Discussion: The “Outsiders” in YA

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I read a lot of YA books, but over the years I’ve noticed a lot of changes taking place. No longer are YA books the lighter fare that I was used to while growing up, but instead they’ve changed into serious stories, some ranging from fantasy or supernatural tales, or even some hardcore contemporary books.

One of the things I’ve noticed while reading some of my favourite stories is the division between groups of people. In the “real world,” I feel like we’re learning how to accept people of different ages, nationalities — we learn that we’re all the same, human beings built of bones and blood, all here for the same thing, all of us just trying to be accepted and trying to accept ourselves. Throughout the centuries, it’s been a struggle, but as a whole, I like to think that society is becoming more accepting of the differences between all of us.

Now, move this into the world of YA books. One thing I’ve noticed is that we have the main group of people in a book, the people we’re supposed to root for, and then we have the DIFFERENT people. More times than not, the groups fight and argue and mean things are said about their differences. Think about how in the “real world” it’s not okay to say politically incorrect things or really mean things straight out at anyone — we’re all so cautious to say the “right” thing that when I see people in books just being so obviously rude, I wonder what it’s teaching our kids.

Some of my favourite dystopian books are like this. Let’s take a totally popular book like The Hunger Games, for instance. Basically, the premise of the book is kids killing kids. There are different districts dividing the people. There is major hatred going on between a lot of the people and that HUGE dividing line between the districts and the Capitol. I know that parents and teachers will teach kids how to tell the difference between fiction and real life, but sometimes I feel like the line between the two — especially for kids who could get lost in so many books — is very fine.

Take books based in high school (Gossip Girl, anyone?) — we have the prom queen, the bully, the school bitch, the nerds, etc. As I write this, I even recall finishing one of my favourite books. In it, one of the characters was a HUGE bitch. Could a book like this teach someone to be JUST like that character? Maybe some kids think it’s okay to act like that?

Maybe this is just me thinking like this, and maybe this is why I find myself veering towards contemporaries these days, but sometimes so much hatred in a book can even get to me — someone who generally is very accepting in life. It makes ME sad and I have to remind myself that it’s just fiction.

Am I being too sensitive? Do you think that most kids will know how to tell the difference between the fiction of books and the reality of life? Do you think that some YA books ARE just a little too serious and maybe just a little too harsh when it comes to the differences between different cultures or societies? 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty

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“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming books whose releases are being eagerly awaited. Bloggers are encouraged to join in and post about the book they’re looking forward to reading.

blue notes

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Gallery Books| May 6, 2014

For fans of Jamie McGuire and S.C. Stephens, a sizzling new adult novel featuring the tumultuous relationship between a young piano prodigy and a reluctant billionaire playboy—set against the vibrant backdrop of a New Orleans college campus.

After being bounced from foster family to foster family, Keeley, a talented pianist, is ready to start over as a junior at Tulane. But when she plays a small concert that attracts the attention of Jude, a brooding playboy and heir to an enormous fortune in the wake of his parents’ tragic death, suddenly Keeley’s life is thrown off balance once again.

Jude is the first person to confront her about the pain behind her music, and she struggles with whether or not to let him into her life, or to keep protecting herself from the hurt that relationships have caused her in the past. But Keeley’s about to learn that the melancholy young billionaire who appears to have everything he wants can open her eyes to exactly what she needs…

OK, seriously — how sweet is that cover? LOVE IT! And it’s NA (which I love), involves a piano prodigy (I love the piano!), AND it doesn’t seem typical of a lot of the other NA books out there. WIN. You guys all know my love for books about music, so naturally, I’m excited about this one!

What are you waiting for? 

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Review: Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #4) by Lisa Kleypas

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Crystal CoveTitle: Crystal Cove
Series: Friday Harbor, #4
Author:
Lisa Kleypas
Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Source:
Library (Paperback)

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In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas’s Crystal Cove, Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny.

What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow.

And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threaten everything she holds dear . . . because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow.

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As much as I loved the first book I read in this series (book number two, to be exact — obviously I’m not worried about reading these in order!), I have to say that this book was a bit … different.

One of my hesitations in the first book was the magic of the story’s characters. They weren’t witches, per se, but magical things could happen when they were around. This book goes a bit deeper than that, mostly in the fact that the male lead, Jason, has no soul. I mean … what?

This isn’t to say that the magic held me back in this book, but it was definitely a bit different to read. I did like the story and once I got past the amount of magic that the story was offering, I started to enjoy it a bit more. It’s definitely not the kind of contemporary romance that I’m used to reading, that’s for sure! When it comes to this series, I think the paranormal/magic bit is what will make this story not one of my favourites in the series, which is too bad since it’s the fourth one in the series — one would only think that the story would get better. There was also a lot of instalove — which really isn’t that believable, unfortunately.

Needless to say, Kleypas really does write a good contemporary romance and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the series has to offer.

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Author Links
WEB | GOODREADS

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