Thursday, April 28, 2011

YA for Those Who Don't Read YA - Literary Edition

Literary - Novels with a more literary style are a difficult sell in YA as there's typically less plot and more pretty words. Personally, I am a huge fan of the pretty words. My own writing style is fairly literary, in fact, and though the literary genre has a reputation for being boring or pretentious, not all of them carry this mark. And the ones that don't are, in my opinion, some of the best books out there. So for you fans of Literature, here's some YA to fit the bill.

1. Stay
Deb Caletti
Chronicling the aftermath of an abusive and obsessive relationship, Stay has the power of a solid plot and the beauty of incredible writing. Set in a beach town populated by quirky characters and rocky seas. It's a breathtaking, beautiful read with a strong sense of setting and relationships. 

2. Other Words for Love
Lorraine Zago Rosenthal 
With a fuzzy, polaroid-picture feeling to it, this book is the best of literary fiction. A protagonist who often feels alone, dealing with internal and family struggles, dealing with growing up and changing throughout the course of the novel. It's beautifully written and Ari is a character I found myself quickly relating to. Not to mention that cover just screams literary beauty!

3. This is What I Want to Tell You
Heather Duffy-Stone
This is one of those books that seems to have been forgotten. I don't know of many who read it which is a shame, as it's absolutely brilliant. Told in the rotating POV of a set of twins dealing with changing relationships and newfound realizations, there's a ton of strength in this story. Though it's not terribly plot-driven, there are some very raw and impressive events handled extremely well and I do hope that a few more people find and read this one.

4. Along for the Ride
Sarah Dessen
I would say that all of Dessen's novels have a literary leaning to them, but Along for the Ride might be (at least one of) the most literary. Set in a beach town, Auden (named for the poet -- le sigh) finds herself insomniac, sometimes taking care of her much-younger sister, sometimes making female friends for the first time, and sometimes wandering the streets at night with a boy with similar bad sleeping patterns. 

5. Invincible Summer
Hannah Moskowitz
As impossible as it is for me to decide how I feel about this book, there's no denying that it's both literary and beautiful. Set during four summers at a beach (are we seeing a pattern here?), the story is character-driven and infused with philosophy and setting and so so so much incredible writing.



  1. I think that Delirium kind of fits in this category, though I may be wrong.

  2. Oh, I agree with Jessi, Lauren Oliver's writing is what I'd define as *pretty* :) When I think Literary YA, I can't help but think of The Book Thief and Jellicoe Road. Interesting post :)

  3. Jessi E.
    Oh, I totally agree. I don't think I thought of that one because it's dystopian, but Oliver's writing style is definitely very pretty and literary.

    Yep, I agree about Oliver's writing though I've yet to read her first novel yet. (It's on my list, promise.) And The Book Thief is sitting on my shelf, but I haven't yet read it OR Jellicoe Road, which I've been told I'll love. So I'm looking forward to that one, whenever I get my hands on a copy.