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Is This the Real Life? Coffee Edition

2014 April 4
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Coffee photo by Allison TranThere was a time when I was unaware of how awesome coffee and coffee shops were. I like to recall that time as the “dark years.”  Now I can start a work day without my morning coffee, although I do miss going into Starbucks every morning and seeing the dynamic that happens there.

This led me to think of all the YA books taking place in or featuring coffee shops. There are a lot of books out there, but I can’t remember the one book that inspired this list. I can recall all the details, but the title, author, or any of the character’s names. It’s driving me crazy. While I rack my brain trying to remember, here are some of books that feature coffee, coffee shops, or those amazing people who make our coffee, baristas.

confessions_triple_shot_bettyConfessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman (2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

In this retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, Geena is looking forward to a summer of working at the local coffee shop with her cousin Hero and best friend Amber.  But as soon as Geena arrives home from boarding school, she falls in love and realizes her friendship with Amber might be over.

read more…

Tweets of the Week: April 4

2014 April 4
by Jennifer Rummel
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Here are some great bookish tweets from this week:

Books:

read more…

An Interview With Alex Award Winning Author Lisa O’Donnell

2014 April 4
by Kris Hickey
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The Death of Bees
Lisa O’Donnell is a 2014 recipient of YALSA’s Alex Award.  The Alex Award goes to authors who write books for adults that have a teen appeal.  I just read her book and loved it!  The story is told in three points of view, two of them are sisters who are in the process of burying their good for nothing parents in their backyard.  The third voice is the sexual predator neighbor who looks out for them.  O’Donnell agreed to be interviewed about her recent honor.

How did you choose the title, The Death of Bees?

In the first chapters when the girls are burying the bodies of their parents they go to a garden centre to buy lavender to disguise the graves and hide the smell. At the garden centre they meet a woman who scares Nelly about the possible extinction of honeybees. When the girls get home Nelly, who has Autism, obsesses over what the woman has said about the Bees. This makes Marnie angry because the truth is Nelly isn’t afraid of the Bees at all, she is afraid because they’re burying their parents in the backyard, the bees are simply where she projects her fear. Marnie knows this, but won’t acknowledge it either and also hides behind the subject of bees. read more…

Novels in Verse for Poetry Month

2014 April 3
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national-poetry-monthYou are aware, I’m sure, that April is National Poetry Month. This brainchild of the Academy of American Poets has been celebrated since 1996, and the Academy’s website has a plethora of great ideas ideas of ways to celebrate, but why not celebrate by simply reading more poetry?

What’s that? Poetry is “too hard?” Do not fear iambic pentameter, sestinas, or villanelles! But if you would rather not attempt a sonnet, a haiku, or even a limerick, there is a great way to ease yourself into the world of poems: novels written in verse. The tales are so compelling and the verse so subtle, you won’t even realize you are reading poetry. Quite often, novels in verse tackle very hard subjects. It can be astonishing how authors cover deep, dark topics with just a few, perfectly chosen words.

Here are a few to get you started:

My Book of Life By Angel – Martine Leavitt mybookoflifebyangel
Angel is sixteen when Call gives her “candy” that makes her fly, and asks her to start sleeping with his friends. Soon, Angel is hooked on drugs and is working the streets as a prostitute. When Call brings home an even younger girl, Angel plans to escape this life she’s found herself in, and take young Melli with her. Leavitt’s books have appeared on multiple Best Books for Young Adults lists, and after reading her work, you will understand why.

freakboyFreakboy – Kristin Clark (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Brendan seems to be a guy’s guy. He’s a wrestler, has a lovely girlfriend, and loves video games, but deep inside, he wants long hair and soft skin and a curvy body. Brendan is transexual and he’s trying to figure out who he is. He has never met anyone else who is like him, and he is frightend that he is “not normal”, whatever that means.

read more…

Jukebooks: The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

2014 April 2
by Diane Colson
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sound of letting go by stasia ward kehoeDaisy’s family is in crisis. Her younger brother, Steven, is autistic, and his violent outbursts have become dangerous as he grows bigger and stronger. Daisy escapes into music, playing her trumpet in the jazz ensemble at her school. At one time, Daisy was an “…orchestra-guest-worthy prodigy horn player,” but Steven’s care has required the family resources to be diverted from her musical development. Nevertheless, playing jazz is Daisy’s refuge from the problems at home. When Daisy’s parents decide that Steven must move out of the home for better care, Daisy suspects that she should be relieved. Isn’t this her chance for freedom? Instead, she’s angry, and finds herself turning away from music and her dreams for her future.

Daisy loves Kind of Blue, an album by Miles Davis and members of his jazz sextet. It’s “…kind of, always, how I feel,” Daisy describes. She’s not alone in her admiration. The smooth, beautiful melodies introduced a shift in the improvisational possibilities of jazz, resulting in music that feels as if it could go on forever. The album was recorded in two sessions and released in August 1959. Many regard it as the best jazz album ever.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kind of Blue’s release, Columbia Records reissued the album in 2008. (Not fifty years, is it?) Below is a short clip elucidating its effect on jazz music.

-Diane Colson, currently reading Grandmaster by David Klass

Hub Photo Challenge: Spine Poetry

2014 April 2
by Carli Spina
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PoetryApril is National Poetry Month and, in celebration, we challenge you to release your inner poet and create a book spine poem!

Spine poetry refers to the art of arranging books so that the titles on the spine form a poem. For this challenge, all you need to do is arrange any of the books that are included in the 2014 Hub Reading Challenge into a poem, take a photo and submit it to us!

Here’s an example from Hub manager Allison Tran:

allison_tran_spine_poetry

We’ll post some of the best book spine poems on The Hub and one grand prize winner will receive a signed copy of Every Day by David Levithan! Here is the fine print:

  1. For privacy reasons, make sure there aren’t any people in your pictures, please!
  2. All entries must be sent to yalsahub@gmail.com by April 25th to be considered. Please include your mailing address if you would like to be eligible to win the grand prize.
  3. Poems must be composed ONLY from book spines of 2014 Hub Reading Challenge eligible titles to be considered.
  4. Participants worldwide are welcome to participate just for fun, but the grand prize can only be mailed a winner located in the United States.
  5. By submitting your photo, you are consenting to its publication by YALSA on The Hub or any other YALSA social media accounts, though we are under no obligation to publish all submissions that we receive.

A selection of the best poems from our readers and bloggers will be posted at the end of the month to celebrate poetry and the winner will be announced at the same time. Good luck!

-Carli Spina, Hub Advisory Board member

Fashion Hits and Misses from YA Historical Fiction Book Covers, Part 2

2014 April 1
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I love historical fiction.  The drama, the intrigue and, oh– the fashion.  I just assume all the period details regarding clothing are accurate.  Or I did until my friend Liz shared it was her secret delight to troll the adult fiction section and find anachronistic apparel.  Curious to know how Liz knows all that she does about fashion?  Check out her bio in the first post Fashion Hits and Misses from YA Historical Fiction Book Covers.

Turns out a lot of books from specific dates and locations feature outfits as cover art that either haven’t been invented yet or were way out of fashion.  I was eager to know if these same mistakes were being made in Young Adult historical fiction. After all, how was I to know? Here are some examples of books that got it right and those that got it wrong.

In Mozart's Shadow by Carolyn Meyer

In Mozart’s Shadow by Carolyn Meyer

Hit, sort of – In Mozart’s Shadow: His Sister’s Story (alternate title In Mozart’s Shadow: Nannerl’s Story) by Carolyn Meyer

The novel In Mozart’s Shadow: His Sister’s Story is set in eighteenth-century Europe. Older sister Nannerl remains home in Salzburg, Austria while her brother Mozart travels and performs.  How does the cover art compare?

The idea of the appropriate style of dress is there, but the quality of the fashion is poor and ill-fitting.   This particular dress looks like one you would wear for an “old-timey” photo.  The style of the time was a low-necked gown made from woven silks in elaborate patterns worn over panniers, a cage-like garment which extended the hips at the sides.  The bodice would be tightly fitted over a stiff pair of stays, known by modern terminology as a corset.  The front of the bodice exposed a stomacher, which was a triangle-shaped piece which was elaborately decorated.  Sleeves were normally close-fitting and worn to the elbow with ruffle and lace embellishments.  The skirt was often open in the front to expose the petticoat which was decorated to match.  There were several different types of dress worn at the time, but most did follow the same silhouette as described here.  read more…

How large is your personal library?

2014 March 31
by Libby Gorman
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My family is getting ready for an interstate move and putting our house up for sale. As a result, lots of our possessions, including most of our books, are currently residing in our garage so that our house is ready to “show” to potential buyers. It’s a little sad to see all the books sitting out there, some of them not even yet packed for the actual move:

books in garage

All this shifting and (some) boxing has made me wonder about how people manage the size of their book collections. In the spirit of Julie Bartel’s What Your Bookshelves Say About You post, I asked Hub bloggers to share, and here are some of their responses: read more…

An Interview with Alex Award Winning Author Gavin Extence

2014 March 31
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Photo Apr 30, 11 38 14 AMGavin Extence is the author of The Universe Versus Alex Woods, a 2014 Alex Award winning novel that’s surprising, funny, tragic and poignant all at once as it quirkily portrays the life of teenaged British science nerd Alex Woods. Woods was struck in the head by a meteorite in a freak accident when he was 10 and survived, although he was forever changed by the experience. He develops severe epilepsy and because of this, his life unfolds in unexpected and surprising ways.

I always look forward to seeing which titles are selected each year for the Alex Awards Photo Mar 16, 12 13 40 PM(adult books selected for their demonstrated or probable appeal to the personal reading tastes of young adults). I loved this book and it more than deserves the Alex Award. When I heard that Gavin was willing to be interviewed for The Hub, I jumped at the chance and wasn’t disappointed by his thoughtful answers to my many questions.

Q. Your last name is unusual. What’s its origin?

It originates from Devon in the southwest of England, not that far from where Alex lives. My Grandad told me it came from a group of shipwrecked Spanish pirates. I’m not sure if that story is completely true, but it’s the best answer I have, so I’m sticking to it!

Photo Mar 16, 12 50 29 PMQ. Congratulations on the Alex Award! Were you surprised at how much praise the book has received? I remember it was one of NPR’s 5 recommended reads for YA readers last summer.

Thank you. Yes, I was very surprised. I had very modest expectations for my book, and never even thought about it being published outside the UK. But obviously I’m thrilled that so many readers have enjoyed it.

Q. Did you write the book you wanted to write or did you have to change anything you were going to include? Since the book covers Alex’s life from ages 10-17, did you ever consider writing this as a YA book or was it always going to be an adult book?

There wasn’t much I changed between the first draft and the last – just minor details, really. But I did a lot of polishing to make the book as good as I could. I always thought I was writing a story for adults, although I also wanted to paint a very clear and immediate picture of adolescence, and I knew I wanted the writing to be fairly straightforward and accessible. But I never really considered the YA audience until my publisher said they wanted to market the book as ‘crossover’. However, it’s wonderful to reach a wide readership. So far the youngest person to have read the book, that I’m aware of, is 10 (too young!) and the oldest is 101. read more…

The Monday Poll: Supporting Characters Who Deserve Their Own Book

2014 March 31
by Allison Tran
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by flickr user Ani-Bee

by flickr user Ani-Bee

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you to choose the upcoming YA sequel you’re most looking forward to reading this spring. According to our results, your top pick was Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, with 35% of the vote, followed by City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare and Nantucket Red by Leila Howland, which tied for 17%. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted, and happy reading when those books come out!

This week, we want to know which secondary character in YA lit deserves a book of their own. Or maybe even a whole series, a la Magnus Bane from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments books!  Which supporting character do you think deserves the chance to be a protagonist? Vote in the poll below or add your suggestion in the comments if we left out a good one.

Which supporting character in YA lit deserves a book of their own?

  • Reagan from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (45%, 47 Votes)
  • Hassan from An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (24%, 25 Votes)
  • Cosme from the Bitter Kingdom trilogy by Rae Carson (13%, 14 Votes)
  • Kenji from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (10%, 10 Votes)
  • Libby from Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (8%, 8 Votes)
  • Ashley from Jessi Kirby’s novels (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Emilia from Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 104

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