As you know, YA Guy’s mostly into speculative fiction: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, you name it. But from time to time I pick up something outside my comfort zone—not too far, mind you, because I can’t see myself reading a book about kissing or vampires (or kissing vampires). Over the past several weeks, however, I’ve read two YA Contemporary novels, and both were excellent.
THE TRUTH is an intense, fast-paced read, with incredible tension but, given the set-up, relatively little overt violence (for which I was thankful). The story is really about relationships: between Chris and his father, Chris and his brother, and, ultimately, Chris and his abductor. And though I found some of the revelations late in the book less shocking than they were likely intended to be, I was totally hooked by the story of Chris’s coming to terms with his father, his family, and himself.
What I liked most about LAST BOY AND GIRL is that it’s not only—or even mostly—a love story. Or it is, but as Keely herself discovers, it’s less about her love for a boy than about her love for her family, her town, and her best friend. Vivian’s pacing is totally unlike Johnston’s; where THE TRUTH grabs you at once and never lets go, LAST BOY AND GIRL lets events unfold gradually, revealing ever deeper layers in Keeley’s personal relationships and in the drama of her failing town. I could wish some of the environmental implications of this scenario had been drawn out more explicitly, but that’s not the story Vivian wants to tell. What she does want to tell is a story of the difficult choices one teenager faces as she tries to keep her life from going under, literally and symbolically, and Vivian tells that story simply and beautifully.
Chances are I’ll return to science fiction soon (in fact, I’ve got a manuscript due on my editor’s desk, so I’ll probably be doing more writing than reading in the next month or so). But I’m glad I took a detour and discovered these two great books!
Bonus! Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a SIGNED hardcover copy of THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD! (U.S. only.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway