Here are four young adult fiction books that were very popular at one time but have lost some of that popularity over the years. They are too good to be forgotten however and all deserve a renaissance! Enjoy.
1. The White Mountains
Published in 1967 by John Christopher, The White Mountains
is the first book in a trilogy. In a post-apocalyptic future, humans live in a society that appears to be reminiscent of the Middle Ages but with a few more modern touches, such as a watch that plays a part in the story. Humans are controlled by mysterious alien machines known as “Tripods”. The Tripods control humans by means of a “cap” implanted in their brains when teenagers. Will, the protagonist, is only a year away from his “Capping Day” and is eagerly looking forward to it. However, he comes into contact with a mysterious stranger named Ozymandias who leads Will to question everything he thinks about the Tripods and his society. Will also learns of a place in the distant White Mountains where humans are free from Tripod control. Will and his friends decide to set out on a journey to the White Mountains and most the book is about what happens on this journey. Philosophically profound yet also exciting and easy to read, The White Mountains
is a great introduction to Sci-Fi for kids, and would be enjoyed by future or current fans of the Hunger Games
2. Lizard Music
Definitely the strangest book in this list, Lizard
Music was written by Daniel Pinkwater, and published in 1976. The story is about Victor, a young teenager left alone when his parents go out of town. He decides to indulge in things he couldn’t normally do like watch television late at night. While he’s doing this, he suddenly sees lizards on the television screen acting like humans and playing in a jazz band. The rest of the book tells of Victor trying to solve this mystery, which he does with a little help from a mysterious stranger called The Chicken Man and his…well, chicken. Victor eventually travels to the magical land that these intelligent, chicken-worshipping lizards call home. Lizard Music
is utterly bizarre, surreal, and ends with the message that it is best to be an individual than to follow the crowd. This is the perfect book for young adults who might turn into Neil Gaiman fans. Written in the 1970s, Lizard Music
has aged pretty well with the exception that you might have to explain to young readers who Walter Cronkite was.
3. Onion John
Although it is the winner of the 1960 Newbury Medal award, Onion John
hasn’t quite retained its popularity into the 21st
century. Written by Joseph Krumgold and set in suburban New Jersey, Onion John
tells the story of 12 year old Andy Rusch and his friendship with Onion John, who is a local hermit. The eccentric hermit is an Eastern European immigrant who eats onions like their apples and chooses to live without contemporary technology. He shares with Andy his unique brand of folklore and superstition. Meanwhile, the town is planning on building Onion John a new house with all the latest furnishings, thinking they are doing the right thing. Turns out, this was the last thing the hermit wanted. This book is ultimately a tale about treating people with dignity, not forcing change on those who do not want it, and being happy with what you have instead of always wanting more.
4. Anne of Green Gables
This one is considered an absolute classic in its native Canada and also around the world; however it has never really gotten its due in the United States. Anne of Green Gables
was written in 1908 by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The book details the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11 year old orphan girl who is sent by mistake to an elderly couple living in the Canadian Province of Prince Edward Island. Anne is a freckled redhead with a feisty nature, a proclivity for talking, and a quirky imagination, and the novel recounts her adventures and misadventures in the small town of Avonlea. Anne has become a role model for girls all over the world, and many make trips to Price Edward Island specifically to visit Anne associated sites. Anne of Green Gables
is actually the first book in a series that follows Anne’s adventures into adulthood.