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I've just finished reading A Catcher in
the Rye for the first time (hush my
mouth). Loved it. Absolutely loved it.
And what did I love about it? The
voice. Here was a young man I wanted
to slap one minute and hug the next.
And by his very narrative he told me
so much about him. And I think I
know why Salinger only published
that one. I mean, how could he follow
that up? Better to go out on one solid
hit, I think, rather than Hit 1, Drop 2.
Given that I work four days a week and that I
am not a fast reader, I tend to make my YA Lit
my 'tram books' and read them on the way to
work. My average is about two weeks to finish
Lucy and Kath down at Books in Print are
forever recommending new releases, or their
favourites to me and now I have an entire
shelf at home devoted to YA lit.
I must admit, the most exciting YA literature
that's come my way this year has been from
the USA. One is The Strange and Beautiful
Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton.
This was, for me, like being read to by my
grandmother. Such an engaging tale. And
again, it's the voice that got me. The other
novel that wowed me this year is Where
Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. I
swear this guy was channeling Hemingway or
someone when he wrote this. This is A.Very.
It's 2015 and over the holidays I read three YA
novels. Balzhar by Meg Wolitzer, I'll Give You
the Sun by Jandy Nelson and Afterworlds by
Scott Westerfield. Three very different stories.
Balzhar, for me, is memorable. I can still, after
two months, recall the plot, which I think is its
strongest element. I feel, though, this story
could have done with more fleshing out of the
characters as they feel quite 2D to me.
I'll Give You the Sun was also memorable. The
author gives us front row seats to what's going
on inside Noah's mind. Trouble is, what is
translated from there to the narrative for me
was entirely unbelievable. I've worked with
young people for years and no 13 year old I've
met possesses the understandings that this
character does. However, I very much
enjooyed the blossoming love story between
his female twin and Oscar.
Stay tuned for my thoughts on Afterworlds.