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Tag: Matthew Quick

What Would They Read?: Eddie from Fresh Off the Boat

freshofftheboatOne of the newer comedies this year is Fresh Off the Boat, a show that follows the Huang family as they move from Washington, D.C., to Florida. The oldest son, Eddie, is a typical middle school student.  He likes hip-hop and basketball and is not that interested in school, much to the chagrin of his parents. This show is set in the 1990s, but if Eddie were a middle school student in 2015, these are the books he might enjoy:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

This book is written in free verse, so it might take some convincing to get Eddie to read it, but I believe he would enjoy both the basketball theme and the rhythm and beat of the words in this story. Eddie would also identify with Josh and his struggle to live up to his family’s expectations.

shadow heroThe Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

I haven’t seen many episodes where Eddie reads, but I’m convinced he’s a comic book fan, or would be if he tried them. The Shadow Hero is a great match for Eddie since the main character also struggles with his Asian identity. Even though Eddie sounds like an average American tween, people often make judgments about him based on his race, so an Asian superhero may get him interested in reading.

The Slam Dunk series by Takehiko Inoue

Manga series are very popular with tweens and teens, and I enjoy recommending a series that already has a great lineup of books so that readers don’t have to wait for the next book to be published. The basketball theme of this series would resonate with Eddie. 

What Would They Read?: New Girl

new girl
If anyone could appreciate creating lists of books for their favorite TV and movie characters, it’s Jessica Day.  She would probably assign book suggestions to her stuffed animals and then present them in the form of a jaunty song.  While we patiently wait for the next season to start up, I thought I would compile a list of books that the characters of New Girl would enjoy.

New Girl provides a large cast of characters that are so over-the-top that it feels authentic.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a round of “True American” and climb atop furniture while spouting random historical facts?  For those who are not familiar with the premise for the show, it’s fairly simple.  Jess answers an ad in Craigslist and moves in with three guys, Nick, Schmidt, and Winston.  The guys are not used to living with a girl, and Jess turns out to be much more than they expected.  Jess has several quirks that set her apart from the other girls they know, but it soon comes out that they have their own bizarre traits as well.

If you haven’t seen the show, I suggest watching it immediately.  After watching an episode or twelve, come on back and see what books each character would read.

Jess – While this title is a bit on the older side of YA lit, I would not be surprised if Stargirl bystargirl Jerry Spinelli was sitting on Jess’s shelf.  Stargirl wears granny dresses and plays the ukelele, which are two things I would most definitely see Jess doing as well.  Jess has a celebratory air about her and she would relate immensely to a girl who wants to do her own thing, despite how many people around her wish she would just conform to the rest of the crowd.  In a similar vein, I would also give Jess Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick.  Amber Appleton would most assuredly be buds with Jess and Stargirl, but this book skews slightly into drama when Amber’s story is revealed.  

Beta Books: Teens Review Advance Reading Copies

ARCIt’s time for another post 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.

gospel of winterReviewer: Piper

Book: The Gospel of Winter, by Brendan Kiely

What did you think of the cover? I really liked the cover, I really think it fit the story quite well. Also I would change nothing about the cover.

What did you think of the book? I enjoyed the overall storyline but at times it could be slow and a bit dragged on. Yes, I would tell a friend to read this book.

How would you rate this book? 3 stars: Pretty good. I wanted to see how it ended.

* * * * * * * *

splinteredReviewer: Izzy

BookSplintered, by A. G. Howard

What did you think of the cover? I liked the cover, I think it matched the story. No, I would not change anything about the cover.

What did you think of the book? I thought it was really good. I liked the romance. I wish it described more with better details. My favorite part was when her mom got better. Yes, I would recommend this to a friend!

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

What Would They Read?: Parks and Recreation Part 2

parks-and-recreationThe time has come to recommend more books to our friends in Pawnee.  I feel like I might have left the more difficult characters for this entry.  Last month, I chose books for Leslie, Ben, April, and Andy.  So let’s get started and see what we have this time around.

Tom Haverford – It is not difficult to select books for Tom. Basically, all you have to do is tell him that a celebrity endorsed the book and he would be all over it.  However, I do think that is a bit like cheating.  There has to be a bookSo Yesterday that fits Tom’s personality and passion for the jet-setter life.  There is a book– and it’s called So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (a 2005 Best Books for Young Adults selection).  Before the name Westerfeld became synonymous with the Uglies series, he wrote So Yesterday.  In this standalone novel, Hunter has the responsibility to find the Innovators, people who start trends, and present them to the retail market.  Tom, with his big ideas like Entertainment 720 and Rent-a-Swag, will love the adventure Hunter embarks on in a city full of unknown pockets of cool.  Unfortunately Pawnee is not a hub of trendsetting activity.  Tom can live vicariously through Hunter’s story.  Another title that Tom may enjoy is Feed by M.T. Anderson.  In Feed, it is commonplace for everyone to have a feed similar to the Internet directly inputted into your brain.  The program learns your likes and dislikes and sends you advertisements customized to you.  Tom would love having all of that knowledge at his fingertips. 

SLJ: Day of Dialog

Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to attend the SLJ Day of Dialogue. It was my first time and it was amazing! It was a day filled with laughter, information, and best of all books! For more insight into the day, check out the official hashtag on Twitter: #sljdod13

kevin henkes slj day of dialogueKevin Henkes was our morning keynote speaker. He talked about reading to his children at the breakfast table. The books they read together sparked conversation and allowed them to read together as a family. He read books his kids might not have chosen for themselves, but they loved just the same. He then read the first chapter of his new book, The Year of Billy Miller.

Next came a panel on informational picture books with authors Jim Arnosky, Jennifer Berne, Elisha Cooper, and Jonah Winter. They talked about researching, making the text come alive, and boiling down the research to make the book exciting.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check in #16

reading challenge logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2013 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!

Boy21For some reason, despite all of the great feedback I was hearing, I dragged my feet a bit in reading Boy 21 by Matthew Quick. People on listservs were RAVING about how good it was. Boy 21 was even on YALSA’s 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults List. So even though it didn’t really seem like a book that would normally appeal to me, I purposefully checked it out of the library and took it home. I would periodically stare at the cover, consider it for a moment or two, and then time and again put it back on my gigantic “to read” pile while I grabbed another more appealing title. But over this past weekend, I felt the call of Boy 21, so I finally cracked that cover and began reading…

…and I didn’t stop until I had finished the very last sentence! And then I wished it would go on even longer. (And then, if I’m being completely honest, I hugged it a bit before placing it lovingly and regretfully on my “to be returned” pile of library books.)

What makes this book so wonderful? As always, I struggle a bit trying to describe the magic of a really special book. Boy 21 is a book with fantastic male characters who are both typical and atypical for their geographic locations and experiences. It’s about basketball and astronomy, and about discovering there’s more to both then just playing the game or seeing bright lights in the sky. It’s about that one special friend who both embraces you as you are and also helps you to become more. It’s about learning to care about someone else’s life and, well, being more than your own. And it’s about discovering and valuing the things that are most important to you. In short, it’s just a really special book that I think just about any reader would enjoy.

Have any of you made a really special discovery during the reading challenge thus far?

— Nicole Dolat, currently reading Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form below. (The information you provide is what we’ll use to send you your Challenge Finisher badge, contact you about your reader’s response, and notify you if you win our grand prize drawing, so be sure to use an email address you actually check!) Do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles

If you’re not done yet, happy reading and keep us posted on your progress! Tweet your reviews and progress with the #hubchallenge tag, and we’ll see you at next week’s check-in!

Best Fiction For Young Adults Top Ten 2013

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinThis year’s Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten offers plenty for book lovers to get excited about. There are books here to make you laugh, books to make you cry, and a couple to make you sleep with the lights on. With a wide selection of genres, a diverse mix of characters, beloved favorite authors, and promising new voices, this list truly has something for everyone. When it was first announced, however, I made a horrifying discovery. Even now, it is so embarrassing I can hardly bring myself to admit to it: I had read not a single title on the list. I had a couple sitting on my shelf, but I had not started them yet — not one. As I looked for the best way to tackle the list and then dug in, I started to notice some common themes that kept emerging, drawing interesting and not-always-obvious parallels among these very different books. So if you, too, are not sure where to start with this fantastic list that the committee worked so hard to put together, try one of these entry points.

And the Winner Is … The Academy Awards®

2013-02-19 13.54.29Anyone who has ever watched the Academy Awards® knows that the awards are not given to the most popular films that young people like (with a few exceptions like The Lord of the Rings trilogy). For the most part, the members of the Academy nominate and vote for serious, more high-brow films like the silent black and white film The Artist or The King’s Speech that have more appeal to older filmgoers (I loved them, but I’m older too). If the Academy voters were to consider films as Best Picture nominees that teens really enjoyed that were based on books, then The Twilight Saga, the Harry Potter series, or this year’s The Hunger Games or The Perks of Being a Wallflower would have been selected.

2013-02-19 14.01.57While it’s true that many films nominated for this Sunday’s Academy Awards® are based on books, most are published for adults, not young adults. That doesn’t mean that some of the many nominees based on adult books aren’t entirely without teen appeal. Argo is based on the book The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez. It was one of four films I saw last Saturday as part of AMC Theaters’s Best Picture Showcase 2013 Oscar® Nominees along with Amour, Les Miserables, and Django Unchained. In addition to being based on a preposterously unbelievable true story, Argo is suspenseful with a lot of humor that balances the tenseness of the plot.

It’s a lot of fun to watch, although I’d heard that parts are made up so it’s more of a docu-drama, as is Zero Dark Thirty. SLJ’s Extra Helping e-newsletter just had an interesting Connect-the-Pop blog post a few days ago by Peter Gutierrez. He interviewed media literacy educator Frank W. Baker about showing students Lincoln, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty to encourage them to think critically about how these films aren’t necessarily all true but portray a version of the truth.

Mend A Broken Heart: Homeless and Abused Teens in YA Fiction

from Flickr user SamPac
February is Mend a Broken Heart month, but no, it isn’t about sending flowers to friends who are mourning a break-up. This awareness campaign is sponsored by My Stuff Bags Foundation, an organization that supports America’s children who have been abused, neglected, and abandoned by the very people who should love them most. These children leave their homes, often entering crisis shelters and foster care with no personal belongings, and this organization partners with social service agencies to provide basic necessities to these children.

Tragically, too many of today’s youth experience abuse and neglect, and many are homeless. To commemorate Mend a Broken heart month, we’re promoting ways in which you can help these teens and spotlighting young adult fiction that deals with the difficulties they face.

By the Numbers – YA books with Numbers in the Titles

from flickr user Erin Watson

School’s back in session, and that means many of us are having to use numbers again — whether it’s in mathematics, science, or some other class where numbers are used.

In looking at YA fiction that’s come out this so far this year, I’ve noticed that in addition to the many one-word titles (Starters, Above, Struck, Momentum, Quarantine, etc.), there are also a lot of titles containing numbers. Being a curious librarian and a trivia geek, I looked up the numbers to see if their meanings might have any correlation to the plots of the books. Unfortunately, I can’t say I found any, but I did discover lots of fascinating (at least to me) random facts and tidbits about numbers from mathematics, science, philosophy, literature, and other disciplines (all gleaned from Wikipedia) that I thought I’d share with you.

Zero by Tom Leveen: An aspiring artist, who refers to herself jokingly as “Zero,” loses scholarship money, and her future art career looks as bleak as the paintings by her idol Dali.

  • Records show that the ancient Greeks seemed unsure about the status of zero as a number. They asked themselves, “How can nothing be something?” leading to philosophical and, by the Medieval period, religious arguments about the nature and existence of zero and the vacuum.