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Teen reads

Here are some books that are sure to get adolescents reading

As teens are their own breed, so is the literature written for teenagers its own genre. Young adult ” also known as YA ” books typically explore the rigors of the years between childhood and adulthood when kids’ bodies are changing and they feel awkward and self-conscious, or outcast or isolated, as they strive to find their footing in a world that seems to have shifted around them. At a time when emotions fluctuate wildly, friendships and loyalties change, and life in general is confusing, books written specifically for teens offer up protagonists who are experiencing similar changes, and situations that pose the same challenges, confusion, and pain.

In my search for great books for young adults at the Truckee Library, I have discovered a treasure trove of wonderful books and authors for ages 10 and up.



Some are for more mature readers while others are a better fit for those just beginning to experience the rigors of adolesence. The following is a small sampling:



Gary Paulsen has written a series of books about a 13-year-old boy who finds himself alone in the wilderness and must rise to not only the problems of surviving alone in the woods, but also the rigors of making sense of normal civilization when he returns. Geared for ages 10 and up, “Hatchet,” “Brian’s Return,” “Brian’s River,” “The Winter,” and “Brian’s Hunt” are written with humor, suspense, and compassion.

A 6-foot, 3-inch seventh-grade boy stuggles with his parents’ divorce, his grandfather’s Vietnam War injury, the cuelty of his schoolmates, and his lack of coordination in Joan Bauer’s “Stand Tall.” Another book for boys that addresses teenage feelings of isolation is “Secret Heart,” by David Almond, in which a boy who is out of step with the world around him becomes involved with a ragtag circus that comes to town. Almond, whose books dance on the magical edge of fantasy, has also written “Skelling” and “Kit’s Wilderness.”

Ann Brashares’ “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” links four girls, close friends, through the joint ownership of one pair of pants. Humor, courage, love, illness, and confrontation all make appearances in the book, which was so popular that Brashares followed up with “The Second Summer of the Sisterhood” and “Girls in Pants.”

In “When Zachary Beaver Came to Town,” Toby thinks he has it pretty rough when his mother leaves and his secret crush denies his existence. That is until a traveling sideshow brings the world’s fattest boy to Toby’s dusty little town in Texas, providing an opportunity for him to reach out and change his perspective.

While much of YA literature addresses the growth and change of an individual, other YA books look at how teens cope in difficult cultural or political situations.

“Before we Were Free,” by Julia Alvarez, is set in the Dominican Republic where a 12-year-old girl is coming of age in a dictatorship, and must go into hiding when her father is taken away by the secret police. Lois Lowry, another YA author who addresses politics, wrote “Number the Stars,” the story of two girls ” one of whom is Jewish ” in Copenhagen in 1943. Their lives are changed forever when the Nazis march into town. Lowry also penned “The Giver,” which presents a seeming utopia in which one member of society is chosen to keep all memories of the true joys and pains of life. Lowry expanded the story into a trilogy which continues the story with “Gathering Blue” and “The Messenger.”

If your teen is a fantasy reader, check out any of the excellent books by Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L’Engle, Tamora Pierce, Christpher Paolini, and Susan Cooper, and of course the Harry Potter series.

Although YA literature is written for teens, most of it will appeal to adults also, and might provide a great starting point for a discussion with that teen who seems to be slipping out of reach. Check it out!

Pam McAdoo is a Truckee resident, an artist and active in library issues in the community.

Truckee Library, 10031 Levon Ave., 582-7846

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Bookshelf Book Club

Meets at the Library on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” by Kim Edwards, is the book for discussion on Sept. 19. Participants at the book group meeting will receive a coupon for 15 percent off a one-time book purchase at the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks.

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Wanted: Tutor for Homework Club

Nevada County Literacy Service-is looking for an ELLI (English Language Literacy Intensive) homework club teacher for Truckee Elementary School homework club to tutor third-, fourth- and fifth-grade ELLI students in English, Math and Social Studies two days per week for two hours. Position pays $11 an hour. For more information call the library literacy hotline: 575-7030.-

Now on display at the library

Portraits by Truckee artist Raphael Jolly

Over the fireplace: acrylic painting by Eve Werner, “Quercus lobata’serpentine'”


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