It's Good To Keep Up On What Young People Are Reading

SHELF LIFE

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Remember when school was in full swing and going to high school football games and wondering what to wear to the dance were the most important things on your agenda? Time flies, you marry and have children and you find that they enjoy and worry about many of the things you did as a kid.

But what about reading material? The subject matter changes with the changing trends. "The Hardy Boys," "Nancy Drew" and "Tom Swift" aren't nearly as appealing to teens nowadays.

"Harry Potter" and "Lemony Snickett" are only two of the hot teen reads today. Every parent needs to take the time to read a young adult book now and again. They are great reading. The subject matter clues you in to what kids have to deal with today.

Young adult

"Cinderella: As if you Didn't Already Know the Story" by Barbara Ensor. I know you've heard the story a million times before. Mean stepmother. Lots of sweeping. Fancy ball. You remember, or do you? Did you remember that Cinderella was such a nice girl and that her handsome prince loved Jell-O? I didn't think so. So maybe you should hear the story one last time. This book is a quick read for smart girls.

"Knights of the Hill Country" by Tim Thorp. Welcome to Kennisaw, where Friday night high school football ranks next to God and country. The Kennisaw Knights are going for their fifth straight undefeated season. The Knights' legacy is a heavy weight to carry for Hampton Green, linebacker and star of the team. On the field, he is so in control, you'd think he was able to stop time. His life off the field is a different story. His father left he and his mother years ago and now his mom has a new boyfriend every week. This is the unforgettable story of a boy who must decide for himself the true meaning of sportsmanship, loyalty and legend, and who must ultimately summon the strength to choose what kind of man he wants to become.

"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, narrated by Death. Zusak's new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist -- books. Soon, she is stealing books from Nazi book burnings wherever they are to be found. It's a small story about, among other things, a girl, some words, some fanatical Germans, but most of all, it is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

"Just in Case" by Meg Rosoff. Watching Justin Case is like watching a train wreck. He's impossible. He's convinced Fate is out to get him. And he's right. Fate is watching him, watching and plotting a million things that might happen to Justin today.

He might leave home.

He might die.

He might even fall in love.

Justin's story is funny, tender, timely and compelling. The novel is utterly unique.

"After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings and Flew Away" by Joyce Carol Oates. Jenna Abbott separates her life into two categories -- before the wreck when she was leading a normal life with her mom in New York. After the wreck, Jenna is alone, trying desperately to forget what happened that day on the bridge. She's determined not to let anyone get close to her again. Then she meets Crow. Can Jenna bring herself to face the memories she's tried so hard to forget?

"If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?" by Melissa Kantor. When Lucy Norton's father remarries, her life is turned upside down. A move from the West Coast to Long Island finds Lucy with a small bedroom in the unfinished basement, unlimited chores, a blank social calendar and a huge crush on the dashing prince of the basketball team. So, isn't she supposed to get the prince and go to the senior prom? The author delivers humor and romance as she explores the struggle of finding your real prince and more important, yourself, in this funny romantic novel.

"Heat" by Mike Lupica. Michael Arroyo grows up in the shadows of hallowed Yankee Stadium. His only chance to see his field of dreams is to pitch his Bronx All-Star team to the district finals and a shot at the Little League World Series. Michael is good and rival coaches don't believe he's only 12 years old. And Michael has no way to prove it, no mother, no father, and a birth certificate that is back home in his native Cuba. If the people from Social Services find out, he could be separated from the only family he has -- his older brother, Carlos. This is a feel good baseball story that will have readers cheering through the last inning.

A new writer

Please welcome aboard, Emily Arnold. Emily is 13 years old. She is an avid reader. She will be reviewing young adult books for the library's monthly column.

"Moonrise" by Erin Hunter. "Moonrise" is a wonderful book for all ages.

It's a thrilling quest about a group of warrior cats desperately searching for a new home. Along the way, the rival warriors learn to get along with each other and realize they can't fight all the time.

Emily recommends this book for people who love cats, adventures or those who just want to read something original. Erin Hunter has done a magnificent job creating a new adventure in her "Warriors" series. This book deserves four stars at least.

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