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Tag: Lauren Myracle

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, August 6 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.

Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle and illustrated by Isaac Goodhart
DC INK
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
ISBN: 978-1401285913

Before she was Catwoman, she was just Selina, a girl trying to make it in a tough living situation.  When things go from bad to worse, Selina finds herself homeless and on her own. As she finds new friends she begins to find her way in her new world, and she is set to become something more.

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2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: New Adults

Sorry this wrap-up is so late, dear Hubbers – conferences always knock me out for at least a week after. Anyways, I was happy to attend the “New Adulthood: Literature & Services for NA Patrons” presented by Meg Hunt Wilson, Teen Librarian & Reference Librarian in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (my home state!) and our own Hub member manager, Molly Wetta, Collection Development Librarian at the Lawrence (Kansas) Public Library. They focused on  four aspects of the NA market – what is new adult, appeal and marketing, booktalks, and library services. I was thoroughly fascinated by their presentation, and without further ado – here’s the highlights of their talk at the 2015 YALSA YA Services Symposium.

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So – what is New Adult?

New adult titles are geared towards teens who are just past high school life – 18-25 years of age is the common age range. NA books began as a self-publishing phenomenon, but eventually move on to the “regular” publishing world. The books are mostly set on college campuses, are relationship centric, fast-paced, and emotionally intense. And, oooh! Are they ever steamy! As one of my teens told me when I told her about this panel: “aren’t those the books with a lot of sex in them?”

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Coming of Age Online: Social Media in YA Literature

Teens today are coming of age in an environment saturated with social media, so it’s no surprise it’s featured prominently in the plots of many young adult novels. When I started noticing a trend of books that explore the impact that social media has on the lives of teens, I decided it would be interesting to compile a list showcasing the various ways that teens’ use of Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other social media are depicted in young adult literature.

social media in ya lit the hub

Lauren Myracle’s Internet Girls series is inventive in structure and form, but the story of girls chatting online and communicating in a virtual space is also groundbreaking in the way it examines the social lives of teens. TTYL was a 2005 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and the fourth installment in the series, YOLO, is due out this year. Two other recent publications also explore internet culture. Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff explores the social aspects of online role-playing games, and the main character in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, is more at home in the online world of the fandom of her favorite book than in the real world where she’s freshman in college. These novels explore teen identity through the juxtaposition of online identity and “real life” personas.

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ALA Annual 2014: YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch

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Oh, the memories! With Sarah Dessen at the 2009 YALSA Coffee Klatch.

For the past few years, one of my favorite events at the ALA Annual Conference has been YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch. A ticketed event, the Coffee Klatch provides attendees with the opportunity to chat with fabulous young adult authors about their books, youth literature in general, and- in the case of Internet Girls author Lauren Myracle- most overused emoji. Most of the authors participating in the Coffee Klatch have had their work recognized on at least one of YALSA’s six annual selected lists and/or have been recipients of one of YALSA’s five literary awards.

Similar to speed dating, there are approximately 30+ round tables set up around the ballroom at which 8 or so people are seated. Every 5 minutes, a whistle goes off and a new author joins you at your table. To give you an idea of how memorable this event is: my husband reminded me of the 2008 Coffee Klatch we attended at ALA in Anaheim, along with our tiny infant son strapped to his chest (“Hey, that’s where we met John Green!”). This year, I brought along my sister, Nirmala, who happened to be experiencing ALA and Las Vegas for the very first time (!). She’s a writer, and getting to sit with fellow authors and commune about literature and the writing process engaged her on a whole new level. As a librarian who regularly reads and shares these authors’ works in a professional and personal capacity, the Klatch is basically my chance to fangirl them (but not in a creepy way, of course…yeaaaaah).

Authors at the 2014 YALSA Coffee Klatch!
Authors at the 2014 YALSA Coffee Klatch!

This year’s literary line-up included Josephine Angelini, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jessica Brody, Ally Condie, Jim Di Bartolo, Matt de la Pena, Matt Dembicki, Becca Fitzpatrick, Jonathan Friesen, Carol Goodman, Alan Gratz, Claudia Gray, Collen Gleason, Ryan Graudin, Nathan Hale, Jenny Han, PJ Hoover, Katherine Howe, Lindsey Leavitt, Marie Lu, Jonathan Maberry, Lauren Myracle, Blake Nelson, Jandy Nelson, Caragh O’Brien, Mary Pearson, Jason Reynolds, Graham Salisbury, Neal Shusterman, Jon Scieszka, Marcus Sedgwick, Clare Vanderpool, Scott Westerfeld, Cat Winters, and Meg Wolitzer.

Here are some highlights from my table:

Blinding Us with Science

YALSA Coffee Klatch 2014: Jon Scieszka and Claudia Gray
YALSA Author Coffee Klatch 2014: Jon Scieszka and Claudia Gray

Jon Scieszka’s new middle-grade Frank Einstein series is STEM-based with a lot of appeal for reluctant readers. Claudia Gray discussed A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in her forthcoming Firebird series, featuring time-bending, parallel universes, and a healthy dose of romance.

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Forecast clear? Hit the Road and Read!

photo by flickr user seanrnicholson
photo by flickr user seanrnicholson

There are many kinds of road trips; you’ve got your epic cross-country odyssey, your basic weekend escape destination, your communing-with-nature car-camping expedition, your established scenic byway (Route 66, Blue Ridge Parkway, California’s coastal 101…) but when the weather (finally!) takes a turn towards sunny and warm, any and all kinds of travel on our myriad motorways start to call to me, and I love to see the same “hit-the-road” enthusiasm reflected in my reading.

Reading about a road trip gives me that vicarious travel thrill, and sometimes (usually) even inspires me to plan an adventure of my own when I’ve put the book down, even if all I can realistically manage is an afternoon picnic to the other side of town.

Below are three novels that take their road trip credentials seriously while simultaneously delivering believable characters and engaging plots.

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (2011 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Sometimes when you pack up a car and hitthe road, it’s a one-way trip. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is about the kind of road trip you embark on when you’re really leaving something behind, not just for a brief adventure or a temporary escape, but to actually start over again, geographically and emotionally. Amy has been tasked with getting her mother’s Jeep from southern California to Connecticut, where her mother waits with a new house and a new life for them both. But there’s a small problem; Amy hasn’t driven at all since her father died in a car accident months before, and the very thought of getting behind the wheel sets her on edge.

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Beyond Forever: Female Desire and Empowerment in YA Lit

girl sexualityIf you’re of a certain age, you will remember reading Judy Blume’s Forever… as a teen- perhaps furtively behind closed doors or brazenly in the school cafeteria. It was the kind of book people passed around, giggled about, and devoured in one sitting. No wonder, as it was one of the first books to talk frankly about sex and, even more revolutionary, acknowledge that sex was something a teenage girl could want and have responsibly without it being wrong or feeling guilty about it.

It’s been almost forty years since Forever‘s publication in 1975, and surprisingly little progress has been made in the realm of female sexual agency and sex-positive portrayals of young women. In the last decade alone, Forever was number 16 of the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books from 2000-2009, Rush Limbaugh gleefully called law student Sandra Fluke a slut for speaking in favor of contraception coverage, and Miley Cyrus won out over chemical warfare in Syria as the top headline in August of last year. What all these examples speak to is our society’s intense preoccupation with young women’s sexuality- a preoccupation that tends towards censure.  Indeed, society continues to judge women on the basis of their sexual choices and considers having sexual agency as a young woman a shameful thing.

Which makes the recent increase in YA books that speak openly and positively about teenage girls and their sexual desire all the more heartening.  Particularly, as they do so in a way that neither diminishes the need to be responsible when it comes to making sexual choices nor avoids discussing the emotional consequences—both good and bad—that come with having sex.

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers) is the natural successor toInfinite moment of us cover Blume’s Forever.  It is the story of two very different high school graduates who find themselves improbably falling in love. Wren is a well-adjusted A-student bent on pleasing her parents. Charlie has difficulty fighting the demons in his past or accepting the love of his foster parents. Myracle expertly captures the uncertainty, ardor, and innocence that accompany that first headlong rush into full-blown, soul-consuming love.  But it is her handling of sexual intimacy that makes this novel stand out. Wren is a virgin at the start of the novel and the ways in which Myracle traces her discovery of desire, her anxiety around having sex, the accompanying vulnerability it elicits, and her subsequent enjoyment of the act itself is both beautiful and remarkably realistic.  The emphasis on communication, trust, and mutual satisfaction makes this novel all the more appealing and important for young teens (male and female alike) to read. 

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Teen Tech Week: YA Fiction About Online Life

TTW14_featureslideGiven the central role that the Internet plays in so many people’s lives these days, it is hard to believe that this has been the case for less than 20 years. As with all great technologies, it has brought with it a whole spectrum of positive and negative changes, and has fundamentally altered the way that people meet friends, keep in touch across great distances, and express themselves.

Whether you want to keep in touch with friends both far and near, feel awkward in social situations, or are simply interested in connecting with others who share your specific interests, the Internet offers a whole new way to socialize, communicate and create.

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Beta Books: Teens Review Advanced Reading Copies

ARCToday’s post comes from the Beta Books club at my library, which reads, reviews, and generally has a grand time discussing ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) of upcoming teen books. Our review form includes a cover discussion, space to share thoughts on the book, and 1-5 star rating. Thanks to today’s reviewers for agreeing to share their thoughts on The Hub! SPOILER ALERT: Some reviews mention plot points. 

Reviewer: Jayla

BookThe Dream Thieves: Book II of the Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater

What did you think of the cover? I love the cover, and I definitely think it matches the story. Ravens are a major part of the book, so I think it’s great that they’re included too.

dream thieves coverWhat did you think of the book? This sequel actually surpassed my expectations. The first book, The Raven Boys (a 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten winner), was actually more of a mediocre read for me, so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the second one. While the beginning did start off a bit slow, and took some time getting into it, The Dream Thieves is worth sticking with and reading to the very end. It’s too hard to talk about this book without giving anything away, but I can say that it was filled with an intricate plot, complex characters and beautiful writing. There was so much more depth to the raven boys – Ronan, Noah, Adam and Gansey – this time around. We’re given more insight into how they feel and think, and all of the secrets they possess. The Gray Man was also one of my favorite aspects of the story. He was complicated, fascinating, and just really grew on me. He was the best villain I’ve read in a story in a long time.

I would recommend The Dream Thieves to a friend, especially to someone who was disappointed with the first book, because this book will make you look at the series with a new eye.

How would you rate this book? 5 stars: Unbelievable! I’d rather read this book than sleep!

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Telling the Story With Texts and IMs

My sister and I were trying to plan our weekend.  After a texting spree that reminded us why we had an unlimited messaging plan, we still had some details to figure out.  I suppose we could have just called each other, but personally I love to text and chat, or both simultaneously.  I started thinking why text, tweets and IMs aren’t a more common form of communication in books when they are main way I converse in real life.  People do so much online these days that we have whole websites like Autocowrecks that revel2247117731_77c48b34af_m in the hilarity of auto-correct trying to tell us what we mean. With whole Twitter and tumblr hashtags devoted to texting mistakes, it seems that online conversations are the preferred way to talk. I was inspired by two previous Hub posts about novels that use letters and emails to tell a story.  Check out Epistolary Novels, Old and New by Hannah Gomez and Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: A Love Letter to the Un-Epistolary Novel by Wendy Daughdrill– and here’s my list of YA books that tell a story with the help of texts, IMs, and other forms of digital communication.

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