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Tag: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Are You Ready for Some Football?

It’s that time of year again– pull up a chair and get ready for football. Football season started already. If you can’t get enough football, here are some books for you. Of course, there are more football books than those below, so add your favorites in the comments.

football display

The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder
Lauren’s new to town and she’s trying to put her past behind her and move on. Colby lives in the same small town, but has visions of escaping somewhere where he isn’t known for his football skills.  Can the two of the find a way to belong in this small town?

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Jordan’s the quarterback for her high school football team. She’s awesome at her job, loves being in charge of the team and being one of the guys. When another QB comes to town, could her position be on the line?

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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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Feel Good YA

It seems YA lit is getting a reputation. Past controversies over “darkness” and “sick lit” and constant threats of challanges and censorship make it seem like the only thing YA has going for it is doom, gloom, drama, and adversity. But true YA readers, especially here at The Hub, know this isn’t the case. While most of the attention seems focused on the negative, there are plenty of uplifting and positive books that don’t always deal with the heavier subjects. Sure, we still love the dystopias, zombies, and drama-filled love triangles, but sometimes we need a good story with a happy and satisfying ending. Inspired by a teen reader who came to me recently looking for a book that would “just make me feel good,” here is a list of books that hopefully will make you smile, laugh, and maybe cry — but only happy tears.


  • Ten Miles Past NormalTen Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
    Janie has had enough of her parents’ granola, hippie lifestyle on their small farm and begins high school to find new friends and a new way of looking at the world.
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (2007 Best Books for Young Adults)
    D.J. Schwenk doesn’t get a lot of attention from her father (or anyone else really) until she decides to try out for the football team. Now everybody wants to know who exactly D.J. is — including herself.

Prom by the Covers

Dresses, tuxedos, up-dos … it can only mean one thing: prom is around the corner. Thankfully for all you prom-goers, inspiration for that perfect prom night is here! Each photo set below features mystery YA book covers with some rocking ideas for prom night. Read on to do some window shopping and test your knowledge of YA book covers at the same time. (To uncover the titles for each book, just highlight the text beside the correlating number.)

Let us know how many you got right in the comments!



1. Airhead – Meg Cabot

2. Amber House – Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed

3. Alice in Zombieland – Gena Showalter

4. Etiquette and Espionage – Gail Carriger

5.  The Catastrophic History of You and Me – Jess Rothenberg







Choose a Book by Its Cover

Every Day was one of The Atlantic Wire's most Wonderful Book Covers of 2012
Every Day was one of The Atlantic Wire’s most Wonderful Book Covers of 2012

Choosing a book by its cover is typically frowned upon, but lately I have been finding that it can be a great idea for both readers and libraries! Creating a book display centered solely on book cover art is not a new concept, but it is a visually appealing way to successfully recommend some good books. My library first learned about creating book recommendations based on the cover art for teens from another local teen librarian who was asking her teen advisory board to choose the next year’s lineup of book displays, with most of her displays choices being centered on similar visual imagery on book covers. What has been a surprise to me, though, is how popular some of our cover-themed displays have been with readers of all ages. They are eye-catching, they draw a browser in, and, as a result, we are constantly restocking these displays.


Teens as Caregivers in YA Novels

November is National Caregiver Month, a time to celebrate the caregivers in our lives. Who do you think of? I’m from a pretty traditional background, so I think of my parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. But I also was cared for by friends and mentors along the way. Just as each of us knows the importance of these people in our lives, so do many authors, and the theme of caregiving resounds from the pages of YA literature.

In many cases the teen characters of YA books are caregivers to each other. A group of friends (or enemies in some cases) will band together to survive against long odds or battle a tyrannical government. This is especially the case with many dystopian novels and is one of the reasons we love YA so. We see this in books like the Ashfall (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults) series by Mike Mullin, the Chaos Walking (2009 Best Books for Young Adults) series by Patrick Ness, the Ship Breaker (2011 Printz Award) series by Paolo Bacigalupi, the Lost (2011 Teens’ Top Ten Nominee) novels by Michael Grant, and the Unwind trilogy (2011 Top Ten Popular Paperbacks) by Neal Shusterman.

However, there some other ways in which teen characters are presented as caregivers.

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All I Need to Know I Learned from YA Fiction: Summer Job Tips from Your Favorite Books

By now you’re probably tired of every adult in your life asking you what you’re doing this summer. You’ve gone around to your favorite stores two or three times and are finally coming to the stark realization that all the best mall jobs were snatched up some time in April by kids who have more job experience than you. And there’s no way you’re babysitting again. So it’s time to get serious and take some much-needed advice from the most trustworthy source around: young adult fiction.

If a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Say you’re looking for fast cash the year before college and someone offers you $10,000 to help sail a boat from the Virgin Islands to New York City. What should you do? Just say no. The boat is clearly filled with drugs, and chances are you’ll end up in jail and won’t be lucky enough to turn yourself into a Newbery-Award-winning author later in life. —Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos

Jobs that seem like the worst are sometimes the best. Not everyone has their pick of jobs, so sometimes you have to take what you can get, even if it sounds like pure misery—like working in a women’s clothing boutique run by your Barbie-esque new stepmother. But how do you know you don’t like designer jeans, the color pink, and the 9 o’clock dance party unless you at least try them? —Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

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Late to the Party – Series to Catch Up With

There are many YA books out there and more coming out everyday and even more are parts of series. It can be hard to keep up on all the latest and greatest titles, so sometimes it’s helpful to look back and catch up on books that might have been missed the first time around. Here’s a list of series worth catching up with and some suggested pairings with recent reads.

The Thief (Newbery Honor 1997), The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia (2007 Best Book for Young Adults) and A Conspiracy of Kings (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults) by Megan Whalen Turner

Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series defines epic fantasy. It’s the sweeping tale, told over four books, of one of YA’s most enigmatic, complex and frustrating heroes: Eugenides. The royal thief who can steal anything finds himself time and time again in impossible situations and even more impossible escapes. It’s hard to tell if he’s serving the gods or taunting them by defying their gift’s blessings. With each book the stakes are raised as politics, war and, improbably, love, threaten not only Gen’s life, but his entire world. Turner’s masterful world-building and careful story crafting will appeal to those eagerly awaiting Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue, the final book in her Seven Kingdoms fantasy series.