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Summer Sweat: 5 Stimulating Sports Stories

2015 July 15
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photo by flickr user laffy4k

photo by flickr user laffy4k

While school is out and you are free to enjoy your summer, you might be loading your calendar with fun activities, such as road trips, adventures, and sports. Tennis, archery, and aquatics are some popular sports during the summer that you can become involved with. Many recent young adult titles feature exciting sports stories for teens!

Blue by H.J. Bellus
Blue Williams yearned to blend in when all her life she has been known in her hometown for her looks as the prom queen, brains as the valedictorian of her class, and talented as the top cheerleader in her high school squad. With a full-ride scholarship in a prestigious school, cheer becomes Blue’s primary focus. Until everything is taken away from her. The man who saved her is just as scarred, and they learn to help each other.

The Storm Before the Calm by Cate Ashwood
Charlie lives for dance. He secures a coveted spot in the Free Rein Dance Company in New York for the summer, and he is excited to get away from his life that has been threatening to devour him dead or alive. In New York, Charlie meets Max, an instructor at the school, who inspires him to be the best. Max exposes him to the close-minded perspective of his town, but Charlie’s not sure how to be center-stage in a drama he is running away from.  read more…

Gone Camping: Novels Set At Summer Camp

2015 July 14
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2896539401_0935bc2ddc_m

Image from https://www.flickr.com/ photos/26316553@N07/2896539401/.

Summer camp.  For many teens, those two words evoke all sorts of powerful memories and emotions.  As someone who attended and later worked at a few different kinds of summer camps, I too associate summertime with that special otherworld of camp life.  Whether it’s an academic summer program on an unfamiliar college campus, an wilderness adventure in the woods, or some other uniquely themed summer-only community experience, camp life often seems to be an escape from teens’ everyday lives.

Camp can be the rare place where you suddenly fit in and find others who share your passions.  Camp can be a dependable community where you feel the freedom to be a different–and perhaps more authentic–version of yourself.  Camp can also be the time and place when you discover new interests or new aspects of your identity.  Like all tightly knit and highly organized communities, camp can also be a place that reinforces certain expectations or ideals, making it a trap rather than an escape.  In all cases, summer camp also seems to be one of the best settings for diverse and strong coming of age tales.  Just check out a few of the fabulous young adult novels set at summer camp!

the summer i wasn't meThe Summer I Wasn’t Me – Jessica Verdi

Lexi will do almost anything to maintain her relationship with her mother, especially since her dad’s recent death.  But when she figures out that Lexi’s in love with a girl, her mom plunges even deeper into depression and anxiety.  Desperate to preserve her family, Lexi agrees to attend New Horizons, a Christian summer camp that promises to teach her how to fight off her SSA–same sex attraction. Lexi’s determined to change–but she wasn’t counting on meeting Carolyn.

Wildlife – Fiona Wood (2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults)

wildlifeSince her aunt used her as a model in local billboard, Sibylla’s fairly mediocre social life has started to shift in unexpected ways.  Suddenly, she’s not entirely sure what to expect from the upcoming wilderness term.  Handsome Ben kissed her at a party over the holidays but hasn’t said much since and her longtime best friend Holly seems intensely invested in Sib & Ben’s potential romance.  Meanwhile, new girl Lou simply wants to muddle through this strange first term without having to discuss her dead boyfriend or her still crushing grief.  But in this unfamiliar environment, relationships of all kinds undergo unforeseen transformations. read more…

Celebrate Bastille Day with French Authors and Themed Novels!

2015 July 13
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Tomorrow is Bastille Day! To commemorate this day check out some French authors who have had their titles for teen readers published in the US and teen novels that center on French culture and history. Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!

French Authors

NoandMeLife As It ComesvangoWintersEndILoveIHateIMissMySisterLastMan

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Life as It Comes by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Vango by Timothée de Fombelle (2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

When I was a Soldier by Valérie Zenatti (2006 Best Books for Young Adults)

Winter’s End by Jean-Claude Morlevat

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn

Last Man, Vol. 1: The Stranger by Balak, Sanlaville, Vivés

 

Set in Paris

AnnaFrenchKissCoverdieformeBeautifulAmericansMarie Antoinette Serial KillerStarryNightsGadgetGirlJustoneDayCoverBandette

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (2012 Readers’ Choice, 2012 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender (2015 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers)

Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney

Gadget Girl: the art of being invisible by Suzanne Kamata

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (2014 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Bandette in Presto! by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (2014 Great Graphic Novels)

 

Historical Fiction Set in France

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page MorganDarknessStrangeLovelyRevolutionCoverBelleEpoqueCoverPaleAssassinthe rednecklacecoverUnderWarnTornSkySovayGraveMercyBlueFlameRevolutionofSabine

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (2011 Odyssey Honor Audiobook, 2013 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross (2014 Morris Award Finalist)

The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner (2009 Best Books for Young Adults)

Under a War Torn Sky by L.M. Elliott

Sovay by Celia Rees

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (2013 Teen Top Ten Nominee, 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Blue Flame by K.M. Grant

The Revolution of Sabine by Beth Levine Ain

 

–Colleen Seisser, currently reading Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

The Monday Poll: YA Series with a Finale for Adults

2015 July 13
by Allison Tran
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monday_pollGood morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we checked in with you about your favorite YA lit trend of 2015 so far, since we’re a little over halfway through the year. The results were pretty evenly spread: 23% of you are enjoying books about cons/elaborate heists (looking forward to Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows?), 22% appreciate the focus on suicide and mental health (All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven comes to mind), and 21% are loving Middle Eastern inspired fantasy, like The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.  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, let’s talk about YA series that wrap up with a book aimed at adults. Which one is your favorite? This is somewhat of a rare phenomenon– we could only think of three! So choose from the list below, or leave your suggestions in the comments.

Your favorite YA series with a finale aimed at adult readers?

  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (final book: Royal Wedding) (51%, 34 Votes)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (final book: Sisterhood Everlasting) (43%, 29 Votes)
  • Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal (final book: Sweet Valley Confidential) (6%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 67

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What Makes a Book a Page Turner?

2015 July 10
by Teen Blogger
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photo by flickr use wiertz

photo by flickr use wiertz

There are numerous characteristics that distinguish a truly exciting book that leaves its readers on the edge of their seats from a less appealing one that makes readers fall asleep reading it. As an active reader, especially during the summer, I love it when I’m reading a book that keeps me engaged to the point where I find myself staying up until 2am in the morning simply because I cannot set the book down. Recently, I’ve begun to ponder the following question – what truly makes a book a page turner?

By “page turner” I am referring to those books that are so thrilling to read that readers find it nearly impossible to simply stop once they reach the end of a chapter because they have to find out what happens next. The key component that I believe contributes to categorizing a book as a page turner is the relatable, dynamic characters.

Well-developed characters are one of the main reasons I fall in love with reading books. When I read a great book I find it easy to develop connections with the characters. Page after page I become more involved with each of the characters’ lives and personalities. I learn which characters I like and which characters I don’t. This intriguing, life-like quality of a book is what keeps me engaged and wanting to constantly learn more about the characters. I find it easy to build imaginary relationships with the characters, especially when they have qualities I can relate to. read more…

Tweets of the Week: July 10

2015 July 10
by Allison Tran
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tweets of the week | the hubBooks and Authors

Pop Culture (all about Comic Con this week!)

Just for Fun

-Allison Tran, currently reading Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Women in Comics: Science Fiction

2015 July 10
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This month for my Women in Comics post, I’m focusing on science fiction graphic novels. Science fiction is generally one of my favorite genres and there are many great examples that are graphic novels. Whether you prefer near-future, dystopia, or science fiction blended with a hint of fantasy, this list will have a great book to add to your to-be-read list.

In Real LifeIn Real Life by Cory Doctorow with art by Jen Wang (2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten) – Anda is a dedicated player of Coarsegold Online, a massively-multiplayer online role playing game by the time she meets a gold farmer from China named Raymond. As she learns about the work that he does – which includes long hours and no benefits – she becomes outraged and tries to take action to help him. The book is transparently aimed at teaching readers about the politics and economics of gaming as well as sparking an interest in activism. It will appeal to fans of online games and of Doctorow’s other works.

Alex + AdaAlex + Ada by Sarah Vaughn with art by Jonathan Luna – When Alex receives an X5 android as a surprise birthday gift, he is pretty sure he wants nothing to do with it, but once he meets Ada he becomes deeply conflicted about the idea of returning her. This comic follows Alex and the android he names Ada as they meet and navigate a complicated world where fear of artificial intelligence runs rampant in the wake of an AI organized massacre. Alex must decide what his beliefs about the rights of androids are and how he should interact with a completely lifelike, but non-human being. This is a great series for those with an interest in robots and artificial intelligence.  read more…

What Would Eddie Read?

2015 July 9
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freshofftheboatOne of the newer comedies this year is Fresh Off the Boat, a show that follows the Huang family as they move from Washington, D.C., to Florida. The oldest son, Eddie, is a typical middle school student.  He likes hip-hop and basketball and is not that interested in school, much to the chagrin of his parents. This show is set in the 1990s, but if Eddie were a middle school student in 2015, these are the books he might enjoy:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

This book is written in free verse, so it might take some convincing to get Eddie to read it, but I believe he would enjoy both the basketball theme and the rhythm and beat of the words in this story. Eddie would also identify with Josh and his struggle to live up to his family’s expectations.

shadow heroThe Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

I haven’t seen many episodes where Eddie reads, but I’m convinced he’s a comic book fan, or would be if he tried them. The Shadow Hero is a great match for Eddie since the main character also struggles with his Asian identity. Even though Eddie sounds like an average American tween, people often make judgments about him based on his race, so an Asian superhero may get him interested in reading.

The Slam Dunk series by Takehiko Inoue

Manga series are very popular with tweens and teens, and I enjoy recommending a series that already has a great lineup of books so that readers don’t have to wait for the next book to be published. The basketball theme of this series would resonate with Eddie.  read more…

Spotlight on: Teens’ Top Ten Nominees – Part 2

2015 July 8
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TeensTopTen_winner_WMToday’s post is the second installment in our 4-part series highlighting each of the 24 titles (and their authors) nominated for the Teens Top Ten list. You can check out the first post here, and a handy pdf list of all the nominees, annotated for reader’s advisory, is here. To recap, the Teens’ Top Ten list is determined entirely by teens; first the nominees are chosen by teen book groups, and then voting is opened up online to teens everywhere.

Teen readers can vote starting August 15th through Teen Read Week (October 18-24, 2015), with winners announced the following.

So here we go; your next 6 (alphabetically by author’s last name) Teens’ Top Ten nominees, chosen by real, live teenagers.

Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. A debut contemporary realistic novel about coming to terms with grief, told in a series of letters to dead celebrities, starting with Kurt Cobain. This snagged a glowing review from The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘s elusive Stephen Chbosky, and the audiobook production was a 2015 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, if you prefer to listen your way through the nominees. Dellaira has an author website, is on Facebook and Twitter, and there’s buzz that the production team behind the TwilightThe Fault in Our StarsPaper Towns, and Maze Runner movies is in talks to do a movie adaptation, so expect this title to stay in the spotlight for awhile.

into_the_dark_shadow_princeInto the Dark: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain. The first in a new series based on the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades from the author of the paranormal Dark Divine series (the first book in that series, Dark Divine, was a 2011 Popular Paperback for Young Adults pick). The second book in the Into the Dark series is already out, and the third is slated for fall 2016. Despain has a website, and a blog, and is on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. read more…

ALA Annual 2015: YALSA YA Author Coffee Klatch Recap

2015 July 7
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The amazing group of authors participating in the Klatch.

The amazing group of authors participating in the Klatch.

I was lucky enough to attend the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco last week and attended the YALSA YA Author Coffee Klatch sponsored by BLINK on Sunday, June 28th from 9 – 10 am. Allison Tran was there too and included some great photos in her post from the event.

I had the opportunity to have coffee while I met many of YALSA’s award winning authors, many of whom have appeared on one of YALSA’s six annual selected lists or have received one of YALSA’s five literary awards. In this speed-dating-like event, we sat at the tables and every five minutes or so the authors would come to our table to talk with us.

Participating authors included: M. T. Anderson, Leigh Bardugo, Deborah Biancotti, Virginia Boecker, Erin Bow, Martha Brockenbrough, Rae Carson, Selene Castrovilla, Carey Corp, Zak Ebrahim, Jack Gantos, Gail Giles, Amalie Howard, Jenny Hubbard, Bill Konigsberg, Michael Koryta, Daniel Kraus, Stephanie Kuehn, Susan Kuklin, Margo Lanagan, Lorie Langdon, Eric Lindstrom, Sophie Maletsky, Marissa Meyer, Jandy Nelson, Patrick Ness, Mitali Perkins, Kate Racculia, Luke Reynolds, William Ritter, Ginny Rorby, John Scalzi, Neal Shusterman, Andrew Smith, Allan Stratton, Nova Ren Suma, Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki, Scott Westerfeld, Carol Lynch Williams,  and Suzanne Young.

These were the YA Authors who came to my table and a little of what they said (any inaccuracies are solely my fault):

Photo Jul 05, 10 53 23 AMMitali Perkins talked about her latest middle grade book called Tiger Boy. 

She said that publishers didn’t think young people wanted to read about teen characters from other countries but that hasn’t been the case. Perkins wants young people to read across borders. She said she’s gotten letters from kids from all over the US – like rural Kansas. They connect with her books and there’s a power that readers have over the story. She said that one of her previous books, Bamboo People (2011 YALSA Top Ten Photo Jul 05, 10 54 17 AMBest Fiction for Young Adults), is on twelve state reading lists. It has two boys as the main characters and lots of action and it’s still a popular read, even though it came out in 2010 and is set in Burma. The fact that it’s a coming of age story is universal. Perkins has drawn inspiration for her writing because she said she’s traveled a lot and lived in Thailand, Boston and in the Bay Area. Tiger Boy is a tribute to her dad. He became a talented civil engineer and traveled all over the world. She said she “writes to the boy who doesn’t think he is a reader.”

 

Photo Jul 05, 11 13 41 AMStephanie Kuehn described her third book Delicate Monsters (after Complicit, 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults) after Charm & Strange (2014 William C. Morris Award winner).Photo Jan 26, 1 32 40 PM

It’s a psychological mystery, set in Sonoma, CA and it has a lot of darkness to it. It features a female anti-hero. The girl was sent down from boarding school for almost killing another girl. She is cruel. She becomes reacquainted with a boy named Emerson she knew as a kid & they both have a connection with Emerson’s younger brother who sees visions of people dying. It’s told from a third person point-of-view because it’s easier to tell that way as it shifts from the different perspectives of the characters. Kuehn says her main character is a psychopath but there’s a humanity to her too. “We share common experiences – they’re human monsters.”

read more…