ENGLEWOOD — Well folks, we slipped through the winter days of December and January, and now we are leaping into February with leap year, and it’s 29 days. Last month, we wrote about a children’s column. Now I’m going to leap into young adult readers, commonly called Young Adult Fiction (YA), written for readers from 12-18 years of age. While the genre is targeted for teenagers, approximately 55 percent of YA readers are adults. Let’s take a look at some of the books for youngsters and oldsters.
• Greta Thunberg
Talk about teenagers how about Greta Tintin Eleonora Erman Thunberg, a Swedish school girl born in 2003. This 16-year-old has become an environmental activist whose campaign gained international recognition and sparked a global movement. Read her excerpts in “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference,” which Greta tells you in her own words. She has become the voice of a generation, including her historic address to the United Nations. She wrote, “Your generation is failing us. But young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you, and if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.” She started a school strike and now has won the prestigious Prix Liberte and was nominated for a Nobel Prize.
• Louisa May Alcott (1833-1888)
While not new, it is one of the great books of all time as it follows the lives of the March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. The novel details their passage from childhood to womanhood. The girls live in Concord, Mass. during and after the Civil War. Jessica Bennett, New York Times columnist wrote, “It’s a girl’s coming-of-age narrative, a New England family saga, a heartwarming tale, or a feminist text about women’s choices.” There have been many film adaptations of this classic, and one hit the theatres in December. It’s a new version that focuses the four sisters as adults. You might want to read the original book and then watch the film — you can’t go wrong.
• Amy McCulloch
Amy is part Chinese and part English and is the author of the “Potion Diaries.” She was born in the UK, raised in Ottawa, Canada and is now based in London. She has a new, near future science fiction series published for young adults — “Jinxed” and “Unleashed.” In “Jinxed,” Lucy Lu wanted to get hired by a top tech firm but was rejected. She happens upon a broken, customized pet created by the company. The pet is an incredibly advanced cat named Baku, who opens up a world that Lucy never knew existed. Baku seems to be more than a robotic pet — he seems real! The Evening Standard wrote, “The most compelling book of the year and is terrifying.” If you’re looking for fantastic fiction this little kitty cat is it!
• Nora Roberts
This American author has penned more than 225 romance novels. She also writes as J.D. Robb. Her latest series is, “The Chronicles of The One,” followed by “Year One,” “Blood and Bones” and “The Rise of the Magicks.” The world has changed and some have powers and some do not. While evil tries to gather up children who have talent, others are hardly staying alive. Follow the series with Fallon Swift as she is determined to save those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness. The question is will they be saved. The New York Times reviewed this stunning new novel and said it was a match for the end-of-the-world classics like Stephen King’s “The Stand.”
The New York Times has also dedicated a list of young adult bestsellers and franchises that are being adapted for films and are perfect for streaming. These young adult books are coming of age, and many of us older folks are still coming of age as we read these books, too. Happy leap day, and happy reading, everyone!