Tuesday, December 12, 2023

December Reads: YA Novels!

 I've been involved in a project with YA novels for the past few months so I've been reading so. many. YA. novels. 

I thought I'd highlight a few of my favorites. They're all a bit different, but each definitely tugged at my heart! 

Here they are in no particular order:

This will appeal to anyone who likes to read short stories. Each author writes at the end of the short story about their personal mental health experiences, which made the short stories more impactful for me. Issues include self-harm, anxiety, depression, grief, and much more. 

YA historical fiction centered around a young Japanese American teen living in the Pacific Northwest, and the fallout her family goes through in the days after Pearl Harbor as neighbors turn against neighbors. 

A young teen (Avery) has to move from Washington DC to a small town in the South when her grandmother's cancer takes a turn for the worst. Avery doesn't know her grandmother, but wants to learn her family history--which is deeply wrapped up in the black and white tensions that run through the town. 

Sports fans will love this novel set in Minnesota, where a young man with big talent has to lead his Native American basketball team to the state finals, all while grieving over his older brother's death and the expectations to live up to his brother's legacy. A study in grief, family dynamics, and tensions between Native Americans and the world they must navigate within a white world. 

This one got me fired up and angry pretty quickly. Definitely a hot button issue. A young woman finds herself pregnant and decides an abortion is the only answer. She must leave her Texas town with her boyfriend to get an abortion. Oh, it's a good one--this would make an excellent book club discussion.

This book had my heart from the first few pages. Ian lives on the last few acres of what was once a 300 acre family farm in Vermont. His mother is addicted to drugs, they have no money for food or heat, and Ian keeps it all to himself to stay on his family's land. His friendship with Gather, a very large dog that arrives at his home is the center of this novel about survival, family history, self-reliance, and learning to trust people. This was such a good book!!

If anything, my diving into YA books has reminded me that there are so many excellent stories just waiting to be read and shared. Don't forget to explore the YA section of your local library or bookstore. There are many gems out there!

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