Tuesday, October 14, 2014

YA author Paolo Bacigalupi recently stated:
The more I write stories for young people, and the more young readers I meet, the more I'm struck by how much kids long to see themselves in stories. To see their identities and perspectives—their avatars—on the page. Not as issues to be addressed or as icons for social commentary, but simply as people who get to do cool things in amazing worlds. Yes, all the “issue” books are great and have a place in literature, but it's a different and wildly joyous gift to find yourself on the pages of an entertainment, experiencing the thrills and chills of a world more adventurous than our own.

The Walled City
THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin is one such "joyous gift."

The dystopian-ish setting was inspired by the real-life district of Kowloon, a lawless, walled-off settlement in Hong Kong. Almost the entire cast of the story is Chinese -- but that's incidental. Ethnicity and culture aren't the point; they're just a part of the details.

The story is about a girl trying to find her kidnapped sister, a boy trying to redeem his criminal past, and the vulnerable young woman who connects them. The writing is lyrical and lush, the plot tense and exciting. THE WALLED CITY definitely falls on the grittier end of the YA spectrum, but there's hope and romance too. I think the book would appeal to fans of Veronica Roth, Marissa Meyer, and Marie Lu.

More importantly, I think there are thousands of young Asian readers who will appreciate seeing themselves reflected in Jin, Dai, and Mei Yee. Who will enjoy being the hero of the adventure, instead of just the geeky best friend or sidekick. I know that Teenage Me would have.

And non-Asian readers will identify with these characters too! Because they're human. They dream, they fear, they strive, they fail. Like any of us. Like all of us.

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


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on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Transparent
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
Bitterblue
The Fault in Our Stars
Pretties


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