October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Karina Hernandez from New Jersey.
Young adult books with teen romance are the stories that take you on a roller coaster of emotion. It’s the moment when the two characters meet. It’s the love that grows between the two of them. It’s the introduction of a good love triangle. It’s the struggle when the couple refuses to accept their love for each other. It’s the tears shed, the pillows punched in frustration, the smile released when they finally kiss.
Everyone has their favorite couple from a YA- Hazel and Augustus, Anna and Étienne, Tris and Tobias, Sophie and Archer, Hermione and Ron, Samantha and Jase, Willem and Allyson, Eleanor and Park. Everyone also has their favorite love triangle – Katniss/Peeta/Gale, Bella/Edward/Jacob, America/Maxon/Aspen, Clara/Tucker/Christian, Juliette/Adam/Warner (Why does it seem like all the love triangles are two boys and a girl, anyway?).
These are the stories that leave us either sobbing at the end or just closing the book and letting out the biggest smile. These stories make us fall in love and just feel happy from head to toe. They take us on a crazy adventure from start from finish, leaving us rapidly turning the pages, thirsty for more.
Now I’ll quickly take you through some of my favorite teen romances in young adult lit and describe the story, the feels, and the love. read more…
Last year, I created a post with some of my favorite cozy mysteries with teen appeal. It’s a fact; I love cozy mysteries. I love the relationships in cozy mysteries as many of them are set in small towns or close-knit communities. Everyone seems to know everyone else. Plus, most cozies are part of a series, so once a year you get to hang out with old friends.
If You Want to Own a Store:
Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell
Lily’s a witch who’s been on the run, hiding her true self from the world. Now she’s ready to settle down. She opens a vintage clothing store in San Fransisco and feels at home. Upon visiting a client, she learns about a local legend. When that client dies the next day, Lily wonders if the legend could be real. Can she help without exposing her secret?
The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames
Charlotte and her cousin open a wine and cheese store. During the grand re-opening, a murder occurs right outside. When the police identify Charlotte’s grandmother as the chief suspect, she starts her own investigation.
Mum’s the Word by Kate Collins
Abby Knight is not having a good day, even though she’s trying to be cheerful. Someone hits her corvette and takes off. Abby’s determined to track down the owner and make him pay, until she realizes that the person driving off might have committed a murder. Going after him seems like a deadly plan, but what if he comes after her?
If You Like Cooking:
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy
White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras wants to land the job of her dreams – Executive Chef after her boss and friend retires. When she spies a man out of place in the White House, she takes action. Now she’s the only person to see the assassin, the Chameleon, and he’s not happy about it.
Clammed Up by Barbara Moss
Julia came home to small town Maine to rescue the family business. Unfortunately, a man’s murdered on the island where they host their clam bakes. Now, Julia needs the murder solved ASAP or the business will be turned over to the bank. Can she solve a murder and save her business?
An Appetite for Murder by Lucy Burdette
Hayley dreams of becoming a food critic. When she applies for a job at a Key West magazine, she realizes that her would be boss is the woman she caught with her boyfriend. Crossing that job off her list, Hayley’s stunned to learn that Kristen’s been poisoned by a Key Lime Pie and she’s the chief suspect in the murder.
According to a US Department of Justice report, 79,165 young people were incarcerated in the United States in 2010. Although these numbers show an overall decline, there are overwhelming more minority offenders in custody. Incarceration, whether in juvenile detention centers or adult correction facilities, is a major issue facing today’s teens. The 2015 YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee is looking for titles that reflect the experiences faced by many of the teens we serve.
Current nominations include titles from the legendary Walter Dean Myers, nonfiction memoirs and even a graphic novel adaptation of a landmark text on race and incarceration. But the committee is looking for even more nominations from teen, teachers, librarians and readers. To be nominated, titles need to be available in paperback, not on a previous list in the last five years and be of interest to teens. Adult and young adult titles are considered, along with all genres.
- Amanda Margis, currently reading Jackaby by William Ritter and listening to Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.
Genre is a funny thing. While it’s often easy–and frankly helpful– to divide novels into their neatly labeled slots based on basic characteristics such as setting and plot. However, stories–like human beings–resist being placed into boxes and novels that blur the lines between genres consistently bring something unique to the table.
Today I wanted to highlight recent titles that experiment with two genres often perceived as polar opposites: contemporary realistic and fantasy fiction. Frequently, such titles are classified as magical realism. This category is fascinating and tricky to define but generally, it includes novels set in a world like ours but with certain magical elements as a natural part of that world; magical realism usually does not include world-building or explanations of its magical elements. For a larger overview of the genre and its place in young adult fiction, I recommend this excellent post by Kelly Jensen & Kimberly Francisco over at Stacked. For further explorations, check out Hub bloggers Julie Bartel and Alegria Barclay’s posts in memory of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of the authors most often identified with magical realism.
While I’m not sure that all these titles fit the generally accepted definition of magical realism, they all use strategic fantastical elements to illuminate contemporary stories about young adults’ coming of age in a world like ours. Each title defies common genre expectations and none fit comfortably into a single category. Instead they bend, reject, and flirt with multiple genres to create something unusual and compelling.
Afterworlds – Scott Westerfeld
In between final exams and college applications, Darcy Patel wrote a novel and sent it off to a publisher on a whim. Now, she’s moving to New York City with an amazing book deal but without an apartment, friends, or any idea what’s waiting for her. As Darcy navigates the thrilling and overwhelming new world of professional writing & publishing, she also attempts to ride the ecstatic highs and heart-crushing lows of falling in love for the first time.
Meanwhile, the protagonist of her paranormal thriller, Lizzie Scofield, deals with the strange new abilities she’s gained since surviving a terrorist attack by playing dead and slipping temporarily into another reality known as the Afterworld. Told in alternating chapters, Darcy and Lizzie’s stories intertwine as both young women venture into adulthood and face unfamiliar decisions.
This intriguing novel could be classified as contemporary fiction with an embedded paranormal thriller but I prefer to think of it as a form of metafiction; after all, it’s a story about a writer beginning to sort out her emerging identity by writing a story about a young woman doing the same–just with death gods and ghosts. read more…
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Abby Hendrickson from Minnesota.
When I was a freshmen in high school, a parent in my town decided that the book that we would be reading in class that year, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (which discusses sexual abuse), was explicit and therefore should be banned and removed from shelves. Immediately English teachers and librarians were up in arms, ready to strike out the looming book censorship. They were prepared to defend the right of the students and everyone else to read freely.
Not wanting it to become a big fight, the school board quickly came to the decision that the book wouldn’t be banned but instead would be pulled from the required reading list. Under the new rules, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was kept at the school where teachers would read aloud from it only when the passages were necessary for the lesson. read more…
Post-apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction. For a novel to be post-apocalyptic, the setting must be one where the end of the world has already taken place and characters are trying to survive and start anew. The end of the world event that occurred can be anything from war, to plague, to natural or man made disasters. Post-apocalyptic fiction differs from apocalyptic fiction, where the end of the world is currently taking place and the characters and fighting to survive it.
Post-apocalyptic fiction can be set in the current day or the far off future. Additionally, the story can take place right after the cataclysmic event or years after the event. In post-apocalyptic novels, technology can be that which we have never seen before, or there can be no technology at all. Also, characters can remember what the world was like, or they can’t remember at all what the world was like and will fantasize about the way it used to be or even go so far as to create myths about the world before the destruction (often our current day).
The stories of post-apocalyptic novels are often action and adventure, survival stories. When post-apocalyptic fiction is written for teens, the protagonist or protagonists are surviving on their own or in packs, and oftentimes the “hero” of the story has outstanding survival skills and can figure out how to survive in this new world. As with most novels written for teens, adults can be absent in post-apocalyptic novels. However, it is not uncommon to have an adult in a post-apocalyptic novel positioned as an evil figurehead, or the one person our hero or heroes are trying to find or keep safe. Post-apocalyptic novels can have elements of other genres in their story. The most common is to have dystopian governments in place. read more…
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Jacqueline Cano from Virginia.
When I am asked what my favorite book is, I am met with a challenge. How can I choose just one? There are thousands of books that have been written; there are thousands more to be written yet. How can I be expected to pick one? I’ve read hundreds of books. I couldn’t name them all if you paid me. But certain stories stick. And the series that sticks out most to me is Harry Potter.
And it isn’t just me. Mention Harry Potter and nearly everyone knows what you’re talking about. Some people will be enthused. Others will recognize it with apathy. There are also the ones who are fervently against it, but we mustn’t let those Muggles get us down. That’s one of the things I love about Harry Potter– the recognizable quality it holds. Harry Potter, which has been translated into 77 different languages, brings people of different ages and cultures together. It’s not some cool underground thing. It’s a unifying literary power.
Why do so many people care so much about a boy who grew up in the cupboard under the stairs? Why do so many people appreciate this made up story? What magic could it possibly hold? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you what I think. read more…
Teens voted and the results are in! Here are the official 2014 Teens’ Top Ten titles!
Thanks to all the teens who voted and congrats to the authors of the “top ten” titles!
Learn more about the Teens’ Top Ten here.
It’s time for another post from the Beta Books club at my library, which reads, reviews, and generally has a grand time discussing ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) of upcoming teen books. Our review form includes a cover discussion, space to share thoughts on the book, and 1-5 star rating. Thanks to today’s reviewers for agreeing to share their thoughts on The Hub! SPOILER ALERT: Some reviews mention plot points.
Book: The Gospel of Winter, by Brendan Kiely
What did you think of the cover? I really liked the cover, I really think it fit the story quite well. Also I would change nothing about the cover.
What did you think of the book? I enjoyed the overall storyline but at times it could be slow and a bit dragged on. Yes, I would tell a friend to read this book.
How would you rate this book? 3 stars: Pretty good. I wanted to see how it ended.
* * * * * * * *
Book: Splintered, by A. G. Howard
What did you think of the cover? I liked the cover, I think it matched the story. No, I would not change anything about the cover.
What did you think of the book? I thought it was really good. I liked the romance. I wish it described more with better details. My favorite part was when her mom got better. Yes, I would recommend this to a friend!
How would you rate this book? 5 stars. Unbelievable! I’d rather read this book than sleep! read more…
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Destiny Burnett from Louisiana.
As someone who’s been an avid reader and lover of YA novels since I was nine years old, I can comfortably say that over the past eight years I’ve accumulated my own little library. In total, today, I own 382 books. Now, books I own are not all that I’ve read, of course, but out of the books that I own (and have read) 27 feature some sort of diversity amongst the characters.
Let me begin by clarifying that I consider a diverse book to be one that features a person of color, a person of a non-Christian faith, an LGBTQ theme or characters, a person with a mental illness or physical disability, or a setting in a lower class area. I consider these factors diverse for YA literature for three reasons
- most of these are considered a form of diversity in the real world
- people living with any variation of these characteristics experience an unfathomable amount of adversity
- these factors are under represented in YA literature, and do not reflect the real world.
So why is representation important in YA literature? To answer that question, one must consider why they read. I read for the enjoyment of experiencing a character’s story. What makes me enjoy a story? Identifying with the character. This is why representation is important; every person who wants to read a book with a character they can identify with should have access to ones where their culture and identity is present. The reality of the situation, especially for YA readers, is that these kinds of books exist very few and far between.
Today I want to recommend some (maybe lesser known) books that promote diversity. read more…