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Chapter 39 - Better Than The Movies

I am very lucky to have as a good friend, T.I. Lowe, who is a professional author. Tonya has introduced me to so many things and is never at a loss to tackle difficult subjects in her books. Through Tonya I have met her husband Bernie, a really wonderful man, and her terrific daughter Lydia. Lydia is currently a senior in high school and not only is she a great student, a killer tennis player, and a lovely person, she is also, she is a dedicated reader!

Sometimes I think we are reluctant to consider Young Adult books because they might be too childish for adult readers. Yet, the ones I have read, I've really enjoyed. Young adult books deal with the same relationship issues and problems that adult books do but sometimes the issues are dealt with in more creative ways. Books like The Book Thief which takes place in Nazi Germany and is narrated by Death, and The Hunger Games, a combination of politics and media, both come to mind for YA books I've enjoyed. Anyway I asked Tonya (Lydia was busy at tennis practice) to check with Lydia for some books she'd recommend to adult readers. Here is her list.

Better Than The Movies and The Do-Over by Lynn Painter - These books read like a good old fashioned Meg Ryan rom com. In the first, a teenager has a chance to win over her lifetime crush but to do so she must become best friends with her obnoxious next-door neighbor. In The Do-Over Emilie has had a horrible Valentine's Day and retreats to her grandmother's house to indulge in her favorite ice cream. When she wakes up she is back in her own bed and Valentine's Day starts all over again. How many times can this happen? What happens when the do-over stops?

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass - Thirty-five young women get the opportunity to move out of their caste system and compete for the heart of Prince Maxon. For one of the girls, the Selection is a nightmare as she is in love with a man in the caste below hers. This is a combination of the Bachelor and The Hunger Games (without the violence). The Selection also tackles themes of family, loyalty, injustice, propaganda, and the power of women.

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros - This is a 2023 Fantasy book and has gotten rave reviews. Violet Sorrengail is destined to lead a quiet life reading books and recording history but her tough-as-talons mother has commanded her to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become dragon riders. Violet is small and fragile and dragons don't bond with weak humans so her challenges are many. As she goes through the paces in this elite school, her world is literally falling apart around her. This would be a good book for Harry Potter fans.

The Inheritance Games Series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - What would you do if you just found out you'd inherited a billionaire's entire fortune? That is the problem that Avery has, going from a high school student from a humble home to a very rich young woman. The hitch is she has to move into the billionaire's Hawthorne House home where the billionaire's family is trying to make sure the fortune doesn't go to her.

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson - This is a really good murder series for young adults. Pip lives in Fairview, a small town whose legacy includes a strange murder-suicide that took place a few years back. Pip realizes the incident still impacts the community and decides to dive into it for a school project. Pip might be biting off a bit more than she can chew as her innocent investigation starts to turn up town secrets that probably should remain buried.

A few of my own -

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - The story takes place in East Prussia during World War II as three teenagers try to stay together and survive. The teenagers are desperate to reach western Germany and board a refugee ship that promises to take them away from their blighted, crumbling homeland. This coming of age story has themes of friendship and survival.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - The thing you need to know about this book is that it is not your cliched cop shoots black teen story. Starr and Khalil grow up as friends in the poor black community in which they live. Starr receives a scholarship to a prestigious private school and the friends drift apart only to reunite at a party. As they seem to get closer they are pulled over one night and Khalil is shot by a police officer. It is a story of our times, yes, but far more nuanced than that as Starr's life includes her father - a reformed gang member, her uncle - a police detective, and her privileged classmates leaving Starr to have to constantly code switch.

So a shout out to Lydia Lowe for her contributions to today's blog!

Have you read any YA books which you'd recommend? Let me know.


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