Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 4 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

The Year We Fell From Space Cover Art

The Year We Fell From Space by Amy Sarig King; Narrated by Stephanie Willing
Scholastic Audio / Scholastic 
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
ISBN: 978-1987162448
Liberty Johansen loves making her own constellations. After her parents announce that they will be separating and getting a divorce, Liberty asks the stars to fix her family, which is when a meteorite falls from the sky, almost into her lap. Following her parents announcement Liberty learns about her father’s depression, and starts having feelings of her own of depression and anxiety. While trying to reconcile her mother’s sense of calm after the breakup, her little sister’s refusal to leave the house, and the sudden absence of her father in her life, the meteorite begins to communicate with her.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 4 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2020) Nominees Round Up, December 4 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée; Narrated by Imani Parks
Balzer + Bray / HarperAudio
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
ISBN: 978-1982641580

Shayla is “allergic” to trouble and wants to avoid it at all costs as she starts seventh grade with her two best friends from elementary school, Julia and Isabella. But in junior high, the rules have changed, her friendships are changing and some classmates don’t think Shayla is “black enough.” Shayla’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shayla decides to stick with the track team instead of joining that movement. But after experiencing a powerful protest with her family, Shayla decides that sometimes you can’t avoid trouble and choosing “trouble” may be the right choice after all.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2020) Nominees Round Up, June 7 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Dig by A.S. King
Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
ISBN: 978-1101994917 

The Hemingway grandchildren dig through their own warped identities and personal tragedies stemming from their dysfunctional family’s start with their deeply flawed grandparents, Gottfried and Marla.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2020) Nominees Round Up, June 7 Edition

Sail the Seven Seas: Books for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

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!

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

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.

Boston Jane by Jennifer Holm

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.

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Emer was a teenage pirate in the 17th century and was cursed to live one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body. Now she’s an American teenager and she wants to find the treasure she buried long ago. Continue reading Sail the Seven Seas: Books for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

So You Want to Read an A.S. King Book?

AS King SnapchatWhenever I get a request for an “extraordinary teen book” – and, I get that request all the time – I always recommend books by A.S. King.  From real to surreal, love to hate, red helicopters to umbrellas, A.S. King writes books that make the teen experience feel real.

All of the characters in her books – Lucky, Astrid, Glory, and my personal fave, Vera, (just to name a few) are real people to me.  Sometimes I wonder what they might be doing now.  Eating a sandwich?  Feeling happy?  Riding in the red, invisible helicopter?  Her books helped me through reading slumps, a traumatic death, and plain ole’ boredom.

If you haven’t read an A.S. King book, yet – I have to let you know that you are in for a treat.  But!  With so many books and so many topics and subjects, where’s a reader to start?  Lucky for you, I created a super-simple (ha-ha!) flowchart to lead you directly to the book that will blow. your. mind.  Last year, I was lucky enough to have A.S. King visit my library for Teen Read Week.  When I was agonizing over what I was going to say in my introduction, I came upon the following quote, and it’s stuck with me so long because it’s so totally true.  From the New York Times Book Review:  “Maybe there are writers more adept than King at capturing the outrageous and outraged voice of teenagers, but it’s difficult to think of one.” Yes – that’s exactly correct.

So…without further ado…behold my arrow and box skills below… Continue reading So You Want to Read an A.S. King Book?

What Would They Read?: Fox Mulder from the X-Files

I grew up watching the X-Files, so I was really excited when I heard that the show would be reappearing this spring.


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.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)

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.

Continue reading What Would They Read?: Fox Mulder from the X-Files

One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with A.S. King

Check out previous interviews in the One Thing Leads to Another series here.

Just a week ago I was trying to describe A.S. King to a friend of mine, an adult science fiction and fantasy writer not familiar with her work but always eager to discover new authors.  I tried to describe my own first encounter with her, reading The Dust of 100 Dogs after one of my best friends suggested it, but could tell I was completely failing to convey the utter originality, the compelling absurdity of the plot, the rare collision of joyful weirdness and kinship I experienced while reading.   I scrabbled around, trying to compare Please Ignore Vera Dietz and Ask the Passengers to other comparable titles (yeah, right!); to explain how it was sort of magic realism, but sort of not; to somehow describe King’s uncompromising depictions of life, especially teen life, and how all my expectations would go sideways no matter which way I was expecting the story to turn, but how there was always hope.  I told her about the ants, and about Gerald.  And then I finally just said, you know how Vonnegut is just himself and no one else is really like him?  A. S. King is like that.  Go read everything she’s written and then come back so we can talk about it.

I kind of feel the same way about this particular interview, like I just want to get out of the way and let you have at it.  I think you’ll see why right away.

But I do want to throw out a huge thank you to A.S. King for being patient and wildly understanding, for general awesomeness, and especially for giving us a little glimpse of the rest of the iceberg.  Thank you.

Always Something There to Remind Me

A.S. King Author PhotoPlease describe your teenage self.
Confused and confident. A good athlete and talented smoker. A smart kid with D’s on her report card. An all-around walking contradiction. Mullet at times. Owned a boss Blondie t-shirt and wore Chucks with spikes screwed into the eyelets. Loved Prince.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
As a young kid, I really thought I wanted to be a heart surgeon. I have no idea why, but I was obsessed with the circulatory system. At 14, I got a glimpse of wanting to be a writer after overdosing on Paul Zindel novels, but when I told adults in my life, the suggestion that journalism was my only path to being a writer pretty much killed the idea for me. (No offense meant to journalists. It just wasn’t my bag.)

As a teenager, I had no idea what I wanted to be. I was a peer helper at school, so I was really into psychology and counseling. I wanted to help fellow students work stuff out. But I ended up going to college to be a forest ranger at first. I left that college soon after realizing I still didn’t know what I wanted to do.

Then I went to art school, which again wasn’t quite what I wanted to do but it was close. I got my degree in photography about two years before digital photography came along and made me, a darkroom printer, pretty much obsolete, which was fine because I then moved 3000 miles away and started writing novels.

Continue reading One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with A.S. King