Oh Riverdale – I have a special place in my heart for you, but I think your teenaged residents could use some time away from town quarantines and drug induced hallucinations and really horrible parenting. Luckily, YALSA’s 2019 award winners and nominees have books to help your beleaguered high school students cope with all the drama. (Warning: Season 3 Spoilers)
A couple of years ago, I decided to put my lifelong obsession with dogs to good use and became a volunteer at my local animal shelter. I swore up and down that I wouldn’t adopt a dog, for a variety of logical reasons, and I actually held out for about a year. Then, to NO ONE’S surprise but mine, I fell in love with, and adopted, my dog Pippa.
I was incredibly excited when I first heard that Netflix and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation were creating a new series based on L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. My Canadian friends and family were able to view Anne With an E before me and their reviews were mixed. Most had seen – and loved – the 1985 CBC TV series, which faithfully followed the book. It seemed that older friends and family, especially those who had read the books and/or seen the original TV series, disapproved of the “liberties” the new series took with the story line. Younger friends and family, who had less familiarity with the story, were intrigued at the way the new series explored darker themes
In addition to creating controversy, the new series, now renewed for a third season, has sparked a new interest in interest in the author and the world she created. Regardless of what you think of Anne With an E, these books are an exciting way to explore the world of Anne, and her creator, who liked to be called Maud (without an E).
Though the show aired one to two years before most of today’s high school seniors were born, Buffy the Vampire Slayer still has a cult following amongst fans of all ages. I have even heard a child in the children’s section of the local library singing songs from the musical as they browsed books. If you’re like me, a crazy fangirl of the show, you miss it immensely. It had humor, heart, and the characters became like family. It has such a huge following that it, thankfully, has continued in graphic novel form. Fans continue to write fanfiction, attend cons to meet the actors, and in general, keep the Slayer alive. Another way to do this is by reading novels that could easily be set in the same world, or that Buffy (and Giles!) would definitely approve of.
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.
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
What would the world be like if Hitler’s Aryan nation plan had succeeded? It’s 1956 and Yael, a skinshifter, has been assigned the task of killing the fuhrer by entering and winning a motorcycle race.
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 2.0 by Debra Driza
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.
Is there a void left in your horror-loving heart by the lack of a new season of Attack on Titan? Hopefully this post will get…
The response to the Sports Anime post was so enthusiastic that I am back again to highlight some gaming anime titles! My apologies to fans of the “stuck in a video game world” trope, you will have to wait your turn. These main characters are all into tabletop games! (If you must have a video game anime recommendation, I wrote about Summer Wars last year in my Anime Titles for Book Lovers to watch this Summer post.
What we have this month is a series about a haunted strategy board game, a dramatic show about a group of teens who trying to form a competitive memory card team, a slice of life comedy starring a mischievous student who distracts his classmate, and a series focused on trading card game battles.
Gaming is another broad sub-genre. While I attempted to select a range of games and themes, if you feel like I missed a show that this list cannot survive without, feel free to bring it up in the comments!
Hikaru no Go
Hundreds of years ago Sai Fujiwara flung himself into a river when he was dismissed from his position as the emperor’s Go instructor. Since his death, he has haunted a Go board hoping to someday achieve his dream of playing one “Divine Move.” Hikaru Shindo, the sixth grade boy he is currently haunting, doesn’t seem to mind his spectral hitchhiker. Will the two be able to work together to make Sai Fujiwara’s dream come true?
Hikaru no Go is the least spooky ghost story in the world, mostly because the show is so focused on the gameplay of Go and the interpersonal relationships of the players. While the 23 volume manga series is still available in the United States, the DVDs of the show are out of print. But do not despair! both the subtitled and dubbed versions of all 75 episodes the show are available to stream (with commercials) on Viz’s website and Hulu. If you run an anime club or a convention you can contact Viz directly on their website using this form to ask for permission to screen the show to your group.
About the Game: Go
A two player strategy board game that you can pick up and play for little to no cost. The goal of Go is to capture the opposing player’s pieces by surrounding them. Learn more at the American Go Association’s website.
Full disclosure: I am not a fan of sports by any stretch of the imagination. After a brief (and fairly disastrous) bout with middle school basketball I have studiously avoided athletics of all flavors, even as a spectator, but I LOVE Sports Anime!
This genre tends to focus on character driven stories with boatloads of delicious drama. The four series featured below don’t assume that you have a great deal of prior knowledge about the athletic activities that they focus on and each does a great job of deftly integrating necessary information into the narrative without over explaining or talking down to their audience.
With Season 2 of the popular podcast Serial nearing the end of this current season, the FX original limited series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and the runaway Netflix hit Making a Murderer, our fascination with crime stories doesn’t seem to wane. Maybe the draw is that we want to see justice served, or we want to know if we could spot the true crime in a situation, or maybe it has something to do with the fact that, as one of the lawyers in Making a Murderer says, “We could all say that we’re never going to commit a crime. But we can never guarantee that someone else won’t accuse us of a crime.” Whatever the reason, one thing it does is challenge our worldview.
For readers that enjoy a suspenseful or thriller type mystery, true crime can be a great nonfiction option. True crime can also be a great gateway to other narrative nonfiction for readers that don’t see themselves as nonfiction readers; through it they might find themselves spellbound. Here is a list of heart-pounding true crime books and other media.
The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century by Sarah Elizabeth Miller
One of the most followed crime cases of the late 1800s, Miller reexamines the brutal crime that left Lizzie Borden’s father and step-mother hacked to death with an ax, and why so many thought it was Lizzie’s doing.
Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson (2010 Best Books for Young Adults)
Relive the heart-racing account of the twelve-day chase and capture of John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices in this historical thriller.
Shortly after graduating from high school, Gantos accepted an offer of $10,000 to help sail a boat full of hash from St. Croix to New York, eventually landing him in prison.
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.
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.