Have you ever thought about how many books are being released each year? Only a fraction of these are disseminated in the media, in book reviews and in the library. Many titles disappear during the radar, and a good deal of these are English books that are not translated into Norwegian. Here you will find an overview of English youth books that became my favorites in 2016.
2016 has been a wonderful year literally, and here on the literature blog we have conveyed as much as we can of new books, comics and writers. Deichman’s book tips for youth often focus on Norwegian books and foreign books that have been translated into Norwegian, but there are lots of exciting English youth literature in the libraries that can give you an equally good literary experience like Norwegian and translated books.
A friendship develops between two or more people who thrive in each other’s company and often have something in common. Sometimes friendships occur without the involvement having shared interests or similar background stories. In the Run of Kody Keplinger we see an example of this. The book is about Bo, who comes from a difficult family and faintly-sighted Agnes who experience being sheltered from the outside world by overprotected parents. These two youngsters become best friends against all odds, and one evening when Bo ends up in trouble, the two girls decide to escape.
Another book from the year that has been about friendship is Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah of Erin Jade Lange. Here we meet the tattooed rebel Andi, the York bell who hurts most nerd Boston who dreams of starting to study at a prestigious university and Sam always invisible in social surroundings. These four boys have little in common, but when they suddenly find themselves in a stolen car escaped from the police, they have to contemplate their differences and cooperate.
There are many different types of friendship, and in JJ Howard’s youth book Sit, Stay, Love portrays the friendship between animals and humans. Cecilia is volunteering at the animal shelter where the dog Potato is brought in, and immediately falls in love with the little pug. Unfortunately, Potato is adopted by the popular boy Eric before Cecilia is able to blink. Eric plans to train Potato to win competitions, and since Cecilia has made a trust to the dog, he needs her help.
2016 has given us many love stories, and several of them are about how love can make a blind one. In the book Crush by Eve Ainsworth, Anna meets the dream-type Will and falls flat-screen. Will is perfect in Annas eyes, and he wants her to be his and nobody else’s. It’s not so bad to want it when you’re boyfriends, but what happens when Will tries to keep Anna away from friends and music? The book questions how a boyfriend is shall behave.
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland gives the reader an insight into the first love from a male perspective. The teenager Henry has never been in love before, and when it finally happens, he does not fall in love with the stereotypical girl he had imagined to fall for. Grace walks, uses boy clothes and it seems she never showers. During a collaborative release of the school newspaper Henry falls to Grace, and the book shows how love is blind. Henry only sees the good pages of Grace, and therefore falls in love with the mysterious girl. This book will be published in Norwegian during the spring, and I am looking forward to reading the Norwegian translation.
In 2016, it was the ten year anniversary of the Twilight series where Bella fell in love with the vampire Edward. Their epic love story has been described in several books and filmed with Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson in the lead roles. To mark the anniversary, the author Stephenie Meyer released Twilight: Life and Death , which is a recount of the same story, but this time there is a teenage boy moving to the town of Forks and falling in love with a mysterious female vampire.
Several of last year’s books have focused on being famous – both voluntarily and against their will. Accidental Superstar by Marianne Levy is one of those books. It’s about Katie becoming superstar after a video of her singing in her room goes viral. The book is about what happens when you become a celebrity in a short time and how it can affect everyday life.
Another girl who gets her daily life is seventeen-year-old Nina who is offered work on the tour of the popular band The Point in the book Love Song by Sophia Bennett. She thanks to be the new assistant for the singer’s fiancé, even though she knows that her fiancé is spoiled and full of divany. In Cuckoo by Keren David, we meet teen actor Jake, who has a role in Britain’s largest soap series. The problem is just that his grade went up the stairs to his room six months ago and never returned. The book shows how it can be when you are young, lose your job and have a family that is financially dependent on you.
I Girl vs. Boy Band by Harmony Jones is the shy girl Lark who is the main character. She gets a lot of frustration by writing songs about her life, school, in love and family. Lark’s mother is director of her own record company, and now the British boy band Abbey Road will live with her family while they make their first album. The boy band struggles with his own problems, and Lark wrap into the spotlight when one of the band members plagiarizes one of Lark’s songs and presents it as his own.
Although most youth books are about identity and finding oneself in one way or another, there are some books that focus more than others on the pressure and demands of society on how to look, perform and behave. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is such a book and became one of my favorite books from 2016. The book is about the new girl at school who wants to fit in and be normal. The problem with Amanda Hardy is that she is terrified for her classmates to find out why she changed school. What do they want to say when they find out that Amanda Hardy does not exist and that it’s really Andrew Hardy she’s born as?
Another of this year’s books, Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven, is about inner and outer identity. We meet Libby, an overweight teenage girl who nobody notices and the school’s coolest boy Jack, who is all noticeable. The book shows the friendship that blossoms between Libby and Jack, and about seeing people’s personality instead of just their appearance.
Fantasy and excitement
Monsters, time journeys and stormy nights are some of what we meet in the tense books of the year that have passed. The girl from everywhere by Heidi Helig is the first book in a new fantasy series about Nix. Her father can sail through time and place and has the opportunity to visit both real and fantasy fans as long as he has a map in front of him. On their many travels, they have picked up different people and thus got their own little family on the boat, but the father of Nix is obsessed with finding a map that can bring him back to his great love, Nix ‘mom, though this can wipe out Nix ‘existence too good.
Think Twice by Sarah Mlynowski is a different book of excitement, and the continuation of Do not Even Think About It . In the first book, the reader was introduced to a bundle of students who received telepathic skills after taking a vaccine against colds, while in book number two these abilities disappear. Do they have the opportunity to get them back?
Strange Star by Emma Carroll begins with a strange girl covered with strange scars hammering at Lord Byron’s doorstep a stormy night in 1816. She is looking for her sister and is afraid she has been pursued here. The book’s action reminds of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, thus becoming a great way to introduce children and adolescents to Gothic literature.
What I am looking forward to
I’m looking forward to a new year filled with new books, and looking forward to reading Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos. It’s about the Jackie family who struggles to make ends meet because of the father’s unhealthy cancer and big algorithms. I also have big hopes for Amy Wilson’s A Girl Called Owl about a girl who suddenly detects strange patterns on her skin. And A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, a story about the friendship between dumb Steffi and the new boy at school who turns out to be deaf. Becky Albertalli, the author of the amazing Simon and Homo Sapiens agenda (read our review of this ) will also come out with a new youth book this year. This is called The Upside of Unrequited , and is about Molly who gets caught fast, but never dare to say it to the one she likes. But what I look forward to this year is the books I will read by chance. Because most of them are the ones I end up being the best.