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Next big young adult read up in the air

By by kathleen duncan/kduncan@vicad.com
Nov. 14, 2012 at 5:14 a.m.


Maurice Sendak once said, "I don't write for children. I write, and somebody says, 'That's for children.'"

More often of late, I've heard people say that young adult literature has finally broken out of the traditional readership of tweens to be loved by readers of all ages. In this, I agree with Sendak. That is poppycock. Books are books.

"The Book Thief," one of my all-time favorites, is a great example of young adult literature that is beautifully written, with substance, character development and an unforgettable story.

"Harry Potter" was treasured by bookworms from all walks of life for transporting us into a world with magic, humor and battles to be won; a world a little more special than our own.

The same can be said for "Ender's Game," a young adult science fiction hit that has been beloved by teens and adults, all of whom are entranced with Ender's story up among the stars.

None of this is new, but recently teen literature has gotten more and more attention.

"Teen" books seem to be proliferating in trilogies filled with dystopian futures and supernatural elements, which are then quickly turned into blockbusters. Series like "Twilight" and currently, "The Hunger Games."

Up and coming on the book scene is "Insurgent," which flew off the shelves in a frenzy by fans of "Divergent."

John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars" was quickly hailed as one of his best books yet and one of the best books of the year.

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians," a popular five-book series about children of Greek gods fighting battles in the modern world, has spun off into a second series "The Heroes of Olympus," featuring children of the Roman gods combining forces with Percy and his friends.

One of the most charming series I've read in the past few years are the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley, featuring an eleven-year-old sleuth with a wicked sense of humor and a talent for getting into scrapes, then solving them.

Scott Westerfeld, Marissa Meyer, Michelle Hodkin, Lauren Oliver, David Levithan, Kristin Cashore and Gayle Forman are just a few of many young adult authors releasing books that get snapped up immediately by fans of their work.

There are so many worthy books out there that it can be hard to tell what the next big hit will be. But, I do know, great books will always be discovered, regardless of the shelf you find them in the bookstore.

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