YA appreciation, part 2/2

And now, some YA I love so much I still have it on my shelves (or in the case of the last one, “bought the day it came out, fairly recently, and is NOT on my shelf as I have loaned it to a co-worker, but WHATEVER IT COUNTS”):

1. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. An Elizabethan-set retelling of Tam Lin with a no-nonsense heroine, scary but compelling fairies, and a guilt-ridden hero she has to save from paying the fairies’ tithe with his own life.

2. The Gawgon and the Boy by Lloyd Alexander. My favorite of his books (although I love the Westmark books too, and I adore the Vesper Holly series), probably because it feels the most personal. It’s about a boy who is recuperating from a serious illness and has to be tutored by his intimidating elderly relative, a woman who turns out to be awesome and teaches him all kinds of cool stuff.

I think what I love best about this book, though, is that the main character writes Mary Sue fanfiction, among them an on-going Sabatini pastiche called “The Sea-Fox” (his imaginary girlfriend, of course, goes by “the Sea-Vixen”):

“You idiot,” she said, “why did you kick down my door? It was unlatched; I was waiting for you. At least,” she added, “you could have knocked.”

The Sea-Fox nodded acceptance of this gentle reproof. He pointed at the town below, where his loyal crew were guzzling ginger ale and stuffing themselves with mangoes. “Kingston is mine. And yours,” he said.

3. The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death by Daniel Pinkwater. About two high-school boys who sneak out of the house at night to go to midnight old-movie showings, and end up fighting a mad scientist. This book was my lifeline through large parts of high school because it captures with such brilliant parody just how crazy families and high school teachers can be. I used to laugh uncontrollably through the entire first chapter. It’s still pretty damn funny.

4. The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Here’s what I wrote in my Goodreads review: “I adored this! Funny, absorbing, touching story about what it means to love someone, what it means to be a family, oh and also teenagers fighting magicians and demons with knives and guns and one-liners. I cried in the happy way at the end. It’s been a while since I read a story that grabbed me so much I wanted to read it over again as soon as I finished it.” I’ve been following the author’s blog since long before she was published, and she is just a generally awesome and funny person. I would probably read her grocery lists, if she wanted to publish them.

And just to cap it off, a favorite blog: What Claudia Wore, devoted to the fashion of the Baby-Sitters’ Club.

What’s your favorite YA book/series?

7 thoughts on “YA appreciation, part 2/2”

  1. At the moment, I’m readdicted to the Artemis Fowl series, since book 7 just came out. It’s fun to watch Artemis change and grow from book to book.
    I’m also about to pick back up Sabriel, by Garth Nix, to see if it is as good as I remembered.

    1. The Artemis Fowl series follows the heir of a criminal empire, who, when the series starts is 11 and a genius. He’s also trying to fill is missing father’s shoes and restore the family fortune by capturing a leprichaun and successfully capturing their gold with the help of his bodyguard Butler. This starts his association with the fairy world and LEPrecon Captain Holly Short. In the first book, Artemis is the criminal mastermind, with very little of the 11 year old bo. Through the series, he’s always the one with the brilliant plan, but he becomes part of the team. And I love how, over the course of the now 7 books, Artemis is growing up and sometimes having to make really difficult decisions.
      Sabriel is the first book in a trillogy, and I’m forgetting it’s name. The books follow Sabriel, the daughter of the Abhorsen who is responsible for binding the dead to their realms, who goes to try to rescue her father when he doesn’t come back from an attempt to bind something. With a set of 5 special bells, she is able to do all sorts of things, but there are powerful forces starting to move, and she’s going to need all the help she can get. And I’ll have to let you know more after I’ve reread it! That’s all I remember besides really enjoying the series.

      1. Oh man! You sold me with “heir to a criminal empire.” I LOVE criminal families (My favorite Crusies are the Dempsey books). I also love books about kids trying to live up to their father’s legacy, and books about learning to be part of a team. How many books are there going to be? Also, have you read Holly Black’s “White Cat”? It’s about the youngest member of a family of magical con-men, the only one without a magical, and I love it.

        1. I love the Dempseys too. :). I don’t know how many there will be, but there better be at least one more. I haven’t read Holly Black’s book yet, but it’s now on the to read list!

  2. Oh, my god. Thanks for putting Sarah Rees Brennan on my radar. Now I am her fan, without even having read one of her books.
    (I, too, have seen all three High School Musical movies, which took some serious doing considering 1) we don’t have cable, and 2) my kids think HSM is a crock. [I had to bribe my tween to accompany me to the theater for HSM 3!] So I think Brennan’s awesome just for that.)

    1. She is AMAZING. SO AMAZING. Sadly her lj was hacked a couple of years ago and most of the entries deleted so I can’t link you to her Boswell parody, her Heathcliff+Rochester+Darcy on a talk show, or her theory of heros as muffins, doughnuts, or sandwiches, but ask me some time and I will reenact them for you!

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