Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, September 18 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
ISBN:  978-0062840356

Enchanted feels as if she is in a dream when music star Korey Fields mentors her singing career, but the dream quickly turns into an obsessive, violent nightmare. This book addresses the pattern of grown men abusing their power and being excused for their misogynistic behaviors, while young girls are blamed.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, September 18 Edition

#QP2018 Nominees Round Up

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
ISBN: 9781481489331

Tash Zelenka is head-over-heels in love with Leo Tolstoy. She channels her passion and her prodigious snark into the Web series she creates with her best friend Jack, a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina called Unhappy Families, which boasts a modest following. When a famous Internet personality gives their series a shoutout online, Unhappy Families experiences sudden overnight fame, resulting in overwhelming helpings of accolades, inevitable trolls, and pressure to deliver like they’ve never experienced before.
Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees Round Up

Vidcon Special: Youtuber and YA Book Crossovers

While librarians will be arriving in droves in Orlando for the 2016 American Library Association Annual Conference in the next few days, across the continent in Anaheim, another theme-parked arena, flocks of digital content fans and creators will be swarming for the 7th annual Vidcon, June 23-25, and many of these attendees will be teens. Studies are showing that a majority of teens are big consumers of online video. Short Vines are grabbing interest, but Youtube is still where a lot of time is being spent watching favorite Youtubers,  and for some of the Youtube stars, the fandoms run deep. Youtuber-YA Crossover-2

In honor of Vidcon, here are a handful of Youtubers with huge fan bases that have recently published books, and some YA book suggestion crossovers that might have some of the same appeals and feels.

tyler oakleyBinge by Tyler Oakley

Tyler Oakley – 8+ million subscribers

Book – Binge

Oakley began making videos in 2007, and is a leading youth voice for LGBTQ+ rights and teen suicide prevention.  Binge can be laugh out loud funny and turn around and be deeply heartfelt and inspiring.  Aside from his Youtube channel, he also has a podcast: Psychobabble Tyler Oakley.

simon        9780525428848_HoldMeCloser_BOM_CV.indd         Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli (2016 Morris Award Winner, 2016 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Character-driven, heartfelt, and authentic, this will appeal to Oakley fans with both its humor and feels. Not-so-openly-gay Simon Spier is falling in love with an online friend whose identity he is uncertain of, but is pretty sure that he goes to his school. When a classmate uncovers his secret relationship, he blackmails Simon into helping him try to win over one of Simon’s best friends. Simon fears of being outed are less about being ostracized, and more about what will change once everyone knows. Though on one side this is a light-hearted and romantic novel it also deals with the difficulty of change, complexity of identity, and the importance of growth

Hold Me Closer: the Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Written in play format, the larger-than-life Tiny Cooper is telling his life story as a musical.  A hopeless romantic with a witty take on life, Tiny hits the issues head-on. Both Tiny and Oakley serve as positive role models and cheerleaders, each with a charming sense of humor. Tiny also has real depth in his autobiographical play that Oakley fans will resonate with as he looks at the sober side of the nature of love.

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

This book parallels Binges as a  book of self discovery, and of finding and managing the Diva within. Equally filled with hysterical hijinks, Better Nate is the story of a small town 8th-grade boy running away to New York City to follow his dreams of being on Broadway in a musical production of E.T. As Nate gradually falls in love with the city, issues bubble up around sexuality, family, and of who you are, and can be, in the world. Continue reading Vidcon Special: Youtuber and YA Book Crossovers

Booklist: Shakespeare-inspired YA Fiction

If you haven’t already heard 2016 is a big year for Shakespeare and his famous First Folio! His First Folio will be going on a tour across all 50 states for the rest of the year. Check out more about it here

Shakespeare's Folio courtesy of the Folger Library

If you’re like me, you read Shakespeare in school and even on your own, and fell in love with his plays.

“What more is there to love?” you might ask. Well there is more than one way to love reading Shakespeare! These authors have retold some of Shakespeare’s biggest stories and some have set him center stage in the tale they have to tell. These stories are great for the most well versed Shakespeare fan, and for those that are new to the Bard.

Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

This is the story of what happens after Romeo & Juliet. Their families are still fighting and no one seems to know how to end their feud. Then the prince comes up with a plan. One member of each family must marry, ending the rivalry. When Romeo’s best friend, Benvolio, and Juliet’s cousin, Rosaline, are chosen they are quite skeptical. Can they save Verona and their families?

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman

A contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this story takes place over summer break. Geena thinks her break spent with her cousin and her best friend will be one for the ages, but unfortunately things do not go as planned. This tale is full of mistaken identities, romance, and crazy schemes, making it a fun, modern day equivalent to Shakespeare’s famous play.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Another contemporary story with parallels to Shakespeare’s work, this time being King Lear. Cady comes from a privileged family, the Sinclairs. They have their own island where they summer, but one year everything changes and Cady is trying to figure out what truly happened to her that previous summer. E. Lockhart writes a twisting tale that would make the Bard proud.

Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meyer

This is the fictionalized story of how Shakespeare met his real life wife, Anne Hathaway. Anne is a simple farmer’s daughter and is quickly becoming distressed about her marriage prospects. When the much younger Will Shakespeare kisses her, their lives change forever. Read how Shakespeare’s own love story was fit for a play! Continue reading Booklist: Shakespeare-inspired YA Fiction

YA Literary Trope: The Buried Memories

Welcome back readers! We are wrapping up our on-going discussion of literary tropes: common recurring themes found in YA literature.  So far we have examined The Old Clunker I Drive, The I Already Know you Introduction, The I Have to Take Care of my Parent(s), The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (and Boy), the A-Hole Friends, the Awesome Outfit, The Repressed Protagonist , and The Goofball Best Friend.  All good things come to an end.  But before we say goodbye to these weekly tropes, let us not forget: The Buried Memories. BEWARE, SPOILERS AHEAD!

YA Literary Tropes The Buried Memories YALSA the hub

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  Cady has always spent her summers on the private island off the coast near Cape Cod with her wealthy family plus a “special” family friend.  But something happened two summers ago– and Cady cannot remember.  According to her mother, Cady has been told the truth of what happened that night over and over, and everytime she forgets again.   So, she returns to the island to try to dig up her memories.  No matter how many times I re-read this fantastic tale, I cannot help the shock I feel when Cady remembers the truth.

Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.  Hazel and Ben grew up in Fairfold; a small town like many others.  Except for the Fairies, they live there too.  Oh, and there is a boy encapsulated in time asleep in a glass coffin in the woods.  Usually the humans and the others live in symbiosis in Fairfold.  But there are attacks. There are unexplained disappearances.  When the siblings were younger, Hazel toted a antique sword and pretended to be a Knight while Ben played his flute and “enchanted” the monsters.  But something happened, and now Hazel is just an average girl and Ben never plays music anymore.  Hazel navigates her way through the murkiness of fairy rules and memories taken from her, and what she learns is shocking. Continue reading YA Literary Trope: The Buried Memories

Cross-Unders Revisited: Great Teen Books for Tween Readers

Today’s post is co-written by myself and Kenzie Moore. Kenzie is a student in her final semester of Syracuse University iSchool’s MLIS program, where she’s been focusing on teen services in between watching episodes of Teen Wolf and going to One Direction concerts. You can connect with her on Twitter.

It feels like every day we meet new tweens who are reading above their grade level and seeking recommendations. Cross-unders, or teen books with tween appeal, were well-covered in this 2013 Hub post from Erin Bush and Diane Colson. The YALSA Blog chimed in with reasons why these books are an important part of a teen collection serving reluctant and ELL teen readers as well as advanced tweens and younger teens. Knowing how frequently we search for titles to fit these diverse needs, Kenzie and I offer some additional cross-under suggestions. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

Cross-Unders Collage for the Hub

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie — 14-year-old Junior is going to do something he thought was impossible: he’s going to leave the Spokane Indian reservation where he lives. Not permanently or anything, but he deserves better than decades-old math books, and he’s mad about it. Mad enough to do something. Sherman Alexie’s highly-buzzed book deals with some complicated topics: bullying, racism, alcoholism, but it also deals with what it is like to find your own path to walk as a young person. That, combined with the humor in Junior’s voice and his drawings that pepper the pages, is going to make this a high-appeal book for readers just starting to dip their toes into the teen waters. Continue reading Cross-Unders Revisited: Great Teen Books for Tween Readers

Book/Life Pairings

MultitaskingFinalHow do you fit reading into life? Everywhere of course! Here are some fun suggestions of how to incorporate books into (almost) all parts of your life. I guess there are some events where books don’t belong… But you may be surprised by these multitasking opportunities.

Running/Vigorous Exercise

Some fast paced audio that will make you want to work out every day and never stop!

The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Knife of Never Letting Go

 

The Knife Of Never Letting Go
(and Chaos Walking series)

(2011 Odyssey Honor Audiobook, 2011 Top Ten Audio Books for Young Adults, 2009 Best Books for Young Adult)

by Patrick Ness and Nick Podehl

The action-packed audio book will help you keep up an energetic pace and be thoroughly entertained all the while.  Podehl’s amazing narration enhances Ness’ Sci-fi world which consists of only men whose thoughts are audible. Bonus: best talking dog voice ever.

Girl, Stolen

by April Henry and Kate Rudd

(2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Here is a thrill ride of a book that will keep you on your toes.  Follow Cheyenne, a sixteen year old girl who is blind, as she gets kidnapped accidentally by a car thief.  Clever Cheyenne methodically and systematically plans her escape while poor mistreated wannabe criminal Griffin tries to do the right thing in spite of his horrendous family.

Divergent (and sequels)

(2012 Quick Picks for Young Adults , 2012 Teens Top Ten )

Divergent Audio
Divergent Audio

by Veronica Roth and Emma Galvin

This nail-biting gritty tale is perfect to listen to and get in shape!  You will run like a Dauntless trying to catch a train as you join Tris on her epic search for the truth in post-apocalyptic Chicago.

 

Continue reading Book/Life Pairings

Narrators You Love to Hate in YA Lit

upauthors.com
upauthors.com

Unreliable, whiney, un-likable, liars—we’ve all read characters like this!  I love to read a good book with a “bad” (and/or unreliable) narrator. This kind of flawed storyteller reaches to the reader and asks us to question, look deeper, and ponder truth and lies. It is a sign of an excellent author who can manipulate you to love the book and hate the character. Skilled writers make the reader believe the lies and then accept the truth.

Here are some favorite examples of protagonists I love to hate.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

  • In this year’s Printz Award recipient I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson twins Noah and Jude lie to each other, lie to their parents, and lie to themselves (and by extension to us: the reader). With all the lies it’s no wonder there was so much to reveal in this tale. The sneakiness and bad treatment of each other made me distinctly dislike them. But Nelson also juxtaposed the twins’ nastiness with descriptions of how deeply they love each other.
  • Cadence from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults). Here is what I consider to be a likeable character and one whom I really felt for. But what if I knew the truth of what really happened that summer at the beginning of this book? Would I still have felt so sympathetic towards Cady?
  • Froi and Quintana from Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles. Only Melina Marchetta (Printz Award winner) could take a predatory lowlife like Froi was when we first met him in Finnikin of the Rock (2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults) and turn him around so distinctly then lead him to star in his own story. Froi is redeemed in Finnikin of the Rock; grows in Froi of the Exiles, and become a hero in Quintana of Charyn. In the second installment of the Lumatere Chronicles Marchetta also introduces Quintana: one of the grossest characters I have ever imagined in a book and quickly made me love her. Quintana is prickly, deranged, damaged, paranoid, abused, and abusive. But she becomes a hero too—fiercely protective and thoroughly decent.

Continue reading Narrators You Love to Hate in YA Lit

Reading List for International Women’s Day

The UN's theme for International Women's Day this year is Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!
The UN’s theme for International Women’s Day this year is Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!

Yesterday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, a holiday born out of women protesting their work in garment factories, trying to get the right to vote, and later just celebrating and trying to better the roles of women in the world. In fact in the United States, the U.K. and Australia, the entire month of March is identified as a celebration of Women’s History.

For many people, celebrating women’s history and women in general goes hand in hand with being a feminist. In 2014, feminist – being a person who believes in gender equality – became a cultural concept very much in the spotlight. Reporters and bloggers asked celebrities if they identified as feminists; Beyonce performed at the MTV music awards in front of a giant “FEMINIST” sign; and Time magazine controversially added the word to a poll of words to be banned. Other serious issues such as campus rape and Gamergate harassment made the lives of women and their treatment take center stage.

I didn’t self-identify as a feminist until middle or high school because I didn’t know that there was a word for what I had felt my whole life: that women and girls were unquestioningly the equal to men and boys and that we had the right to exciting, meaningful, and amazing books. I feel so happy and privileged to go up in a house where my 8 year old intention to be a brain surgeon during the day and a concert pianist at night was met with a supportive, “Ok.” I didn’t quite reach those heights but my family never made me feel like I couldn’t do that because I was a girl. Sadly, this is not the norm throughout the whole world, and not even in the United States.

Tangibly, materially, and in terms of rights and freedoms, there is a lot to be done for women and girls throughout the world and our country. But one of the things libraries and bookstores and readers can do is to read about lives of women and girls. By reading and sharing stories of women and girls we can show others the amazing things women can do. We can also share the struggles of women and girls and help inspire change.

Here are just a handful of books I’ve read recently that have a strong, pro-women message. They present women and girls who are strong without being caricatures; emotional without being a harmful stereotype; and most of all, full realized characters with hopes, dreams, and struggles.


gabiGabi, a Girl in Pieces
by Isabel Quintero (2015 Morris winner and Amelia Bloomer Project list): Gabi is a girl that I simultaneously wish I knew in high school or had been in high school. She doesn’t have all the answers but is still so confident in herself even when dealing with sexuality, her weight, family tragedies, her friends’ pregnancy and coming out, and more. She has a wonderful message of power and sense of self that speaks well to girls both struggling and not. This is also one of the few YA books I’ve read with abortion as a plot point.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman (2013 Alex Award): Rory Dawn has a hard life growing up in her Nevada trailer park and desperately wants to be a Girl Scout. This is a great meditation on the expectations of girlhood and poverty.  Continue reading Reading List for International Women’s Day

If Teen Books Could Tweet

As I was checking Twitter – for work! – last week I stumbled upon a woman tweeting a generic dystopian YA novel. Her “novel” has the stereotypical hallmarks of the genre: an oppressive, stratified soceity, some sort of testing, a love triangle, the trope of the “Chosen One.” It’s great. I love dystopian YA novels, so at first I was a little annoyed, but it’s actually really wonderful. Take a look: 

So funny! And it got me thinking, “If other teen books could tweet or characters in those books, what would they tweet about?” I came up with a few for fun:

The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Divergent
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Continue reading If Teen Books Could Tweet