Friday, September 6, 2013

2 Excellent YA Stories

I recently went on a YA craze so I could vote for Iowa Teen summer reads.  I've waited all summer looking each time at the library for Eleanor and Park at my closest library and it was always checked out.  I got lucky one day and found it sitting there waiting for me.

Eleanor and Park (2013) by Rainbow Rowell

What a fantastic read this is!  Eleanor re-enters her family life after having spent the last year living with a family friend.  She meets Park on the bus as she makes her way to her new school.   Nobody else wants her to sit with them, that awful thing that happens on school buses across the nation when someone new comes to town and they are a little gawky, unusual, or overweight.  She's shunned by everyone but Park as their relationship begins with little more than head nods and small smiles.  Eleanor hides her family life from him as much as possible and as a reader my heart went out to her as she attempted to feel comfortable in Park's "normal" household, with two loving parents and food in the refrigerator.  Their relationship blossoms and they are both changed by it.  I loved this stark look at how a child from an abusive home and in poverty struggles to maintain just a small glimmer of hope through all that is her regular life.  Every character in the story is one you will love (or hate) and you will want their lives to continue even as you turn the last page.

The Raven Boys (2012) by Maggie Stiefvater

I loved Stiefvater's Shiver series so I'm not sure what took me so long to pick this one up off the shelf.  I don't think I even investigated what it was about yet when it appeared on my teen list to read for the summer I was anxious to read it.  Once I started I had trouble putting it down.  Work kept getting in the way!  Blue is the daughter of the local psychic in Henrietta and their house is filled with a merry group of friends who also dabble in the magical arts.  Her relationship with her mother is solid and happy until a group of Aglionby Academy boys enter into Blue's life.  The group of boys led by Gansey are all looking for a ley line that runs through Henrietta.  Gansey knows who ever unlocks the ley line will hold it's power and help him in the search for Glendower the Welsh king.  I'm a fan of fantasy and enjoyed all parts of this intricately-woven tale.  I wanted to sit at the table in Blue's house and have my cards read by Maura, Persephone and Calla.  I'm now very excited to read The Dream Thieves out September 17-just around the corner.

I would add both titles to my best of YA along with Ask the Passengers and The Miseducation of Cameron Post.  Have you read any these books?  Which one resonated the most for you?

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