The Girl on the Train starring Emily Blunt comes to theaters October 7th. Based on the best selling novel by the same title by Paula Hawkins, TheGirl on the Train features an unreliable protagonist that may or may not have murdered someone.
If your teens have read or will see TheGirl on the Train in theaters and need more books featuring unreliable protagonists, have them check out these seven titles.
Cat woke up on the beach of her summer home in nothing but her underwear however she doesn’t remember what happened. Two years later, Cat suffers from an unknown illness and the only cure may be to return to her summer home to search for answers.
As October begins, Halloween is once again around the corner, making this a great time to explore the mystical in the comic book world. When it comes to magic in comic books, witches have long been a popular option with creators because they offer so many possibilities. Here are some recent comics that have witches as their main characters.
Toil & Trouble by Mairghread Scott with illustrations by Kelly Matthews and Nichole Matthews – Have you ever wanted to know more about the witches in Macbeth? This comic retells the classic tale from their perspective, offering a completely new take on Shakespeare’s work. See what happens when these three sister fates delve into Scottish politics. This is a fresh take on a work that many have read in English class and is a great way to get comics fans more interested in the story of Macbeth. It is also a strong work of horror in its own right, making it a good option even for those who aren’t fans of Shakespeare.
Scarlet Witch Vol. 1: Witches’ Road by James Robinson with illustrations by Vanesa R. Del Rey, Marco Ruby, Steve Dillion, Chris Visions, and Javier Pulido – With her inclusion in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, Scarlet Witch has been introduced to a whole new group of fans. This comic offers the perfect continuation for both long time and new fans. In this volume, Scarlet Witch must travel across the globe in an attempt to save magic and witchcraft from a mysterious figure who would destroy it. The series combines compelling artwork by a strong group of artists with an exciting story, resulting in a great reading experience. Continue reading Women in Comics: Witchcraft in Time for Halloween
Netflix’s new TV show Stranger Things has been wildly popular. The show, set in the 80s, begins when a young boy, Mikey, goes missing, and his friends and family uncover many strange things while looking for him, including a girl with paranormal abilities.
Season two is currently filming, but if your teens have binged season one and need some books to tide them over, check out these 18 science fiction/weird YA titles.
Ruby is different and her parents are afraid of her. When Ruby survived the virus that killed all the kids, her parents locked her in the garage. Desperate to escape, Ruby finds a place with other teens like her only to find out that her powers will be exploited.
Mila looks like a human teen but was actually created in a lab. Sent to live like a human after a memory wipe, Mila finds herself on the run from her creators who want to destroy her and from people who want to use her powers for evil. Continue reading 18 Books if You Liked Stranger Things
Focussing on the artistic ambitions of a group of teens living in the South Bronx in 1977, Netflix’s original series The Get Down is an explosion of force. Set in a time when Disco was large and Hip-Hop was in its earliest day, director Baz Luhrmann and producer Nas take into a time when art that would lay the path for future generations was being born.
Here is a list of books that will help continue that Get Down groove.
Fiction for Fans of The Get Down
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
Also set in 1977 New York City in Queens, it captures the music, the discos, the arsons, the heat, the tensions, and the night of a major blackout that was filled with businesses getting looted. Nora is about to graduate high school and teachers are pushing her to apply for college. Her main goal is to get out, and get on her own. The Son of Sam serial killings is overshadowing the city as the murderer seems to be focussing on young couples that are staying out too late.
A slightly futuristic Bronx neighborhood permeates this somewhat science fiction coming of age novel. Aaron Seto, a Puerto Rican teen is trying to deal with the emotional aftermath of his father’s suicide, and also coming to terms with his own failed attempt. His life seems to be permeated by complicated relationships and painful memories. He begins to contemplate the Leteo Institute’s mind-alteration procedure that can assist in wiping clean certain pockets of one’s memory.
Music and the Bronx are alive in this tale of a young teen trying to sidestep the easy money of dealing drugs, and instead trying to use music to raise needed money by pulling together an underground dance party. Tyrell’s life is full of tough decisions as he tries to support his younger brother, avoid the path of his father who is in jail, and staying with his girlfriend Novisha or be tempted by Jasmine.
DJ Rising by Love Maia
DJ Ice moves you to the dance floor. Marley, caught between keeping his scholarship at a fancy prep school and caring for his heroin-addicted mother, dreams of becoming a DJ. When he lands his first job as DJ Ice, his career as professional DJ is on the rise. Soon the realities of home force him to have to choose between following his dreams or to the ties of family.
Set in nearby Brooklyn this captures the magic of graffiti art. Sierra Santiago is a muralist and third generation Puerto Rican. She has planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season, and the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears. Something more sinister is going on.
In much of current YA literature readers will find the that the main character is well off, does not have to work, travels often, and has everything designer (car, clothes, electronics, etc.). This does not reflect the reality of most teenagers or new adults, today. While it can be nice to read about something that is different than one’s daily life, characters should also be relatable.
I work at a school library and I see kids every day that come in to finish their homework, sometimes forgoing their lunch, because they have to work directly after school and do not get home until 11 o’clock, or later. Then they wake up and do it all over again. They deserve a lot more credit than they appear to receive. The following list of books includes characters that work while going to school or managing another difficult aspect of life. They work to get what they want. These are often things that teens today have to do. Many come home from school, change and head to work, then finish their homework after getting home late at night. These real teens are strong, hard workers. It is important to show them that they are not the minority and that the idealized life is not necessarily one where someone has everything handed to them. Some of these situations may not be ones that your average teenager might find themselves in, but the work ethic is very relatable.
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!
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.
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.
Nic is a slave in Ancient Rome and on a mission to raid Julius Caesar’s tomb, he finds Caeser’s bulla. After he puts the bulla around his neck, he gains world ending powers that are coveted by the good and the bad.
Jeremy Johnson Johnson lives with his father above their Two Book Bookstore in the little town on Never Better. He’s smart, shy, and has a ghost for a best friend-Jacob Grimm. One day, Jeremy meets Ginger, a spunky classmate, and the two of them and Jacob get involved into a bit of trouble. Continue reading YA Books with a Male Point of View
It’s that time of year again. A new school year is beginning! And while some may be excited and others sad, a new year of classes is no reason to stop reading comics. Why not make some time this Fall to try a new comic that will give you a different perspective on high school?
Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Özge Samanci – Özge Samanci’s memoir of growing up in Turkey is simultaneously about school and about far more than that. As a child growing up in Turkey, Özge felt immense pressure, which she brings to life in this memoir in a way that will be relatable to all readers. The artwork and design of this book is particularly noteworthy, as Özge uses multiple art styles and techniques throughout the story. This is a great read for budding artists and those with an interest in graphic memoirs. Continue reading Women in Comics: Comics For a New School Year
Scott Westerfeld is one of the most inventive sci-fi writers writing for teens right now. His book Uglies helped lay the groundwork for the dystopian trend that would take hold in a few years with The Hunger Games. With a new co-authored series in the works, a movie adaptation of Uglies in development, and a new multi-platform middle grade series launch later this year, Scott Westerfeld is definitely an author you should know.
Not sure where to start with so many series, standalones, and sub-genres to choose from? Don’t sweat it, this post has you covered!
If You want a Space Opera:
The Risen Empire: Captain Laurent Zai of the Imperial Frigate Lynx is tasked with rescuing the immortal Child Empress when she is kidnapped by machine-augmented humans threatening the empire. This story, originally packaged as one book called Succession, begins in The Risen Empire and concludes The Killing of Worlds.
If You Want to Read a Standalone (Mostly Contemporary) Novel:
Afterworlds (2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): Chapters alternate between Darcy Patel’s journey as a debut author of what promises to be the next Big YA Novel and excerpts from Darcy’s novel about a girl named Lizzie who slips into the “Afterworld”–a place between life and death–during a terrorist attack.
So Yesterday: Hunter Braque moves through New York searching for Innovators–people who create the latest trends before they’re cool. Then he sells the ideas to clients who disseminate the ideas (via trendsetters) until each new fashion innovation becomes mainstream. When Hunter teams up with an Innovator to get to the bottom of his best client’s disappearance, he finds himself at the center of a far-reaching mystery involving trends, innovations, and the coolest sneakers he’s ever seen.