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Dancre
06-08-2007, 04:12 AM
Ok, tell me what I"m doing wrong. I"ve read through these threads and you all give great examples of serious Teen books i.e. rape, pregnancy, preditors, etc. BUT when I go to Barnes and Noble and head for the YA section all I find is "Tommy Loves Me" books. I call them Bubble Gum books. I can never find the more serious books. Am I looking in the wrong area??

kim

scarletpeaches
06-08-2007, 04:15 AM
I think it was Toni Morrison who said if there's a book you want to read but you can't find it, write it yourself. :D

Dancre
06-08-2007, 04:16 AM
That's what I'm doing now. LOL!!!

scarletpeaches
06-08-2007, 04:18 AM
Jeez, you should see the books on sale here. "Johnny Fartpants eats bogeys" or "Sally Jizzwhore removes her underpants."

I despair for the youth of today, I really do.

(Yeah but no but, there are actually books on sale with titles like "The day my bum ran away" and something about Captain Underpants). :D

Dancre
06-08-2007, 04:35 AM
LOL!! Oh, Scarlet. LOL!! Actually, I'm not looking for sex, just the more serious issues besides Who loves whom, like the books you all discuss. I"m wondering if I'm in the wrong area. And if I do find something interesting, it sounds like it's written for a twelve year old, yet is in the YA section. mmm . . .

kim

Cassidy
06-08-2007, 07:59 AM
Big chain bookstores tend to carry a lot of bubble-gum books and bestsellers, IMO. If you have a good independent bookseller where you live, support them instead. Independent bookstores rock and the large chains are putting the independent bookstores out of business, which will seriously narrow the range of books you can find. I make lists of books I want to read (from book reviews, awards and friend's recommendations) and either get them out of the library or buy (order if necessary) from independent book stores. There is a lot of really good quality YA literature out there.

Have you read Meg Rosoff's "How I live Now?" Or Carrie Mac's "The Beckoners?" John Green's "Looking for Alaska" or "An Abundance of Katherines?"

Sorry, I know you weren't asking for suggestions but I thought you might like some anyway-- I know I'm always looking for new books myself!

Shady Lane
06-08-2007, 08:07 AM
^I LOVe Looking for Alaska.

Now, I'm certainly not against supporting independents (I'm getting published by one, so obviously) but you CAN find great stuff at Barnes and Noble/Borders/all that crap. It's there. You've got to dig a little bit, but it's there.

You want some terribly sexist advice?

Look for stuff written by guys.

Seriously.

I don't read female writers anymore.
I know it's awful....

Harper K
06-08-2007, 08:45 AM
The serious ones are out there! I swear! I think I honed my trick for ignoring the Bubble Gum Books back when chick lit became popular. I got so sick of seeing pink cartoony covers on the front tables of bookstores that I started glossing over them altogether.

I got started on YA books through the Internet. I started thinking that the novels I was writing were more YA than adult fiction, and so I decided to check out the YA section for the first time since I was 14 or so. Back then (early '90s), everything was either horror, romance, or "issue books." But there were so few issue books that a fast reader could tear through them all in a summer. The genre started changing a lot in the late '90s / early '00s, and there started to be more room for comic novels, satire, sci-fi, and just plain old contemporary novels without some Big Teenage Problem lurking within them. Anyway, I started reading YA writers' and readers' blogs, and some of the same book titles and authors' names kept coming up as being really good. Everybody was raving about Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Markus Zusak, M.T. Anderson, Meg Rosoff, E. Lockhart, and others. So I started checking those out.

To this day, I don't think there's a YA book I've read that I've just picked up off the shelf. Everything's been an Internet recommendation. I go into the bookstore or library with a TBR list and grab what I can find. I ignore the fluff. There's a lot of fluff, sometimes.

My library has a really good YA section, with new books coming in all the time. My local bookstores can be hit or miss. Borders and B&N have been hawking the series books lately -- Gossip Girl and its many clones. Sometimes I hear about a great new YA novel, and it'll be nowhere to be found at the bookstore. If you have an independent children's bookstore nearby, they might be of help, though some may not carry some of the edgier YA titles.

Zoombie
06-08-2007, 09:12 AM
I'm glad my mom read me Ringworld while I was growing up, expecially if bubble gum books were all I could look forward too.

Dancre! Write dark YA books for my children, please!

Not that I have children...yet.

moondance
06-08-2007, 12:11 PM
I think they are there, but the bubblegum books are the ones placed face-up, so you have to read the spines to find the good stuff. Bubblegum sells well, and rather like TV, the majority of people want to be entertained rather than educated a lot of the time (see success of Big Brother and daytime soaps/chat shows). So it's only natural that the bubblegum books should be made visible. However, I spend a lot of time reading all the spines and pulling books out to read the blurb. I also rifle through the Waterstones 3 for 2 a lot of the time, because there is always a handful of really strong issue/realism books there. You just have to spend time looking for them!

spike
06-08-2007, 03:44 PM
My daughter (15) and her friends hate the "bubblegum" books. They like dark. Suicide, mental breakdowns, cutting, drug abuse, abusive parents/teachers are some of what she likes.

Dark is good.

weatherfield
06-08-2007, 06:29 PM
Well, I second what everyone else has been saying; at the big chain stores, the books with substance are definitely there, but the staff doesn't highlight them, because they're not bright and pink and glossy :D You just have to poke around a little and you'll run across them. Also, if there's a good library in your area, that's actually an excellent place to look for quality YA. Librarians tend to know the good stuff, and they often set out the Printz finalists and the Newberry Award winners in highly visible locations, hoping to entice adolescent readers away from all the Bubblegum.

Not to discount female YA authors at all, but Shady is dead-on about looking for male writers. There are some really amazing ones being published right now. Along with John Green, I'd particularly recommend Adam Rapp (I suspect I may be in love with him). If you haven't read Laurie Halse Anderson or E.R. Frank, those women aren't afraid to tackle anything, and the prose? Stellar. Okay, this could easily devolve into a My Favorite Books list, so I'm going to exercise some restraint and stop now. Good luck with the search--I hope you find something amazing.

Oh, and Chris Crutcher, he's super-cool too. I'll stop now.

Dancre
06-08-2007, 08:45 PM
Big chain bookstores tend to carry a lot of bubble-gum books and bestsellers, IMO. If you have a good independent bookseller where you live, support them instead. Independent bookstores rock and the large chains are putting the independent bookstores out of business, which will seriously narrow the range of books you can find. I make lists of books I want to read (from book reviews, awards and friend's recommendations) and either get them out of the library or buy (order if necessary) from independent book stores. There is a lot of really good quality YA literature out there.

Have you read Meg Rosoff's "How I live Now?" Or Carrie Mac's "The Beckoners?" John Green's "Looking for Alaska" or "An Abundance of Katherines?"

Sorry, I know you weren't asking for suggestions but I thought you might like some anyway-- I know I'm always looking for new books myself!

No but I will.

Jordygirl
06-10-2007, 02:41 AM
Some GREAT YA books that aren't bubble gum;

Looking for Alaska (John Green)
An Abundance of Katherines (also John Green)

Uglies trilogy (Scott Westerfeld)

The Truth About Forever (Sarah Dessen)
Dreamland (Sarah Dessen)

I have others, but they're probably on the verge of bubble-gumness. I'm not much for dark books.

Dancre
06-10-2007, 04:24 AM
Thanks, Jordy!!!

Shady Lane
06-10-2007, 06:53 PM
Following in JordyGirl's footsteps:

My favorite YAs (and I don't read bubblegum...)

Looking for Alaska (She mentioned it already, but it's fantastic.)

Stoner and Spaz by Ron Koertege

Under the Wolf, Under the Dog by Adam Rapp

It's Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (obviously incredible) by Stephen Chbosky

Smack by Melvin Burgess

Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Center Line by Joyce Sweeney (one of the only girls I read)

Free Fall by Joyce Sweeney

Sins of the Fathers by Chris Lynch (possibly my favorite book, though I hate everything else Chris Lynch has written.)

Dancre
06-10-2007, 07:46 PM
I'll look them up, thanks!!

kim

Danger Jane
06-10-2007, 09:19 PM
Second Perks of being a Wallflower and third Looking for Alaska.

The Perks of being a Wallflower, I was surprised I liked it so much because everyone had been telling me to read it for years and I finally did recently, and it really affected me...there were some annoying things to me like the narrator will put certain words or slang in quotes, and that took me out of the story, but overall I really loved it.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray is one of my favorite books ever, and I may be a little biased because it led me to my best friend, but I would definitely not call it bubble-gum reading; that seems to be the very thing Libba Bray sets out NOT to write.

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman is freaking fantastic, I could write a million word post declaring how incredibly awesome it is, but I won't. It's just so cool.

gem1122
06-10-2007, 10:14 PM
Not a big fan of Looking for Alaska. Something about his writing felt smug. I don't know. But I do like the theme and plot. I started Katherines, but again, his writing style is a big turn-off. I didn't like Frank Portman's King Dork, either.

However, I really, really loved Marcus Zuzak's I am the Messenger. Fantastic book. Oh, and I just met Laurie Anderson at a conference! Speak is amazing, of course, and Catalyst was good. I'm just about to begin Fever 1793.

Anyway, I was in a B&N the other day, and was able to find serious YA fiction; it's just not front and center.

Finally, I agree that I am more drawn to male authors, though there aren't as many out there as female authors in the YA realm. I guess I'll just have to go about changing that. ;)

Soccer Mom
06-10-2007, 11:43 PM
I adore Meg Rossof's How I Live Now. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Shady Lane
06-11-2007, 01:33 AM
However, I really, really loved Marcus Zuzak's I am the Messenger.

One of my sister's favorites, though she prefers Book Theif.

She's eighteen.

Harper K
06-11-2007, 04:18 AM
I didn't like Frank Portman's King Dork, either.




I tried really, really hard to like King Dork, but I just couldn't make it happen. I flipped through it and found a lot of funny lines and paragraphs, and I loved the "dictionary" and the band names at the back of the book, but the story itself left a lot to be desired. It seemed right up my alley, too.

I checked up on its Amazon reviews a couple months ago and found that a lot of the people who were praising the book were much older than YA-age. People in their 30s and 40s seem to get into that book a lot more than people in their teens and 20s. Sometimes it's a mystery why certain novels become YA books and others become adult books. That "YA crossover" area gets fuzzy.

gem1122, I'm also one of those people trying to add more quality YA to the bookshelf. :D Oh, and I love your sig link! I watch that clip far too often.

JLCwrites
06-15-2007, 10:02 PM
Working on one that is a dark story disguised as a bubblegum book. Oh, my poor little protagonist...if only she knew. Also try Powells, great selection.
(:>~

Shady Lane
06-16-2007, 12:01 AM
Turkey--definitely sounds like something I would read.

licity-lieu
06-17-2007, 01:56 AM
(Yeah but no but, there are actually books on sale with titles like "The day my bum ran away" and something about Captain Underpants). :D

Oi, those title are the very ones that got my 10 year old reading. Bums, snot, poo and undies are in! (for reluctant readers) Now he's attempting to read a Bridge to Terabithia.

Also guys. Try some Australian authors too:

The Tomorrow series by John Marsden is excellent
Lockie Leonard--Tim Winton

slsherwood
06-20-2007, 05:18 PM
I disagree that YA books are all bubble gum. If that is all you are finding at your book store, shop elsewhere. :) I have to share some of my favorites.

Although they aren't marketed as YA, books by Jodi Picoult often handle YA topics including her latest, Nineteen Minutes, which is about a school shooting. I also highly recommend My Sister's Keeper.

I also like Holly Black, author of Tithe. And Blood and Chocolate is a great book written by Annette Curtis Klause.

Anything by Chris Crutcher, but one of my favorites (and its hard to pick one Crutcher favorite) is Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. I second the recommendations for Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen.

Some of the tougher topics are covered by Patricia McCormick in Cut, books by Cynthia Voigt, Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff, Big Mouth and Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates, Monster by Walter Dean Myers.

swvaughn
06-30-2007, 01:51 AM
This is the saddest thread evah. Even sadder than Mr. Happy and Shiny's sadness threads.

Bookstores don't highlight dark YA? They're hard to find? And... and... y'all don't read YA written by chicks?

*sniffle*

First I hear the bittersweet news that all the editors my agent's subbed my book to love it... but can't publish it because it's YA (we were marketing it as adult fiction -- honest, I never even considered it YA, but now that they mention it, I can see that). So... good and bad, because it's being liked but now the wait will be longer because she's subbing it to YA editors now...

And now I suspect it'll be all shoved away in some dark bookstore corner where the no-pink-covers-and-bubble-gum books hide... and y'all won't read it cuz I'm a chick...

*double sniffle*

It's dark! I promise it's dark! There's violence and stuff... and evil angels... and... and...

Okay. I'm calm. Yes. Very calm.

Here's a bucket of salt to go with my post. :D

ETA: Laurie Halse Anderson lives in Mexico, New York. It's a li'l bit of a town waaay up in s-n-o-w country with a grand total of one grocery store, two stoplights, and three gas stations. There used to be a McDonalds but it was torn down a few weeks ago cuz it was falling apart so they're building a new one, yessirree.

I also live in Mexico, New York. What are the odds? :)

Dancre
07-04-2007, 06:20 AM
Actually, I"ve discovered the joys of the library. My good friend works there and her co-worker loves YA's. So she points me in the right direction and I'm already knee deep into The Golden Compass. I love it!!!!

And yes, my bookstore, Barnes and Noble has 90% Bubble gum. The rest are mostly bubble gum SF. sigh . . . Thank God for the library.

kim

reenkam
07-04-2007, 06:29 AM
What Happened to Lani Garver (Carol Plum-Ucci)
After (Francine Prose)
Breaking Point (Alex Flinn)
Shattering Glass (Gail Giles)
Ordinary Ghosts (Eireann Corrigan)
Bleed (Laurie Faria Stolarz)

These are all pretty amazing books. At the top I'd put Bleed, After, and What Happened to Lani Garver. If you guys haven't read those three, get to it. Definitely not bubblegum. Not jolly rancher. Not even lollipop.

And I wouldn't say that male authors are better at handling the darker topics or anything...I think it just happens to be female authors who write the "bubblegum" books that are most popular and well known.

Shady Lane
07-04-2007, 08:30 AM
What Happened to Lani Garver (Carol Plum-Ucci)
After (Francine Prose)
Breaking Point (Alex Flinn)
Shattering Glass (Gail Giles)
Ordinary Ghosts (Eireann Corrigan)
Bleed (Laurie Faria Stolarz)

These are all pretty amazing books. At the top I'd put Bleed, After, and What Happened to Lani Garver. If you guys haven't read those three, get to it. Definitely not bubblegum. Not jolly rancher. Not even lollipop.

And I wouldn't say that male authors are better at handling the darker topics or anything...I think it just happens to be female authors who write the "bubblegum" books that are most popular and well known.

AFTER! *swoon*

Shattering Glass and Breaking Point as Well. And I've been meaning to read Ordinary Ghosts forever; it's just sitting on my bookshelf. I'm inspired to crack it open now.

Lani Garver I tried, and could not get more than sixty pages into it. Just didn't work for me.

Bleed...is that the one with the pretty letters on the cover, and the switching viewpoints?

reenkam
07-04-2007, 08:38 AM
AFTER! *swoon*

Shattering Glass and Breaking Point as Well. And I've been meaning to read Ordinary Ghosts forever; it's just sitting on my bookshelf. I'm inspired to crack it open now.

Lani Garver I tried, and could not get more than sixty pages into it. Just didn't work for me.

Bleed...is that the one with the pretty letters on the cover, and the switching viewpoints?


After made me scared to go to school for like a week...seriously (not really...but yeah, really...)

Ordinary Ghosts is a good in-between read. It's not intense or uber-exciting or anything, but it's well written and held my attention.

I finished Lani Garver in a night...I think I was the only one in my school to read it though... :Shrug:

Yeah, Bleed has the switching viewpoints. Definitely read it. You'll never think of a day in the same way again. You won't think about your friends in the same way, either...

Shady Lane
07-04-2007, 08:42 AM
I'll definitely read those two. And possibly reconsider Lani Garver. ;)

After is terrifying. That's just it.

althrasher
07-08-2007, 05:29 AM
I really liked "Letters from the Inside" by Masden. It doesn't seem too dark at first, but once you get into it there's some very serious stuff in there.
I haven't been up on my YA lately--I've been spending too much time on my silly "major classes." :cry:

reenkam
07-08-2007, 06:29 AM
I haven't been up on my YA lately--I've been spending too much time on my silly "major classes." :cry:

I'm lucky...I'm majoring in creative writing...so buying and reading books is my "research" hehe :D

althrasher
07-08-2007, 06:42 AM
I'm lucky...I'm majoring in creative writing...so buying and reading books is my "research" hehe :D

Alas...I'm a music major and the only thing I have to read about is "History of the Oboe" and the lives of crazy composers.