New Books Highlight: Great Pairs
There are so many books published for adults that have what is called “crossover appeal,” meaning they are recommended for teens, too. It’s hard to find those books, of course, because they are shelved in the adult fiction area and we don’t exactly put shining beacons on them all to let you teens know they’re there! So this week I thought I’d showcase some new-ish books for adults – that also happen to pair well with new-ish YA titles for extra added appeal and ease of entry into the world of books for adults.
Books about growing up
…featuring horses. You’re probably saying, “But I stopped reading horse books when I was 11!” Give these two a shot, though, if you still (secretly) like stories involving animals in some way, but also really love great realistic fiction about growing up in an imperfect world.
In the South during the Great Depression, an elite equestrian boarding school gets a new student: sheltered Thea Atwell is banished from her wealthy family in Florida after her naivete gets her into trouble. Her home-schooled, insular life did not prepare her for what she finds at the Yonahlossee Riding Camp. The Southern belle and debutante students have their own particular social hierarchy into which Thea has trouble understanding at first, but her riding skills allow her to slowly make her way in this new world, coming to terms with who she is and what she needs to learn to grow stronger.
YOUNG ADULT: Catch Rider by Jennifer H. Lyne
Sidney grew up tough, so when she needs to escape her over-protective mother and her mother’s string of abusive boyfriends, she finds a job cleaning stables for a rich woman and drives herself there even though she’s only 14. She loves to ride, so working amongst the horses and riders is thrilling for Sid. The mill town she lives in feels like a dead-end, and probably will be for most of Sid’s classmates and her beloved uncle. But Sid wants so much more from life, and her opportunity to see how the other side lives leads to more opportunities to pursue her dream of riding.
If you’ve seen any of the award-winning TV show The Borgias, you know that this is some fascinating history. When their father rose to power as the pope, the Borgia children had to learn the ropes of the family business: getting even more power for their family and themselves. Cesare is the cold, manipulative one who thinks nothing of killing those who stand in his way – including his sister’s husbands. Lucrezia’s job is to be beautiful and attract those husbands, until she realizes she is a pawn in a game over which she could have some control, too.
YOUNG ADULT: Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub
Love the thrilling real story of the dramatic Borgia family? Methinks the bard did, too. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes on Italian family drama, and this novel takes that drama to another level. Still Star-Crossed picks up where Romeo and Juliet leaves off – with the title characters dead. Even though they have died through their love, the Capulets and Montagues are still feuding. A plan to make peace involves another Capulet-Montague match-up, but will it end well this time?
Death & Destruction
ADULT: Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
If you’re a fan of fast-paced thrillers like Michael Crichton or Michael Grant, or literary horror/zombie stories like those of Daniel Kraus and Patrick Ness, then you will love Red Moon. In the world of this book, werewolves are real – they are people disturbingly transformed by a disease – and they are rising up against the rest of humanity. They live in what could be called peace, but an extremist group of lycans is planning deadly attacks on the U.S. (there are major parallels to the 9/11 terrorist attacks), determined to spark a war to end all wars.
YOUNG ADULT: The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer
While not as tensely paced as the book to which this is the sequel, House of the Scorpion (2002), this is another riveting and imaginative look at what our world could be in the future. El Patron is dead, and Matteo must step into his position of power. I paired this with Red Moon because both focus intensely on real-world issues but frame them in an alternate reality.