Almost all middle school girls have a weakness for a good love story, and I am trying to find some new authors to include in our collection. However, over the past few weeks I have learned that there is a fine line between teenage romance and adult romance novels, often the authors of these novels will write for both audiences, and the publishers do not warn you which category they fall into!
For example, The Season, by Sarah MacLean (AR 6.2/13.0) is a great love story intertwined with an exciting murder mystery. It is interesting and fast paced and totally age appropriate. The main character, a 17 year old girl, hates the balls , ball gown fittings, and dinner parties of London society. She and her friends long for more adventure. When the Earl of Blackmoor mysteriously dies, Alex is determined to help is son, the handsome, yet distant, Gavin solve the crime. We have all read enough books and seen enough movies to know where this is going... Totally predictable, but thoroughly entertaining, and most importantly, age appropriate! Sarah MacLean's other books- so not age appropriate. I have one. I was embarrassed reading it. (I had to finish. I am not someone who can just stop mid-book. I'm sure many of you have heard my rant on The Graveyard Book by Nail Gaimen.) Needless to say this book will not be in the library.
Anything by Meg Cabot is probably fast-paced, witty, and highly entertaining. However, some of her books, even those classified as young adult, often border on unsuitable for most teenagers. She does have many good books. For example, the Airhead series is good for 7th and up. The first few in The Princess Diaries series are also good. The ones later in the series, as Princess Mia turns into a young woman, are definitely for older readers. She also has several adult books written in email/text message format that are very funny. The Boy Next Door and Every Boy's Got One are both clean content wise for 7th and up, but they do have some language in them.
Last night I just finished To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker (AR 4.7/6.0). I have to admit that even though it was a suggested book from the book reviews, the title scared me a little. It sounded a little bit like a **ROMANCE** novel, not just a romance novel. I was terrified of another Sarah MacLean incident (see above!) Surprisingly , it was actually a very appropriate book. Annalisa leaves London with her father who is commissioned from the King to set up a port and town on a small island in the Caribbean. On the way the ship is attacked by Crimson Kelley and his pirates and the money for to start the town stolen. Her father is imprisoned under suspicion of plotting with the pirates to steal the money. Annalisa sets sail to capture the pirates and clear her father's name. Along the way she meets a pirate that has recently been marooned from Crimson's ship. He agrees to help her track him down. Again, you can totally see where this is going, but overall, it was a good story.
Last night I started Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund. She is the author of Aurelia (AR 5.8/9.0). It's a book we haven't had very long, but all the girls who have read it have really liked it. Aurelia is next in line for the throne, but someone is trying to murder her. Robert, the son of the King's royal spy, tries to solve the mystery. These teenage romances are all so easy to figure out, but they are worth the read. Back to Academy 7. I'm only about 10 pages in, but this book seems to be the exact opposite of Aurelia. It is set in a futuristic society. We'll see if it proves to be as good as the other.