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Jukebooks: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

2014 April 16
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Winners Curse coverIn this lush high fantasy set in a society much like ancient Rome, Kestrel enjoys all the luxuries afforded to the daughter of a powerful Valorian General, whose army has conquered the Herran peninsula and enslaved its people. When she impulsively bids on a Herrani slave in the marketplace, Kestrel has little idea how the slave, Arin, will upset her life. They match each other in intelligence and share a deep love for music. Romance between mistress and slave is naturally forbidden. But like star-crossed lovers everywhere, they find that their feelings cannot be altered by any custom or law.

Kestrel plays piano, often late into the night. To please Arin, Kestrel plays a piece of Herrani music written for the flute on her piano, a beautifully intimate scene between the two. I imagined this music to be simple and lovely, a folk song that expresses yearning for home.

I am still imagining this song.

In the end, I decided to take the easy road and use a lovely Beatles song from their album Help!which is from the 1965 movie of the same name. Fortunately for Jukebooks, there is a perfect Beatles song for every book.

 

Get Inspired: YA Novels with Characters Who Read or Write Poetry

2014 April 16
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sweet revenge of celia door finneyfrockIn celebration of National Poetry Month, and because I am a poetry lover myself, I wanted to share some YA fiction titles in which a major character reads and/or writes poetry.  If you are reading this blog entry, then you probably enjoy poetry too.  And if you are like me – who has not kept the promise she made to herself some time ago to read a poem every day – you could do with some inspiration. 

So take a look at the list below, pick out a couple novels to read and let the presence of poetry move you to read or write some verse yourself!

 

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock

Author Karen Finneyfrock is herself a poet.  Celia, the protagonist of this novel, dreams of becoming one.  She also dreams of revenge on classmate Sandy for what she did to Celia in eighth grade, an act which is not revealed until late in the novel.  As Celia writes: “That’s the day the trouble started. / The trouble that nearly ruined my life. / The trouble that turned me Dark. / The trouble that begs me for revenge.”  Rejected by her classmates, Celia finds comfort in writing poetry.  She even turns her mom’s notes into haiku.  An unexpected friendship with Drake, a boy who has just transferred to Celia’s high school, eventually opens Celia up to a new way of seeing the world and a more hopeful approach to life.

read more…

Fashion Hits and Misses from YA Historical Fiction Book Covers, Part 3

2014 April 15
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I love historical fiction.  The drama, the intrigue and, oh– the fashion.  I just assume all the period details regarding clothing are accurate.  Or I did until my friend Liz shared it was her secret delight to troll the adult fiction section and find anachronistic apparel.  Curious to know how Liz knows all that she does about fashion?  Check out her bio in the first post Fashion Hits and Misses from YA Historical Fiction Book Covers.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds  by Cat Winters

In the Shadow of Blackbirds
by Cat Winters

The jazz age of American history is very popular right now in TV and books. Recent Hub posts like Get Ready for Downton Abbey Season 4 With These BooksThe Glamour and Greed of The Great Gatsby and Prohibition Era: Ohio Roots in History and YA Lit highlight our current fascination with the 1920s and 1930s. While imitation is meant as a sincere form of flattery, this only works if the copy is accurate, no matter the intention.

Here are some  Young Adult historical fiction novels sent during the Roaring Twenties with covers that try and sometimes fail to reflect accurate costuming/

Hit: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (Morris Award Finalist: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters)

Set in 1918, bombarded by the war and Spanish Influenza Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black is mistrustful of popular fad spirit photography until a seance takes on personal meaning.  This dress is a bit short length-wise, at this time you would expect to see a longer hem. Overall style is decent.  The fashion of the time often featured a waist that was accentuated with a belt or sash.

 

American dress, 1916-1917

American dress, 1916-1917

This cotton dress was a gift of Mrs. Edwin Stewart Wheeler in 1956 to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This costume is not on display and can only be viewed online. read more…

National Library Week: Libraries in Books

2014 April 15
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It’s National Library Week – the perfect time to celebrate libraries. I’m always paying attention to libraries and how they’re portrayed in pop culture.

libraries in movies

Here are a few of my favorites libraries from books:

Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep
This private school library is the largest (and coolest) building on campus. Not only are there statues of gods and goddess inside the building, but there are two statues of gryphons guarding the door. Plus, the library’s home to ancient artifacts – weapons, jewelry, and more. Not to mention the impressive book collection. At first, Nickamedes seems to be your stereotypical librarian, but there’s more to him than meets the eye. This is a library I’d love to spend hours exploring.

Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman (2012 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)
Elizabeth’s lonely at school, so she finds a job at the New York Circulation Material Repository, hoping to make friends.  This library does not circulate books– instead, it circulates items of historical and magical significance.  The Brothers Grimm have their own room filled with items from their tales. I’m not sure which item to borrow first… read more…

Hub Photo Challenge Check-In: Spine Poetry

2014 April 14
by Carli Spina
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national-poetry-monthIn celebration of National Poetry Month, we are all making poetry! Specifically, Spine Poetry, which is the technique of arranging your books so that their titles form a poem. To combine this challenge with our 2014 Hub Reading Challenge, all books that are used must be taken from those eligible for the Reading Challenge.

Once you have perfected your poem, snap a picture of it and send it to us to be entered in the contest! We’ll post some of the best poems on The Hub and one grand prize winner will receive a signed copy of Every Day by David Levithan!

Check out the official rules:

  1. For privacy reasons, make sure there aren’t any people in your pictures, please! But, aside from this one caveat, feel free to get as creative as you would like in both your poem and the setting of your photo!
  2. All entries must be sent to yalsahub@gmail.com by April 25th to be considered. Please include your mailing address if you would like to be eligible to win the grand prize.
  3. By submitting your photo, you are consenting to its publication by YALSA on The Hub or any other YALSA social media accounts, though we are under no obligation to publish all submissions that we receive.
  4. The contest is open to anyone, but the winner will be selected from participants in the United States or Canada.
Here is an example of spine poetry to inspire you!

Here is an example of spine poetry to inspire you!

We will announce our winner and share some of the best entries we get at the end of the month. Good luck! We’ve been getting some great entries, and can’t wait to see what you will come up with!

-Carli Spina, Hub Advisory Board member

The Monday Poll: The Worst Best Friend in YA Lit

2014 April 14
by Allison Tran
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birds_argue

photo by Chiltepinster

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you which realistic YA book should be made into a movie. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins dominated with 39% of the vote, and Hate List by Jennifer Brown came in second with 14%. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson followed closely with 13% of the vote. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, we want to know who you think is the worst best friend EVER in YA lit. These bullies, backstabbers, and betrayers might be characters you love to hate– they’re so well-written, they seem to jump off the page (and you can only hope they don’t show up in your life). Vote for the worst best friend in the poll below or add your suggestion in the comments.

Who's the worst best friend in YA lit?

View Results

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2014 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #10

2014 April 13
by Geri Diorio
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Hub Reading Challenge logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!

May I make a confession to you all? I have fallen far behind in my reading progress on the Challenge. I have been “cheating” on the books on this list with Brian Jay Jones’ biography about Jim Henson and a collection of short stories about Dangerous Women edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois.  But I promise to get back to reading Maggot Moon and Etiquette & Espionage right away! And also Carter Finally Gets It. I would enjoy some humor.

That is why I love this challenge, there are so many genres on the list you can always find something to enjoy. Fantasy, realistic, romance, humor, adventure, historical – so many kinds of fiction (and some non fiction as well!).

The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge will run until 11:59PM EST on June 22nd, so you have a bit more than two months to finish all 25 books. Do keep a list of what you are listening to/reading. We’ll be posting these check-in posts every Sunday so you can share your thoughts about the book(s) you read/listened to that week and share links to any reviews you post online. As you read, please also share your thoughts on the social medi platform of your choice using the #hubchallenge hashtag, or join the 2014 Hub Challenge group on Goodreads.

If you have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response, and, perhaps best of all, notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading/listening to 25 titlesread more…

Beyond Forever: Female Desire and Empowerment in YA Lit

2014 April 11
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girl sexualityIf you’re of a certain age, you will remember reading Judy Blume’s Forever… as a teen—perhaps furtively behind closed doors or brazenly in the school cafeteria. It was the kind of book people passed around, giggled about, and devoured in one sitting. No wonder, as it was one of the first books to talk frankly about sex and, even more revolutionary, acknowledge that sex was something a teenage girl could want and have responsibly without it being wrong or feeling guilty about it.

It’s been almost forty years since Forever‘s publication in 1975, and surprisingly little progress has been made in the realm of female sexual agency and sex-positive portrayals of young women. In the last decade alone, Forever was number 16 of the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books from 2000-2009, Rush Limbaugh gleefully called law student Sandra Fluke a slut for speaking in favor of contraception coverage, and Miley Cyrus won out over chemical warfare in Syria as the top headline in August of last year. What all these examples speak to is our society’s intense preoccupation with young women’s sexuality—a preoccupation that tends towards censure.  Indeed, society continues to judge women on the basis of their sexual choices and considers having sexual agency as a young woman a shameful thing.

Which makes the recent increase in YA books that speak openly and positively about teenage girls and their sexual desire all the more heartening.  Particularly, as they do so in a way that neither diminishes the need to be responsible when it comes to making sexual choices nor avoids discussing the emotional consequences—both good and bad—that come with having sex.

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers) is the natural successor toInfinite moment of us cover Blume’s Forever.  It is the story of two very different high school graduates who find themselves improbably falling in love. Wren is a well-adjusted A-student bent on pleasing her parents. Charlie has difficulty fighting the demons in his past or accepting the love of his foster parents. Myracle expertly captures the uncertainty, ardor, and innocence that accompany that first headlong rush into full-blown, soul-consuming love.  But it is her handling of sexual intimacy that makes this novel stand out. Wren is a virgin at the start of the novel and the ways in which Myracle traces her discovery of desire, her anxiety around having sex, the accompanying vulnerability it elicits, and her subsequent enjoyment of the act itself is both beautiful and remarkably realistic.  The emphasis on communication, trust, and mutual satisfaction makes this novel all the more appealing and important for young teens (male and female alike) to read.  read more…

Tweets of the Week: April 10th

2014 April 11
by Whitney Etchison
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As usual, Twitter has been busy this week with YA related news, events, giveaways and more. Here are some of the highlights, in case you missed anything…

Contests and Giveaways

read more…

SuperMOOC Mania! Part One – Addiction in Graphic Novels

2014 April 10
by Traci Glass
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SuperMOOC2So, last year, just around this time, I heard a word I’d never heard before – SuperMOOC.  It stands for Super Massive Open Online Course – it’s a free course, sometimes sponsored by a college, sometimes not, but always fun and exciting (well, at least the two I’ve taken have been and are).  It’s open to as many people who want to sign up for it, and the one that propelled me into SuperMOOC mania was Professor Christy Blanch’s first foray into the world – Gender through Comic Books.

Well, it was a glorious three months that ended too soon, but I was happy to learn that Professor Blanch was offering another one – Social Issues through Comic Books.  I’m currently deep in the throes of this class, and I thought each month I’d share with you the comic books we’re reading that have to do with a specific societal issue.   This class is a bit longer, but we’ll be tackling issues like addiction, the environment, social inequality, immigration & information privacy.

I thought it would be fun for me to give you, dear readers, all the info on these comics – a lot of which are ones that were already in my library’s teen graphic novel collection, but I had never read before.  First up – addiction.  For readers interested in the topic or those curious to see how comic books have covered the topic, I’ve got you covered.  Come with me over the next few months to hear my thoughts on a lot of comics that I’ve only just recently read.  As always…let’s start with Batman –

Batman VenomBatman:  Venom by Denny O’Neil, Trevor Von Eeden, Russell Braun & Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez:  So, I’m actually pretty embarrassed admitting this, but I had never read this Batman story, even though I noticed it quite a few times as I was going through my graphic novel collection.  Well, lucky for me, this class forced me to read it, and it was quite a good book.  Basic story: Batman is helpless to save a little girl’s life because he just can’t physically lift the weight to free her.  So, he turns to Venom pills (which will soon make an appearance for the worse when Bane gets ahold of them) which turn him into the crazy, mad psycho type that is hell-bent on giving the baddies their due with his new superhuman strength.  But at what cost?  His health?  His sanity?  This was an enlightening read that I liked because Batman really is just a regular human guy; it sometimes is helpful to see that even those who are the strongest have their weaknesses, as well.  Poor Batman, and boy does that cover creep me out every time I look at it.  I’m turning it over now, and moving on to…  read more…