Tag Archives: Teen Fiction
Bedtime Stories: We Are the Ants
Post by Mark T. Locker.
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson.
If you were abducted by a race of aliens and offered the choice to press a big red button and save the world from annihilation, would you press the button and save mankind? For many, the answer would be a simple yes. But if you are Henry Denton, the answer isn’t all that simple. Henry has been getting abducted by the Sluggers for years. He calls them sluggers because he doesn’t know what they call themselves; they don’t talk to him but they sure look sluglike. But ever since he made the mistake of telling his big brother about the Sluggers, his life has been a wreck. Quickly, his brother proceeded to tell everyone and Henry became branded Space Boy.
Henry’s life has been hard. With an absent dad, a bully for a brother, things were bad. But when the love of his life took his own life, Henry was spiraling hard. His grandmother, who he loved more than anyone, is fading due to Alzheimer’s. When the guys in his high school began ruthlessly attacking him, things got worse. So when the Sluggers kept taking him and kept presenting him with the choice to save the world, he had no intention of saving all the monsters who have made his life so terrible. But then something begins to change. It seems there are people out there who refuse to let Henry destroy himself, much less the world. Suddenly things aren’t as cut and dried as he’d thought.
We Are the Ants is a difficult book to read. It’s brutal and heartbreaking in only the way real life can be. It’s also a sweet, funny, and at times hopeful story. When you get to see the Earth from miles above, and you see the vastness of the universe, you can’t help but gain a new perspective. This is not a book for children, to be sure. But teens and adults will laugh and cry reading this story of growing up, of love and loss and trust.
Bedtime Stories: Fiction About Fan Fiction
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.
I’ve never read a book like this before. If it hadn’t come from someone whose recommendations I hold in high regard, I doubt I ever would have approached it. The novel is kind of a piece of make-believe come to life. In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl book, Gemma T. Leslie writes a series of Harry Potter-esque fan fiction stories about a young man named Simon Snow who attends Watford, an English school of magic. Fangirl introduces us to the stories of Simon Snow and his nemesis/roommate Baz and their years together at Watford. Carry On brings all those stories into conclusion as a standalone novel in which Baz and Simon finish their seventh and final year at Watford.
Upon beginning the book, I felt there was something I was missing because I’d never read Fangirl but Rainbow Rowell does a good job of filling in all the pieces you need to make this novel work on its own. Simon is a child without parents, raised in the nonmagical world (sound familiar? Remember, this is meant to be fan fiction) and is discovered by the head of Watford, where he is taken in. Simon is incredibly powerful but has almost no control over his power. Half the time his wand doesn’t even work. Other times, his spell will affect not only the person in front of him but everyone within a wide range.
Simon’s roommate is Tyrannus Basilton “Baz” Pitch. Simon’s pretty sure Baz is a vampire but can’t quite prove it. Either way, Baz has spent years trying to kill Simon and Simon can’t wait to be done with all that. I can’t say much more about the story without spoiling it but if you or a teen you know wants a book full of magic, monsters, and the occasional makeout session, Carry On is a wonderfully clever and enjoyable story.
Bedtime Stories: Every Day
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Every Day by David Levithan.
Imagine if you woke up every day in a new body. And not just a new body but in someone else’s life. Sixteen years old and every day since A was born, A has occupied a different person’s body for a single day. The consciousness is A; A is the person with no body of his/her own. Neither male nor female, A is whatever body A wakes up in. From the co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist comes this wholly unique novel.
We first meet the narrator as a teenager. The first morning A is in the body of a boy named Justin. At this point, A is quite used to being a different person and always goes to great lengths to avoid messing up the life of the body being visited for the day. But when A meets Justin’s girlfriend Rihannon, everything changes. A immediately falls deeply in love with her. It’s clear that Justin is a terrible boyfriend so when he suggests they escape to the beach for the day, she is surprised but happy. The next day Justin will remember what happened, but not why. And A will be another person in another body. But A can’t forget about Rihannon and begins drumming up excuses to find Rihannon and talk to her again, until the day that A decides to spill the beans and tell her the secret of who A really is.
A compelling read for teens and adults alike, Another Day is equal parts fantasy and romance. It’s a totally weird concept for a book, but it somehow works. Another Day approaches the notions of gender identity and physical presences in an unflinching way. A may be a 300 pound friendless kid one day and a gorgeous young woman the next (A always occupies bodies the same age as A) but the mind is always the same. So just what makes a person who he or she is? It’s an interesting question and pretty pertinent for our times.