Archives for posts with tag: time travel

9780763660604I’ve been debating with myself whether it’s worth writing about a book that I didn’t like, given that the point of this blog is to make book recommendations. Well in this particular case, I read a book last night that I have actually recommended on several occasions. We do that sometimes, recommend books we haven’t read. I usually try to be honest about it. “Have you read it?” “Well I’ve read the back.”

The book in question is Liz Kessler’s A Year Without Autumn (Candlewick, $6.99). I wanted to like this book, not least because it has a great cover. It also has an interesting description. I like books with a little time travel, especially when it’s handled well (see Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me). I also thought this book looked like it would be a good step forward for fans of Emily Windsnap. It is a little more serious, has complex themes, and in general just looks really good. But it was boring. There is a lot of unnecessary description of things that had little to do with the story. And I don’t think the girls sound very realistic. There is something about their conversation that feels stilted to me. Many of the word choices seemed particularly British, so I assumed the whole time I was reading that the book takes place in Britain. At the end, however, it becomes clear that the girls are supposed to be American. By that time I was just confused because they really didn’t sound like American pre-teens. Anyway, the book has an interesting premise and would probably even generate some thought-provoking questions about fate, friendship, and what you can and cannot control in your life. I just wish that there was more to help me connect with the Jenni and Autumn or at least care what happens to them. I don’t think I’ll start steering people away from it (I do that sometimes, too), but I’m taking it off my list of books to recommend.

Yesterday kicked off Yalsa‘s Teen Read Week so I thought it would be a great time to highlight YA books. There are so many phenomenal YA writers now and I’ve really enjoyed seeing people take the genre increasingly seriously over the past few years. Did you see the NPR list from this summer?

For teens who do a lot of reading, I’ll start by recommending Kerstin Geir’s Ruby Red (Henry Holt, $9.99), which is the first in a trilogy followed by Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green. The books are translated from the German and the pacing of the first volume is very different than many American YA books. The narrative is methodical — slowly establishing the character and building up the intricate context — and it incorporates time travel, secret societies, romance, and history. The hardcover flap jacket is stunning and I first picked up the book because it was so attractive. Unfortunately, the paperback cover is kind of trashy and I’m having a harder time selling it. The second volume is available this October. Ruby Red ends right when the action really started picking up and I’m anxious to read Sapphire Blue. I plan to buy it in hardcover as that paper back cover is terrible and doesn’t do justice to the quality of the story! Even teens who are widely read might have missed this highly-recommended series.

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