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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More YA novels

One of the NPR books reviewers contributed "5 YA novels for all ages" to the ongoing list of 5 books to read (at the books section of their website).  I haven't actually read any of these, though I think Delirium is on my To Read list (as I recall, the reviews on goodreads were rather mixed for that one, so I didn't put it on the very top of my list, plus it's new, so I won't be able to get it in the library yet). 

I'm finding that it's a bit harder to determine which YA novels will appeal to me, compared to adult novels. There's lots of gushy reviews on goodreads for books that I end up not enjoying all that much (Die For Me is case in point, and all those fallen angel books). Of course there's always a mix of opinions on virtually every book, but I feel like I haven't deciphered it yet.  For example, people said, if you liked Graceling, you'll love The Blue Sword.  I liked The Blue Sword, and it has some surface similarities - adventure fantasy, strong female character, and set in a combination of  an alternate universe and the past on earth (when people still ride horses and defend themselves with bows and arrows).  But it's nowhere nearly as emotionally deep and resonant as Graceling and that's what really appealed to me about the book and made it stick with me.  But how do you get that level of information from the reviews?

There's just so darn many books out there, and only so many hours in the day. I try to use reviews to figure out which books I'll actually enjoy, but with mixed success so far.  I think I've done much better with movies, - using reviews to figure out what to watch and what to skip.  Maybe the bar is just too high - after years and years of reading reviews and seeing movies, I've honed my discernment, and it'll take awhile to get to that level with books. (Though I shouldn't overstate my level of discernment - I still get lead astray by reviews - especially into avoiding movies that I end up loving, like The Village.)
I'm starting to think that Amazon reviews may be better for deciding which YA novels to read, though it's not a flawless system either.  Maybe there's another book site out there that I'll stumble across at some point, that will more perfectly suit my tastes.  I can only hope.



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