Reading idea: make it a YA summer

It is pouring BUCKETS outside right now.  Sheets of pelting rain. Which makes this a PERFECT day to draft a fun plan for summer reading, because Mama told me there’d be days like this…and that one should use these days to read.

A few years ago, Steve and I spent the summer in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The town we were in had a small library (they book pile with teen girlwere voting on whether to close it the week we arrived – thankfully, that plan was voted down!)  There wasn’t a huge selection of books, and because this was a remote area, they didn’t have a robust interlibrary loan program.  In addition to making me realize how VERY blessed we are here in New England to have wonderful library systems, it shoved me out of my comfort zone as I searched for things to read. What surprised me most was how much I loved the Young Adult books I tried that summer.  In addition to making me a lifelong fan of Sarah Dessen, I read dozens of books about teens grappling with life that were so well written – it wasn’t like reading books written for people at a lower reading level. These were simply stories told from a different point of view.  I loved them.

This love was rekindled a week or so ago when I read and blogged about Annie Cardi’s THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN. So I’ve decided to look for more YA books this summer.

9780142424506There is no better place to start than my friend Tara Sullivan‘s epic YA novel, GOLDEN BOY.  It’s about a 13 year old boy in Tanzania born with Albanism – a condition that marks him as both an outcast and a target, shunned, but also hunted because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck.  This is not a light read, obviously, but it’s a page-turner. I struggle when I see people burdened with problems from birth, things they did nothing to deserve or bring upon themselves. This is inspiring the story of one such child and how he perseveres and copes.  You will not forget it.

The Wall Street Journal calls GOLDEN BOY,  “Harrowing but ultimately redemptive…the murder of Tanzania’s albinos is a real and horrific phenomenon of the past 15 years, a cold fact that makes the fictional events in ‘Golden Boy’ more moving and consequential than those in any dystopian young-adult chase-drama.”

There you have it. GOLDEN BOY is out in paperback TODAY! You can buy it here and here and here.

Note: Shortly after posting this, I found this provocative article responding to someone’s (slightly obnoxious) claim that adults should not read YA because it’s merely an exercise in “escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia.”  Personally, I think those are entirely valid reasons to read a book. But the article goes further and is fabulous and you should read it.

Stay dry, and happy reading :)


2 thoughts on “Reading idea: make it a YA summer

  1. I’ve been loving YA fiction this spring. Thanks for a recommend. May I recommend One Came Home, an honorable mention Newbury Award this year. I also love Lois Lowry, especially Gathering Blue.

  2. I used to read a lot more YA than I do now. It seems every summer I get really into memoirs. Last summer I read both of yours and Jim Elliot’s journals, and this summer I read Sarah Jakes, Hannah Luce, Candace Cameron and now I’m looking for something new. Here in Florida there seems to be a lack of fiction and non fiction base here, unless you count murder mysteries….which I don’t. Not really sure what to read next.

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