I don’t think it’s any secret that there have been some stellar books in YA this year. From chilling to heartbreaking to adorable and full of girls in cute dresses competing for a prince *cough cough*, we’ve seen it all. But I’d like to take a moment to mention some of the quieter books this year, books that maybe you didn’t hear about so much, but you should have. These authors took on storytelling in slightly unexpected ways and were refreshing if only because they were different.
First up is “Chopsticks” by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral. If you’re looking for a book that you can get through in less than an hour or you can stay engaged with for weeks, look no more. Told through a series of photographs, playlists, YouTube URLs and the like, you learn about Glory and Frank’s love story the way you remember your own: through the little moments that make it what it is. It’s creepy and kind of beautiful. Like us, ya know?
Next is “Why We Broke Up,” written by Daniel Handler and illustrated by Maira Kalman. Now, I won’t lie, this book irritated me to no end. I like to think this book should have really been called “Why Did We Date in the First Place?”… because the relationship blows. But! The way it’s shared was really cool, and a bit similar to “Chopsticks.” Min shows us her relationship with Ed a piece at a time using trinkets from their moments together. And that’s why it’s cool: because a rubber band is sometimes more than just a rubber band, and we all get that. Still annoying, but I’m just saying.
And, finally, my fave, “Guitar Notes” by Mary Amato. This is the story of two polar opposites sharing the school guitar and practice room on alternating days, hating on each other (and eventually getting to know one another) through notes they leave in the guitar strings. The story itself is mostly light, making Lyla and Tripp’s adventures together a sweet read, but here’s where it gets fun: THERE’S A SONG BOOK IN THE BACK! All of the songs made up in the book YOU could learn to play yourself. And I love that we get to be a part of the story by indulging our inner rock star. I love that idea, and I feel like all of these books are cool because they give us something we can play with long after we’ve put the book on our shelf.
Is this the future of young adult books? I don’t know. But it is pretty rad.
So, yeah, let’s all show John Green some love because “The Fault in Our Stars” pretty much made 2012 laugh till it peed and then cry in its pillow. But let’s also give a high five to the authors out there looking for a new way to engage with their readers and bring them into the stories they tell. And let’s hope it only gets better in 2013!