It's young-adult fiction month for our Twitter book club.
Our Twitter book club, 1book140, has nominated nearly 40 remarkable young-adult books for February. Many of those books feature topics that society finds uncomfortable. This month's shortlist features cancer, sex, and cybersecurity. The odd one out also defies categories, with 460 pages of artwork.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a realistic, tragic, and funny teenage love story whose heroine has terminal lung cancer. "Green's novel is elegantly plotted, and as sad in places as one might expect a book about adolescent cancer to be," writes Rachel Syme for NPR. "But it's also brimming with joy."
John is also one of the two Internet mega-star VlogBrothers whose fans have raised millions of dollars towards charities and microfinance programs. If The Fault in Our Stars wins the vote, we'll try to hold a Twitter Q&A with John, whose latest video is about Emily Dickinson and who tweets at @realjohngreen.
Are You There God, It's Me Margaret + Just As Long as We're Together by Judy Blume. We could have created a shortlist without any Judy Blume, but would you have really ever trusted us again? Blume gave voice to a generation of brave, intelligent girls, and redefined 100 years of children's lit by treating her readers as complex individuals rather than as infantile subjects for moral uplift.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow is "an entertaining thriller, a thoughtful polemic on Internet-era civil rights" and "a practical handbook of digital self-defense," writes Austin Grossman in the New York Times. "Every page is charged with an authentic sense of the personal and ethical need for a better relationship to information technology." This novel would be an excellent book to read for those interested in issues surrounding the late Internet activist and book lover Aaron Swartz.
Cory Doctorow is a blogger, novelist, and activist. He is co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. If Little Brother wins, we'll try to hold a Q&A with Cory on Twitter.
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. An all-time classic, The Chocolate War helped define the parameters of young-adult fiction. An alienated protagonist fighting a ruthless high-school hierarchy? Familiar territory circa 2013, but Cormier published his book in 1974, prefiguring everything from My So-Called Life to, natch, a certain tousle-headed wizard. It remains high on the American Library Association's list of banned books.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. Selznick has illustrated more than 20 books, but Wonderstruck is something of a magnum opus, with a full 460 pages of artwork. Nominated for both the Caldecott and the Newbery this year, Selznick's latest tells the intertwined stories of two deaf children separated by a continent and 50 years.