Thursday, June 30, 2011

Top 5 in 2011, so far: Kady really really loves Melina Marchetta

 We have a thing this summer with people really really loving one book. For Kady, that book is The Piper's Son, she's about to convince you why it should be yours too.

Uhhhhh, so I meant to have a top 5, I really did. And the reason I stalled this long was so I could use my vacation to sit in a Barnes and Noble comfy chair and read all the 2011 books that I hadn't thus far.

But here's the thing. The only 2011 book that really sings to me, that demands thought and attention and sneaks up in my thoughts when I'm not expecting it is The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta.

I can give you five reasons why you NEED to read The Piper's Son, but I know that's not the same thing as a top 5 list.
Even so The Piper's Son takes spots 1-3 and rounding out my top 5 are Divergent by Veronica Roth (which would have been higher if it hadn't been so similar to Delirium by Lauren Oliver since it really is a good story, just one that seems to be getting told a lot lately) and The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson.

1) The Piper's Son, Melina Marchetta
This is my favorite kind of YA book, realistic without being overly dramatic. The story takes place in the distant aftermath of a great tragedy, so all the raw emotions and big grandstanding moments are out of the way and the book can focus on the slow burn of lingering grief.

2) The Piper's Son, Melina Marchetta
The Piper's Son respects its adult characters in a way few YA novels really do. YA is full of bad or neglectful parents and occasionally a kindly adult mentor,  but all of the characters in The Piper's Son are fully realized individuals who don't have to orbit around the teenage (or in this case 22 year old) protagonist. When was the last time you saw a YA novel give over half of the story to a 42 year old woman? Well, The Piper's Son does, and it so totally works.

3) The Piper's Son, Melina Marchetta
It's a sequel, but not in an annoying way. If you haven't read Saving Francesca, also by Melina Marchetta, you really should; it's an excellent book and The Piper's Son is the follow-up, set five years later and with most of the same characters. But The Piper's Son works just as well as a stand alone novel, just know that when you're done you can keep living in the same universe just a little bit longer.

4) Divergent, Veronica Roth
I've resisted the spunky female heroine in a dystopian future controlled by arbitrary rules (Love is forbidden! Girls become walking billboards at 16! There are only 4 core values and you must choose between them!) genre for long enough. Although the world building of Divergent could use some work, Roth does a great job with the action. When Tris (born Beatrice) turns 16 she chooses to leave her family and the only way of life she's ever known to join the Dauntless clan, known for their bravery and laughter in the face of danger. The rest of the novel is filled with breath taking and heart stopping sequences as Tris struggles with friendships and rivalries during an intense initiation process before realizing that everything she has been through is trivial compared to a larger battle looming with forces that want her dead.

5) The Last Little Blue Envelope, Maureen Johnson
Another sequel. When we last saw Ginny she was returning home to the states having almost completed her aunt's scavenger hunt. She was missing one little blue envelope, the last of thirteen, but she'd gained quite a bit of money and a guy who was maybe, probably her boyfriend or something. When this book opens, Ginny still has the money (it's been put away for college, duh), but Keith is behaving weirdly and she still can't believe she lost that last letter from her aunt. Then she's contacted by a guy who has found it and wants to give it back, for a price. As Ginny tours Europe again, with the blackmailing scumball who found the letter, her maybe, probably boyfriend and his new girlfriend (uh-oh), she learns that there isn't only one happy ending to each story. The sequel really captured the spirit of the first book and continued to show Ginny's growth and empathy. It's a worthy sequel and an exciting ride.


Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

Dude. This list is brilliant, I LOVE The Piper's Son and Melina Marchetta!!! <3

nico said...

Thanks for reading! We love Kady AND Ms. Marchetta too!