17 July 2012
Young adult fiction seems to be getting better and better. I recently read two excellent novels that top my list of YA reads for 2012.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake tells the tale of seventeen year old Theseus Cassio Lowood, or Caz for short, who is a professional ghost hunter like his dad was before him.
After successfully doing away with the spirit of a murderous hitch hiker, Caz and his mother move to the small town of Thunder Bay which has a killer ghost of its own, Anna Korlov, better known as Anna Dressed in Blood, who died at sixteen when she was on her way to a school dance.
Anna turns out to be his most formidable ghost yet. A loner his whole life, Caz finds himself teamed up with a group of friends keen to help him get the job done – the prettiest and most popular girl at school, Carmel Jones; weird goth telepath Thomas Sabin, and jockish jerk Will Rosenberg, whose best friend Mike was Anna’s most recent victim.
Together they bind Anna and release her of her curse, but not before Caz discovers the real girl behind the ghost, and also unleashes the horror voodoo spirit responsible for his dad’s death.
It’s an unusual love story, a thrill-a-minute ghost story, and an unputdownable thriller. It’s the best book I’ve read this year and I don’t say that lightly. I loved that it started right in the thick of the action, its raw edginess and dark subject matter and its pace. Imagine Supernatural crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossed with Christopher Pike.
Another excellent, must-read YA that recently hit the shelves is Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz.
It’s a year after September 11 and a sniper has sent the public into a panic. Lio loves Craig, but Craig is still hung up on his ex Cody. It’s a crazy time to even think about being in love, but the boys can’t think of anything else, even though they’ve come up with a million reasons why they shouldn’t be together.
Gone, Gone, Gone is a great book. It’s fast paced, and honest and altogether unbiased and judgement free, which is exactly what you want from a book that deals with teenage homosexually. It left me light and buoyant and satisfied.
I love the way Hannah Moskowitz draws you into her world so effortlessly. She captures time and place so well, and is masterful at creating tension and keeping the reader’s attention glued to the first page all the way to the final full stop. I especially love how authentic her characters come across. She does panicked teenage boy very well, which pretty much sums up her debut novel, Break, and her second book Invincible Summer. I’m looking forward to when she writes a book from a girl’s perspective. But even if she sticks to boys I’ll be among the first in line to grab my copy, because her writing is just that addictive.
I highly recommend Gone, Gone, Gone. It’s my favourite Moskowitz’ novel yet.