Friday, September 16, 2011

The Kids Books (Catching Up, part two)

And, here's the list I'll be choosing from today:

'Enthralled' edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong
'The Predicteds' by Christine Seifert
'Between the Sea & Sky' by Jaclyn Dolamore
'The Scorpio Races' by Maggie Stiefvater
'The Unwanteds' by Lisa McMann
'Abarat: Absolute Midnight' by Clive Barker
'Anna and the French Kiss' by Stephanie Perkins
'The Death Cure' by James Dashner
'The Apothecary' by Maile Meloy
'The Infernals' by John Connolly
'Fox & Phoenix' by Beth Bernobich
'Liesl & Po' by Lauren Oliver
'Variant' by Robison Wells
'Eve' by Anna Carey
'Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick' by Joe Schreiber
'Icefall' by Matthew J. Kirby
Here's the thing: I don't finish books I don't like (or find spectacularly ridiculous, which explains 'Modelland'). So, it's not like any of these were a waste of time. But, a few were a bit more than that, so those are probably the ones I should single out.

Maggie Stiefvater's 'The Scorpio Races' might actually be my favorite book on this list, though Stephanie Perkins's 'Anna & the French Kiss' runs a close second. Both are good teen romances, though that's where any similarity ends. 'The Scorpio Races' uses, as its inspiration, the myth of the water horse (man-eating horses from the sea) and is set on a small, isolated, and poverty-stricken island where the races are pretty much the only attraction for mainlanders. 'Anna and the French Kiss' is set at a boarding school for American teens in Paris and there isn't a single killer horse in sight. Both books are smart and emotionally honest and very worth curling up with.

'Abarat: Absolute Midnight' and 'The Death Cure' are the third volumes in their respective series and shouldn't be read unless you've read the first two volumes. Barker continues to create a fascinating and magical world full of danger and adventure and fascinating characters. Dashner's 'The Maze Runner' was one of the most compelling dystopian YAs I've read. Unfortunately, though the next two volumes were good, they just didn't "wow" me like that first novel.

'Variant' had a really interesting twist, which of course I'm not going to tell you about, but it kept me thinking about it for a long time after I finished reading.

I seem to be reading a lot of books recently that are set in Asian and Nordic worlds, some fictionalized, some historical. 'Fox and Phoenix' is set in a Chinese-inspired  futuristic world where magic is real. It's full of allusions to folk and fairy tales, but also has a healthy dose of intrigue and court politics. 'Icefall' is set in a realistic historical Norse land and has, in Solveig, a strong and admirable narrator/protagonist. 

Those are the best, or at least most interesting to me, of a good bunch.

Next time, I'll cover the rest of the catch-up lists and then, I hope, I'll get back to (and stick to) a more regular posting schedule.

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