René Kirkpatrick has been a bookseller and book buyer, specializing in children's and teen literature, for many years. She has a degree in elementary education and reads widely across all genres. She is currently a buyer at Third Place Books.
We're honored to have her here as part of the rgz SALON, a feature where four of the top kidlit experts clue us in to the best YA novels they've read recently. Here's René!
Paper Towns, by . I think John Green is a very smart writer. His books are clever and funny and he uses big words and then assumes that the people who read him will understand what he means. Paper Towns and his other two books, and , are strong, poignant books about kids who have great friendships and real problems. His books are probably the single most reason there are so many great books coming out for young adults that combine humor and serious issues. I have said it before: The children’s book genre has some of the best writing out there, for any age, and John Green is leading the pack.
Paper Towns is the story of Margot and Quentin. Quentin has loved Margot since they were nine. Now, just before graduating from high school, after a big night of prank playing, Margot disappears leaving a single clue. Not sure if Margot is hiding or deciding to do something more final, Quentin and his friends set out to find her.
John Green uses road trips, of one kind or another, in all of his books, so far. We could get all metaphorical and say they are a representation of growth and change but I like to look at them as just what they are: a chance to go for a ride with people you like, doing something important, figuring stuff out along the way, accompanied by chips, deep conversation, and noxious gases. Ages 14 and up. (Dutton Books, $17.99.)