Saturday, August 21, 2010

Younger Voices, Older Eyes and Ears

So in following with my obsession previous blog post about young adult books and adult readers, this post talks about some amazing books that I have read that are marketed towards adults, but feature a young protagonist, and arguably could be read by a younger audience.

I just finished Helen Grant's debut novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden.
Set in a small German town where local gossip mingles with legend, for 10-year-old Pia that means parsing out fact from fiction. No easy feat for a girl whose grandmother explodes on Christmas eve. While this occurrence puts the town into a tizzy, it is soon forgotten when young girls Pia's age begin to disappear, some in broad day light. Pia, along with fellow outcast StinkStefan, take it upon themselves to find the monster that is spiriting away children.

While the story is told from the first person perspective of a young girl who still believes in fairy tales, the reader must beware as there is no honeyed ending. But rather like an old Charles Perrault, or Brothers Grimm story, ends with an unfortunate and ghastly resounding finality.

There have been several other authors who have expertly manipulated children's voices for the benefit of a well told story. In fact some of the best story telling I have read in the past couple of years are from books of this tenor.

The Selected works of T.S. Spivet by, Reif Larsen, which I can't stop talking about, features talented pre-teen, T.S. Spivet, who draws maps and diagrams in his spare time. This beautifully written, and drawn book takes you on a sweeping adventure. This is a book that both adults and teens can really enjoy. To read more about it check out this here blog post.

One of my favorite introductions to a sweeping New England yarn was Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief.
This very Dickensian novel takes place in 19th century New England. twelve-year-old Ren is an orphan who has a penchant for sleight of hand. One day he is whisked away from the orphanage he calls home by the mysterious con-man Benjamin. Tinti deftly tells their story in a way that is both charming and spooky.

I really recommend reading this book on chilly fall days, with a mug of cider, and a throw blanket on top.

Last but not least, one of my recent favorite publications is Alan Bradley's The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Bradley, an older Canadian Gentleman writes in the voice of almost eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce. A precocious, intelligent English school girl. Whose penchant for getting into things leads not only to her passion for chemistry, but into a lot of trouble as well. Her life, in a decrepit English country mansion, with her two older sisters and widowed father, is turned upside down when a stranger is found dead on their lawn. Bradley writes not only convincingly as Flavia, but wonderfully, richly. This is the first book in an at least three book series. To read more about the sequel click here.

While most of these books are intended for adults, I would definitely recommend most to older teens as well.

Hope y'all are having a great weekend!



1 comment:

Michael Kindness said...

good news Nieves... the Flavia series will be SIX books!