Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2020) Nominees Round Up, March 15 Edition

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus
Delacorte Press / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
ISBN: 978-1524714727

After their mother is sent to rehab, Ellery, a true-crime enthusiast, and her twin brother Ezra move in with their grandmother, who lives in Echo Ridge. This small town in Vermont with a history of unsolved cases involving missing and murdered teenage girls, includes the disappearance of their mother’s identical twin sister over two decades ago. When new threats emerge targeting the homecoming queen and yet another girl goes missing, Ellery enlists the help of Malcolm, the younger brother of prime murder suspect Declan Kelly, determined to solve the mystery.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2020) Nominees Round Up, March 15 Edition

What Would They Read?: Brody Nelson from CSI: Cyber

Crime dramas are very popular, so much so that many shows (NCIS, CSI, Law & Order, to name a few) have spawned spin-offs which then become popular as well. CSI: Cyber is no exception.

CSI Cyber

This criminal show follows a team that tracks criminals who are using technology to commit their crimes. One of the newest members of this team is Brody Nelson, a convicted hacker who uses his computer skills to catch cyber criminals. If Brody were to walk in today and ask for a good book to read, this is what I’d offer him:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2009 Best Books for Young Adults) is an obvious choice. After a major terrorist attack, Marcus and his friends are suspected of orchestrating the attack due to their skills as hackers. Although Marcus is cleared of wrongdoing, he has to use his hacking skills to rescue one of his friends who was not so lucky. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Brody Nelson from CSI: Cyber

Big Hero 6 readalikes

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When I first heard about the Big Hero 6 movie, I got really excited! It has two of my favorite things in it: a group of diverse, geeky friends who love science and a giant robot that looks a bit like the Michelin Man! What could be better?

The movie, which is loosely based on a comics series which I’ll talk about shortly, revolves around teenaged science genius Hiro Hamada. After an accident at a lab where he is working, he decides to transform Baymax, his brother’s “personal healthcare companion” robot into a fighting machine. Enlisting the help of his other science genius friends: Wasabi; Gogo; Honey Lemon; and Fred; the six of them decide to take on the man who orchestrated the lab explosion.

It was a great movie filled with lots of laughter, exciting action sequences, and I’ll admit, a few heartfelt moments that brought tears to my eyes! If you liked the movie and are looking for some readalikes that feature teams of super-powered teens, some awesome science, and diverse characters, check these out:

Big Hero 6 Comics originally created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau: There are actually way more than 6 main characters who rotate in and out of the comics, forming Japan’s great superhero team. The style(s) looks really different from the movie version but could be a fascinating read for big fans.

Why you’d like if if you liked Big Hero 6: To get back to the source material, of course! I admit that I haven’t read any of the comics but it would be interesting to see how they differ from the Disney adaptation. Continue reading Big Hero 6 readalikes

2014 Teens’ Top Ten: An Interview with Brandon Sanderson

The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Celebrate Teen Literature Day, the Thursday of National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.

The votes are in for 2014, and the winners have been announced– and we’re featuring them here on The Hub. Today we bring you an interview with Brandon Sanderson, who appears TWICE on this year’s list, for his books The Rithmatist and Steelheart.

You’ve been writing for years, why turn towards YA?
I dipped my toes into middle grade with my Alcatraz series soon after I got published. I hadn’t written a YA before, but I wanted to—for the same reason I write epic fantasy: there are awesome things I can do in in epic fantasy that I can’t do in other genres. And there are awesome things I can do in teen fiction that I don’t feel I can get away with in the same way in adult fiction.

Science fiction and fantasy have a very fascinating connection with YA fiction. If you look at some of the series I loved as a youth—the Wheel of Time, Shannara, and the Eddings books, for example—these have enormous teen crossover. In fact, when you get to something like the Eddings books, you’ve got to wonder if they would’ve been shelved in the teen section in a later era.

Back up even further to the juveniles that were written by Heinlein and others, and we see that teen fiction has been an integral part of science fiction and fantasy. Some of the early fantasy writings—things like Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and C.S. Lewis’s works—were foundational in how the fantasy genre came to be.

So YA feels like a very natural thing for me to be writing because I enjoy it and I respect what it has done for the genres.

How did it feel to have 2 books on the Top Ten list this year?
I’m honored and grateful that teens are enjoying my books.

Continue reading 2014 Teens’ Top Ten: An Interview with Brandon Sanderson

Notes From a Teens’ Top Ten Book Group Participant: Can I Be a Rithmatist?

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Voting is open for YALSA’s 2014 Teens’ Top Ten book list- a “teen choice” list where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Readers ages twelve to eighteen will vote between August 15 and Teen Read Week, and the top ten titles will be announced on October 20.

Books are nominated by members of Teens’ Top Ten book groups in school and public libraries around the country, and to add to the excitement surrounding this much-anticipated book list, we’re featuring posts from these teens here on The Hub.

Here’s Ashley Hum from Book Hook at the Cecil County Public Library in Maryland to introduce one of this year’s Teens’ Top Ten nominees, The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson:

I’ll start off by saying that this is my favorite kind of book. There’s a fantasy world, with its own brand of magic, rife with epic duels and battles, with a pinch of murder and crime solving thrown in for good measure. What’s not to love?

rithmatist

In the book, Sanderson thoroughly develops his world, describing it in geographic, historical, and cultural terms. The United States has turned into an island nation of sixty small island united only in name. Through the character’s dialogue, we learn a little bit about the country’s history, such as the first Rithmatist, and the origins of the Battle of Nebrask that rages in the West. Culturally, the tension between Rithmatists and non-Rithmatists is developed through the author’s tone and events in the story. He also describes Rithmatics, the use of chalk lines for both defense and offense in duels and battles, very clearly. He explains through the characters’ dialogue as well as through diagrams.

The characters themselves are extremely realistic, with distinct personalities and behaviors. They don’t stray from character; they’re actually quite stubborn in sticking to their personalities. Joel is the son of the deceased chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, one of only eight schools in the Isles to teach Rithmatics. He’s quite bright, but only pays attention and studies subjects that catch his interest, i.e. Rithmatics. Melody, when we first meet her, is fairly whiny and annoying. But she grows up a bit over the course of the story, and turns out to be not so bad. She just needs a little more confidence and a little less drama. She and Joel make a great team. Then there is Professor Finch, a scholarly teacher of defense and Joel’s mentor of sorts, who doesn’t mind teaching a non-Rithmatist the art of Rithmatics. He’s smart as a whip. The characters in this book seem to have a life of their own!

The storyline definitely kept my attention. Rithmatists from Armedius are being murdered with chalklings. Their defenses are found chewed to pieces, and there’s blood in their defensive circles. There’s also a strange new Rithmatic line near each of the crime scenes. Joel, Melody, and Professor Finch must race to find the killer – and the meaning of the new line – before any more Rithmatists have to die. The revelation might surprise you.

The only thing I don’t like about this book is the fact that it ends in my least favorite sentence: “TO BE CONTINUED.” But of course, that means there will be more books, which is a very good thing. I can’t wait!

I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to escape this world to dive headfirst into another one. But don’t forget your chalk, because if you do, the professors have the authority to make you scrub floors for two hours straight.

-Ashley Hum