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The Best MG/YA Novels About Death, Dying, or Those Left Behind
Apr 9th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

DEATH. It’s inevitable. And even though DEATH isn’t the biggest fear for MG/YA, (alienation from peers is number one according to a child psychologist friend who conducted a study on the topic) it is still a topic YA think about. Yesterday, I finished reading The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder. It was another powerful read about the main character dying of cancer that left my head spinning and my dreams mingled with images right off the pages. When I woke up, I started thinking about how many MG/YA novels I’ve read on this topic. I searched my Goodreads list and I realized that DEATH is definitely a reoccurring theme. No, I am not DEATH obsessed at all. But it’s everywhere – from the Hunger Games to Under the Never Sky to Across the Universe—all fantastic novels I highly recommend. In those novels, characters are murdered and DEATH is prevalent. But they don’t necessarily address the deeper issues of DEATH. So, I decided to compile a list for readers who are looking for some of the BEST novels that dig into this topic. In no particular order:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, WhoRuBlog post: http://www.whorublog.com/?p=1043

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder, my Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/227446798

Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/245856732

Winter Longing by Tricia Mills, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/215029968

Fracture by Megan Miranda, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/243297421

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/151807847

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz, Goodread review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/226657322

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223975181

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223975181

Elsewhere by Gabriella Zevin, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/274770802

Between by Jessica Warman, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/207351225

The Everafter by Amy Huntley, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/162762230

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/174050466

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/150999990

Deadline by Chris Crutcher, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/104403811

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/91838896

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/115787142

Read and added on April 21, 2012 – after recommendations from several YA book bloggers: The Catastrophic History of You and Me, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/195927203

MIDDLE GRADE:

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (author), Siobhad Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator), Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/234705851

Radiance, Shimmer, Dreamland (Riley Bloom Series, 1, 2, 3) by Alyson Noel, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223997625

Would love to know your favorites. Feel free to share by clicking on comments. 

 

 

Brilliant NOVELS by Brilliant YA Authors – Gayle Forman, Lauren Oliver, Jandy Nelson
Apr 13th, 2011 by Liza Wiemer

This is a very quick post, my friends, but I need to share with you some YA novels that have  blown me AWAY!

Gayle Forman’s Where She Went – the sequel to If I Stay – OMG incredible. So absolutely amazing. Can’t stop thinking about these books, can’t stop talking about them.

Here’s my comments about If I Stay as posted on Goodreads: This book received the 2010 Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Honor – Superb! Do you have a choice to live or to die? How does one continue on when everything is lost? This is an emotionally charged, powerful YA novel perfect for YA and adults. The voices are powerful and intense, the characters interesting and passionate about life and music. Don’t miss this novel!

My comments about Where She Went: I loved WHERE SHE WENT, every word. I started it around ten and stayed up until I finished it three hours later, and I can’t stop thinking about it. (I had a hard time falling asleep after that, so I reread some of my favorite parts.) Seriously, I don’t think you could get any more perfect than this novel when it comes to depth of character, emotional baggage, authenticity of voice.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, but what’s there to criticize about this book? In my opinion it doesn’t get better than this. WHERE SHE WENT had to be one of the most gut-wrenching books ever written. Perhaps I’m experiencing sympathy pains as an author – knowing what it’s like to put everything into your characters and have your characters put everything into you, into your book – THIS IS IT! WHERE SHE WENT is lyrical and beautiful. I love Adam and Mia. Wow, talk about a phoenix rising from the ashes.
I know IF I STAY is being made into a movie – and I do wonder if this book will be incorporated. I could visualize every scene, all the heartbreak. This one will haunt me for a long time. Incredible, absolutely mind-blowing incredible. Do not miss IF I STAY or WHERE SHE WENT.

Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere – Loved it! A few weeks ago I stood in Borders and recommended this to so many teens. Had a frank discussion with quite a few girls and all of a sudden we had a nice crowd and an amazing time talking about this book and other favorites. Here’s what I had to say about it as posted on Goodreads: Oh yeah, I loved this book! It’s not too often that I go back and reread sections of a novel, but I did with this one! So vivid, heartbreaking, lovely, romantic! And wow the creative storytelling through poems written on scraps of paper, trees, benches, napkins, paper cups . . . loved it! This is a novel that takes you in, holds you close, and takes you along page by page on an emotional roller coaster! Hop on, you’ll love the ride!

Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Delirium – Two absolutely extraordinary YA novels that I’ve recommended over and over and over again. And Lauren, your endings get to me every time! Holy wow!

My comment as posted on Goodreads about Delirium: DON’T READ PAST THIS FIRST LINE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT I DID AT THE END!
This book was so extraordinary. Loved the characters, the settings, the premise of LOVE being a disease. Lauren Oliver is a BRILLIANT writer. I read the ending at least 10 times. I cried and cried and cried and cried! Then I paced the living room floor, headed to the bathroom for tissues, and started over again! OMG! Truly one of the most mind-blowing endings I’ve ever read. I could picture it perfectly in my mind. This book takes hold of your heart and doesn’t let go! WOW! JUST WOW!

My comments about Before I Fall: Impossible to put down! Another must-read for teachers, parents, and of course HS students. BEFORE I FALL will leave you breathless and wondering until the very last page. Brilliant, extraordinary… the characters will jump off the page and become a part of you. This is a novel you need to read more than once because you don’t want to miss any nuance or angle. Lauren Oliver-a standing ovation! Before I Fall is an honors winner for the Milwaukee County Teen Book Awards (MCTBA) for 2011! Well deserved.
http://mctba.wordpress.com/

DO YOU WANT TO WIN A COPY OF LAUREN OLIVER’S MG NOVEL, LIESL & PO – GO TO HER WEBSITE NOW http://laurenoliverbooks.blogspot.com/2011/04/introducingliesl-po.html


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