By Tamela McCann
Why would an adult spend time reading books meant for teenagers? What is it about young adult literature that makes otherwise reasonably well read, mostly mature people put aside the books written specifically for them and gobble up stories featuring characters much younger doing things only teenagers can? Is it the storylines? Is it the characterizations, the sense that you somehow *know* these people? Is it the sense of looking back to vanished youth, wishing you were still there but grateful that you aren’t? Or is it the fact that books for young adults are simply well-written, identifiable tales, no matter what your age?
Yep. That’s pretty much covers it.
One of my reasons for writing this column is to share some of my favorite YA books and to hopefully hear from you guys what yours are. This month I’m psyched beyond all reason for the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, which comes out August 24 (and which I pre-ordered months ago). The Hunger Games is the story of Katniss Everdeen (love the name!), a teen who lives in Panem, the nation that grew out of what was once North America. In order to remind the nation of the Hunger, a desperate time when
there was no food, the Capitol has established The Hunger Games; each of the twelve Districts send a boy and a girl to the Games to fight to the death until only one survives. When Katniss’s younger sister is chosen, Katniss substitutes herself but she is far from resigned to her fate. Realizing that it’s as much about entertainment for the masses as it is about history, Katniss and her partner Peeta learn to play the Game and work to circumvent everything the Capitol throws at them. The Hunger Games kept me on the edge of my seat; Katniss is a strong protagonist whose quick mind and startling skills makes this book so much more than just a fantasy. It’s survival of the fittest but only one can win.
Other recommended books for this month: Evernight by Claudia Gray, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Wolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi, Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney.