Next month, Catching Fire - part two of the Hunger Games trilogy debuts in movie form; The Fault In Our Stars is being filmed and/or edited as we write this. Divergent will be a movie before we know it. These movie versions of books have us thinking about terrific young adult fiction. And when we think, we tend to read. So today we thought we would highlight some great young adult books that have not yet made it to the big screen.
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (2013) – This novel offers a great way to think about fate and choices. Plus, this has one of the most memorable opening chapter events of any book I have ever read. If you continue past chapter one you will: 1) Get to know Ezra – the golden boy of his high school until a car accident ends his star tennis career. 2) Get to know Toby – a boy ostracized by his classmates ever since being the innocent victim of the horrific event in chapter one. 3) Meet Cassidy – the new girl in town with a huge secret that sets her apart. 4) Start to believe Ezra is right when he states that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them. Yes, Ezra believes each life has a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. In other words, an event that is “the beginning of everything”. ~ Lisa Christie
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (2012) – OK, I lost sleep reading this one; I could not put it down. It has young women heroines, WWII history, a glimpse into life in England and France, spies, and Nazis. Pick it up and be prepared to spend a day reading. Note: This review is short as it is hard to review this book without giving away too much plot; and, surprise is important with this book. ~ Lisa Christie
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (September 2013) – I am not sure how the award winning author of Code Name Verity endured the research for this book. She must have just kept thinking it was so much worse for the actual prisoners. But in this book, she takes on the German concentration camps, specifically Ravensbruck. Ravensbruck is where her heroine Rose, an American ATA pilot, ends up after being overtaken by two German fighter planes. What happens to her there is unthinkable; what she witnesses is worse. But somehow, while this book caused me to cry quietly throughout, and then sustainably at the end, the message is one of hope, survival, and bearing witness so that the horrible, horrible things that happened in Ravensbruck, never occur again. May all world leaders read this and govern accordingly. But in the meantime, get this book in the hands of your favorite future world leader and yourself. (And yes, a few characters from Code Name Verity play a part, but mostly this is the tale of Rose and her fellow prisoners.) ~ Lisa Christie
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013) – Set during one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits – both from the “wrong side of the tracks” and smart enough to know that first love rarely, if ever, lasts, but willing to try anyway. When you watch as Park meets Eleanor, you’ll remember your own high school years, riding the school bus, any time you tried to fit in while figuring out who you were, and your own first love. I also truly believe that when the book ends you will think hard about children from the “other side of the tracks” and from family situations that are less than ideal. ~ Lisa Christie