Teen Art & Lit — Book Reviews
Looking for a good read? Or have you read a book that you'd like to tell others about? Check out what others have found in the library recently &mdash and add your own review, too!
The Scar Boys
by Len Vlahos
Harry Jones got tragically scarred after being tied to a tree during a lightning storm where he was severely burned on his whole body. He was mentally scarred by all the bullying throughout his whole life. This story is about him growing up and using music as a way to belong after so many years as an outsider. This novel speaks to teen boys in their search for belonging, which is nice because there are so many books for teen girls and not so many for teen boys. I would recommend this book because it portrayed the importance of looking at things from all sides of a situation. This witty and inspirational book was a pleasure to read.
Here Where the Sunbeams are Green
by Helen Phillips
A great story with a tale of adventure and friendship. Interesting characters with different personalities.
Starry River of the Sky
by Grace Din
The Chinese folklore and fantasy combination made this really interesting for me.
The Incredible Charlotte Sycamore
by Kate Maddison
A great cliff-hanger with a strong female character!
by Marie Lu
My wife is a Youth Services librarian so our place has a constant flow of contemporary young adult books coming through. My relationship with reading a lot of youth fiction sort of ends in the late 70's, but when I saw a hard cover copy of Legend, by Marie Lu (2011) sitting on the top of a stack on the coffee table, I was intrigued enough to pick it up and give it a look. I was still reading half an hour later when my wife got home, and I finished it in a few days (confession: I am a bookaholic and thus have to discipline myself against reading entire books in a sitting - nothing else tends to get done).
So by my introduction I guess I've revealed that this will be a fairly positive review. Ms. Lu's book will be tough to describe without giving away too much, and almost anything is too much as the richness of this world is doled out with a nuanced rhythm that at the conclusion makes you painfully grateful there is a sequel (a trilogy, actually). The story begins in an unknown future time in Los Angeles, immediately recognizable as dystopian. There are two alternating narrators, both 15 years old, one male and one female, from very different circumstances, yet both prodigies of a kind. From the beginning, the author draws you purposefully into this well-imagined world, showing the reader the details that make up the story and avoiding heavy-handed exposition. I wouldn't describe the pace as relentless, but nearly so. I was able to put the book down, but not for long. The main and supporting characters are well drawn, and especially the two protagonists, make us care about them right away. I can't say enough positives about the world Ms. Lu created, as she reveals more and more detail, the reader realizes that this story stretches both forward and backward in time.
Ms. Lu credits Les Miserables as her inspiration for Legend. This and other allusions (including a lovely Dickens' one), plus fantastic plotting, pace and characterization, make this book eminently readable for any age, 12 and up. It's an obvious read-alike for Suzanne Collins', The Hunger Games, and it will surprise no one that the film is forthcoming - and this story will make a great movie.