Oh the joy of extra reading time!
As to be expected, I read quite a few books this summer; from picture books to those for adults. As usual, realistic YA fiction remains my sweet spot.
Here are the 5 YA books that stood out for me – in the order I read them. All HIGHLY recommended!
THE WHOLE STUPID WAY WE ARE by N. Griffin.
A gorgeous package for an amazing and poignant book.
I love books that remind us that we never know exactly what someone else is thinking. Although Dinah and Skint are long-time best friends, they can’t possibly know everything the other is going through.
They are each struggling to make sense of things that don’t make sense, while trying to make the world a better place even though they don’t know how best to do that. They care, deeply and passionately.
WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith
Such a compelling voice!
Kiri, 17 year old aspiring rocker and classical pianist is left at home to take care of the house and prepare for her upcoming piano performance.
She is a fascinating unreliable narrator. She starts the story seemingly capable and in control, but as the story goes on, she becomes more and more wired and manic. She’s learning secrets that her family has kept from her, falling in love, and not sleeping. At all.
The writing is evocative and layered; keeps you on your toes and awake. I seriously felt a little wired and jazzed up the further I read.
THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr
This book took me into an unfamiliar world of privilege and wealth and remarkable musical talent.
And yet, Lucy is so real, so very teen, she felt familiar too. She is discovering her place in the world. Which for Lucy, means her place in a family that is disappointed in her choices, her place in relationship to boys and men, and her place among friends and peers.
Although the plot could be called quiet, there is a remarkable amount of tension and uncertainty throughout. Quite compelling and rich with thought-provoking ideas about creativity, relationships, and defining one’s personal identity.
FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick
This is a tough one, for sure. But oh so well written.
Leonard Peacock is one heart-breaking character. He is lost and searching. Odd and endearing. Angry and tragic.
Having worked in schools, I recognize Leonard. Sadly, there are kids who really are hurting this badly. Who are at the end of their rope and begging for help.
I just hope those kids have those people like Walt and Herr Silverman to turn to.
THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Tim Tharp
I’m like all the girls in this book. I quickly fell in love with Sutter Keely. Even though I know he’s mess. He’s just such a charming lovable mess.
Like Kiri in WILD AWAKE, he’s unreliable, but doesn’t mean to be.
A fantastic example of writing that leaves the reader some room to own the story, and to figure things out on her own.
It’s great to be back!
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK