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Tag: Kristin Cashore

Throwback Thursday: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

 

gracelingYou may feel like you just finished reading The Graceling Realm series, but the current reader who is 16 years old was 8 when this book was published.  Some young adult literature has a short shelf-life; pop culture references, trends, technology, even the language teens use to communicate, evolves. Fantasy is often more enduring because the worlds are entirely different from our own, yet the conflicts and themes are universal.

Katsa lives in a world where Gracelings are commonplace.  Gracelings are noted by the fact that they have two different colored eyes and a special skill or ability.  The skill may be as simple as being an excellent baker or climber, or an excellent swordsman or archer, but it can also be more complicated than that.  Katsa’s grace is unique;  Her ability is to kill.  It does not matter the size or strength of her opponent, Kasha will kill them before they even have time to register what is happening.

However, even with this remarkable power, Katsa is being used by the king, her uncle, as nothing more than muscle.  Katsa hates this, but even though she is secretly fighting back and trying to undo the evil her uncle has created, she is still scared to stand up to him.  Until she meets Po.  Running into Po was an accident.  They were both on a mission to save a former king, now known as Prince Tealiff, who was kidnapped.  Kasha is doing this undercover as her way to give back for the cruel services performed through her uncle.  Po is doing this because this former king is his grandfather.  Who kidnapped Prince Tealiff?  Why would he matter now?  Po plans on finding out and asks Kasha to assist him, which her uncle refuses.  Can Katsa find her inner strength to leave the kingdom she has grown up in and help Po and his family?  This fantasy novel will keep you on your feet as you go through the multiple layers of deception, danger, and depth.  The guarded romance adds to the complicated relationship between Katsa and Po.

Booklist: If You Like The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Rose Society, the sequel to Marie Lu’s The Young Elites hit the shelves on October 13th and has spent four weeks on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List. In The Rose Society readers revisit Adelina Amouteru, one of the survivors of the blood plague that made her and many others into “young elites” gifted with strange powers. The book opens with Teren Santoro, lead inquisitor set on ridding the kingdom of Adelina’s kind. Fans of the courtly intrigue, fast paced plot, and atmospheric setting in the first book will not be disappointed by the second. If your library’s copy is checked out consider recommending some of these backlist titles to tide over your eager patrons while they wait.

If You Like The Young Elites

 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Fans of the unique and complex world building in The Young Elites will appreciate Bardugo’s “czar punk” setting. Likewise, readers  will see many of Adelina’s strong points in Bardugo’s Alina.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (2003 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

Turner’s Queen’s Thief series is an older one, making it more likely to be on the shelf, and more likely to be one that your patrons have not yet read. Readers who loved the element of spying and espionage in The Young Elites will be hooked by Turner’s plot twists.

Take Five: Favorite Heroine in YA Literature

The Monday Polls were a ton of fun, but as part of the new, expanded coverage on The Hub, we are making a few changes. Instead of just inviting readers to pick their favorite on a topic out of a pre-determined list, we’re going a little more in depth. In addition to sharing five perspectives from Hub bloggers on a topic, we also want to hear what you have to say!

Our inaugural Take Five question is: who is your favorite YA heroine, and why?

Take Five The HubI  loved (and still love) Enola Holmes (from the series of the same name by Nancy Springer)!  She is so smart and quick witted (and figured out how to use her corset to hide a dagger in case she ran into baddies).  Plus she could solve any puzzle and disguise herself so that even her brother, the famous Sherlock Holmes, wouldn’t recognize her.  She’s a pretty awesome chick (and I totally wanted to be like her)! — Stacy Holbrook

Why Me? Reluctant Superheroes in YA Lit

Now that I am all caught up on my television shows, I am starting to look ahead to what will grace my DVR in the fall.  Season premiere time is always exciting, especially when there is some type of literary connection.  However, the upcoming show that is leaving me full of hope and anticipation is Supergirl.

In the DC universe, Supergirl is from the same planet as Superman. In fact, she is his older cousin.  However, something happened where she was suspended in time and came to planet Earth well after Clark Kent already established the house of El.  You know, the big S.

This show seems to be following the proper age gap of Kara Zor-El being younger and more inexperienced with her powers than her super famous cousin Kal-El.  She struggles with using them, controlling them, and what path she is supposed to take with them.

Which led me to thinking about books where our main characters are struggling to deal with their powers, or the implications of their powers, in some way.  I would love to have superpowers!  However, I really don’t know how I would react if power, greatness, and expectations were thrust upon me along with the ability to fly, super strength, and be able to shoot laser beams from my eyes.

So, to celebrate the authentic feelings that Kara is going through, here are a few books where in which our main characters are not always sure what to do with themselves or their powers.

gracelingGraceling by Kristin Cashore (2009 Best Books for Young Adults)

Katsa lives in a world where some have gracelings-.  An abilitiesy that allow them to do something exceedingly well.  Some people can work well with animals, some are expert swordsmen or archers.  Katsa’s graceling is the ability to kill.  No matter the size of her opponent, their ability, or strength, she always come out on top.  However, this comes with some complications, especially when her uncle, a ruthless king, decides to use her gifts for his gain. 

Is This Just Fantasy?: Celebrating The Hub’s Favorite Women In Fantasy Fiction

Just Fantasy women in fantasyMarch is Women’s History Month. Woohoo! In that spirit, I wanted to dedicate this edition of Is This Just Fantasy? to the fabulous women of fantasy fiction and I asked my fellow Hub bloggers to join in the fun.  Here are some of The Hub’s favorite female characters in young adult fantasy fiction.

alannaAlanna of Trebond from Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce (2013 Margaret A. Edwards Award)

“The heroine who comes immediately to my mind (and no doubt others as well!) is Alanna.  So strong, brave, courageous and while in the first novel she must hide her sex and pretend to be a boy, I really loved how ultimately she embraced being a woman as the series evolved.” – Sarah Debraski

Dealing-with-dragons-first-editionPrincess Cimorene from Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

“After first encountering Cimorene in Dealing with Dragons, I was hooked. She is a princess who is bored with everything that goes with being a princess. She wants nothing to do with the not-very-bright princes she encounters and is so eager for more excitement in her life that she leaves her home to find a dragon to ‘capture’ her – the only acceptable alternative for a princess. Once she finds her dragon, she becomes the dragon’s chef and librarian (a fact I had forgotten until I recently reread this book). With Cimorene, Wrede turns princess stereotypes on their head and creates a funny, compelling, and exciting protagonist.” – Carli Spina 

Series Binge-Reading: The Perfect Activity for a Wintery Afternoon

Photo by flickr user Robert
Photo by flickr user Robert

Ah, winter! Perfect for marathon reading sessions indoors, bundled against the blustery elements. Whether you have several whole weeks out of classes, or just a few extra days here and there to fit in some seasonal festivities and max out your relaxation, there’s nothing like a winter’s day off for disappearing into another world for the entirety of a story’s arc, however many volumes it takes.

There are lots of definitions floating around for “binge reading.” Some indicate that it’s about cramming to meet a reading deadline, or skimming as much and as fast as possible. Others look to the new(ish) tradition of binge-watching TV series in marathon installments to describe a similar commitment to reading in large doses, especially within the same series. It’s this last definition that really appeals to me: binge-reading as an intensive, immersive experience for hours and hours (or even days and days) on end. Series titles lend themselves admirably to this sort of extended reading escape. Binging on a series lets you completely submerge yourself in another world, spend inordinate amounts of time with your favorite (and most loathed!) characters, and learn how it all turns out in one fell swoop, all without interrupting the momentum of the plot, or muddying the motives of the characters in your mind with too long a pause between volumes.

So, to help you strategize your total reading immersion during this binge-reading (ahem, I mean holiday) season, here is a list of series worth disappearing into. To help prevent the dreaded, stomach-sinking realization that there are at least ten months between you and finding out what’s happened to your new favorite characters in the next book, every series on the list has every planned volume published. With one notable exception, because I just couldn’t help myself.

knife of never letting go patrick ness coverChaos Walking series by Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men)

The first book in this pulse-pounding series (The Knife of Never Letting Go, a 2009 Best Books for Young Adults pick) launches readers into a world where the thoughts of all boys and men are audible to everyone around them; and all the girls and women have disappeared. The plot careens around with young Todd, our confused but generally well-meaning protagonist, and then pulls up at the edge of a serious cliffhanger of an ending; for your binge-reading enjoyment, make sure you have the next volume (The Ask and the Answer) lined up to keep going without pause! For readers who like their binge in auditory formats, The Knife of Never Letting Go was also a 2011 Odyssey Honor book.

Go-To YA Book Recommendations

As someone who is very open about her love of reading, I often find myself in a position of being asked for book recommendations. If I know someone’s reading tastes well, this is usually an easy task. There are also plenty of amazing lists out there that help for making recommendations for someone who is able to give you a specific example of their interests, like The Fault in Our Stars, dystopians, or contemporary romances. It’s those others, though, the ones that don’t consider themselves “readers,” so they are hesitant to name a book they’ve enjoyed that require a little more thought.

Over the past couple of years, I have begun keeping (and updating!) a mental list of “go-to books” that I can easily start with when making recommendations to these individuals. Here are a few of my most frequent go-to recommendations:

Bad UnicornFor the Simpsons Comics Fans Who Want a Non-graphic Novel:

Bad Unicorn by Platte F. Clark

While this book isn’t for everyone, it does has been very well received when I am able to get it into the right hands. These readers are the ones that will laugh out loud and grab it from you when you explain that it is about a killer unicorn named Princess the Destroyer. I have recommended this many times and have received positive feedback from the readers. I have even heard them telling others about it. Bad Unicorn has been getting many more reads than I anticipated the first time I saw it.

gracelingFor the Dystopian Fans Who Are So Over Dystopians

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (2009 Morris Award Honor Book, 2009 Teens’ Top Ten Winner, 2012 Popular Paperback for Young Adults)

I began recommending Graceling after it popped up a few times here on The Hub. While your reader has to be okay with high fantasy, I have found it to be an easy sell to someone who has worked their way through a variety of dystopian and post-apocalyptic future novels and is ready for something new. I think it is more approachable to readers coming out of the Hunger Games series than other fantasy series such as Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness. 

Want to Read S’more? Have Some Ooey Gooey Delicious Books in Threes

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Summer is the perfect time for reading for fun and making s’mores. In fact, yesterday was National S’mores Day.

So I decided to combine these two concepts and give you three books on the same topic – think of them as the graham cracker, the marshmallow, and the chocolate of a s’more- all deliciously good.

Fantasy:

Hub 1

Thrillers:hub 2