Teen Fiction recommendations

Crime bosses.  Underground trafficking.  Physical threats.  Shady lawmen.  Illegal chocolate?

Gabrielle Zevin’s all these things i’ve done is an interesting look at teen life, especially with the twist of being in a criminal family.  Anya Balanchine is sixteen and dealing with the regular teenage stuff of boyfriends, school, and siblings.  Except, Anya’s murdered father was a mafia boss.  Quickly, Anya finds herself fighting for herself, her family, and for love.  When measured up against other teen lit I’ve read, this only rates as okay.  I think teen girls will enjoy it the most.  It is just a little hard to buy a future when alcohol is legal for anyone but chocolate become a hot black market commodity.

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Loved The Hunger Games?  Enjoyed Divergent?  Finally, there is a teen book that is equally engrossing but this time from a boy’s perspective.  The Chaos Walking trilogy kicks off with The Knife of Never Letting Go, which is one heck of a strong way to start.  I loved this book.  Author Patrick Ness created a world in which all the women have been killed by a strange virus.  This same virus has infected the men and caused all their internal thoughts, even the most private and sinister, to become audible noise for all others to hear.  As for the rest of the plot, I can’t say any more because to say anything would be to ruin everything.

A word of encouragement on this book, give it about 50 pages or so.  It is a confusing start, but once it gets going this book just flies.  The suspense builds perfectly from chapter to chapter, creating a can’t-put-it-down thrilling page turner.

My wife brought up a valid concern, this book has some swearing and uses the term “eff” as a major swear.  But having just finished Of Mice and Men in class, The Knife of Never Letting Go has much less swearing than Steinbeck’s classic, and probably won’t disturb many 14 year olds.

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