Other Recent Young Adult & Kids Reads

Over this break I read a few other young adult and kids books beyond the two read while I was in COVID quarantine. When I saw this tweet a few days ago, it made me think of these books (and so many more).

I’m not sure how this one ended up on my list, but I loved it. I have a fondness for short story and essay collections in general. This one was pretty wide ranging. They were all holiday love stories, but that’s about all they had in common. I found myself thinking about several of the stories for days after finishing them. I also highly recommended the collection to both of my kids and my oldest finally realized, after I’d brought it up several times, it was a book I gave her several years ago. Which is so not a surprising revelation in our household. Sigh.

Several years ago I read Varian Johnson’s The Great Greene Heist and The Parker Inheritance. I loved them both so I had high expectations for this one. At the same time, I wasn’t really feeling it when I started it. Something about the premise didn’t pull me in the way those earlier two books of his did. Fortunately that didn’t last long for me. Ant, the 10 year old main character, is the narrator and he is absolutely wonderful. I am always impressed by adults who are able to write kid characters who feel so authentic. Even Ant’s dad, who struggles quite a bit in this story, is likeable and relatable. Johnson has created amazing characters here. The story doesn’t have a ‘they live happily ever after’ ending and it shouldn’t. It hurts a little but it is believable. And powerful.

I love Kyle Lukoff’s When Aidan Became a BrotherToo Bright to See is an amazing book as well. Books with LGBTQ+ characters frequently cause me some concern. I worry that they will be hard to read or heavy or, honestly, I’m not sure what. I just know I walk in with worry and hesitation. This one couldn’t have been better. It’s a ghost story and the story of a transgender boy coming to know who he is. The part that really struck me, probably because I’m a parent, was when Bug (the main character) realizes he is transgender and can’t wait to go home and tell his mom. His uncle, his mom’s brother, was a gay man and drag queen and he feels confident in his mom’s acceptance. Except then he doesn’t. As he heads home, he begins to question how his mother will respond. He thinks of all the stories he’s heard of families who were angry, disappointed, and unaccepting and he worries. Of course, his mom is as fabulous as he’d known she would be, but that moment of worry was so real. It made this a story that kids can connect with, no matter how they believe their family will respond.

Books for young adults and kids have come so far in my lifetime. I would never have had the chance, in elementary or high school, to read books like these. I am so grateful that my own children, quickly getting past even young adult books, do have such strong, brilliant, diverse stories to enjoy and learn from.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *