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Posts Tagged ‘teen fiction.’

After the success of the original ‘Saga of Darren Shan’ and the subsequent ‘Demonata’ series, Darren Shan goes back to where it all began in book one of ‘The Saga of Larten Crepsley’.

I’ve had this review copy for a while now, and it took me a long time to work through my pile of ‘to-read’ books but I’m glad I finally got to it. Honestly, I’ve always written off Darren Shan books as for boys only so I started this book with some apprehension, especially as I hadn’t read his previous books.

There really was no need to worry. In fact, this book is probably a good place to start for those who want to know a little bit about infamous vampire Larten Crepsley. Consider it a prequel of sorts…I started the book with great anticipcation and preconceptions about this vampire figure. I mean, with a name like that he just sounds like some distinguished character challenging Dracula for the title of most notorious vampire.

But the book is more than that and you really learn a lot about Larten and where he came from, giving the premise of the book some context. So often is the case with many vampire fiction books, that we are just thrown into the deep end and just expected to accept everything about vampires, that it all gets too much. But this is a thrilling read as Larten escapes a horrible workhouse where he lives. From there he meets another vampire, with an equally suspicious name; Seba Nile and eventually joins a vampire clan with whom he embarks on a journey, becoming more of a vampire every day, but once you’re in, there’s no backing out.

What a great book! You get to travel  with Larten and the other vampires, and learn everything about him even before he’s learnt it himself. Boys, of course will love this book, especially those who are already fans of Darren Shan. But I think a lot of new people will discover this book and find it the perfect opportunity to get stuck into them. If this review isn’t enough to persuade you, just look at the cover. I love it, full of mystery, intrigue and adventure and it just draws you in.

This book is published in hardback, 30th September 2010 9780007315857 RRP is £12.99 although I suspect many retailers will sell it for half price. A perfect book as the nights draw in and we near Halloween.

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The reason I have written this post tonight is because I was inspired by Kristen McLean at Pixie Stix Kids Pix  http://pixiestixkidspix.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/obvious-watch-preparing-kids-for-the-digital-future-with-great-books/  to think about the importance of a child’s progressive reading experiences as they grow into adulthood.

In the last few years there has been an increase in the demand for ‘young adult’ fiction aka teen fiction as publishers try to fill the gap between childhood reading and adult reading. I remember always having trouble finding books for myself around the age of 14; I wasn’t ready for the content of adult fiction and the younger stuff felt immature and did not challenge me. In the end I ended up reading R.L.Stine and the Sweet Valley High/College stories which left me a little…empty.

Nowadays the teen fiction/young adult range is so diverse it even has its own sub genre in Waterstones known as Dark Fantasy where the Stephenie Meyer and Charlaine Harris books end up. But with diversity comes confusion as the young adult section caters for any age from 13 up to 16 and to me, that’s quite a difference.

I believe the demands and expectations of each age need to be recognised as what might be suitable for a 16 year old most certainly will not be suitable for a 13 year old. This is something many parents admit to worrying about in finding books for their children because if they haven’t read the book, they can’t know for sure if the content is suitable for their child throughout. Even staple authors like the wonderful Jacqueline Wilson have come into question for their books. Wilson’s ‘Girls out Late’ series has come under the most scrutiny as the two protagonists deal with dangerous situations and…boys! But I truly believe this is all part of the learning experience as we look to books for integrity and social commentary.

Reading with your child should not end with picture books. That’s not to say you should read to your teenager at bedtime rather, it is integral that you know what your child is reading and take a healthy interest in their choices and give them suggestions and new books that will challenge their learning and give them a more diverse reading experience.

There are some great reading guides available in bookshops and even online. I even have a few recommended official sites on my blogroll. Utilise the booksellers who want to share their passion and information with you.

The young adult genre has a range of wonderful series from Anthony Horowitz to Meg Cabot and even Stephenie Meyer. It’s great when a child finds a book they love and can continue with the same author in the same way they may have done during the 5-8 period with Beast Quest and Princess Fairies.

We can have some fun finding new books for children and what’s great about adult fiction is, you might even find something you like for yourself too. Use what you know, remember your childhood favourites and go from there.

Whilst there’s no point reviewing well known books in which my bookseller opinion will have no impact at all. Instead in my next post, I will recommend my two favourite standalone books which I think are truly wonderful and worthy of your attention.

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New reviews which will be up on the site soon:

‘Blue Bloods’ by Melissa de la Cruz. This is part of a series published by Atom and with a big marketing push, it is set to do very well. I’d place this in teen fiction and in the new ‘Dark Fantasy’ genre created at Waterstones.

 The first two in the series have already been published priced £6.99 with the third ‘Revelations’  and ‘The Van Allen Legacy’ both published 1st April 2010.

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