One of my favorite questions to be asked and answered is;
“Do you have a good book for me?”
I like to think I can recommend a good book for any occasion. Dentist office? Train ride? Broken down chair lift? And of course I love it when my students ask me for a recommendation. Recently I took a good look at my collection of YA books lining my classroom shelves. It’s a pretty solid collection -skewed slightly to contemporary realistic fiction but a good mix of science fiction and fantasy too.
Before recommending a book to a kid I usually have a brief Q and A that goes something like this.
Me: So what do you like to read?
Kid: I don’t know.
Me: What was the last book you read and liked?
Kid: I don’t know.
Me: Can you name any book you liked?
Kid: Oh yeah, that one we had to read last year was pretty good.
Me: The Outsiders?
Kid: Yeah, that one.
Then I usually bring out some of my can’t miss favorites for teens and get them to read the back covers. Okay, okay, a few kids can name a book they read and liked, but they’re not usually the ones asking for help. Often I’ll ask a few questions about genre because kids (and adults) tend to have strong opinions about whether or not they like books with things that “can really happen” or “magic stuff”.
If you’re looking for a good YA read I highly recommend the winners of this year’s Printz and Morris Awards. These are kind of like the Newbery Award but for YA books.
Gabi A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero This book features the incredible voice of its Latina protagonist.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson An incredibly beautiful story told from the alternating voices of twins Noah and Jude. It annoys and offends me that this book is recommended for fans of John Green -because (snooty face nose in the air) it’s SO much better!!!!
I cannot say enough good things about either -I highly doubt you would be disappointed no matter where or when you chose to read them.