Saturday, June 1, 2013

Armchair BEA 2013: Young Adult Literature

You can find links to other blogs taking part here.

I have never had a problem reading books that are primarily aimed at a younger audience, especially if they do not read as anything other than ‘normal’ fiction. I suppose the best example of this from recent years is the Harry Potter series, which was even published in an ‘adult’ version in the UK.


Here are some of the best YA titles that I have read in the last few months.

Please note: the descriptions are from Goodreads.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

You can read my review here.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .

You can read my review here.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Catch a fallen star...

Tristan Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester - and stumbles into the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman's most beloved tales, and the inspiration for the hit movie.

The Wee Free Men & A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk's local Nac Mac Feegle - aka the Wee Free Men - a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds - black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors - before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone...

The Heroine: Tiffany Aching, incipient witch and cheese maker extraordinaire. Once saved world from Queen of the Elves. Is about to discover that battling evil monarchs is child's play compared to mortal combat with a Hiver. At eleven years old, is boldest heroine ever to have confronted the Forces of Darkness while armed with a frying pan.

The Threat: A Hiver, insidious disembodied presence drawn to powerful magic. Highly dangerous, frequently lethal. Cannot be stopped with iron or fire. Its target: Tiffany Aching.
The Nac Mac Feegle: A.k.a. the Wee Free Men. Height: six inches. Color: blue. Famed for drinking, stealing, and fighting. Will attack anything larger than themselves. Members include: Rob Anybody, Daft Wullie, and Awfully Wee Billy Bigchin. Allies to Tiffany Aching.


  1. I've heard fantastic things about Gaiman and Pratchett. I need to make time to read their work. Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. i've been reading Terry Pratchett for years, but I only discovered Neil Gaiman last year and he is terrific! The Graveyard Book is especially excellent and I believe that they are making a movie version. :)

  2. I love, love, love this post! A lot of great reads - we have similar taste.

    Happy Reading!

    Crys (The Hodgenator)

    1. I am relatively new to YA fiction, but I will read anything as long as it's good: and these titles are all excellent! :)

  3. Ooooh! I just started reading "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" last night and am loving it thus far. The world she visits and characters she finds there are intriguing. :)

    1. I really need to get around to book 2, but there are so many books and so little time! :D

  4. Ah, the Pratchett love strikes again. :D

    And I still have a copy of Daughter Of Smoke And Bone in my TBR... I will get to it one of these days!

    1. I have a copy of the BBC Radio adaptation of The Amazing Maurice: it's a good thing that you can't wear out a digital track! :D

  5. Cinder was so great! I still need to read Scarlet!


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