Tuesday 12 April 2011

Some recent YA fiction

As in 'recently read' rather than recently published:

Jo Walton, Among Others - part boarding school story, part teen misfit, part fantasy, and dollops of 197os science fiction. Loved it all the way up to the last two chapters.

Scott Westerfeld, Behemoth - I still find the character and plot a little thin (and it is aimed at 'middle-school', after all). But the central conceit - that the First World War is going to be fought between the Clankers (the German-Austro-Hungary alliance, who have evolved clockwork and steampower to intricate, magnificent, destructive effect) and the Darwinists (the Allies, led by England), the namesake of whom didn't just figure out evolution but burrowed deep into the gene, meaning their society is powered by genetically engineered beasties - entrances me.

Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men - as they say, a fitting end to a stand-out series. If you're looking to dip into YA, there's no better place to start than the first book in the series, The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Melvin Burgess, Bloodsong - putting the fate back into fatalism, with a blend of futuristic dystopia and Norse mythology.

Jackie French, Oracle - solid ancient Rome YA (well - ancient Mycenae, to be accurate).

Sherman Alexie - The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian - funny, scathing, heartbreaking (one of the most-banned books in American school libraries)

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