Gift Guide 2012 #6 – YA Books

We're in Young Adult book land around here. My boys love 'em. I love stealing them. And my wonderful SIL, the middle school English teacher, has great recommendations for us this year:

1. Divergent (Book 1) - It's the new The Hunger Games.

2. Ready Player One: A Novel (for older kids)

3. The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus, Book 3) - Jonah has read every one of Rick Riordan books. This one will be wrapped up for him on Christmas morning. 

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Realistic. For Grades 8 and up. 

5. One for the Murphys

and a bonus 6. Shelter (Book One): A Mickey Bolitar Novel. Jonah just finished this one. It's written by local author, Harlan Coben. 

The fault in our stars
One for the Murphys



13 thoughts on “Gift Guide 2012 #6 – YA Books

  1. My 13 year old hates Divergent with the heat of 1000 suns. She liked it up till the end. However, she loves The Fault In Our Stars as much as she hates Divergent. She loves everything involving John Green, in fact.
    Me, I loved Mark of Athena. 🙂 I will try out the others.


  2. why do you think “Ready Player One” is a YA book? I’m sure a YA could enjoy it. But it’s filled with late 1970s and 1980s nerd culture references. When I read it I was sure it was written for someone who was a sci-fi nerd during that era–i.e. someone pretty much like me. I mean, who else is going to have any idea what “Electra Woman and Dina Girl” are? or knows that “Tomb of Horros” map looks like?


  3. My students are reading “Ready Player One” more for the video game/Easter egg aspect of the plot than any of the ’80’s references, although some of them have parents who have subjected them to “War Games” and “Ladyhawke”. I had not heard of the book until I saw it getting passed around the 8th grade. When kids are willing and eager to share their books with their friends, I tend to listen.


  4. OMG – we are slogging through Divergent as our family read aloud book right now, and I HATE it with the heat of 1000 suns too. It may be a good book for kids to read, but it is a long hard slog for the family. When will it ever end…..???


  5. I’m sick of books about dystopian future societies with artificial games for qualifying for some next round of life (Hunger Games, Divergent, Mazerunner, and, I guess Ready Player One). I realized, though, as I was reading Divergent that it’s possible that kids feel this way about their life right now, particularly the high SES overachiever kids, that they are being forced to play a game in promise of future rewards basically unconnected with the game they are playing. Examples: winning piano contests so that you can go to Harvard and become a Supreme Court Justice, or club volleyball so that you can go to Stanford and start a tech company.


  6. In a slightly different vein (vaguely medieval fantasy), Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina is a wonderful story of a young musician at court who ends up taking brave action to try to maintain the fragile peace between humans and dragons. That description really doesn’t do it justice–the universe of this book is a really cool place, and the contrast between dragons (who are very mathematical, and can transform into human-looking form but then experience a kind of sensory discomfort with all the human emotions) and humans (who experience the world on a different time scale than dragons) is very engaging.


  7. Now explain to me how you get the money for these links again? If I click through on your link, and then place my order? Even if, say, I buy another book instead? And, how soon after I click through do I have to place the order?


  8. PS: Any paperback recommendations? I’m looking for beach reading, and don’t want to take hardbacks (and, though kindle can work, I’m not actually a fan of carrying my devices to the beach).


  9. YA paperbacks that I loved and my students have liked:
    Revolution and A Northern Light: Jennifer Donnelly, Historical fiction. Revolution is about a mixed up teen who finds the diary of the dauphin’s nursemaid. It’s a great story that mixes history and magic. A Northern Light is the fictional retelling of a murder in 1906. History is magically woven in with the compelling take of 16-year-old Mattie Gokey. Love them both.
    Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Inspired by an idea by Siobhan Dowd). Very different books, very compelling (and chilling) reads.
    All John Green books are fun to read. My favorite is Paper Towns.


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