Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: Book Crush by Nancy Pearl

I started reading modern YA (post 2000 let's say) about the same time I started reviewing YA in 2008 (with some exceptions, including THE BOOK THIEF, Lemony Snicket, and Artemis Fowl), so while I'm very knowledgeable about super current YA and YA from the 1980s and 90s, my backlist reading is woefully inadequate.

That's why when I saw BOOK CRUSH at my library and saw that it was published in 2007, I thought it would be perfect for getting some backlist reading ideas.  A "celebrated librarian" Pearl offers up over 1000 titles organized into 118 lists.  The titles cover the entire spectrum of children's books - from board books to YA - and even include some adult titles of interest to teens.  That meant that I had actually read more recommended titles than I would have thought - including of course, those teen classics I read as a teen such as HERO AND THE CROWN and JACOB I HAVE LOVED.

Let's take a look at a list especially close to my heart: "Utopia - Not!"  Pearl recommends one YA series (Scott Westerfeld's Uglies - the first books I ever reviewed on my blog), 4 YA stand-alones (FEED by MT Anderson and HOW I LIVE NOW by Meg Rosoff which I've read and SHADE'S CHILDREN by Garth Nix and VIRTUAL WAR by Gloria Skurzynski's VIRTUAL WAR which I have not, 2 classics (BRAVE NEW WORLD and FAHRENHEIT 451 which I've read) and two adult novels (JENNIFER GOVERNMENT by Max Berry and PATTERN RECOGNITION by William Gibson which I've read, the latter never have seen classified as a dystopian). 12 books and I've read 10 of them, with the other 2 already on my wishlist.

On the other YA lists, which range from "Cry me a river" to "Girls kick butt", I also had heard of probably 80% of the titles already, due to my prodigious book blog appetite.  I did, however, add some titles to my wishlist:

WHERE I WANT TO BE by Adele Griffen (narrated by two sisters, one of them dead)


THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer (MC is a clone of a drug lord) (and yes, I have seen this around before, but never read the summary, so I didn't know it had such an awesome premise)


DEAD GIRLS DON'T WRITE LETTERS by Gail Giles (MC knows girl is pretending to be her dead sister, but why?)

So, overall a good resource to check out from the library, but maybe not to buy - unless you are pretty unfamiliar with children't lit as a whole.  Find out more about the book at the author's website.

17 comments:

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I've heard this is an awesome resource. I think I have a fairly good grasp, but it could be great for a newbie blogger, yeah? Great thoughts, Lenore! :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Our librarian just got this book in for the school library, and I got very excited! I hope the kids will take full advantage of what this book has to offer...I'll certainly push it!

Trisha said...

My pre-Harry Potter YAL experience was about nil, even when I was a YA, so I'm with you on a serious lack of knowledge about the older stuff. What an interesting book!

Zibilee said...

Every time I go to the bookstore, I eye the Nancy Pearl books, but I am afraid to buy one, as it will just make my appetite for books all that much greater. My husband would say these books are the last thing I need, and though I would balk at that, I would hesitantly agree. Maybe I can purchase one of them for my book club, for reading suggestions!

Also, my kids read and loved The House of the Scorpion, and have read it several times. I hope you enjoy it!

April (BooksandWine) said...

I own a copy of this. I underlined all of the books I've read in it. I have ones I want to read highlighted. It's a pretty good resource, especially for bookmooch.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Oh this looks like a great reference book! I've sort of drifted from YA over the past year but I'll occasionally swing back for a good on or two. I'll have to look into this for some good ideas when I'm in the mood. :O)

Melina said...

The Dead Girls book - now there's one I hadn't heard of before

Katie said...

Nancy Pearl is fantastic. I keep meaning to check out this book. Nice review!

Katie said...

I've heard awesome things about The House of the Scorpion and Dead Girls Don't Write Letters! Thanks for the reminder that many great books were written before 2009 :)

Rachel said...

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters - incredible. I love all of Gail Giles books, but that's the one that got me started. Her stories just screw with your mind - they're twisted, but so, so fantastic.

Staci said...

I read this one a few years ago and found wonderful titles in it. I really should put a copy on my school shelves!!! Dead Girls is FANTASTIC!!!

Heather Zundel said...

Read House of the Scorpion!!! I adore that book. That is the book that made me fall in love with Nancy Farmer as an author (her other works are fantastic too). But that one holds a special place in my heart. The only reason I don't have a review is that it is too high on the amazon ranks. *pout* Read it. It is *excellent*.

Michelle said...

I have gotten so many good suggestions from Nancy Pearl and I lover her BOOK CRUSH series. I need to check this one out from the library methinks..

The Witty Librarian said...

It sounds like you haven't read Garth Nix's Shade's Children. As a lover of dystopian fiction myself, I highly recommend it- there's nothing out there quite like it. Its brutal, rough, but very well written (like all things by Nix). Its what got me personally hooked on dystopian literature.

Shelley said...

I don't write YA, but wanted to mention that Sherman Alexie has a YA book, which not everybody knows....

Misty said...

House of the Scorpion is excellent. Really riveting. And I'm not sure where Shelley's comment^ came from, if I just missed a mention of Sherman Alexie or it's just her suggesting him, but Alexie has a few YA books, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a MUST read.

Josette said...

I have Dead Girls Don't Write Letters on my bookshelf! The title made me want to buy the book. :)