Guilty Pleasures: Adult Fiction for Books-for-Youth Reviewers

BookendsCindy and Lynn: So we mostly read books for teens and kids. Duh! That’s our job, right? There are SO many great books for kids out there that youth books make up about 98% of our reading. (We hope our brilliant editors are listening!) Broken Homes by Ben AaronovitchBut every so often the siren song of adult books gets loud enough to lure us into a guilty pleasure read. Here’s what we’ll admit to this summer.

Lynn: Bookends regulars know I love science fiction and fantasy. My oldest son is a fan, too, and we have very similar tastes. Some time ago, he recommended a series that was so good, it knocked my socks off. It combined the things I most love about the genre—brilliant world-building and a fascinating “what if” factor—with intricate plotting and characters I care about. It is a series too, of course, and I’ve rationed the books despite my inclination to gobble them all down one right after another.

For all the grown-up Harry Potter fans, this is a natural!

It’s called the Peter Grant series, by Ben Aaronovitch, and I rewarded myself with book 4, Broken Homes (2014) right after ALA. The awesome series premise goes like this: Peter Grant, a young London constable, discovers that he can see and hear ghosts and is recruited for the two-man unit of the Metropolitan Police that deals with issues of the supernatural, including the various gods and goddesses of the many rivers in London. Peter’s superior and mentor is a wizard patiently teaching the science and hard work of magic to Peter while they solve supernatural crimes. Aaronovitch clearly loves London, architecture, history, and literature, and manages to include all of those interests in this fabulous and often really creepy series. The Faceless Man is a terrifying villain right up there with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. For all the grown-up Harry Potter fans, this is a natural! Grab book 1, Midnight Riot (2011), and get started!

BrokerCindy: Since most of my teen and children’s book reading is done from advance reading copies, I rely on audiobooks to feed my adult-reading cravings. This summer, I listened to John Grisham’s The Broker as a lead-up to my trip to Italy. As Booklist’s review points out, the story has less action and plot than most Grisham mysteries, but its love for, and lessons about, Italy and the Italian language were just what I needed. The President of the United States pardons a former major power broker at the request of the CIA. They relocate him to Italy, eventually to Bologna, and put him through intense language instruction. The CIA’s plan is to eventually leak his whereabouts and then watch to see which country kills him first, solving a mystery about the source of an important surveillance technology. Playing for Pizza

My husband prepped for Italy with Grisham, too. He read Playing for Pizza, set in Parma and featuring Italian football . . . along with the cuisine and culture. It’s clear that Grisham has fallen in love with Italy. I did too.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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