Not sure if it’s because I’m a youth worker, or because there is a 16 year old in the house, or maybe I’m just young at heart, but I have found myself reading a fair bit of ‘Young Adult’ literature these last few years. I’m kind of jealous of the huge selection of books available for teenagers today, compared to the very limited selection I had growing up.
We Were Liars has featured on a lot of end of year ‘best of’ lists, it has also been on the 16yr old’s wish list since the Summer, so it was an easy choice for a Christmas present this year. The bonus being that I can borrow it soon after.
The plot revolves around ‘The Liars’, a group of cousins and a friend who spend their summer on a private family owned island off Massachusetts. They’re wealthy, everything is done ‘the Sinclair way’ and life is good . However, as the story unravels we find a love story, prejudice, an accident that nobody will talk about and a family less together than first presented.
On most levels I enjoyed this book. Its well written. It only slowly peels away it’s secrets making you want to keep reading (and given that it’s a short enough novel, you could well read it in a day), until the big dramatic reveal, followed by a bigger dramatic reveal. My only negative is that I didn’t like the characters..I don’t think I liked any of them. I found them all pretentious and overly privileged, but perhaps that’s just my own personal prejudices coming to the fore.
I wouldn’t put anybody off reading We Were Liars. Its an intelligent dramatic novel. It has layered themes that you find yourself confronted with, or that you slowly realise were there. It deserves it’s plaudits, I just wish I cared more about the characters.
The Death Cure operates at a much different pace. Set in a dsytopian world into the future, its the third in the popular Maze Runner Series, the first of which was a summer feature film release starring Dylan O’Brien (one of the reasons the 16 yr old devoured this series over the summer and was at the cinema on opening weekend).
I enjoyed the Maze Runner Books. Not as much as The Hunger Games though. It moves along quickly, and you’re never quite sure if all of the characters will make it to the end of the book. In the last of the trilogy we find one of the main characters has ‘The Flare’, we get a final confrontation between the Gladers and WICKED and we get an ending. Not the best ending in the world, but not the worst either. If you enjoyed the rest of the series, you’ll enjoy this, Not sure if I’ll bother with book 4, which is a prequel, though.
Young Adult fiction has come a long way since I was plodding my through Enid Blyton book, or The Hardy Boys, or even Just WIlliam for a change. There is a fantastic selection for all tastes, covering some very serious subject matter. These 2 aren’t the best I’ve read, but they are still really good. If you’ve poo-pooed the idea of trying books ostensibly written for teenagers, put your preconceptions to one side for a while and have a browse in that part of the bookshop. You won’t regret it.