Thursday, July 5, 2012

While no one seems quite able to define what a Young Adult, or YA, novel is, exactly, lots of people—of all ages—are reading them. And quite a few Penn alumni (including the one who asked that question) are writing them.

Fracture by Megan Miranda

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it? Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening? ( I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read. There is a bit of suspense, a bit of romance and a bit of the paranormal. Rating: 8 out of 10

Unwind by Shusterman

There was a Second Civil War and it was fought over reproductive rights. The outcome has dire consequences: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive. This book was recommended to me by the school librarian. I also had the pleasure of seeing Shusterman when he gave a presentation at school and since this book is part of so many reading lists, I felt I should read it too. Right from the start, the book had me hooked --it definitely makes you stop and think. This dystopian book is told from the alternating points of view of three teens, Connor, Risa and Lev. They have all been sent to be unwound, Connor because of behavior, Lev as a tithe and Risa because she is not quite good enough as a pianist. This may be a shocking concept, but Shusterman makes it realistic by bringing in actual history such as Nazi Germany, to lay the foundations for the book. There is a bit of romance, and lots of adventure and tension and would appeal to both boys and girls. Check out the book trailer for this book Rating 10 out of 10 Reading next: Fractured

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick It's 1910 and Sig Anderson is fifteen. He lives with his father, Einar, stepmother, Nadya and sister Anna in an isolated Scandinavian cabin deep in the Arctic Circle. Einar had been the Assay Clerk in Nome, Alaska, during the Gold Rush 10 years previous where he would check the quality of gold brought in by prospectors. After the failure of the Alaskan Gold Rush, Einar moved the family to Giron. Survival skills are top priority in the harsh enviroment. They aren't enough, however,to prevent Einar from making a mistake sending him through the ice and into freezing water. Unable to build a fire or warm himself, Einar freezes to death out on the lake where Sig finds him hours later. Nadya and Anna race into town to get what help they can. Sig is left uncomfortably alone with his father’s body until a stranger comes to the home.He says his name is Gunther Wolff, and he claims that Einar owes him fortune in stolen gold. While Sig tries to calculate his chances at retrieving his father’s old revolver before his unsuspecting sister returns and ends up captive too, he wonders if his father truly stole all that gold. This book is entertaining and a must for anyone who enjoys an adventure. It is a quick and easy read. Rating 7 out of 10 Reading Next: Unwind by Shusterman