I used to read Leon Uris books when I was at High School. Anyone who has read one of his books knows the content would definitely not be described as Young Adult friendly in today’s market.
While I am not advocating all teenagers read adult books, there are some who are mature enough to deal with adult themes. In today’s blog I have two offerings I think might be of interest to the more mature teenagers.
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series was my obsession over the Christmas break. Set in post-WWI England, our heroine is found setting up her own private investigation agency. Her first case starts out as a typical case of infidelity, but turns into something much more as Maisie ends up investigating The Retreat – a place where soldiers disfigured by the war can live in peace.
I love a good cosy mystery, and the Maisie Dobbs books are great examples of the genre. What sets them apart is the way Maisie approaches her investigations. Although she has forensic training suitable to the times, she also studied psychology and meditation, and this gives her a unique way of dealing with the situations she finds herself in.
Another thing setting these books apart is Maisie is representative of the between-wars women in Britain. Having carried out important work during the first world war while men fought, they are now again expected to return to the role of wife and mother – inspite of the fact many will never find a partner and are more than capable of working outside of the home.
The final thing giving these books a unique perspective is Maisie’s ability to span social classes, and at the same time comment on the British class system. In the first book of the series this is an integral theme as we not only work on solving the mystery, but also learn of how Maisie moved from serving girl to investigator.
While having its own unique perspective, like other books in this genre it had a strong story line and unique characters. Billie, Maisie’s assistant, and Frankie Dobbs, her father, are two of my favourites. And then there is the best friend, Priscilla – to avoid spoilers, that is all I will say about her.
Why do I think mature young adults will love these books? There appear to be a number of books around about the great wars at the moment, and I think this series in particular deals with a lot of the history and social change at the time, without being heavy handed. Many of the barriers Maisie faces are the same ones we face today, and I believe many girls will enjoy how she over-comes them, and cheer her on. But really, I think they will like them because they are good stories.
Mini-spoiler, and a word of warning – Maisie was a nurse in the war the book talks openly about trench warfare and the mental and physical wounds all those involved in the war came home with. Because of this I only recommend it for Young Adults who are able to cope with reading about this. If in doubt, please read the book first.
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
by reviewer Sam
Altered Carbon is a sci-fi mystery novel written by Richard Morgan.
In the year 2384 death is no longer a problem for the human race as the human consciousness can be transported from body to body via a device called a stack. An envoy (extreme military group) Takeshi Kovachs is woken up 200 years after his death and is hired to solve the murder of a billionaire.
Altered Carbon, although a long book, is a startling journey through a dystopian cityscape and down rabbit hole after rabbit hole of leads and revenge. The story is told by Takeshi, who I really like because of his cynical outlook on life and his sheer badassery.
I wanted to read this book because I saw the trailer for the Netflix show and through it looked interesting so my mother bought me the book and I read it for about a month and it was all I read, now you might be thinking that’s not really something to note but for me it is because I usually read five to ten books at a time now I don’t know why exactly it caught my attention I think it was the combination of sci-fi and mystery that caught my eye and I enjoyed it.
Altered Carbon is a good book because it moves the story along slowly and then just speeds up nearing the end as as it moves to the conclusion.
I would recommend this book for ages 14 and over as most of the content is for older audiences. There are themes in the book that I would not recommend for children maybe less mature 13 to 14 year olds. It has two graphic descriptive sex scenes and there is some graphic violence. I generally skip over these when I am reading. None of this really detracts from the story but the sex doesn’t add to it. On another slight change there are some more mature themes like the morals of resleeveing and a few others situations dotted throughout the book.