Monday, June 30, 2008

Recommended YA-to-adult crossover reads

Are you a grown-up reader looking for beach reading or a post-Harry series? Our Older Readers section is full of classic and contemporary books for adults, but YA books offer writing sophisticated enough to entrance a grown-up audience. Here’s a (believe it or not) brief sampling of YA-to-adult crossover titles of the fantasy/sci-fi persuasion. Ask a Curious George staffer or check out our staff picks for more recommendations.

Feed by M.T. Anderson. Candlewick: 2002.

In a world in which everyone has constant and immediate access to the feed, an implanted cross between television and the internet, being “feedless” is unthinkable. However, when Titus’s feed is shut off by doctors after a misadventure on the moon, he connects with Violet, who is also recovering from feed malfunction. Together, Titus and Violet challenge the social convention of the feed and discover what it truly means to be an individual.

Looking Glass Wars trilogy by Frank Beddor. Dial: 2006, 2007.

This reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books follows orphaned Princess Alyss Heart from her homeland of Wonderland to our own reality. As battles rage in Wonderland between Alyss’s supporters and those of her murderously ambitious Aunt Redd, Alyss tries desperately to find her way back to Wonderland and reclaim her throne. Finally, Alyss confides in Reverend Charles Dodgson – only to have her life story manipulated into a best-selling children’s book. In Seeing Redd, rightful Queen Alyss has just begun her reign when rumors of Redd’s return begin to through Wonderland. Can Alyss bring peace to war-torn Wonderland, or will the conflict spread to our own world? No news on when book three will be released, but in the meantime, author Frank Beddor’s amazingly interactive website is a great companion to the books.

The Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare. Simon and Schuster: 2007, 2008, 2009.

In City of Bones, Clary Fray is astonished to discover an entire world of fallen angels, demons, and demon-hunters. What’s even more incredible is her own family’s secret entanglement in that world! Desperate to find answers (and her missing mother), Clary is forced to join Shadowhunters Jace, Isabelle, and Alex, but she isn’t prepared for the consequences. Full of mystical tattoos, arcane weapons, thwarted romance, prophecies, and plot twists, City of Bones combines fast-paced fantasy with the setting of contemporary New York City. The breakneck pace continues in City of Ashes, which picks up with the aftermath of devastating revelations for Clary and barrels towards a heart-stopping moment for a close friend. The next installment, City of Glass, is due March 2009.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Macmillan/Tor Teen: 2008.

When seventeen-year-old superhacker Marcus cuts school to play a web-based alternate reality game, he and his friends find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time: the site of the worst terrorist attack in US history. After Marcus's hacking track record lands him in extreme interrogation with the Department of Homeland Security, he’s faced with the choice to keep quiet about the abuse or to use technology to fight back. This futuristic thriller brilliantly tackles the tricky subjects of technology, freedom, and patriotism for a cyber-savvy audience.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman. HarperTrophy, 2003.

Sometimes when Coraline opens the door in the corner of her new flat's drawing room, it opens on a brick wall dividing her apartment from the one next door. Sometimes, though, it reveals an uncanny copy of her flat -- occupied by her Other Mother and Other Father. As she navigates a world created by the Other Mother, armed only with her own smarts and the questionable advice of a talking cat, Coraline learns that "when you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave." Illustrated to deliciously creepy effect by frequent Gaiman collaborator Dave McKean, Coraline is a dark fairy tale for a new generation. Make sure to check out the graphic novel adaptation illustrated by P. Craig Russell!

Stardust by Neil Gaiman. HarperCollins, 1999.

Teenaged Tristran Thorn vows to bring his love a fallen star from beyond the Wall which separates his village from the realm of Faerie. He quickly realizes that such a quest is more easily vowed than done, as Faerie is full of surprises – not the least of which is the star herself! Tristran and Yvaine, the star, must outrace or outwit those who want to find the star for their own purposes. On their dangerous journey back to the Wall, Tristran and Yvaine learn about real love, growing up, and themselves. Catch the audio of a HarperCollins interview with Neil Gaiman about Stardust here.

Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer. Little, Brown: 2005, 2006, 2007.

Ordinary teen Bella Swan moves to Forks, Oregon, where she meets extraordinary Edward Cullen. Much to Bella’s surprise, Edward is as magnetically attracted to her as she is to him. This attraction proves dangerous when Bella discovers the Cullen family secret: they’re vampires. New Moon and Eclipse test Bella and Edward’s devotion to each other by introducing new threats and a wide cast of characters, including rival vampire clans and (relatively) friendly werewolves. Breaking Dawn, book four in this NY Times best-selling saga, will be released August 2, 2008. Also look for Meyer’s adult novel, The Host (2008), in our “Older Readers” section. Host takes place on a futuristic earth where humans are systematically possessed by alien parasites known as “souls.” The alien protagonist, Wanderer, discovers what happens when her “host” refuses to relinquish her body.

Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. HarperCollins: 1995, 2001, 2003.

Sabriel is next in a long line of Abhorsens, a family of necromancers dedicated to binding the dead. When her father, the current Abhorsen, disappears on a mission in the magical Old Kingdom, Sabriel sets out to save him. She’s accompanied by Mogget, a free magic spirit in the form of a cat, and Touchstone, a disgraced palace guard whose queen was assassinated 300 years ago. This epic fantasy trilogy continues in Lirael. Feeling out of place in an enclave of psychic Clayr, ordinary Lirael’s longs to be special, but this yearning leads her to attempt magic far beyond her ability and trespass into forbidden chambers. Fortunately, Lirael’s misadventures lead her to both the magical Disreputable Dog and an unexpected destiny. In Abhorsen, the final volume, Sabriel and Lirael have different but vital roles to play in a desperate struggle against a greater danger than either woman has ever faced before. Choose from editions featuring gorgeous jacket illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon or slightly more “grown-up” editions with stark, yet elegant, design.

Inheritance trilogy by Christopher Paolini. Knopf: 2003, 2005.

While hunting in the treacherous Spine mountain range, eponymous Eragon discovers a strange blue stone. Eragon brings the stone home, hoping to sell it or trade it for food. Instead, the course of his life is forever altered when the stone hatches a baby dragon. Soon Eragon and Saphira are inseparable, bound by psychic ties. However, Saphira is one of the last of her kind and several forces, good and evil, seek to control this new dragon and Dragonrider. Together Eragon and Saphira must weigh legacies, loyalties, and the fate of Alagesia itself to decide their path. In Eldest, Eragon and Saphira are hailed as heroes of the realm, but need time to recover from physical and emotional wounds sustained in the battle with tyrant Galbatorix. The land of the elves, Ellesmera, provides a haven where they can rebuild their strength and continue their training -- they’ll need both in the continuing struggle to oust Galbatorix. We’re impatiently awaiting the last installment, Brisingr, which is due out September 23, 2008. (In the meantime, ask us for a complimentary Inheritance bag to take home your books!)

Look for more crossover recommendations in the near future, but while you're waiting, let us know what your favorite YA books are!

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