Here's what I've loved in the past week:
BOX OUT, John Coy. This is the second sports-themed YA novel I've read by Mr. Coy, following Crackback, which was about football. The focus this time is on my beloved basketball. Liam Bergstrom is excited to find himself tapped to play on the varsity team. He's only a sophomore - what could be more exciting? But there are complications: a girlfriend doing a semester in France provides distraction and a coach insistent on prayer in the locker room provides frustration. Liam's a Christian but he's definitely on the side of separating Church and State. If he's outspoken on this issue, how will that affect his place on the team? I hope girl readers won't be put off by the boy-packaging of Mr. Coy's books, because he writes stories that are exciting, thoughtful and thought-provoking.
BURNED, Ellen Hopkins. Along with Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen, Ellen Hopkins is one of the three goddesses of YA fiction, setting the gold standard for the rest of us. Using her trademark style of extended prose poem, this one focuses on a girl whose sexual dreams are problematic not only with her uber-religious family but also when they find grounding in reality. For anyone wondering why YA is the hot place to write these days, Ms. Hopkins provides the answer. Can you imagine an author of adult fiction regularly making the NYT list writing 600-page prose poems???
A CORNER OF UNIVERSE, Rebbie Macintyre. This is one I was sent to blurb if I liked it. I did and here is the blurb: "An article I read once said great storytelling involves the same principle that works when grandparents tell kids stories that make the kid say, 'And then what happened?' This is what Rebbie Macintyre has achieved with A CORNER OF UNIVERSE, a novel that will leave readers breathlessly saying, 'And then what happened?' 'And then what happened?'." But since the book isn't available yet and won't be for some time, in the meantime how about checking out Ms. Macintyre's previous book, Cast the First Stone?
So what have you read lately that's excited you?
Be well. Don't forget to write.