Thursday, October 25, 2007

Young Adult Novels

Today I’ve been thinking about YA books, and how the good ones (the really, really good ones) cross between adult and YA literature. A good story is a good story. Period.

I want to share some of my highly recommended favorites with you. I could pick a few books and review them. Yawn. No, no, no. Instead, I’ve decided to let the works speak for themselves. Yes!

This list is not exhaustive. (Good grief. Can you imagine? I’ve only chosen four.) For instance I do not list any of the Little House books (they are packed in my parent’s house somewhere) although I highly recommend them. And some of the books, you will notice, are not that old…as old as I am for instance…but they are good stories, and are YA books, so I included them.

The List:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Chapter One

"It was a dark and stormy night.

In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees, clouds scudded across the sky. Every few moments the moon ripped through them, creating wraith-like shadows that raced along the ground.

The house shook.

Wrapped in her quilt, Meg shook.

She wasn’t usually afraid of weather. – It’s not just the weather, she thought – It’s the weather on top of everything else. On top of me. On top of Meg Murry doing everything wrong.

School. School was all wrong. She’d been dropped down to the lowest section in her grade. That morning one of her teacher’s had said crossly, “Really, Meg, I don’t understand how a child with parents as brilliant as yours are supposed to be can be such a poor student...”

From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Chapter One

"Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away. That is, running away in the heat of anger with a knapsack on her back. She didn’t like the discomfort; even picnics were untidy and inconvenient: all those insects and the sun melting the icing on the cupcakes. Therefore, she decided that her leaving home would not be just running from somewhere but would be running to somewhere. To a large place, a comfortable place, an indoor place, and preferably a beautiful place. And that’s why she decided upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City..."

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

Chapter One: The Decanter of Tokay

Lyra and her daeman moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen. The three great tables that ran the length of the hall were laid already, the silver and the glass catching what little light there was, and the long benches were pulled out ready for the guests. Portraits of the former Masters hung high up in the gloom along the walls. Lyra reached the dais and looked back at the open kitchen door, and, seeing no one, stepped up beside the high table. The places here were laid with gold, not silver, and the fourteen seats were not oak benches but mahogany chairs with velvet cushions.

Lyra stopped beside the Master’s chair and flicked the biggest glass gently with a fingernail. The sound rang clearly through the hall.

'You’re not taking this seriously,” whispered her daemon. “Behave yourself...'”

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Chapter One: An Unexpected Party

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with paneled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats – the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill – The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it, first on one side and then on another..."

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