Jonas lives in a perfect community. Everyone’s spouse, occupation, and children are carefully chosen for each individual. People in the Community do not know pain, war, or even love. They live in a world of Sameness where nobody gives others attention, positive or negative. In the Community, individuals feel safe and this world is all they know.
When Jonas turns twelve he attends the ceremony to determine his role in the Community. He’s signaled out and chosen to be The Receiver who gains all memories, pain and pleasure, from The Giver. He now receives special training as The Giver shares all memories only to Jonas. Jonas now learns the truth about what occurred in the Community’s past.
I read The Giver way back in middle school and disliked the book. Recently, someone was shocked and wanted me to read it again. I read The Giver again and loved it. I don’t think I fully understood the book’s story and message. I suggest The Giver for older ages to have a good discussion. I think The Giver is much more than a standard dystopia that’s so common today. The Giver is the first book in the The Giver Quartet Series. Later this year, The Giver will be released as a motion picture. I’m not sure the movie can match the book, but isn’t that always the case? I recommend The Giver.
Twelve-year-old Paul and his family recently moved to Tangerine, Florida. Paul is legally blind, but can still see with his glasses. In fact, Paul feels that he can see and sense things that others around him cannot see. However, nobody seems to listen to him. Strange events occur in Tangerine, Florida, such as constant lightning and fires. His mom’s mainly concerned with the odd town situations. His father only focuses on his high school brother’s goal of becoming the next great football player. Paul finally finds his ‘groove’ when he joins the middle school soccer team, although even then it takes time for him to really fit in. Tangerine is entirely written from Paul’s perspective in journal entry format.
I enjoyed Tangerine, but I felt it was rushed at the end and there were loose ties. My book edition included questions in the back. I think Tangerine would be useful for great discussion in the classroom. It’s listed on Amazon as ages 10+ and others state Tangerine as a Young Adult book. I think the book’s length and sensitive topics at times may lead to a Young Adult, but Tangerine could be read by middle school age readers.
I found this newspaper article from ilovelibraries.org about young adult books. I love the library and I’ll admit that I don’t scan the YA section as much as I should. I don’t like to put books into age groups, since many can be enjoyed by different ages. For example, Harry Potter mania has been read by both genders to grandparents to young children. Young adult books offer a wide range of topics, such as peer pressure, drugs, coming-of-age, relationship struggles, bullying, school conflicts, biographies, society issues, adventure, and so many wonderful new life experiences. There has been debate that YA books may be graphic, bold, and too mature for readers. Well, life isn’t perfect and many individuals deal with these issues on a daily basis. Reading helps us understand how we fit into society. Books help us understand ourselves. Reading YA books as a parent or teacher can also help you understand those teens around you. So, next time you’re unsure about which book to read next stroll over to the Young Adult section. You may be pleasantly surprised about what you found. I promise to take a closer look too.
Selected Young Adult Books:The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne-Collins The Book Thief by Markus Zusak To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger The Giver by Lois Lowry Looking for Alaska by John Green The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Monster by Walter Dean Myers The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner Forever by Judy Blume Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
What Young Adult books do you suggest?American Library Association’s 2011 Best Young Adult Book List