12 Books for Fans of I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

The 2015 Printz Award winner I’ll Give You the Sun is finding more and more fans in my library, and readers often connect with the story of artists, of grief, and family, or enjoy the lyrical writing and love story. Some love the dual voices and structure.

Whether they loved the style or the plot of Noah and Jude’s story, readers will find a new book to fall in love with on this list. I’ve tried to include a mix of older and sometimes overlooked titles as well as a few new releases for those who seem to have already read everything.

If you like I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN - YALSA's The Hub

The Brilliant Light of the Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow

This tender romance is all about life and love and letting go and growing up. Francis and Amber meet in a cancer ward, but this isn’t just another cancer romance. It’s full of wit and humor and features a goofy, awkward family in addition to the love story.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 

This just might be the cutest YA romance of 2015. Simon meets another guy who is gay but not yet out on his school’s gossip tumblr, and they begin exchanging flirty emails…but will they ever meet in real life? Readers who loved Noah’s coming out and falling in love story in I’ll Give You the Sun should definitely check out this recent debut. Continue reading 12 Books for Fans of I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Portrait of The Artist As a Young Adult: Celebrating Youth Art Month in YA Lit

youth art month post .jpgA variety of scientific studies have proposed that scent is a powerful trigger for memory, and for me, that has certainly been true.  Cinnamon and ginger will always kindle the warm anticipation associated with my family’s Christmas cookie baking. Similarly, there’s a particular combination of musky hairspray, sweat, & dust that immediately brings back the nerves and adrenaline of theatrical performances.  And finally, the smell of fresh drawing paper, pencil shavings, and paint fumes will always be thrilling and soothing for me.  Why?  Because those scents symbolize a key aspect of my adolescent identity: being an artist.

By high school, art was embedded into my daily life.  I took classes at school and at a local art studio, where I also worked as a teaching assistant for a couple hours every Saturday.  I doodled during play practices and spent hours agonizing over pieces for local shows.  When I drew, my intense focus could be alternatively relaxing, exciting, or frustrating–especially if the piece wasn’t working out.  However, it was always a transporting experience–a time to escape my life and be more present in myself.

Accordingly, I’m always keen to find stories that explore and celebrate the varied roles of visual art in the lives of young adults.   And as March is Youth Art Month, it seems like the perfect time to share some novels featuring young artists.

page by paigePage by Paige – Laura Lee Gulledge (2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)  When her family moves from Virginia to Brooklyn, Paige’s only friend and solace is her trusty sketchbook.  Through her drawings, Paige can be her adventurous, clever artist self– but taking that identity into the big, overwhelming world is a whole different story.  Spanning her first eight months in New York, Paige’s journey of new friendships, tentative romance, and growing artistic confidence unfurls through imaginative & organic images.  Continue reading Portrait of The Artist As a Young Adult: Celebrating Youth Art Month in YA Lit

Teen Tech Week: YA Lit Characters on Pinterest

TTW14_featureslideIn honor of YALSA’s Teen Tech Week, I wanted to imagine some YA book characters using one of my favorite social media tools: Pinterest. Pinterest is a great way to create nice looking collections of Web sites you want to remember or images that inspire you.

Some of my fellow Hub bloggers and I had fun getting creative with this– take a look at some of our boards inspired by a few books and series. Click on the links or the pictures to see more pins!

Geri Diorio’s page for Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon

  Continue reading Teen Tech Week: YA Lit Characters on Pinterest

Books For Every Class In Your Schedule (Part 3)

Photo by JohnathanLobel. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Photo by JohnathanLobel. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Today we will finish up our class schedule with books on math, history and art!

Period 6: Math – Gretchen Kolderup
Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies) by Justina Chen
Patty Ho is half-Taiwanese and half-white, a math genius, and in trouble with her mother after a fortune teller sees a white boy in her future. When her mom ships her off to math camp for the summer, she thinks she’s in for months of boredom surrounded by Asian math nerds.
But things might not be as desperate as they seem (she does meet a cute boy!), and Patty might just learn something about her family and herself. Well-developed characters and a relatable story of discovering who people are beneath the surface. Continue reading Books For Every Class In Your Schedule (Part 3)

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Page Count

I was recently approached by someone looking for a book recommendation. When I asked what kind of books she liked, she responded, “big, thick, chapter books.” We worked through what she was really looking for and I was able to make some recommendations, but ever since this interaction, I have had page counts on my mind.

Like they did with that patron, longer books seem to make an impact. They are easy to see on a shelf, and working through long books can sometimes feel like an accomplishment. Goodreads values page count by displaying stats on how many pages users have read in a year and highlighting the longest title off to the side. When I read Night by Elie Wiesel, a 109-page non-fiction title, I noticed that the cover of this particular edition had a New York Times quote calling the book “a slim volume of terrifying power.” It may not have been the intention, but this seems like it is justifying the book’s page count. Would that have been necessary if it was 400 pages?

I certainly have nothing against long books (thanks to Goodreads I know that the longest book I have read so far this year had 694 pages), but I do appreciate finding good stories that will not weigh down my purse on my commute.  I have compiled a short list of books with 260 or fewer pages* that have been award winners, list makers, and/or simply fun reads.

Boy meets boyPaper Covers Rock coverspeakThe Lovers Dictionarymonster_calls_coverprom and prejudice elizabeth eulbergan abundance of katherines john green coverdramalove and other perishable items laura buzo morris sealwhere things come back john corey whaley paperback cover printz morrisgraffiti moon 4Dash-Lilys-Book-of-Dares

Continue reading Don’t Judge a Book by Its Page Count

Nonfiction Picks for Fans of Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Graffiti Moon is the story of Lucy, a girl who hopes to meet the local graffiti artist known as Shadow on the night after her high school graduation. She is so inspired and moved by Shadow’s murals of birds in flight and girls with lawnmowers that she is convinced she even has a crush on him. Lucy agrees to accompany her friends and two boys, Ed and Leo, who promise they know the artist, to a party. The novel captures one night as Lucy searches for the elusive Shadow, only to discover that all along, he’s been much closer than she could have imagined.

Graffiti art is more than “tags” of stylized fonts or squiggles of spray paint on signs and the walls of abandoned warehouses or overpasses. It can also take the form of vivid and startling murals or politically subversive stencils. In the last few decades, it’s changed the way people think about what art is and has broken the boundaries between public and private space.

  • Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant is full of images of urban street art and has a historical feel to it. The styles may seem dated to some teens, but the visuals are still stunning.
  • The Grafitti Wall: Street Art from Around the World, edited by Cristian Campos, is a more recent survey of graffiti art and looks beyond New York to artists from across the globe. Though there isn’t much text, it’s a dual language book in both Spanish and English, which may make it appealing to teens whose first language is Spanish.

Shadow’s murals are often accompanied by bits of verse written by his friend, Poet. He even shares some of his favorite poets.

Continue reading Nonfiction Picks for Fans of Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Teen Perspective: Three Reasons to Read

[Today’s post is by Lauren, an 8th grader. Thanks for sharing your perspective with our readers, Lauren!]

ya fictionIt’s not really a big deal when someone says to me, “I don’t really read books that often.” Alright, so it might be a small deal. But when I hear a fellow classmate say, “Books,” (pause for obnoxious laughter), “who reads those!” I feel like grumbling. Grumbling is not particularly attractive, mind you, therefore I try not to do it.

When people insult the thing I spend most of my free time doing, my grumbling feels slightly justified. How can someone disregard the slight whoosh when strolling through the automatic doors of the totally not dusty and old but actually super amazing library? The overwhelming sense of being surrounded by so many lives full of emotion and tragedy and inside jokes? How can someone not be in awe of how these incredible people called writers have managed to harness meaningless words and turn them into your best friends?

In case you are one of those people who are unfamiliar with these feelings, I’ll give three reasons why reading is cool and two books worth checking out.

Continue reading Teen Perspective: Three Reasons to Read

America’s Next Top Book Cover: Season 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, everyone on the interweb is reflecting on the “best of” from the past twelve months. Here at The Hub, we’re joining in the fun by listing some of our favorite book covers of the year. Enjoy a look through the image gallery, then read more to find out why each cover was selected. Tell us your favorites in the comments!

Continue reading America’s Next Top Book Cover: Season 2012

Art Therapy, or, Portrait of the Artist in Teen Lit

A few months ago, I read an Advanced Readers Copy of Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. I knew I wanted to write something about it because a) I really loved the experience of reading it, and b) it’s fresh. Seriously, to me it was like delicious minty gum. I pondered what to say about it, how to express that cool breeze it gave me.

In the story, Lucy has been pining for a mysterious street artist who goes by the moniker Shadow, even though she doesn’t even know what he looks like. Through Lucy’s descriptions of his work, and later in his own voice, we realize that Shadow is no punk tagging his name around town, but a true and thought-provoking artist very much like the real life virtuoso known as Banksy. (If you haven’t seen the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, check it out from your library immediately.)

Thinking about this aspect of the book brought on my aha! moment. It’s not only that the story centers around visual art (Lucy is herself a glass blower—how cool is that?), it’s how the book gives the reader the sense of catharsis that visual expression can give. It also emphasizes the passion that artists have for their own craft, and the love and appreciation they can feel for the work of others.

Continue reading Art Therapy, or, Portrait of the Artist in Teen Lit