Tuesday, August 17, 2010

a middle schooler lists the BEST YA BOOKS OUT THERE!

I'm really excited about this post! I have with me the awesome Kirby W who is about to be a freshman. I asked him to think about the best books he read in middle school and recommend 10 here on my blog. He's got 11 recommendations (I asked him to recommend 10, but I got 11) and it was really cool to hear the perspective of a 14-year-old (former) middle school reader. I may 'yea' or 'nay' a YA book, but I'm 21 years old and in college; what are the kids in actual target audience saying? So let me introduce Kirby the almost-freshman, and he's going to give his recommendations for the best YA books out there!
Just keep in mind that these are the thoughts of a 14-year-old dude: they have not been edited or altered!

1. The Looking Glass Wars, Frank Beddor
SERIES: followed by Seeing Redd, ArchEnemy
Kirby says: This is probably my new favorite series. The last book came out last year. The take on Alice in Wonderland was awesome. I really liked the series villain, Queen Redd. She was evil and funny, which yeah is a weird combo, but she was really entertaining. And this story’s version of the white rabbit is pretty cool, too. I didn’t mind that the main character’s a girl, cause she’s cool and smart and not whiny like girls I know. And I liked the battle scenes. Battle scenes are cool.

2. The Warrior Heir, Cinda Williams Chima
SERIES: followed by The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir
Kirby says: This was a really cool take on magic. The second book has more to do with magic and wizards and all that stuff, and the first one was more action-packed and battles and whatnot. I did like that even though the book was about magic and wizards and stuff like that, it didn't feel like I was reading the same story over and over. There were enough cool concepts. And the main character was likable, like he was a real kid. These were both quick reads: not too long and wordy. I get bored if books are too long. And hungry.

3. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
SERIES: followed by Catching Fire, Mockingjay (not released)
Kirby says: BEST SERIES EVER! Better than Harry Potter! For real, Harry’s got that wand and all, but he wouldn’t make it five feet past that cornucopia. I’d like to see him “expelliarmus!” those Careers.I loved reading about that futuristic society, but it was kind of scary too, because I got the feeling that maybe this stuff could happen. Dude. Anyway, this series was cool. I don’t care about those “teams” though. That’s girl stuff. I totally think Peeta’s going to die.

4. The Maze Runner, James Dashner
SERIES: followed by The Scorch Trials (not released), The Death Cure (not released)
Kirby says: Really awesome story idea. Most of my friends read this one too. I’d definitely recommend this to all the guys. Lots of action and suspense. The ending was a little weird, but the next book in the series is coming out soon. TMR reminded me of Percy Jackson for some reason – the characters were funny, cool, and easy to relate to, like the characters from that series. I’d definitely recommend TMR to any PJ fans.

5. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
SERIES: followed by The Arctic Incident, The Eternity Code, The Opal Deception, The Lost Colony, The Time Paradox, The Atlantis Complex
Kirby says: One of my all-time favorite series. Elves here aren’t all old and naturey and all Lord of the Ringsy – they’re really advanced and high-tech. The cool story and many details made reading AF a fun experience. The rest of the books in the series are cool, too, and I’d recommend reading all of them. Plus it’s cool to have a main character like Artemis. He’s like a child-criminal genius, but he’s not like really bad or anything.

6. Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy
SERIES: followed by Playing with Fire, The Faceless Ones, Dark Days, Mortal Coin (not released)
Kirby says: Oh my freaking gosh this book is incredible. You MUST read this. Skulduggery is the awesomest character in fiction. He's a wizard, but a wizard with a twist: not old and not a schoolboy either. When I was reading the first book, I kept thinking of a comic book or a graphic novel for some reason. It just reads that way, which is really cool, cause it's visual in this graphic-novel sense. I don't know how many books will be in the series, but I will read every single one of them.

7. The Alchemyst, Michael Scott (not the boss from 'The Office')
SERIES: followed by The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock (not published), The Enchantress (not published)
Kirby says: I like this book a lot, but it’s kind of advanced. Like, I probably would have understood it better if I’d been in high school. But I like history so it was really cool to have historical people and events blended together with fantasy magic. It was our school's Recommended Book of the Year a few years ago. I think grownups like it because they think all that historical stuff is educational. It is, but it's cool too.

8. Gone, Michael Grant
SERIES: followed by Hunger, Lies, Plague (not published), Darkness (not published), Light (not published)
Kirby says: It sounds like a cheesy idea, right? All the adults are gone, and a bunch of kids and teenagers are left? Party time, right? Actually, Gone showed how crappy and horrible that situation would really be. I liked this book because it was interesting and fun, but also because it had this realistic feel to it too, like this is actually how kids would behave if something like this really happened. I liked how the author seemed to know about how kids really act and how they really feel. This is one of the best series I’ve ever read. It’s got lots of action, and I like action.

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone , JK Rowling
SERIES: followed by Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows
Kirby says: I’m not even going to say anything. It’s Harry freaking Potter. Ya know.

10. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
SERIES: followed by The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian
Kirby says: Harry Potter may be a classic, but Percy Jackson's going to take over. I would definitely recommend the Percy Jackson series to everyone. Adults will like it, because they’ll get a kick out of the way the myths are incorporated into the story. And teachers will find Mr. D really funny, and probably a little autobiographical. Percy's pretty cool, Grover's hilarious, and Annabeth is hot.

11. Eragon, Christopher Paolini
SERIES: Eldest, Brisingr, untitled 4th book (not released)
Kirby says: Dragons and swords and fighting and not a lot of that romance stuff. Really cool story and pretty exciting all the way through. I didn’t mind that it’s so freaking long. The rest of the books are cool, but the first is the best. Galbatorix is one of the best villains I've ever read.

13 shout-outs!:

Kate E. said...

Great post! It is interesting to see how differently an actual teen looks at these books. Love it!

Becky said...

Great list of books. I have really been wanting to read "Hunger Games." As I was reading this I was thinking about a book that I just had the privilege to preview (before its October 15th release date) titled, "Mary's Son: A Tale of Christmas" by Darryl Nyznyk. It is a modern day Christmas story with with the actual Christmas story included. I believe that a lot of young adults and adults alike are really going to love this book also.

Beverly said...

Great list! I have to say I enjoyed these a lot - they are all pretty hot at the MC for our middle schoolers too!

Amber Skye said...

Yep, I have to agree with Kirby. These are some of the greatest middle school reads. I read a couple of them sometime between 6-8th grade, although I did read The Hunger Games this past year.

Lesa said...

You know, I really like the male perspective! Probably why I read so many action-y books with boy heros, battles and not too much lovey-dovey stuff--- and probably why I like tomboyish feisty girls in books.

Great job, Kirby!! Looking forward to checking out your recommendations that are new to me.

Amelia--- Encore Encore! this would be a cool recurrent feature! with Kirby and/or other middlegrade kids-- girls too. ;o)

Angela said...

Thanks for the book list.

Also, I like the picture you have as the header of your blog, and the Mark Twain quote!

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

This is such a cute post! I love the selections, and I have to say that I quite agree :)

Jillian said...

"I totally think Peeta's going to die." Hahaha.

Loved this post!

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Thanks for this post. I just finished The Hunger Games and it was unlike anything I had ever read!

CGLnyc said...

Great post. Will have to read the ones I haven't gotten to yet this year!

Anonymous said...

this was a great idea. i was comparing the books he nominated and the books id nominate and they're pretty similar,( maybe bc were the same age?)

anyway, great idea and now I cant wait to read the maze runner and gone and the looking glass wars and the rest of the eragon books

Jessica said...

OMG. I actually love THE ALCHEMYST and SKULLDUGERY PLEASANT. They are both pure awesome!

Tristan said...

WHAT A FREAKIN' AWESOME IDEA! I love the concept of this post! It was so unique to actually talk to a rising freshman and get their opinions on books they liked! By the way tell your interviewee that he is super awesome! Percy Jackson is the bomb as is the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, The Alchemist, and Harry Potter, so I love that he mentioned all of these phenomenal books!
Great, great post!

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