A Bad Romance– Love Gone Wrong in Teen Lit

By CMEarnest (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By CMEarnest via Wikimedia Commons
Springtime is when love is in the air.  New relationships are blooming, the warmer weather drives people outdoors and puts everyone in a better mood, and it just seems like the perfect time to fall in love…

But what happens when you don’t want to fall in love?  When you just want to snarkily smirk at those silly people holding hands and picking flowers?  How do you avoid, nay how do you embrace the idea that falling in love is just not for you..?

Well, one good way is to read books about love gone wrong.  Luckily, teen lit is filled with excellent examples of books about all the ways love can be so harmful to your well-being.  From bad breakups to unrequited crushes, check out the list below if you want to fall in love with a bad romance!

Star-Crossed Love

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The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones

Cassandra comes from a long line of vampire-like creatures who need human tears to survive rather than blood.  Cassandra is very good at collecting tears by being the shoulder for her friends to cry on, and even volunteering as a grief counselor.  However, Cassandra is growing tired of her life and wants to be human, especially when she begins to fall in love with Scott.

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Don’t Judge a Book by Its Page Count

I was recently approached by someone looking for a book recommendation. When I asked what kind of books she liked, she responded, “big, thick, chapter books.” We worked through what she was really looking for and I was able to make some recommendations, but ever since this interaction, I have had page counts on my mind.

Like they did with that patron, longer books seem to make an impact. They are easy to see on a shelf, and working through long books can sometimes feel like an accomplishment. Goodreads values page count by displaying stats on how many pages users have read in a year and highlighting the longest title off to the side. When I read Night by Elie Wiesel, a 109-page non-fiction title, I noticed that the cover of this particular edition had a New York Times quote calling the book “a slim volume of terrifying power.” It may not have been the intention, but this seems like it is justifying the book’s page count. Would that have been necessary if it was 400 pages?

I certainly have nothing against long books (thanks to Goodreads I know that the longest book I have read so far this year had 694 pages), but I do appreciate finding good stories that will not weigh down my purse on my commute.  I have compiled a short list of books with 260 or fewer pages* that have been award winners, list makers, and/or simply fun reads.

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2013 Youth Media Award Winners Announced!

ala youth media awards 2013This morning, the winners and honor books for ALA’s Youth Media Awards were announced to an enthusiastic crowd in Seattle during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting. Here are the YA titles that were recognized (children’s books recognized by these awards have been omitted from the list; find the full list of winners on ALA’s website):

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Morris Award Finalist: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Since the inception of the William C. Morris Award in 2009, I’ve only read two of the books nominated, but over half of them are sitting on my “to be read” bookshelf — shameful. When we announced the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge, I was excited because I knew it would motivate me to read the books more than if I was left to my own devices. I was happy to see that some of the nominated tiles were ones I had listed in “want to read” on Goodreads.

love and other perishable items laura buzo morris sealI was pleasantly surprised to see Laura Buzo’s Love and Other Perishable Items on the list. The book was first published in Australia in 2010 under the title Good Oil. I am always looking for new contemporary titles since most of my teens seem to really crave these kinds of books. I figured when I started reading the book that it would be the standard “unrequited crush on an older coworker” story. I was mistaken.

This the story of 15-year-old Amelia and her crush on 22-year-old Chris. Amelia and Chris work at the “Land of Dreams,” which most people know as Cole Supermarket. The place is run by a motley group of young people ranging from 14 years old to managers in their mid- to late 20s. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to work there, but most want to earn money as a way of helping themselves get along in life. Whether that be “supporting a pot habit” or Amelia’s reasoning of “a passionate aversion to asking my parents for money,” this group socializes together and tends to date one another — and things get interesting. Continue reading Morris Award Finalist: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

YALSA’s 2013 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check In #3

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2013 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. If you’re finished, fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let us know!

I am not good with challenges. It seems to be in my nature to not do what I am supposed too.

Back in May, I talked a bit about my “reading rebellion” during the last reading challenge. I’m trying to overcome this rebellion with this challenge by just concentrating on the Morris nominations. I’ve finished Love and Other Perishable Items and have started The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Continue reading YALSA’s 2013 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check In #3

YALSA Announces 2013 Morris Award Finalists!

YALSA selected five books as finalists for the 2013 William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. YALSA will name the 2013 award winner at the Youth Media Awards at 7:45 AM Pacific Time on January 28 during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

The 2013 finalists are:

Continue reading YALSA Announces 2013 Morris Award Finalists!

December debut novels

Mark your calendars for Monday, December 10. That’s when this year’s Morris Award finalists will be revealed. Even though it’s too late to submit a nomination for this year’s consideration, there are two debut novels coming out this month worth checking out. The first is a contemporary/realistic Australian import and the second, a great pick for fans of high fantasy and/or Game of Thrones. Both descriptions come from WorldCat.

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (Knopf/Random House, 9780375870002)

A fifteen-year-old Australian girl gets her first job and first crush on her unattainable university-aged co-worker as both search for meaning in their lives.




Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (Razorbill/Penguin, 9781595145840)

A fantasy about three kingdoms on the brink of war and the destiny of one princess. This is the first book in a series.




If you’re already gearing up for 2013, you can get your forthcoming debut novels on the radar, too. Check out the Class 2k13, Lucky 13s, and Friday the 13ers blogs — they’ll be priceless in introducing you to the new books and authors who’ll make a debut next year.

— Kelly Jensen, currently reading Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick