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Have an Adventure This Summer (Or at Least Read About It)

2015 July 25
by Guest Blogger
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Recently I watched a YouTube video about summer breaks and how as we get older or become increasingly busy, the 3 month hiatus from school becomes a thing of the past. In our teen years, summer is usually met with excitement and possibilities; possibilities of growing up and trying new things. One of the great ways to accomplish any and everything that you want to do for the summer is a Bucket List or Dream List or Wish List or whatever you want to call it. Some folks call it The Buried Life.

“Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Words to live by, I think. Why? It’s daring. It’s fearless! (It’s Eleanor Roosevelt! She knows loads about being fearless- learn more about her.) It’s getting out in the world and making mistakes and getting messy, basically living life– and summer can help you get started, whether or not you have a summer vacation planned. So why not get started with a book, to you know, and get your ideas flowing.

Too soon? Not ready for the book recommendation? You want ideas first on having an awesome time during the summer? No problem.

  • Go camping (In the wilderness or in the park or even your backyard. If it’s raining, stay inside, still counts in my opinion)
  • Throw a big water park party in the park (You can have a water fight or even a carnival! Cools you off and you get to meet new people)
  • Try a new sport (I heard bubble soccer is huge)
  • Try a photograph challenge (You can try this or this)
  • Make a movie (Like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl)
  • Take a road trip with friends (Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour or Paper Towns)
  • Create a Summer Scavenger Hunt for your friends (Since You’ve Been Bone)
  • Summer festival
  • Sit under the night sky

Now that we have ideas, how about those book recommendations?

amy and rogerAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Amy Curry isn’t a fan of driving or even ready to get behind the wheel of car since her father’s car accident. However, her mother, ready for a change of scenery has decided to move the family across the country and now Amy is saddled with the responsibility of getting their car from California to Connecticut. That’s where Roger comes in, an old family friend, who joins in on her road trip venturing into unknown territory and unknown past feelings for Amy.

Paper Towns by John Green
If you’ve been away or completely out of the loop, John Green’s book Paper Towns has been made into a movie. The book details Quentin Jacobsen’s mission to find Margo, the only girl he has ever loved his entire life, who happens to live next door. She reappears in his life asking him to come out for revenge settling fun night, only to disappear the next night leading Quentin to begin a search with help of his friends and little clues she has left.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Emily’s summer isn’t starting how she originally thought it would be. Her best friend, the bubbly and energetic Sloane, is nowhere to be found and all of their summer plans are now at a standstill. Or are they? Emily receives a list of adventures that Sloane had planned for them and each of them must be completed. Emily sees this as her way of finding out what happened to her mysterious friend and embarks on tackling the long list of challenges that involve apple picking, starting a new job, and meeting new people. Throughout the summer she makes leaps in her introverted nature and starts to learn more about herself and her friends and family.

me earl dying girlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Greg only has one friend- well, a co-worker as he prefers to call him, Earl. Together Greg and Earl make movies based off cult classics of their choosing and also playing video games to pass the time. That all changes when Greg is forced to befriend Rachel; she has leukemia. Together, Greg, Earl, and Rachel form an odd friendship that will be needed during the toughest time in their lives.

Here are some other awesome books for motivation on jump starting your summer adventure!

  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
  • The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden
  • The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz

Summer is awesome, but it is a great time to start fresh and reinvent yourself or even discover the world in your backyard. Start a blog. Write in a journal. Take pictures. You can even vlog about it to remember what is sure to be an amazing summer. Have fun and stay cool out there!

-Markita Dawson, currently reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (*A real page turner this book

is!)

Tweets of the Week – July 24th

2015 July 24
by Hannah Gómez
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In case you missed them, here are some of the tweets that people were buzzing about this week. Last minute additions late Thursday night could have been VidCon and yet another shooting, but I’m frankly too tired and upset to handle all that, so you are going to have to look that up on your own. These are all tweets on the lighter end of things.

tweets of the week | the hub

Books/Reading/Authors

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We Can Do It! Feminist Literature for Teens

2015 July 23
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photo by flickr user Trishhhh

photo by flickr user Trishhhh

Are we in the dog days of summer, dear Hubbers? It sure feels like it! One thing I know is I sure missed writing for all of you; I’m glad to be back! So, this was a post I was going to write a couple of months ago when the word “feminist” was all in the news thanks to Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. It still kind of is in the news, and I think it’s a very important and relevant topic even though we’re not necessarily talking about it incessantly.

Anyways! Feminist teen literature. I’ve been noticing that a lot of new teen books are being marketed as feminist literature for teens which intrigued me, and I happened upon this article that piqued my interest even more: Book Riot – Feminist Teen Lit. They had so many good recommendations, so I chose a brief few from their list to see what was up.

Now, I know what a feminist is, and I’m proud to call myself one. But, I wondered – what makes a book a feminist book? Are they only stories narrated by girls or women (kind of, but not always)? Are they only powerful and sad stories where the main character goes through a traumatic event and grows through the healing process (sometimes, but not always)? I was so excited to find out the answers to those questions that I decided to dive right in to the books I added to my to-read stack, and I’m happy to share those awesome books with you today.

These books are great reads for anyone who loves stories about strong characters; stories who don’t portray or see women and girls only in relation to or as defined by the men and boys in their lives. These are stories of fully formed people who see the strengths and weaknesses in each other as humans, not in relation to their gender. On a side note, I work with a teen who is a member of the feminist club at her high school (how I wish I’d had one of those!), and she has been thoroughly enjoying these books which range from comedy to dystopian to mystery to a story of pain and redemption. Well, let’s get started, shall we? First up! My favorite book that I’ve read so far this year!

The Walls Around UsThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma: Oh my goodness, you guys. This book is spectacular – really unbelievably wonderful. It’s the story of 3 girls – Violet, Amber, and Orianna – the journeys they will take in their lives, and the paths that have already been established for them. Violet is a ballerina, and Orianna used to be. Orianna was the best ballerina at their school until she was sent to prison for the murder of girls who were tormenting Violet…the same prison where Amber is serving her sentence for killing her abusive stepfather. But, what really happened between Orianna and those other ballerinas, Amber and her stepfather, Violet and Orianna? And, what is happening to Amber as she starts to see the prison in a different light after a very timely and suspicious lightning storm one night. Readers will be glued to their seats to not only see how the story turns out, but also to see how these 3 girls will all become part of each other’s past, present and future.  Ugh!  I can’t say anymore or it will just totally ruin the whole experience for you.  Trust me – you just have to accept that you don’t have to know everything going into this story. However it turns out, these well-developed and realized girls aren’t totally perfect and they aren’t totally flawed, but indicative of real people whose actions, emotions, and lives are highly nuanced. A haunting read that will stay with readers, well, let’s just say, forever. I read it a month ago, and I’m still thinking about it!! read more…

All Your Books Are Belong to Us: YA Lit for Gamers

2015 July 22
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NES-Controller-FlatOne of my fondest memories from my childhood is that of long days spent hunched in front of the TV, my NES controller sweaty in my hands as I tried fruitlessly to conquer whatever Mario level I was playing at the time. I couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 when I started playing, but it brought a kind of joy to my life that was unmatched. It was me saving the princess, fighting dragons, and exploring new lands, and it opened my eyes to new kinds of entertainment.

Over the years, I’ve evolved as a gamer. I’ve seen the transition from 2d sprites to fully-realized 3d worlds. I’ve played good games and bad. I’ve refined my tastes and discovered the satisfaction that comes from beating a game after a particularly hard final boss (here’s looking at you, Kingdom Hearts!). And a couple years ago, I accomplished my life-long goal of finally beating the original Super Mario Bros. game that stumped me throughout my childhood!

I love gaming with a passion unmatched by almost anything else, but one of the hobbies I love slightly more is reading. When those two things come together, I fall hard. Every. Single. Time. Anything can happen in a video game, the more outrageous the better, which gives authors an unrestricted amount of freedom to create a living universe peopled with amazing characters and peppered with allusions and references that can make the nerdiest among us swoon with delight. Here are just a few of my personal favorites!

  • ender's game orson scott card coverEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card

In a futuristic world in which alien invasions and wars are the norm, Ender Wiggins is bred to be a genius and then drafted into a rigorous training program. Torn away from his parents and family, Ender’s new home is the Battle School, where recruits are divided into teams to hold mock battles and test their military strategy. Facing pressure and loneliness, Ender develops as a leader who could hold the fate of the world in his hands. An oldie but goodie, Ender’s Game has definitely stood the test of time, even spawning a recent film adaptation. Orson Scott Card was the recipient of the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for his significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens.

  • Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Erebos is a game. One that you can’t buy. A game that watches you and knows you and influences you. When rumors of this game begin to float around the halls of Nick’s school, he becomes desperate to get his hands on it. The only catch is that someone has to invite you to play the game. When he does finally obtain a copy, he immediately gets hooked, playing for hours on end. But when the game enters the real world, Nick must reexamine what he thinks he knows…and what he’s willing to do for the sake of a game.  read more…

Get Ready for Paper Towns with Some Readalikes

2015 July 22
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papertowns_movieWith the movie Paper Towns coming out in theaters in just a couple days, there seems to be a buzz in the air about John Green once again. Paper Towns, like all Green’s books, holds its own right up there on my bookshelf along with An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in our Stars, and Looking for Alaska.

The movie is directed by Jake Schreier and is based on the 2009 Teens’ Top Ten winning title by John Green. I love how the story is cleverly declared as an American comedy-drama mystery film. That seems to sum it all up right? Paper Towns features the adorable Quentin Jacobsen who has loved his gal-pal neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman since they were young. One night entices Quentin to go out on the town and play a bunch of revenge pranks on her cheating boyfriend. The night is a whirlwind of fun and outrageous pranks that brings the two closer than ever. Then Margo suddenly decides to disappear without a trace. What I love about Quentin is that he never gives up on Margo and that is so darn romantic. After Margo turns up missing Quentin soon unravels the pieces of the puzzle (literally) that she has left in her wake. Paper Towns comes out Friday, July 24, so don’t miss this coming-of-age story that you know you won’t want to end!

Here are five books that satisfy your taste for the young and the restless until the Paper Towns movie comes out.

  • Fangirl Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults) – Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green (2006 Printz Award winner) – Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School includes making good friends and playing great pranks. A sudden fatality shakes Miles to the core and he contemplates what life and death are all about and how to carry on after you lose that one person that lights up your life.
  • The Spectacular Now by Tim Thorp – In the last months of high school, Sutter Keely stays drunk or high most of the time, but that could change when he forms a friendship with his classmate Aimee.
  • Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer – Carson Phillips decides to create a litstruck by lightningerary magazine to bolster his college application, which means he needs submissions. Carson resorts to blackmailing his classmates and he doesn’t realize how his actions will be the cause and effect of his plans for the future.
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2008 Best Books for Young Adults) – Clay Jenkins finds a mysterious box with his name on it filled with 13 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah a classmate who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Clay must listen to the tapes and follow the clues that Hannah leaves to find out the mystery of her suicide.

-Kimberli Buckley

Book S’mores

2015 July 21
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SMOREOne of my favorite things about summer is the variety of treats that are best eaten during summer months: fruit that comes in season, treats like ice cream that are best eaten in hot weather, and s’mores. I love the process of toasting marshmallows over a fire and sandwiching them between graham crackers with a sliver of chocolate. I sometimes even make them in the microwave, which isn’t nearly as delicious but will do in a pinch.  If I were to make a s’more out of books, here’s what I’d use:

Miss Fortune Cookie by Kay Honeyman. This book would be the first cookie layer. Erin runs a popular advice blog, but things get complicated when her ex-best friend writes in with a question. Soon Erin finds herself entangled in a web of half-lies and drama.

strawberry marshmallowStrawberry Marshmallow by Barasui.  This six-volume manga series could be toasted and become the next layer of my s’more. This cute series featuring the antics of a couple of school girls would add the right amount of sweetness.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (1991 Margaret A. Edwards Award). Jerry decides not to sell chocolates as a part of the school’s annual fundraiser, and this choice quickly spirals into something much larger than Jerry would ever have imagined.

Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald. The teens in this story send fortune cookie messages to their neighbors on Valentine’s Day, and these messages turn out to be just what each person needed to hear.  Mix in a few long-held crushes and watch the drama ensue!

stickStick by Andrew Smith. This is not an easy book to read, and the main character definitely has more than his share of difficulties to deal with, but many teens enjoy books about characters facing a lot of adversity, so this is the perfect addition to our s’mores recipe.

Fire by Kristen Cashore (2010 Best Books for Young Adults). Without a heat source, the marshmallow would never roast. This second installment in the Graceling Realm series follows the last “human monster,” Fire, as she’s brought to the royal city to use her powers in aid of the king.

If you were to make a dessert out of books, what would you use?

-Jenni Frencham

They Remade Scream? Some Thrilling Reads for Teens Hooked on the TV Remake of the ’90s Classic.

2015 July 20
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mtv-scream-tv-seriesRecently I was chatting with one of the teen volunteers at my library. He told me how he watched Scream last night and how much he enjoyed it. A couple of other teens overheard our conversation and chimed in about how much they enjoyed Scream. I instantly lit up and talked about the Drew Barrymore twist at the beginning being homage to Hitchcock. All the teens looked at me strangely and indicated that they were talking about MTV’s new television program Scream. Not the late ’90s thriller that I was talking about.

I immediately went home and watched the first two episodes of Scream, the TV series. Although the series is clearly a remake of the original film it is firmly standing on its own. Because it’s a series the audience is getting the chance to get to know the characters a bit better versus the film. Like the original film the series is current with its cultural references. For example, instead of a television reporter covering the murders like in the film the show has a Sarah Koenig-esque podcaster covering the murders. Additionally, the Scream TV series does an excellent job of showing how technologically savvy and plugged in modern teens are right now.

Scream the series is much more of a mystery than the original film. If you are a reader that is enjoying the Scream TV series you might find these mystery books very interesting.

  • killer_instinctKiller Instinct by S.E. Green

This  2015 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers title is a fast-paced thrill ride geared specifically for teen readers. Lane on the surface is a typical teenager. However, Lane has a secret hobby/obsession studying serial killers. Now a vicious serial killer has come to her hometown and it is up to Lane to use her skills to stop the serial killer. Scream fans will love this book. It is thrilling; fast paced and has an ending that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud.

  • Green River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen

This book is a memoir, true crime and graphic novel all rolled into one amazing story. Jeff Jensen tells the story of his Dad, the lead detective in the hunt for the Green River Killer. What I love best about this story is that it clearly shows empathy for the victims of the crimes and the toll it takes on the law enforcement officers tasked with tracking down the killers. For Scream fans, the imagery will be haunting and it will create a vivid reminder of the ramifications of real violence on society.  read more…

The Monday Poll: Baby Names from YA Lit

2015 July 20
by Allison Tran
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monday_pollGood morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked about your favorite YA series that wraps up with a book aimed at adults. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot took the top spot with a whopping 51% of the vote, and Hub reader Leslie C. added a great point in the comments: “While they might not be considered series finales there are a few authors who have books series that have parallel / split off series with characters that are in both their YA and Adult books (Kelley Armstrong’s werewolf characters, Melissa de la Cruz’s witch characters, and Mari Mancusi’s characters).” Thanks, Leslie! You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted last week!

This week, we want to know which distinctive name from YA lit would you give to your firstborn baby? (Because for the purposes of this poll, you are definitely going to name your future baby after a YA lit character with an unusual name.) Choose from the list below, or leave other ideas in the comments.

Which distinctive YA book character name would bestow on your firstborn?

  • Blue (from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater) (25%, 31 Votes)
  • Ismae (from Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers) (25%, 30 Votes)
  • Augustus (from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green) (17%, 21 Votes)
  • Kestrel (from The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski) (16%, 19 Votes)
  • Katniss (from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) (11%, 13 Votes)
  • Cassel (from White Cat by Holly Black) (7%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 122

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Tweets of the Week: July 17th

2015 July 17
by Katie Shanahan Yu
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Here is a roundup of all the tweets you might’ve missed this week!

tweets of the week | the hub

Books

TV/Movie/Pop Culture News 

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Notes from a Teens’ Top Ten Book Club Participant: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

2015 July 16
by Guest Blogger
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TeensTopTen_winner_WMTeens across the nation vote each year for the Teens’ Top Ten book list and the results are eagerly anticipated during Teen Read Week every October– but did you know how the books are nominated for this list in the first place?

Books are nominated by members of Teens’ Top Ten book groups in school and public libraries around the country. To give you a glimpse of some of the teens behind this process, we’re featuring posts from Teens’ Top Ten book groups here on The Hub. Today, Mila Bleeke, a 17 year old from the Allen County Public Library Teen Advisory Board in Indiana, brings us some thoughts on a newly released YA book.

I just finished reading Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams, and I’ve got to say it is an a amazing book. In this story, a girl is kidnapped and uses her strength to survive. Throughout reading it, I was comparing it to the movies Hard Candy which features a young Ellen Page and The Lovely Bones which features Saoirse Ronan.

ruthless

 

If you loved one or both of those movies, I highly recommend this fast-paced book. Ruthless just came out in bookstores on July 14th.

-Mila Bleeke