Teen Reads

Right Book, Right Time: 500 Books for Teenagers

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen
353 pages; published 2007

Read! Read! Read! Read for pleasure, for thrills, for escape, for ideas. Read books that make you laugh and cry and wonder and think. Read for yourself and not for others. (viii)

Yes, that’s right, it’s another list book. I have a sickness. Therapy didn’t work, I’m looking into medication. This was an early Christmas present I bought for myself and my sister, who, as a new ‘reader’ likes recommendations for books. This book was a winner, if the little post-it note taggies popping out the top are any indication.

After having read a few of these books, I’ve decided to change how I review them, focusing on just a few central points, so I hope you’ll bear with me as I iron out the kinks.

THEME: Books for Teenagers.
The premise was a book for every occasion, mood, phase, experience. As the book is aimed at teachers/librarians as well as teenagers, I thought it was a particularly good idea. Teenager or not, you often have to be in the right place for the right book.

The book is broken up into twelve chapters/sections:

  • Action, adventure and crime
  • Been and gone
  • Extreme and edgy
  • Fantastic worlds
  • Life, love and loss
  • My place in the world
  • Not such ordinary lives
  • Outside the square
  • This sporting life
  • War and conflicts
  • What if…?
  • When you want to laugh

These chapters are broken up by the occasional mini essay or editorial on a variety of topics from “pink books” to graphic novels.

Within chapters are, and this was the best part, full page reviews for each novel/series with the occasional author bio/review.

Each book was classified with its country of origin and reading age:

Y = Young Reader
YA = Young Adult
A = Adult

but then goes on to show the primary audience and the audience who may be interested. For example: a book marked YA/A indicates a YA novel that may be of interest to an adult reader.

In between these reviews were shorter topical lists (“grand love stories”, “extraordinary international lives”, “recent Australian YA books with Shakespearean connections”) with shorter paragraph reviews.

This format made this book not only extremely easy to read and navigate, but also quite pleasing to look at.

Here’s where the list book can potentially fall down. You don’t want a generic list of books which you’ve seen a hundred times, but at the same time, you don’t want a list so out there that it’s unrecognisable or unrelatable.

Right Book, Right Time: 500 Great Reads for Teenagers focuses mainly on recent YA novels which, considering the discerning teen audience, is probably a good idea. However, it still includes (in the topical lists mostly) more traditional or enduring teenage and children’s’ classics. The range of books was impressive and very well selected, catering for all tastes and interest. 5/5

Other Reviews
Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!


Christina said...

Right Book, Right Time looks wonderful.
My teen is an avid reader and this would be a welcomed gift on Christmas morning.

Ladytink_534 said...

My husband doesn't understand my love for list books either lol.

kalea_kane said...

Great idea for a book. It can be so hard to find just the right book for your teen. I am there now. :)

Carrie K. said...

I love book list books, too. This one would be perfect for my daughter - so thanks!

Have you read Book Lust and More Book Lust?

Rebecca said...

Christina: I imagine it would be, it definately has a good range.

Ladytink_534: I think you need to have a special OCD brain to see the appeal ;)

kalea_kane: I'd definately try this one then, got quite a few to choose from in there.

Carrie K.: Welcome! No, I haven't, but I'm certainly gonna go look now!