#NoMoreFantasy

I love Young Adult Fantasy – I really do! But, sometimes it seems that those are the only Teen books we hear about. This blog is dedicated to all our YA readers who are longing for something different, maybe even something realistic.  The good news is that John Green is not the only YA author who is writing excellent contemporary fiction. Whether you like survival stories, mysteries, romances, or issue-driven novels, we have something for you! At the bottom of this post, you’ll also find some great historical fiction written for the Young Adult market. So dive in, and let us know what you enjoy.

Survival stories are a great choice for teens who are adventurous or love the outdoors! Bad Call and When I am Through With You are both books about camping trips gone bad and have been described as part survival story and part psychological thriller. Feral Youth was inspired by the format of Canterbury Tales and is written by multiple YA authors.

Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels When I am Through with You by Staphanie Kuehn   Feral Youth by multiple authors

The Amateurs is the beginning of a new mystery series by teen favorite Sara Shepard. The Amateurs and Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson both feature teenage detectives attempting to solve cold cases.  Corruption, a hunting accident and lots of teenage secrets turn This is Our Story into a suspenseful story with a “ripped from the headlines” feel.

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard   Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson   This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

How could we look at Teen books without adding a little romance? Sarah Dessen has a very loyal fan base and her newest, Once and For All, will not disappoint! Ronit & Jamil is a clever retelling of Romeo and Juliet that has been transported to modern day Israel. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, you’re sure to love Alex, Approximately!

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen   Ronit & Jamil by Pamela Laskin   Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Life is complicated for teenagers, and books can be a safe haven where problems are acknowledged and feelings are validated. If you’re not sure if the content of a book is appropriate for your teen, try clicking on the Review link on the catalog page for the book. Professional reviews will typically give information about difficult content along with a suggested age range.

Release: a novel by Patrick Ness   The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner   Everything All At Once by Katrina Leno

Finally, for all our lovers of historical fiction, we have a great selection! Crossing Ebenezer Creek is by Tonya Bolden, better known for her non-fiction and is described as perfect for fans of Ruth Septys. If you love Hamilton the musical, you will certainly enjoy Melissa de la Cruz’s book about Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza. The final two books take widely different looks at World War II history.

Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden   Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Night Witches by Kathryn Lasky   Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

For more suggestions, just ask at the circulation desk! We have several staff members who love to read from our Teen collections.

 

 

A Fresh Look at Arabian Nights

Although using traditional fairy tales as the basis for teen books has been popular for a while, most of these books have used European tales as a starting point. For example, Alex Flinn has written lots of fairy tale versions, including Beastly (Beauty and the Beast), A Kiss in Time (Sleeping Beauty), and Towering (Rapunzel). That’s why I was delighted to find these two books based on the stories of One Thousand and One Nights.

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh   The Rose & the Dagger b y Renn Ahdieh

One Thousand and One Nights (often known in English as The Arabian Nights) is a collection of stories by many authors and can be traced back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian and Jewish folklore.  Although collections of these stories can vary in content, the tales are told within the framework of Scheherazade who soothes her evil husband with her storytelling skills.

Marie Lu, author of Legend, described The Wrath & the Dawn as “an intoxicating gem of a story,” and added, “Don’t be surprised if the pages melt away and you find yourself racing through warm, golden sands or drinking spiced wine in cool marble courtyards,”  so buckle up for an exciting journey through Middle Eastern culture.

If your only connection to Arabian Nights comes from Disney’s Aladdin and the Prince of Persia movie or video game, you may want to brush up on some of the original stories. The Thousand Nights and One Night by Jan Pienkowski is a beautiful introduction to the most well-known stories. You might be surprised to learn that the stories of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor were not initially included in collections of One Thousand and One Nights. Although they are from the same geographical area, these were added later by European translators.

The Thousand Nights and One Night by Jan Pienkowski

Why not begin a reading Grand Tour, traveling the globe in search of stories from other cultures? The Wrath & the Dawn can be your first stop along the way.