Summer Sweat: 5 Stimulating Sports Stories

photo by flickr user laffy4k
photo by flickr user laffy4k

While school is out and you are free to enjoy your summer, you might be loading your calendar with fun activities, such as road trips, adventures, and sports. Tennis, archery, and aquatics are some popular sports during the summer that you can become involved with. Many recent young adult titles feature exciting sports stories for teens!

Blue by H.J. Bellus
Blue Williams yearned to blend in when all her life she has been known in her hometown for her looks as the prom queen, brains as the valedictorian of her class, and talented as the top cheerleader in her high school squad. With a full-ride scholarship in a prestigious school, cheer becomes Blue’s primary focus. Until everything is taken away from her. The man who saved her is just as scarred, and they learn to help each other.

The Storm Before the Calm by Cate Ashwood
Charlie lives for dance. He secures a coveted spot in the Free Rein Dance Company in New York for the summer, and he is excited to get away from his life that has been threatening to devour him dead or alive. In New York, Charlie meets Max, an instructor at the school, who inspires him to be the best. Max exposes him to the close-minded perspective of his town, but Charlie’s not sure how to be center-stage in a drama he is running away from.  Continue reading Summer Sweat: 5 Stimulating Sports Stories

“…But I know it when I see it”: Science fiction in today’s strange world

isaac asimovYesterday, January 2, was National Science Fiction Day. It’s not an official day, but who cares! It’s Isaac Asimov‘s birthday, and therefore an excellent day to acknowledge the marvel that is science fiction.

What is science fiction?

People say a lot of things about science fiction — the general consensus is that its lack of true definition is what defines it. In my own mental organization, I put it into two completely made-up and semi-useless categories: earth-based sci-fi and space-based sci-fi. Think The Matrix vs. Star Wars. Within these categories, you can find numerous sub-categories, rubbing the line with post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, as well as other forms of speculative fiction like gaslamp, alternate history, steampunk, cyberpunk, and so many others that I’m just going to send you to the science fiction Wikipedia page.

What’s going on with it now?

Continue reading “…But I know it when I see it”: Science fiction in today’s strange world

New Readers’ Choice nominations are in!

YALSA’s Readers’ Choice Award is one of those rare opportunities where individuals can literally just champion their favorite YA titles of the year. Teens, librarians, teachers … any fans of YA literature can vote. See a book on the current 2013 nomination list you also love? Or think that the best YA title of the year is sadly absent from the list? Use the suggestion form to make sure that the best titles published between Nov. 1, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2012 make the final ballot! The more nominations a title receives, the better.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Readers’ Choice site yet, here are some basic guidelines for you. Titles from just about every genre are allowed: Horror/Thriller; Mystery/Crime; Nonfiction; Realistic Fiction; Romance; Sci-Fi/Fantasy; and the “wild card category” for this year … Dystopia. You want to make sure that any title you suggest is widely available in the United States. Oh, and one of my favorite guidelines: “popularity rules.” No fussing over critic reviews and prestigious review journals — for all intents and purposes, if you love the book, it qualifies. Read the “>full guidelines and policies if you want more details.

So what’s new to the list of nominations? Of the 12 new nominations, books falling into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre rule supreme at a count of 6:

  • Tempest (Julie Cross)
  • Invisible Sun (David Maccinis Gill)
  • The Obsidian Blade (Pete Hautman)
  • Sweet Evil (Wendy Higgins)
  • Shadow and Bone (Leigh Bardugo)
  • The Golden Lily (Richelle Mead)

Continue reading New Readers’ Choice nominations are in!

January Debuts

It’s January, and for many of us, it means we’re getting plenty of snow outside. Whether or not you’re building your snow day reading list, there is plenty of good debut reading to be had this month. If you start this year off reading something you love and think is worthy of being considered for the Morris Award, be sure you nominate it!

Alecia Whitaker’s Queen of Kentucky (Poppy/Little Brown, 9780316125062) takes readers into small-town Kentucky. Ricky Jo wants so much to shed her image as the farmer’s daughter as she begins high school. She changes her name to Erika, changes her appearance, and even changes her reading habits in order to fit into the popular crowd. Her neighbor Luke refuses to let her get her head too full of air, and he reminds her she’ll never be anyone but herself. Of course, “Erika” doesn’t want to believe this–and an incident with Luke will have her reexamining just why she wanted to change herself so much. This book about growing up looks like it’ll appeal especially to readers who worry they’ll never quite fit in.

Black Boy, White School by Brian Walker (HarperTeen, 9780061914836) also writes about the idea of staying true to yourself and also takes place in a rural setting, but it’s a whole different story. Anthony grew up in the rough east side of Cleveland amid drugs, gangs, and violence, but he’s been given a scholarship to attend Belton Academy, in the middle of nowhere, Maine. What he expects to be an interesting transition becomes a challenging one when he faces classmates who make gross assumptions about his upbringing, his intelligence, and even his sports skills.

Continue reading January Debuts