Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Author Book Picks: Steve Brezenoff of Brooklyn, Burning

Today I have Steve Brezenoff courtesy of The Teen {Book} Scene sharing a few of his favorite books. It's no secret that I loved both of Steve's novels, so I'm thrilled to have him on the blog today. I took the liberty of adding the covers and links to Goodreads to make it easier to add these titles to your lists!

Here are a few recent reads that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ll stick to young adult books.

Imaginary Girls, by Nova Ren Suma
I’m opening with a title we can probably call paranormal, which is not my typical read. But Suma does such a good job with character development, striking and stirring prose, real emotional depth, and full and sympathetic relationships between characters that Imaginary Girls really stands apart from we realistic fiction fans might expect from a paranormal title. It’s also creepy as heck.

I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip, by John Donovan
Someone one said this title is the hippie-era gay The Catcher in the Rye. Actually, I might have said that. Flux has recently released a 40th anniversary edition, after the book was out of print for a number of years, and I can’t recommend it highly enough to fans of contemporary fiction. Sure, the occasional turn of phrase will feel dated, just like Holden’s often do, but it never makes it difficult to connect with the narrator, Davy Ross. He’s a rich (as in chocolate, not as in money), smart, funny character, and you’ll miss him when you finish the book.

How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr
The Story of a Girl is still my favorite book by Sara Zarr, but How to Save a Life is now her best. That does make sense, I assure you. Anyway, this dual-narrator story of finding love of all kinds and choosing the right family is a brilliant piece of realistic fiction. One narrator is Mandy Kalinowski, and her voice is so real and so well tuned and so desperate and moving, at times it was difficult to read her, in a very good way.

The House of Tomorrow, by Peter Bognanni
This one’s a bit older, and though not marketed as a young adult novel, it very definitely is one. (In fact, if you need proof that YA is more than a marketing term, look no further, because if you can read this as an adult, non-YA title, I’ll be shocked, even though it’s shelved as adult.) Bognanni’s first-person voice—an odd one, indeed—is spot on, as is the search the narrator goes through as he comes of age a little late, discovering punk rock and girls and something like independence, and even real familial affection, all with one broken-hearted family down the hill from his grandmother’s geodesic dome.

Thanks, Steve, for stopping by bookmarked today! I've only had a chance to read Imaginary Girls (which was amazing), but I look forward to reading the other titles as well. I appreciate you sharing a few of your recent faves with me :)

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