Book Review: All Things Teen

June 6, 2019

Every time I finish one piece of my finals, I am going to write a book review because we r e a l l y need to catch up here.

This is a post about all things Teen. This is my favorite genre. It consumes more of my spare time and recreational reading. All of my favorite books are teen books, with the exception of Gatsby. 

I have one big rule of thumb for Teen books and it is don't read the book until you're the age of the protagonist. Teen has a spectrum of content and parents, you'll be able to tell if it's appropriate for your children based on the age of the main character. 

My favorite thing about Teen as a genre is that the books teach teens how to handle issues that arise in pivotal years of growth and that's useful especially in the same years that they may be timid to talk to their parents about things. It's also a good way to escape a daily routine that is packed with class, homework, extra curricular activities, and friends.

Laurie Halse Anderson

Let's begin with Laurie Halse Anderson. LHA is where my rule developed because her characters have experiences that may not be suitable for younger readers. That's not to say younger readers have not experienced these things, but if the themes in her book are new to a teen then ensure the reader is an appropriate age.
Speak (age 14) caught my attention due to how renowned it is, so I decided to bite the bullet and it left me speechless. LHA created beautiful, grounded, dimensional characters who will break your heart as you journey with them. The themes of the novel are entered around the r*pe of the main character and branch into themes of isolation, communication, guilt. and bullying. On average, there are 321,500 Americans sexually assaulted each year, therefore I believe this book is imperative for everybody to read to recognize the signs in their peer and themselves and know when to reach out.
Wintergirls (age 18) is the story of two girls with eating disorders challenging each other to see who can be the skinniest while exploring anorexia, self-harm, and mental illness with readers.  It branches into larger themes including trust, relationships, and communication.
Twisted (age 18) follows a boy named Tyler, which was what had my interest because finding novels for an older demographic with a male protagonist that isn't fantasy or a queer novel is not easy. Tyler is currently doing community service, then he has a discrepancy at his dad's boss' party, and when the boss' daughter has unflattering photos posted on the internet, Tyler is to blame. This book is a diamond in the rough that explores sex, alcohol, violence, the complexities of relationships, and growing up with an overlying theme to not let one event dictate your opinion of a person.
These are novels that a teen will not be able to put down. They are bittersweet, relatable grounded stories that deserve to be in the hands of ever teen in the world and I am grateful I was able to experience them.

The Merciless Series by Danielle Vega

Described as Mean Girls meets The Exorcist, Vega wrote fours books that nail the horror genre for teens. These caught my attention because of the cover design and they were recommended by a co-worker. They have a good chunk of teen melodrama weaved into them, but there are plot twists and suspense to keep readers engaged. Vega writes vivid, terrifying characters and tells stories that will keep readers of all ages at the edge of their seats. I have two more TBR by Vega: Survive the Night and The Haunted, which was just released and you will be seeing reviews for those soon!
I also highly recommend these books for fans of Riverdale.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Penny just started college away from home, Sam works at the coffeeshop, and they meet each other through Penny's roommate. One day, Penny finds Sam sick around town and, to make sure Sam gets home safe, Sam makes Penny his emergency contact. This spirals into a deep relationship over text where they learn more about each other than every intended, but what happens when they try to meet in person? This is my favorite sub-genre in Teen; I love fiction that is realistic. Choi does an incredible job of painting a beautiful relationship between two people at two very different points in their life while keeping the story complex, yet grounded. Her next novels comes out later this year and I already have it on pre-order.

I have three more round-ups of book reviews to do, then we're on to single book reviews for the rest of the year as I plug through the Goodreads challenge. My summer reading goal is to read through my bookshelf, too, so be on the lookout for all of that. 

Have a good weekend you guys. <3

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