Amanda’s Adventures in Reading
Wonderful juvenile fiction titles exist for young readers at all skill levels, from first chapter books like the Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows, to the 39 Clues books for reluctant readers, to historical fiction like the Dear Canada and more male focused I am Canada diary series, to more advanced titles like Kit Pearson’s The Guests of War Trilogy. However, sometimes young readers want to explore titles beyond the juvenile fiction shelves, and look to the young adult section for new reading discoveries.
Young adult titles often contain more challenging writing, but usually also include advanced subject matter, complex situations, and might be darker, more violent, or contain references to sex, drugs, and alcohol, which younger readers are not ready to encounter. So today, I’ve chosen to highlight a few young adult titles that have content more suitable for younger readers looking for challenging reads.
First is Seraphina, which was written by Canadian author Rachel Hartman, and received the 2013 William C. Morris Award for best debut book for teens. Telling the story of the strong-willed and talented Seraphina, a half-human half-dragon musician, Seraphina takes readers into the mystical kingdom of Goredd. Though in Goredd peace has existed between humans and dragons (who can fold themselves into human form) for close to forty years, this peace may soon be shattered. For at the novel’s start readers discover that a member of the royal family has been murdered—in a suspiciously draconian fashion—and tensions between these two very different groups threaten to boil over. The first in a series, Seraphina is a great selection for dragon or fantasy loving readers.
Another book for lovers of fantastical fiction is Alex Flinn’s Beastly. A contemporary re-telling of Beauty and the Beast reset in New York, which tells the story of Kyle Kingsbury, a spoiled rich kid, whose wealth, good looks, and lack of parental guidance have turned him into a mean and shallow young man. But when a witch curses and transforms him into a disfigured beast, he must change his ways and find someone who will truly love him without his beauty.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman, This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel, and The Selection by Kiera Cass are other examples of young adult fiction that might be suitable for a slightly younger audience. However, it is important to remember that each of the mentioned titles are written for a young adult audience and may include somewhat more mature subject matter. If you have concerns about what your child is reading, a great resource to explore is the website Common Sense Media, available at www.commonsensemedia.org, at which you can find reviews that highlight factors including the positive messages, role models, violence, and language that is found within books, movies, television shows and more.
* Originally published on April 18th in Haliburton County Living