Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book picks for teens/by teens - Part II

In Part II of our look at what tweens and teens are reading these days, I talked with a few boys this time to get their suggestions for great summer reads. In Part I of these book picks, the girls decidedly leaned to the "end of the world as we know it" side of things. All of their picks were in the realm of dystopian genrethat complete post linked here.

 I was  interested to read author Lois Lowry's  thoughts on the dystopian books she has long lead the charge with, such as The Giver. In this interview by Jade Chang for Good Reads, Lowry shares her concerns that the Hunger Games series plot is based on children killing other children. " Kids seem to be quite blasé about that, but it seems to indicate something deeply wrong with our culture," states Lowry. I was surprised to learn that Lowry shared my sentiment on this although I have heard other teens make similar comments as I've delved into researching why they love the books they love. As you can see in the photo above (taken at the wonderful teen section of the Main Library downtown) of the shelf full of the wildly popular book Divergent, kids seemingly can't get enough of these futuristic reads. 

Does anyone remember reading the short story The Lottery in school? It was assigned reading when I was in the 6th grade and I remember sitting frozen to the seat of my school desk in a state of complete terror after reading this tale. I had never before read anything so dark and I was quite sure the decision to read it in the classroom was a calculated move on the teacher's part as my mother would never have approved. I have never forgotten the story. Author Shirley Jackson, who wrote the tale in 1948, was way ahead of her time and it was controversially published in the New Yorker as an astounding and revelatory read. Along with such authors as Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, their short stories of futuristic worlds struck a chord with readers like my younger brother and I who enjoyed trying to wrap our minds around a works of science fiction that seemed so frighteningly plausible.

The teen library at the Main Library downtown offers tweens and teens a treasure trove of the very latest books as well as a summer reading program (included in the link) complete with prizes and a cool t-shirt to encourage kids to devour books all summer long... 

Another personal favorite, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, is still in constant demand and is even on our school's current summer reading list...

First up for the fellas, one young man who prefers to remain anonymous, weighs in with some heavy hitting picks on this list of 10 best (he also listed The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson as other favorites). I trust his good judgement as he is an avid reader and that has served him well in the classroom. 

1] Charlie Bone By Jenny Nimmo
       This book follows the life of a boy named Charlie Bone who discovers that his mean grandmother and great aunts are working for his evil Headmaster, Dr. Bloor, and his equally wicked son, Manfred Bloor.  Charlie is endowed with the ability to hear the voices in pictures and sometimes talk to the people they encase.  There have been strange goings on lately in their town and it has to do with Charlie's ancestor, the Red King, who had many abilities that had been passed down from generation to generation.  His father went missing, and Charlie is the only one who has faith in him still being alive. (This book has a sequel, three-quel, quadru-quel, quintu-quel, hexa-quel, hepta-quel, and octa-quel(an 8 book series.)read them all, please.)

2] The Cane Chronicles By Rick Riordan (Series)

3] Crispin and the Cross of Lead By Avi

4] The Last Dragon Chronicles By Chris Delacey (Series)

5] I Funny By James Patterson

6] The Tale of Desperoux By Kate DiCamillo  

7] The Mysterious Benedict Society By Trenton Lee Stewart (Series)

8] CODE By Charles Petzold

9] The Trumpet Of the Swan By Lois Lowry

10] laveideM By Jennifer McFann

Next up, teen Caerwyn offers some fine picks including one you might find surprising for a thirteen year old...

    *photo by kylie sabine for

Caerwyn is currently immersed in Victor Hugo's classic Les Miserables and also sent this list of 5 favorites:

1. Rotten Ruin
2. Hunger Games Series
3. Watership Down
4. Underdogs
5. Divergent

Thank you for your help boys! I'm heading off now to gather up some of these interesting titles - I might just have to read them aloud to my boys so I can hear them too!

*this post dedicated to Mrs. Fredendall and Penny Guy who introduced "Junior Great Books" to a small group of kids who loved to read and to Mrs. Ginny Rothwell long before that.

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