As Kelly articulates, “many wonderful books get published every year without registering a ripple, let alone a splash.” The vast majority of great books never come lose to the fervor of say, Twilight or the Hunger Games.
So, without further ado, here are 5 YA books you probably haven’t read, but should…
My Life from Air-Bras to Zits or A is for Angst
by Barbara Haworth-Attard
My Life from Air-Bras to Zits (2009) was originally published in Canada as A is for Angst (2007). A is for Angst, B is for Boobs (breasts and idiots)…14 year-old Teresa Tolliver narrates her ups and downs of being a teenager through every letter of the alphabet. She stresses about becoming one of the undesirable SNs (Sub-Normals) in the high school food chain and losing all hope of attracting the attention of AAA (Achingly Adorable Adam) who, of course, is one of the ANs (Above-Normals). At home, her soon-to-be married sister has turned into bridezilla, her grandfather is showing signs of dementia, and her middle-aged mother is pregnant. What’s more, Teresa has a knack for getting herself into embarrassing situations, and this book has some of the most painfully awkward yet hilarious scenes I have read. Imagine getting caught making out with your Ken doll or discovering you have a latex allergy while putting a condom on a banana in health class!
The Lit Report by Sarah N. Harvey
Julia and Ruth have been best friends since they first met in Sunday school. Now they’re a year away from graduation and making plans to escape to the big city where they’ll get fabulous high-paying jobs, live in a funky loft apartment and date older men. But their dreams for life after high school are jeopardized when Ruth ends up pregnant. Determined to support her friend, pragmatic Julia comes up with a plan to hide Ruth’s pregnancy from everyone—especially Ruth’s Bible-thumping parents. Julia’s stepmother is also pregnant and has hired a midwife. Under the guise of doing a school report, Julia will interview the midwife, observe her in action and pass on every bit of pre-natal advice to Ruth. When the baby is born, they’ll leave it on the steps of Ruth’s father’s church for a good Christian family to adopt. But as the months pass, Ruth and Julia begin to change, each adapting in ways that neither girl ever planned. Opening lines of great works of fiction by the likes of Dickens and Shakespeare serve as a preface to each chapter, foreshadowing the events to come. Not just another “teen pregnancy novel,” The Lit Report is a wonderful story of friendship between two teenage girls.
Sally is the only survivor when a carload of teenagers plunges through the ice of Mistik Lake in Manitoba. Twenty years later, Sally’s eldest daughter, seventeen year-old Odella must cope with her mother’s alcoholism, abandonment, and later, her unexpected death. In order to keep what’s left of the family in tact and gain control over her own life, Odella realizes she must uncover the many secrets that began the night of her mother’s accident. This is a beautifully written, multi-layered story about coping with loss, finding closure, and moving on.
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones
College student Mimi Shapiro is desperate to escape from her professor/ex-lover, so she leaves Manhattan and drives north to her father’s cabin in the Ontario woods. When Mimi arrives, she is shocked to discover there’s someone already living there. Jay—a half-brother she didn’t know existed—is using the cottage as a music studio. Jay’s not pleased to see Mimi—all the more so because lately, an intruder has been entering the cabin and leaving creepy items behind, like a dead bird, a snakeskin and more. With Mimi’s arrival, the mysterious intruder’s “gifts” become even more menacing. Who is the unwelcome intruder and what does he or she want? This chilling, suspenseful novel is hard to put down.
The Perfect Cut
by Julie Bertinshaw
The Perfect Cut is an honest and perceptive look at a dangerous practice that has become common among troubled young adults. Since the death of Michelle, his “perfect” older sister, Brian finds it increasingly difficult to care about anything. Struggling to deal with the guilt of his sister “leaving him” and his parents’ rapidly deteriorating marriage, Brian downs vodka and cuts himself with a razor blade for temporary relief. But he never cuts deep enough to cause any real damage—at least, not yet… Will Bryan learn to cope with his grief before it’s too late? Will his parents’ marriage survive? And what is the terrible secret he is keeping about the night that Michelle died?