The best young adult books of 2008
December 19, 2008
Vampires! Dragons! Wizards! Oh my!
Don’t believe the hype, teenagers still read, and they read a lot. Look no further than the million-selling series involving the above otherwordly protagonists, and one can plainly see that despite all the distractions and technology afforded today’s youth, reading still ranks high on the priority list.
Perhaps no other demograph benefits from word-of-mouth quite like the young adult genre. When teens find a book or series they enjoy, they let everyone know, and the next phenomenon is found. Contagious word-of-mouth has helped launched none other than J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and more recently Stephenie Meyer’s vampire-in-love saga Twilight.
Maybe you have heard of one or the other? And fittingly enough, both are among the Bookworm’s top young adult novels for the year that was.
In no specific order:
“Brisingr,” by Christopher Paolini
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The third novel in Paolini’s Inheritance cycle further proves that talent trumps age. Paolini penned the first book when he was 14 while the third volume of this fantasy series of warring factions and dragon protectors displays a maturity and style usually reserved for the seasoned veteran.
“Breaking Dawn,” by Stephenie Meyer
Meyer’s vampire romance has taken the world by storm, igniting a fandom usually seen only for a certain boy wizard. Chances are you or someone you know has become hopelessly addicted to the travails of Bella, her undead dreamboat Edward, and the werewolf suitor Jacob.
“The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” by J.K. Rowling
Return to Hogawarts! Rowling penned this breezy collection of wizard fables to help her children’s charity while satiating the ever-persistent Harry Potter hunger. These five stories are referenced in series-capping “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” and finally expanded upon here.
“The White Gates,” by Bonnie Ramthun
Finally, a Colorado snowboarding novel that gets it right. Colorado native Ramthun has penned the first, and hopefully not the last, authentic teen snowboarding adventure filled with realistic jargon, dialogue and action.
“The Mysterious Benedict Society,” by Trenton Lee Stewart
An innovative series on the brink of the big time that lets you match wits against the gifted students at a clandestine school. The clever premise and witty writing incorporate the reader into the action.
“Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth,” by Rick Riordan
A few years ago, Rick Riordan was a history teacher trying to find a new bedtime story for his kids. He pulled the character of Percy Jackson out of thin air and pitted him against the Gods of Greek Mythology. And another blockbuster series was born.
“The Other Side of the Island,” by Allegra Goodman
A post-apocalyptic novel with overtones of George Orwell’s “1984.” A teenage girl and her family lead an idyllic life in one of the colonies until a fellow teen begins questioning the world around them.
“The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins
This futuristic thriller is a cocktail of action, adventure, suspense and philosophy with overtones to the present. In a fractured United States, teens from the east and west are pitted against each other in gladiator combat.
“The Graveyard Book,” by Neil Gaiman
Science fiction author and screenwriter-in-demand Gaiman offers this macabre tale of a teenage boy who resides in a graveyard, and is educated on life and love from his neighborly ghosts.
“Savvy,” by Ingrid Law
For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a savvy ” a supernatural power they acquire at 13. On the eve of Mib’s big day, she finds herself on an odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up.
Stephen Bedford in the manager of the Bookworm of Edwards.