Adults are devouring kids’ books for a good reason.

BestofBest_blue_vert Each year, YALSA presents the Best Fiction for Young Adults. This year’s list of 102 books was drawn from 200 official nominations. The books, recommended for ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens in a wide range of genres and styles, including contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction and novels in verse. images

In addition to the full list, the Best Fiction for Young Adults committee selected these Top Ten titles ~

  • Andrews, Jesse. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Abrams/Amulet Books, 2012.
  • Bray, Libba. The Diviners. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012.
  • Hartman, Rachel. Seraphina. Random House/Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012.
  • Kontis, Alethea. Enchanted. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Harcourt Children’s Books, 2012.
  • Levithan, David. Every Day. Random House/Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012.
  • McCormick, Patricia. Never Fall Down. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, 2012.
  • Quick, Matthew. Boy 21. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012.
  • Saenz, Benjamin. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012.
  • Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven Boys. Scholastic, 2012.
  • Wein, Elizabeth. Code Name Verity. Disney/Hyperion, 2012.

cropped-harry_potter_banner1 Young Adult isn’t really just for the 12-18 age group anymore ~ it’s the fastest growing publication category right now. In fact, 55 percent of readers who buy YA are actually over 18. If you still feel guilty picking up Harry Potter, don’t. images Suffering a major case of Harry potter withdrawal? Meet Quentin Coldwater.  In The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Quentin is admitted to an exclusive college of magic where he gets a very modern education in sorcery.  It’s witty, fast-paced, and entirely grown-up. 200px-Coraline Coraline is outrageous and inventive and definitely not just for children. It’s an award-winining novella by Neil Gaiman.  If you love it, pick up his Newberry Medal winner, The Graveyard Book. My book group read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and agreed it was a privilege to any age.  Set in Germany during WWII, a child and her foster parents quietly, dangerously resist the Nazis while hiding a Jewish man in their basement.


Are you reading a YA novel?  “Cross-under” is the new word for adults reading young ~ the saying ‘age is just a number’ applies here. Tell us about one you stayed up all night to finish.


meet you here next sunday ~ nonfiction

Toni 6/30/13

SENDAK SATURDAY #5 ~ On Being a Kid

As a kid, the thing that gave me the most Tiggerish joy imaginable was riding a bike.  Not mine, Bobby’s. Bobby lived next door and was abnormally good at sharing. He let me take his blue Schwinn Hornet with the two-tone saddle up the hill to a long flat road.


Pablo Neruda says in Ode to Bicycles that a bike ride is an occasion to give your “eyes to summer” and your “head to the sky.” I say it’s the perfect escape from the fears and worries of childhood. And beyond.


Maurice Sendak knows that the Wild Things are there all our lives.

Toni 6/29/13

For Reasons Best Left Unknown I Was Just Now Forced to Dump My Pocket Book Out on the Floor, and I Found a Letter to the Editor that I’d Tucked Away Some Time Ago. I Am Grateful that I Read It Initially, and I’m Grateful That I Saw Fit to Save It. I Think I’ve Unearthed It Just When I Needed It. Never mind that I DIDN’T Find What I Was Initially Hunting For. Frantically.

Winning War Over Evil

Since Monday, I’ve heard many express their feeling that our world is devolving amid a surge of evil. It isn’t, but I understand the sentiment.

For most born in the U.S. in the last 50 years, a merciful naiveté has shielded us from the worst of human nature, pre-9/11.  We weren’t at Bataan or Dachau in World War II, we didn’t practice hiding under our desks in fear of nuclear winter, we didn’t witness our own government repressing a minority population with fire hoses.

In truth, we’ve been winning the war against evil since the dawn of man, though losing battles along the way. It’s being won not by preventing evil, but by overwhelming it with the best of humanity when evil rears its ugly head.

I worry about the future for my children, but I’m grateful to exist in a time and place that fosters such naiveté, and I’m proud that my children will be a small part of the overwhelming best of humanity that continues to win the war.

Steve Kirsche Jr. , Portland

THANKS, STEVE. (This isn’t my purse, but this is the sound of me rummaging through and then finally upending my purse–er, pocket book as I call it, dating myself.)