I like doing things in chunks. Mostly, because if I’m going to do something hard, I like knowing that it’s not forever. In January, I ate vegan. During February, I tried not to eat out. In March, I tried waking up at 6:00 every day. By April, I was too tired of challenges and decided to take a break.
I often approach reading the same way. I read along a theme, usually for a month, until it stops feeling awesome. This month, I’ve been scoping out “oldies but goodies,” or books that I missed reading when they were new. Yesterday, NPR published a user-generated list of Best Ever Teen Novels, which might help with my task.
When I finished a more recent book, The Magician King, I needed another emergency dose of high fantasy, stat. Enter The Golden Compass! Lyra Belacqua discovers dangerous secrets whilst (shh!) spying. With her daemon, Pantalaimon, and the help of a would-be bear king, Lyra saves a lot of lives – including her own. Lyra’s world is built upon a Victorian England foundation and then dosed with magic, so the setting is at once an olf-fashioned familiar and deliciously new.
It’s also a movie.
Artemis Fowl is a teen-genius-gone-crime-lord. In his father’s absence and mother’s dementia, Artemis takes it upon himself to steal a ton of fairy gold by kidnapping and ransoming a LEPrechaun – or an elite commander of the Lower Elements Police. Artemis feels like a young Sherlock Holmes. And his counterpart, Holly Short, leads a chorus of lower elements avengers including a snarky satyr, trolls, and goblins. Personally, I like fairies. Since that goes double for complex bad guys and girl-characters who kick butt, Artemis Fowl scored like an American women’s gymnastics team.
The eighth and final book in the series was published just this year, so there’s a lot to enjoy.
It’s just another day in 1980′s California (complete with roller skates, fringed vests, and glitter) until Weetzie is granted three wishes by a genie. She uses two of her wishes to get boyfriends for herself and her best friend Dirk, and the rest is a bohemian punk history. At first, the invasion of magic surprised me…I expected more of a retro Gossip Girl than Aladdin. But the breezy, slang-heavy way that Block writes makes anything in Weetzie’s world believable. And when a few trials of love, dating, and living independently bust in, they feel manageable. Weetzie Bat starts like a lighthearted summer read and ends with the feeling that good friends make the world go round.
What “oldies” do you recommend?
Whitney, CLP Teen – Main