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Tag: beth revis

YA Mental Health Resources

IMG_3042You may be familiar with YA fiction books that deal with mental health issues, but in honor of it being Mental Health Month, I’m highlighting mostly nonfiction YA resources  (with a few new or forthcoming fiction titles). When colleagues ask me for nonfiction books to recommend to teens to help them cope with mental health issues, I don’t find many. Sure, there are those written that will be useful for class reports, but not many nonfiction titles that offer real, practical, how-to advice.  Most of the helpful resources I have found are online in the form of blogs, articles, brochures, or pamphlets since that’s what’s easiest to keep up-to-date.

Youth Mental Health Resources – Online Resources

Medlineplus, that has health information from the National Library of Medicine, includes a teen mental health section on its database, that’s free to access.

KidsHealth  is part of the KidsHealth family of websites. These sites, run by the nonprofit Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media, provide accurate, up-to-date health information that’s free of “doctor speak.” Their site has very understandable and helpful information for teens on a variety of topics, including teen suicide.

TeensHealth has information about health  related to teens, such as information about body, mind, sexual health, food & fitness, diseases & conditions, infections, school & jobs, drugs & alcohol, and staying safe.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has information that will help teens learn more about suicide, how to prevent it, cope with a suicide loss, research, and ways to get involved in suicide prevention, such as Out of the Darkness Walks. If you are a teen in crisis, resources are available online on this site for you.

Apps for Youth that Provide Mental Health Assistance –Many of these apps focus on crisis intervention, including:’s Crisis Text Line –Provides teens with free, round-the-clock access to trained counseling and referrals.

Mood 24/7  – This app allows users, including teens, to send a daily text message about how they feel to a doctor, a therapist or loved one.

CodeBlue – This project by Melon Health, scheduled to launch spring of 2016, is designed to help teens alert members of a designated support network with a text message whenever they feel acutely depressed. It is designed to provide teenagers struggling from depression or bullying with support when they need it. Users can choose several contacts to be part of their support group. With just a few taps, the app will alert the support group that the user needs immediate help. Members of the support group can then text or call the user. The app can also share the user’s location with the support group, and members can indicate that they are on their way to see the user in person. Code Blue will be free on both iOS and Android.

BoosterBuddy –This Canadian app provides teens with a list of coping mechanisms, tips for controlled breathing exercises, types of mental health concerns, and ways to manage symptoms. BoosterBuddy was created by Calgary-based developers Robots & Pencils, Island Health, Victoria Hospitals Foundation and a $150,000 donation from Coast Capital Savings. The app helps teens do the following:

  • Check-in with how you are feeling each day
  • Use coping skills
  • Keep track of appointments and medications
  • Get started on tasks
  • Follow self-care routines
  • Increase real-life socialization
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Read This, Play That!: Perfect Tabletop Game Pairings for Your Favorite YA Series

When people ask me to describe myself, I inevitably reply that I am a reader and a gamer, among other things. Rarely do those two hobbies converge, however. I mean, occasionally I talk about books with my gamer friends. And I realize that some libraries have board game nights. But for the most part, those two parts of my life are compartmentalized, set within specific contexts and situations.

One could argue that this separation exists because the two are so different. And in some ways, I get that. Tabletop games bring people together to cooperate for victory over the game or to war among themselves for individual glory. Either way, there’s going to be a lot of emotion…and noise! Reading is more of a solitary activity by nature. Even if you join a book club or find a community of readers, the actual reading of the book is between you and the book.Board Games

But I beg to disagree with this assessment. I think that reading and gaming are more similar than people realize. Let me start to explain by saying that board games have changed a lot over the years. The games of yesteryear (Clue, Monopoly, The Game of Life) have evolved into more complex, dynamic games. Games where strategy is key, risks are rewarded or punished in due measure, and reliance on other players is a routine occurrence. In particular, storytelling has become a huge component of tabletop games. Think about Dungeons and Dragons for instance, where the crux of the game involves players completing a story woven in real time by a game master.


What Would They Read?: Recommendations for The Big Bang Theory Characters, part 2

Big Bang TheoryLast month I carefully chose YA lit suggestions for the male characters from TV’s The Big Bang Theory.  This month I plan to finish off the recommendations by selecting a few choice titles for the girls of The Big Bang Theory.  Sure, I could merely suggest a recently released best seller or two.  Instead, I am going to tailor each suggestion to their specific interests or quirks.  With no further ado, here are the possible favorites for a trio of nerd lovers.


Fangirl Rainbow Rowell

Penny – While Penny is not much of a reader, I’m sure there are a few titles that may grab her interest.  One of the first things you find out about Penny is her background.  She is from Nebraska and learned how to be both girly and tough.  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is a recent book, published only this year, about twin sisters who are about to begin their college lives and learn a bit about themselves.  Cath and Wren’s story takes place in Nebraska, Penny’s home state.  While she may find a commonality between the girls, she also might be interested in Cath’s fan fiction based on a Harry Potter-esqe book series.  She is new to the world of pop culture fandoms, but she has sure learned a thing or two from her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Leonard.  Speaking of Leonard, another title that Penny may enjoy is called Geek Charming by Robin Palmer.  In this story, the popular Dylan accidentally throws her expensive, brand name bag into a fountain.  Geek Josh rescues her bag in exchange for Dylan’s permission to use her as the subject of his documentary.  Penny will relate to the juxtaposition of the romance between Josh and Dylan and possibly draw parallels to her own relationship.  Finally, I want to add one more title, mainly because Penny does show in interest in sports and breaking down the gender stereotypes by being both feminine and tough.  In Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (2007 Best Books for Young Adults), D.J. struggles with balancing her work on her family’s dairy farm, her love of football, and her attraction to a member of the opposing team.  While I know that Penny doesn’t play football, she may enjoy D.J.’s story of identity and unsuspecting love.

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Put Your Trust in an Unreliable Narrator

photo attributed to Flickr user w00kie
photo attributed to Flickr user w00kie

Some of my favorite novels are those where the narrator is unreliable.  This is usually  due to an impaired mental state like schizophrenia or amnesia.  Whatever the case, unreliable narrators don’t usually present themselves right away, but when they do they seem to turn the novel you are reading upside down–and I love it when that happens!  Reading becomes exciting, because you realize that you don’t know where the story is going and you have to decide: are you going to risk it and put your trust in your narrator or are you going to be suspicious of him or her all the way to the last page?

There has been a bit of buzz about unreliable narrators recently.  Teen Librarian Toolbox recently posted about unreliable narrators, inspired by reading Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead.  Beth Revis posted a cool look at why she thinks unreliable narrators are so popular right now and why she chose to make her main character in Across the Universe unreliable.  Finally, check out this post on Stacked that talks about the mini-trend of amnesia fiction.  Generally if your main character has amnesia, there is something unreliable about them; they are missing some key parts of their memory that would definitely make the mystery easier to solve.

If you’re interested in taking a chance with an unreliable narrator, then check out the list of titles I compiled below.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you!


Jukebooks: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

There is a lovely symmetry between Beth Revis’s Across the Universe and the Beatles’s haunting song of the same title. The stanzas in the Beatles song describe restless images tumbling through the mind, as if in a dream, similar to Amy as she makes her way across the universe. Meanwhile, Elder is fixed in his world, set to become the next leader. He could be responding to Amy’s whirling visions with the steady, “Nothing’s gonna change my world.”

Or maybe I’m stretching it too far! Have a listen and tell me what you think.

across the universe











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New Short Story Anthologies

With the upcoming release of what is sure to be a wonderful short story anthology edited by Neil Gaiman, Unnatural Creatures, I’ve seen many interesting new short storiy anthologies geared towards young adults. Inspired and intrigued by this new spate of collections, I’ve investigated some of the newest and most appealing.

The short story can appeal to the voracious, if slightly scattered reader: it gives you just enough to keep you engaged and excited but leaves you wanting more. One could say anthologies of this kind are like tapas: multiple little delicious appetizers that by themselves wouldn’t fill you up, but put them together and they make a satisfying meal. I’ve spent my time reading through these great new short story anthologies for your tasting pleasure.

afterAfter: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
This is the perfect book for the reader who just can’t get enough dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction. All of the selections are set after various terrible and world-ending events have taken place. Whether it be a terrible disease that turns people into vampires who hunt in packs or beetles who eat all metal (including the fillings in your teeth) or a dispatch from a resident of a world where education has deteriorated to the point of nonexistence, all are thought-provoking. This book also includes a story set in the world of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy, a treat for fans! My highlight of the book? “The Segment” by Genevieve Valentine, where news broadcasts are scripted and cast as precisely as a Hollywood blockbuster, and a popular news story brings an actor the danger of worldwide recognition.


Copycat Covers: YA Book Covers That Make You Look Twice

DoppelgangersOkay, I admit it. I’m getting older and having more trouble remembering things like the names of YA books I’ve read. I can sometimes remember them by their distinctive covers, but lately, that’s gotten harder because of the trend to make all the books look similar to one another. I don’t know if that’s deliberate by the publishers or just because there are so many YA books being published now (particularly paranormal books), and there are an finite number of covers artists can come up with. I know that the topic of covers is one that we never get tired of writing about, judging by the number of recent posts on the topic.

I could go on and on about how the covers of these books, mainly paranormals, objectify the female body, or parts of the female body, and portray the female characters in a passive role without giving the reader any hint about what the female character is actually doing in the books, but I’m going to leave that for a future post.


If You Like This Book, Try This App

photo courtesy of Flickr user William Hook
photo courtesy of Flickr user William Hook
I love books, my iPad, and match-making, so in honor of Teen Tech Week, a YALSA initiative that promotes ethical and competent use of technology, I wanted to pair some of my new favorite books with some of my favorite apps.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseFans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the History of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Printz Honor Award) will enjoy the Go SkyWatch Planetarium Guide for iPad or Google Sky Map for Android devices. Both use GPS locators to generate a map of the sky with a guide to all the planets and stars, complete with interesting information. It’s the perfect app to take out into the desert for some stargazing, just like Aristotle and Dante loved to do.

Those who loved Across the Universe by Beth Revis (2011 Readers’ Choice nominee) can explore the universe from the comfort of their own home with Solar Walk for iPhone or iPad or Solar Planets 3D for Android devices. Both these apps are tours of our solar system that allow users to zoom in on planets while learning the history of space exploration. Who says you need a spaceship to navigate through space and time?

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Connecting with Authors on Twitter

In 140-character messages called tweets, Twitter allows people from all walks of life to share thoughts, links to webpages, and images. Add a select group of followers and you can keep your messages between friends — or add celebrities, organizations, and movements whose messages will take your feed to a bigger scale. You can follow people with mundane insights like me @LPerenic, or learn about major political change from President Obama (@BarackObama). If you aren’t sure where to begin and browsing is how you often stumble upon new things, a good place to start is the discover feature on Twitter, where you have the option to browse categories, including books. This category has 60-some rotating suggestions of book-related tweeters (twits? tweeps?) who might be fun to follow.


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Teen Reader Profile: Sabrina K.

sabrina feetMy taste level in reading is similar to that of food. Sometimes, I dare to be adventurous and try something new or exotic, wanting to experience different tastes or experiences from the norm. Other times, I stay in my comfort zone and eat the same thing over and over again because the expected is already known. No matter what my choice the choice is though, I always expect the best quality of food possible — in both presentation and execution.

At age 13, I found the classics to be my “calling.” The piece that stuck out to me most was Shakespeares Hamlet. I felt that I could relate to the Prince Hamlet, because I, too, felt that my perception of the world around me was quickly changing. The idea of backstabbing was all too familiar to me at age 13, and I wanted to read someone else’s account on how they dealt with the situation. It was this relatability that I had with the prince that lead me towards reading books that I, as a reader, could easily relate to. The sentiment of feeling alone, a weird teenager — that void was filled when I found books that had protagonists with similar stories and voices.

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