United States of YA, part 3—August 1, 2014
As summer starts to come to a close, I realize that means we are halfway through the year. That’s right, only six months until it’s time for a new, New Year’s resolution. I’m still working away at mine though, and it’s looking a little bleak. While I have finished six books since my last article, I still have 36 more to go. I have full confidence that I can, and will do it.
For those who aren’t avid followers of my articles, I made a new year’s goal to read all 50 of Goodread’s United States of YA book list. As space is limited, I won’t be talking about every book I’ve read. I will give you my recommendations on the ones that really caught my attention.
Let’s start with “Ashfall” by Mike Mullen. My sister-in-law has also taken on this challenge with me, and this is the first book we disagreed on. I loved this book, and she wasn’t much of a fan. So I especially recommend you check it out and decide for yourself. It’s about a teenage boy stuck home alone in Iowa when a volcano in Yellowstone erupts and sends the most of the United States into an ashy winter that changes the climate and life as we know it. The story follows the boy on his quest to find his parents, which is quite the harrowing adventure.
I also fell in love with “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia. It’s a haunting tale that lured me in with it’s mystery and intrigue…which takes a lot because I read a lot of books and can usually figure them out. It’s set in present day in old plantation town deep in South Carolina. A teenage boy falls in love with the mysterious new girl who turns out to be a witch on the verge of becoming either a dark witch or a light witch.
The one thing that’s starting to wear thin with these books (including the two I just mentioned) is the fact that they’re slightly formulaic. Boy/Girl falls in love with a mysterious stranger, refuses to admit and spends most of the novel convincing themselves they hate that person then ends up being saved by that person and everything ends on a mostly happy note. This is where I insert the books “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, “Obsidian” by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and “Wake” by Lisa McMann. They are all good books in their own right, but still a little predictable and not very realistic.
The last two books I loved, largely in part because they didn’t follow that pattern. “Under the Blood Red Sun” by Graham Salisbury was a nice historical fiction tale about a Japanese boy living in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack, and all of the persecution he and his family had because they were Japanese. “The Unbearable book club for unsinkable girls” by Julie Schumacher is a witty tale about a girl stuck home for the summer with a bum leg on a journey of self discovery. One of the things I liked best was within the book they talked about four other books they had to read…and that made me want to go and read THOSE books.
That’s all I have for now. I should have two more updates between now and the end of the year, and expect there to be a lot more books mentioned. At the rate I have to read them, you will benefit by only hearing about the really good ones that stand out. Wish me luck!