Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reading Roundup: Teen Fiction

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Levithan & Cohn
No, I haven't seen the movie, but I did happen to count how many times the lovely little word f**k appeared in the book.  My count may be off, because I was getting a little blurry-eyed, but I can tell you that my copy of the book earned it's very own permanent bookmark.  Not that I care ever so much, but when the book is 183pp, and the count of any four-letter word is over's a little distracting.

...and this bookmark shall serve to
remind us of the contents therein...
The story is quite good, actually.  It starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes, and continues--in alternating chapters--to show how one [very long] night can be enough to change your focus on life.  I liked the picture of the New York music scene through the eyes of these teens, and I liked seeing them reassess their view on life, but the 'conversational' tone didn't work for me so much.  Levithan does seem to have a gift for story-telling, though, and I will be reading more of his ventures and collaborations in the future.

Elske, Cynthia Voigt
Mmm, I love Cynthia Voigt.  Did you read Dicey's Song or Homecoming when you were young?  I remember reading those books and thinking that they were very serious books to be read by so young a person.  Not just because of the topic--Voigt has a special talent for making young people feel important and intelligent.

The "Kingdom" series begins with Jackaroo, though each book stands alone and needn't be treated as a series.  They combine fairy-tale fantasy with a Middle Ages flavor, all the while telling a meaningful, exciting story.  The characters are about as real as you can get, especially considering the Robin-Hood-esque nature of the setting.  Each story is so well told that it feels more like historical fiction than fantasy.

Best part?  She's written a gazillion books, so there's more where this came from.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret & WonderStruck, Brian Selznick

Selznick's books are something special.  They're simple, yet complex, quick to read while still feeling like an accomplishment.  I actually read Wonderstruck first, and decided that both of these books were perfect examples of the kind of younger-reader-book that would be a joy to have on my shelf regardless whether I have kiddos living with me or not.  The size of the book, the quality of the art, the magnetism of the story, and the relatively short time commitment leave you with a sense of magic and wonder regardless of your age.

The historical component in Hugo was captivating, especially how it was tied in with the drawings--and how interesting to see it turned into a film.  Have you seen Hugo yet?  My family is both curious and a little afraid it won't live up to the experience of the book (really, how could it?)  Wonderstruck was not quite as good, perhaps, but still unique and very enjoyable. 


  1. I love love love Cynthia Voigt. I think I read all of her books as a middle-schooler/teen, and I love revisiting them. I reread On Fortune's Wheel during the holiday season but your post has me wanting to check out the entire Kingdom series and Tillerman series!

    I read Invention of Hugo Cabret when it first came out, but I haven't been able to try Wonderstruck yet. I'm curious about the Hugo movie too, but it has some high expectations to live up to.

  2. Oh, Dicey's Song. So sad, so poignant. I'll have to check this out.


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