“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” ~ Mason Cooley
Have you ever been reading a good book, but you recognize that it’s just bringing you down? I’ve been on a young adult fiction kick lately, but I can’t help but notice how depressing the content has been. Don’t get me wrong! The story lines are interesting, and the writing is good. I have every intention of recommending the same books to other readers, but I will issue the recommendation with a caution, “This series is great, but read it with a box of tissues or a cute puppy or kitten nearby because it will destroy you emotionally.”
I kept adding different young adult titles to my reading list, and I finally decided it was time to give them a chance…even if they do bring me down while I’m reading them. At present, I’m reading a standalone novel, and I’m working my way through two different series. They all have their own merits, but I highly recommend the tissues…and a puppy.
(Only a couple of days later…) The standalone novel is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. In a nutshell, this is a fascinating retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin legend, and I do actually highly recommend it. This story manages to weave together the stories of five different families in a complex fairy tale. Initially, I wasn’t certain I wanted to even finish the book because it seemed so dark, but as the pieces fell into place, I was intrigued by the struggles involving love, hate, good, evil, pride, abandonment, racism, and so much more. This book wound up being such an exploration of issues that we are examining today! I would recommend this for older teens and adults.
The first series that I have been diving into is the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I definitely recommend keeping the tissues and puppy/kitten around when reading the Red Queen series. To sum it up, the world is divided between Silver-blooded rulers with special powers and Red-blooded servants who are constantly being sent to fight Silver wars. Unexpectedly, a Red is discovered with even more powerful skills than a Silver, and the world changes as they know it when it turns out that there are even more Reds with powers. I’m halfway through the series, and I feel like I have to complete it now because it has my attention. I won’t lie though that I sometimes read a while on it, and then I put it down and read something uplifting. I’m hoping it becomes a little more positive by the end, but at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t. Again this book made me contemplate serious moral questions such as, “When, if ever, should a few be killed to save the many?” and “What role does propaganda play in setting the course of national events?” I would recommend this series for older teens and adults with the understanding that there is a lot of death and destruction and some mild language.
The second series is the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This series is set in a technologically advanced future after the world has suffered from a round of plague deaths. There is a population of people living on the Moon (Lunars) who are capable of visually deceiving people. The Lunar queen believes that the only heir is dead, but there are rumors saying otherwise. Meanwhile, there’s a unique cyborg teenage girl repairing droids and other electronics on Earth, and she’s just been asked to attend a ball. Unfortunately, her stepmother would rather she didn’t. Each book in this series is loosely based on a fairy tale character. The first is based on Cinderella, the second is based on Red Riding Hood, and the third is based on Rapunzel. These books have a serious bent, but they have some lighter material as well. I’ve just begun the third book in this series, and I’m looking forward to finishing the series. I recommend this series to teens and adults, and I compliment the author on the ability to tell a complex and fascinating young adult story without using any curse words. I was beginning to think that authors weren’t capable of writing fiction without those totally unnecessary ‘sentence enhancers.’ (That’s a Spongebob reference! I couldn’t resist!)
It feels good to write about my experiences, but it feels just as good to write about the awesome writing abilities of other people. I hope one of these books appeals to you, and even if it doesn’t, just give it a try to get outside your typical comfort zone.
Listening to right now: Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Books of the Bible I’m currently studying or reading: Titus, Revelation, I Chronicles