Skip to content

Tag: marcus sedgwick

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #3

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, so sign up now!

It’s week three of the 2016 Hub Reading Challenge! How are you doing so far?  There are so many great books eligible this year, my biggest problem right now is simply deciding what to read next.

the hub 2016 reading challenge

Genre Blend: Historical Fiction and Mysteries

"Postcards and magnifying glass" by Anna - Flickr: records. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Postcards_and_magnifying_glass.jpg#/media/File:Postcards_and_magnifying_glass.jpg
“Postcards and magnifying glass” by Anna – Flickr: records. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I am a huge fan of mysteries, especially during the summer! I love a good page-turner that keeps me guessing until the very last page. A great thing about mysteries are that they also work well when they are blended with other genres.  One of my newest favorite genre blends are historical fiction and mysteries! If you are also a fan, or have yet to explore this genre blend, check out some of the titles below to get you started!

 

 

 

Death CloudDeath Cloud by Andrew Lane (2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

Set in the summer of 1868, fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is sent to live with his aunt and uncle where he uncovers two mysterious deaths that appear to be plague victims. However, Sherlock suspects that these deaths are not what they seem so he sets out to investigate and uncover the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

northern light donnelly printzA  Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (2004 Printz Honor Book, 2011 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2004 Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2004 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults)

Based on the true story of the 1906 Gilette murder case, Maggie is working the summer at a nearby inn, when one of the guests drowns.  Mysterious circumstances surround the death, including Maggie’s own involvement and interactions with the victim.

 

 

 

 

A Spy in the House by Y.S. LeeA Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

In Victorian London, Mary is saved from the gallows at the last minute and sent to a school where she is secretly trained to be a spy.  She is eventually selected to work a case where she is undercover as a lady’s companion to investigate a wealthy merchant’s shady business dealings.

 

 

 

Great Britain Across The Genres

London bus by E01. CC BY-SA 2.0.
London bus by E01. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Great Britain has always been a popular setting in all types and genres of literature. While I have read many books set there over the years, I never really thought about exactly how many books I enjoy are set in Great Britain until I started planning a trip to England and Scotland. But as I did start reflecting on some of my favorites, I realized how integral the British setting is to many great YA books across multiple genres. Whether you are an Anglophile looking for a new read, or are simply interested in reading books set there before planning your own trip, this list offers great British settings for fans of all genres.

Fantasy
The Name of the StarThe Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults– Rory Deveaux isn’t sure what to expect when she moves from the U.S. South to a boarding school in London, but it definitely isn’t getting caught up in a series of horrifying killings copying those of Jack the Ripper. When she becomes a key witness to one of the crimes, Rory gets dragged into the case and might even become his next victim if she isn’t careful. In this, the first of the Shades of London series, plot twists and laughs both come fast and furious. You won’t be able to stop with just one book; but if you start now, there is still plenty of time to catch up with the first two books before the next one comes out early next year. 

Did You Love Lost? Try These Books!

palm_jungle
photo by flickr user brewbooks

Where I live, the temperatures and humidity are climbing these days, leaving me feeling a bit bedraggled and wilted. Weather like this prompts a strong nostalgia in me for one of my favorite TV shows, Lost, both because I feel as humidity-drenched as they all look on the island, and because the heat saps my energy, so I need a book with a hook strong enough to generate its own page-turning momentum, the way Lost expertly hooked me with truly bizarre discoveries, goosebump-causing unexplained phenomena, and never-quite-enough tidbits of the characters’ lives before the crash.

While I can never go back to the jaw-dropping, melodramatic delights of viewing Lost for the very first time, I can, and do, regularly seek out reading materials that will deliver that same tantalizing mix of survival, conspiracy, flashback storytelling with globetrotting locales, a diverse and varied cast of secret-keeping characters, and developments so strange I actually say, “What?!” out loud. The books in the following list all offered one or many of those factors.

MIND MGMT Vol. 1: The Manager by Matt Kindt – Perhaps an obvious pick, given that Lost producer Damon Lindelof loved this so much he wrote the foreword, and that Kindt has given Lost a very direct nod by numbering the “lost” flight in his story 815. It’s supposed to appeal to Lost fans. But just because a thing is supposed to appeal doesn’t always mean it hits its mark. Imagine my delight then, to be promised by Lindelof that I was in for just the kind of wild ride Lost used to deliver so reliably, and then to have the book in my hand actually take me on just such a ride. This is one of those plots that keeps unfolding to reveal new layers, introducing new characters, and feeding you information from the past and the present without ever explaining anything fully (so just resign yourself to a degree of uncertainty about everything).  MIND MGMT Vol. 1 was one of 2014’s Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and the graphic format here really served the fragmented storytelling; what was going on in the frames could be saying one thing, and then the frame itself could say something else entirely, and the reader could follow the action through many places and time periods very quickly with a few key visual cues. The best part, for me, of discovering this bizarre (and, fair warning, violent) world; it’s an ongoing series. 

One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Marcus Sedgwick

Check out previous interviews in the One Thing Leads to Another series here.

One of the things I love most about doing this interview series is getting a little sideways glimpse of the incredible people behind the books I love.  In order to figure out what questions I want to ask I read a lot of background material–blog posts, interviews, speeches, reviews and such–and I try and read a lot of their work, if I haven’t already.  The whole process is very indulgent, and often quite fun in and of itself.  And then I send off the interview and am further rewarded with lovely answers to my questions and often the additional treat of trading a handful of emails or whatnot in the process.  This is not a terrible gig, that’s for sure.

As usual, I’ve just inhaled half a dozen books, along with years of blog posts and interviews and all sort of other bits and pieces found online, and it’s truly been a strange and wonderful couple of weeks.  I’d read a handful of these books before, and sort of knew what I was getting into, but immersing myself in the language, the ideas, the characters and stories turned out to be a bit of a revelatory experience and one I’d highly recommend.  White CrowMidwinterblood. Revolver.  These books are not easy to shake, and I don’t really want to.  But honestly, the sideways glimpse I’ve been given of the man behind the words, patched together from correspondence and interviews and blog posts, is going to stick with me just as long; being familiar with his books didn’t really prepare me for just how generous and gracious and engaging he is, and I certainly wasn’t aware of his amazing ability to bend time, his excellent taste in music, or his passion for comics.

It’s been one year since the first One Thing Leads to Another post appeared on The Hub, and I feel remarkably honored to start year two, interview 13, with 2014 Michael L. Printz Award Winner Marcus Sedgwick.  Thank you so much, Marcus, for your willingness to share the painful details, for showing us what determination can accomplish, and for indulging my ’80s music obsession.

Always Something There to Remind Me

©Kate Christer
©Kate Christer

Please describe your teenage self.
Oh God, do I have to? Shy, quiet, introspective, shy, gawky, spotty, shy, timid, scared, shy, nervous and did I mention that I was shy..?

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Why?
I had no idea what I wanted to be when I was a teenager. That worried me I think — I had no idea what life was about, what it could be about, what I wanted, what there even was to think about doing. I found the thought of the adult world very frightening, and still do, in many ways. I had no idea about how things work; things like jobs, money, insurance, mortgages, etc. etc. The adult world seemed so complicated but to be honest, I was just struggling with being a teenager to worry too much about the years to come. 

What Would They Read?: YA Lit for the Villains of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

buffy_the_vampire_slayer_We have finally come to the end of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer trilogy of YA book recommendations.  I had people ask me to include Spike and Drusilla as well as other characters that hang out in the dark.  I feel this may be the most challenging entry yet.  I mean, when would Adam find the time from acting like Dr. Frankenstein to pick up a book?  Also, unless Glory’s minions were reading her the story of her life aloud, I can’t see her being interested in much else.  But still, I will do my best to find recommendations for even the most reluctant reader.

Darla – I thought I would work my way through the series chronologically.  Unfortunately, that puts the most difficult midwinterbloodcharacter first.  I can easily think of a title or two for every other character.  Darla is a puzzle.  Initially, we don’t learn much about Darla until she appears on Angel.  Everything we know about her consists of her life as a vampire throughout history.  She is the only main villainous vampire with a recurring storyline in Buffy that we do not know the origin story.  It’s not until Angel that we learn that she has been a vampire since the sixteenth century.  This may be a stretch, but I would give Darla Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (the 2014 Printz Award winner) to read.  Darla and Angelus were together initially 200 years ago, but then were pulled apart when Angelus becomes Angel, the vampire with a soul.  Then, like the characters of Eric and Merle in Midwinterblood, the two are brought back together again through a series of circumstances.  And of course I have to mention, there is a bit of vampire action in the book as well.

Books for Boys that Aren’t “Books for Boys”

Recently I was sitting in my library’s teen space with a few teens (three guys; two girls) chatting about movies, books, friends, and the Spongebob Squarepants version of the Game of Life when I had a bit of a revelation. This wasn’t really a new revelation but rather a confirmation of what seems like such an obvious fact: there are no such things as “books for boys.”

See!? Sometimes guys read Danielle Steele! (Photo by Flickr user Wei Tchou)
See!? Sometimes guys read Danielle Steele! (Photo by Flickr user Wei Tchou)

During this hanging out time, some boys insisting on showing me multiple trailers for YA movie adaptations: first, Divergent; then The Maze Runner; and finally, The Fault in Our Stars. They talked about how excited they were for these movies and how they couldn’t wait to see how the movies were different from the books. One of the boys said he watched the TFiOS trailer five (!) times in a row after it was released recently. This got me to thinking about the books and media these boys were interested in. They featured both guy and girl protagonists, they were cross a couple of different genres, and were written by both male and female authors.

I realized it doesn’t matter if a book is “for” a guy or a girl; the gender of the intended audience tends to get all mixed up when you factor in the power of a good story. Boys like stories; girls like stories. Readers in general like stories. We need to forget what we think about boys and reading and find them the stories they want.

Singles Ads, YA Book Style

_DSC2226 (2)It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! Then again, when it comes to YA books,  love is always in the air around here.

Inspired by the Blind Date with a Book displays that are popping up in libraries this week, we are sharing some YA book singles ads with you. Read the blurb and try to guess which which book is looking for a reader. Answers will appear after the break.

Feel free to share your own blurbs in the comments!

  • Jessica Lind

1.  “Historical fiction seeks reader for a look at the effect of WWII on a Lithuanian family. This is a date for fans of beautifully written stories of hope during the toughest of times.”

2.  “Contemporary YA novel seeks reader as date for school trip to England. Shakespeare, mobile phones, and love await you.” 

3.  “Modern update on classic story seeks reader to flashback to New York’s rock scene in the eighties. Must be willing to jump between timelines to solve a mystery.”

4.  “Totally rockin’ graphic novel seeks reader to, you know, just, like, hang out. An interest in music and old school video games would be a total plus. May be required to travel through Subspace.”

  • Erin Daly

5.  “Sweet and funny romance seeks reader who loves film and Parisian travel.”

6.  “Modern fantasy seeks reader to explore the magical possibilities of origami, sentient textbooks, and folding reality.”

7.  “Collection of short stories seeks reader with a wide range of esoteric interests ranging from raising the dead to ethnography of magicians to television shows about libraries and boys who inherit phone booths to handbags with entire fairy realms inside.”

8.  “Suspenseful dystopian novel seeks reader to resist the alien invasion while reminiscing about the past and keeping alive the vow to rescue a sibling.”

  • Geri Diorio

9.  “Heartbreakingly realistic boarding school novel seeks reader who can handle rugby, violence, sexual fantasies, and growing pains. Enjoying comics is a plus.”

10.  “Award winning book linking seven stories across time and space seeks speculative fiction loving reader who wants to puzzle out the mysteries of love, family, and sacrifice.”

11.  “Like fairy tales? Like ghost stories? How about mysteries? Acclaimed YA novel combining all these elements seeks reader who is open to the idea of spirits from the past guiding us in the present. Must have courage and ability to resist pastries.”

12.  “Modern retelling of Shakespearian play seeks reader who is open to seeing what the minor characters can do. Love of fencing, thievery, an unrequited love a huge plus.”

  • Jennifer Rummel

13.  “The family next door has always been off limits, but that was before girl met boy. Now they secretly date.”

14.  “Girl has a gift and a curse. Someone wants to use her for a weapon, but she’s about to fight back.”

15.  “Girl gets sucked into dreams – one boy in particular has nightmares that could come true.”

16.  “Girl’s BFF moves away. She’s devestated until an interesting boy crosses her path.”