Young Adult Fiction for Adults discussion

Recommendations > What's good?

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message 1: by Julie (new)

Julie I am currently reading the Boy in the Striped pajama's and enjoying it and have read The Uglies series and the Twilight series as well as the Great and Terrible Beauty series. What else is good?

message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (trmite) next I'd recommend I am the Messenger and Looking for Alaska. others by Scott Westerfield are good. also The Book Thief.

alisonwonderland (Alison) | 6 comments i just discovered Shannon Hale (which my daughters have loved for several years) and Justina Chen Headley. i'm looking forward to reading more from them.

J-Lynn Van Pelt | 27 comments Anything by Tamora Pierce!

J-Lynn Van Pelt | 27 comments I just read Incantation by Alice Hoffman and highly recommend it. It is set in 1500, Spain during a resurgence of Anti-Semitic laws. It is beautifully written and does a fantastic job of dealing with sexism and religious intolerance through the eyes of a privileged teenager.

message 6: by Kim (last edited Feb 12, 2008 05:40PM) (new)

Kim If you like Fantasy you might want to check out:
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix.

message 7: by Kim (new)

Kim Another good series, which people might have thought was a rip off of Harry Potter but I found to be quite entertaining is the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

message 8: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danm) | 11 comments I vehemently disagree with the assessment that the Artemis Fowl books are good. I found them creative and unique (to an extent), but the fact that the 'hero' is a criminal with no redeeming qualities (certainly not in the first three books) is not, in my mind, appropriate for younger readers. Why should we be liking someone who is not likeable? Why should we be associating with someone that we would not want our children to emulate?

message 9: by Alexandra (last edited Feb 16, 2008 06:18PM) (new)

Alexandra Daniel, I know the Artemis Fowl books are very popular, but I agree with you. I find books with unlikeable progtagonists unreadable, personally. Flawed, sure. Annoying even is ok, but not just plain unlikeable. There's got to be something there I can empathize with or appreciate. I was checking it out to see if it would be good for a student I was tutoring, so I might have continued if that were the only proplem - but the fact that he was a criminal, well, I just didn't think this would be an appropriate story to suggest to this student. I didn't get very far with this one before I gave up.

(Sorry Kim, don't mean to trash your suggestion, as I said I know this series is popular. Obviously opinions differ. I just don't get it.) I did like "Half Moon Investigations". If I remember correctly there were some iffy moral choices in that story as well, but not as jarring.

message 10: by Ken (last edited Feb 17, 2008 03:07AM) (new)

Ken Artemis Fowl is seldom (if at all) checked out in my classroom library. Ditto the school library. It's like it had its 15 minutes of fame (like many a book) and then, *poof*, they moved on...

I can't weigh in because I haven't read them, however. If a book is selling like ice water in Hades, I'll check it out. If it's selling like Bic lighters, no.

P.S. Do they even make Bic lighters anymore? Durn the durned fog if I know.

message 11: by Poppy (new)

Poppy I guess you'll be glad to hear that my son refuses to read Artemis Fowl books because Artemis Fowl is a criminal.

Of course, he's not the most sophisticated literary critic.

Personally, I find that point of view somewhat simplistic. If Artemis started off as a criminal mastermind and never developed, that would be one thing. But there are five books in the series, and he changes, becoming truly heroic.

Also, the first book introduces a whole lot of lovable characters like Holly Short, Commander Julius Root, Butler. So it's not like Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero.

Also I wouldn't be too complacent about the lack of interest in the book; there will be a surge of interest in the books when the AF movie comes out.

message 12: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra You're probably right Poppy, I found the character too unlikeable to keep reading the book. Since I only read part of the first book I really don't know how the character developed or if I would have liked it if I'd kept with it.

message 13: by Kim (new)

Kim I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my Artemis Fowl suggestion... I guess that I have a bit more faith that my children will not 'emulate' such a character... I guess Dickens would be out of the realm too. Everyone has an opinion, I suppose... there's this great banned book thread you guys might be interested in.
Didn't realize that this group was designed to create Stepford Children.
I'm outtie

message 14: by Valerie (new)

Valerie I have to admit that I haven't read Artemis Fowl, but I do need to stand up for Kim here - there are many things in YA lit that I wouldn't want my children to emulate: teen pregnancy, drug use, possibly even wizardry or battle with Voldemort. But that's what reading is for - to be able to explore and learn from these issues and topics. To live on the wild or the magic or the problematic side.

Is the point of the book that you're not supposed to like Artemis Fowl? Or is he a bad guy that you like in spite of himself?

OK, I'm getting ahead of myself - I'll be back after I've read the book(s)...

message 15: by Alexandra (last edited Feb 17, 2008 04:53PM) (new)

Alexandra Kim, I certainly was not offended. Just giving my own opinion, with the understanding that others differ :) I certainly did not, nor would I, suggest it be banned. I admit I did not even finish the first story, I personally can't get into stories with a protagonist who is unlikable. Maybe that's just me.

This group is, I think, for Young Adult books enjoyed by adults and with an adult perspective. There are other groups out there discussing Young Adult/Teen books in light of their intended audience.

Not that I don't understand there are adults also who enjoy the this series - clearly there are.

message 16: by Ken (last edited Feb 17, 2008 05:12PM) (new)

Ken I agree with your comments about YA, Valerie, though I'm confused as to what Kim is taking umbrage over. Looked back and all Janis said is that she, personally, doesn't like books if SHE finds the characters unlikable (which is her prerogative, just as it is Kim's and others' to disagree with it). Nowhere did I see Janis stating that her thoughts were anything but exactly that -- a personal opinion that applies to herself only.

Clearly no one was offended and clearly no one was advocating banning books. Any thread with the topic "What's good?" is going to foster respectful (one would hope!) disagreement or else it would be boring.

Hey, differing opinions are why we have horse races. If we weren't allowed them, it'd be like declaring the favorite a winner before every race (which would be boring but possibly very profitable).

Anyway, I'm still innie (though I'm not sure why we're discussing belly buttons at a time like this).

message 17: by Alexandra (last edited Feb 17, 2008 05:46PM) (new)

Alexandra Thanks Newengland. I'm a bit befuddled myself. I did say I didn't think I could use this with the student I tutor, but the tutoring program is a faith-based program for at-risk kids, I have to err on the side of caution. I don't really know where his parent would draw the "appropriate" line. What I'd use for my student doesn't necessarily mean I think a book is inappropriate for all chidren, or even that child.

I did try to sound respectful that others think differently, because I am.

I didn't read enough of this book to know anything more than I wasn't enjoying it, and I didn't feel comfortable using it in this tutoring program. I readily admit if I'd finished the book I may have a different opinion.

If Kim does choose to leave, I am sorry for that.

message 18: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Newengland and Janis: I can't speak for Kim, but it's possible that she might have been responding more to Daniel's comment. It's one thing to disagree, but to "vehemently disagree with the assessment that the Artemis Fowl books are good" - obviously Kim's assessment, or judgment - goes a bit on the attack, I think.

He also goes on to say: Why should we be liking someone who is not likeable? Why should we be associating with someone that we would not want our children to emulate?

I don't know about any of the other readers of this forum, but there are plenty of unlikeable literary characters that I love to dislike - Severus Snape and Count Olaf are a couple of popular ones - so I'm not exactly sure where the argument comes in that you wouldn't want to read about someone that you wouldn't want to associate with. That's what can make literature so interesting.

Enough from me. I guess Kim can come back and say what's on her mind if she so chooses.

message 19: by Alexandra (last edited Feb 17, 2008 06:59PM) (new)

Alexandra I hear ya Kim, perhaps that's it. Perhaps it wasn't worded as diplomatically as it could have been. But still, it's a personally opinion, not a pronoucement on those who don't agree. At least, that wasn't how I read it.

I agree with you about unlikeable literary characters that you love to dislike, like Snape. The difference for me is when that character is the main character. There was a very popular sci-fi book years ago I couldn't get into for the same reason. But as I said, obviously the opinions of others differs, and that's ok!

message 20: by Ken (new)

Ken Valerie says:

I don't know about any of the other readers of this forum, but there are plenty of unlikeable literary characters that I love to dislike - Severus Snape and Count Olaf are a couple of popular ones - so I'm not exactly sure where the argument comes in that you wouldn't want to read about someone that you wouldn't want to associate with. That's what can make literature so interesting.

I agree. I enjoyed Crime and Punishment and all of Edgar Allan Poe's shorts stories, for instance, and many of the protagonists are not only creeps, but murderers. In literature, it's not only many of the characters, but many of the authors themselves, who are unlikable. But I look at the work of art (UNLESS the author is alive and so hateful that I feel my dollars to purchase a book are helping his/her/its cause... then I hold back and speak up).

Forgot about Daniel's comment. Fair enough. But if he directed his vehement disagreement at MY opinions, I wouldn't take it personally, I'd just shrug it off. Hey, I'm used to people disagreeing with me (or maybe my skin -- like my brain -- is thicker).

Thanks for the explanation, anyway. Let's all move on, eh?

message 21: by Amy (new)

Amy (ldtchr) | 6 comments Okay, not to resurrect the Artemis debate, but I frequently recommend this series, though more for mid-level readers. The graphic novel just came out and I have few kids who are getting into them, but mostly 5th-7th graders. Artemis is a criminal, mostly due to his life circumstances and he changes quiet dramatically as the series continues.

Anyway, I find that I'd rather have my students and kids discover the "bad boys" (and girls) in literature/novels so we can discuss them, rather than look for them in real life.

And, in response to Julie's original question, what else is good. . . depends on age level you're looking at. If you're reading The Uglies, you are probably looking at more junior high/high school. I start to tap out at that level, only becuase I have a younger focus this year, but some I can think of are the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson and I know there is a Helix series that is somewhat similar, though I haven't read it. Also, I continue to enjoy Dr. Franklin's Island when I read it with upper grade classes - kind of Lost meets Dr. Moreau.

message 22: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danm) | 11 comments Sheesh...I'm sorry if I've offended Kim or anyone else. It was an opinion, and I never once said that the books should be banned. I disagree with banning books and am glad that there are those books on the shelves for those who like them.

Am I afraid my children will 'emulate' the character? No. I, too, have faith in my children. Do I like other 'dislikable' characters? Absolutely. I think Severus Snape is wonderful. There are hints of likability to him.

Does Artemis Fowl develop? I hope so. I assumed he would, but after three books, I still hadn't seen it and wondered why I should continue. For those of you who haven't read the book, I hope you will -- make your decisions. Sorry that I can't disagree "vehemently" and still be a matter of opinion. I really didn't care for the book.

I'd quote from the first book, bt I no longer have it on my shelf (surpise, surprise!). What I recall is that I was just starting to like the character, as I suspect the author intended, but the narrator makes a point of telling the reader that the character was beginning to realize that he was becoming a 'good' person and caught himself in time to continue on his path of crime. ...I'm sorry, but if you are going to the trouble of making a point out of the fact that the character is not likeable, then I will agree with you and not like him.

Others are pointing out Dickens. What am I missing? I love Dickens. Are there unlikeable characters there? Of course. Are they the heroes? Hmmm. I don't they change in the course of the book? Absolutely. Should I have to read five books to discover that change? No. You won't get me that far. That's a choice. My choice.

I agree that there are wonderful characters that I wouldn't want to associate with that I enjoy reading about. But if you think about any criminals who are heros in literature or film (Jack Sparrow comes to mind), they all have some aspect that makes them likeable. A moral code unusual for such a figure, or a change in their character through the course of 'a' book or 'a' film. Artemis Fowl does not. He makes a change through the course of a series of books, apparantly, but I have chosen not to continue after a few, having not seen that change yet. Should others continue based on their enjoyment of the series, that's great. I've personally got plenty of other things to read.

Valerie mentioning liking Poe and his protagnoists who are not only creeps, but often murderers. I agree. Poe is wonderful reading. But your key word is protagonists. If Poe were trying to make those characters out to be heroes, I would disagree. Those murderers and 'creeps' are not heroes (unless they go through a herois change in character -- not uncommon in literature) however. Trying to convince me that they are wouldn't work.

JK Rowling didn't write a series about Draco Malfoy. Why? Doesn't he make a change at the end? He is not a good person for a great deal of time. We know him now and we rather enjoy his appearance in the books, but if she had started the series about him, I doubt it would have flown as it has.

Again, I'm sorry if my passion toward not liking this series upsets anyone. Certainly it's not directed at those of you who enjoy it. It's directed at the series. If I come on too strong, its not that I'm upset at anyone of you, personally, it's because I am passionate about the issue.

And I am sorry if my passion has made anyone leave the group. Discussion can still be passionate. I never called anyone names. I'm only talking about a series of books.

message 23: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (lhilt) | 5 comments not getting in too deep with these comment about artemis... but i did enjoy the first two books or so, however i can't get into the rest... they've lost my interest.

message 24: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (ingenting) All this talk about Artemis Fowl makes me want to reread the series. I stopped at book 3, but that was because there were no new ones out at the time.

Here we go with another episode of "Michelle's Bad Memory": I remember liking the series, but I remember not liking Artemis Fowl very much in the first book.

He did start to grow on me though, and I think it was because he was learning and growing into a better person (albeit slowly).

ANYWAY, What I would like to say under this "What's Good" thread is that I love the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, and also the Sonya Sones book "What My Mother Doesn't know." I am told by a couple of friends that "What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know" by Sones is also wonderful, but I haven't picked it up yet.

message 25: by Ken (new)

Ken Yes, my 8th grade girls love Sonya Sones' free verse books. They're a little "edgy" but not quite crossing the line enough to preclude them from a classroom library (he says while whistling through the graveyard...).

message 26: by Poppy (new)

Poppy I was responding to Daniel's remarks. I jumped in first of all because of the purpose of this group; it's Y/A fiction for adults. I'm not reading or reviewing with children-at-risk in mind; I'm simply interested in my own enjoyment.

There are numerous examples of fictional works where the main protagonist is not a hero. (Vanity Fair, Gone with the Wind, A Confederacy of Dunces are three that come to mind immediately.) It's unusual in a children's book, which is one reason Artemis Fowl books stand out.

Also, the Artemis Fowl books are humorous, and that's very important for me. I loved Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl and the Bartimaous Trilogy because of the humor. I loathed the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials trilogy because it had none. (I suppose the Lemony Snickett books were supposed to be humorous, but I found them incredibly tedious.)

message 27: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danm) | 11 comments "I was responding to Daniel's remarks. I jumped in first of all because of the purpose of this group; it's Y/A fiction for adults. I'm not reading or reviewing with children-at-risk in mind; I'm simply interested in my own enjoyment."

Point well taken. I'm still not inclined to have to read an entire series to discover the tragic hero transformation. If it's not going to happen or make significant progress in one book, then I've been disengaged as a reader.

It's a matter of taste. There were aspects of the book(s) that I really liked, I can understand why some people like them. I'm just not one of them.

There are so many books to read. Certainly there'll be enough for all of us.

message 28: by Jaime (new)

Jaime | 41 comments Mod
I would have to agree that I also did not like the book Artemis Fowl, but for different reasons. It seemed as if the author couldn't decide who the protagonist was.

On another note, I think the suggestion of THE DARK IS RISING trilogy got lost and I would have to say that it was a great read(albiet, an awful movie).

message 29: by Amy (new)

Amy (soccerfan) Has anyone else read the Bartimeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. I finished the last book a couple weeks ago and I really like them.

message 30: by elissa (new)

elissa (librarianbodyworkerelissa) | 5 comments I LOVED the Bartimeus Trilogy, Amy! I listened to them all in the car, but had to get the books out, too, because I couldn't bear to stop reading them at night! These are great for fantasy fans.

message 31: by Delanie (new)

Delanie | 1 comments I loved the Bartimeus Trilogy too!!!! Nathaniel certainly isn't the most likeable character in the world, but by the end I cried and cried. LOVED them! Extremely well written, the tongue-in-cheek footnotes are hilarious. I recommend these to everybody at work who is looking for a new fantasy "fix" since the Harry Potter epoch came to a close.

message 32: by Jessica (last edited Mar 08, 2008 08:01PM) (new)

Jessica (jessicalowry) | 3 comments I am new to the group and I hope I am posting this in the correct area. Here are my suggestions... I loved Scott Westerfeld's Midnighter's series. Also if you like Science Fiction Timothy Zahn's Dragonback series is a fun read.

message 33: by Terry (new)

Terry Reschke (TerryReschke) | 2 comments You might try my new teen mystery called The Attic Above.

message 34: by Rora (new)

Rora Some of my favorite YA fantasy books/series...

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
The Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix
The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker
The Abarat books by Clive Barker
Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle
The Unicorn trilogy by Tanith Lee
The Time Quartet by Madeleine L'Engle

message 35: by Celeste (new)

Celeste (celestelueck) | 10 comments I currently reading Runemarks by Joanne Harris and really enjoying it. Joanne Harris wrote Chocolat among other things and this is her first yA book. It's a fantasy book with a Norse mythology background.

I just finished the first Maximum Ride book by James Patterson. Loved it. I have not been a James Patterson fan for some time, but this book has me back in his fan club.

I would also recommend Philip Pullman's Sally Lockheart mysteries; the first of which is The Ruby in the Smoke. These are set in Victorian England and very enjoyable.

Also, give A Certain Slant of Light a try if you like a ghost story. It author is Laura Whitcomb.

message 36: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa) (letsread) | 22 comments The Artemis Fowl books were Ok. The redeeming quality was Holly Short. Gotta love the elf. Some of the great books that I have read lately are the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. First vampire books that I really ever liked. Some of the other mentioned books, Bartimeus Trilogy, Abhorsen Trilogy, Dark is Rising Sequence. I really like all of them. Some other really good books are:

Ranger Apprentice books by John Flanagan
Fablehaven Series by Bandon Mull
The Land of Elyon Books by Patrick Carman
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (anything by her is great)
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
They Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Robin McKinley Young Adult Books - I can't say that I am impressed with her adult books.

Anything by Shannon Hale is worth the read. My favorite is Goose Girl. I am looking forward to Rapunzel's Revenge coming out this year.

message 37: by Tera Marie (new)

Tera Marie Wow, some pretty tense debate going on in here. Haven't read Artemis, but I guess I son enjoys them and I don't typically screen his reading if it is YA lit. He's a smart kid and will discuss plot lines and such with me.

On to the next, one of my favorite YA books is The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. Futuristic, paranormal, good vs evil, a well-developed plot, a bit of mystery....everything I need.

Xerxes Break(Vivian Ephona) (ephona) So many....
Well the Warrior's Series by Erin Hunter good. So is James Patterson's Maximum Ride. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. I could go on and on...

message 39: by Starr (new)

Starr | 7 comments I read the back cover of Looking Glass Wars and I am just not sure about it. What did you like about the series? Did it remind you of anything you read before. I've read some of the adult novels by Patterson, and I have heard that Maximum Ride is awesome. It's another one I am hesitant about.

message 40: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mac (YOYOCHKMEOUTHOTMAILCOM) | 45 comments Not read them, so I am not going to comment.

I would suggest any of the books by Eva Ibbotson. I found them in the YA Section and just love them all!! "The Countess Below Stairs" was my favorite and the first I read. Was up all night because I couldn't put it down! Let me know what you think of these ones!!

message 41: by Carmen (new)

Carmen (carmentheblue) | 10 comments Wow,there are so many books i need to read! Here are a few of my YA faves:

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
The Touchstone Trilogy by Steve Augarde
Books of Ember by Jean Duprau
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

and many many others, of course- these are just a few that pop into my mind [a few i need to re-read, definately!]

message 42: by E.J. (new)

E.J. Tett | 1 comments Definitely His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. The Abhorsen Trilogy I noticed someone else mentioned, I love that too! Creature in the Case, the mini-story by Garth Nix is also good. And I really liked the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.

message 43: by Allison (new)

Allison | 11 comments ^_^ I'm recommending The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. I absolutely loved them, and they're a lightning-fast read!

message 44: by rebecca j (new)

rebecca j (technophobe) | 15 comments On Artemis Fowl - yes, I found him unappealing as a character, so I enjoyed seeing him have to cooperate with others in the first books! As I continued the series, I began to realize the problem his character had at the beginning was that he really didn't have an established moral conscience because of his isolationist upbringing and poor parental examples. He does slowly change as the series progresses, and becomes more likeable. It still made interesting reading for children who already have a conscience and know the difference between fiction and reality. Not one I'd recommend for troubled kids, but a great series anyway.

I'd also like to recommend the Borrower books by Mary Norton(?), the Warriors series by Hunter, The Guardians of G'Hoole series by Lasky, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede, anything by Emily Rodda, Westerfeld's Midnighters series, and the Children of the Lamp series. There's just so much good YA lit now!

message 45: by Cathy (new)

Cathy  (cathygreytfriend) For newer books, I really love Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, and my kids are loving it, too. Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz series is hilarious and very fun. Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books are surprisingly good. As for older books, I've just rediscovered Zilpha Keatley Snyder's books and would heartily recommend any of them in an instant; my favorites are the Below the Root series and The Headless Cupid/Stanley Family series.

message 46: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (rennifred) | 6 comments This was a Printz winner, so I guess it is YA. However, I just think it is one of the loveliest books I have read:

A Step From Heaven

message 47: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Nabors (bookwormnotafraid2sayso) | 1 comments ~My bestie's~
Artemis Fowl
Percy Jackson series
Harry Potter
Golden compas 1-3
The cry of the icemark
secret garden
Black Beauty
any thing from Tamora P.

Those are on my top list. I don't see why fussing over Artamis Fowl. His life has twists and turns, like Butler turning old, which makes it intresting. Dangerous events makes a story more addictive, and so are life risking times. Artamis Fowl is full of that. People who loves to read, and devourse books day after day, will understad of the feeling of young-adult-books being read, and glued into your hands. Artemis Fowl is like that.

message 48: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 22 comments alisonwonderland wrote: "i just discovered Shannon Hale (which my daughters have loved for several years) and Justina Chen Headley. i'm looking forward to reading more from them."

the Goose Girl was great!

message 49: by Ann (new)

Ann | 48 comments I'm hoping to read the Goose Girl this spring:) I'm quite looking forward to it.

message 50: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 22 comments I really enjoyed it. I still need to read The Princess academy

Ann wrote: "I'm hoping to read the Goose Girl this spring:) I'm quite looking forward to it."

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