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Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines, #1)
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Mortal Engines > ME: YA blues?

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message 1: by Mark (last edited Jul 17, 2018 12:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark (markmtz) | 2590 comments These S+L picks are on Time.com's 100 best YA books (not that the Time list is definitive, but the appearance of these books on the list isn't a big surprise). My takeaway is that S+L has read more than a few books aimed at younger readers.

A Wrinkle in Time
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Hobbit
The Hunger Games
The Golden Compass
The Princess Bride

Mortal Engines, another title aimed at young readers, seems to be taking a beating here in S+L Discussions.

Are we as a group harder on YA books than other titles, or is it just this book, maybe because it's rough around the edges?

Reference: http://time.com/100-best-young-adult-...


Mark (markmtz) | 2590 comments The NPR YA list has some of the same titles as the Time list.

https://www.npr.org/2012/08/07/157795...


message 3: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
Mark wrote: "My takeaway is that S+L has read more than a few books aimed at younger readers.

A Wrinkle in Time
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Hobbit
The Hunger Games
The Golden Compass
The Princess Bride"


Also "The Sword in the Stone".

It is part one of "The Once and Future King" book we read which combined 4 of T.H. White's stories.


Tasha I've read all the books you listed. I think they are overall better than Mortal Engines, but Iiked it too.

I tend to like YA though. When I'm in a reading slump (like now) easy reads like this keep me going.

I'm currently reading Divergent, it has so many problems that I may actually write a review to point them out, but I like it.

I'm not a teen, so that's what I expect out of YA. Brainless but fun story, flawed MC to relate to, nauseating romance (frequently a love triangle,) easy to follow plot that doesn't require my whole attention span. You know: teen reads that I could've read at age seven.


Mark (markmtz) | 2590 comments Tasha wrote: "I've read all the books you listed. I think they are overall better than Mortal Engines, but Iiked it too.

I tend to like YA though. When I'm in a reading slump (like now) easy reads like this keep me going."


I agree, an easy read now and then is good for morale ;-)


message 6: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2928 comments "teen reads that I could've read at age seven"

Which is why I almost never read YA. I totally get the desire for easy to read stuff but YA just seems too formulaic and I'm far from the age group. It's like super hero TV on the CW - it's targeted at a 14-24 demo ( or so) and I can watch a little of it but it's just... not that good.


Phil | 1185 comments Mark wrote: "These S+L picks are on Time.com's 100 best YA books (not that the Time list is definitive, but the appearance of these books on the list isn't a big surprise). My takeaway is that S+L has read more..."

I don't think we're harder on YA books, it's just that ME isn't very well written, IMO.
Of the 6 books you listed I thought 1 was bad, 2 were ok and 2 were great. I have never thought of The Princess Bride as YA. More like a (great) parody of YA.


message 8: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2928 comments Phil wrote: "Mark wrote: "These S+L picks are on Time.com's 100 best YA books (not that the Time list is definitive, but the appearance of these books on the list isn't a big surprise). My takeaway is that S+L ..."

Come to that I don't class The Hobbit as YA either. Yes, it's basically a fable for young readers but much of the current crop of YA fits Tasha's formula... kids being special, them against the (adult) world, some romance. That's not really The Hobbit. Bilbo is 50. Gandalf and the dwarves aren't young. No one, really, is a teen character.

It's certainly an easy read and there are some fable characteristics to it but it's basically a caper novel written in that vein.


Trike | 8951 comments In what universe are The Hobbit, The Wizard of Earthsea and The Princess Bride considered YA?


Tasha The Hobbit could fit the category because it is written at an easy to read level. I read it very young and tried to follow up with Lord of the Rings, but couldn't get through it until I was older. It doesn't hit the YA tropes at all, but is an accessible book.

The others mentioned I agree may not be YA, but still good for discernable younger readers.

Yeah, I'm stuck in easy read mode right now. When life gets back to normalcy I will try for an erudite read to prove to myself that I'm not losing brain cells in my middle age.

Dhalgren and some non genre books have been on my bookshelf staring at me for years.


message 11: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2928 comments Oh, you're losing brain cells. We all are. :)

I agree that the Hobbit is accessible but as you state it doesn't hit the tropes and that's one of the things I don't like about most current YA... that it IS so trope-ish. It's also, well, mostly about MCs that are teens and I'm not. I think you can write accessible stuff that's interesting to teens and not all about them.


message 12: by Iain (new) - rated it 3 stars

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1530 comments Hmmm, YA, is just a new label slapped onto books. It certainly wasn’t a thing when I started independent reading. In any case ME is aimed at a slightly younger age than YA with the main character being on the younger end of being a teen.

Some of the tropes predate YA (orphan fighting against overwhelming odds). Wizard of earthsea is certainly a coming oh age story.

I assume the lists are suggesting books foe younger readers.


message 13: by Rick (last edited Jul 25, 2018 10:26AM) (new)

Rick | 2928 comments Iain wrote: "Hmmm, YA, is just a new label slapped onto books. ..."


My old high school debate teacher would hate me for saying this, but... "yeah, but..." At least within genre, YA seems to have mostly veered to certain kinds of stories... kids/teens who have some special characteristic taking on the world/an injustice in the world that only they can see/defeat. Often in a dystopian or post-apocalyptic setting. Almost always with a romance or aborted romance in there somewhere.

Earthsea is coming of age but that's a broader subgenre - still not something I'm into but I get it. The Hobbit is an adventure story with caper elements and written in a style that is accessible to young readers and which doesn't have characters who are the same age as the intended readers.


message 14: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Trike wrote: "In what universe are The Hobbit, The Wizard of Earthsea and The Princess Bride considered YA?"

You wouldn't give this book to a 14 year old?




message 15: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
Sean wrote: "Trike wrote: "In what universe are The Hobbit, The Wizard of Earthsea and The Princess Bride considered YA?"

You wouldn't give this book to a 14 year old?"


I would. I think that is acceptable (for most 14yo). I saw worse/better than that before I was 14 ;-)

14 is fairly mature. I was in my last year of high school at 14.


Tasha Sean wrote: "Trike wrote: "In what universe are The Hobbit, The Wizard of Earthsea and The Princess Bride considered YA?"

You wouldn't give this book to a 14 year old?

"


I think that book/cover is appropriate for a 14 year old, but that cover is not appropriate for that book.


Stephen Richter (stephenofskytrain) | 1390 comments My problem is I read Howl's Moving Castle and loved it. ME has not moved me or hit any notes. Halfway done and I still am amazed it will be a movie.


message 18: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth | 1250 comments I’m going to stick up for Mortal Engines here and say that I loved it when I first read it and I enjoyed it nearly as much on the re-read. The storytelling has a lot of verve and excitement, and the world-building is vivid and surreal. For me it falls in the same eccentric British tradition as Diana Wynne Jones (I wouldn’t say that ME is as good as Howl’s Moving Castle, but then HMC is probably my favourite book of all time) and more recently Frances Hardinge.

ME predates the definition of YA - it has some of the signature tropes (dystopian setting, young idealist with mysterious dead parents) but I think it’s probably more middle grade.


Trike | 8951 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Sean wrote: "Trike wrote: "In what universe are The Hobbit, The Wizard of Earthsea and The Princess Bride considered YA?"

You wouldn't give this book to a 14 year old?"

14 is fairly mature. I was in my last year of high school at 14."


I got kicked out of grade school for drinking at 14. True story.

In this photo of me as Jesus in the Passion Play, I am hammered:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj3Z54FlQ...

Later that evening I would be nauseous during the crucifixion scene. Warm scotch and unleavened bread do not mix. The 70s were a different era in more ways than one.


message 20: by Iain (new) - rated it 3 stars

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1530 comments Trike wrote:

Later that evening I would be nauseous during the crucifixion scene. Warm scotch and unleavened bread do not mix. The 70s were a different era in more ways than one.
"


The second coming!


message 21: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "I got kicked out of grade school for drinking at 14. True story.

Why am I not shocked? ;-) High Five.

I had that same hairstyle in 1979. :-)
Now I just dream about having that much hair :-(


message 22: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4271 comments With all the love for Howl's Moving Castle, I have added it to the "Hold" list at LA Public Library for me. Looks like fun!


Trike | 8951 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Now I just dream about having that much hair :-(”

Same here, brother. Same here.

::: pours one out for my lost locks :::


message 24: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth | 1250 comments John (Taloni) wrote: "With all the love for Howl's Moving Castle, I have added it to the "Hold" list at LA Public Library for me. Looks like fun!"

Excellent! I hope you enjoy it.


Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments Most of the books on that Time list wouldn't have been considered YA when they were published. Or still shouldn't be--who actually considers Charlotte's Web YA? At least it's not as bad as that time I saw Dune on a "must-read YA" list.

YA doesn't really exist as a distinct market before the late 1960s, and until well into the 90s was rarely associated with SF&F fiction. Of the ones Mark listed in the OP, Earthsea, Wrinkle, and The Hobbit were originally published as children's fiction, and Princess Bride as adult. When YA became the fastest-growing segment of publishing in the wake of Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games, publishers rebranded a lot of older titles as YA to catch the buzz.


message 26: by Jessica (last edited Jul 25, 2018 06:22AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments To me, some of those are definitely MG, not YA--including Mortal Engines.

I saw on Philip Reeve's website he wrote about how some people were describing his book as MG and that it seems to be a term more used by Americans. When he asked British folk what they would take the term "middle grade" to mean when describing a book, a few thought it would mean "slightly crappy" (his words, by which he actually means an average book.)

I can see how that could be, but what I don't agree with is his argument that the MG tag came in response to the popularity of the "recent" inception of the YA genre that came along with Twilight and the Hunger Games, etc. I've been shopping in dedicated Young Adult sections of book stores since I was in middle school and high school--so, since the 1990s. His argument seemed to be that the YA tag was a new thing that met with a lot of success, but that's just not true.


Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments Reading back now, I agree with Joe Informatico's post about the whole YA thing, much moreso than Reeve's argument.


message 28: by Iain (new) - rated it 3 stars

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1530 comments Jessica wrote: "Reading back now, I agree with Joe Informatico's post about the whole YA thing, much moreso than Reeve's argument."

Middle Grade is only an American thing. Primary school and High School in the UK and Oz, no middle school. So middle grade as a term doesn't work at all as there is no cultural link to the 10 to 14 yo it is aimed at.


message 29: by Jessica (last edited Jul 26, 2018 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments Iain wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Reading back now, I agree with Joe Informatico's post about the whole YA thing, much moreso than Reeve's argument."

Middle Grade is only an American thing. Primary school and High ..."


Yes, but what I don't agree with is how Reeve seems to imply Young Adult as a tag for books is a recent invention, and that categorizing MG is trying ride on the coattails of the success YA has achieved. The second half of that statement might be true, but Young Adult fiction has been a thing for decades, whereas he seems to argue that YA started around the time Twilight and The Hunger Games were getting published.


Trike | 8951 comments That’s when Reeve noticed it, so therefore that must be when it came into existence.

...which is a very teenager way to view the world.


message 31: by Mark (last edited Jul 26, 2018 11:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark (markmtz) | 2590 comments Drum roll....

Posted yesterday: The Top 100 YA Books on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1324

somewhat different from the Time and NPR lists


message 32: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "The second half of that statement might be true, but Young Adult fiction has been a thing for decades, whereas he seems to argue that YA started around the time Twilight and The Hunger Games were getting published."

It really has only become a mainstream term recently (At least in Australia). I was unfamiliar with the term before the Twilight and Hunger Games generation of books.

I may have even heard the term first in Sword and Laser book discussions.


Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments Huh, I guess it just is different in the U.S. then. As I said, I was shopping in dedicated Young Adult sections of bookstores back in the 90s.


message 34: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
The closest any bookstore in Tasmania had to a YA section was a "Teenage Fiction" section.


message 35: by Iain (new) - rated it 3 stars

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1530 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "The closest any bookstore in Tasmania had to a YA section was a "Teenage Fiction" section."

I always assumed that YA was for people at Uni when I first heard of it....

Children's, Teen (full of rubbish) and adult books.


Oleksandr Zholud Trike wrote: "In what universe are The Hobbit, The Wizard of Earthsea and The Princess Bride considered YA?"

In my A Wizard of Earthsea there is the afterword by the author, which starts with
'ONCE UPON A TIME, A publisher asked me if I’d write a novel for teenagers. “Oh, no!” I said. “No, thanks very much, but I couldn’t!”
It was the idea of writing with a specific audience in mind or a specific age of reader that scared me off. I’d published fantasy and science fiction, but I was interested in the form itself, not in who read it or how old they were. But maybe my real problem was that I’d spent so many years writing novels, sending them to publishers, and having them come back with a dull thud on the doormat that I had trouble comprehending that an actual publisher had really asked me to write a book . . .
He was Herman Schein of Parnassus Press in Berkeley, the publisher of my mother’s books for children. He wanted to begin doing novels for older kids. When I said, “Oh, no!” he just said, “Well, think about it. Fantasy, maybe—whatever you like.”
I thought about it. Slowly the idea sank in. Would writing for older kids be so different from just writing? Why? Despite what some adults seem to think, teenagers are fully human. And some of them read as intensely and keenly as if their life depended on it. Sometimes maybe it does.
And fantasy—pure, old-fashioned fantasy, not mixed with science fiction—I liked the idea.'

So, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote it as a YA (or juvenile was the term then) book


message 37: by Jessica (last edited Jul 27, 2018 09:43AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments Yeah, here Young Adult = Teenage Fiction.

I remember when I was around 16 years old or so (making it approximately 1999) I approached the YA section of the bookstore with a friend in tow, and she was like, “Gasp! We can’t be in this section!!” I guess she thought the “adult” part implied X-rated content? But this is the same dear friend who, at that same age, covered her eyes during the kissing scene in “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”.

Also, she read a TON of romance novels and lent them to me, with the suggestion that I might want to follow her lead and skip the sexy times scenes—to which my response (one that I did not verbalize to her) was, “Well then, what would be the point?!”


John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1651 comments That description reminds me very much of Lindsay’s friend Millie on the show “Freeks and Geeks”. If she was into math based interscolastic compititions, I’d say she could have claim as being the inspiration for the character.

We all have (or are) interesting friends that while great friends, are odd enough that the world doesn’t always appreciate them. Thanks for sharing.


message 39: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
Iain wrote: "Teen (full of rubbish)"

My god-daughter and I, when she was a teen, would go into the teens section and laugh about the rubbish that was available there for her age group.

It was especially funny when she would hand me a book listen to me make fun of the cover, the blurb and the premise and then tell that that was the book she was buying ;-)


message 40: by Rick (last edited Jul 28, 2018 05:45PM) (new)

Rick | 2928 comments Jessica wrote: "
Yes, but what I don't agree with is how Reeve seems to imply Young Adult as a tag for books is a recent invention, and that categorizing MG is trying ride on the coattails of the success YA has achieved..."


In the US, YA *as a marketing term* is a recent thing. Of course, 'recent' is an elastic term. I don't remember seeing YA as a category in stores or talked about as such online until the mid-90s. To me, that's recent... but then I'm 60. :)

Obviously there were books targeted at younger readers for decades but the term really only seemed to pop up in the last 20 years or so as a genre and as sections in bookstores.


message 41: by Iain (new) - rated it 3 stars

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1530 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Iain wrote: "Teen (full of rubbish)"

My god-daughter and I, when she was a teen, would go into the teens section and laugh about the rubbish that was available there for her age group.

It was esp..."


I had to stop buying my son books about 4 years ago... Basically anything I choose is wrong (.... unless it isn't ... when he finally reads it 2 years later ....)


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