Too. Many. Words.
For a reluctant reader who may not be able to create that internal video that brings a narrative to life, a book in verse is a lot less intimidating. We loved these four titles with four very different approaches that still manage to capture contemporary concerns.
In Bull, author David Elliott gives a famous Greek myth a facelift that transforms it into a tale that can be paired with George O’Connor’s graphic novel Poseidon: Earth Shaker to bring a whole new perspective to an old story.
Sonya Sones grabs readers by the heart as she tackles youth homelessness and mental illness in Saving Red.
Then Nikki Grimes pairs brilliant art with classic verse and provides current context with One Last Word.
We round out our four with Solo by Kwame Alexander who mastered this style of writing with predecessors like The Crossover and Booked.
These four titles contain just the right number of words to build a powerful emotional response in our reluctant young adult readers.
Bull by David Elliott
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
March 23, 2017
Bull is a retelling of the ancient Greek Minotaur myth told in verse. Fans of Greek mythology know the basic story. Poseidon curses the King of Crete, his wife gives birth to a monster child with the body of a human and the head of a bull, he’s put in a labyrinth where the hero Theseus eventually vanquishes him. But in the modern trend of reimagining old tales from unique perspectives, David Elliott, gives us insight into the mind of the fabled Minotaur, named Asterion, as well as his family, the god Poseidon, and his eventual conqueror Theseus. David Elliott reimagines these ancient characters with fresh modern voices. The writing is in verse, and is at times lyrical, humorous, and heartbreaking. Potential readers should take note that there is a LOT of cursing in this book. The third page opens with Poseidon saying “whaddup bitches?.” And emphasis is placed on adult elements found in the original myth, such as the episode of bestiality between the bewitched queen and a bull that produced the minotaur.
Points of interest: the cover is eye-catching, the text is sparse with plenty of white space, and the book itself is short. The characters feel modern and engaging. Elliott doesn’t pull any punches with regards to cursing and references to adult themes.
Suggested for mature teens who can handle some adult humor and references. Recommended for fans of mythology retellings, Kwame Alexander’s novels in verse, and readers looking for a short engaging read. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees: Novels in Verse