Summer Reads: EA and YA

If this isn’t your first time at Lit for Kids then this isn’t news: books for early adolescents and young adults are our favorites (waaaay more than adult novels).  So here are the books (from the first half of 2011) that we have been most hotly anticipating and devouring.  Enjoy!  And please let us know if there are any great books for this age group that we are missing (we still have another month of summer to squeeze in a few more beach reads)!

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The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan (Book Two of The Kane Chronicles)  As descendents of the Egyptian House of Life, the Kane kids (Sadie  and Carter) continue their roller coaster ride of adventures using their unusual powers and quirky personalities to well, save the world.  Fires, snakes, dream travel, and the very evil Chaos snake Apophis make this a perfect summer read to immerse yourself in.  This is a great sequel!

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The Warlock by Michael Scott – This is the new (number 5) book in “The Alchemyst” series.  If you loved Harry Potter, the name Nicholas Flammel will be familiar to you, but this takes the notion of magic learning and alchemy in a different direction.  Fear not Potter fans, there are still teen wizards, and a fight to the death with evil doers…

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Scumble  by Ingrid Law – In 2008, Savvy was a big hit with kids and adults alike (even being named a Newbery Honor Book).  Now fans of Savvy can enjoy a companion book.  This time it is Ledge who comes into his magical savvy at age 13–and needs to learn to “scumble” (control) it.  Great plot and characters.  A very satisfying read!

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The Accidental Genius of Weasel High by Rick Detorie – It’s hard not to describe it as “Wimpy Kid goes to highschool” since that’s the most famous similarly-styled book.  It’s not as angsty as say, Catcher in the Rye or A Separate Peace, and it’s more relatable for kids today, since Lane really really wants to be a filmmaker, he blogs and the book is filled with illustrations.  It’s a fun, easy read, and what really brings it to the next level is how it leaves you with that “someone gets me, I’m not the only one who feels like this” feeling.

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Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – This is the first novel by the Fug Girls.  If you don’t know who they are, you are in for some time-sucking fun on their website.  Suffice it to say that they grew up on Sweet Valley High and Dirty Dancing, and with influences like that, how can this book not be awesome?

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This is a Book by Demetri Martin – A sometimes correspondent on the Daily Show (and host of his own show also on Comedy Central), Martin is funny, insightful, smart, and surprisingly thoughtful/touching.  This series of essays, musings, drawings and charts will not only make you laugh, but make you thing.  And the short pieces make it perfect for picking up and putting down in the lazy days of summer…

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Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson – Yes, that’s James Patterson, the adult mystery novel writer.  Who knew he could empathize so well with the early teen set and write a really funny and genuinely poignant novel about the middle school years?  Rafe Katchedorian is a great character.  With the help of his friend Leonardo the Silent, he plans to break every rule in the school Code of Conduct.  Great humorous illustrations add to the fun.

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Withering Tights by Louise Rennison – A great introduction to British humor, wit, and lingo. Brit teen Tallulah is the kind of awkward, funny, smart 14-year-old  that can say a lot of truths about those coming-of-age years without sounding too angst-ridden  or over-blown.  You literally laugh out loud reading some of the adventures and descriptions.  A light and breezy “chick-lit” read for the younger (and older) set.   Just in case there is any doubt as to what an `apple catcher’ is, or a `barm pot’, Tallulah has included a glossary as an appendix to her journal.

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan- On the surface, this is a fairytale about a young girl September who is whisked off by the Green Wind to Fairyland.  While it’s an ode to the genre, it’s also a very funny critique of Victorian fairytales as well as the modern world.  Wonderful writing style, both descriptive and tongue-in-cheek.  Think Neil Gaimon, maybe a little Phantom Tollbooth, a touch of Alice in Wonderland

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The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine – We’ve been looking for some great books that are directly or tangentially about math (stay turned for an upcoming bookflight), which is why we both picked up this book for the summer.  It’s about a boy with discalculia (the inability to work with numbers, which by the way is totally real!) who has a math genius engineer of a father.  Strengths and weaknesses are turned inside out, and this surprisingly funny book makes you think about math terms for everyday situations.

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The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – While you can use all kinds of words to describe this book (quite accurately) such as literary, lush, fantasy, beautiful, exotic, murder, mystery – at its heart, it’s basically an old fashioned ghost-story.  This Young Adult book by the author of The Shadow of the Wind is also a great read-aloud with older kids.

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