Suggested Reading for Young Adults

Posted on: November 25, 2014

In the last few years, the Young Adult market has exploded with books concerning disasters and end of the world type of plots. While these books are written for adolescents, I’m here to tell you they are great reading for adults as well. Many of them are rather sophisticated and have decidedly mature themes. I’ll tell you something else — the quality of writing is often light years beyond the standard self-published disaster stories you’ll find on Amazon.

If you have avid readers on your holiday gift list this year, here are a few suggestions for you.

The Ashfall Trilogy by Mike Mullin: The series consists of Ashfall, Ashen Winter, and Sunrise. There is also a short e-book called Darla’s Story that fills in some back story on that character. I’ve read ’em all and recommend them highly. The Yellowstone Caldera finally blows, sending the United States immediately into a total collapse. Alex is a teenage boy, home alone for the weekend as his family travels out of state, when the disaster strikes. Soon after, he decides to head out and try and find his family. Along the way, he meets Darla, a young woman a year or two older and frighteningly intelligent. As the series progresses, we see how society is trying to reestablish itself in a variety of forms. Plenty of action and a bit of romance here and there. Very well written, full of practical information along with a compelling storyline.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen: This one has been around a long time and still holds up rather well. I’ve met several preppers who have said Hatchet was one of the books that got them interested in wilderness survival and related endeavors. Brian is the main character, a young man headed to Canada to spend some time with his father. The small puddle jumper type plane he’s on crashes in the wilderness after the pilot has a fatal heart attack. Brian is left on his own for months, with very little in the way of training or gear. The lessons in survival are hard-won, with as many mistakes as there are victories. This is the first in a series of books and, in my opinion, the best of them.

The Rule of Three by Eric Walter: The first in a planned trilogy, this book is easily one of my favorite reads (from any genre) in the last couple of years. Adam is a high school student suddenly thrust into a new world when all of the power goes out. While we don’t learn the exact nature of the EMP (electromagnetic pulse), the effects are both immediate and widespread. Adam’s mother is a captain in the local police department and his father is a commercial pilot who was out of town when the EMP hit. Adam’s neighbor, Herb, is ostensibly a retired government paper pusher…but we soon realize there’s much more to him than it seems. Extremely well researched, The Rule of Three is an engaging read.

Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca: Extremely well written, Pandemic is both entertaining and thought provoking. Lilianna is a 16 year old high school student. A few months prior to the story’s beginning, she experienced a rather traumatic experience, about which we are given bits and pieces of information as the book progresses. One side effect of this experience is a compulsion to store food, water, and other supplies in the event of an emergency. Early in the book, Lil’s mother heads overseas for business and, soon after, her father gets called out of town to cover a story about a new strain of the bird flu that has been cropping up here and there. Dubbed the Blue Flu, it is found to be extremely contagious and exceptionally deadly. It is called the Blue Flu due to the effect it has on the respiratory system, cutting off air and essentially suffocating victims. As the Blue Flu hits Lil’s hometown, she is witness to a rapid breakdown in social order. Schools are quickly shut down, as are other businesses. The police department is overwhelmed, with citizens finding response times of two or three days to many calls to 911. Stores are wiped clean in rapid order and looters begin breaking into homes to find food and supplies.

Any of the above would make for great gifts for both adolescent and adult readers this holiday season.

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