I have done quit a bit of reading lately and there is a big pile still waiting for me to tackle. Sometimes, though, I need to take a break from reading so that I can thoroughly enjoy the thoughts and pictures that run around my mind after I have read a good book. The last few weeks I have read some great YA books and I am savouring them. My top three have been:
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld – first the cover is simply beautiful. But this book is more than a beautiful cover – it is two stories told alternately. The first is the story of a teenage writer getting her first book published and discovering life as an author. The second is the story of the book she has written. Both stories are fascinating – you never think “oh, I’ll skip through this bit and get to the other story”. You want to read them both thoroughly. Which is fascinating as both stories are so different – one is contemporary, set in New York, realistic and full of information on the publishing world and the other is a fantasy.
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer – a rather special teen angst book. Jam and her friends are battling their demons at a school for emotionally traumatised teens. A handful of students are chosen to attend English Special Topics where their teacher introduces them to Sylvia Plath and diary writing and helps them to move their lives on. Saying too much would spoil the power of the book – it is beautifully written, thought-provoking, pulls gently on your heart and (amazingly, given the subject matter) fills your mind with happy thoughts.
Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant – this book shocked me, it made me squirm and it made me want things to be different but I could not stop reading it. It is not for the faint hearted – there is violence and cruelty and a lot of emotional and physical pain – but if you can cope with that, then read it. It will make you think, contemplate the decisions and actions you make in your own life and their consequences. It is not an action book as such – there is a lot of thinking and talking – but the action that there is, is powerful. I cannot honestly say that I liked this book but I can say that I couldn’t stop reading it.