YA Fiction–Moving Away From the Post-Apocalyptic Themes

It has been a heavy few years in the world of YA fiction. Vampires, werewolves, and the end of the world as we know it have flooded the market.

I do appreciate the portrayal of strong female characters in some of these books. Katniss in The Hunger Games Trilogy is a good example. While Sarah Dessen writes a great love story, her novels don’t typically have a lot of substance.

That said, here are some of my recommendations for YA novels that are real, thoughtful, and do not have any vampires in them.

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Junior’s decision to go to an all-white high school off-reservation has his on-reservation friends and family criticizing him for his choice. Filled with serious topics and a lot of humour to offset them, this is one of my favourite YA books. This one is my 14 year old’s favourite.

The Path of Names by Ari Goelman

Reluctant Dahlia goes to sleep-away camp and finds herself caught up in a mystery surrounding the camp.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

A story about young women pilots in WWII, the plot is complex with amazing twists. A great choice for older teens (and parents), especially those who like spy novels.

Hoot by Carl Hiassen

Kids standing up for what they believe in, and encouraging adults to do the right thing.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

My 12 year old son recommends this one. Artemis is a millionaire, genius, and a criminal mastermind.

Great Reads for 2013

I’ve read some great books in the past few months, and I want to share them with you.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is about women pilots in WWII. But it’s also about spies, espionage, and has an amazing plot that will keep you guessing.

Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, Flight Behavior, is set where butterfly migration is affected by climate change. It’s a wonderful story about a young wife and mother who learns her own value, and takes control of her future.

Ranger or Morelli? Stephanie Plum is still deciding in Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich.

Erin Morgenstern’s debt novel, The Night Circus, is a fantastical love story. If you enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife or The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, you’ll like this.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. When I recommend this book to friends, I tell them not to read the cover, to just dive in. And to make sure they have some free time–you won’t want to put this down.

In 2010, I read The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian. An amazing novel in itself, with and ending that will leave you reeling, it also references events from The Great Gatsby as though they are historical.  I had to read Gatsby right after (Well before the movie hype made the book popular.)  ps–We’re planning a bookclub fieldtrip to see The Great Gatsby this weekend!