Thursday, June 7, 2012

What?! You Want Me to Read this Summer?

What with an A/C unit being down and the sudden abundance of teens skulking about the Library, I can really tell that summer has descended upon us yet again.  And I really mean descended, cause here in the South the heat and humidity kind of hit you with a whomp.  So what do you do with that youngster driving you nuts for the next 3 months?  Well, I've put together a slightly different blog post today and created a Summer Reading Recommendation List for teens (and maybe a few pre-teens/ advanced readers).  Now, these aren't your summer reading school books (blegh); these are books that I loved or would have loved as a teen.  Maybe you'll find a few on here that you or the teen in your life will enjoy.

And... List!

The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey - This is a pretty good step-up book for teens into the realm of adult level material. This is one of my all time favorite fantasy books. It takes the tale of Swan Lake and transforms it into a complex story of torn loyalties.  Filled with strong characters and lush descriptions, it's got drama, romance, magic, and action, lending it wide appeal.

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - This makes for a great read for teens.  It's got drama, suspense, betrayal and a hero you can really root for.  The story is fascinating, which makes it easier for teens to adapt to the prose and get into the book. Simple summary? The hero is falsely accused of treason, escapes from prison and seeks revenge against those who wronged him. Great classic read.

Croak by Gina Damico - I really loved this book. It's a recent release, so it's nice and fresh and likely something you haven't encounter just yet.  The heroine is nice and spunky with just the right amount of rebellion.  Oh, and she's a grim reaper, so yeah. Check out my full review or pick it up and get going! The sequel, Scorch, is due out this September.

Emma by Jane Austen -  Another classic that's great for teens. The prose is a little more difficult than Dumas, but its a great book for that a dip into classic literature. Emma is a great heroine, who, even through the divide of a couple centuries, teen girls can identify with.  You'll root for her and you'll want to smack her silly.

Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede - The books are, in order, Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons. These feature a strong heroine who's not exactly your typical princess, dragons that aren't exactly fire breathing monsters, and  a good dose of humor in case you were worried about dragons and princesses getting too serious.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Originally written for an adult sci-fi audience, I think this books is great for teens. It's hero, Ender, is a young boy who lives in a futuristic world where the government breeds and relies on child geniuses to help combat a alien race set to destroy humans.  Ender excels at the school but also suffers from isolation as a result, making him easily identifiable.

Green Rider by Kristen Britain - I think I first picked this up at age 14. Again, it's not really written for a teen audience, but it translates really well.  The heroine starts out a 16 year old girl who runs away from her private school. Along the way home, she encounters a dying member of the king's messenger service who makes her promise to see to it that his life or death message gets delivered. Karrigan starts a school girl but grows up over the course of the book and the series. The other books are First Rider's Call, The High King's Tomb, and Blackveil.

Inda by Sherwood Smith - Smith has written for the young adult audience, but this book targets adults. It is significantly more adult in some of its themes, but for an advanced teen reader, I think it could work.  The story follows Inda, the second son of a nobleman, who is sent to the Royal Academy to be trained in battle and leadership.  This also tosses Inda into a world of intrigue and advanced politics, which he only begins to understand by the end of the novel.  Continue with The Fox, King's Shield, and Treason's Shore.

Maus I and II by Art Speigelman - Don't knock the graphic novel. This one is a true literary work of art.  It tells the story of the author's father's experience during World War II on the run in Hitler's Europe.  In the novel Nazis are portrayed as cats and Jews as mice with a variety of symbolic animals mixed in for other groups and ethnicities. A moving true story that will absorb any reader, with a richness added by the illustrations.

Quest for a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry - I'm pretty sure this was in my stocking one year, and, like the perverse teen that I was, I refused to read it for a while before a fit of boredom took hold. It soon became a favorite.  This is more middle school age level, but worth a read all the same. Hiding under a table, Meg hears her older sister Inge murder the King of Scotland with witchcraft. Meg is sent to accompany the rightful heir, The Maid of Norway, back to Scotland. Adventure ensues.  A great historical novel set in medieval Scotland.

Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan - I've posted on this in the past, but I must reiterate how excellent these books are. Great for boys and girls alike, this series can also be a gateway into reading for a reluctant reader.  They follow Will as he journeys from apprentice to full Ranger. Rangers are part of a peace keeping force that protects the nation from both inside and outside threats and are known for their skills at archery and sneakiness.  Start with The Ruins of Gorlan and move on to The Burning Bridge, The Icebound Land, Battle for Skandia, The Sorcerer in the North, The Siege of Macindaw, Erak's Ransom, The King's of Clonmel, Halt's Peril, The Emperor of Nihon-ja, and The Lost Stories. That should keep you occupied for awhile.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Video gamer? Get old school with this great historical gaming read. And by historical, I mean the 80s.  This novel is set in a dystopic modernity that has retreated to a virtual world. Players the world over seek out clues that will eventually lead them to "win" an inheritance, and Wade Watts aka Parzival finds the first clue. See my previous review for more details.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy - I love, love, loved this book as a teen.  It's set during the French Revolution and features a historical caped crusader who rescues french nobility from Madame Guillotine.  It's a classic, but the story is so riveting it's easy to get into.  It's filled with suspense, drama, intrigue and action, with just the right dash of romance.

Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams - another foray into adult level material. It tells the story of Fritti Tailchaser, a tom cat on a mission. It's a fantasy told from a cats perspective.  Guaranteed to be a hit with animal and adventure lovers alike. And don't make the mistake of comparing it to Erin Hunter's Warriors series. It's so much better.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - This is a great series starter that focuses on Gen, a mischievous thief who gets somewhat unwillingly drafted by the King's Scholar into a mission for an ancient artifact. Still, it's better than prison; the magus might have a plan, but Gen is tricky and has some ideas of his own. This book is a lot more complex than it initially appears to be with all politics, mythology, and some really great complex characters.  Once you're done with this one, move on to the rest of the series: The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings. The twist in the second book will get you.

Books I haven't read but will cause I'm pretty sure they're awesome

Cinder by Marissa Meyer -  a retelling of Cinderella with a futuristic cyborg twist.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - a young girl lives half in a world of monster, runs mysterious errands and searches for the truth about herself.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Gracelings are gifted with extreme skills, and Katsa's grace is killer, literally. Made to act as the king's bullyboy, she befriends Prince Po, learns a pretty important secret, and embarks on an adventure.
Terrier by Tamora Pierce - Beka Cooper is a rookie police officer, known as Terriers, who wants to be at the top of her profession.



  1. I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved – it doesn’t have to be one they just posted about. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved June Edition


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