Is it just me or has young adult literature really taken on a new life form? When I was younger, we had R.L. Stine's Fear Street books and Ann M. Martin's The Babysitter's Club books. While I enjoyed them greatly, they are nothing compared to these new books that are all over the place!
I think it began with the Harry Potter books. I know they were intended to be children's books, and you'll find them in the youth section of a book store or library. But let's face it, they've turned into young adult books also as Harry turned into a young adult himself. It's amazing how huge these books became. I am obviously an enormous fan. Next came Stephenie Meyer's fabulous vampire series, Twilight. If you've read anything else I've written, you know how I feel about these books. They're so wonderful and really live up to the all of the hype that is centered around them. These two series have really made reading something "cool" again. There are obviously more young adult treasures out there, but I think these two series are real gems.
And that brings me to my latest read: Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty, the first installment of her Gemma Doyle series. It's about a girl named Gemma who has a vision of her mother's murder in India. She is sent to a finishing school in London while both mourning her mother's death and trying to cope with her new found ability. She struggles to make friends and deals with the catty mean girls of Spence Academy. Once Gemma finds her place at Spence, her visions thrust her into a world of magic and mystery that is far beyond her comprehension. In this first installment, Gemma struggles to understand the wonders and the dangers of possessing such magic.
This was a great read. I found myself constantly wanting to find out what was going to happen next. I think it's a great young adult read. It obviously does not measure up to Twilight's caliber. But the story is still a good one. It explores a different branch of magic that I personally haven't read about before. It's a world that mixes witchcraft with Victorian England. I'll definitely be reading the other books in the series to see what happens to Gemma and her friends.