Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Young adult fiction reading spree

Over the past month or so, I’ve been really getting into my young adult (YA) fiction.

In fact it’s all I’ve been reading, so here are some highlights so far:

Started my YA reading with another dystopian teenage book, Veronica Roth’s Divergent.

This is the first in a planned trilogy, and like the Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games, focuses on a female protagonist who lives in a future world where humanity has been split into factions.

In this new world, there are five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).

It's an interesting premise and after a rather slow start it builds up to an exciting storyline. Overall, it is a little Hunger Games-lite but I did find myself involved and will be looking for the second book, Insurgent, out in May 2012.

The only disappointing thing is the rather stereotypical romance, but then again I’m not the target audience so I need to hold my cynicism in check!

Another great fun series is Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, which is a contemporary retelling of the Greek myths involving modern day teenagers as ‘demi-gods’ – half bloods.

It’s got action, monsters, Gods, Goddesses, mythical creatures and yes a bit of usual romance thrown in. So what’s not to like?

Plus there is so sly humour running through out Riordan’s novels, like having the entry to Hades being LA.

I’m up to the third book in the series, The Titan’s Curse and it’s really reignited my interest in Greek mythology too.

There has been a bit written about why adults are currently flocking to YA fiction, like Alyssa Rosenberg's piece in the Atlantic Monthly and Laura Miller's analysis in Salon.

For me, one of the main reasons I enjoy YA fiction is that it's a genre that is filled with great story tellers.

Put simply YA authors like Suzanne Collins, Patrick Ness, Eoin Colfer, Rick Riordan know how to tell a captivating story filled with memorable characters.

Maybe it's the fact that young adults tend to have less attention span than adults and thus far less likely to put up with endless paragraphs of detailed description, character development and scene setting.

Sometimes, when I read 'literary fiction' and get stuck on a chapter that is all exposition rather than story telling, a little voice in my head yells 'TELL ME THE STORY, pleeeeease!".

That being said, my little secret is that I can't stand teenagers in real life!

Indeed, I prefer them confined to the pages of book as there really nothing more nightmarish than been stuck on a train with a group of teenage girls.

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