Young Adult Comes of Age
One of my favorite things about buying for the Young Adult section of Mrs. Dalloway's is that the "genre," is ever-expanding. In one room, customers can find realistic fiction, gritty thrillers, epic fantasies, and so much more sitting side-by-side on our shelves. Every season I am in awe of the fresh new voices and perspectives that are published, and even more excited by the range of ages I see purchasing, reading, and loving YA as much as I do. In April, Mrs. Dalloway's will join the Elmwood in Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary Celebration with a unique window display in celebration of the Bard. I am thrilled by the fact that this coincides with the release of two new fantastic YA novels, both with their unique spin on two of Shakespeare's most famous plays.
Is Hanalee our new Hamlet?
The Steep and Thorny Way, by Cat Winters, is a fantastic retelling of Hamlet re-imagined in rural, Prohibition Oregon. Hanalee Denney needs to know what really happened the night her father died...and why people keep telling her they see his ghost walking along the lonely highway. Winters doesn't feel compelled to follow the plot of Hamlet religiously. Instead, our heroine is unique--with her own demons, her own dreams, and her own agency. Garnering three starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and School Library Journal, Winter's newest novel is brilliant and timely, touching upon racism, homophobia, and classism that still affect us today.
Hermione won't be a statue.
In Exit, Pursued by a Bear, Morris-award winner E. K. Johnston brings to life Hermione of The Winter's Tale in her contemporary new novel. Our heroine has it all--her cheerleading squad, awesome friends, a loyal boyfriend; in one night at cheer camp, however, everything changes. Hermione is the victim of sexual assault, but she refuses to be victimized. Much like Winters, Johnston departs from the traditional Shakespearean narrative; Hermione's story will not be set in stone. It has earned an impressive five starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, PW, and Quill & Quire, and is an important addition to any library.
Stay tuned for more fantastic Young Adult reads this spring and summer! Antonia Gunnarson