Best of 2012: all things YA

Today our staff delves into the every popular young adult genre. Since all our staff are adults, well in years at least, clearly there is no shame in checking out these titles if you happen to be a “mature” adult.

Young Adult Fiction

Croak by Gina Damico

A delinquent 16-year-old girl is sent to live with her uncle for the summer, only to learn that he is a Grim Reaper who wants to teach her the family business. I’m becoming fascinated with anything grim reaper-ish, ghostly, psychical, or dealing with the afterlife. This hits all the high notes for me, and is a nice, smooth read. This book will definitely appeal to fans of the TV show Dead Like Me. – Carol

This is Not a Drill by Rebecca (Beck) McDowell

When an angry dad bursts into the classroom where Jake and Emery are tutors, things quickly degenerate. In the absence of the teacher, it is up to the teens to save the younger children from an armed, and increasingly disturbed, ex-soldier with PTSD. The story is told in alternating chapters by Jake and Emery, which gives us both points of view, and a hint of romance. This is a very believable and topical thriller. –Theresa

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Austin doesn’t have much time to complete his “bucket list.” Terminally ill, he has a list of people to see and events to set into motion before it’s too late. It’s a “sneaky sad story” that starts out sarcastic and full of dark humor. –Emily

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Thirty-five girls from different social castes are randomly selected to compete for the chance to wed their next ruler, Prince Maxon. For most girls, this would be a dream come true. But for one girl, being selected is a nightmare. Unlike many first books of series, this one has some closure at the end. –Emily

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Return to form for an author known for his literary, humorous, ecological books — in this one the worlds of a rugged animal wrangler and a faux survivalist TV star collide. Terrific character-driven fiction; it’s hard to be this funny and smart at the same time. –Alan

Young Adult Nonfiction

The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines

The title is the hook, and while it does pay tribute to the world of The Hunger Games by including recipes like “Grilled Tree Rat with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce”, most of the recipes are simple standards such as French bread and red velvet cake. The recipes are within the abilities of a beginning teen cook, and most use ordinary kitchen ingredients. However, the author is serious about foraging and developing interest in cooking with wild edibles. –Theresa

Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty by Ann Shoket and the editors of Seventeen magazine

This title is divided into sections covering makeup, hair, skin, nails, and finding your own look. Within each section are tips for a variety of “looks” and photographs of trending celebrities as examples. It shows in detail how to use the various makeup products and the photographs represent a wide variety of ethnicities and body types. The style suggestions are realistic for teens: not too time consuming, and not requiring too many beauty products. –Theresa

For a full list of all the 2012 staff picks, click here.

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