Teen Read Week: Ten Books for Reluctant Readers!

For those of you who may be unaware, order this week is Teen Read Week, a week of celebrating the books for teens and encouraging teens to read. All over the country, its celebrated as the third week of October, by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Libraries all over the country are doing some seriously amazing and fun stuff to encourage teens to read.

This year’s “sub-theme” is Seek the Unknown, encouraging teens to delve into worlds unknown with books in mystery, science fiction, adventure and fantasy.

This is the first year I’ve been aware of this, probably because I’m more involved with the book world, as a blogger, and I have to say: this is awesome, and I’m WAY thrilled about it.

I was a little disappointed that most of my local libraries aren’t doing anything for Teen Read Week, mostly because they’re kind of small, and because I still do think that some of these smaller libraries, that don’t have Teen Services Librarians, tend to not focus on the Teens. However, there ARE a lot of libraries all over the place that ARE doing things. As you guys know, I went to the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest, which was a kick off to this week. The Pasadena Public Library is having a YA Book Swap at their branch this coming Saturday (which I am SUPER looking forward to). There is DEFINITELY cool stuff going on.

But I love this. I love the idea of this, of having a whole week (though I do this everyday) of encouraging teens to read, through different methods. I think its fantastic. Its becoming more and more obvious how important it is to read and to be a proficient reader. Reading is a huge passion of mine, obviously, and it means a lot to me. I try every day on my blog to instill that passion into anyone who comes to say hello and I’m really excited.

So I decided in celebration of Teen Read Week that I would recommend ten books, ten books that I’ve read and loved, for reluctant readers. I want you to keep in mind that these are MY choices, but they are books that I love that I think can both reach out to those who already love books and reach out to those who feel uncomfortable with books, or just don’t know where to start with reading.

I also tried to keep it balanced in the favor of both genders. I think that all books that are written are written for everyone, and that everyone can enjoy them, but I think that boys, especially, tend to think of most YA books as for girls, and this is simply not true. All the books below are ones that I think both genders can enjoy, and I think adults will enjoy them as well.

Winger by Andrew Smith 

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Andrew Smith’s standalone novels follows fourteen year old Ryan Dean as he embarks on his junior year of high school, with the usual trials and tribulations of an awkward teen boy. From playing (and fighting) on the rugby field to being absolutely awkward with girls, and getting in trouble left and right, this book is full of so much humor, you’ll be wiping tears from your face through out the entire novel. Its a GREAT novel, and Ryan Dean is a character that you literally love from page one. You’re in the head of Ryan Dean, completely, and so you get his humor and his random thoughts, and his fears and doubts and its just a fantastic novel. Andrew Smith has an uncanny ability of capturing exactly what its like to be a teenager, and its an up and down ride the entire novel. Its the first novel that pops in my head when anyone asks for a recommendation.

Legend by Marie Lu

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When it comes to dystopian novels, most people tend to recommend The Hunger Games, Divergent, Unwind, amongst others, but the first one that I recommend is Legend, because I think its the best of them all. This is not to say that those books aren’t good, because they are! I’m a huge fan of them, as you guys will know. But Legend stands out to me, and I believe Marie Lu is a champion in the dystopian genre (yeah, I totally just pulled that pun off). Marie’s story takes place in Los Angeles, between two points of view: Day and June. Day is a teen boy who turns to a life of criminal activity after he fails his trials, and escapes from his placement in the labor camps. He does anything and everything he can to support the family that he has left behind. June has grown up in a life of privilege and luxury, scoring the highest score possible in her trials, and being groomed for a military career. When Day is accused of murdering June’s brother, a path emerges that will lead them together and uncover many secrets. I recommend this one above other because it feels so real, and its an easy, quick read, and Marie creates an amazing story with the two main characters, and its easy to speed through this.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green 

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Again, not the most likely book that people recommend when it comes to John Green. Most people recommend either The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska. I HIGHLY recommend both of those, definitely, and am looking forward to the TFIOS movie. Its going to be great. But the reason I recommend An Abundance of Katherines, besides the fact that it is my favorite, is because it isn’t heartbreaking like the other two. There’s nothing wrong with heartbreak, nothing at all but I think sometimes a teen could use a break from that, with just a good ‘ol fashioned coming of age story. The story follows genius Colin, who has been dumped 19 times, all by girls that are named Katherine. As he embarks on a road trip with his best friend, he’s determined to find his Eureka! moment in the form of a formula that determines what went wrong with all those Katherines. Its a beautiful coming-of-age, discovery novel with Colin, and it has the usual John Green humor, and its just a great novel. Its my favorite because its the one novel of John Green’s that I really think most teens can see themselves.

Airhead by Meg Cabot

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Yay! Time for some super awesome humor. I recommend ALL Meg Cabot books for reluctant readers because Meg writes as if she’s talking to a best friend, as if she is sitting next to you, a caramel frappacino in hand, telling you these stories. She is full of humor, and fast paced stories, and each story is like a juicy piece of gossip in your hands. Airhead tells the story of Em, an extremely smart girl, in love with her best friend, Christopher, and incapable of really being a “girl”. After a freak accident, Em’s brain is transplanted into the body of America’s hottest top model, Nikki Howard. Of course, there is way more to the story, and Em finds out the sinister nature in how she ended up in this body. Like so many of her books, its of a crazy, impossible nature and its full of a ton of humor. Meg Cabot has a way of making me laugh like no other author has ever made me laugh. Her books are light, and fun, and they’re easy to read, and they’re the first books that I read in the YA area, when I was twelve years old. I will always recommend her because of her ability to make people want to read.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

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I will forever recommend this book because the boy wizard has a way of turning people into readers. You can’t talk about young adult books or having an effect on reading and readers without bringing up Harry Potter. I’ve seen it happen over and over again, people reading Harry Potter and suddenly having a higher interest in reading. It did with my sister and I think it did with my boyfriend too. Jon has always read but after I basically forced him to read them, and now he reads all the time. Harry Potter is a much easier read than people think, and it captures nearly everyone who reads it. I hardly ever meet people who read the books and don’t love them. I’ve met people who are SO incredibly reluctant to read the books, for whatever reasons, and when they read them, they become their favorites. Harry Potter has a way of spanning generations and telling a story that is completely timeless. It breaks your heart, makes you laugh, introduces you to a new world and yet feels as familiar as waking up. Put this book in anyone’s hands and tell me that they won’t love it, and I’ll tell you that they are crazy haha.

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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It took me a long time to read Percy Jackson. I first picked up the books when The Lost Hero, the first book of the spin-off series, came out, that’s how long it took me. But when I did, I was so incredibly mad at myself for waiting SO long to read them. They are amazing books, and I think they really appeal to children because they’re the part of history and English that we learn in school that always sorts of sticks with us. I know that the Greeks and their mythology are one of those things that always sticks out to me about school, and I know its an interesting subject in school and I think Rick Riordan really capitalizes on that but also just tells an awesome story. He tells the story of Percy Jackson, a normal boy who finds out that he is actually a demigod, the son of his mortal mother, and his god father, Poseidon. They are full of fun and adventure, and yes a little bit of education too. I adore these books and I find most kids love them because of how fun and easy they are to read. There’s a reason that Rick only hits about 8 places when doing a book tour, and they sell out in minutes and range in the thousands when it comes to number of guests. He’s a winner.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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Charlie writes his story to “Dear Friend”, of his life as an outsider in high school, trying to find friends, falling in love, dating and so much more. I’ve literally never met a person that read this book and didn’t like it. I would love to meet the person who didn’t, if only to get into a really fun discussion on why. You know me, I love to talk books. But there’s a reason that this is the whole novel that has been published by Stephen (though he told us back in May that he’s working on something new, finally!). Its that this book continues to reach out to teenagers, ever since its publication back in 1999. Every single teenager tends to feel like an outsider and Charlie is the ultimate outsider, and its beautiful and wonderful to follow his story, and to read his letters to “Dear Friend”. Everyone that I talk to that has read this book has loved it, and its the kind of book that you can read as a teenager, read as an adult and continuing reading it and it still has resonance, it still effects you.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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Yes, Cassandra Clare wrote a Harry Potter fan fiction that had a wee bit of plagiarism in it. Yes, Cassandra Clare took some elements of her fan fiction (the parts that WERE NOT plagiarized) and implemented them into her Mortal Instruments trilogy. You know what I say to that? Who cares? Most of the people who are saying this haven’t read her books and I have found that these books make incredible gateway to even more books. Cassandra Clare tells the story of Clary, a normal teen girl that witnesses a murder in a club, a murder than no one else can see. Not long after, her  mother is kidnapped and she is thrown into the world of Shadowhunters, humans with angel blood who have a mandate to rid the world of its demon infestation. From the moment I started reading these, I was addicted, and I remain addicted. I know so many people who have dove into these books and come out with a desire to read. Cassandra’s books are dark and funny, and sexy and easy to read. They’re adventurous and fast paced and its a great book to hand out, to get teens interested in reading.

If I Stay  by Gayle Forman

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Gayle Forman is an awesome contemporary writer, and the best part of her books, for a reluctant reader, is that they are fairly short. This book is only 200 pages, and its an easy and addicting read. Mia is in a tragic, terrible accident and she is rushed to the hospital, with horrible injuries. She is outside her body, witnessing her body as its at the scene, as it is transported to the hospital and as her family and friends gather around, hoping she’ll wake up. Mia alternately relives moments of her past, while contemplating her future, whether to fight and wake up, or whether to let go. Its a beautiful written novel, and the layers that she manages to convey in only 200 pages is brilliant. Her books are so emotional and haunting and they leave a mark on you when you read them. Because of their ease, their fast paced nature, the shortness of the book and the beautiful story, it is easy for a reluctant reader to get involved in this book.

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

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Jack Swift is living in Ohio, playing soccer, and being a normal kid until one day he skips his medicine, and he is suddenly stronger and faster than before, and he nearly kills a kid on his soccer. It turns out that Jack is part of an underground society of Weir, people born with stones in them that make them warriors, wizards, sorcerers, enchanters and seers. Jack Swift is a warrior, and warriors are far and few between and when they’re found, the tyrannical wizards throw them together in a deadly tournament for entertainment. Cinda is a brilliant author that writes an amazing fantasy novel, but what makes her great for a reluctant reader is that she’s not so steeped in the fantasy that you’ll feel turned off by it. Its our world, the world we know and our familiar with, but turned upside down. As Jack learns about this crazy new world, so do you, and its a fun, adventurous book.

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I hope you all check out these books and that you pass these, and books that YOU recommend, out to those who haven’t found the passion of reading yet!

I hope that you all have a great Teen Read Week, and that there are awesome things going on near you! Check out your local libraries and bookstores to find out :)

What are some of your favorite books to recommend to those who are reluctant to read? Share them in the comments!

Fandom Friday-John Green and His Books

The Fandom Friday is a weekly feature, link with each blog post written by a new contributor.

This is the weekly post where either myself, sildenafil or a guest blogger, talks about a new fandom. See, I’ve had the experience in my life where I’ve been made fun or put down about my particular fandoms. And that has made me feel pretty crappy. But I’ve also put down other fandoms as well.

So I’ve decided to change that. I’m opening my world up to new fandoms, and the best way to do that is to bring people in to write about various fandoms. I’m very excited about this segment.

If you guys are interested in becoming a guest blogger for the Fandom Friday, feel free to email me at whatanerdgirlsays at gmail.com or contact me HERE

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Today’s post comes from an awesome follower of mine, Alara:

Hi! My name’s Alara and I’m 13 years old. I’m Turkish but I currently live in Dubai and am a major fangirl, being part of many (emphasis on the many) fandoms.

And here is her Fandom Friday:

John Green and His Books

So, this Friday’s fandom is John Green. Okay, not exactly a fandom but I had to include all his books.

John Michael Green, born August 24, 1977 is 36 years old, the son of Sydney and Mike Green and has a brother named Hank. He’s married to Sarah Urist and has 2 children, Henry and Alice Green. He’s written some truly fantastic books and I really recommend them. His fans are called Nerdfighters. Oh! And John and Hank have a Youtube channel: vlogbrothers. Check it out!

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John has written six books, The Fault In Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines, all of which he has written individually. He’s also written Will Grayson Will Grayson in which he has collaborated with David Levithan and Let It Snow in which he collaborated with Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. His book, The Fault In Our Stars is actually being turned into a movie starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort and it’s going to be being directed by Josh Boone. It’s currently being filmed in Pittsburgh and is said to be finished in either 2014 or 2015.

 John Green's Books

John Green seems to prefer realistic fiction as his writing genre although there’s always something interesting that he adds to his stories. His characters are all very well thought out, making them so much more realistic, and his plots always take an interesting twist that either makes you cry or laugh. There’s almost always a certain air of mystery to his books and, a piece of advice, don’t trust the back of his books. They make the book sound much duller than it really is.

My personal favorites (not in any specific order) are The Fault In Our Stars, Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns.

The Fault In Our Stars: Despite her cancer miracle Hazel Grace Lancaster has never been anything but terminal. Things take a sudden plot twist with Augustus Waters appearing at Cancer Kid Support Group.

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Looking for Alaska: Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter has an obsession with famous last words and goes off to Culver Creek Boarding School with the intention of seeking a Great Perhaps (François Rabelais, poet). There he meets the utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into The Great Perhaps and steals his heart. After. Nothing is ever the same.

Paper Towns: When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night, on what is to be a campaign of revenge, he follows her. The next day she’s vanished. But there are clues. And they’re for Quentin.

All three of these books are packed with suspense, energy, laughter, tears and, God, are they hilarious.

I had already joined multiple fandoms such as, The Hunger Games and Divergent and through those fandoms I met fangirls from other fandoms like The Mortal Instruments and… surprise, surprise, The Fault In Our Stars so after I’d finished the book and my sobbing marathon I was totally overwhelmed by his perfection so I bought all his other books and was not once disappointed.

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I’ll admit, I haven’t been a Nerdfighter for too long but in the months that I have been part of this great fandom it’s become so much of my life. The Nerdfighters are all so friendly and passionate about John and his wonderful books. They’re also very supportive and have been dedicated for so long. Not to mention, John and Hank are hilarious and so nice. I can’t imagine life without this fandom.

John Green is quite different from other authors in which he is so realistic about so many things and I think the reason he’s got so many fans is that all his books are so easily relatable to. It feels so great to have someone out there that seems to understand you. He’s also, without a doubt, very inspirational. And, to quote TFIOS, his books just fill you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. No, his books are actually that wonderful and if you haven’t already read any I feel sorry for you but I really, really recommend them! Don’t Forget To Be Awesome!

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I hope you all enjoyed this edition of the Fandom Friday!

Don’t forget you can check out previous Fandom Fridays here!

Happy Weekend everyone!

Tuesday Top Ten-Contemporary Young Adult Novels

So….you know, information pills I spend most of my blog posts, shop including my Tuesday Top Tens and my Book of the Weeks talking about books that have some sort of fantasy or paranormal or dystopian…some kind of surrealistic feel to them. That’s just the kind of novels that I gravitate to.

But I’m a reader, viagra order first and foremost, and that’s what my blog is mostly about: books. And I’m also just a big fan of young adult novels, period. So I decided to dedicate my entire Tuesday Top Ten to those contemporary, non-fantasy young adult novels and authors that I love so much.

Sure, I could talk about Harry Potter and Mortal Instruments and Divergent and Delirium and Gemma Doyle and all of those over and over and over again, but let’s try something new.

Let’s break out of the box a little.

So here’s this week’s Tuesday Top Ten:

My Favorite Young Adult Contemporary Novels!

10. Between the Lines  by Tammara Webber

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Between the Lines is the first novel in the Between the Lines series, an ebook series by Tammara Webber, author of the novel, Easy. Between the Lines follows two different people: Emma, who is an aspiring actress who lands a major role as Lizbeth in a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejuidce, and Reid, an extremely famous actor, playing the part of Will Darcy, and is known for his partying and his different girls in his bed every night. Reid immediately feels an attraction to Emma and is determined to have her in his bed, but Emma is less sure. She likes Reid but she also likes another handsome actor as well. What I like about this novel is that it surprised me. Its in ebook format and I bought it because it was fairly cheap…and I consumed the novel incredibly fast and LOVED it. This novel had the potential to be cheesy and cliche but it wasn’t. Tammara creates wonderful, believable characters and she creates such depth to them. There is so much more to both Emma and Reid and their stories are so addicting. Plus I like that Tammara’s books are more “new adult” or “mature young adult”, so I get my love of YA but with a little smut on the side.

9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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Taylor and her family pack up their bags and head to their lake house for the summer, even though Taylor would like nothing more to avoid that place. First off, her dad just found out he has cancer and has not much time to live and he would like to spend one last summer with his family before he goes. Secondly, the last time she was at the lake, she ran away, from her best friend and from her first love and she’s afraid to face them both. However, she does return and she realizes that she begins to have second chances: a second chance to have her best friend, a second chance to find love and a second chance to have a relationship with her dad. Morgan Matson is an amazing author, who I was privileged to meet recently and this book is another example of her talent (see below for her prime example). She is able to capture the teenage consciousness: the awkwardness, the first loves, the fights with friends, friends in general, pimples, the confusion and the emotions. But she also captures the realness of the teen years too, and the feeling of first loves, having a parent with cancer, growing up. You really see Taylor go through a lot and you are happy to hold her hand through it.

8. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

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Auden has spent her entire life being an adult. She is raised by her mother, a pretenious English professor, and her father, an award winning author, and they’ve expected a lot out of her. When they divorce, and her father marries a young woman, and quickly has another child, Auden suddenly finds herself with incurable insomnia. When she reluctantly agrees to spend the summer with her father and his new wife, she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, who shows her the many things that she can accomplish in the night, and shows her what it really means to be young. I LOVE this book. I absolutely, totally adore this book. Look at how beat up my copy is (which Sarah Dessen LOVED by the way).

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I love that you really get to see Auden grow up, but not in the way you expect. Auden feels like she needs to act like an adult all the time, with no fun, because this is what is expected of her. But she meets Eli, and a bunch of other new friends, and they teach her not only to have fun and be young, but not to judge people based on first impressions, like her mother does. We usually see novels about coming-of-age stories and growing up, and I think this novel has a similar concept but in the opposite direction. In order for Auden to grow up, she has to learn how to be young, and she has her new friends, especially Eli, to teach her.

7. Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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The Airhead Trilogy follows Emerson Watts, a girl who only has one best friend and abhors anything that is “popular”. She’s forced to take her sister to the grand opening of a brand new Stark Megastore, where the famous model, Nikki Howard, will be making an appearance. When a large television screen falls right above her sister, Em pushes her out of the way, and everything goes dark. When she wakes, she is suddenly looking a little different than before…in fact, she’s now Nikki Howard. After she was crushed by the flat screen, her body is declared dead…and Nikki Howard, victim of a brain anuerysm, is now brain dead. Solution: transplant Em’s brain into Nikki’s body, to fulfill the duties of the model for the huge Stark company. But of course, not all is as it seems and there is more to her transplant than she’s been told. I LOVE Meg Cabot, I love her. Her stories are so out of this world, but she also makes them so damn believable. Her characters are all so real, inside these surreal situations. I like it because its so….science fiction, but in this contemporary YA novel. It could be included in my “fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi” series countdown (which will be coming soon) but I put it here because it doesn’t feel that way. Em is just a normal teenage girl, with normal teenage problems, but with the slight problem of now being in a famous model’s body. Haha.

6. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

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This is the first book I ever read by Deb Caletti and I fell in love. Some may not consider it her best but I love it. The main character is Queenie, who is surrounded by women who have been burned by men, especially her mother by her father. But Queenie worships her father, until she finds out a secret about him. Queenie goes on a road trip to meet all the women in her dad’s past and learns a little about what prince charming actually means. What I really love about Deb Caletti’s books is that they are young adult but with some depth, and some serious balls in them. She attacks issues, and has been attacking issues, in very real ways. Nothing about her books isn’t real. Queenie’s father has some serious issues; narcissism as a major one, and Queenie has spent her entire life worshiping the ground that he walks on. This book tackles that idea that your parents, well, they aren’t always right and they aren’t always going to do the right thing. And I love the male lead character too. I can’t help it; I love a good fictional crush. But I love the issues that Deb Caletti writes about: teenage parents, murder, money, real stuff in very relatable situations. And she’s an absolutely brilliant author, very very talented.

5. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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Everyone always talks The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska when it comes to John Green. And while I love both of those books SO much, the first one I ever read from John Green was Paper Towns…and I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. But then I read An Abundance of Katherines and I absolutely love it. The book follows Colin, a kid prodigy, who is obsessed with making his mark on the world, capable of having “famous last words”, of having his “Eureka!” moment. After being dumped by his 19th Katherine (how does this even happen?), he is dragged on a road trip with his best friend, Hassan. They don’t get too far, when they land in the town of Gutshot, Tennessee, where they continue to spend the rest of the summer, hanging out with Lindsay and her mother, and trying to devise a formula that will help Colin figure out what went wrong with each and every Katherine. I love this book, because god, one its not seriously sad and heartbreaking like The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, and even Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Its more of a fun novel for John Green and its fun to watch Colin grow up, and become more…HIM. Its fun to watch him fall in love with someone who isn’t a Lindsay, its fun to see him be a normal teenager, its fun to see him get his moment, just not in the way he expected it. Its a fantastic novel, and I love that the formula created in the book is real, or real enough for the book’s purpose :)

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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Morgan Matson, you are just too brilliant for words. I first read this book because I saw it on the ALA Top Ten list for Young Readers. It was a cool title so I went to check it out at the bookstore and decided to buy it. And LOVED it. The story is of Amy, a girl who was driving the vehicle when someone crashed into her, and her dad died. Not long after, her brother is sent to rehab for drugs. Her mom decides to pack them up and move them from California to Connecticut and she needs the car driven over. Of course, Amy doesn’t drive anymore, so her mom arranges for her friend’s son Roger, to drive them both over. What starts as a simple direct drive across the country becomes an adventure as Amy and Roger throw the itinerary created by her mom out the window and start choosing where they want to go. I can’t stress enough the brilliance of this book. I love it. I fell in love with Morgan Matson and when I met her last weekend, I couldn’t even form into words, because I was just so excited to read such a talented and inspirational writer. Its a fun, road trip novel with Amy and Roger hitting different places across the country, which is fun, because who doesn’t want to go on a road trip at least once in their life? But its also so good because of Amy’s battle to trust herself and to trust her feelings and Roger’s inability to move on from something that’s holding them back. They both learn so much on their road trip and its fun to be along with them. Also, its awesome that the book is almost laid out with a scrapbook kind of feel and she includes playlists at the beginning of each chapter :)

3. All American Girl by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot keeps appearing on this list haha. All American Girl is the story of Samantha Madison, an artsy girl living in the shadow of her popular cheerleader older sister, Lucy, and her genuis little sister, Rebecca. She’s in love with her sister’s boyfriend, Jack, and after she gets caught selling celebrity drawings at school, she’s forced to take art lessons from a hobbit looking woman who is “holding her back”. One day, she ditches art class, and when she is waiting for her housekeeper to come pick her, she stops a random gunmen from shooting the president of the United States. Suddenly, Samantha is the most famous girl in the world, as the presents and the fame come pouring in and she becomes the first teen ambassador to the UN…and her problems only get worse; the president’s son just may be in love with her. Again, with the crazy and ridiculous Meg Cabot. I read this book when it came out when I was about 13 or 14 years old and it absolutely never ceases to get old to me. Meg Cabot is one of my top inspirations besides Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson, in my young adult contemporary novel writing, and its because she’s a great writer that takes these ridiculous situations in OUR world and makes you absolutely believe them. Its one thing to write an urban fantasy or a contemporary science or a dystopian but Meg Cabot makes us believe that a fifteen year old girl saved the life of the president and is suddenly super famous. Its fantastic and addicting and just plain fun to read.

2. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

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Oh Sarah Dessen. Oh, oh Sarah Dessen. I love each and every one of your books but this by far is my favorite of yours. I love the main character, Remy Starr, and I love the male character, Dexter, EVEN MORE. Sarah said at the Festival of Books that Dexter has his own fan club basically and that sounds about right. Remy Starr is used to being in control, and this started with the fact that she has been in control of her mother and her many marriages her entire life. Its no surprise when that control flows over to her relationship. She doesn’t believe in the forever, she doesn’t believe in love. She believes in having fun for the moment but that every relationship has its expiration date. That is, until she meets Dexter, who comes to town with his band, Truth Squad. Dexter is out of control; his curly hair is all over the place, his shoes are always on time, he’s always tripping on things, everything that disrupts her perfect world. But after too many chance encounters, she agrees to date him, and all her rules go out the window. I liked this book because I really like Remy. Remy is the exact opposite of me. She’s such a dynamic character, such a strong one. I have never been a dynamic character; I’ve always had dynamic best friends. I think I envied Remy and her ability to be confident and aloof and perfect. Of course, she isn’t perfect but I liked watching her journey to realizing that she isn’t perfect and nothing can be controlled like she wants it to be.

1. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot 

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Okay, maybe this isn’t the most contemporary of young adult novels and doesn’t fit on the list, because its more like a paranormal novel series but I put it on here because its barely paranormal when compared to the tons and tons of paranormal romances that have been hitting the shelves in the last few years. The story follows Suzannah Simon as she moves from New York City to Carmel, California to live with her mom, her new stepdad and her three new stepbrothers. Everything is okay, until Suze sees her new house, and its old…and that’s never a good thing for her. An old building means there’s more likely going to be some ghosts hanging about…and unsurprisingly, there’s a 150 year old ghost hanging out in her bedroom, and an extremely hot one, at that. Like I said, not the most contemporary, but I consider it because the supernatural aspect of the novel isn’t overwhelming, not like with the novels we get nowadays. Suze just wants to be a normal teenager, going to dances and dates, and all that, without having to worry about ghosts all the time. This was the first series besides the Princess Diaries that I read of Meg Cabot, and as you’ve noticed from how many times she appears on this list…I really love her so much. She tells great stories, and again with the phenomenonal but in a very funny and contemporary way. She’s brilliant.

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So there you are guys, my top ten contemporary young adult novels. See, I can read books that don’t always have a fantasy or supernatural or science fiction-y feel to them, though I guess I couldn’t get through the entire list without including some haha.

What are some of your favorite young adult books?

As always, let me know in the comments :)

Book of the Week-Looking for Alaska

As a huge supporter of young adult literature, for sale John Green is one of the authors that top my list. John Green is definitely an example of how young adult literature can be used as a viable source of literature and SHOULD be used in classrooms.

Moving on though, its been forever since I did a Book of the Week post because, sadly, I was so busy between Christmas and all the birthdays that I have going in December and I literally had no time to read anything. But now that I still have a month left of glorious winter vacation before I hit the books again in school, I can consume all the books that I received as Christmas gifts.

One of those books was Looking for Alaska, by John Green.

Which leads me to our book of the week.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

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In this award winning novel by John Green, we meet high school junior, Miles also known as Pudge, who decides to go to a boarding school in Alabama because life at home is just normal and boring. He doesn’t have any friends; no one even shows up for his going away party. And he’s obsessed with last words; he can recall the last words of countless famous people and he knows that he can’t get those kind of events, those kind of words living at home, where nothing happens.

So he goes to boarding school, where on his first day, he immediately is pulled into the world that is created on that campus. He becomes friends with his roommate, Chip aka the Colonel, which gains him friends with Takumi and the extremely beautiful and kind of crazy Alaska Young. How could Pudge resist? Of course he falls in love with her! How could he not, how could anyone not? Soon there are pranks to pull, classes to ditch, a lenient but kind of scary headmaster to avoid and some seriously teen awesomeness to experience.

The Good or The Bad:

Honestly, I feel like I should have read Looking for Alaska before I read The Fault in Our Stars. The Fault was a one of a kind book that literally broke my heart and changed the way I see young adult literature… again. It was a unique story in the very familar world of teenage life. It was the third book I had read by John Green: I love An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns was an extreme let down. There just isn’t a book like The Fault in our Stars.

That being said, I really enjoyed Looking for Alaska. I like the story of boarding school…there’s something awesome about kids and teenagers basically having the run of the place without the influence of parents around all the time. Why do you think Harry, Hermione and Ron got into so much trouble while tucked in away in wizarding boarding school? No parental guidance, just a bunch of teachers who are too busy knocking back firewhiskey (or normal) in their offices late at night to notice the mischief that is so clearly going on.

I really like Miles a.k.a. Pudge too. He’s a typical teenage boy, playing video games, smoking cigarettes, eating bufriedos, and so on. Pining after the insanely beautiful but completely unattainable Alaska Young. Getting his first blow job by the hot Romanian student. I love Pudge.

I didn’t like Alaska at all. I don’t know why but something about her drove me insane. I loved Pudge and Takumi and Lara and the Colonel and I could understand the allure of Alaska Young but she was hot and crazy and maybe that’s extremely appealing to most guys or something but she was insane. And everyone loved her; maybe that was the point. She had losses early in her life and sometimes she made mistakes and she didn’t know how to handle when she did. I could understand that and I can understand being so extremely confused by just being a teenager, with all those emotions.

But a lot of what happened to me, as far as storyline, was very predictible to me. I didn’t feel the kind of shock and heartbreak that I felt in other books. When (SPOILER) Alaska Young ends up dead in a car crash, I wasn’t surprised in the least. People said they cried like crazy when that part happened but I feel like I didn’t even flinch in the slightest. I mean, sure, I was sad but it didn’t feel like anything I felt when I read the Fault in Our Stars. Maybe I would have appreciated Alaska more if I had read it before The Fault, but that’s the way I read it and Alaska just didn’t reach me the way that Hazel and Augustus did.

I did like all the pranks pulled by people; they were totally fun. I didn’t pull off any pranks whatsoever when I was in high school, mostly because I was kind of shy and social afraid of doing anything that might actually be fun and I didn’t really know any people that would partake in anything like a school prank. So the pranks that I read in this book, like putting hair dye in people’s hair gel and firecrackers and sending out false progress reports and bringing a stripper to a speech day. All fantastic and classic. LOVED it.

Honestly, I did enjoy the book. I read it in one day and I only do that for a book that I am actually interested in and its still a GOOD book but it felt depressingly flat after The Fault in Our Stars and maybe people built up this book so much in my mind that I had extremely high expectations. I definitely recommend that people read this book but I wouldn’t recommend reading it after the Fault if you enjoyed it as much as I did. Like…I literally worship that book so maybe I’m just the slightest bit biased when it comes to judging these books.

The point is, its a great book and it’ll have you glued to the pages through out the entire book. Miles is a fun character and I honestly cracked up during his very blow job because, seriously, it was HILARIOUS! You’ll crave a bufriedo (fried bean burrito) because it sounds both artery clogging and absolutely delicious. You’ll want to take religions with Dr. Hyde because he makes the ideas of religion seem extremely interesting, even for a staunch atheist like me. I want to go to boarding school now, and I want to light firecrackers outside the headmasters’ house and go camping in the rooms and get chased by the evil swan. This is a great, great book and I’m definitely a John Green backer.

What did you think of Looking for Alaska?