YA fiction

My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul

cover77953-mediumIt is hard to find books which appeal to reluctant high school age boy readers at the moment which are stand alone and which are not fantasy. I was excited to get my hands on this one via Netgalley and will certainly buy a copy when it is released.

This is Hank’s story. Hank’s mum and brother have died and left him with a broken heart and a broken dad.  His dad has taken up with a string of inappropriate, not teenage son friendly girlfriends. Dad drinks way too much and it seems his only interests are baseball and beer.  Hank is not into either of those things. As he tries to get on with his life Hank is making his way through high school and is very keen on the popular girl in his year. He decides to make a grand gesture and invite her to the prom.  But not just in any ordinary way, he decides that he will write his invitation in sparklers on her lawn.  Obviously, she will gaze upon this and be desperate to go with the person who made this awesome thing happen.  Unfortunately, Hank underestimates the flammability of the tree he ends up putting his sparklers under, and almost sets her house on fire.  He thinks he has got away with his stupid idea, but Peyton an odd girl who lives nearby has seen him and is using the information against him.  Thus, Peyton and Hank end up becoming friends, but it is a long road to this friendship.

This novel starts off as a fun romp and ends up dealing with lots of big issues.  Abuse, neglect and a serious case of pyromania, but friendship is at it’s heart. These kids really talk to each other. Through misunderstandings and miscommunications and a lot of racing around on bikes, Hank does a huge amount of growing and he is a lovely person and as we come to understand Peyton we feel for her pain. This is a great book with lots of good messages and I loved the humour. Great for year 9 – 11 boys and girls as well.

Brides Farewell by Meg Rosoff

I have loved every book that Meg Rosoff has published.  The totally gorgeous and tensely gripping How I Live Now, Just In Case which was quirky, funny, slightly snarky and sexy, and What I Was which has a great twist at the end and an old fashioned feel.  I like the way Meg Rosoff envelops you with her characters, and I get totally caught up in her books and do nothing else but read them till they are done.

The Brides Farewell I read in a day, it is the story of Pell who runs away on the morning of her wedding, she ends up taking her mute little brother with her unwillingly, but he is determined to come.  She cannot face marrying Birdie, the boy who has loved her for years, and her home is a miserable place.  Poverty, squallor and with marriage and the constant production of children not seeming like a great option, she is out of there.

So Pell begins her journey, she is a fighter, she is tough, resilient and I adored her.  I actually didn’t think I was going to like this book as much as I did, and I was delighted with it.  If you have loved her other books then do read this, if you haven’t ever read her and you want a book with a gutsy girl, burly blokes and sensitive children, horses, and gypsy fortune tellers go and get hold of this.   There is a great interview with Meg Rosoff here.  Crikey, she is just really hot actually.  Quick Meg write me another book.