Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Lat year I wrote a post on positive messages in YA. Some of these descriptions are excerpted from that post.
The Evernight Series by Claudia Gray
"...One of the messages Gray delivers to readers is that hate is taught. The vampire hunters are raised to believe that all vampires are blood-sucking, soulless murders. The vampires are raised to believe all ghosts are horrible demented creatures who delight in torturing vampires and humans. As you read the story, however, you discover that not all vampires are murders. Many subsist on squirrels and birds and fight their urge to take human life because they believe it is wrong. Similarly, you find out that not all ghosts want to harm people or vampires. Sure, there are a few evil ghosts out there who delight in terrorizing people, but they are few-and-far-between. As for the humans? Well, you would think in a book like this that humans are the good guys, right? Well, in some cases they are. However, humans can be just as evil as the few vampires and ghosts that murder people. Claudia Gray shows her readers that there are so many shades of gray...." Excerpted from positive messages in YA
The Fallen Series by Lauren Kate
"...Lauren Kate’s novels held several thought provoking ideas for me. This series is about a group of fallen angels. Some of the fallen angels are “good” and wish to be back in heaven; they are called angels. The rest of the fallen angels are “bad” and have sided with Satan; they are called demons. There is one point in the story where Cam, a demon, says “You’re from the South, right?…So you should understand the freedom that the victors have to rewrite history.”What an interesting concept! I had never thought of that before. Have you considered how different our history books would be if we had lost certain wars. We lost the Vietnam War. Our history books teach us that we entered Vietnam in order to protect democracy. If we didn’t stop the spread of communism, the free-world as we knew it would be gone. Since we lost the war, we know that wasn’t true. Democracy is still here. We still have all of our rights and freedoms, and it seems that the desire for democracy in third world countries is on the rise. What if we had won the Vietnam War, though? What would our history books say? They would probably say that we successfully rescued Democracy from the evil-hands of Communism. Would that have been true? Since we lost, we know the answer is “no.” However, “the victors” have the “freedom…to rewrite history,” so that is in all likelihood what we would have been taught. Reading Lauren Kate’s book has helped me to think more critically about what I have been taught, and for that I thank her, and recommend her books to teenagers!
Another thing that this novel made me think about was the distinction between good and evil. The way the angels and demons co-exist in this book is remarkable. Cam even notes that angels and demons “are two sides of the same coin.” Like Claudia Gray, there is no cut-and-dry line between good and evil. The subject of moral relativism has been debated in philosophy for ages. I think it is wonderful that YA novels are able to spark these thoughts about morality, and how things in life are not cut-and-dry. Anyone who has taken an Ethics class understands that there are many sticky situations in life, and your options are not always clearly good or clearly bad. Sometimes you need to pick the lesser of two evils. Does this make you an evil person? No. It simply means that the lines between good and bad are not always so clear." Excerpted from positive messages in YA
The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen
"Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe series has received criticism for being a frivolous novel with shallow, under developed characters. I could not disagree more. Godbersen’s work has always reminded me of Jane Austen. The Luxe follows the lives of four Manhattan teenagers in 1899 and chronicles all of the rules and societal pressures they are forced to follow. Women must marry because of wealth not love, a wealthy girl marrying the hired help is unfathomable, and a poor woman trying to make something of her life doesn’t stand a chance unless she finds a wealthy benefactor and lies about her identity. Godbersen’s beautiful writing immerses you into 1899 and helps readers understand what life was like for women back then. When one of the heroines in the novel is finally given the opportunity to marry the love of her life, she rejects his proposal because she knows that for the rest of her life she would be whispered about and disgraced due to the circumstances of the marriage. Instead she decides to spread her wings and travel,illustrating her independence and an incredible inner-strength to embrace freedom and break through the constraints of society." Excerpted from positive messages in YA
Matched by Ally Condie
"In Ally Condie’s story, the main character, Cassia, grows up in a world where everything is censored. Only the 100 greatest songs are allowed to be played. Only the world’s 100 greatest poems are allowed to be read. Who decides which songs and stories make the list? The government. The government controls every aspect of people’s lives: who they marry, where they live, where they work, when they die. Everything is planned out for you, there is absolutely no reason to think independently or question anything around you. On the rare occasion that something does happen to make people question the totalitarian government that enslaves them, there is a magic pill they are forced to swallow that will make all the memories go away and turn the people back into happy, unquestioning slaves. Through Cassia, Condie shows readers how important it is to question the world around you, to think critically, and to fight for your beliefs." Excerpted from positive messages in YA
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Delirium takes place in a world where love is considered a disease. As you learn more and more about the world Oliver has created, it is very obvious why love is considered disease, but it also illustrates what a world would be like with the absence of emotion. In a nutshell, a world with rational thought and no emotion is a scary place.
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
1. Bullying in completely unacceptable and haas extremely negative consequences on the victim
2. Two wrongs do not make a right. In fact they make things a hell of a lot worse
3. Perspective is everything--make sure you understand where the other person is coming from
4. When you assume, you make an ass out of yourself. Make sure you get your facts straight
Fury by Elizabeth Miles
I loved Fury because it read like a movie and really reminded me of Wuthering Heights. This is another great revenge story that illustrates how futile vengeance really is. The key question of the novel--who's to say what's right and what's wrong? All I know is I hope it's not the furies.
Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Clair
Is the grass always greener on the other side? If you could have everything you ever wanted would you take it? And if you would, how high of a price are you willing to pay? Would you still be the same person if you grew up in a completely different environment?
Tempest by Julie Cross
I have always been fascinated by the concept of reality--in particular, who gets to say what reality is? It is fundamentally a question of perception.In Tempest, Jackson is able to travel to parallel universes until he finds one that he is completely happy in--one where certain tragic events haven't taken place. He essentially gets to create his own reality and that is just awesome.
Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight
This book is pretty awesome. If we all lived forever, would we become older and wiser? Or would we just develop grudges and come up with new ways to hurt each other? Well, if you are a god or goddess, older does not necessarily equal wiser as Karsten Knight illustrates. This is a great book for mythology fans.