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good reads for teens transitioning to adult books

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linda s.

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My daughter is eager to try some adult literature. We can't find a good match for her. Many of the classics have a pace and style that she just doesn't take to--yet. Shakespeare seems better to start in school. Same with Dickens, I think. She's read Animal Farm and Farenheit 451.

Any suggestions?
#1 - February 01, 2007, 06:13 AM

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Do you specifically want her to be reading classic adult literature?  If she liked Farenheit 451, she could try some of Bradbury's other books, he's pretty accessible (though the rest of his work is not generally considered classic outside of SF).  If she likes speculative fiction, some other authors who are generally considered classic in their field and also write in a fairly modern style are Peter S. Beagle (THE LAST UNICORN is an amazing book), John Wyndham (THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS, THE KRAKEN WAKES), Kurt Vonnegut (SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, CAT'S CRADLE), and H. G. Wells (THE ISLAND OF DR MOREAU, WAR OF THE WORLDS).  If you want more literary classics, I enjoyed Dickens's A TALE OF TWO CITIES as a teen, as well as THE GREAT GATSBY (Fitzgerald), CATCH-22 (Heller), and some of Hemingway's work (THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, THE SUN ALSO RISES). 

On the other hand, if she's just interested it trying some adult books in general, I'd say go to the library and look for books in the genres she enjoys in YA.  I loved fantasy, science fiction, and the supernatural as a kid and teen, so it's not surprising that the first adult books I gravitated toward were Anne McCaffrey's work and Stephen King's.  After I started reading them, I'd just browse the SF & Fantasy section at the library, reading book descriptions and seeing what sounded interesting.  You could also check if her favourite YA authors have written adult books as well (many have), which could be a good starting point.
#2 - February 01, 2007, 06:31 AM
YA paranormal, sci fi, & fantasy:
GIVE UP THE GHOST
Fallen World series
Earth & Sky trilogy
A MORTAL SONG
http://www.megancrewe.com

Wordbender

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You might suggest To Kill a Mockingbird or Grapes of Wrath (well, anything by John Steinbeck).   :yup
#3 - February 01, 2007, 06:40 AM

My early teen reads:
I loved DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. Of course, it may be because I had seen the movie and loved it.  
I was a big Vonnegut fan, too. I'm not a mystery reader now, devoured every Agatha Christie novel I could find.
Don't know if she likes plays, but I loved reading O'Neil and Williams (still do)---all dialogue, so quick reads, but fabulous, intense reads.
#4 - February 01, 2007, 06:42 AM
THESE THINGS COUNT! award-winning nature series Albert Whitman
TWIGS (YA)  Merit Press
www.alisonashleyformento.com

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What about books - that could be considered crossover -- like the Lovely Bones   or Ellen Foster
A classic I loved that was my first book in the adult fiction section -- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

To Kill a Mockingbird and any Steinbeck -[  esp. travels with Charlie ]  are great choices
#5 - February 01, 2007, 06:57 AM

CJRay

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Ooooh, I love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!  And, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith is fantastic as well (if the teen is a girl  ;)).
#6 - February 01, 2007, 07:20 AM

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The Alex Awards are given out by YALSA every year.  They name the top 10 adult books for young adult readers.  This links to all the lists for past years:

http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/booklistsawards/alexawards/alexawards.htm
#7 - February 01, 2007, 07:38 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Sarah Miller

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There's a super new book out by Anita Silvey called 500 Great Books for Teens. It's full of both YA and adult titles, all organized by category with nice long summaries. I found MANY of my top favorites from both sides of the YA/adult divide, as well as lots of fresh suggestions. It's a fun book to browse even if you don't own a teenager. ;)
#8 - February 01, 2007, 07:49 AM

gretchenlaskas

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What about THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood?  It's definitely adult fiction, but it might tap into that dytopic futuristic vein that she liked in ANIMAL FARM and F451.
#9 - February 01, 2007, 08:17 AM

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This is a little boyish, perhaps, but Endor's game by Orson Scott Card is one both my kids (girl and boy) enjoyed.  It's got some violence in it and I would suggest not giving it to a kid until middle school or so, but it's an excellent book.


anita
#10 - February 01, 2007, 09:23 AM

Aud

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I've recommended The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver to a lot of girls in this age group. Also Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid. And though I'm not a fan, I know lots of teenaged girls who like Jodi Picoult's books.  (Of course, I don't know how old she is, so check the subject matter before passing along.)
#11 - February 01, 2007, 11:21 AM

linda s.

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Wonderful suggestions and links. I'm copying, noting, printing, and adding several to my own list. Thanks!

P.S. Yes, young teen, 13-14 age range.
#12 - February 01, 2007, 11:31 AM

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My teen-aged daughter loves fantasy books--some of her favorite authors include Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin, Neil Gaiman, and Terry Pratchett.  My son was also a big Orson Scott Card fan as a young teen.
#13 - February 01, 2007, 01:45 PM

Hello Linda,

I second or third To Kill a Mockingbird.  Then there's The Catcher in the Rye, which she may be a tad young for; I loved it when I was about 16.  I also remember enjoying A Separate Peace by John Knowles.

What about Jane Eyre?  I loved that book when I first read it at age 17 or so.  I bet I would have loved it a few years earlier as well.
#14 - February 01, 2007, 08:06 PM

Sarah Miller

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This is a little boyish, perhaps, but Endor's game by Orson Scott Card is one both my kids (girl and boy) enjoyed.  It's got some violence in it and I would suggest not giving it to a kid until middle school or so, but it's an excellent book.
I second that! I don't generally like sci fi at all, but I *loved* Ender's Game.
#15 - February 02, 2007, 05:20 AM

Aud

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I wanted to add one caution. It's one of the great regrets of my reading life that I read Catcher in the Rye when I was a little too young for it. Yes, I reread it (often), but you only get one first read of a book. And it's best to wait until the time is right, and not push some of the best books too early.
#16 - February 02, 2007, 06:35 AM

lurban

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And I read Catcher in the Rye too late. Although there were moments I loved, it never became my anthem in the way it does so many readers.  I was like: stop your whining and DO something, Holden.

The one thing I want to add to this discussion is that there are a whole lot of books for teens out there that are as good or better than these grown-up books.  Don't let your teen miss out on YA lit because she is smart.

#17 - February 02, 2007, 06:41 AM

linda s.

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New!

My daughter's interest in trying adult lit. comes from her. Believe me, she long ago stopped listening to my suggestions. Some of her friends have read Shakespeare, some the 19th century classics, and two of them are carrying around one of Dean Kootz's books. She, long known as the most advanced reader of the group, hasn't ventured as much as these kids. She's read hundreds of YA and I'm sure would love some more suggestions in that area. (Linda, any great YA suggestions much appreciated).

#18 - February 02, 2007, 07:01 AM
« Last Edit: February 07, 2007, 03:58 AM by linda s. »

Sarah Miller

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The one thing I want to add to this discussion is that there are a whole lot of books for teens out there that are as good or better than these grown-up books.  Don't let your teen miss out on YA lit because she is smart.
Oh gosh, yes-yes-yes! I'm jealous you thought to say that before I did. ;) Lots of great adult books don't have the same impact on teens simply because they haven't had enough adult experiences yet to thoroughly relate to the characters and situations.
#19 - February 02, 2007, 08:17 AM

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And I read Catcher in the Rye too late. Although there were moments I loved, it never became my anthem in the way it does so many readers.  I was like: stop your whining and DO something, Holden.


Yep. Exactly what happened to me.
#20 - February 02, 2007, 11:02 AM
Jennifer Mckissack:
SANCTUARY, Scholastic Press
 
Jenny Moss:
TAKING OFF, Bloomsbury
SHADOW, Scholastic Press
WINNIE'S WAR, Bloomsbury

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You've gotten some great suggestions already.
Let me add: Ayn Rand's Anthem (set in the future where individuality no longer exists), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, anything by Jane Austen.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Also do not discount beautifully written-nonfiction books.  I have a wealth of biographies, science books, etc.

Vijaya

#21 - February 02, 2007, 06:46 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
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I keep pushing the Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini.    :)   They're usually multi-viewpoint,  with an interesting cast of characters (one of the main characters has two teenage sons).   Also very clean,  language-wise,  and sex is implied instead of explicit.   
#22 - February 02, 2007, 10:03 PM

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