This blog was written by TeenHQ Intern Beth
Welcome back to another installment of Adventures in Quaranteen! In this blog series, I offer three recommendations for young adult books that fit a specific adventure theme. Best of all, each of the books I’m going to recommend you are available online, for free, using the library’s digital collection. If you don’t have a library card, you can apply for an eLibrary Card.
This week’s theme is all about the Odyssey, which the dictionary defines as “a long series of wanderings or adventures, especially when filled with notable experiences, hardships, etc.” The word comes from the classic Greek tragedy about Odysseus, a legendary figure in the Trojan war who got lost on the way home. Odysseus didn’t return for twenty years – thankfully, most of the protagonists in these books only go missing for a summer. But that doesn’t mean they don’t struggle – in the three books I’ve chosen, one teen has been chosen by the gods to retrieve a valuable item, one is a painter forced to journey to a dangerous court with a Faerie prince, and the last is a young activist running across the United States. Each protagonist faces unique challenges and will have to reconcile with their circumstances, and with themselves, if they are ever to return home again.
These Boots are Made for Walkin'
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse - Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena - Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
An Enchantment of Ravens Margaret Rogerson
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts — even as she falls in love with a faerie prince — in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron — Rook, the autumn prince — she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the Autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
A Heart in a Body in a World Deb Caletti
When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?
So that’s what Annabelle does — she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person — The Taker — that haunts her.
Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.
Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her — the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.