I finished two young adult novels this week and enjoyed both of them. As I mentioned in a previous post I believe that the boundaries between “genres” are being blurred. I think this is being driven to some extent by authors of novels for middle school and young adult readers. I hope this will have a good impact on what these young people read as adults and that more books labeled “Science Fiction” and “Fantasy” will be considered as literature and read and critiqued as such.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2008
Borrowed from my library.
Seventeen year old Jenna Fox has woken from a year-long coma. She is having to learn basic things like smiling and walking. She suffers from blinding flashes of memory that are so complete they shouldn’t be possible. Her mother doesn’t want her to leave the house and her Grandmother doesn’t want much to do with her at all.
This is the basic premise of the novel and it moves forward to touch on identity, family and ethical dilemmas that we face now and in the future. It is well-written, fast paced and a wonderful introduction to some of the pressing questions we will have to answer about what it means to be human. It has been glowingly reviewed on many blogs and there are rumors of a movie.
Is this a young adult thriller, a science fiction novel, speculative fiction? This is one of the books that will blur the lines between genres.
Ash by Malinda Lo
Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2009
Borrowed from my library.
Ash is a richly detailed retelling of “Cinderella” with added depth from old folktales and some very interesting twists.
As Aisling sleeps after the loss of her mother she has dreams of white horses and tall, wraith-like riders. Ash’s father remarries and dies. She is forced to leave her small town and move to the city, living her life in servitude.
Ash has lived in a place that is very close to the old magic. Her only comfort comes from reading the old tales in a book left by her mother. She believes her only salvation will come when she is taken away by the fairies. In the deep woods she meets a man as pale as a ghost, more handsome then any she had ever seen. Here is her prince, but he is of Fairy, and dangerous. The story takes different turn when Ash meets the King’s huntress, Kaisa. Through Kaisa’s kindness and caring Ash’s heart begins to heal and her desire to live returns.
This is a dark and lovely tale, rich in fantasy, with a new kind of romance that make an old favorite new again.