Skip to content

Tag: Kelley Armstrong

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 12 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

This is our last post of the year, so please excuse the length, we wanted to fit them all in!

cover art

XL by Scott Brown
Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
ISBN: 978-1524766245
The morning of his sixteenth birthday, four foot and eleven inches tall Will wishes for two things: a girlfriend and to be taller. After he chickens out of telling his good friend Monica how he really feels, he sees his best friend/step brother kissing her. However, one of his wishes does come true: he starts growing and doesn’t stop. As Will’s life begins to change, he soon realizes that your character matters more than your height.
The concept of the story was unique and told in an interesting way. The plot moves quickly. All of the characters are well-developed and well-rounded. The relationship drama, risk-taking and a little bit of humor make this an engaging read for reluctant readers.
Readers of Rainbow Rowell and John Green will enjoy this fun quick read. It will also appeal to those who enjoyed the slight magical realism of The Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds.
–Elizabeth Nebeker

Comments closed

#QP2019 Nominees Round Up, May 22 Edition

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Razorbill / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
ISBN:  9780451478238 

Mila is a teenage witch with a mission. When her best friend Riley dies by drowning, it is assumed that her death is linked with the suicides of two other highschool students and that they must have formed a suicide pact. Mila doesn’t buy this and decides to use a spell to bring Riley back to find out who killed her. Unfortunately she doesn’t just bring back Riley, but the other two girls, June and Dayton, as well. Now saddled with three undead teenagers who can’t remember how they died and who have the attention span of toddlers, Mila is determined to find out who killed them and why before the girls return their graves at the end of seven days.

Comments closed

YA Book Personality Test

Palm Reader
Palm Reader

Forget the Tarot cards, crystal balls, and palm-readers. Toss aside those stale fortune cookies.  You need only look to  your bookshelf to understand your deepest personality traits.  Look for some of your favorite YA titles below and you may find that my keen “psychic” abilities can be enlightening.

Vanishing Girls
Vanishing Girls

* Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver.  There is more to you than meets the eye.  You keep your secrets close, and may not be very trustworthy.  But you love deeply and are very protective.

* Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson. You might have a hard time trusting yourself, but go with your instincts- they won’t steer you wrong. Be yourself and don’t try so hard to please others.

Game of Love and Death
Game of Love and Death

* The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough. You may feel like you are being influenced by forces greater than your own. But it’s OK, go with it. Don’t be afraid to get hurt and great things will happen.

* Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong. Others may call you inconsistent. Your horoscope sign may be best described as “Gemini.” You are brave, smart, and have a keen sense of justice. You develop strong connections to friends and family.

Knife of Never Letting Go
The Knife of Never Letting Go

* The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (2009 Best Book for Young Adults). Some would call you are a guys’ guy. But don’t discount the fairer sex, you may find a wonderful friend. You may not be “book smart” but you are clever and can get yourself out of tough situations. Just believe in yourself, and don’t forget to appreciate your dog.

* All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. You are drawn to those in pain and have some dark times. Talking through it may help.  We all have to go through difficult times.  Let yourself mourn those you have lost. 

3 Comments

Genre Guide: Urban Fantasy for Teens

Urban FantasyDefinition
Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy. For a novel to be an urban fantasy, fantastical elements exist in an urban setting. However, this can be a broad interpretation. Really, an urban fantasy is such where fantastical elements are in play in a real-world setting and not in a fantastical world. Urban fantasies occur in the present day, and can go back in history to around the start of the Victorian Era. When urban fantasies are written for teens, the protagonist or protagonists are often inexperienced when it comes to dealing with the fantastical forces at play. They are also usually drawn into a struggle, find romance, and/or develop their own fantastical abilities.

Authors to Know

2 Comments

Copycat Covers: YA Book Covers That Make You Look Twice

DoppelgangersOkay, I admit it. I’m getting older and having more trouble remembering things like the names of YA books I’ve read. I can sometimes remember them by their distinctive covers, but lately, that’s gotten harder because of the trend to make all the books look similar to one another. I don’t know if that’s deliberate by the publishers or just because there are so many YA books being published now (particularly paranormal books), and there are an finite number of covers artists can come up with. I know that the topic of covers is one that we never get tired of writing about, judging by the number of recent posts on the topic.

I could go on and on about how the covers of these books, mainly paranormals, objectify the female body, or parts of the female body, and portray the female characters in a passive role without giving the reader any hint about what the female character is actually doing in the books, but I’m going to leave that for a future post.

8 Comments

O Canada: Canadian YA Authors

Canadian flagAsk anyone to name a Canadian author they’re familiar with. You might hear the names Lucy Maud Montgomery or Margaret Atwood. For a country that’s our neighbor and with whom we share ALA Conferences, we don’t know as much about their authors as we should — particularly YA authors. Maybe that’s because not everything published in Canada makes its way here. I realized this when I saw the ten books shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association (CLA) 2013 Young Adult Book Award. There were several I’d never heard of.

The finalists, in alphabetical order by author, are:

12 Comments

It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers

Whitewashing in YAMost of the time, I love young adult literature and am proud to be a YA librarian. But there’s usually a moment once a month when I feel sick, tired, and embarrassed to be working with YA books for a living — and that’s when I flip through my stack of review journals and see a menagerie of gorgeous white girls staring back at me from the covers of upcoming releases.

If a YA book features a white, female protagonist (and this accounts for a not insignificant portion of YA released each year), it seems inevitable that the book cover will display an idealized and airbrushed masterpiece of her on the cover. And when a YA book actually does have a protagonist of color, too often one of three things seems to happen:

  1. The cover is “whitewashed” and shows a Caucasian model instead of a person of color;
  2. The cover depicts someone whose race seems purposefully ambiguous or difficult to discern; or
  3. The character is shown in silhouette

These forms of racism on the part of publishers are unacceptable. And the fact that it is so rampant within the young adult publishing industry seems particularly despicable. The first step toward change is awareness, and so below I’ve tried to pull together a collection of examples of these forms of subtle and not-so-subtle racism. If you have other examples, please share them in the comments.

70 Comments

PPYA revisited: Short Takes

by flickr user visual.dichotomy

Of all the many booklists YALSA puts out every year, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (or PPYA) might be my favorite. It’s not that I don’t love the literary excellence recognized by the Printz or get excited by the new voices in YA literature lauded by the Morris. It’s just that PPYA is so useful. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about YA literature. When awards season comes around, I’ve heard about and read many of the Best Fiction for Young Adultstitles and the Printz titles. Last year I managed to read all five Morris finalists before the winner was announced. PPYA, on the other hand, always brings something new to the table. Maybe it’s something that came out before I was a librarian. Maybe it’s something that slipped under my radar when it was first published. Either way, I can always count on PPYA when I want to find something new.

With my love of PPYA in mind, I decided to revisit an older list that I think could use some serious updating. One of the PPYA categories from 2000 is Short Takes. That list features 25 collections of short fiction and nonfiction that cover a huge range of topics–everything from horror to undergraduate life to prom night to multiculturalism. There are collections of stories by a single writer, like Chris Crutcher’s Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories, and anthologies containing the work of many authors, like Stay True: Short Stories for Girls. It’s a great list, but all of the titles on it were published between ten and twenty years ago. It’s time for an update! With the diversity of the original list in mind, I present to you fifteen short story collections, published in the last ten years, now available in paperback–PPYA Short Takes for a new decade!

1 Comment