Last week, my friend on this site wrote a post that posed the question: what’s next after Twilight? Well, as a guy, I’m pretty much going to say anything (which isn’t exactly true–more about that in a different post, though), but it got me thinking:
While it’s great to look towards the future, I’m curious about our reading pasts.
As such, I decided to throw out this little query to the twitter followers of bantamspectra: What was your favorite YA sci-fi growing up (YA being a rather loose term that I figured would cover both middle-grade and teen offerings–and then realizing almost all my selections were in the middle-grade range)?
The response made me realize I need to read more.
Personally, I had a few favorites in mind when I asked this question, and clearly I was hoping for vindication of my choices. In no particular order:
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster–My mother used to make us watch this movie all the time, as it was one of her favorites, and I always used to hate the live-action stuff in the beginning. But the cartoon–the bulk of the movie–really caught my imagination, and when I realized that it was first a book, I was excited. I remember reading this on a long bus trip with the Cub Scouts to the Franklin Institute in Philly and finding out for the first time that no matter how good a movie is, the book is almost always better.
ODDKINS by Dean R. Koontz–I love this book, particularly the illustrations by Phil Parks. I think what appealed to me so much was the idea that toys do play such an important role in a quiet kid’s life (such as mine–”quiet” being a relative term) that it was fun to see them literally come to life (and, remember, this was years before Toy Story came out. This is one of my first Dean Koontz books, too, and I still consider it one of best things he’s written. Sadly, it’s out of print.
THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis–I would normally just say “duh,” but if I learned anything from this little experiment, it’s that you can’t just take these things for granted. What I still love about this book (and the whole series–The Horse and His Boy is an amazing and risky departure from the world he had established) is that while I clearly understood it better as an adult–I very much so enjoyed it as a child, and don’t remember ever feeling like I was being preached to. And I still want to ride a lion.
THE EYES OF THE KILLER ROBOT by John Bellairs–Am I the only one who ever read this book? I feel like it, but I wouldn’t care if I was. This combined so many things I loved as a kid: robots, baseball, and just enough scariness to make me not like reading it at night (which of course I did anyway). I honestly never knew if Bellairs wrote anything before or after this book (I was a kid–didn’t really “follow” authors; FYI: he did), but I still pull this off my shelf every so often…and still don’t like to read it at night.
MOSSFLOWER by Brian Jacques–Mice with swords. Pescatarian recipes I want to eat. I really don’t know if I need to go on. Although I read these when I was a little older, I remember how much they caught my attention. Martin the Warrior is truly one of the great fantasy characters (the broken sword around his neck is such an enduring symbol), and the whole Redwall setting–although getting a bit repetitive towards the latter books–is still one I can pick up every now and then and be excited about.
Obviously these are just a few, but there is one more I need to mention, because it seemed like I had raised a mob of pitchfork-wielding twitterers when I casually noticed that a book I never read before kept making peoples’ lists:
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
So I read it over the weekend–and I wish I had read it twenty years ago. Because then it surely would have made this list.
Let me know what books I missed!