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Tag: emmy laybourne

2014 Teens’ Top Ten: An Interview with Emmy Laybourne

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 Emmy Laybourne, who is on this year’s Teens’ Top Ten list for Monument 14: Sky on Fire.



How does it feel to be chosen in the Teens Top 10?
It feels absolutely fantastic that Sky On Fire was chosen as a Teens Top 10. It’s one thing to make it onto lists that booksellers put together, and entirely another to be put forward by teens themselves. Plus, check out the other names on the list! Holy smokes! Brandon Sanderson? Rick Yancey? Rainbow “my hero” Rowell?! I’m floored and honored beyond belief!

Do you think acting helped in your writing career?
Absolutely. It helped me to know how to create a character (and when you’re writing a book with fourteen kids trapped in a superstore together – you are juggling a lot of them). Working as an actor also taught me a lot about taking care of myself so that I can do good work. For example, when I’m drafting a book I go to bed early, I eat three square meals a day (with plenty of protein), I get to my office at the same time each day. I treat myself well so that I can produce!

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When Friends Become Family

As we draw close to Thanskgiving, we often turn our thoughts and plans to family. While there are YA characters who have strong families, astomorrow Jessica’s 2012 post  and Kelly’s post from last week shows, there are also lots of YA books where the protagonists have either lost family members, been separated from them, or never had a proper family to begin with. This doesn’t mean these characters have no family relationships, though. Lots of YA characters, when faced with a lack of a regular family, create their own. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Ellie and her friends in the Tomorrow series by John Marsden (the movie version was chosen as a Fabulous Film for Young Adults 2013). This action packed series, which starts with Tomorrow, When the War Began follows a group of Australian teenagers who go away for a camping trip and come back to find their country has been invaded. As the plot unfolds, the friends rely on each other more and more to be both fellow soldiers determined to take back their homes and a family that both provides emotional support and takes on the everyday tasks of making a place to live. I especially like that the last book in the series, The Other Side of Dawn, deals with the difficulty of reintegrating with their parents after the enforced separation and self-sufficiency, and the companion series, The Ellie Chronicles, continues to explore the toll that war takes on families, both given and self-made. Although I haven’t yet read them, I think Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 series (2014 Teens’ Top Ten) covers some of the same ground in terms of a family forged out of necessity. 
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Wolverine Through Books

Over the weekend, I had a chance to see the new Wolverine movie, and it was everything I’d hoped for. I’m a big fan of the X-Men movies and Wolverine in general. It takes place after the X-Men trilogy, following the death of Jean, which destroys Logan. Here’s a look at the movie through books.

japanese gate amidst rubbleWorld War II Bombing of Nagasaki

  • Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
    The history of making of the atomic bomb from the scientists who worked on it, to the KGB officers who wanted to steal it, to the British who tried to sabotage the Germans to keep them from making their own.
  • World War II in the Pacific: From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki by R. Conrad Stein
    History of the battles in the Pacific starting with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and ending with the dropping of the second atomic bomb.
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By the Numbers – YA books with Numbers in the Titles

from flickr user Erin Watson

School’s back in session, and that means many of us are having to use numbers again — whether it’s in mathematics, science, or some other class where numbers are used.

In looking at YA fiction that’s come out this so far this year, I’ve noticed that in addition to the many one-word titles (Starters, Above, Struck, Momentum, Quarantine, etc.), there are also a lot of titles containing numbers. Being a curious librarian and a trivia geek, I looked up the numbers to see if their meanings might have any correlation to the plots of the books. Unfortunately, I can’t say I found any, but I did discover lots of fascinating (at least to me) random facts and tidbits about numbers from mathematics, science, philosophy, literature, and other disciplines (all gleaned from Wikipedia) that I thought I’d share with you.

Zero by Tom Leveen: An aspiring artist, who refers to herself jokingly as “Zero,” loses scholarship money, and her future art career looks as bleak as the paintings by her idol Dali.

  • Records show that the ancient Greeks seemed unsure about the status of zero as a number. They asked themselves, “How can nothing be something?” leading to philosophical and, by the Medieval period, religious arguments about the nature and existence of zero and the vacuum.
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June debut authors

Now that the year has reached its halfway point, have you taken a minute to think about those debut novels you’ve read this year that are standouts? If not, you should, and it takes only a couple of minutes to submit field suggestions to the William C Morris Committee for consideration.

June’s packed with debut novels that should suit every kind of reader. If you haven’t had a chance to check out a book by a new author, here are a few worth considering.

When 19-year-old Travis is on leave and back at home from his duty with the Marines, he has a lot to adjust to: parents who aren’t necessarily getting along as well as they should, a brother who stole his girlfriend, the loss of one of his best friends, and Harper, the girl who can’t quite forgive Travis for the way he ruined her reputation. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (Bloomsbury, 9781599908441) explores the effects of war and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder through the eyes of an imperfect male character. Doller’s book doesn’t give readers a nicely colored image of a hero; instead, we get Travis, who has a lot to work through both in terms of what it means to be a service person, but also what it means to be “normal.” This book will appeal to fans of contemporary fiction, and it’ll have particular appeal for readers who like stories about war (including fans of Dana Reinhardt’s The Things a Brother Knows, a 2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults title).

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