This week I was feeling super stressed and crazy, so I turned to the greatest of all comforts: YA. Now, I sort of have a love-hate relationship with teen books. I mean, for every glorious The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, there’s always a Twilight…or an Airhead…or a Gossip Girl…It’s sometimes like nobody ever writes books for teens anymore that aren’t about vampires, rich mean girls, or dystopian/futuristic worlds.
So I was happily surprised when BOTH the YAs I read this week were smart, well-written, and mature. The first one has one of the worst book titles I have ever seen: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. But don’t let that dissuade you, because this was one of the most realistic and entertaining depictions of the whole guy-and-girl-are-best-friends-but-maybe-more? thing I’ve ever read. Anna was a believable, quirky heroine, Etienne (the best friend/love interest) was refreshingly flawed, and their relationship was convincingly halting and imperfect.
The second book I read was The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Though pretty different in subject matter from the first one, since in this one the main character is dealing with her sister’s unexpected death, it had the same mixture of the breathless joy at first love along with deep pain and loss. Joe Fontaine, the gorgeous and amazing sort-of-boyfriend in this one is an absolutely fabulous character.
Very good, solid, honestly written YAs! Perfect for this insane week!