School Library Journal 2016 Day of Dialog Recap

SLJDOD2016_SLJHeader_900x250Each year, School Library Journal presents a Day of Dialog, which allows librarians, educators, and library students the chance to come together and learn the latest about childrens and teens publishing trends and upcoming releases.  This was the first time I have attended a Day of Dialog and I would definitely recommend future attendance to anyone who works with children and/or teens promoting books and reading. Check out my recap of the middle school/high school panels and speakers from the day! Continue reading School Library Journal 2016 Day of Dialog Recap

Romance Awareness Month

The month of August is designated Romance Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to spotlight romance titles.

Honeycomb

Not everyone knows what a romance novel really means – I talk to tons of people who aren’t sure.

There’s a fool proof definition: A romance ends with a happily ever after.

In adult romances, books end with the couples married or engaged or together for the rest of their lives. For teens, it’s more likely happily ever after for now. Most teen books don’t end with marriage or the acknowledgement that they found their soul mate (although a few do.). Even in teen romances, the couple falls in love and are together at the end of the book.

It doesn’t matter if you fall in love in the book if the book doesn’t end happily. Nicholas Sparks doesn’t usually write romance. The Fault in Our Stars isn’t a romance. Romeo and Juliet isn’t a romance. Sure those books have elements of romance in them, but they are not romance books; they’re missing that one key ingredient of happily ever after.

Continue reading Romance Awareness Month

What’s Trending in YA?

I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few publisher previews recently and have noticed a few recent trends in YA publishing. Since I haven’t been able to attend all the previews it’s not a completely comprehensive list so I welcome any suggestions for those I’ve missed.

Road Trips:

  • Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (5/2015). Teenaged girl still grieving over her father’s death a drive me crazy mcvoyporcpine of truth konigsburgRabb - Kissing Americafew years before contrives with her best friend to enter and win a teen game show to win a trip to CA to follow her crush.
  • The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg (5/2015). Two teens embark on a road trip to uncover the root cause of three generations of family estrangement and solve their difficult family issues.
  • Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy (4/2015). Two girls who don’t really like each other, now related due to their grandparents’ wedding, try to get along as they accompany their grandparents on their California road trip honeymoon.

Mental Illness:

  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (4/2015). Caden, 14, is gradually descending into made you up zappiaone stolen thing kephartchallenger deepschizophrenia and lives in two worlds – the real one and the one in his delusions.
  •  One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart (4/2015). Girl who steals things then weaves them into elaborate nests is also losing the ability to speak due to a mental disorder.
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (5/2015). Girl with paranoid schizophrenia

Death/Dying:

  • The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell (5/2015). Seventeen-year-old Japanese boy dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease) wants to die on his own terms.
  •  Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (5/2015). Two teens with terminal TB

Kidnapping:

  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (6/2015). Teenaged Emmy’s friend and neighbor Oliver Our Endless Numbered Daysshackled leveenemmy & oliver benway disappeared when they were in 3rd grade and she’s been overprotected by her parents ever since. Oliver returns years later after he finds out he was kidnapped by his father and must try to adjust to life with Emmy and his community again.
  •  Shackled by Tom Leveen (8/2015). Teenager suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend disappeared six-years ago determines to find her after thinks she sees her again.
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (3/2015). Seventeen-year-old Peggy recounts how when she was 8, her mentally ill survivalist father kidnapped her from London and took her to an isolated forest where they survived off the grid after he told her the world had been destroyed.

Continue reading What’s Trending in YA?

Genre Guide: Steampunk for Teens

By Catherinette Rings Steampunk (Daniel Proulx) (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Catherinette Rings Steampunk (Daniel Proulx) (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Definition

Steampunk, believe it or not, is a term that has been round since the late 1980s. It is usually defined as a sub-genre of science fiction and features a late 19th century or early 20th century setting, but with steam-powered and clockwork inventions and machines.  Steampunk can also be identified as a sub-genre of speculative fiction and is often described as alternate history.  Most steampunk novels are set in Victorian England or America, but are also known to be set in the Wild West of America.

Authors to Know

Characteristics

Steampunk is often characterized by the setting of the story and inventions that are fantastical and magical. Steampunk uses a lot of visual descriptions, especially when it comes to the machinery and fashion. Oftentimes, a lot of description will go into how a machine works.  Supernatural elements are typically included in a steampunk story. Steampunk plots are adventure-driven stories, where machines play the part of moving the adventure along.  Since there is so much action packed into most steampunk novels, the pacing is usually fast.

The characters of steampunk novels are quirky and include inventors, mad scientists, or the like. Characters in steampunk novels also take on the punk mentality.  Usually the main character or characters is individualistic often goes against the mainstream, and he or she may be fighting for a cause or movement.   Many times the plot of a steampunk novel involves good vs. evil, where the good guys and bad guys are clearly defined. Continue reading Genre Guide: Steampunk for Teens