What Would They Read?: Jane from Blindspot

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She wakes up inside a duffle bag in the middle of Times Square. Her body is covered in tattoos and she doesn’t remember who she is or how she got there, but she has amazing fighting skills that hint at special forces training. This is Jane Doe from the television show Blindspot. Jane is spending all of her free time trying to remember her past, but if she wanted a book break, this is what I’d recommend to her.blindspot

thenaturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Cassie is recruited by the FBI to work in a special group of teens with exceptional abilities. The recruits will have to work together to survive and catch the killer before they are killed.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. The girl wakes up in a cabin to hear her captors discussing her execution. She doesn’t know who she is, why she’s there, or how to escape, but she knows that if she wants to live, she must get out now.

Mind Games by Kiersten White. Fia has perfect intuition. She always, always knows how to react. Fia is going to need to use all of her powers to rescue her sister, Annie, who is being held captive so that Fia will do her captors’ bidding. Annie is blind, but has visions of the future. Can Fia manage to overcome her captors and rescue her sister?

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. Meg has a new name, a new look, and a new address. Her family is in witness protection, and she’s tired of constantly hiding and running. She can’t figure out why they are in hiding and she doesn’t want to follow the rules she’s been given. Meg will need to use all of her ingenuity to ensure her survival – and that of her family as well.

killer of enemiesKiller of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). Lozen is a monster hunter, and the privileged Ones she serves keep her family hostage to guarantee Lozen’s compliance. But as Lozen’s power grows, she wonders if she is fated for something more. Does she have the courage and cunning to rescue her family?

Enclave by Ann Aguirre. Deuce has lived her whole live underground battling the freaks, but when she is exiled from her people, she must rely on Fade and his memories of the topside world.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). Cia is thrilled to be chosen for the elite testing program, where applicants compete for slots in the university program. However, her father warns her that all is not as it seems. Will Cia be able to keep her wits (and her memories) and use them to survive the rigorous test?

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Em is trapped in prison. She finds a list, written in her own handwriting, hidden inside the drain in the middle of the room. She doesn’t remember writing this list, but she knows that it is up to her to escape and stop horrible things from happening.

i am the weaponI Am the Weapon by Allan Zadoff (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). The boy was taken from his family and trained as an assassin. Now he goes from mission to mission, always the new kid in school and in the neighborhood, until his mission is complete and he disappears to a new town to start over again. What would happen, though, if the Boy wanted out of this program?

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Cassie is certain she’s being followed, but she has to locate and rescue her brother before the final alien invasion occurs. The first four waves wiped out most of the planet and Cassie is determined to reunite with her brother before it is too late.

 

— Jenni Frencham, currently reading Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert Continue reading What Would They Read?: Jane from Blindspot

Genre Guide: Action Novels

Books with lots of action are often a home run with readers, especially those who like a plot-driven story. They can cross a wide-range of genres, from spy fiction to murder mysteries.

Definition:
Action books are often very heavy on the plot with danger pulling the story forward, leaving readers on the edge of their seat desperate to know what happens next. Elements of risk and surprise are key factors in action stories. The events that trigger the action or danger are typically outside the protagonist’s day to day life. Often, at the end of the story, the hero or heroine is never the same.

Characteristics:
* Fast-paced
* Conflict
* Danger
* Risk
* Double-crossings
* Betrayal
* Villains
* Violence
* Survival
* Plot twists
* Underdogs

Appeal:
With action novels, readers quickly turn the pages – often reading these novels in a single setting. In a series, there is often an overall arc that ties all the books together, even though the primary plot of the book is resolved.

Actions books are perfect escapism reads; this type of story rarely happens in real life.

Readers like rooting for the underdogs. Often times these teen characters go against supposedly smarter more savvy adults and yet, they are victorious in their quest. It’s hard not to root for the underdog.

YA Action Adventure

Continue reading Genre Guide: Action Novels

Spy Series for Mission Impossible Fans

With MI5: Rogue Nation opening this weekend, whether it’s books or movies, people are drawn to spy series. Here are a few contemporary series with tons of action that will entice fans of this movie – from some newer series to some old favorites in addition to Alex Rider and Gallagher Girls.

For Older Readers:
Devil’s Breath by David Gilman
After an assassin tries to kill him at his boarding school, Max realizes that his father is missing. When he receives a message from his father, he’s determined to locate him. He travels to Africa to uncover the truth.

I am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff (2014 Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers)
Boy Nobody blends perfectly into the background, making him perfect for a teen assassin. On his latest mission, he makes the cardinal mistake: don’t make friends. Now he has to decide between loyalty to the Program or loyalty to himself. He’s no longer sure of the Program’s mission and it could cost him his life.  Continue reading Spy Series for Mission Impossible Fans

What Would They Read?: New Girl

new girl
If anyone could appreciate creating lists of books for their favorite TV and movie characters, it’s Jessica Day.  She would probably assign book suggestions to her stuffed animals and then present them in the form of a jaunty song.  While we patiently wait for the next season to start up, I thought I would compile a list of books that the characters of New Girl would enjoy.

New Girl provides a large cast of characters that are so over-the-top that it feels authentic.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a round of “True American” and climb atop furniture while spouting random historical facts?  For those who are not familiar with the premise for the show, it’s fairly simple.  Jess answers an ad in Craigslist and moves in with three guys, Nick, Schmidt, and Winston.  The guys are not used to living with a girl, and Jess turns out to be much more than they expected.  Jess has several quirks that set her apart from the other girls they know, but it soon comes out that they have their own bizarre traits as well.

If you haven’t seen the show, I suggest watching it immediately.  After watching an episode or twelve, come on back and see what books each character would read.

Jess – While this title is a bit on the older side of YA lit, I would not be surprised if Stargirl bystargirl Jerry Spinelli was sitting on Jess’s shelf.  Stargirl wears granny dresses and plays the ukelele, which are two things I would most definitely see Jess doing as well.  Jess has a celebratory air about her and she would relate immensely to a girl who wants to do her own thing, despite how many people around her wish she would just conform to the rest of the crowd.  In a similar vein, I would also give Jess Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick.  Amber Appleton would most assuredly be buds with Jess and Stargirl, but this book skews slightly into drama when Amber’s story is revealed.   Continue reading What Would They Read?: New Girl

Want to Read S’more? Have Some Ooey Gooey Delicious Books in Threes

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Summer is the perfect time for reading for fun and making s’mores. In fact, yesterday was National S’mores Day.

So I decided to combine these two concepts and give you three books on the same topic – think of them as the graham cracker, the marshmallow, and the chocolate of a s’more- all deliciously good.

Fantasy:

Hub 1

Thrillers:hub 2

Continue reading Want to Read S’more? Have Some Ooey Gooey Delicious Books in Threes

It Was So Good It Made Me Cry

No, I’m not referring to the Barefoot Contessa’s chocolate ganache cupcakes – as amazing as they taste.  I’m talking about books that bring on a good cry, like Alice Hoffman’s Incantation, a riveting, intense tale that manages to infuse utter despair with elements of hope.  Set during the Spanish Inquisition, this historical novel follows a 16-year old girl as she uncovers the secrets her family has kept about their faith for generations and hauntingly reveals how the ignorance, prejudice and malice of others can destroy the lives of innocent people.  Or Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty, a coming of age story about a teenage girl that blends family dynamics, friendship, and romance with the stress and strain of a terminal illness, deftly contrasting a lazy summer vacation setting against the unfair realities of life.

In A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt, a beloved adopted teen struggles with identity, family and faith after meeting her birth mother, who is dying of cancer.   Allen Zadoff’s Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have, expertly portrays the pain and frustration suffered by an obese teenage boy as he navigates the mine field of high school with a sense of humor and a sense of hope – along with a few tears.

Angst is often found in young adult novels, but in some books there is a point in the story where these difficult, trying circumstances cross over into something that touches us deeply and that’s when it’s time to reach for the tissue box.  Occasionally the author builds the emotional tension so skillfully you don’t even realize that you are crying.  Over a book.  Really?

Oh, yes.  Try reading Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard with dry eyes or Angela Johnson’s The First Part Last.  These stories focus on two teenage boys facing tough choices as they deal with the heartbreaking consequences of unexpected fatherhood.  All of these books have a rare power to connect with readers on a basic emotional level.  Despite the sadness they evoke, they leave you feeling satisfied, and dare I say happy, that you’ve invested the time to read the novel.  And almost as good as you feel eating those ganache cupcakes!

Adrienne Basso