(Maybe I should add that I used to look after the children's and teen section in a bookstore and read loads of teenage books to keep up to date.. and then I got hooked! I don't read so many teenage books as I did, but I always check the section in bookshops and look out for new books and authors on line, and am always ready for suggestions!)
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
This one's about depression and a psych ward and sorting out your problems with shrinks, meds and help. It's a great book for any teenager (or adult) who is suffering from similar issues, or for people who know others who are in the same situation. But, it's also a really good read even if you are not affected by the subject matter, it's got lots about relationships and general growing up stuff. I really really enjoyed it, it isn't as bleak as it might sound and has a great voice.
Now, apparently it's also a film. I haven't seen the film, but would like to. It has Lauren Graham (Lorelai from Gilmore Girls) in it, which is a mark of a good film I reckons.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
When my niece turns 13 this is the book I am going to get her for her birthday. I think it's a book that could get missed because it was written in the 1940s and set in the 1930s and possibly looks a bit dry if you just look at the cover and synopsis.... but DON'T MISS OUT!! really, it's romantic, bookish, smart, quirky and really wonderful. I love the opening paragraph
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board,which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring - I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my poetry is so bad that I musn't write any more of it
...it has also been turned into a film, and it's great too. Read the book then watch the film. x
I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block
Ahh, Francesca Lia Block is the most unique writer. She has this wonderful style that is sort of gritty and magical. Perhaps she is most famous for the Weetzie Bat series of books, but I Was a Teenage Fairy is my favourite.
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
I realise that I've written a lot about 'voice' when writing about books for teenagers, that's because I find it the most important part of teen books. You need the voice to feel real. Sloppy Firsts feels real - it's told in diary form, and is totally great and authentic, lively and fresh. There are five books in the series, and I have read four of them (although really need to get the fifth), if you read them you will definitely fall in love with Marcus Flutie - he is delicious.
A Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos
Hole in My Life is autobiography aimed at teenagers. It is wonderful, the author did a drug deal, got caught and then went to prison. You may know Jack Gantos from the Joey Pigza series....
...they are aimed more at the 8-12 age range and they are charming and bittersweet. I haven't read them in a while and yet they are still really clear in my mind. If you are looking for books for boys which aren't fantasy or adventure, then you probably need to start here.
That is it for now. Anyone else got any favourite teen reads?