And Dark Materials
The Hunger Games and Twilight are not the only notable works of young adult fiction popular today.
The Lightning Thief
The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, is a reworking of Greek mythology. Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old who discovers a rather unusual personal trait: he is a demigod.
This novel, which is the first in a series, sees Percy venture forth to stop a war between the Greek gods: Zeus, Poseidon and Hades.
The series enjoyed a presence on the New York Times best seller list for the rather lengthy period of 223 weeks. The Lightning Thief’s film adaptation, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, made none of the waves of other young adult crossovers. Nonetheless, it enjoyed considerable commercial success, even if critics weren’t always kind.
Truly, Madly, Deeply
Don’t expect a tale of the underdog rising to the occasion. Truly, Madly, Deeply follows the most popular boy in school as he starts a seemingly successful relationship with a beautiful girl. An unusual premise, the story acquires its tension not through the overcoming of meekness but rather through the difficulties of two dominant personalities attempting to reconcile their differences.
In Faraaz Kazi’s novel, misunderstandings abound with all the ensuing difficulties.
The Chronicles of Narnia
C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia follows the wars, tribulations and successes of the fantasy realm of Narnia. Considered a classic, this seven book series is, in reality, a joy for all ages.
The work draws heavily from several sources including Christian themes (as is often noted with the lion), Aslan, Greek, Turkish and Roman mythology, as well as British and Irish fairytales.
The series, completed in 1956, has has sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. It has not stopped being printed and can even be purchased in braille form.
His Dark Materials
The His Dark Materials series, by Phillip Pullman, follows the adventures of Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry as they jump between parallel universes.
The books are surprisingly noir, adopting at times the style and sensibility of the 1920s, yet always with a twist. This is the effect of the multiple universes. Some things are futuristic, some things certainly are not. Expect armoured bears, witches and hot air balloons.
The series touches on huge themes, including physics, philosophy and theology and is considered accessible to both young adults as well as the slightly less young variant.
Of course, there are always the wizards of Hogwarts. This seven novel series follows the schooling of Harry Potter at Hogwarts, a wizard school. With his friends, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry must fight a decidedly unpleasant character by the name of Lord Voldemort whose plans are essentially, world domination.
Be warned: J.K. Rowling’s (pictured) novels, which have become the best-selling novel series of all time, are known for becoming gradually darker.
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