Off the Shelf – December 22

Listen to the column here

Some people make grocery lists, I make book lists. Students recommend things, other blogs and traditional reviews, good looking covers. If I don’t buy it immediately, I write it down. This is also the time of year when publishers start to promote new books and I am always on the lookout for the next great book.

Huffington Post recently published an article by young adult book blogger Lisa Parkin about the four next great young adult book trends. According to the article we’ll be seeing less dystopian and “sick lit” in the coming year and readers can be on the lookout for these trends.

  1. Crimes and Cons: stories about characters on the wrong side of the law
  2. Retellings: fairy tales with a YA twist…this isn’t a new trend exactly, but these types of stories are picking up traction
  3. Quirky and moving: these are novels that feature memorable characters in unusual (but not out-of-this-world) situations
  4. Dealing with loss: these are stories of teens dealing with loss of loved ones

You can read Parkin’s article and see her recommendations in each category here.

I could stay in my house and read non-stop for the next five years and still not finish all the physical books on my tbr pile, but that won’t stop me from adding these titles to the line-up.

brightAll the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

So, this book would fit into the “dealing with loss” category. It’s the story of Violet and Theodore who are both struggling with life when they meet on the edge of the bell tower at their school. And they end up saving each other. I’m really looking forward to this one.

listA List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me – Jason Schmidt, memoir

This book sounds intense. It’s the true story of a boy who has, from the sounds of things, grown up in a world of chaos and has known, from a very young age that what happens in his house must stay a secret. How does a good kid overcome a bad childhood – that’s the question this book asks and answers.

playlistPlaylist for the Dead – Michelle Falkoff

So a couple years ago Jay Asher’s novel 13 Reasons Why was a big hit and early reviews are saying that this is even better. I wasn’t actually a huge fan of Asher’s novel, but most of the teens I know who read it loved it and so I suspect this will be a big hit, too. It’s the story of a teenage boy named Sam who tried to understand why his best friend killed himself by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind.

mosquitolandMosquitoland – David Arnold

So, this book is getting some serious buzz and was chosen as one of the American Booksellers Association’s Indies New Voices novels. It’s a road-trip story and everyone knows road trips are fertile literary ground. This one is about a girl who takes a bus from Mississippi to Ohio and meets some quirky characters and learns a lot about herself on the way. Sounds great.

It’s so important that young adults are able to see themselves in the characters of the books they read. Not everyone is beautiful or athletic or brilliant – some of us are mortal and have human failings and frailties. If books can show teens that there is hope and happiness and humour to be found, let’s let them find it.

What books, YA or otherwise, are you looking forward to reading in 2015?

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