February 23, 2011

RTW: Lend me your ears... I mean, opinions!

Each week, YA Highway hosts Road Trip Wednesday, a blog carnival in which YA Highwayers discuss a topic on their blogs and invite readers to do the same. This week's RTW topic is:

Interactive Q&A: post a question on your blog then travel the highway answering others' questions!

My question:

I am only 2 years into exploring the rich world of YA, but so far, I haven't found many books that fit one of my favorite reading niches: 

contemporary or historical fiction (non-fantasy, non-sci-fi) about other cultures and countries, particularly those that involve:

  • War or times of extreme political/social upheaval (particularly the Holocaust and WWII)
  • Less-written-about places such as China, Japan, the Middle East, Russia, even Hawaii (i.e., SEA by Heidi R. Kling or SOLD by Patricia McCormick)
  • Immigrants or first-generation Americans (especially of Asian or Hispanic/Latino descent) (i.e., Bettina Restrepo's upcoming ILLEGAL)
  • Travel (i.e., 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES by Maureen Johnson or Kirsten Hubbard's upcoming WANDERLOVE)

I know they're out there, I just haven't discovered them yet (and if not, maybe one of us RTWers needs to write them), so... know any good books (YA or not) that fit these descriptions? I'd love to consider them for my bounteous to-read list!

19 comments:

Erinn said...

There are TONS of books YA/Mg about the Holocost.
the Book Thief, Number of the stars, Night, Escape Children of the Holocaust, Someone named Eva.

First generations Americans Espernza Rising. The Glory Field.

Abby Stevens said...

WOW, thanks for the recs, Erinn!

Kate said...

Erinn said all the Holocost book I was going to recomend. So instead I'll recommend Laurie Halts Anderson's brand of Historical YA. Chains, Forge, and Fever 1796 are all revolutionary US historical novels that are very different from her contemporary works but equally fabulous.

Tracey Neithercott said...

Ah, Erinn mentioned the first two that came to my mind: The Book Thief (love) and Number the Stars.

Can't wait to see what other people suggest.

Alicia Gregoire said...

I'm drawing a blank on this. I'll think some more and if I think of any, I'll be back.

Rebecca B said...

Wow, this is a tough question! THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET isn't really YA (more of coming-of-age adult?) but it deals with first-generation Americans.

Miss Cole said...

John Marsden's "Tomorrow When the War Began" is about a fictional war in Australia and how a group of teenagers survive. It's not historical, but it was an extremely gripping series.

Alison Miller said...

Wow. I usually don't read a lot of that, and I can't think of any others than those that have been named.

Great question though! I hope you get a lot of helpful advice for this one!

Horserider said...

I second THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. The book is pure brilliance. I bought ANNEXED a couple weeks back, but I haven't gotten to read it yet. It's a fictional look at how Peter (the boy the lived with Anne Frank in the attic) might have felt.

AKG said...

Dave Eggers' WHAT IS THE WHAT isn't really a YA book (although the main character is young-college age for the duration of the story), but it is fantastic writing, and fits your parameters.

Milena March said...

Hi! I love reading historical fiction too. I've found a couple of lists on Goodreads for you:

New YA Historical Fiction in 2010/11

Teen Historical Fiction

YA Historical Novels

I hope that helps a little bit! :)

KO: The Insect Collector said...

Gabaldon's outlander series is good for historical fiction.
I have had Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy by my bedside for a year... my BFF recommends it but I haven't read it yet. It's set in India after the partition.
I loved the Hundred Secret Senses (amy tan, China)
and ADORE Shadow of the Wind.

Pam Harris said...

Whoa...wish I had some choices for you. Historical's not really my scene, but I'll make Quita swing by your blog. :)

Kathleen said...

Maybe Cindy Pon's books though (and I feel guilty admitting this) the first one is still on my TBR pile. Too many books, too little time.

HowLynnTime said...

Well it isn't just YA and there is a time travel thing but the rest is gritty fun historical detail - Dragonfly in Amber by Diane Gabaldon ( can't spell) My daughter read it. My son read Jimmy Doolittles life account and loved it...but he's a WWII nut. At 11......

thats all I have - I read dragons and voodoo stuff - lol

HowLynnTime said...

Oh wait scratch that you have to read '12 mighty orphans' - yes it's about football but a true story and just fantasic!

Kate Hart said...

Check out Red Glass by Laura Resau. It's about immigration, plus the prose is lovely.

Emy Shin said...

I wish I had recommendations for you. Most of the ones I've read that fit the descriptions are adult rather than YA. But I definitely will check out some books left in the comments. :)

Katy said...

Ooh, I just bought SOLD. Really looking forward to reading it!

As far as historicals go, I've got two sitting in my to-read pile. REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnely (I think it's part historical?) and also FAITHFUL by Janet Fox. I can't personally speak to their quality, but I've heard wonderful things about both.

Have you read Justine Chen's NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL? It's a contemporary and about half is set in China. Worth checking out. :)

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