2 penny Book Report: Anderson’s novel, written in 2001 (ahem, before the days of smart phones and wireless hotspots) projects a dystopian future in which humans do cool things like vacation on Venus and the Moon, but we’re also totally technology addicted and rapidly killing Earth, and ourselves. (Sound like anyone we know?) The characters in Anderson’s novel are wired through a “feed”–picture a full-service wireless internet connection / artificial intelligence that taps directly into your brain and does everything from allow you to chat your friends to stream movies to market to your every shopping desire. Trouble is, it’s also controlling some of your basic biological and neurological functions, so when something malfunctions with the feed, you’re basically dunzo. Anderson’s satire is equal parts witty and tragic; his futuristic teen vocabulary is occasionally over the top, but usually spot-on. Best of all, the relationship that develops between Titus and Violet–in all its adolescent intensity and awkwardness and failure and lust–is so true it hurts.
Happy Memorial Day–the totally unofficial start of summer. It is 81 degrees here in Brooklyn today, so I think that counts. In addition to the long-awaited warm weather, this holiday weekend marks the start of my summer of Young Adult novels. I may or may not be writing one of my own. Consider this the best kind of research.
Disclaimer: I’ve been reading and loving YA since since I was in braces, incidentally also since before the term “young adult” existed to describe books written for the 12-18 (or 12-40, let’s be real) set. There are a good number of classics (and contemporary classics) that don’t appear on this reading list. I’ve read them! Or some of them, at least. A few favorite books and series include: The Giver (Lois Lowry), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Hobbit (JRR Tolkein), The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith), The Princess Bride (William Goldman), Lord of the Flies (William Golding), Go Ask Alice (Anonymous), The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper), Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret (Judy Blume), The Chocolate War (Robert Cormier), A Ring of Endless Light (Madeline L’Engle), Weetzie Bat (Francesca Lia Block), Harry Potter (JK Rowling) & The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins).
I’ll keep the following list updated throughout the summer & post about the books I’m reading here on my blog. Here we go!
NB on series and on authors with multiple titles: the plan is to read the first book. If I’m hooked, on to book two!
NB on order: this list is vaguely organized by the availability (or not) of books via the Brooklyn Public Library system. I’ll read what I can get my hands on for free first, don’t judge! If anyone has any books they want to donate to the cause, I won’t say no. Recommendations also welcome.
Divergent series (Veronica Roth)
Gallagher Girls series (Ally Carter)
*I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
Feed (M. T. Anderson)
The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
Delirium series (Lauren Oliver)
We Were Liars (E. Lockhart)
The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)
The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton)
Forever… (Judy Blume)
The Truth About Forever (Sarah Dressen)
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (Matthew Quick)
If I Stay (Gayle Forman)
It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Ned Vizzini)
Uglies series (Scott Westerfeld)
The rest of The Giver series (Lois Lowry)
The Maze Runner series (James Dashner)
Matched series (Ally Condie)
Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Leviathan)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The House of the Scorpion (Nancy Farmer)
Unwind (Neal Shusterman)
I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith)
Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell)