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Tag: gordon korman

Dear Book Guru: Reading Advice for the Back-to-School Crowd

Image courtesy of flickr user katerha

Author’s note: The Book Guru fancies herself a sort of literary Dear Abby, offering advice on what to read and how to survive one’s teen years. The back-to-school season is one of her busiest; is there any time of the year more fraught with worry and the unknown? Below is just a sampling from this month’s burgeoning mail bag.

Dear Book Guru,

I’m starting high school this year (gulp), and as if that isn’t scary enough, I’ve got some major family drama going on. Did I mention I’m a freshman? What did I do to deserve this?! I’m overwhelmed, and I may never laugh again.

— Fretful Freshman

Where Has All the Humor Gone in YA Books?

Teens watch and love funnymen Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, and David Letterman, but there’s a real lack of funny YA books for teens. Yes, I know teens like serious contemporary fiction or whatever is popular in the media/movies right now — and that’s zombies, superheroes and adventure/survival/horror stuff — but I also know they like to laugh, too, and feel good at the end of a book. Many YA books feature sarcastic teens, but there’s a lack of purely lighthearted, laugh-out-loud books for teens. John Green and David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults) was the last book that I read that I thought was funny: Tiny Cooper made me laugh. It wasn’t completely lighthearted, but it walked the fine line between being serious and being humorous.

David Lubar’s Sleeping Freshman Never Lie (2006 Best Books for Young Adults) was funny (but also had its serious aspects) — 9th grader Scott offers a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” to his unborn sibling on surviving freshman year of high school as he himself is being picked on by upperclassmen for his lunch money and tortured to death in gym, among other things.

There’s so much more outright humor written¬†for younger kids (Louis Sachar’s books, Dan Gutman’s books, the Captain Underpants books…) but much less for teens.