Jen’s recommendations, March 2016 If it appears that we are sometimes short on shelf space at Charlie’s Corner, that is simply because we love books so much that we can’t resist cramming in as many as possible for your consideration! Although our emphasis at Charlie’s is on our kids recommending books for other kids, we thought we’d join in the fun and note a few titles we like, too. Sometimes it feels like our young adult section is unfairly overlooked, while in reality it is as overflowing with great titles as any section in the store. We’re in the process of planning some events for older kids, and kids at heart (ie, those of us who go by the label GROWN UP!), but in the meantime, it is well worth checking out the YA section for some exciting, entertaining and thought provoking fiction.
Most recently I read Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This novel hooks you from the first paragraph, as it jumps right into the story- 16 year old Simon has accidentally left his email page open to the scrutiny of his classmates, revealing that he is gay and pursuing a flirtatious correspondence with the mysterious “Blue”. The novel delves into the realities of coming out before you are ready to, the subsequent complications which develop in a group of high school friends, and the poignancy of first love- all while creating page turning suspense as to the identity of Blue. Check this book out, for its memorable characters and plot twists.
We love our middle grade books, too. I thoroughly enjoyed (and laughed out loud) at David Walliams’ The Demon Dentist, a comic actor and writer from Great Britain who you might remember from the hilarious sketch comedy show “Little Britain”, has taken up the fine art of children’s book writing. If this book is anything to go by, he is a natural. Comparisons to Roald Dahl are obvious, with the book’s eccentric characters, quirky dialogue and situations and uniquely British elements of the grotesque (as ‘calling cards’, this dentist leaves “a snail that had had its shell pulled off, hundreds of centipedes creeping and crawling under some poor girl’s pillow, a filthy, sticking plaster, sodden with pus…”). Even the illustrations by Tony Ross resemble Dahl’s frequent illustrator Quentin Blake. All of which to say, this is a perfect book for fans of the absurd and the offbeat, and it’s my bet that includes most kids (and yes, kids at heart!).