During the Teen Feedback Session at ALA Midwinter, teens from Seattle and Oregon shared their opinions about the books on the Best Fiction for Young Adults 2019 list. With their input, the BFYA 2019 Blogging team determined the BFYA 2019 Top Ten:
The Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session is one of the best parts of every ALA conference. Local teens get the opportunity to read books that have been nominated for #BFYA and give their feedback about the titles. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of real teens, and the group in New Orleans were particularly amazing. They all sounded like professional book reviewers, and I wish there had been time to talk with them at length about the books they enjoyed.
Here are some of the titles the teens particularly liked from this year’s #BFYA nominees list along with a little of their feedback and a link to each title’s nomination post (when available.)
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/ Hachette Publication Date: January 2, 2018 ISBN: 9780316310277
Violently taken from her human home, Jude has struggled to navigate the dark world of the Fae. Jaded from years of being viewed as inferior for being human, she publicly challenges the wicked Prince Cardan and his friends, unleashing the prince’s wrath upon her and her sisters. After finding a taste for bloodshed, Jude seeks to be an equal in the twisted and unyielding Courts of Faerie through deception and dangerous alliances. In doing so, she discovers that rebellion in the world of Faerie is much closer than she had thought.
June is history month, and while there’s a ton of great historical fiction for teens out there, it’s also a perfect time to start asking “What if?”
What if the American Revolution never happened?
What if the Axis Powers won World War II?
Alternate history books are a great way to explore these questions, and alternate history for teens is becoming increasingly popular. Here are a few books to get you started.
These stories can blend speculative elements with historical facts, which is perfect for prompting discussion about what is truth and what is fiction in the novels discussed. They can also prompt readers to explore more nonfiction about the time period. Continue reading Booklist: YA Alternate History
Holly Black is one of the most versatile authors writing today. With more than thirty books to her name and more in the pipeline, it’s no exaggeration to say that Holly Black has something for everyone. But with so many books to choose from, sometimes it’s hard to decide where to start.
No worries though, if you’re looking to start reading Holly Black but aren’t sure where to start this post has you covered.
If You Want to Read a Standalone Novel:
The Coldest Girl in Cold Town (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults): When Tana wakes up after a Sundown Party it takes her a few moments to realize she survived a massacre and might have been bitten by a vampire. With time running out and no good choices, Tana will have to embrace the monsters in Coldtown if she wants to avoid becoming one.
The Darkest Part of the Forest (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Hazel used to think she could become a knight who rode alongside the fairies and hunted the monsters that lurked in Fairfold woods. That is until the coffin in the woods is broken and the horned prince, who has been there for as long as anyone can remember, disappears.
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 Forestby 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
Urban fantasy is set in magically injected alternate universes where limousines carry lycanthropes around or suburbs conceal super-powered mages. Think Harry Potter, not The Lord of the Rings. These titles range from action adventure, to comedy, slice of life and romance. Today we will travel to alternate universes populated by warring magic users, corporate ladder climbing demons, and undersea middle school students.
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
The Holy Grail War is a deadly competition. The winning mage has the chance to make a wish and change the world. Some masters will do anything to win this prize. Shirō Emiya has stumbled into this terrifying tournament, and he doesn’t know how to use his powers. Will he be able to survive the coming battles? Who do you trust when at the end of the tournament, you may be may be facing your closest ally?
Each master calls on a Legendary Hero to help them fight in the tournament. Most of the action takes place at night, and the darker color palate of the series leads to some jaw dropping animation of magical duels.
Note: “Unlimited Blade Works” is based off a single storyline from the visual novel Fate Stay/Night the same name (a kind of interactive animated game, like an animated “choose your own adventure” book). There have been numerous video game, manga and light novel adaptations and spinoffs of this series, but the anime “Fate/Zero” is a prequel.
If you are like me, you’ve been ready for Halloween since August 1st. Not everyone is so Halloween-happy. Maybe you haven’t bought out the grocery store’s stock of canned pumpkin or purchased a new shade of orange nail polish, but, like it or not, October is upon us, which means you may have teens swarming your stacks in search of something to creep them out and give them nightmares. In my experience I get more requests for “scary stories” than horror novels. With that in mind I’m going to highlight some collections of short stories sure to meet various spine-chilling needs as well as give some horror specific readers’ advisory tips.
“Scary” is subjective. Every reader is going to be comfortable with different levels of the supernatural, violence, gore, etc. A good way to assess what type of horror a reader wants is to ask them what their favorite scary book is. If they are not an avid reader you may need to ask about their favorite scary movie or scary television show. You are probably going to want to recommend a different book to a fan of The Sixth Sense than you would to a fan of Saw.
If you are not a horror reader yourself or get scared easily, it’s OK for you to tell teens this. Particularly with younger teens this may help them to be more open about how scary they want their stories to be. If you aren’t a horror reader, however, you will want to familiarize yourself with the popular horror titles in your collection. If you can pick the brain of a fellow staff member or teen volunteer who reads a lot of horror, this is a great start.
For the uninitiated, those phrases and words mean little to nothing. To the Whovian Fandom, fans of the British television series Doctor Who, they mean a whole lot. Doctor Who (never Dr. Who!) has been a phenomenon for over fifty years, and with each new Doctor a whole new generation of fans is born. To date there have been 13 different Doctors (if you include the War Doctor, who only appeared in the 50th anniversary special in 2013 and was played by Sir John Hurt). They are all the same person, though- a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who regenerates every few seasons instead of dying. Though he keeps the memories of his past incarnations, every Doctor is a slightly different man, with a different way of dressing, connecting to his companions, and even reacting to the universe around him, and every Whovian has their favorite.
Chances are, if you’re a Whovian, you did just that!
“Trope” is defined as “a common or overused theme or device.” (Merriam-Webster). There are definitely over-used themes in the YA world; I know many of you have had enough love triangles and dystopian worlds. On the flip side, tropes have always been used in literature, and they play an important part in driving a story. Shakespeare himself successfully used literary tropes (mistaken identity anyone?) I have found many times over that if a book has the goods, it doesn’t really matter how many common themes the author utilizes.
That said, I would like to invite you to join me each Wednesday for a hump day roundup of books that follow a familiar literary trope I have noticed and fully embrace. Full credit and many thanks to my fellow Hub bloggers: Hannah Gomez, Jancee Wright, Carly Pansulla, Robin Brenner, Anna Tschetter, Sharon Rawlins, Molly Wetta, and Kimberli Buckley for their awesome suggestions and input.
Literary Trope for Week 1: The Old Clunker I Drive
To say that cars are important to teens is putting it lightly. A license to drive plus a set of keys equal freedom in a most tangible way. Of course, most teens in life and literature have financial limitations and many drive rusty, second-hand, and always breaking-down cars. But, those unexpected stops are usually what makes the journey so fantastic. So, thank you clunker car literary trope, we love you. Continue reading YA Literary Tropes: The Old Clunker I Drive