Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Wonderfulness of YA...

I just finished reading the first of five First Books books (not telling which one--don't want to give it away before the 2008 CWIM comes out), and, oh, I couldn't-put-it-down loved it. I didn't think about TV or the Internet. I let the phone ring. I was almost late for yoga class. And then I went back and re-read the last few chapters.

There's nothing I love more than a good book written for teenagers. Whether it's romance or edgy, sweet or sad, contemporary or futuristic--I'm so there. What is it about these books? Why can I relate so much to highschoolers when I'm 20 years removed? Maybe part of it is that the emotions of adolescence are so strong and so deep and never really leave you. And there were aspects of high school existence I missed out on that I can take part in through books. I went to an all-girl high school, so I love the experience of a co-ed world. I also didn't go to prom or homecoming. I never had a boyfriend to speak of. I wasn't particularly good or bad or pretty or smart or angsty. Nothing particularly traumatic or interesting happened. I was your average, pass-quietly-through high school teenager with a series of unfortunate haircuts (it was the '80s).
When I read a good YA novel, I can have a satisfying girl-meets-boy-girl-gets-boy experience. I can help my friend who's an addict. I can make it on my own when my parents emotionally or physically abandon me. I can be popular or strong or athletic or triumphant or a big mess. Then I close the book and I'm a 38-year-old with a husband, a toddler, a job and a mortgage.

Here are a few YA titles--that are also debut novels--that I couldn't put down. (There's also something about an author's first book, but that's another post):

I'd love to hear about your favorite YA titles, debut or not. I'm always looking for books to add to my (never-ending) reading list.


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