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Tag: jennifer echols

YA Recommendations for the Adult Skeptics in Your Life

by flickr user grenade
by flickr user grenade
With summer in full swing, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been attending my fair share of family barbecues, kids’ birthday parties, and other get-togethers. Aside from the usual commiserations over sunburns, bug bites, and other summertime hazards, the discussions usually turn to work.

While my close friends and family all know exactly what my job entails from listening to me enthuse endlessly over books and programs, I’m always amused at the reactions I get from those who are just learning that I’m a youth services librarian … and that I specialize in teen services. Aside from the general puzzled looks, I sometimes get the follow up question, “Does that mean you read kids’ books all day?”

Though most who ask this question seem excited and sometimes even a little envious until I confess that, no, that’s not part of my official job (sadly), there are a few who seem to view the idea with disdain. These are the adults to whom I then proceed to describe my job in enthusiastic detail, just before launching into a full-scale personalized book recommendation that I’m sure they were not at all prepared to accept. (Some days I truly love what I do!) I fully believe that no matter how skeptical someone may be about “kids’ books” that I can find a young adult book that will appeal to any adult reader. Sometimes, you just have to be a little sneaky about how you present the book to them!

Here are some example scenarios:


Sun, Surf, and Love: Beach Reads

oceanSummer means throwing on a swim suit and hanging out at the beach or by the pool. I’ve always got at least two books in my beach bag. Summer is the perfect time to read something with a happily-ever-after ending. Here are a few of my favorite teen summer romances.

amy and rogerAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Amy’s life changes when her father dies in a car accident, her twin brother is committed to rehab, and her mother accepts a job across the country. Amy stays behind to finish up her junior year; she plans to drive to Connecticut. Her mother arranges for Roger, the son of a family friend, to take the trip with Amy. She’s also detailed a very strict itinerary. Before too long, Roger and Amy ditch the plan and do a little sight-seeing along the way.

The Au Pairs by Melissa de la Cruz (being reprinted this summer as Beach Lane)
Three girls from different backgrounds come together for the summer in the Hamptons as the au pairs for a super-rich family. Mara Walters wants to escape her life, Eliza Thompson wants to return to the Hamptons even though she’s no longer wealthy, and Jacqui Velasc wants to find the boy who broke her heart. Throughout the summer, drama wrecks havoc on their relationships.


Happy Valentine’s Day: Our Favorite Romances

book crushWith love in the air today, I thought it would be a great time to talk about teen romances. I love teen romances. I adore Meg Cabot’s books. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen rocked my world. I love the friends-turned-romance in Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti. I fell hard for the upcoming This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

Here are some favorites from my colleagues.

From Jessica M.
Love Story by Jennifer Echols: I love the deep emotions explored in this story and the way that both main characters express their feelings through the stories they write for their creative writing class. I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to reread it as soon as I was done.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: I loved that both Lola and Cricket were such strong individuals and that they truly appreciated that in each other. They loved each other for exactly who they were … I am also a huge advocate for the “boy next door” in every story and wish more main characters saw the potential that was literally there waiting for them!


The Next Big Thing in Romance

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.

I love teen romance novels. They’re so emotional with their first love, their first kiss, their first time, and their first heartbreak. I’ve been hoping that there will be a surge in the contemporary romance book. I have teen girls asking all the time for books similar to Sarah Dessen’s. I pass along several of my favorite authors including Meg Cabot, Jennifer Echols, Jen Calonita, Abby McDonald, Rachel Hawthorne, Catherine Clark, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins. Often, they come back looking for more.

Here are a few upcoming contemporaries that I can’t wait to read.

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All I Need to Know I Learned from YA Books: relationship advice from your favorite books

Ah Valentine’s day … I keenly remember the sweet pain of anticipation that every Valentine’s day brought. Waiting in home room at my high school for the coveted cans of soda to be delivered to their intended recipient bearing the note, “______ has a “Crush” on you!” And the agony of trying to decipher the intentions of the sender. Was the “crush” meant romantically or just in a friendly way? These questions would be discussed in the halls, at lunch, and in notes passed in class. Although my love life was a comedy of errors, I found solace in the romantic endeavors of my favorite characters. And so to celebrate relationships from fairy-tale to failure, we offer up our favorite dating advice we have garnered from YA books.

image courtesy of Calamity Photography on flickrRead These Books –> Learn These Lessons

If the hottest guy in school acts like he hates you, but can’t stop staring at you … its probably because he’s not quite human and your fates are intertwined. – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (and any number of paranormal romances)

Never hypnotize a guy into being the friend you think you want at nine, because then he’ll never develop into the guy you can date at seventeen! –  Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley

If you write your deepest emotions down in a “story” and you share it, eventually people are going to figure out what and WHO you are talking about…. – Love Story by Jennifer Echols

You know that beautiful, witty, excentric girl that you have a crush on? Someday she will realize how amazing you are and take you on the adventure of a lifetime, just be patient. – Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns by John Green


Contemporary Fiction of 2010: A Reader’s List

I present to you one reader’s best contemporary YA titles for 2010. These are books teens are actually reading by the way. I see these titles check out regularly at my library. I hate to say it, but Will Grayson, Will Grayson? It has barely circulated three times. These titles are a little girl heavy but several of them will work just as well for guy readers. And if anything this list will encourage me to seek out more guy-centric contemporary YA reads.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. This is my favorite book of 2010 hands down. It is a road trip story with a little romance, a lot of heartache and a great trip throughout the country. Teens will easily relate to Roger’s girl troubles while they will be pulled into Amy’s story of sadness over her father’s death. Postcards, receipts, and definitely the most amazing road trip play lists ever created grace the pages of this story along with the main narrative. This one is for music fans, teens who love a romance with drama, and who need a grand adventure. I guarantee this is going to be a hit.

Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian. This book actually made Kirkus’s 2010 Best Books for Teens and with great reason. This story is intelligent, sad, and above all, plays so well into the drama that encompasses high school life. Natalie has always felt a bit different from her classmates and it shows on the pages. Here is a teen dedicated to her education, to getting ahead. Most librarians know teens like this and they will immediately empathize with her. She may be book smart but has a lot to learn about human emotions. Natalie is an amazing protagonist for female teen readers. She is strong, vulnerable, smart as hell, but yet manages to be the every girl.   There is a lot to discuss and appreciate.

A Blue so Dark by Holly Schindler. Mental illness. More teens than I can name deal with this topic with their families, and even themselves, on a daily basis. Holly Schindler delicately balances the harsh realities of schizophrenia with everyday tasks. Aura must go to school. She loves art but yet fears it. She has a crush on a boy but that does not fit into a world of schizophrenia. Her isolation leaps off the pages, as does her care of her mother. Teens today are unfortunately put in that caretaker position too often and this book definitely showcases how difficult that role can be for teenagers. Heart wrenching certainly but this book will do well with teens who need to see themselves in someone else, know they aren’t alone. It is a powerful book, short enough to hold attention and pull you into Aura’s life.

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