June is history month, and while there’s a ton of great historical fiction for teens out there, it’s also a perfect time to start asking “What if?”
What if the American Revolution never happened?
What if the Axis Powers won World War II?
Alternate history books are a great way to explore these questions, and alternate history for teens is becoming increasingly popular. Here are a few books to get you started.
These stories can blend speculative elements with historical facts, which is perfect for prompting discussion about what is truth and what is fiction in the novels discussed. They can also prompt readers to explore more nonfiction about the time period. Continue reading Booklist: YA Alternate History
I don’t read as much horror as I probably should, since it’s very popular with a lot of teen readers. So, I was very happy to attend this YA Literature Symposium session presented by the two Paulas (Paula Willey and Paula Gallagher) both from Baltimore (MD) County Public Library. Not only did I hear about some horror books I wasn’t familiar with, I also won a scary shark t-shirt! Thanks to their generosity, lots of us in the audience got prizes of galleys of YA books, and everyone got creepy body part shaped candy and packets of Old Bay Seasoning (Why? Because it’s made in Baltimore).
I can’t describe their presentation any better than they did:
“Teens of all types gravitate to horror fiction – perfectly nice kids with perfectly comfortable lives (as well as perfectly nice kids with difficult lives) seek out books by Darren Shan, Alexander Gordon Smith, Jeyn Roberts and the like. In our presentation, we will make the link between the psychological developments that characterize coming of age and the metaphors of horror, and argue that just because it’s all in your head, that doesn’t mean it’s not real.”
They mentioned that teens who like horror are nostalgic for series they read as kids like the Goosebumps series, Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories, or David Lubar’s Weenies series. Teens today are cutting their teeth on new horror TV shows, and films, even foreign ones like Let the Right One In and are big consumers of media, especially horror series like The Vampire Diaries.
Paula Willey explained why it’s important that we understand why teens like horror:
1. We may need to overcome our own revulsion; people who don’t like it don’t understand the appeal.
2. Horror is unusually good at shining a light on concerns of adolescents in ways other types of fiction do not. Horror is a window into their worries.
They also said that issues of morality can be explored in horror. Alexander Gordon Smith can talk abut good vs. evil in his Escape the Furnace series and get away with it. I had to laugh when they showed a slide from their PowerPoint stating that adolescent development is characterized by poor decision making; risk-taking; and a changing sense of identity and the image on screen was a photo of Bella and Edward from the Twilight movie.
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Becca Holladay, who lives in Yokota, Japan.
My mom knows what it means when I collapse onto her bed crying. It means I have finished yet another series.
As a voracious reader, I am always with a book. And there is a pattern among those books, and that is that they are all fantasy/sci-fi/romance books! I usually refuse to read anything else.
But after I finish a particularly heart-wrenching series (Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, anyone?), and I end up completely heartbroken, I just need to take a break. And by break, I don’t mean from reading, heaven forbid! I just take a break from reading addicting series. Continue reading Books as Palate Cleansers
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 character 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.
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!
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.