Some of the best and most successful writers of our time are writing Young Adult books. If you have any doubts, just think “Harry Potter” and “Twilight.” To purchase any of the featured books click on the title in Red.
Quite naturally, love is a prevalent theme in books for teens. If you watch the excellent TV show “Switched” with your daughter, you’ll both enjoy GRAFFITI MOON. Cath Crowley is a well-respected Australian author with a keen ear for how kids communicate. Lucy has just ended her senior year of high school, and decides to celebrate by finding her idol “Shadow,” a local graffiti artist. Ed, a guy she can barely stand, tells her he can help her find her secret crush. I like the way this book changes narrators, and the poetry that’s included.
Lorraine Zago Rosenthal explores first love in OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE. Her heroine, Ari, feels shy and dull at her Brooklyn high school. She feels that her best friend, Summer, is everything that she longs to be. When Ari’s family comes into money, she’s able to transfer to an upscale Manhattan prep school, and her life changes dramatically. Leigh is a rich girl who befriends Ali and introduces her to Blake, who is Leigh’s hunky cousin. As teenagers will, Ari goes a little overboard in her feelings for Blake when the two get serious about each other. A good vehicle for discussing the meaning of love, friendship, and staying true to who we really are.
HEART TO HEART, by Lurlene McDaniel, deals with love and loss. Elowyn Eden and Kassey Messechek are best friends, so devoted to each other that when Elowyn gets her first car, she gives an extra set of keys to Kassey. Elowyn has checked on her license the box that designates her as an organ donor, and this decision impacts on Kassey’s perception of the world around her. How Elowyn’s generous choice creates a new life for Arabeth St. Clair, a girl with a severely diseased heart, is a story of sharing, courage, and surmounting difficult life situations.
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF TIME is the latest in Ally Carter’s bestselling Gallagher Girls series. These books are in print around the world, and have a devoted following. In this volume, Cammie Morgan, girl spy, must unlock a very personal mystery. At seventeen, Cammie awakes in an Alpine convent and discovers that several months have passed. She has bruises on her body, dirt under her nails, and no recollection of her summer vacation. When she returns home, she realizes that not even her school, the Gallagher Academy, is safe from a group of villains called the Circle of Cavan.
I recommend LITTLE GIRL GONE, by Drusilla Campbell, for mature teens only. This is a book that has resonance for our modern times, but it’s too harrowing for younger or more sensitive adolescents. At the center is Madora, who was a total mess at seventeen until she was rescued by Willis, a former marine with a messianic complex. Madora and Willis live together for five years; then, Willis finds a pregnant teenager and “saves” her by imprisoning her in a trailer behind his house. A pit bull puppy and a troubled twelve-year-old boy are also part of the mix. What drives good people to do bad things? How can everything go so terribly wrong?
When I was young , my mom and I would both read the same book at the same time, and then discuss it. I learned a lot, and I bet she did, too. Why not give it a try with the teenage girl in your life? It’s a great way to bond.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com