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Tag: Gretchen McNeil

#QP2019 Nominees Round Up, August 7 Edition

Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom by Terry Blas, Molly Muldoon, and Matthew Seely
Oni Press
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
ISBN: 9781620104811 

Jesse finds herself stuck at Camp Bloom for the summer, a “get fit” camp for overweight teens. Hardly the fun summer at a fashion program she had been hoping for. When she and fellow campers, Noah, Tony, and Kate, witness the murder of a camp counselor in the woods by another staff member, Camp Bloom becomes a whole lot more interesting, not to mention dangerous.

What Would They Read?: Fox Mulder from the X-Files

I grew up watching the X-Files, so I was really excited when I heard that the show would be reappearing this spring.


If Mulder and Scully were to walk into my library, I’d probably want to follow them around to find out what weird things have been happening, but if they asked for book recommendations, this is what I’d give them.

Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

Amanda’s family leaves their home in the mountains to live out on the prairie and hopefully leave behind the memories of the last, harsh winter they had to face. Her father chooses to move the family into an abandoned cabin that is covered in dried blood, and unfortunately for Amanda, things only get creepier from there.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)

After drinking a mixture of beer and desiccated bat dust, Glory and her best friend begin having strange visions of the future.

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

Cynthia’s best friend is in love with the new school librarian, but Cynthia is sceptical. The new librarian isn’t just creepy; he might be an actual demon.

What Would They Read?: Abby from NCIS

NCISI have watched and loved NCIS from the show’s beginning in 2003, and my favorite character has always been Abby Sciuto.  She’s smart and funny and not afraid to be herself, even if “herself” isn’t what people expect when meeting a computer and science expert. Someone as accomplished and confident as Abby surely has developed her own taste in reading, but if she were to ask me for book recommendations, this is what I’d offer her:

The Martian by Andy Weir (2015 Alex Award) is a science-packed story about a failed Mars mission. Abby would understand the science behind Mark’s attempts to get himself back to Earth, and she might even have some other suggestions for things he could try in order to survive on the red planet.

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby (2008 Schneider Family Book Award) chronicles the life of Joey, a 13-year old who is missing out on a lot of things because she is deaf and her mother will not let her learn sign language. She meets a man who is teaching a chimp to sign, and through them Joey is able to find her voice. Abby’s mother was deaf, so Abby and Gibbs occasionally communicate using sign language.  That, and the science aspect of this story, would appeal to Abby.

pink_wilkinsonPink by Lili Wilkinson (2012 Stonewall Honor Book) follows Ava as she trades in her anti-establishment goth persona for a “good girl” look involving lots of pink. Ava finds it difficult to maintain her good-girl guise, though, just as Abby felt uncomfortable when [temporarily] forced to follow a strict dress code at work.

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil features a science whiz named Josie who gets trapped in an alternate universe and has to use her knowledge of physics to return to Earth. The complex science discussed in this book, along with the paranormal/mystery aspect, would definitely appeal to Abby.

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden takes place in a post-Katrina New Orleans, and in addition to a setting which Abby would love, the paranormal elements would appeal to her love of all things Gothic.

Genre Guide: Horror for Teens

The definition of horror is not as clean cut as some other genres.  In its simplest definition, horror is a genre that delivers the emotion of fear to a reader.  So… what scares you?  The answer to this question is different for everyone!

For the purpose of this genre guide for teens, I am working with the loose definition of horror in which the author set out to scare the teen reader.  This could occur through a monster, excessive gore, or the unknown.   Unlike other genres written for teens, horror allows authors to push the boundaries of content–violent deaths, disturbing creatures, gruesome gore, and even the evils of reality are all acceptable scare tactics in horror novels written for teens.  These horror novels can be set in any time period–past, present, or future.  They often involve a single teen protagonist or groups including teens overcoming great odds to survive the unsurvivable.

Authors to Know

Quick Booktalks for Quick Picks

YALSA recently released its 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers book list. Thoughtfully selected by a committee who read hundreds of titles over the past year, the list suggests books that teens will pick up on their own and read for pleasure — even if they don’t necessarily like to read.

Though this list is officially geared toward “reluctant readers,” the selected titles are likely to appeal to just about anyone. And since half the fun of reading is sharing your love of a good book with someone else, here are a few handy elevator speeches you can use to convince others to read some of these books — in 30 seconds or less, guaranteed!

meandearlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

When Greg’s old childhood friend, Rachel, is diagnosed with leukemia, his mom insists he should rekindle his friendship with her to show support. I know what you’re thinking — not another depressing cancer book … right? But wait, this one is funny! Seriously. No tissues necessary.

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

In the predecessor to this book, Anna Dressed in Blood, the ghost of a beautiful young girl literally went to hell to save the ghost hunter who was supposed to wipe her out — but kind of fell in love with her instead. (Did you get all that?) Now he’s determined to rescue her, because you can’t just leave a nice girl in hell, right? The journey will take him halfway around the world. Oh, and it involves a stroll through a suicide forest, so keep all the lights on while you read, okay?

The Next Big Thing in Horror

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

October is the perfect time of year for creepy, stay-up-late, you-really-shouldn’t-read-this-before-bedtime kind of books. That’s right: horror!

I’m about to date myself, but here goes: horror was BIG in YA fiction when I was a teen in the 1990s. Despite the fact that I couldn’t stomach scary movies, I remember being absolutely hooked on Lois Duncan and Christopher Pike books as a 13-year-old. I couldn’t get enough of being scared! Lessons learned: astral projection is dangerous because your evil twin could steal your body while you’re away from it. Also, don’t even think about participating in chain letters. Just … don’t.

Alas, for a time from the 1990s to early 2000s, horror seemed to take a backseat to other genres in YA. Whither the serial killers? Sure, there were vampires … but they were sparkly and alluring instead of terrifying. Cirque du Freak author Darren Shan did his part to keep YA horror afloat with his Demonata series (published between 2005 and 2009), but there simply wasn’t a very wide selection of titles for the teen horror fan.

But have no fear — or rather, have plenty of fear: YA horror seems to be on the rise these days. Perhaps it’s a natural progression after the rise in paranormal romance in the mid-2000s and the current trend of often-disturbing dystopian settings. Clearly today’s YA readers enjoy a little darkness in their literature — why not take it a step further into full-fledged horror?

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.