Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Young Adult

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that takes many Victorian/Industrial Age technologies, and then thrusts it into a futuristic world. In a steampunk world, there might be flying machines, computers, and ray guns - but built from copper, wood, brass, and using steam as a power source. It's a unique blend of the future and the present that makes steampunk unique.


Young Adult literature is my first love. Not only did I grow up reading it, but I gained a whole new appreciation as a high school English teacher. Yeah, I taught the classics, but I used a lot of contemporary YA in the classroom too.

YA literature has embraced steampunk, and you'll find some awesome reads in this genre. Here are a few of my favorites:

Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clairel: Tessa Gray knows nothing about the Shadowhunter world until she comes to London looking for her lost brother.  Upon her arrival she is kidnapped by members of the mysterious Pandemonium Club where she learns the truth about her own supernatural abilities - abilities that connect her to the dark underworld of vampires, werewolves, and shape shifters. Frightened by the power she has to change her appearance at will, Tessa seeks protection from two Shadowhunter boys whose sole job is to keep their world safe from those who want to destroy it.


Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest: Zeke Wilkes needs to clear his father’s name of a horrible tragedy. Sixteen years ago Dr. Wilkes was determined to find gold with his bone shaking drill engine, but instead he released a toxic gas that destroyed the city of Seattle and turned its people into zombies. Set in 1880s Civil War-era Seattle amid high tech mechanical gadgetry, this alternate reality story by Cherie Priest mixes mad scientists, airships, and the living dead into a clever story of survival and suspense.


The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor: Alyss Heart is royalty in Wonderland and next in line to inherit the throne. There’s just one problem: her evil Aunt Redd is plotting to kill her. To escape, Alyss jumps into the Pool of Tears, a portal to other worlds, and reemerges from a puddle in Victorian England. Although loosely based on the original story by Lewis Carroll, fans will enjoy seeing familiar characters in an alternate reality.


The Hunchback Assignments, by Arthur Slade: Hunchbacked teen Modo has a special gift: the ability to transform his appearance. When Mr. Socrates, a mysterious agent from the Permanent Association, learns of Modo’s abilities he offers to train the boy to be a spy for the British crown.  Modo’s first assignment is to uncover murderous plots laid by The Clockworld Guild against Britain, and to stop a mad scientist from turning street orphans into automatons.


The Leviathan Series, by Scott Westerfield: Two opposing forces are on the brink of war. The Clankers - who put their faith in machinery - and the Darwinists - who have begun evolving living creatures into tools. Prince Aleksandar, the would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, comes from a family of Clankers, and travels the country in a walker, a heavily-fortified tank on legs. Meanwhile Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy, works for the British Empire, crewing the ultimate flying machine: an airship made of living animals. Now, as Alek flees from his own people, and Deryn crash-lands in enemy territory, their lives are about to collide...

25 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm not into young adult books, but I do have Leviathan on my iPad and plan to read it soon.

Kelly Barnes said...

I didn't know you were a teacher. Cool.

I don't know if I'm supposed to let this out, but I have it on good authority (the co-chairman is a friend of mine), but Cherie Priest is supposed to be a guest of honor at next years MidSouthCon. Her books are on my TBR list.

Brinda said...

I loved Clockwork Angel and Boneshaker. I've also read Leviathan. I will put the other two on my TBR list. THANKS!

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I grew up on YA. One of my influences is Robert Cormier. Let me know what you think of Leviathan.

Kelly: I'd love to go to that! Memphis isn't too far from St. Louis!!!!!

Brinda: Clockword Angel surprised me. You are so very welcome!

Laura Eno said...

Leviathan sounds like a cool twist. Looking glass Wars seems interesting too. Clockwork Angel has had a lot of hype but I don't like vampire stories, which seems to invade so many YA books these days.

Rusty Webb said...

I read Leviathan. I almost read Boneshaker but decided on something else. I don't read much YA.

Jay Noel said...

Laura: I'm not a big vampire person either, but like I said, it did surprise me.

Rusty: I don'r read much YA anymore either. But the genre is changing. Now there's New Adult go right in between YA and Adult.

mooderino said...

I think steampunk is looking like a strong candidate for major genre for the next few years. Feels like it's on the cusp.

new follower,
mood
Moody Writing

Martha said...

I haven't read any of these but the young adults in my home have. Very cool that you were a teacher :)

Jay Noel said...

Moody: thanks for visiting!

Martha: Maybe you should pick one of them up. I loved teaching, and I do miss it.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I so need to read Bone Shaker.

farawayeyes said...

More for the TBR list.

Cynthia said...

Thanks for sharing the list. The Looking Glass Wars sounds particularly interesting.

And thanks for returning to my blog yesterday to explain how you scored a contract. That's so awesome. I would be curious to know how you set up that meeting with the publisher.

Have a great weekend.

Jay Noel said...

Michael: I have it. I wonder if I can lend to you via Kindle.

faraway: Let me know what you think after you read one of them.

Cynthia: I will post about it shortly!

Heather Spiva said...

Awesome! Love young adult and steampunk. My oldest is watching "The Legend of Korra" on Nickelodean which is steampunk all the way. Thanks for all your great posts. Super informative.

Melissa Bradley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Bradley said...

These books sound amazing and I will most definitely have to check them out. Thanks for sharing. And yay we are almost at Z.

Vero said...

That's a great list, Jay. I must admit my knowledge in steampunk comes entirely from cartoons, animations and movies, so I might just take you up in those suggestions.

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I have The Leviathan series and I have been wanting to check it out forever. I need another pair of eyes. I really am finding I enjoy Steampunk.

Jay Noel said...

Heather: Me and the kids LOVE Legend of Korra. Hard to find stuff we can all enjoy together these days.

Melissa: I'm so ready for this to be over.

Vero: Great! I hope you do check some of them out.

Heidi: I need four of me to get stuff done.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

I just read Clockwork Angle- I figured you'd be proud of me for jumping into the genre ;) I've been meaning to read Boneshaker, too, though my library has yet to get it.

Kelley Lynn said...

Adding these to the list! :)

M Pax said...

I've read Boneshaker. I'll have to check out some of the others on your list.

Jay Noel said...

Juliana: I'm SO proud!

Kelly: Awesome! Tell me what you think.

Mary: I need to read the other books too. Like Clementine.

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