, I’m sure. The author happened to name me first, quoting from my novel The Marbury Lens, as though I were some sort of apex predator in the Axis of Child-Damaging Literary Evil.

I take things like that really personally. I know I shouldn’t, but as a parent, and as someone who is very involved with young people, being labeled…

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