Stephen Chbosky. Ned Vizzini. Sarah Dessen. John Green. What do all of these have in common, you ask? Aside from being some of the best Young Adult book authors of all time, these four authors all write novels that deal with real teen lives. I personally love books that deal with real life. At the top of my teen novel list are The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, which is now a movie, It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, also a movie, all Sarah Dessen books, three of which were adapted into a movie called How to Deal, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- the movie version comes out this June.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is officially my favorite book and movie. I may be a bit biased because of this, but, I am telling you, anyone who reads this book will fall in love. Extremely well written, containing characters you feel connected to, and ending with a surprising plot twist, I recommend this book a thousand times over to anyone who will listen.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is an excellent showcase of problems teens face everyday that really should be pointed out. I watched the movie before realized there was a book (I know, shame on me) and, surprisingly, the movie does the book justice. I know this is rarely the case with all of the “artistic” changes that take place when a movie is made that is based off of a book, but, with this cast, I don’t think anyone can complain. Anyways, this book perfectly showcases the ups and downs of a teens life. The downs include depression, suicide, and mental wards while love and friendship fill the ups.
Every single Sarah Dessen book I have read has left me wanting to read another. Unlike some authors, Dessen does not write series, but single books that stand by themselves. And, for a little fun fact, there is always at least one small detail that connects one of the books with another. For example, she often has a main character run into a minor character from a different book or includes a location that is the main setting of another book, but is just a shop that is passed by and commented on by the character in your book. It may just be me, but whenever I realize she is connecting her books, it makes me feel like an ultra-fan for noticing. Some of my favorite books by her are Keeping the Moon, This Lullaby, The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, Lock and Key, Along for the Ride, and What Happened to Goodbye.
And finally, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This is the only John Green book I have read so far, though I want to read more. Once again, stupid library-goers are hogging books. Anyways, this book is definitely a tear-jerker. I was sobbing alone in my room when I finished this book. Now that I have warned you, I can get to describing the amazingness of the novel. First of all, it is the most well-written book I have ever read. Green seems to seamlessly weave together teenage “language” (if it can even be considered a language) and eloquent phrases. Second, you begin to love the characters the moment you meet them. Lastly, who doesn’t love a good romance? Overall, this is one of my favorite teen romance novels to date.
I don’t mean Hollywood “real life.” I mean REAL life problems that are not glorified or made unrealistic because they become too nitty-gritty. That could be the reasoning behind why I enjoy these books so much. I feel like too many authors make a happy ending just so they don’t have to go too deep. But that is what makes these so great. You can connect with these characters because they are going through the same things you may be experiencing. Besides, life isn’t always a happy ending, so why should books always have to have one?
– Kaelyn L., 10th grade