Not All Popular YA Books Are As Good As They Look
Every year we see a huge amount of books getting published and sold. Often, when you walk into any bookstores, it’s always the same few authors you see. It’s not to say these authors are all good. Authors usually have good books and bad books. The ones you see on the shelves do not mean they are naturally good.
However, with so many books in print and sale every year, it’s normal to see a few slips through our attention. In this article, I’ll suggest some of the “lesser-known” books that you should give a try.
The Solitude of Prime Numbers (Goodreads Link)
Author: Paolo Giordano
Translated by: Shaun Whiteside
The Solitude of Prime Numbers is originally published in Italian by Paolo Giordano. It was later on translated into English by Shaun Whiteside. This book is nothing about mathematics.
The story is based on the idea of how prime numbers function – they can only be divided by 1 and themselves. This book emulates that idea and personifies it in the form of the 2 main characters.
The 2 characters – a guy and a girl named Mattia and Alice respectively – both suffered traumatic events when they were youngsters. After the different traumatic events faced by the 2 youngsters, Mattia and Alice suffer depression and anorexia nervosa respectively into their adulthoods.
Neither Mattia nor Alice has met each other until high school where they dated briefly. A series of life events followed but the 2 never got married. Not to each other, at least. Both characters went their ways later in life. Their relationship with each other never evolved beyond their high school years. There were successful periods and not-so-successful periods in their life.
Before the book ends, Alice called Mattia to come home so they can meet one more time – because Alice thought she saw Mattia’s lost sister during childhood. Mattia returned home to meet Alice, but Alice never told Mattia what she had in mind.
Why Pick This Book Up
This is the kind of book that is made for an easy read. Meaning to say, you read everything at face value and there isn’t much need for you to dissect everything that’s in this book. It’s not like certain books that are filled with so much depth, you will need some time to chew on the meaning behind the author’s intentions. This book is not those kinds of books.
If you’re the sort of person who has a lot of feelings and emotions, perhaps this is a good book for you. It does have several parts that are emotionally charged.
Overall, this book deserves more attention from readers. It’s somehow unfortunate it fell through the piles and piles of every book that’s published yearly.
The Book Thief (Goodreads Link)
Author: Markus Zusak
The Book Thief isn’t marked as a YA book. However, that does not stop anyone from reading it. It does not contain M-rated contents.
The Book Thief is told from Death’s point of view. As Death is personified in this book, it narrates the story of a young German girl, Liesel Meminger, during World War 2 period. Death has taken many people’s lives during the war, including Liesel’s only brother. However, it did not take Liesel’s life.
She was adopted by the childless Hubermann couple in a German “any town” street. From there, Death follows Liesel’s life until just before her neighbourhood was bombed. Ironically when the town she was living in was bombed, she survived by “writing in the basement of her foster parents’ home”.
Many years later, Liesel is in Australia, presumably having migrated there later in her life. She was very old by then. When she finally passed away, Death came to collect her and gave her the old manuscript she used to work on – the same that survived the bombing many years ago in Germany.
Why Pick This Book Up
This book gives death a “new perspective” on death and mortality. Like how death is very much present in our lives but we never really notice it in our day-to-day lives.
Take into consideration how this book was set in World War 2 era. That means death was pretty much omnipresent during that point in history. As opposed to, let’s say, our lives in the present day. We may or may not see war on our shores in our lifetime, hence we are not scared to know if we will die anytime soon.
In short, this book is meant to differentiate how life is like if we are to live in a time or place where death is rampant. If you don’t live in a place or time where death is omnipresent, you will not find death as threatening.
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness – Series (Goodreads Link)
Author: Michelle Paver
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness isn’t exactly a YA book but it’s still a good series to read nonetheless.
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is a series of 6 books. This series follows the adventures of Torak, an adolescent boy, and his friends – Renn and Wolf. The entire series revolves around Torak and his quest to defeat the Soul Eaters (power-hungry mages). It’s a story spanned across 6 books. Though it revolves around Torak’s quest to defeat the Soul Eaters, it also follows his discovery of himself and the world he resides in.
The series’ setting is set 6000 years ago in prehistoric Europe during the Stone Age. It’s told from a 3rd personal narrative via the 3 main characters: Torak, Renn, and Wolf.
Though it was initially 6 books published, the author, Michelle Paver has announced in 2019 that she will include 3 more books in this series. These 3 new books will be set after the end of the main series. It will still revolve around Torak, Renn, and Wolf.
Why Pick This Book Up
I get that this is a book that is written more for adolescents than it is for young adults. However, sometimes an easy read is what you need as opposed to always having to read heavier books.
It’s fun and light-hearted to read. It’s not complicated as it does not have a lot of heavy themes in the book for you to chew on. However, if you do have young kids, then perhaps you can get these books for them. After all, it’s one of the better children’s literature if you ever wish to expand your youngsters’ reading list.
If you are looking for any books for light reads, I hope that these 3 recommendations will get you somewhere. Sometimes not every latest book is as good as major reviewers say it is. At times, it is the lesser-known books that “hold more substance” than the latest published books.
Lydia is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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