Gift Guide 2010 #8 — YA Novels

Jonah and I are members of our own little Young Adult book club. I just finished The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 5) and he's gone back to reread the first in the series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief.  Jonah, a huge Rick Riordan fan, also read The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1).

I just ordered Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Ultimate Guide for him, but we need more books for him, so I turned to my sister in law for help. Tammy is a middle school languages arts teacher; it's very nice to have an in-house expert. She suggested the YA books:

  1. The Mysterious Benedict Society
  2. The Alex Rider Collection
  3. Maniac Magee (My MIL, the former school librarian, bought this for Jo over the summer. Jo loved it.)
  4. Evil Genius
  5. The Bartimaeus Trilogy Boxed Set

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16 thoughts on “Gift Guide 2010 #8 — YA Novels

  1. Just picked up Benedict Society yesterday and had already picked up several of the video games on your list before you posted – eerie. Have you read the Warriors series yet? I think they’re crap (the writing is terrible), but our boys DEVOUR them. And in my mind, so long as they continue to love reading, I will let them read crap, with some good thrown in here and there. Also, we did the first Guardians of Ga’Hole as our family read aloud, and I loved it. The grandparents have been asked to provide several more for independent reading.


  2. The Redwall Series.
    “The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica,” by James Owen.
    The Ranger’s Apprentice series.
    The Hunger Games.
    (looking at our bookshelves)


  3. Try Tamora Pierce Circle of Magic and the Circle Opens. Actually any of her books I like but the others are a bit more girl oriented (although my husband likes them almost as much as I do).
    Also Diane Wynne Jones has a number of good books.
    If he’s ready for something true and a bit more advanced (but it moves quickly) try Endurance by Alfred Lansing which is the story of Shackleton’s exipidition to the South Pole. Probably good for a parent/child read together..


  4. I have many more suggestions! Laura asked me for 5 titles, and I kept Jonah in mind when I wrote my list. I love The Hunger Games and Guardians of Ga’Hole are popular in my school. I’m coming up with a “girl” list and a gender neutral list. I’m also thinking of a graphic novel list as well.


  5. If he’ll read a book with a girl as the main actor, get the brilliant When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. Not only is it the best YA published in years, it’s also an amazing take on what it was like to grow up in NYC in the 1970s.


  6. When You Reach Me also won the Newbery. The Newbery winners are almost always great. I also love The Graveyard Book, which I didn’t put on this list, by Neil Gaiman. He also wrote Coraline, which was terrifying to me! All three are great books.
    For history buffs, I loved Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains. I’m currently reading the second in the trilogy called Forge, and I think it’s even better than the first. I loved her book Fever 1793. Her other books are aimed at 8th grade and up, but the historical fiction are perfect for 4th and up.
    Al Capone Does My Shirts, a 2005 Newbery honor, and its sequel are entertaining reads. It’s more in the realm of realistic fiction.
    For more Fantasy/Sci-Fi you can’t go wrong with A Wrinkle in Time, which When You Reach Me talks about. It would be good to read Wrinkle first and follow up with WYRM. I also like The City of Ember and The Giver. The sequels to those books are not as engaging as the first. I also liked The Golden Compass Trilogy.
    I really like Blue Balliet’s books. I’m just about to start The Danger Box which seems intriguing. Her art themed mysteries are a fun read aloud, especially if you live near NYC since you can take them to the Met and the Guggenheim and go see the works/artists they discuss.
    That’s it for now.


  7. I was also going to pass on my daughter’s recommendation of Chains and Forge.
    I also like Adam Canfield by Michael Winerip, Found and Sent, and running out of time by Haddix, and the eye, ear and arm, by Nancy Farmer.


  8. Tammy’s choices are excellent. D just started the Alex Rider books after a friend raved about them. The first two (or three?) are also in graphic novel format. And we’ve read and enjoyed the first two Mysterious Benedict Society books (though I thought the first was significantly better than the second). A few others: My picky reader adores the series by Pseudonymous Bosch that starts with The Name of this Book is Secret. He’s really liking the Daniel X series by James Patterson. And he quite liked the Gregor the Overlander quintet of books — the other series by Suzanne Collins (of Hunger Games fame). Oh, and The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex. And finally, the Larklight trilogy, by Phillip Reeve, is a thoroughly delightful steampunk trilogy perfect for this age range, which we all three loved.


  9. All three of my kids like Cornelia Funke’s books.
    On a more realistic note, Edward Bloor’s Tangerine, and Crusader.
    Neal Shusterman, The Schwa was Here.
    Garth Nix. The Abhorsen Trilogy, The Keys to the Kingdom series, and Shade’s Children.
    We all love Neil Gaiman’s works. Our youngest isn’t yet ready for his more mature creations. He reads the “Neil Gaiman Audio Collection,” which makes me wish other authors would read their works.
    Our thirteen year old is rereading Good Omens (Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.)
    Terry Pratchett. The books featuring Moist Von Lipwig, Sam Vimes and Lord Vetinari are more serious than they seem. Building a post office in Ankh Morpork is just asking for trouble. (We have a Christmas tradition of watching the dvd of Hogfather.)


  10. Just thought of two more series, one old and one new, that my students and I really enjoy. The first is the series based on Dante’s inferno: the where the bad kids go series. The first is Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go. The second is Rapacia, the third is Blimpo. It’s a fun read aloud since many of the jokes/allusions the kids won’t get. The second series is The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. I loved these books. They were made into a movie that was awful, but the books are really well written and exciting. They would be really good for kids who like fantasy/magic a la Harry Potter.


  11. Ok, a few more since I have time. The Haddix series, Among the Hidden, that was suggested are fantastic, especially for grades 4-5. I also like Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. For mystery lovers in grades 4+ there is the Red Blazer Girls series, which is very reminiscent of Nancy Drew. Andrew Clements is a fantastic author(Frindle)who started a new series, the first is We the Keepers. I only read the first one this summer, but I found it to be a quick read and perfect for the 4th and up crowd. It’s good for mystery lovers as well as sailors since the protagonist loves to sail. For Alex Rider fans, my students have also loved the Young Bond books by Charlie Higson. Ok, that’s it for today.


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