Friday, April 12, 2013


April is National Poetry Month! Appropriately, I've picked a few YA books that are written in verse, and that stand out for one reason or another. If you're looking for more hardcore poetry stuff, go ahead and sign yourself up for the Knopf Poem-A-Day email, or check out my one of my absolute favorite books of poetry, Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins. 

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill
Is told--in verse--the story of the Salem Witch Trials through the POV of the girls involved in it. This fictionalized account is surprisingly similar to high school in this century (think along the lines of Mean Girls). Or maybe that's not so surprising--either way, this is great on a lot of different levels.

Sold  by Patricia McCormick
This verse will leave powerful impressions because of the voice that is behind it-- the voice of a young Nepali girl sold into the sex trade. Full of moving, stark imagery and a sensitive but honest telling of this incredibly sad fate of a young girl, this story is memorable and somewhat haunting. It's a quick read but one that won't leave your mind for a while.

I'll recommend two by Ellen Hopkins-- Crank and Tilt. She writes in powerful poetic verse, which is easy to read and easy to get caught up in. The Crank series, as well as Tilt, and pretty much all of her books, are about tough social issues that teenagers face. Obviously, things like drugs, sexuality, relationships, mental issues, etc. All really tough things--tough to read about, and tough for me to recommend to people because of the content. However, I've noticed that these books are wildly popular for the older middle school through high school set. It's not hard to see why; even outspoken poetry haters can easily read these books and often find connections in the way that they feel or the things they have to deal with (hopefully not like her characters have to deal with, but let's face it--these are real issues these days).

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