Friday, June 08, 2012

Reading YA with Amanda

Teen Reads with a Twist! Inspiration for a story can come from anywhere as long as an author has an open mind and a ready pen.  My suggestions for June share that common theme.  Falling for Hamlet and Between the Lines would also make great beach reads. Happy reading:)

Falling for Hamlet
by Michelle Ray

Ophelia is just like any other teenage girl, who just happens to be in an on again, off again romance with the Prince of Denmark.  Falling for Hamlet is a modern day retelling of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet told from Ophelia’s point of view. Told in three parallel stories; Ophelia tells you what really happened, what she tells the public and what the government thinks happened. After the King’s death, Hamlet descends into madness, convinced that it was not natural causes that killed his father. As Hamlet spirals deeper out of control, Ophelia is torn between duty to herself and her family and her love of Hamlet.

What I loved the most about Ray’s retelling is that she didn’t just take the story and retell it from a different point of view. She updated it to what it would be like if it happened today; with the paparazzi and the media, and the frenzy that follows the royal family. Those who are familiar with the original play will appreciate that Ray left the names the same. Having not read Hamlet before, I appreciated this because I was able to look up the story and compare it very quickly. A great story for a mother and daughter to share with each other!

Ray, Michelle. Fallingfor Hamlet. New York: Poppy, Hatchette Book Group, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-316-10162-2. (hardback). Ages 14+

 Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Thomas Jefferson was a great man and a founding father. Yet, like all men, he had his secrets. Over the years many have become fact. You have heard for years about the relationship that Thomas Jefferson is rumored to have had with his slave, Sally Hemings. But how often have you sat back and considered what the lives of his children that he may have had with Sally were like? What does it mean when the man who wrote “all men are created equal,”owns slaves? Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has tried to answer these questions and more in this fictionalized look at the last twenty years of Thomas Jefferson’s life as told by three young slaves at Monticello.  What impressed me the most was the amount of research that Bradley put in to make the story as historically possible as she could. As you read it, remember, “it could have happened that way.”          

 Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. Jefferson’s Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret Children. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-803-73499-9. (hardback). Ages 8-12+

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Conor’s mother has cancer, and since she started treatments he has been having a recurring nightmare that keeps him awake at night. His father has remarried and moved to America, and he can't stand his grandmother, the only other family he has. As his mother's health gets worse, the kids at school treat him like the kid who you can catch “dying parent” cooties from. Then one night a monster wakes him up and demands something that Conor is unwilling to give. But Conor is not afraid of the monster. This is not the same monster from his nightmares. So the Monster makes a deal with Conor. He tells Conor three tales to teach him that the lines between good and bad, right and wrong are not always clear; and that speaking the truth will set you free.

 Ness, Patrick. A Monster Calls. Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd. Illustrated by Jim Kay. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-763-65559-4. (hardback). Ages 12+

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin
 Benedict Arnold: Traitor. This is all the history books tell you. But there is so much more to the man then just the name and the title. Benedict Arnold might have been America’s first traitor, but he was also our first war hero. America could not have won the war without him, though they have tried to erase him from history. Steve Sheinkin has spent years researching and uncovering the truth about who Arnold really was and what made him tick. Told from varying points of view through information learned from records, letters, and journals, Sheinkin gives you insight into the climate of the country and also of those closest to Arnold himself. Awarded the 2011 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2012 YALSA’s Best Nonfiction Read for Teens.

Sheinkin, Steve. The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism,& Treachery. New York: Flash Point, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1-596-43486-8. (hardback). Ages 11-14+

I had the privilege to hear Steve Sheinkin speak at a Children’s and Teens Literature Symposium last spring and found him fascinating. He started out as a history textbook writer, and made it his goal to find interesting and true stories to include because we all know how dry textbooks can be. Though every time he found a great little side story, it was edited out due to space or content. It was his desire to make history come alive and his large pile of true fun stories that inspired him to write the books “King George, what was his problem?” about the American Revolution and “Two Miserable Presidents” about the Civil War. It was during this time he spent writing textbooks that he became obsessed with Benedict Arnold, since almost every text book contained all of two sentences about him. “The Notorious Benedict Arnold” is Sheinkin’s latest book and the result of this obsession! For a good true story, I recommend all of Sheinkin’s books.

Special Sneak Peak
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

"What happens when happily ever after ... isn't?"

Delilah is just like everyone other 15 year old girl, just trying to survive high school and find her place in the world. One day, she finds a misshelved book in the school library and decides to check out the fairy tale for herself. Feeling a connection to the book, she finds she can't put it down. Having read it over and over, she begins to notice little changes and wonders if there is more to the story then just the words on the page.
Oliver is just like any fairy tale prince, any prince that knows he is just a character in a book that is. He is not in love with the fair maiden, and is tired of living the same story over and over. For him, there is no happily ever after because there is no "after" and he wants out. When he and Delilah realize they can hear each other, they begin plotting to get Oliver out from between the lines and into Delilah's world.
But can love really conquer all?

Expected Publication Date: June 26, 2012.
Young Adult, Ages 12+

ARC ISBN 978-1-4516-7557-3 used for review.

(my complete review )

No comments: