Young Adult Books

The title of Courtney Summers' latest young adult novel, All The Rage, doesn't quite earn its seeming double meaning. It's a single entendre — "all the rage" really does just refer to anger, though the book could also have been called All the Confusion, All the Defiant Loneliness or All the Sublimated Self-Destruction.

There's a small subgenre of young-adult novels that treat suicide as a mystery left behind for the survivors. From John Green's 2006 debut Looking For Alaska and Jay Asher's 2007 bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why to more recent titles like Michelle Falkoff's Playlist For The Dead, survivors try to unravel the causes and meaning of a purposeful death, through clues the victim left behind.

Try On 'Black Suit' For A Beautifully Real Approach To Grief

Jan 8, 2015

Jason Reynolds' debut When I Was the Greatest put him on the radar of many YA readers looking for fresh new voices. His latest, The Boy in the Black Suit, begins in a place we've seen before: the senior lockers, the first day back at high school.

'Heap House' Is A Treasure Of A Trash Tale

Oct 25, 2014

How do I even begin to talk about this exceptional, astonishing book?

'Accidental Highwayman' Stands And Delivers

Oct 17, 2014

The unfortunate thing about The Accidental Highwayman is that it looks too much like something it's not. From the gorgeously designed cover and elaborate title to the apologetic editorial front matter and interior illustrations, it looks like a book aware of its place in a specific history: namely, 18th century England's high demand for stories about real, live highwaymen, stories about their dreadful deeds and doleful demise, packaged in layers and layers of moralizing justification for the muckraking glee in which the reader was about to indulge.

'Lies' May Be Fiction, But Its Story Rings True

Oct 2, 2014

Editor's Note: This book review includes a passage in which a racial slur is used. The word is key to understanding the point the author is making.

Though some dystopias are bound to seem more plausible than others, the nature of these stories, especially those written for young adults — the heightened fable of the premise (with all the eye-rolling this can sometimes provoke) and the realistic teenage psyches being mapped on top of them — usually means that the books open in an established status quo. Complaints about these high-concept stories often, and with varying legitimacy, exist in the Hows. The overarching question: How do these new orders ever begin?

In 'Afterworlds,' A Teen Imagines Worlds Within Worlds

Sep 24, 2014

YA is thriving, but it's become a diverse genre, linking books widely spread across more traditional classifications like mainstream literature, fantasy, mystery and romance. What these books often have in common is their unremitting fondness for ordinary, everyday people — just like the reader, perhaps — who become Chosen Ones by suddenly discovering they have powerful abilities, or a unique birthright, or a complicated, passionate love triangle forming around them.

I am not a trained reader of horror. Usually whenever I encounter horror stories, I'm left feeling dissatisfied with the quality of my unsettlement; I think "oh, that was gratuitous" or "eh, was that necessary?" With very few exceptions, I tend not to seek out horror.

Emily Carroll's Through the Woods is so thoroughly an exception that I have to revise my stance on the whole genre.

For the first time since the 1940s, the Green Turtle is returning to comic bookshelves. The long-forgotten character has been resurrected in The Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel about what many comic fans consider the first Asian-American superhero.

"He's like a classic, American World War II hero," says cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, who collaborated with illustrator Sonny Liew on The Shadow Hero.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Saba Khan is a high school sophomore whose life is turned upside down in a flash - a mysterious fire that destroys her family's apartment on the North Side of Chicago. The Khans are Americans of Pakistani descent. Were they victims of a hate crime? Saba's high school rallies behind her family.

Hey there, befuddled aunts, uncles and family friends. Not sure what to get for all those nieces, nephews and offspring of other people? This year (for the first time!) we've included kids titles in our year-end best books roundup. Pay a visit to NPR's Book Concierge to see what our staff and critics recommend for kids and teens in 2013.

A few years ago I did an author visit at an overcrowded junior high school in a rougher part of San Antonio. I write young adult novels that feature working-class, "multicultural" characters, so I'm frequently invited to speak at urban schools like this.

As is often the case, the principal and I talked as the kids filed into the auditorium. The student body was mostly Hispanic, he told me, and over 90 percent qualified for free and reduced lunch. It was an underprivileged school, a traditionally low-achieving school, but they were working hard to raise performance.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

'Spell'-Bound By A Goofy Book — And Later, United By It

Oct 6, 2013

Melissa de la Cruz and her husband Michael Johnston are the co-authors of Frozen.

How is this a risky read, you might ask? Piers Anthony's Xanth series is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek affair, filled with awful puns about bad dreams delivered by horses — literal "night mares" — and corny jokes about how Xanth is eerily similar to the geography of Florida, the author's home state.

Isn't this book just funny? How is it risky? Or dark? Or adult? Yet precisely because of its naughty, offhand humor, we found it risky and thrilling. Let us explain ...

(This post was updated at 10 a.m.)

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Young adult literature is big business right now; bookstores and movie theaters are full of titles like The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars.

If you think kids are too young to worry about unemployment numbers, consider this: Some of our most popular young adult novels fairly shiver with economic anxiety. Take Veronica Roth's Divergent, this week's top New York Times Young Adult best-seller and a perennial on the list since its publication in 2011.

Grown-ups, if you've read a thriller recently, there's a good chance it was written by James Patterson. One in 5 adult thriller hardcovers sold these days carries his name on the cover.