Now that that's out of the way...
I'm a first time blogger. How did I end up on this site with the fabulous reviewing team of Carrie, Sarah, and Amy? I've been friends with Carrie since we were reading picture books, that's how. We grew up having sleepovers where we would say something like, "Let's be boring!" and sit in the same room reading near each other. And it was a blast.
Renoir has mad skills.
Carrie mentioned that they were starting a blog site for YA books, and asked me to join in.
1. I'm the mom of twin boys in the 4th grade. Thankfully, they have the same reading bug as I did as a kid, and I like to know what they are reading, so I often read what they read. They have pretty good taste.
2. I'm a substitute teacher, working primarily in a school that has only 5th and 6th grade classes. I see what the kids are reading, and I see all sorts of kids - those who love to read and are already reading The Hunt for Red October (not kidding) to those who struggle and are still on The Boxcar Children series. And that's OK - I just love to see them read. I talk to them, ask them if they recommend books, etc. Also, in our school, those grades still mostly have a read-aloud daily, and I get to see what the teachers think is appropriate and interesting for the group as a whole.
3. I am one of the charter members of amazon.com's Vine program. The Vine program is an invitation-only group of reviewers that amazon.com has chosen based on the number of reviews we've written, considering also the number of "helpful" votes we get. Once a month we are offered products and books for review. Often, these books are pre-release Advance Reader Copies, and often, I choose children's/YA books if they are available. So, even though this is my first blog, I do have experience reviewing.
Obviously, you don't have to listen to or agree with me, but that's where any expertise comes from. :)
As a kid, I always preferred reading about older kids to ones my own age. I can't remember when I switched to true "adult" books, though I suspect it was 7th/8th grade (my 7th grade history teacher had me read The Winds of War in 7th, I know.)
I loved (and still do) mysteries, so as far as classic books, I devoured all the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books.
I loved Anne of Green Gables, I loved anything by Madeline L'Engle .
There was a line of historical romance written for younger readers that I adored (and still have): the Sunfire series. They were FAT. For a girl who broke the speed-reading machine, bigger was better. They were well written and well researched. They bred another lifelong love: history. They bred another reading addiction: well-written romance. I know I was reading these in 5th and 6th, but the heroines were nearly always 16ish.
Anyone else remember these?
Currently, I'm reading the 39 Clues series. I devour the Rick Riordan Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicle books as soon as they come out. I LOVE Harry Potter and re-read them regularly. Blue Baillet writes some great stuff, as does Richard Peck.
YA or adult, I almost always prefer series books, where the characters can grow and develop. So, I'm always hoping for the next great series writer that can keep me waiting on the edge of my seat for the next installment.