Book Crush, by Nancy Pearl

Naturally, we here at Wordcandy have trouble understanding why you might look to anyone else for your book recommendation needs, but we can—reluctantly—accept that occasionally you’re going to stray. And if you absolutely must cheat on us, you could do a lot worse than Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust, More Book Lust, and the newly released Book Crush.

Book Crush is Pearl’s first book focused exclusively on books for young readers. She separates her list of more than 1000 recommended books into three target age groups: "Youngest Readers”, 8- to 12-year-olds, and 13- to 18-year-olds. Each section is further divided by cutesy alphabetical subheadings—the Youngest Readers section opens with “Ahh, Those Adorable Anthropomorphic Animals” and concludes with “You’ve Got A Friend”.

Kid literature is obviously a subject we’re passionate about, and we had to resist the urge to condemn entire chunks of the book just because Pearl skipped some of our favorites*. And though she obviously couldn’t include every great book for kids, Pearl comes close. Book Crush features an amazing variety of topics, authors, and genres. It is such an inclusive list that one begins to wonder about the few major authors that weren’t featured—what does Pearl have against Meg Cabot? Michael Buckley?

Pearl’s only consistent bias seems to be against books with déclassé cover art. She ignores well-written YA pulps like David Eddings’s fantasy epics or L. J. Smith’s supernatural stories, and she devotes a mere four pages to graphic novels (although her short list of picks is awesome, including Yotsuba&!, Runaways, and Bone). Pearl is particularly weak on shojo manga, featuring only one title (Fruits Basket). These books might not have the literary cachet of an elegantly bound copy of John Green’s Looking For Alaska, but they’ve enticed many a young reader into shelling out their hard-earned allowance. Still, while Pearl’s inevitable blind spots mean that Book Crush won’t work for every kid, it’s a remarkably comprehensive effort.

*That said, no Buffalo Brenda? No Sorcery and Cecelia? How could you, Ms. Pearl?
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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