Friday, October 15, 2010

Guest Post - Olivia Carter: Young Adult literature/Teen Read Week Suggestions

My name is Olivia Carter & I was once a "closeted" Young Adult novel reader. I am now here to defend my excessive reading, writing, & my recommendation that all adults at least try reading, YA books. And since next week (Oct 17-23) is Teen Read Week, let's chat about what makes YA so good.

1)  I'll admit many of the YA books I read are escapist. (not all though) Is there anything wrong with that? I say, NAY! We all need a little escape.

I love this quote from Historian Amanda Foreman, a 42-year-old mother of five, & author "Good Y.A. is like good television. There's a freshness there;  it's engaging. Y.A. authors aren't writing about middle-aged anomie or disappointed people.'"

2)  YA books excel in storytelling. Lev Grossman, NY Times book critic said, “A lot of contemporary adult literature is characterized by a real  distrust of plot. I think young adult fiction is one of  the few areas of literature right now where storytelling really  thrives.”       

A lot of YA books have  really simple plots but in turn the authors storytelling skills really shine.

3)  It takes you back. Seriously, the best & worst thing about being a teen are your raw emotions. Teens tend to be more open about their feelings. It reminds you of those days of when who asked who to the dance felt like it had eternal repercussions.

Now, having defended let me recommend some fabulous YA books for you guys to try.

If you want fantastical stories (ie: Harry Potter & Twilight):

A very popular genre right now is dystopic & there are A LOT of great ones:
You want a lovely story with lovely storytelling:

You want some good old fashioned romance:
(Hush Hush, Perfect Chemistry, A Countess Below Stairs, Wicked Lovely)

Any YA fans out there? Any other YA book recommendations?

To hear more from Olivia Visit her blog Gnome Sweet Gnome.


  1. I love YA reading b/c it's quick and enjoyable. It's like watching a soap opera, you don't want to admit it to your other adult friends, but you secretly can't wait to get home to finish the latest episode/book. As always Ms. Carter, you are spot on with your recommendations!

  2. Um, I would read reviews on hush, hush first. There are some questionable situations in there that I wouldn't 'okay' with my daughter. Just sayin...

  3. Lets get it straight lady - these are recommendations for adults reading YA fiction. Whether you would recommend these for any daughters is not the topic.

  4. Ah yes, Liv Carter is officially my book dealer and always has awesome recommendations! I absolutely LOVE being able to fly through a wonderful story that leaves me feeling good. YA books are so great for that! These are ALL great books too! There's only a few I haven't gotten to read yet...

  5. I first started reading YA books because i thought I wouldn't have to worry about the content that I find in adult literature. Unfortunately i was wrong in that assumption. I have learned quickly that there are quite a few YA books that I find offensive. But as most of us writers that have been rejected by agents know, reading is very subjective. What is ok for one person can be offensive to another. My husband I both began reading one of the books recommended in this post. I didn't enjoy it and found parts of it offensive, my husband, who is usually more sensitive then me, had no problem with it and continued to read the whole series. What I'm trying to say here is that recommendations are great, but we each still need to exercise our own judgment and read what we feel is appropriate for ourselves and our children.

  6. I am glad to see you mention Shannon Hale, because she was my favorite discoveries of the year. I am just in love with her books. The discussion here in the comments brought to mind something that I read on her blog. She was talking about how one of her friends had a preteen daughter who really wanted to read the Twilight series. The mom really wasn't sure about how she felt about it and after much consideration and a lot of begging from her daughter, she came to a decision...she would read the books WITH her daughter. It become a really good chance for them to talk about a lot issues that don't normally come up very easily between mothers and daughters. I'm not saying you have to let your daughter read anything you aren't comfortable with, but I also don't think girls are going to copy behavior they read about just because they enjoy the book. Of course, I don't have any daughters, but this example on Shannon Hale's blogs made me think about how I might handle future situations.

    As for myself, there are some things that don't offend me at all that make other people uncomfortable...and then some things I just can't handle in a book. I read "The Lovely Bones" and thought the writing was just incredible, but it gave me one of the most chilling nightmares I have ever had. I will never read it again, but I can understand how others can appreciate it.

    I have just gotten into YA literature this last year for all the reasons you mentioned.

  7. YA - The Summer I Turned Pretty. Loved that one. I wanted to use my highlighter there were so many beautiful lines.
    The only thing I don't like about YA - aside from the fact that there's NO way my daughter will read some of them as a teen - is the lack of permenancy in the endings. You don't really "ride off into the sunset" when you're 16.

  8. Great post Liv! I just might pick up a book now. :) I might lift my ban on all books (I have a weird thing about endings) and try some of these. As for the other ladies on here, As has already been said, these are YA books she's recommending for adults to try... Use your common sense. If you don't feel comfortable with certain content, stop reading the book. Not all YA books are written by Jack Weyland... Thank goodness.



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