Suggestions for teen and preteen ereaders

If your preteen or teen just got a new ereader, you might be wondering what to help them fill it with. I'm facing this myself. Here are some of the teen-directed books I'm suggesting to my kids or would point out to kids of specific interests. Let me know if any of them are a win or lose with your bookworms

DivergentThe Divergent Series (two books) by Veronica Roth: I love the message of these books. To me, it says, "We all have our strong traits, but those strong traits do not make us who we are exclusively." The heroine in this series grows so much from beginning to end that you can't help but admire her, even if you might not have made her same choices. The series shows what could happen if society decided to separate everyone into groups by label. You have the brave, the honest, the selfless, and the impartial--each group true to their labels to a fault. I love the way such "good" traits become liabilities when forced into boxes. 

Fault starsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I suggest this book with a caveat: It is not an uplifting tale by any stretch, and it might be too much for a preteen. It's depressing. It's heart-wrenching. But it's beautiful and very much worth reading. Great for your existentialist teen, yet wonderful for finding the beauty in life
despite living a tragic one.


THTreehugger by Kea Alwang: Yep, that's me. Treehugger is the first book of the Based on a Dream series. Book Two, Risktaker, will be available early 2013. Poet ee cummings once said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” That statement speaks for pre-teens and teens of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. As well, it speaks for 14-year-old Chloe (aka Star), a girl who doesn't exactly fit in on her homeworld, Earth. Mixing intergalactic adventure with more typical teen drama, Chloe gives us access to a group of heroes to follow, admire, and cheer for. Deep friendship and autonomy are the opposing themes that run through Chloe's story. How deep can true friendships run, and how well can they prepare us to stand on our own when we need to? (Side note: ebook version currently a great bargain at $.99.)  


The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton: This one is an oldie and better than goodie! If you've ever read it, you're nodding right now. My son is reading it for school, and I'm reliving loving it! The dangers and unfairness of class warfare and social status are the theme here, as well as the lovable underdog characters. I remember reading this one four times in a row when I was 12 or so. I sobbed through it each time! Nowadays, I see C. Thomas Howell on TV (he played the main character in the movie version), notice how much he has aged, and that makes me want to cry! 


BeyondBeyond by Maureen Miller: This book surprised me. I can't even remember why I downloaded it in the first place, but there it was on my kindle. This is for your scifi or fantasy preteen/teen. The creativity, ingenuity, the sweet romance, and the characters are all extremely appealing. I believe there is supposed to be a sequel. You can bet I will be buying it. Maybe the greatest draw for me is that the main character is genuinely good, genuinely smart, and winds up being given an incredible adventure after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I found myself rather jealous of her experience! Who would have thought an alien abduction could be so cool? Once you get passed the near-death experiences, of course.
(Side note: Great bargain price at 1.99) 


Eleven Birthdays by Wendy Mass: Caught in a loop of celebrating her eleventh birthday over and over again, Amanda has the opportunity for multiple do-overs. Who wouldn't want that chance from time to time? This story is more preteen (listed as grades 4 to 6), but it's really a fun read for anyone. Especially nice is the theme of forgiveness. Also highly recommended by my daughter whose name just happens to be Amanda and who just turned eleven. 


Risky Business

IMG00270-20110821-1507 So this is it: my first entry on this blog.  My first leap into blogging as a fiction author. 

Finishing my novel is a big deal for me, as it would be for most people. I know it sounds sooo utterly cliche, but this book is my third kid.  After having two real babies naturally, without drugs ... well, I could go on comparing labor and raising children with bringing forth a novel, but I'll leave it at this: Both enterprises are a risky business.

So how do we determine whether to take a risk or not? The main character in my novel, Chloe (aka Star of Earth) describes a risk this way:

                                                                                                  Taken at Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC

"… a risk is only as good as its outcome. Think about it: Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, lived to tell about it, and had people shouting, “Way to go, Neil!” On the other hand, you know there had to be a point when Amelia Earhart, on her risky flight around the equator, suddenly let out a regretful, “Oh, crap!”

It's the truth, isn't it? We take a risk, it turns out well, and people pat us on the back. Perhaps they call us industrious, brave, or a freakin' genius! What happens if you take that same risk, but end up with your tail between your legs? The good people in our life might tell us, "Well, at least you tried." And as far as that line goes for cheering us up, well ... at least they tried. But who hasn't heard, "Well, that was pretty risky! Not sure why you chanced it!" at least once?  The only line worse than that is, "Dude ... I told you so!" 

Seriously, what if the Mayflower sunk mid trip? What if Neil Armstrong took that first step on the moon, then sunk six feet deep because the moon was made of cheese (a mushy sort like brie)? Would anybody have tried again?

Fortunately for Amelia, she had a lot of success with earlier risks, so few people probably thought she was nuts to try that ill-fated flight. Before that risk that went so wrong, she had stocked up on many that went right. Nobody would or could ever call Amelia a loser.

Treehugger is my risk. I've put more years and time  into this book (and the two that follow) than I could ever admit. The lessons I've learned along the way are many. The hours of sleep I've had lately are few. So will it be worth it, this risk of putting my heart and soul on the line? Time will tell. 

For now, I'd love to know your thoughts on risks. Are they really as much of a paradox as I believe they are? Have you taken risks that ended in success or nearly landed you in a straight jacket? 

Welcome to my blog....