Once upon a time, I earned a Master's Degree in Literature and was a Professor of Literature and Composition. I had a wonderful time writing my Master's Thesis about Children's and Young Adult Literature, and I considered earning a Ph.D. so that I could continue to pursue the written word, including British, American, Latin American and other Global Literatures, Children's and Young Adult Literature, all types of genres and occasionally even poetry. But life takes you in unexpected directions, and so now I am working for a non-profit agency (you can read about that on my other blog, A Little Bit of Wonder). Although my job keeps me too busy to post as many book reviews as I would like, Recommended Reading is a place where I can continue to share my literary discoveries and knowledge as time allows.

Please note that I post reviews for books that I recommend reading, just like the blog title says. This means that I typically won't post a review for a book that I completely dislike. This isn't because I shy away from making negative comments, but rather because I don't want to waste your time or mine (I won't even bother to finish a book if it's not any good). For more on this, see the explanation of my Rating System.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Blog Review: The Frenetic Reader (Y.A. Lit.)

As I expand this blog, I want to review not only excellent books and journaling blogs, but other book blogs as well. I won’t be able to post reviews at a high-speed pace, especially once I go back to work, but I know that some followers enjoy the kind of extended/detailed analyses that I write. So, for those of you who are voracious readers, I’ll share other blogs that provide similarly detailed book reviews and comments that I find helpful and entertaining.

Note: In keeping with my own current reading/reviewing interests, I decided that my first few reviews of book blogs should be focused on Y.A. Literature bloggers. I am just starting to explore the world of book blogging in general, though, and I fully intend on featuring other types of book blogs in the future as well.

The Frenetic Reader

Blog URL: http://www.freneticreader.com/

Blogger: Khy

Reading/Reviewing Credentials: Khy is an actual “young adult reader,” a high school junior who manages to consume an amazing number of novels for someone who is taking 3 AP classes. She is a self-described David Levithan fangirl.

Genres reviewed: YA Paranormal/ Paranormal Romance, YA Fantasy/ Dystopian Lit, YA Mystery/ Romance, Teen Angst/Coming-of-Age, and occasionally YA Historical Fiction (I adore historical fiction but often don't read it because of how absolutely dry it can be. Good historical fiction is really good, but bad historical fiction is so, so bad.”) Khy’s reviews are mostly of recent publications.

Format of reviews: Khy posts a summary of the novel from Goodreads.com, then shares her own thoughts on the plot and genre (did the book stick to or break the usual generic conventions), characters, etc.

Why should you start reading Khy’s book reviews? One thing that is great about Khy’s reviews is that she often makes clever and amusing comments that let reveal her witty personality. For example, in one recent review, she states: Whenever a book involves a musical or ninjas, I become immediately intrigued. Mix them together and you have me squealing in delight.” Another of her comments that made me laugh was, “My knowledge of Queen Victoria is limited to that one episode of Doctor Who… With comments like these, Khy not only interests her readers in the book she is reviewing, but also keeps her audience entertained.

Khy’s wit is a definite plus, but she’s an excellent reviewer on all fronts. She includes a summary from Goodreads that is helpful so that before we read her review, we know basically what the book is about and how it’s being publicized. She critiques the character development of a novel and the author’s characterization techniques (one particularly detailed example is in her recent review of The Absolute Value of -1 by Steven Brezenoff). She often gives detailed comments on the structure of the plot, as well as the complexity of the prose.

She adds subjective thoughts to her observations, but doesn’t allow her reviews to become too biased. Even if she didn’t enjoy a book, she will still acknowledge why others might like it, which is really helpful in my opinion. In addition to her ability to recognize different perspectives, she readily admits when she is outside her own comfort zone as a reader. For example, in her review of Hush by Eishes Chayil, she writes, “At first, I found Hush incredibly overwhelming. I knew absolutely nothing about Gittel's Chassidim lifestyle and religion before reading, so I had to pay especially close attention to the portrayal of the setting so I understood the context as well as treatment of Devory, one of the main focuses of the book… My inability to pronounce the Yiddish (?) words in my head probably didn't help my confusion.” Despite her confusion, she plowed through the book and ended up really appreciating the novel. It’s really nice to find a book blogger who is willing to read outside of her usual/favorite genres – I’m sure that her followers are rewarded when they decide to pick up a book that is outside their comfort zone because of one of her reviews. I myself am feeling quite challenged to pick up a copy of Anna and the French Kiss after reading some of Khy's comments on the book, even though it has such a horrible title.

Khy also posts on book-related topics and many of her thoughts are quite entertaining. She recently wrote a nostalgic blog entry about Scholastic Book Orders that reminded me of my own childhood excitement when I would receive those pamphlets/forms in elementary school; this is the post that cemented my decision to review her blog here on Little Wonder. (Check out the Scholastic post here.)

In addition to nostalgic posts, Khy has written several insightful (and sometimes funny) essays and blurbs about the characteristics and appeal of Y.A. Literature. In a fit of frustration at the clichés of Y.A. Lit, she first outlined the Y.A. Family and then explained the typical characterization of the Y.A. Best friend. She critiques her own reading and reviewing habits from time to time, and she recently wrote an excellent essay on Y.A. Dystopian Literature in response to a New York Times article on the same subject. Her most entertaining and sustained commentary on Y.A. Fiction, though, is a post about "breaking up" with Paranormal Lit. Her disenchantment with the genre leads her to make several witty, astute observations; even if you love Paranormal Lit, you should check out this post.

In summary, The Frenetic Reader is a great blog to follow. After reading one of Khy’s reviews, you will have a much better idea of whether or not you might personally enjoy reading the novel, and you will likely find her non-review posts to be a fun way of connecting with a fellow Y.A. book lover. There are definitely a lot of other great book blogs out there, many of which focus primarily on Y.A. Lit, and I’ll be writing more reviews as time goes on. Meanwhile, enjoy Khy’s perspective on many of the recently released titles for this age bracket.

1 comment:

  1. ahh you are too nice! Thanks so much for this post. It made my day. :D


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