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Author: Jenni Frencham

Sail the Seven Seas: Books for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 19th marks International Talk Like a Pirate Day. In addition to talking and dressing like pirates, if you would like to read like a pirate, here are some great swashbuckling young adult titles!

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

This is an origin story for Blackbeard the pirate. Edward “Teach” Drummond loves the ocean and can’t wait to return to it. Anne has been recently orphaned and, without any money to her name, is forced to find work in the Drummond home. Teach and Anne both must decide whether they will play the roles society has given them or set off to follow their dreams.

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer

This first book in a series of twelve follows the story of Jacky Faber who, as the title suggests, disguises herself as a boy and serves aboard a pirate ship.

Boston Jane by Jennifer Holm

Jane Peck has been trained to be a lady, but when she sails to the western United States to wed her betrothed, she finds that her training did not prepare her for a life at sea or the adventures of the wild west.

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Emer was a teenage pirate in the 17th century and was cursed to live one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body. Now she’s an American teenager and she wants to find the treasure she buried long ago.

What Would They Read? Temperance Brennen from Bones

bones season 11

It was just announced that the procedural drama Bones will be entering its final season this fall. I have been keeping up with Dr. Brennan and her gang of “squints” since the beginning, and although I think it would be difficult to convince her to read any young adult fiction, if she were to ask me for suggestions, these are books I think she would enjoy:

Ask the Dark by Henry Turner. There are boys missing in Billy’s neighborhood, and Billy wants to earn the reward for finding them, which will help his family keep their home. He may be in for more than he bargained, however.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson. Tandy wakes up to find police in her home and her parents dead. She was the last one to see them alive. If no one entered their apartment in the night, she or one of her siblings must be the murderer.

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa. Selby, Mira, and Jeremy are thrown together and attempt to survive high school as Jeremy discovers that Mira and Selby are keeping things hidden. Can they overcome their secrets together?

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk. No one is more surprised than Guy when his high school forensics club encounters a genuine corpse, but when Guy realizes his father’s mysterious past may have something to do with his current case, he might be in over his head.

What Would They Read?: Fox Mulder from the X-Files

I grew up watching the X-Files, so I was really excited when I heard that the show would be reappearing this spring.

xfiles

If Mulder and Scully were to walk into my library, I’d probably want to follow them around to find out what weird things have been happening, but if they asked for book recommendations, this is what I’d give them.

Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

Amanda’s family leaves their home in the mountains to live out on the prairie and hopefully leave behind the memories of the last, harsh winter they had to face. Her father chooses to move the family into an abandoned cabin that is covered in dried blood, and unfortunately for Amanda, things only get creepier from there.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)

After drinking a mixture of beer and desiccated bat dust, Glory and her best friend begin having strange visions of the future.

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

Cynthia’s best friend is in love with the new school librarian, but Cynthia is sceptical. The new librarian isn’t just creepy; he might be an actual demon.

What Would They Read?: Jane from Blindspot

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She wakes up inside a duffle bag in the middle of Times Square. Her body is covered in tattoos and she doesn’t remember who she is or how she got there, but she has amazing fighting skills that hint at special forces training. This is Jane Doe from the television show Blindspot. Jane is spending all of her free time trying to remember her past, but if she wanted a book break, this is what I’d recommend to her.blindspot

thenaturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Cassie is recruited by the FBI to work in a special group of teens with exceptional abilities. The recruits will have to work together to survive and catch the killer before they are killed.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. The girl wakes up in a cabin to hear her captors discussing her execution. She doesn’t know who she is, why she’s there, or how to escape, but she knows that if she wants to live, she must get out now.

Mind Games by Kiersten White. Fia has perfect intuition. She always, always knows how to react. Fia is going to need to use all of her powers to rescue her sister, Annie, who is being held captive so that Fia will do her captors’ bidding. Annie is blind, but has visions of the future. Can Fia manage to overcome her captors and rescue her sister?

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. Meg has a new name, a new look, and a new address. Her family is in witness protection, and she’s tired of constantly hiding and running. She can’t figure out why they are in hiding and she doesn’t want to follow the rules she’s been given. Meg will need to use all of her ingenuity to ensure her survival – and that of her family as well.

killer of enemiesKiller of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). Lozen is a monster hunter, and the privileged Ones she serves keep her family hostage to guarantee Lozen’s compliance. But as Lozen’s power grows, she wonders if she is fated for something more. Does she have the courage and cunning to rescue her family?

Enclave by Ann Aguirre. Deuce has lived her whole live underground battling the freaks, but when she is exiled from her people, she must rely on Fade and his memories of the topside world.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). Cia is thrilled to be chosen for the elite testing program, where applicants compete for slots in the university program. However, her father warns her that all is not as it seems. Will Cia be able to keep her wits (and her memories) and use them to survive the rigorous test?

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Em is trapped in prison. She finds a list, written in her own handwriting, hidden inside the drain in the middle of the room. She doesn’t remember writing this list, but she knows that it is up to her to escape and stop horrible things from happening.

i am the weaponI Am the Weapon by Allan Zadoff (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). The boy was taken from his family and trained as an assassin. Now he goes from mission to mission, always the new kid in school and in the neighborhood, until his mission is complete and he disappears to a new town to start over again. What would happen, though, if the Boy wanted out of this program?

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Cassie is certain she’s being followed, but she has to locate and rescue her brother before the final alien invasion occurs. The first four waves wiped out most of the planet and Cassie is determined to reunite with her brother before it is too late.

 

— Jenni Frencham, currently reading Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

What Would They Read?: Brody Nelson from CSI: Cyber

Crime dramas are very popular, so much so that many shows (NCIS, CSI, Law & Order, to name a few) have spawned spin-offs which then become popular as well. CSI: Cyber is no exception.

CSI Cyber

This criminal show follows a team that tracks criminals who are using technology to commit their crimes. One of the newest members of this team is Brody Nelson, a convicted hacker who uses his computer skills to catch cyber criminals. If Brody were to walk in today and ask for a good book to read, this is what I’d offer him:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2009 Best Books for Young Adults) is an obvious choice. After a major terrorist attack, Marcus and his friends are suspected of orchestrating the attack due to their skills as hackers. Although Marcus is cleared of wrongdoing, he has to use his hacking skills to rescue one of his friends who was not so lucky.

Transgender Day of Remembrance: A Booklist

November 20th marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to remember those who have been killed because of their gender identity or expression. While there are not yet many children’s and young adult books featuring transgender characters, here are a few books that can be used in a display or program.

I Am JazzPicture books are a great way for a person to engage briefly with an idea, and most are written for children, so the language is accessible to a wide variety of people.

  • Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall. This story of a blue crayon who is mistakenly labeled “red” is a great way to introduce young children to a character who doesn’t fit the label s/he’s been given.
  • I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. This is the picture-book biography of Jazz Jennings, a transgender teen who publicly came out when she was still in kindergarten.
  • My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis. This story of a boy who enjoys sparkly, pink things is another way to introduce the idea of being gender-nonconforming in an accessible format.
  • Be Who You Are by Jennifer Carr. This picture book is the story of Hope, a fictional character who was born Nick and comes to the realization that she is, in fact, a girl.
  • Rough, Tough Charley by Verla Kay. This is an account of Charley Parkhurst, a California stagecoach driver who was discovered, upon death, to be a woman who had been living life as a man.

beyond-magentaNonfiction books can provide information, especially when readers are reluctant to search online in fear that someone may see what they’ve been searching for.

  • Transparent by Cris Beam. Beam profiles four transgender teens at a school for transgender students in Los Angeles. This narrative nonfiction has been described as carefully written and sensitive to a sensitive topic.
  • Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews. Arin tells the story of his transition and life as a trans teen in this autobiography.
  • Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill. Katie, who at one time was dating Arin, tells her side of the story in her transition as a transfeminine teen.
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (2015 Stonewall Honor Book). This collection of photographs and interviews with transgender and gender-noncomforming teens is another easily accessible way for those who are not familiar with the concept of being transgender to take a brief walk in another person’s shoes.
  • My Gender Workbook by Kate Bornstein. Hands-down this was the most recommended book when I asked those in the trans* community to identify books that would be helpful to teens and those who work with teens.
  • Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein. While this book doesn’t focus singly on issues affecting the transgender community, it is true that transgender people have a higher rate of suicide than their cisgender counterparts. This book is a list of suicide alternatives, some silly and some serious.

What Would They Read?: Abby from NCIS

NCISI have watched and loved NCIS from the show’s beginning in 2003, and my favorite character has always been Abby Sciuto.  She’s smart and funny and not afraid to be herself, even if “herself” isn’t what people expect when meeting a computer and science expert. Someone as accomplished and confident as Abby surely has developed her own taste in reading, but if she were to ask me for book recommendations, this is what I’d offer her:

The Martian by Andy Weir (2015 Alex Award) is a science-packed story about a failed Mars mission. Abby would understand the science behind Mark’s attempts to get himself back to Earth, and she might even have some other suggestions for things he could try in order to survive on the red planet.

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby (2008 Schneider Family Book Award) chronicles the life of Joey, a 13-year old who is missing out on a lot of things because she is deaf and her mother will not let her learn sign language. She meets a man who is teaching a chimp to sign, and through them Joey is able to find her voice. Abby’s mother was deaf, so Abby and Gibbs occasionally communicate using sign language.  That, and the science aspect of this story, would appeal to Abby.

pink_wilkinsonPink by Lili Wilkinson (2012 Stonewall Honor Book) follows Ava as she trades in her anti-establishment goth persona for a “good girl” look involving lots of pink. Ava finds it difficult to maintain her good-girl guise, though, just as Abby felt uncomfortable when [temporarily] forced to follow a strict dress code at work.

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil features a science whiz named Josie who gets trapped in an alternate universe and has to use her knowledge of physics to return to Earth. The complex science discussed in this book, along with the paranormal/mystery aspect, would definitely appeal to Abby.

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden takes place in a post-Katrina New Orleans, and in addition to a setting which Abby would love, the paranormal elements would appeal to her love of all things Gothic.

What Would They Read?: Liv from iZombie

izombieI was intrigued by the concept of iZombie before I ever saw an episode. A girl who becomes a zombie, but is fighting her zombie impulses? Moreover, a girl who works in a medical examiner’s office to have easy access to her new food source and conveniently is able to step into the shoes of those whose brains she eats? A girl who now solves crimes through the “visions” she has from eating brains?  Sign me up!

Here are some great zombie, monster, and murder mystery reads that I would recommend to Liv Moore:

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

This is the first installment in the Benny Imura series, and it follows Benny as he turns fifteen in post-apocalyptic America and is forced to work in the last job he’d ever thought he’d have: apprentice zombie killer.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (2010 Best Books for Young Adults)

This series follows Mary as she tries to discover what is true and what is false in the stories she’s been told since she was a child. Also, there are baby zombies involved.  Baby zombies now invade my nightmares.

What Would They Read?: Norrie from Under the Dome

I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome several years ago, so I was understandably excited when I found p9621445_b_v9_aeout it was going to be made into a television show.  This show is in its third summer season, and I’ve wondered about the teen characters. If they actually had access to books, what would they want to read? Norrie, in particular, strikes me as a tough customer. She and her moms were on their way to a camp for rebellious teens when they became trapped under the dome. Norrie’s moms see her as rebellious, and her caustic attitude does little to win her any admirers in town, at least among the adult population. If Norrie were to walk in today, what would I recommend that she read?

Backlash by Sarah Littman

In Backlash, Lara’s family and friends soon realize the impact of small things that became bigger, more complicated problems. This book would be a good one to give Norrie to help her understand why her moms were so bothered by her sexting and why they wanted to send her to a camp for troubled teens. Norrie would probably also be drawn to the drama in this story and the way few of the characters are sympathetic.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

More and more books about LGBTQ+ teens are being published every day, but there are still frighteningly few books about teens with LGBTQ+ parents. Norrie would enjoy Lola’s story for the simple fact that Lola has two dads and has to deal with the consequences of this the same way that Norrie deals with having two moms.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your AssYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (2014 Pura Belpre Award)

Yaqui decides that the new girl, Piddy, is too smart for her own good and isn’t Latina enough. Thus follows a year of Yaqui torturing Piddy, to the point where Piddy is assaulted outside her home and the assault is recorded and posted online. This book might help Norrie to tone down her caustic attitude a bit and to be able to see things from the other person’s point of view, as this story follows Piddy and how she deals with the torture she’s being put through.

Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon (2009 Best Books for Young Adults)

Ben’s father is tired of putting up with Ben’s rebellion, so he and his new boyfriend take Ben and move to the middle of Montana. Ben doesn’t feel like he fits in in this new small town, and he is still very angry at his father. Norrie would relate to Ben’s anger at his father as well as the small-town setting of this book, which is very similar to Chester’s Mill.