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Adult readers: check out these book for teens

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A little more than a month ago I posted a blog about adult readers fascinated with teen literature. Little did I know that so soon I would become one of them.

As a post-holiday treat, I allowed myself the pleasure of picking up "What I Saw and How I Lied" by Judy Blundell, one of Scholastic's newer offerings for teen readers (and the recent recipient of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.)

Wow. Once I started, there was no stopping.

Set in 1947, it's the story of a New York teen whose stepfather comes back from the war in a joyous rush toward normalcy. Yet somehow the more time that passes, the further from normal things become.

The book is blessed with a deeply appealing young narrator, a gripping plot (what really did happen over there in Austria?), a believable love story, and a marvelous evocation of both New York and Palm Beach, Fla., in those early, happy post-war days.

My own estimation is that murder, adultery, and a few sex scenes make it a bit sophisticated for all but the most mature teen readers, but for adults it's a humdinger.

Now I'm off to my next novel, another Scholastic book aimed at teens: "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. One Monitor reader wrote to recommend this one, saying, "It was one of the best books I’ve read this year – and it was written for teens!"

If you've got older kids, this might be the time to start rifling through their bookshelves.


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