Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

Cool for the Summer Cover Art

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Wednesday Books/Macmillan
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250765826

When Lara returns to her hometown after spending the summer in the Outer Banks, she’s shocked that the most popular guy in school, Chase Harding, is suddenly interested in her. Everyone expects her to be interested in him too, but Lara has a secret. She can’t forget about her summer fling with Jasmine. Before Jasmine, Lara had never considered that she might be interested in girls and guys. When Jasmine unexpectedly shows up at Lara’s school on the first day, Lara has to decide whether she wants to be with Chase or give her summer romance a chance to become something more. 

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Cheer Up!: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise

Cheer Up! Cover Art

Cheer Up!: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise
Oni Press
Publication Date: August 10, 2021
ISBN: 9781620109557

When brilliant but antisocial lesbian Annie joins the cheerleading team to round out her college applications, she rekindles her friendship with BeBe, the newly elected captain of the squad. While Annie’s outspokenness often alienates others, BeBe, a transgender girl, struggles to please everyone, especially her teammates and her parents. As BeBe learns to advocate for herself in the face of microaggressions, Annie discovers that opening herself up to others might not be so bad after all.

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Spotlight on Pride!

Though COVID cases are declining in most of the country, many communities have again chosen to forego in-person Pride events this year. But even if can’t wave a flag and take to the streets, you can still celebrate all the LGBTQ+ representation in new and forthcoming YA titles. Here’s a veritable parade of books to ensure your collection gives voice to love in all its forms!

No Way, They Were Gay? Cover Art

No Way, They Were Gay? by Lee Wind
This collection combines primary sources and historical analysis to provide an in-depth look at prominent figures and their identities. Part of Queer History Project, No Way, They Were Gay? is out now from Zest Books, an imprint of Lerner.

Out! Cover Art

Out! How to Be Your Authentic Self by Miles McKenna
An Amazing Audiobooks nominee, this memoir / survival guide from YouTuber Miles McKenna is a generous and open-hearted handbook for kids everywhere. Full of resources and support, this book (out now from Amulet, an imprint of Abrams) is a must-have for LGBTQ+ teens and their allies.

Loveless Cover Art

Loveless by Alice Oseman
From the creator of the beloved graphic novel series Heartstopper comes this novel about Georgia who starts to understand herself as asexual/aromantic once she gets to college. An excellent reminder of one of the least understood aspects of the LGBTQ+ community, Alice Oseman’s latest will be an important addition to your collection for older teens. It will publish in November from Scholastic.

Things We Couldn't Say Cover Art

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles
This sophomore offering from rising star Jay Coles is also coming this fall from Scholastic. It introduces Gio, a queer Black kid navigating the complications of the sudden return of his birth mom after 8 years of absence as well as the ordinary but never easy reality of figuring out who you are and how you love.

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating Cover Art

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
In this novel, Bangladeshi and Irish writer Jaigirdar introduces Hani who tries to come out to her friends as bisexual . . . but they doubt her because she’s only dated boys before. Under pressure to prove it, she lies and says she’s dating Ishu, the only other Bengali kid in their year. Released in May from Page Street, Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating tackles toxic friendships, racism, and relationships.

The Girl from the Sea Cover Art

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
For fans of the graphic novel, Molly Knox Ostertag’s latest was released at the beginning of the month and is already being lauded as a beautiful and emotional story. After being saved from drowning by Keltie, Morgan faces her unexpected and growing feelings for the girl from the sea. She and Keltie begin a summer romance, but Morgan feels she must keep it a secret. Teens will identify with Morgan’s uncertainty in this lovely coming of age story.

The Darkness Outside Us Cover Art

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
Fans of science fiction will rejoice at Eliot Schrefer’s latest (released June 1 from Katherine Tegan Books) featuring two boys who find themselves alone, together on a space ship. Sworn enemies, they realize they must work together to survive and accomplish their mission. Their trust quickly turns to something more as this mystery plus love story unfolds.

Pumpkin Cover Art

Pumpkin by Julie Murphy
Julie Murphy’s back, this time bringing us Waylon Russell Brewer who can’t wait to escape his small town in West Texas. Waylon is white and fat and openly gay, and after his audition tape for a TV drag show gets circulated at school, he ends up running for prom queen. If you loved Murphy’s Dumplin’, you’ll find the same humor and charm here along with another healthy does of disruption to stereotypical beauty standards. Available now from Balzer + Bray.

Love & Other Natural Disasters Cover Art

Love & Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura
Is this a new trope: Fake lovers to real ones? Sugiura has brought us a fun summer romance that starts as a plan to invoke jealousy. Nozomi thinks Willow is perfect, even though she knows Willow’s not over her ex. Seizing the opportunity to be close to her, Nozomi agrees to pose as Willow’s new girlfriend and hopes to see fake love turn into true love. Released in early June, this one is sure to be a delightful summer read.

All Kinds of Other Cover Art

All Kinds of Other by James Sie
Jules and Jack are both new sophomores in their Los Angeles high school. Both have come from painful freshman years at their old schools, and both are looking to make a new start. When they meet, their commonalities turn to sparks, and they have to face hard decisions about who they want to be and who they want to be with.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, November 26 Edition

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

My Riot by Rick Spears and Emmett Helen Book Cover
My Riot by Rick Spears and Emmett Helen

My Riot by Rick Spears and Emmett Helen
Oni Press
Publication Date: September 8, 2020 
ISBN: 9781620107768

Seventeen-year-old Valerie Simmons thinks her life’s dream is to be a ballerina until her first night at her new job at an ice cream parlor. Rioters throw a brick through the window, quickly smash the store, and move on. Val is left electrified. While her ballet instructor pressures her to develop an eating disorder and take up smoking, her new friend Kat takes her to a rock show that makes her feel alive. During a two-month grounding for going to the show, Val listens to mix tapes and begins to rethink her identity. She decides to learn the guitar so she can form a band. As music replaces dance as her passion, Valerie gets into the Riot Grrrl scene, culminating in a trip to a music festival in Olympia.  

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, November 26 Edition

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, August 13 Edition

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

Heartstopper, vol. 1 by Alice Oseman
Graphix / Scholastic
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
ISBN: 9781338617436

Charlie Spring is halfway through Year 10 (British equivalent to 9th grade) when he is placed into a new vertical class group and is seated next to Year 11 student Nick Nelson. Shy, openly gay Charlie is worried that rugby player Nick will end up being a bully, but the two strike up a friendship. As they grow closer, Charlie struggles with what he assumes is an unrequited crush, and Nick starts to question if his feelings for Charlie are romantic. And if they are, what does that mean in regards to his identity?

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, July 28 Edition

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

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Graphix/ Scholastic
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
ISBN: 978-1338617436

When Charlie meets Nick in his new homeroom class, they immediately hit it off.  A fun and supportive friendship ensues; Charlie who is openly gay knows he has a crush on Nick who he assumes is straight.  Nick can’t stop thinking about Charlie and how great he is–which leads him to wonder what it means about himself…could he be gay too? 

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, July 4 Edition

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

Surviving the City, vol. 1 by Tasha Spillett and Natasha Donovan
HighWater Press
Publication Date: November 30, 2018
ISBN: 9781553797562

Miikwan and Dez are best friends, each grappling with family issues; Miikwan’s mom is missing and Dez’s beloved grandmother is ill. When Dez disappears one night, Miikwan fears that she has become one of the murdered and missing Indigenous women of their community. Miikwan, protected by the spirits of missing women, participates in a march to honor the stolen sisters of their community. There, Miikwan finally finds Dez, safe.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, July 4 Edition

Booklist: Asexuality and Aromanticism in Young Adult Fiction

In February 2016, the YALSA Hub published a booklist, Asexuality in Young Adult Fiction, as a response to teens wanting to see this kind of representation in books. It was a hard list to create as there were very few books at the time with any mention of asexuality or aromanticism, and most of the representation in the books listed is minimal at best. In that list, most representation was of side characters, or the word asexual was never explicitly mentioned. Over the past three years, some exciting books for teens have been published that center the Ace/Aro experience.

Asexuality in YA Fiction

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Going Viral – YA Books of Teens Managing Online Fame

There are many online platforms for sharing and creating art. Teens are taking advantage the various mediums of creating and sharing their works. But what happens when your work becomes a smash hit? How do manage instant fame? How do you take advantage of opportunity when it comes your way? Many new teen titles are exploring the effects of being or becoming an online sensation. Teens are relating to these stories both on the artist/creator end of things, and even though they may not gain instant fame, teens still have to navigate similar tricky waters in the day to day of who is a true friend, and how to manage negative comments and bullies.

The following titles are about teens experiencing internet fame:

Youtube Sensations

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Natasha “Tash” Zelenka has turned her literary crush of Leo Tolstoy to good use. With the help of her best friend, Jack, they have created a web series “Unhappy Families,” a modern retelling of Anna Karenina. When a famous vlogger gives a shout out to the series, it goes viral. Now she, along with the cast and crew, are finding what it means to be a hit sensation and are managing the adoration, and the trolls, coming their way. The instant fame is also creating tensions among the crew.  The story is paralleled with Tash, who identifies as a  romantic asexual,  navigating flirtations coming her way. Admist the fame and romance, Tash is also dealing with her older sister creating distance, her parents announcing a new sibling on the way, college applications, the impending end of the series, and the big “What’s next.”

Bang by Barry Lyga

Sebastian loves making pizza. Not your basic generic pizza, but pizza that starts with homemade dough, recipes he has thoughtfully researched, homemade sauce, and the best toppings and combinations. This isn’t enough to keeps the memories at bay though. When he was four years old, he shot and killed his baby sister, and now has plans to do the same to himself at the end of summer. When Aneesha, a Muslim girl, moves into the neighborhood she encourages him to create a YouTube channel with her about his pizza creations. Things start to shift in Sebastian’s outlook, until the YouTube channel takes off, and he is recognized, and called out for his painful childhood past. Continue reading Going Viral – YA Books of Teens Managing Online Fame