Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop cover art

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston; narrated by Natalie Naudus
Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250803184

August Landry arrives in New York City with all of her possessions in five boxes. She’s 23 years old and her move to New York lets her escape the earlier years of her life which were spent working with her mother, an amateur detective, trying to track down August’s missing uncle. August moves into an apartment with Niko, a psychic, his girlfriend Mya, an artist, and Wes, a tattoo artist. August never had time for friends and fun when she was helping her mom, but she quickly becomes a part of Niko, Mya, and Wes’ chosen LBGTQ+ family. Then, August meets Jane on the Q Train. Jane isn’t like any other girl August has met before. Their relationship is full of the twists and turns of first loves. McQuiston asks the listener to travel along with them on a slightly sci-fi route, because, as August soon discovers, Jane has been stuck on this particular train since the 1970s.  

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

What to Do After Your Debut? Keep Writing, Of Course!

The 2021 Morris Award Finalists (shown above) were announced in December, and the winner will be revealed at the ALA Youth Media Awards on January 25. First granted in 2009, the William C. Morris YA Debut Award recognizes the most impressive debut published in Young Adult Literature each year.

With more than a decade of winners to look back on, let’s see which of our former debuts are still impressing readers today.

2010’s Morris Award went to L. K. Madigan’s Flash Burnout. Tragically, the author passed away just a year after receiving the award. The rest of the finalists from that year, however, have continued to contribute to YA in significant ways, perhaps none more notably that Nina LaCour, who went on to win the 2018 Printz Award for We Are Okay. LaCour’s latest novel, Watch Over Me, has been nominated for the 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults Selected List.

In fact, several names on the 2021 BFYA nominations list were originally finalists for the Morris Award, including 2015’s Jessie Ann Foley, 2016’s Anna-Marie McLemore, 2018’s Nic Stone, and David Yoon in 2020.

Last year’s winner, Ben Phillippe, has been nominated. Both the winner of the 2019 Morris Award and one of its finalists have companion books that were nominated — Adib Khorram with Darius the Great Deserves Better and Tomi Adeyemi with Children of Virtue and Vengeance. And Becky Albertalli, the winner in 2016, is enjoying praise this year for Yes No Maybe So, cowritten with Aisha Saeed.

What about books out in 2021? Morris Award recipients have those, too!

Just released is Concrete Rose, 2018 Morris Award winner Angie Thomas’s follow up to The Hate U Give.

And out in August is In the Wild Light from 2017 Morris Award winner Jeff Zentner.

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

The moral of the story is this: no matter which finalist is chosen in 2021, we will look forward to reading them for years to come.

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 18 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Sanctuary Audiobook By Paola Mendoza,
    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Abby Sher cover art

Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher; Narrated by Paola Mendoza
Listening Library
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 9780593341018

In the year 2032, all American citizens are chipped and every movement is tracked, making it near impossible for the undocumented to survive.  Somehow, Valentina “Vali” Gonzalez Rameriz, her mother and her younger brother manage to eke out an existence in small-town Vermont using counterfeit chips.  When Vali’s mother’s chip malfunctions, the three of them make a harrowing journey across the country to her Tia Luna’s in California, the sanctuary state that is being walled off and forcefully seceded from the rest of the country.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 18 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 6 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Save Steve by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan
HarperTeen / HarperCollins
Publication date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062876270

Cam is a hopeless romantic, heavy on the hopeless, because when his longtime crush, Kaia, continues to date popular bro Steve (who is definitely wrong for her), instead of Cam, he will do anything to get close to her.  This includes volunteering himself as chairperson of a fund-raising committee to help Steve get the cancer treatment he needs, which will show Kaia what a great guy he is, as well as giving them serious quality time. Cam’s getting the quality time and credit for his selflessness, the only problem is that Steve is on to why Cam is so helpful, and he’s determined to make Cam pay.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 6 Edition

What Would Brian May Read?

My favorite movie of 2018 was Bohemian Rhapsody. I was thrilled to see it, and Rami Malek, win awards, but, as interesting as Freddy Mercury’s story is, I find Queen guitarist Brian May’s story equally as interesting. Not only is he one of the world’s greatest guitarists, he built his own guitar and has a PhD in astrophysics. Although he is now in his 70s he still plays and recently released a new single, “New Horizons”, to celebrate the space probe of the same name as it flew past Ultima Thule, the farthest object in the solar system that a spacecraft has visited. Brian May might be described as a Renaissance Man and I wondered are there Renaissance Teens who might be inspired by these books I think reflect aspects of Brian May’s life?

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#ALAAC18 Recap: Printz Award Reception

On Friday, June 22, the Printz and Printz honor winners, announced in February at Midwinter, formally accepted their prizes.

As a fan of YA literature, one of the most exciting things about the Printz reception is how many authors (not just the year’s honorees!) are in attendance. Sitting in the audience and recognizing folks from their book jacket photos like Rebecca Stead, Tahereh Mafi, and Ransom Riggs truly made me feel like I was at the book world’s [much cozier] version of the Emmys and transformed a regular hotel conference room into something much greater.

After opening remarks from YALSA president Sandra Hughes-Hassell and 2018 Printz Committee Chair Angela Carstensen, each honoree spoke about their work and writing careers. Below is a brief recap of each speech from this special night. For more information about the Printz award and past winners, see the YALSA website and the Teen Book Finder App.

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Booklist: Life is a Highway

Road trip books make people happy – maybe it’s because they’re seeing the world from the character’s view, maybe it’s because the characters are visiting places we long to visit ourselves, maybe it’s the feel of freedom, maybe it’s the change that inevitably happens to the characters along the way – or maybe it’s a combination. Now that it’s spring time, I’m ready to get in the car, crank the music, and see where the road takes me.

So here are a few road trip books – and because the video’s short, I’ll ask you to add your favorites in the comments.

Books in the Video:
Crash into Me by Albert Borris
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
Going Bovine by Libba Bray (2010 Printz winner)
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

-Jennifer Rummel, currently reading Flunked by Jennifer Calonita

From Page To Screen: A ‘We Need Diverse Books’ Wish List

image from Flickr user Kenneth Lu (https://www.flickr.com/photos/toasty/)
image from Flickr user Kenneth Lu (https://www.flickr.com/photos/toasty/)

As the number of film adaptations set to be released  in the 2015 illustrates, Hollywood seems firmly committed to turning to the world of young adult fiction for inspiration–and box office success.  While this trend is exciting for YA fiction fans, the lack of the diversity present in the stories selected remains disheartening. While planning a recent movie night at my library, I was freshly reminded of this problem and as usual, I took to Twitter to share my frustration.

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The ensuing discussion was vibrant and, inspired,  I polled friends & colleagues to develop a wish list of diverse young adult novels we’d like to see on the silver screen.

everything leads to youEverything Leads To You – Nina LaCour (2015 Rainbow List, 2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Talented young set designer Emi is spending the summer before college with her best friend Charlotte in Emi’s older brother’s apartment when an estate sale & a mysterious letter brings Ava into her life. But despite their immediate, electric connection, Emi & Ava each have pain in their past and their path to happily ever after will be far from simple.  Between Emi and Ava’s “will they or won’t they” chemistry, great supporting characters and an intriguing setting, you’ve got the perfect rom-com of the summer!

One Man GuyOne Man Guy – Michael Barakiva (2015 Rainbow List)

Alek Khederian assumed that summer school will be an extension of his horrible freshman year; he never expected that it would lead him to Ethan.  Alek can’t imagine why someone like confident skateboarder Ethan wants to hang out with him and when romantic sparks start to fly between them, Alek will have re-evaluate everything he knew about himself. This novel isn’t just a lovely coming of age tale–it’s a love letter to New York City and Alek’s Armenian heritage featuring a built-in soundtrack of Rufus Wainwright songs. Continue reading From Page To Screen: A ‘We Need Diverse Books’ Wish List

Contagious Passion: Characters Doing What They Love

“The things that you do should be things that you love, and things that you love should be things that you do.” -Ray Bradbury

Passion is contagious. I love hearing people talk about what they love. I’m sucked into their story, even if they are describing something I didn’t find remotely interesting prior to that moment. This is just as true for me in fiction as it is in real life. I am almost immediately won over by characters in a ruthless pursuit of a passion, whether it manifests in a career aspiration, hobby, vocation or, dare we say, calling. Below are just a few characters and their passions I have enjoyed sharing.

Labors of Love:

CathFangiFANGIRL_CoverDec2012-300x444rl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a passionate reader and a fan of the fantasy series featuring boy wizard Simon Snow. But Cath isn’t just a fan, she is an active participant in the fandom.  As “Magicath,” she writes Simon Snow fanfiction, first with her sister and then on her own. Writing fanfiction serves as an escape when her own life is difficult or lonely, and it’s Cath’s own fan base that, in part, helps her gain the confidence she will need to write original characters that tell her own unique story. Fangirl readers not only get to read Cath’s story throughout the novel, but her own Simon Snow fanfiction as well.

Will and her friendsWill and Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge; Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens

If I had to give an award for the most unique hobbies I have ever encountered in fiction, I would give it to Wilhelmina and her friends. As Will introduces her friends to the reader, one of the first things we find out about each of them is what they are passionate about.  Will makes her own lamps mostly out of objects found in her aunt’s antique shop, her friend Autumn practices puppetry, Noel is constantly baking, and his little sister Reece makes up-cycled jewelry.  Readers looking for a graphic novel offering some D.I.Y. inspiration need look no furNothing Can Possibly Go Wrong Coverther than Will and Whit. One thing I love about Will and her friends’ hobbies is the way they find ways to share them with their community.  When Hurricane Whitney sweeps through, causing a town-wide blackout, and leaving locals bored, Will and her friends each contribute their talents to a makeshift arts carnival. With a phobia of the dark and a tragic past, making lamps becomes a way for Will to cope with her fears and, eventually, process and express her emotions.

Nate, the robotics club, and the cheerleaders Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen, Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks; Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Nate is president of the high school’s robotics club, a small but dedicated group, struggling for their school’s meager extracurricular funds.  Unfortunately, the school’s cheerleaders are just as dedicated and want the same funding for their cheer uniforms. Though the two groups initially have it out for each other, they become united by their lack of money, and use a cutthroat robotics competition as a last ditch effort to win prize money.  My favorite part of this graphic novel is that two groups bond over the fact that they both love what they do, even though what they love couldn’t possibly be more different. Nate and his friends have to deal with stereotypes surrounding what they love, but they fight them with an inspirational vengeance. (Cheerleaders are NOT dumb, and don’t EVER tell a girl that she shouldn’t be into robotics!) Continue reading Contagious Passion: Characters Doing What They Love

The Twelfth Day of YA

The Twelve Days of YAThis year on the Hub we are celebrating the Twelve Days of YA with a series of posts loosely based on the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas gifts. We have converted each gift into a related theme common to YA and paired it with a list of relevant titles. You may use the Twelve Days of YA tag to read all of the posts in the series.

Special thanks goes to Carli Spina, Faythe Arredondo, Sharon Rawlins, Geri Diorio, Becky O’Neil, Carla Land, Katie Yu, Laura Perenic, Jennifer Rummel, Libby Gorman, Carly Pansulla, Anna Dalin, and Allison Tran for their help creating the booklists and organizing this series.

On the twelfth day of YA, my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming.

For our final day of YA we are returning to a musical theme. Day four included a wider variety of music themes, but today we are focused entirely on YA lit that includes musicians. We’ve gone a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll, so there should be something in here for everyone. We hope you enjoy the rock stars that we picked and encourage you to share your favorites in the comments!

      

      

Drums Girls and Dangerous Pie   Open Road Summer   The Scar Boys

Being Friends with Boys    Where She Went    The Piper's Son

– Jessica Lind, currently reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman