I absolutely adore reading – it truly is one of my favourite hobbies and is something that I do whenever I get the chance. And, as I read, I want to share it with you all because I’ve read some of the most amazing books!
My problem, as always, is finding the time to tell you about them! For that reason, while I’m still heading to my goal of reading 100 books this year, but haven’t shared them all with you! So I’ve got a lot to share so you’ll be seeing a few posts about the things I’ve read.
Here is a round-up of some of the young-adult novels that I’ve read in the past month. I really enjoy reading young-adult novels – I find that a lot of them are really engaging and creative. While I haven’t been a young adult for a very long time, I still appreciate them as one of the most interesting genres and include many books that appeal to both young adults and adults alike!
Matched, by Ally Condie is one of my favourite books that I’ve read in the past few weeks (so much so, in fact, that I’ve read most of the sequel – Crossed – and will be telling you about it soon!).
Cassia lives in a world where Society dictates everything. They decide what you will do with your life, who you will marry and even when you will die! People in society believe that they are being taken of because the leaders of their society tell them they are helping them deal with their lives in the best way possible. The story opens with Cassia looking forward to her Matching ceremony on the eve of her 16th birthday. She is excited to learn the identity of her future spouse and is pleasantly surprised to discover that she will be marrying her best friend, Xander. Life takes a turn, however, when she discovers that she may have been destined to be matched to another boy she knows (Ky). How will what she knows change her life and will she rebel against the plan that the leaders of her society have for her?
Matched has many different elements to it that make it engaging – it is fast-paced and combines elements of romance (which normally doesn’t interest me, but is treated in such a way in Matched that I found myself enjoying it!), suspense and the theme of a dystopian society. To say I loved this book would be a huge understatement!
While I was obviously on a dystopian-themed trip into reading, I also read Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I was interested in reading this novel because it is Canadian and was nominated this year for a White Pine Award by the Ontario Library Association.
The novel opens with violence, which continues throughout the book. Saba is a young woman who has recently turned 18. She lives in a remote area with her father, her twin brother and her younger sister. After living a rather unremarkable life, her whole world quickly turns upside down. In the span of one day, her father is killed and her brother is kidnapped. Saba has to quickly choose what to do and she decides to head out to search for her twin with her younger sister (who she doesn’t care for) in tow.
Saba finds herself facing adversity – she becomes enslaved by a violent culture that believes in death matches but she also develops some allies along the way. Will she and her sister be able to escape death and ever be reunited with her brother?
While I liked aspects of this novel, I found the violence to be overwhelming and gratuitous in some places. I did enjoy the novel overall but I am not sure if I will read the sequel when it comes out because I didn’t develop a strong connection with the characters.
I have a really bad habit of picking up novels and, while I’m reading, discovering that the book is actually a sequel (I know – you would think I would know better!). That was the case of the Eric Walter’s novel United We Stand. Eric Walter’s is one of my favourite Canadian authors that writes young-adult novels (if you have never read Shattered you really should!). United We Stand is the story of a teen named Will who, along with his father, has escaped from the Twin Towers after 9/11. Will and his family have to deal with the aftermath of what they have experienced and Will’s friend, James, has to face the fact that his father hasn’t come home.
United We Stand deals with the issues surrounding 9/11 in a compassionate and understanding manner. I found myself feeling very connected to Will as he grappled with trauma he has experienced, and continues to experience, after living through the collapse of the World Trade Centre. I was impressed by the fact that I was able to read this novel on its own without feeling like I was missing pieces (something which doesn’t always happen when reading a sequel). I am looking forward to reading the first book (We All Fall Down) though I think I will lose a bit of the book in the fact that I know how the original story ends.
The last young-adult novel that I recently read was The Crying Rocks by Janet Taylor Lisle.
This novel centres around Joelle, a teen girl who knows that she is adopted but grapples with the murky details around her early years. Her adopted parents have told her that she was discovered at the age of five and she can’t remember anything about her life before that time. Idolized by the younger local girls for being “exotic” and “mysterious”, Joelle struggles in search of her own identity. She is drawn to the history of the local Native community and often wonders if there is a connection that she can’t identify. Will she ever really discovers where she has come from?
I really enjoyed this novel – it’s themes relating to a search for identity and coming of age were powerful. I really liked Joelle as a character and found myself rooting for her to discover her roots. I think this novel would be a great book for pre-teens and teens alike.
I’ve got more to share with you, but I’m going to wait for another day – I can’t give you too much of a good thing at once, can I?