I have been reading a lot during quarantine to fill the time that could be spent thinking. I just finished my dissertation for my creative writing degree for which I wrote the opening of a young adult mystery. Therefore, I have read some young adult fiction. Here are four recent YA reads my favourite to least favourite.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
As soon as I finished reading this novel I told everyone I was messaging who much I amazing this book was. I didn’t think that a novel written in verse could tell a story that would impact me so deeply, creating such enchanting imagery and emotion. We follow the Poet X as she handles growing up, her relationship with her brother, her relationship with her parents, religion and first love while she expresses herself through poetry. I cannot recommend it enough with the verse making it so easy to just keep reading while keeping you wanting to know what happens next.
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
This is an incredibly powerful story centering around a horrifyingly common reality of police shootings of black people in America. We follow a protagonist who struggles with her identity as a black person in a predominantly white school, how to support her community and the pressure of being the only witness to a shooting that triggered a protest. She tackles her need to avoid stereotypes and her fear of standing up for what she believes in during potentially dangerous protests while the whole community is watching. It is a bold story of growth and understanding.
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D Jackson
This is a young adult mystery following a disappearance of a school girl. Her best friend is trying to find out what happened to her friend when no one seems to care. It confronts social issues to do with race and economic class and the failure of institutions that are supposed to protect the most vulnerable in society. There is an element of psychological twist which I didn’t enjoy the most in terms of narrative progression but I appreciate the building of emotionally intensity. As a reader, I needed to find out what happened.
One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus
This is another young adult mystery with the premise that someone dies in detention and four stereotypical students are left in suspicion. There is a clear mystery with secrets that are revealed to complicate matters. I liked the use of social media to further the mystery. The student who died ran an app that exposed the secrets of other students and secrets of the suspect students were drafted on his app. Tumblr posts published after his death are also used to further the narrative. Relationship subplots are played out as well. I’m not sure how I felt about the conclusion of the mystery. It was uncomfortable to read and could have ethical implications to the understanding of mental health. It was however a solid mystery.
Those are all my recent YA reads. Any recommendations let me know!