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Tag: Sara Shepard

Realistically Speaking! New & Upcoming Realistic YA Fiction for Your Spring Reading

Vanishing GirlsHappy March, dear Hubbers! I’m trying to think of something fun and pithy to say about March, but, alas, I can think of nothing. So, let’s get to the main topic at hand – ALA Midwinter. Yes, I know Midwinter has been over for a month now, but I had put off so much work at my library preparing for Midwinter (shh – don’t tell my boss!) that when I came back, I was like, “uh, I have a ton of stuff to do.” Well, most of that “ton of stuff” is done, so I was finally able to dive in to a few of the ARCs that I brought home with me from Chicago.

As always, there are some great new and upcoming teen reads that I hope you will check out and recommend to teens! From a finale in a two-book series (a two-book series – I haven’t seen one of those in forever!) to ballerinas at each other’s throats to sisters and the complicated relationship they have, readers will have plenty to choose from in the upcoming months. One thing I will say that’s not related – I just finished Noggin by John Corey Whaley (I know, I know – I’m behind), and wow, did I love that book! I almost thought about sneaking it in this list, but I’m sure I would have been caught! Ha! Anyways…here we go…first up: something I know a lot about – sisters!

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If Teen Books Could Tweet

As I was checking Twitter – for work! – last week I stumbled upon a woman tweeting a generic dystopian YA novel. Her “novel” has the stereotypical hallmarks of the genre: an oppressive, stratified soceity, some sort of testing, a love triangle, the trope of the “Chosen One.” It’s great. I love dystopian YA novels, so at first I was a little annoyed, but it’s actually really wonderful. Take a look: 

So funny! And it got me thinking, “If other teen books could tweet or characters in those books, what would they tweet about?” I came up with a few for fun:

The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Divergent
Divergent by Veronica Roth
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Realistically Speaking! Some New Realistic YA Fiction for Your Fall Reading

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn AcademyWell, I never thought I’d say this (and I will only admit this to you, Hubbers), but I’m a little burned out on comics right now.  What?!  I know, right?!  Don’t get me wrong, I still love comics, but as the old saying goes too much of a good thing is too much (that is the saying, right?).  So, anyways, I have just been reading so many fiction and nonfiction comics lately that one day a few weeks ago, I put down my copy of Batman: Zero Year/Secret City (and, don’t worry, Batman, you didn’t turn me off of comics – you’re perfect just the way you are) and picked up some of the galleys I had brought home from ALA in June.  I just wanted something a little different than my usual to curl up with on these cold October nights (the best month of the year, if you ask me!).

Luckily for me, and you, dear readers, there is some unbelievably great realistic teen fiction that has been or will be released that book lovers will absolutely swoon over. From feminism to a 1990s semi-love story to a gerbil named Baconnaise and more interrobangs than you can handle (more on that in a sec!), if you like stories of teens being teens, make sure to check out all of these fun and fantastic reads for the fall. Now normally, you know we always start with Batman, but this time, let’s start with Baconnaise!

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer:  You guys.  So, for most of the time I’ve been a Teen Librarian, I’ve had one and only one favorite teen book.  Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King has always had my heart – no runners up; no top five list.  But, now, there is a serious contender for #1 teen book in my heart, and it’s this new one by first time author, Kate Hattemer.  TVPoSA (I wanted to abbreviate the title, so this is it!) tells the story of Ethan and his group of friends who attend Selwyn Academy, a performing arts school in Minnesota.  Much to the chagrin of Ethan and his friends – Luke, Jackson & Elizabeth – their school is now the filming location of the very popular reality show, For Art’s Sake, a show that has Selwyn Academy students competing against each other using their artistic craft to receive money and scholarships.  It’s sleazy and sensationalistic and Ethan’s group hates it so much that the four of them start writing long form protest poems after reading about how Ezra Pound employed the same tactic. But, the problem is– when the producers of For Art’s Sake get ahold of the Contracantos (their super cool name for their poems which they print out and distribute all around the school), they love them and promptly ask Luke to be on the show.  And, the (second) problem is that Luke does it, and he loves it.  Now Ethan is feeling betrayed and is determined to make Luke and the school sorry they ever let this sham of a show film at their school.  The threesome just know that the administration is up to something nefarious and suspicious regarding Selwyn’s involvement with For Art’s Sake, and they won’t stop until they expose everyone and all their lies, even if they discover it might just involve their very favorite teacher in the world.  Plus! There’s a gerbil named Baconnaise that definitely steals the spotlight and just might be their secret weapon in the end.  This book is hilarious and you should read it now, and it introduced me to my new favorite punctuation- move over, semi-colon, there’s a new favorite in town: the interrobang.  Seriously.  Read it now.  I’ll wait.

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Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

phot source: horla varlanI love books and I love music. That being said, it should not be a surprise to learn that I am a big fan of crossovers between the two.

The Hub is no stranger to this fantastic pairing, either: every Wednesday Diane Colson shares with us a book-and-song match in her Jukebooks series, Jennifer Rummel recently used country music as the basis for a booklist, and I referenced my love of book-themed playlists in a previous post.

While scanning through a list of new YA releases recently, I couldn’t help noticing that many of the titles seemed awfully familiar: quite a few of them share (or are very similar to) titles of songs. They may not be similar topically as the pairings in Diane’s posts, but there is no denying that some of these will have you humming the second you see the covers:

Since You've Been GoneSince You’ve Been Gone

When you hear the title of this contemporary story of best friends, summer vacation, and list completion from author Morgan Matson, you may immediately think of Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 chart-topper, “Since U Been Gone.”

 

Don't You Forget About Me(Don’t You) Forget About Me

This new release from Kate Karyus Quinn is a near-match for the Simple Minds classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” but that is where the similarities end between this suspense-filled mystery and The Breakfast Club’s theme. Additionally, Quinn’s debut Another Little Piece immediately resulted in Janis Joplin singing “Piece of My Heart” in my head.

 

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Reading the Book before the Movie or Show: Pros, Cons, & Bragging Rights

by flickr user o5com
by flickr user o5com

Young adult and adult novels make it to the big (and little) screen fairly often these days.  So, just how smug should you feel when you have already read the book? There is no easy answer – so to tackle this issue I have broken down the movie/show tie-ins into categories.

The Book Series Made into a Show

You can feel superior, but do tread lightly as you enter this murky zone.   When translating a series of novels into a series of shows major plot elements are likely to be changed to allow for the continuity of the show.  Examples of the book series made into a show include Pretty Little Liars (based on the series by Sara Shepard), Gossip Girl (based on the series by Cecily Von Ziegesar; a 2003 Quick Pick & 2009 Popular Paperback for Young Adults), The Walking Dead (based on the graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn and Tony Moore), and Game of Thrones (Based on the “Song of Fire and Ice” books by George R.R. Martin.)

walking dead
walking dead
  • Pros of pre-reading the book series made into a show:

1) You read the books, you loved them…you watch the show and get more!  You can translate your book reading experience into an on-going show and keep the story alive after the series is over and/or whilst you await (impatiently) for the next book.

2) Deviations from the book make for some fun and unexpected surprises.  You thought you knew all there was to know about white walkers in George RR Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series… but after watching the HBO show– what?!

  • Cons of pre-reading the book series made into a show:

1) Deviations from the book make for some shocking unexpected surprises.  Yes, this is both a pro and a con.  These changes may call into question your precognitive skills.  For example AMC’s Walking Dead’s many plot changes as compared to the graphic novel series.

  • Bragging rights earned from pre-reading the book series made into a show:

Monday morning talk when there was a Sunday night cliffhanger: does <insert character name> die?  Then they look your way: do you know?  Oh, yeah. 

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What Are You Reading, Russia?

RussiaYouArehHere
Wikimedia Commons

I belong to a book club where we do a role call to see what everyone is reading.  I am always interested to know what other people are reading or waiting to read– but just knowing what is popular in Ohio or the whole United States no longer satisfies my curiosity.  I want to know what teens are reading all over the world.

Russia is a country of 143,500,000 people.  Its capital and largest city, Moscow, has a population of 12,000,000. (Russia) About 27% of the people in living in Russia are 24 years old or younger, so that’s a lot juvenile and teen readers.  Which makes me wonder, what are all of them reading?  Here are some answers provided by Jessica Lind, fellow Hub blogger.  You can learn more about her life in Russia from her Hub post, From Russia with YA.

*These views are Jessica’s own and not those of the school, or of any person or organization affiliated or doing business with the school.

  • Where do you work? 

I am working in Moscow, Russia right now.  I work at the Anglo-American School of Moscow and this year I am primarily in the library for middle and high school students.  My title is Library Assistant.  We are a school library, but in many ways we also function as a community library since Russia is not the most English-friendly country.  We order materials suited for students, parents, and staff, including a large DVD collection.

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What Teens Are Saying About What They Are Reading, vol. 4

All my voracious readers are working their way through my young adult fiction collection like they haven’t been allowed to read all year. I’m excited to share that not only are all my young adult patrons reading with gusto, they are also also finding a lot of titles that they liked. These teens were also  willing to share their favorite titles. Here are some more Teen Choice Best Books short reviews collected during the summer reading program.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (1997 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner)

choice 4-7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Epistolary Novels, Old and New

April is Card and Letter Writing Month, and what better way to celebrate than to look at contemporary and older teen titles that tell their story with the help of the (fictional) postal service?

Plenty of novels are written as diaries, which convey a sense of privacy, confession, and secretiveness for the teen protagonists. So how do letters work? What does it mean when a traditional prose novel includes letters, as opposed to one written completely through that medium? I wanted to put together a list of both types of novels and consider what the formats imply, what letters mean to the characters, and what they mean to us. Feel free to add your own suggestions or impressions in the comments!

thepowerofsympathyThe Power of Sympathy (1789) by William Hill Brown
Yes, I went there. And yes, I know this might be a hard sell. But for readers willing to give an eighteenth century novel a try when it’s not homework, this book might be just the thing. I read it in college, and when my professor connected the parents in the novel (who are concerned, of course, with their daughters appearing moral and chaste and with their sons finding moral and chaste wives) to parents protesting the sexual content in the “Gossip Girl” TV show, it clicked. The specifics might have changed, but this book should still resonate with teens because it’s all about gossip, love, deceit, and parents who just don’t get it. Letters here allow people to keep secrets, something any teen knows about.

Readalikes: Ella Minnow Pea (2001) by Mark Dunn and The Curse of Caste, or, the Slave Bride (1865) by Julia C. Collins

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The Next Big Thing: Adults Reading Teen Literature

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

Adults reading teen literature isn’t confined to bookstores — it’s also happening in the library, based on my personal experience in the 8 years I’ve been a Teen Librarian. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with adults about teen books. Sometimes it’s parents asking about books for their teen. Sometimes it’s parents wanting to read the same book as their teen. Many times, it’s an adult interested in reading teen books.

I often talk about teen books with my coworkers, especially the women in the processing department. Often they place holds on teen books. Right now, one is reading Throne of Glass and one is reading Keeper of the Lost Cities. I persuade my husband to read teen fantasy and teen science fiction books. I pass along books to my sister and my mother. I talk about teen books with adults all the time and urge them to pick up these fabulous reads. So frankly, I’m not surprised at all by the news that adults are reading teen books; it just makes sense.

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