Last week we talked about our favorite genres, and mine has been fantasy/sci fi for a while. I prefer the character driven fantasy to the plot driven novels, although I've read plenty of plot driven sci fi and fantasy that has kept me up late at night. Here are my book recommendations for YA Speculative writers:
FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Melina Marchetta. It starts off as a very dark epic fantasy, but the ties to modern problems of refugee populations become evident early on. With two kick butt heroes, one male and one female, and a refusal to flinch from the worst people can do to each other, this is a must read. I forgot to sleep.
FEED by M.T. Anderson. Required reading! Teens in the future are systematically demoralized by capitalism gone mad ... is it that far from our own times? I only wish I could be smart enough to write something this relevant and also otherworldly. I recommend the audiobook for the full impact of listening to the omnipresent, commercialized feed.
WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead. Miranda's life seems remarkably average, except for the raving lunatic on her NYC street. The more she reads her favorite novel, A Wrinkle in Time, the more familiar the homeless person looks. Then mysterious notes appear just for her that seem to foretell the future. This Newbery winner definitely deserved the honor.
THE WEE FREE MEN (series) by Terry Pratchett. The fourth book is out, the fourth book is out! These improve as the main character, Tiffany Aching, gets older in each novel. Tiffany is a witch, and although she lives in a medieval world, her typical teen problems--unexpected attraction from the wrong men, peer pressure from the other witch apprentices, and the desire to solve her problems in private--twist her magic in chaotic ways. Plus the Wee Free Men (don't you dare call them pixies) push her to do things their way. Tiffany's rough navigation through these problems is a reminder of the heroism every young woman needs to exhibit to get through life.
Okay, I have to go and reserve the fourth Tiffany Aching book now. Talk about enjoyable inspiration.
-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages