Friday, May 29, 2009

Pretty Angsty Classic Vampires? or Whatever Happened to Good Books?

A couple of years ago, you could go into a bookstore or a library and find good teen books, books that were past the kid stage and not quite to the adult stage. Not anymore. There some good books, but two kinds of books make up the majority of teen books: the clique novels and the vampire spinoffs.

Clique novels: books about cliques (Never ever would have guessed!), normally revolves around high schoolers at a private school, angst, romance, drama, revenge, fashion, girl hates guy, then falls in love (you get the idea)

Vampire Spinoffs: follow a basic plot, vampire falls in love with human, fueled heavily by the success of Twilight (if you've never heard of Twilight, you were probably living under a rock for the past year) waaaay too many, again, angst and drama.

Though the teen section has been taken over by angsty (yes, I know that's not a word) books, there are still good books to be found. Here are some of my favorites:


The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison: mixes fantasy with magic, with a tiny bit of romance, mystery, and adventure. (The sequel, The Princess and the Bear came out very recently)

Goose Girl by Shannon Hale: one of my absolute favorites, Princess Academy and Enna Burning are good too.

The Chrestomanci Chronicles by Diana Wynn Jones: written very well, shows the hidden 'magic' side of Europe(like Harry Potter in that respect, but much better)

Science Fiction:

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey: a very long series, like Eragon, but first and better.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: though it has some language and 'battle simulation' it presents some interesting points to ponder.

The Uglies, The Pretties, The Specials, and The Extras by Scott Westerfield: a post-apocalyptic series, can be a little preachy about what the Rusties (us) did wrong, but pretty good.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Read it. There's not much else to say.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: Same here.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens: And here.

Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll: though they seem like 'kid' books, Lewis infuses them with logic and puzzles, which I didn't notice until I took logic this year.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: yes, it was long, and the authority figures infuriated me in their treatment of the main characters, but it is superbly written.

So, what about you? Do you agree with the way that 'teen' books are changing? Any great books I forgot?

photo of old book, flickr, cc v.max1978

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