Y: Young Adult Literature

A few years ago, as my oldest daughter turned eight (ok, more than a few years ago) she began to read. As a reader all my life, I wholeheartedly encouraged this, taking her to the library and to any book store I could find. My mother began taking me to the library at a young age and I spent hours wandering and reading this book or that book, escaping to any world that was not the one I lived in. I am sure many of my adventures I ran later in my D&D campaigns were based or literally stolen from some of the books I read. I loved every minute of it.

I wanted this love to be her’s as well.

To help encourage her, I began reading some of the books she was reading. I figured if we could sit and discuss the books she was interested…and I knew what I was talking about…she would find it fun and would read more.  It worked very well and today, seven years later and a teenager, she is still an avid reader. I, of course, claim this is a reason she is brilliant.  😉

Some of the books we read together would not be on anyone’s “Best of” list, but they were fun and the little discussions we had about the stories were engaging and something I really hope to continue into her adult life. Now, if I can get her to stop reading young adult vampire romance, well…..

On to my reason for this post. As many of you know my awesome wife bought me an iPad before I deployed and probably the best App on the thing is the Amazon Kindle App. I have not had much time to read, but the few books I have read on here have proven the iPad is a perfect platform for this. Traveling on a 16 hour flight have proven that fact without a doubt for me.

One of the best aspects of the Amazon Kindle love is the ability to sample a book, just like you would in a brick and mortar bookstore. Every book I have looked at allows you to download (in seconds mind you) the first chapter of the book. This invaluable ability allows you to test the writer-reader connection and see if you two marry up. As a bit of a picky reader, I find this a necessary option, I find my hectic life requires a sort of lite and brevity in prose that many authors lack. I probably have downloaded more sample chapters of books than I can count on all my fingers and toes.

So as time has gone on I have found myself more and more drawn to young adult fiction, probably due to what I said above but also because many YA books are, in my opinion, more direct in their telling of the tale, dropping needless side stories and more often than not containing very little sex and cursing. Don’t get me wrong, I like those too, but I just don’t enjoy reading about it. Maybe I am a prude.

Either way, I have again jumped into the YA fiction lately and started downloading various sample chapters to test the waters. I have stumbled upon a book called Adventurers Wanted, Book One: Slothbog’s Gold and even in the description they mention how it plays out like a session of D&D. I downloaded the sample chapter and read through it quickly (a bonus in my opinion, if it a long and painful chapter, I toss it out). I figured I would make a short review:

The chapter opens with the typical angst-ridden youth, unhappy with his current life and who wishes to just get away. Through a series of strange circumstances he ends up inside a strange bookstore and signs a contract to be an adventurer. So far I really liked it, a typical ‘need to get a real world kid to a fantasy world’ set up, but one done well. He is then introduced to two of his companions, and elf and a dwarf. They are your typical fantasy stock, the dwarf is gruff and to the point, the elf more fluffy and elaborate. I liked the chapter up to this point where the author goes into an elaborate description about how time is different in their world and he will be gone just seconds from the real world. Blah blah blah. Boring and far too long. He could have wrapped that up with a “Look kid, only seconds will pass in your world even if you are gone years in ours. Don’t sweat it, no one will notice you are gone.”

I am still considering ordering the full book. The author’s writing is pretty fluid and easy to read, quick and lite. All good in my book. Plus, hey, it sounds like it is standard D&D fare, might be a fun read. The reviews are generally positive although many say it has far to much in common with LotR, some even claim it is a darn near copy of it, though easier to read.

I have a few more YA sample chapters to check out before I decide…


4 thoughts on “Y: Young Adult Literature

  1. I love reading YA books. Recent favourites include:

    Department 19 by Will Hill
    The Double Edged Sword by Sarah Silverwood
    Lex Trent vs The Gods by Alex Bell (I have the next one, Lex Trent Fighting with Fire still too read)

    I’m going to check out Adventurers Wanted though.

    – Neil.

  2. One of the best books, period, that I have read recently is ostensibly a YA title — The Book Thief. It’s set in Germany from about 1935 — 1943. Wonderfully, uniquely written. And, while you know exactly what’s coming at the end, it’s heartbreaking.

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