Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jennifer Rummel declares "I Love YA" (with apologies to Randy Newman)

Why read YA?
I read YA because I LOVE it!

There are so many things I love about YA books, but the biggest is the first moments.  Teen years are the biggest moments for firsts – first kiss, first love, and first heartbreak. It’s a time for drama: family, friendships, school, job, and relationships.  It’s a time for finding you’re not alone in the world.  It’s a time where you learn that other people have the same questions, quirks, feelings that you have and it’s normal. It’s a time for discovery and figuring out who you really are.

The YA community is huge! I enjoy hearing about books from other book bloggers. It’s great meeting YA bloggers and YA Librarians and conversing about books.  I’m a huge fan of social networking, talking with authors, librarians, publishers, book bloggers, and readers. I blog about the books I read and enjoy reading other blogs and discovering new books to read or purchase for the library collection.

It’s hard for me to choose a favorite book because of the volume I read each year. While I have a slew of favorite authors whose books I will always read, its great discovering new authors.   For the past four years I’ve started keeping track of the number of books I read. Last year I completed my goal of a book a day, across all age groups.  So far, I’m on track for my reading goal this year.

Reading widely across ages and genres makes me a better librarian. I read pictures books that sound cute or have gotten great reviews, chapter books that appeal to me, cozy mysteries, regency romances, craft books, cookbooks, and tons of teen books. As a teen librarian, teen books make up the majority of books I read.  I help run a 4th and 5th grade book club. There, I’m exposed to books I wouldn’t normally read, but books I end up loving. Sometimes I read for knowledge or the emotional ride, but mostly I read for pleasure.  Reading is fun.

Here are some books that stay with me long after I’ve turned the last page. There are some that haunt me because of their issues. There are some that touch my soul. There are some that amazed me and made me look at the world differently.  Either way they have touched me and I’ll never forget them.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
One of the most important books in the history of YA. It’s about a huge issue, but it’s also about friendship, finding yourself and your voice, and being a social outcast in high school. Years after its publication, girls are still finding it helpful.

Wintergirlz by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book is so haunting I don’t even know how to begin to describe it. It’s about two girls who used to be friends and also have eating disorders. They grew apart and one girl died. The other struggles to survive.

Purge by Sarah Darer Littman
A heart wrenching yet funny take on eating disorders. “It was like they went from being my Band of Barfers, my Sisterhood of Sneaky Eaters, to my Judge and freaking Jury in three minutes flat." Littman tackles such a huge issue with humor and honesty while letting the raw pain of her characters shine through. It's really a book everyone should be reading and chatting about. It's that good.

Just as Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume
I read this book until it fell apart when I was younger.  I loved the friendship drama between Steph, Alison, and Rachel. This was my Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (which is also amazingly good).

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I devoured this one. It’s about a girl who creates 13 tapes of the 13 people she blames for her life. The tapes are sent right before she commits suicide. One of the 13 is listening to these tapes. It was so dark and brutally honest. I wanted the outcome of the story to be different, but of course you already know the ending of the book from the beginning.

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Disaster strikes when a meteor hits the moon, pushing it closer to Earth. Havoc and chaos reign as everything changes.  I’d never read anything like this book. I couldn’t put it down. I wasn’t expecting it to be so emotional. Whenever I hear of a potential disaster strike, I always want to stock up on canned goods now.

Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
Macy learns to deal with her father’s death by embracing chaos into her formally perfectly ordered life.  I can’t say enough about this book dealing with grief, letting yourself go, and finding your true identity. I hate the library scenes, but they do also make me chuckle. I found Macy to be brave.

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
DJ helps a rival high school quarter back with his game while they work on her family farm.  I love how this book defies gender stereotypes in sports books. I found DJ to be strong, caring, and athletic.  I think everyone who likes sports books should read this one!

Sold by Patricia McCormick
A novel in verse, that’s hard to read due to the subject matter: prostitution of young girls. Lakshmi is a survivor and she keeps hope alive, even in the darkest moments.

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
The ultimate road trip book featuring four siblings whose mother left them alone. They travel south along the east coast to find family and a place to call home. It’s a heartwrenching book about survival, family, and hope.

My latest favorite YA reads:

Sweet Shadows (comes out in September)

Touch of Power (A/YA crossover)

I know that I will never tire of reading YA books. I love reading them, love talking about them, and love handing them off to my friends, family, and patrons at the library.

Jennifer Rummel: I'm a Teen Librarian who LOVE LOVE LOVES book and my job! I work at Otis Library in Norwich, CT as a YA Librarian. I have been known to squeal when books come into the library that I can't WAIT to read! I review books for VOYA. Besides reading books and chatting about books, going to bookstores and other libraries, and meeting fabulous authors, I'm pretty  crafty - beading, card making, and some other odd crafts. I adore candy, pizza, my puppy and the Celtics.  Hear Jennifer talk more about ya at her blog, YA Book Nerd.

Read more Why YA? posts and find out how you can share yours with us here!

1 comment:

  1. Read Divergent. Then immediately add it to the list of recent favorites.

    At first I didn't want to read it, because it sounded just like every other run-of-the-mill dystopian YA. But I picked it up, and it was 116 pages later before I even noticed.

    Around 4am I was curled in a ball on my bed, sobbing into a pillow, and trying not to lose my page.

    Basically, the writing is phenomenal. It sucks you right in. Props to Veronica Roth. Girl knows how to tell a story.