It’s easy to focus on exciting new releases in YA fiction, but there are titles that stand the test of time and are still relevant to today’s readers. Throwback Thursdays highlights those novels with enduring themes and appeal.
It may seem like just yesterday when you read about the disturbing main character in Cormier’s Tenderness, but the current reader who is 16 years old was not even born when this book was published. Television and books today are populated with crime shows, serial killers, and loads of suspense, but these books have always had an audience.
Lori is looking for tenderness. Not the kind she receives from her mother’s boyfriends, but true tenderness where someone will notice and care for her. She hopes to find that tenderness in Eric. Eric is also looking for tenderness. This tenderness seems to always be out of reach, except for that fraction of a moment before death. The death he brings to others. Eric is finally leaving jail at the age of 18 for killing his parents. He claims it was self-defense, but Detective Proctor knows better. He believes that Eric has also killed at least two other girls, but can’t prove it. This novel will keep you filled with anticipation as Lori and Eric’s lives intersect and as Detective Proctor is determined to make sure that Eric will never kill again.
#TBT Tenderness by Robert Cormier, published in 1997
It’s a truism of reading that books are judged by their covers, no matter how much we feel in our hearts that we shouldn’t be swayed by looks. In my experience, teen readers feel especially passionate about this. Shabby book? No way. Juvenile or dated-looking cover? Pass! So I pay extra attention when older books are issued with fresh new covers. In the visual world of teen marketing, it can mean a new lease on life for many older books, and discovery by a whole new generation. Here are just a few examples:
One of my favorite things about summer is the variety of treats that are best eaten during summer months: fruit that comes in season, treats like ice cream that are best eaten in hot weather, and s’mores. I love the process of toasting marshmallows over a fire and sandwiching them between graham crackers with a sliver of chocolate. I sometimes even make them in the microwave, which isn’t nearly as delicious but will do in a pinch. If I were to make a s’more out of books, here’s what I’d use:
Miss Fortune Cookie by Kay Honeyman. This book would be the first cookie layer. Erin runs a popular advice blog, but things get complicated when her ex-best friend writes in with a question. Soon Erin finds herself entangled in a web of half-lies and drama.
Strawberry Marshmallow by Barasui. This six-volume manga series could be toasted and become the next layer of my s’more. This cute series featuring the antics of a couple of school girls would add the right amount of sweetness.
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (1991 Margaret A. Edwards Award). Jerry decides not to sell chocolates as a part of the school’s annual fundraiser, and this choice quickly spirals into something much larger than Jerry would ever have imagined.
Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald. The teens in this story send fortune cookie messages to their neighbors on Valentine’s Day, and these messages turn out to be just what each person needed to hear. Mix in a few long-held crushes and watch the drama ensue!
Stick by Andrew Smith. This is not an easy book to read, and the main character definitely has more than his share of difficulties to deal with, but many teens enjoy books about characters facing a lot of adversity, so this is the perfect addition to our s’mores recipe.
Fire by Kristen Cashore (2010 Best Books for Young Adults). Without a heat source, the marshmallow would never roast. This second installment in the Graceling Realm series follows the last “human monster,” Fire, as she’s brought to the royal city to use her powers in aid of the king.
If you were to make a dessert out of books, what would you use?
One of life’s major rites of passage for kids is learning to ride a bicycle. Remember learning to ride? Maybe not, but like the saying goes, once you learn how, you never forget. If you’re a teen who doesn’t yet have your driver’s license or who does but can’t afford a car, riding a bicycle may be the only way to get around. There’s nothing like grabbing your bike and cycling away when you want to get away from everyone and everything.
To acknowledge the many benefits of bicycling and to get more people to give it a try, in 1956, The League of American Bicyclists (founded as the League of American Wheelman in 1880) established May as National Bike Month. The third Friday of May is designated National Bike to Work Day and The National Center for Safe Routes to School hosts National Bike to School Day the second week of May.
So, help celebrate National Bike Month by jumping on your bicycle and getting outside for some exercise! Afterward, relax and check out these YA fiction and nonfiction â€œbooks with bikes.â€
Maybe you don’t know how to ride a bike? If so, you can relate to Sarah Dessen’s Along for the Ride (2009) where Auden, about to start college in the fall, decides to escape her control-freak professor mom to spend the summer with her novelist father, his new young wife, and their brand-new baby. Over the course of the summer, Auden tackles many new projects: learning to ride a bike, making real connections with peers, facing the emotional fallout of her parents’ divorce, distancing herself from her mother, and falling in love with Eli, a fellow insomniac bicyclist recovering from his own traumas. Along for the Ride is a 2010 Teens’ Top Ten winner. Continue reading YA Books With Bikes in Celebration of National Bike Month