YA Western Genre: The Good, the Bad, and the Few

Monday, July 27, 2015

I was thinking about cowboys the other day and realized that as much as the YA genre has the cutest boys from vampires to aliens, the genre is seriously lacking in the cowboys section.  Where are all those westerns?  Where are the tavern brawls, sexy cowboy hats, and first draw gun fights? YA readers are in luck with the newest novel from Erin Johnson, Her Cold Revenge.  It's a sequel to the lovely Grace and the Guiltless.

To get you in the mood I'm recommending some YA books and movies that will get you in the mood for this upcoming release.  (Of course, I will not be naming the Bad here.) What I could find in the western genre was too few and the following recommended books do not depict the Western genre but have some Western qualities to them.  These books are, rather, close enough to the genre that cowboy lovers will surely be able to find them as awesome as Erin Johnson's new book. (All book synopses are from Goodreads and movies are from IMDB.)

Her Cold Revenge by Erin Johnson (pub. August 1, 2015)
Grace Milton has only one goal: bring to justice the Guiltless Gang, the outlaws who slaughtered her family. That's why she had to abandoned Joe and the Apache -- she couldn't afford any distractions. Now she's making her living as one of the only female bounty hunter in the Wild West, despite the doubts and protests of others. But when Joe shows up in town, Grace is torn. Feelings she thought she had left behind at the Apache camp are rekindled, and the passion threatens to pull her away from her mission. But soon rumors surface that two members of the Guiltless Gang are nearby, planning a daring train robbery, and now Grace is faced with an impossible choice. Will she stay with Joe and forget her vendetta, or risk everything -- her love, her life -- to fulfill her all-consuming need for vengeance?
 The second book in the gripping Wanted series, this Western revenge epic is a must-read for teen readers who are fans of relentless action and suspense and heart-wrenching romance. --Goodreads

Holes by Louis Sachar --- Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness --- Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill --- It’s hot. The air reeks of burning fuel; the rivers and lakes seethe with sulfur. In the shadows, evil men plot terror and beasts hunt the innocent. Out on the barren crags of the terraformed planet, there is nowhere to hide. No one to heed a call for help.

True Grit by Charles Portis --- Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America's foremost writers. True Grit, his most famous novel, was first published in 1968, and became the basis for the movie starring John Wayne. True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.

Blood Red Road by Moria Young --- Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Priest (dir. Scott Stewart) --- A priest disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece. Complete with train and horse chase.

The Lone Ranger (dir. Gore Verbinski) --- Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

Cowboys and Aliens (dir. Jon Favreau) --- A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys and natives are all that stand in their way.

Holes (dir. Andrew Davis) --- A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason. And who could forget the winners of the best couple award:

While waiting for the release of Her Cold Revenge, read or watch one of these awesome books.  They will surely get you in the mood for the amazing horse back ride that is Erin Johnson's Wanted series!

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