Friday, September 10, 2010

The Teen Menu

Welcome to the September edition of the Teen Menu. I hope everyone has had a fun summer full of wonderful summer reading. I know I've had some late nights trying to read just one...more...chapter.

First up this month is a book I'd been looking forward to all year, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. This was the third and final book in her The Hunger Games trilogy which began with The Hunger Games and continued with Catching Fire. I love this series! I first learned about The Hunger Games when I was on Stephenie Meyer's site one day and she was raving about it. I read the premise and decided to check it out. And I ever glad I did. This trilogy is dystopian in nature, set in some future or alternate country called Panem, which is comprised of the ruling Capitol and 12 districts that are poor and separated from each other. Each year, each of these districts must send two children -- one boy and one girl -- to the Hunger Games in the Capitol. It's used as a continued punishment for the districts that rebelled in the past. These games are a fight to the death in a huge arena that takes different forms each year. Katniss Everdeen is the heroine, the female "tribute" (as those chosen for the games are called) from District 12, the poorest of the districts, one that produces coal and seems to be perhaps based on Appalachia. Her name was not chosen at the reaping, but rather her younger sister Prim's, but she took Prim's place because she thought she had a better chance of survival.

The Hunger Games covered what happened to Katniss during those games, and Catching Fire detailed the aftermath and how she's now made an enemy of the Capitol and President Snow. Mockingjay is the final chapter of her story, the darkest one yet, in which we find out if she survives the rebellion of which she has now become the rallying symbol. Be forewarned -- this book does not pull any punches, and shows the horrors and devastation war can bring.

We also find out which, if either, of the guys she chooses to be with -- the choice she's had all along between Gale, her best friend and hunting partner, and Peeta, her fellow tribute from District 12. Each guy loves her, each would die for her, but they each have something very different to offer her. This series is one of those where "teams" formed among the fan base -- Team Gale and Team Peeta. I was on Team Peeta from the very beginning.

I can't recommend this series enough, so if you haven't read it, I urge you to do so.

Author's website:

The other YA novel I read this month was Fallen by Lauren Kate. This book's cover is what eventually led me to buying it. I might not have noticed it if not for the gorgeous cover. When I did, I picked it up, read the blurb and decided it sounded like something I'd enjoy reading. Luce Price has been sent to reform school at Sword & Cross in South Carolina after the death of a classmate, a death she's not sure if she had a hand in. Luce has also worried the adults in her life because of the "shadows" she sees and how the presence of those shadows frighten her.

When she arrives at Sword & Cross, it seems a dismal, disconnected place. She gradually makes a couple of friends, and then there's a boy who seems so familiar, even though she's sure they've never met. Or have they? The more she's around Daniel Grigori, the more she feels inexplicably drawn to him -- and the more he tries to steer clear of her. The gradual revelation of the cause behind her attraction and his avoidance keeps the reader turning pages. This book is the first in a series. The second, Torment, is out Sept. 28, and it has a beautiful cover as well. And like so many popular series, it also has a love triangle that is spawning a new Team Daniel vs. Team Cam debate. (I'm Team Daniel, by the way.)

Author website:

Have you read either of these books? If so, what did you think? Read any other wonderful YA books over the summer?


  1. Hi Trish! I haven't read any of these books yet. Mockingjay is generating incredible buzz all over the internet. I'm not real big on the graphic details of war though so I'm still on the fence about reading this series.

    I'm very intrigued by the premise of Fallen and Torment and those covers are beyond gorgeous! Of course, being set in South Carolina is a bonus. ;-) I may have to give those two a try.

    Thanks for more great recommendations!

  2. Hey Trish!

    The whole family is wrapped up in the Hunger Games series. My oldest read it in less than 24 hours, then promptly went out and bought the second. He finished that quick, handed it to me and said "Read it fast so we can talk about it!" My husband and I have each read the first one too. I've heard mixed reviews of Mockingjay, enough that I might want to stall the youngest's start on the series...

  3. PJ, Mockingjay is getting great buzz, and deservedly so. But you're right, it's not a light and fluffy story.

    Deb, how old is your youngest? I'm never sure what age is right to have kids read certain books, mainly because I don't have kids of my own, but I think a lot of it depends on maturity level rather than age.

  4. Good afternoon, Trish! Thanks for another great Teen Menu. I always enjoy it, as does my sister. :)

    A friend of mine (the one who lives in San Bruno, as a matter of fact) has raved and raved about Suzanne Collins' series. I may just buy it now since they're all out!

    And wow, those covers for Fallen and Torment are gorgeous!

  5. Now that the Hunger Games series is complete I'll go out & buy all 3. I've heard so much buzz about Mockingjay. I don't like to get involved in a series and not be able to locate the last book, so I wait for all of them to hit the shelves.
    Fallen is beautiful, but I'll wait on it. Premise is intriguing.
    Why is so much YA so dark & mysterious?

  6. I haven't read any of these either. I have friends who have raved about Suzanne Collins books since the early days of Hunger Games, but I avoid dystopian novels when I can. I'm not a vampire fan either, so I haven't read the Twilight books. Fallen sounds more like my kind of book. I'll look for that one.

    I have read a couple of terrific YA novel recently: Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis, which is part historical dealing with racial and gender prejudice and the Women's Army Corp in WWII and part contemporary road trip taken by two sisters and their grandmother, who is about as far from the cozy grandmother stereotype as one can get; and Winter Longing by Tricia Mills, a richly emotional relationship book about love and grief and prevailing. I'm sure you're very familiar with the latter. ;)

  7. Hi Trish!
    I have heard nothing but good things about The Hunger Games trilogy, but I haven't read them yet. They will be added to my list! Fallen looks really good as well.

  8. Andrea, I think now would be an excellent time to read the Hunger Games trilogy because when you finish one, you wouldn't have to wait for months to see what happens next. The agony!

  9. Pamela, I'm not sure of the why behind the allure of the dark and mysterious, but teens definitely look for those kinds of books. I think it's probably linked somehow to why so many of them write dark poetry, but I couldn't tell you why.

  10. Janga, thanks so much for the mention of my book. Had to laugh a little though at how you worked that in. :)

    Mare's War sounds very interesting. I'll have to seek that one out. I love history.

  11. Hope you enjoy all the books, Trisha. Have you read any good YA novels lately?

  12. Sadly, I haven't read much of anything lately. With a college class that requires a ton of reading I'd rather not do, I don't have time to read anything else. I'm ready for Thanksgiving break so I can spend the entire week reading nothing but what I want! And Winter Longing is first on my list! :)

  13. Trisha, oh the college class reading. I remember it well. Hope you have a good semester and that you like Winter Longing when you get a break to read non-texts. :)

  14. Thanks, Trish! I'm sure I will love Winter Longing. :)

  15. Hey Trish! I must say that all of the covers look fabulous!!

    I have been hearing a lot of MOCKINGJAY and even saw a special display at our Books A Million story this week about it.

  16. Wow, Trish, both of these look great! Really enjoyed your reviews. It's amazing the range that YA covers these days, isn't it?

  17. Buffie, it must be such a thrilling experience to pretty much know that your book is going to debut on the NYT list. I bet the advance buys for Mockingjay were huge.

    Anna, the covers really are gorgeous. I firmly believe their eye-catching-ness leads to some extra buys.

  18. Thank goodness teenagers have good books written for them nowadays. When I was a kid long, long ago I remember going from children books to adult reading. No transition books that I ever encountered.
    This looks like a book I would love to read.

  19. Oh wow, now THAT'S a cover!!! Those covers are BEAUTIFUL!. They're so eye-catching. I love them.

  20. Although I enjoyed the first two Hunger Games books (Team Peeta!), I'm going to wait on reading "Mockingjay". What I've read on many review sites does not fill me with eagerness. After reading "Tender Morsels", "The Dead-Tossed Waves" and "Split", I actually gave up on all YA books for weeks because I had it with depressing endings. If "Mockingjay" is anything like those three, I'll cheerfully wait.

    I did read "Fallen" and am sort of looking forward to "Torment". I didn't like any characters in "Fallen" so it's hard for me to work up enough enthusiasm. If only someone, anyone, had just taken a few minutes to get Luce up to date, she wouldn't be spending so much of the book wondering what was going on. However, I am intrigued enough to want to know what the secret is and why the others haven't aged in millennia.

    Now I'm going to have to read an uplifting, fun book like any YA novel by E. Lockhart or a romance so that I'm assured of a HEA.


  21. When we got HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE in at the library, there was always a waiting list for it. I wasn't about to take it before a teen. It is now the same with MOCKINGJAY. I will be reading them. Especially now that they all are out.

    FALLEN and TORMENT have such gorgeous covers. I tried to order FALLEN, but the director wouldn't. (It took me months to convince them to order HUNGER GAMES). Would like to read this series too.