Love Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell? We’ve got your next favorite book. Whether you liked the retro setting, the opposites attract romance, or comics & mix tapes, there’s something here for you. If you’re a librarian or library worker looking for suggestions to offer readers, this list includes both older and new titles.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Readers won’t be able to help but cheer for Willowdean, an overweight teen who loves Dolly Parton and enters a local beauty pageant to prove a point to her mom, her town, and herself. Funny and moving, this is just a delight to read. The small town Texas town comes alive, the complicated friendship dynamics are nuanced, and the complications of feeling of first love ring true. This is a fun, feel good novel that’s the perfect antidote to Eleanor & Park’s heart-wrenching story.
Love is Mixtape by Rob Sheffield
While this is a memoir written for adults rather than a YA novel, fans of Eleanor and Park may enjoy Rolling Stone editor and rock critic Sheffield’s story of life, love, and mix tapes.
Teens today are coming of age in an environment saturated with social media, so it’s no surprise it’s featured prominently in the plots of many young adult novels. When I started noticing a trend of books that explore the impact that social media has on the lives of teens, I decided it would be interesting to compile a list showcasing the various ways that teens’ use of Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other social media are depicted in young adult literature.
Lauren Myracle’s Internet Girls series is inventive in structure and form, but the story of girls chatting online and communicating in a virtual space is also groundbreaking in the way it examines the social lives of teens. TTYL was a 2005 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and the fourth installment in the series, YOLO, is due out this year. Two other recent publications also explore internet culture. Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff explores the social aspects of online role-playing games, and the main character in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, is more at home in the online world of the fandom of her favorite book than in the real world where she’s freshman in college. These novels explore teen identity through the juxtaposition of online identity and “real life” personas. Continue reading Coming of Age Online: Social Media in YA Literature
For many, summer will always be associated with vacation–and vacation reading habits. And just as we each have an ideal vacation, so too do we have personal definitions of vacation reading. As a generally omnivorous reader, I’ll fill my suitcase and e-reader with anything from favorite mystery series to thrilling high fantasy novels.
However, even I must admit that there is something about love stories that makes them particularly well suited for vacation reading. It might be inherent optimism in love stories–even those lacking a tidy, happy ending. They revolve around the belief that human connection is meaningful, fragile, and precious; what could be a more encouraging? Happily, the last few months have produced several rich and varied titles perfect for readers seeking a good love story to dive into this summer.
Everything Leads To You – Nina LaCour
When her older brother offers her his apartment for the summer, ambitious young set designer Emi can hardly believe her luck; it’s the perfect place for Emi & her best friend Charlotte to spend their final pre-college summer together. But Toby hands over the keys with one condition: they must do something epic in their temporary home. Then Emi discovers a mysterious letter at an estate sale and the resulting scavenger hunt leads her to Ava. Ava is different from anyone Emi has ever met and their immediate connection is undeniable and electric. But life-long romantic Emi hasn’t had the best luck in love and Ava has a painful history of her own. Can Emi & Ava find the way to their own Hollywood happy ending? Will Emi’s fulfill her brother’s challenge by falling in love–or tumbling into heartbreak? (LaCour was named a 2010 Morris Award Finalist for her debut novel, Hold Still.)
The Geography of Us – Jennifer E. Smith
In this next story of unusual meetings and communication mishaps, solitary bookworm & native New Yorker Lucy and grief-stricken, recent city transplant Owen find their lives unexpectedly colliding when a city-wide blackout strands them in the elevator of their apartment building. Following their rescue, Lucy & Owen explore the powerless city’s strange wonderland together. But when the power returns, their very separate realities come rushing back, tugging them apart. Lucy’s globe-trotting parents move her to Edinburgh just as Owen and his father decide to hit the road, searching for a new life in the wake of his mother’s death. But Lucy & Owen can’t shake their connection and through postcards, emails, text messages, & attempted reunions, the two teens navigate life, love, and the true meaning of home. Continue reading Summer Lovin’ : Recent YA Books To Satisfy Your Inner Romantic
Those of you familiar with the lives of the employees of the Pawnee Parks Department know how they feel about the Pawnee Public Library. The presence of Ron Swanson’s crazy ex wife, Tammy, doesn’t help to mend the fences between these two village departments. However, I would like to believe that this rivalry between the parks Department and the library would in no way hinder Leslie Knope and staff in their love of reading. I mean, obviously they would probably have to get their books through Amazon or a bookstore so as not to encounter Tammy. Let’s see what books the Parks Department would read!
Leslie Knope – Leslie is a very powerful woman who strives at excellence in everything she does. When I think about Leslie, I immediately think of Frankie Landau-Banks. In 2009 Printz Honor bookThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Frankie orchestrates a mission to infiltrate The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male secret society on her school campus, of which her boyfriend is a member. Of course, being a member is not enough for Frankie’s ambition. Instead, she starts to design school pranks and directs the Bassets in carrying them out. Frankie is definitely a teen Leslie would be proud of if she were a citizen of Pawnee. Another title that I would set aside for Leslie is Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer. Bauer’s story includes a mayoral race in a small town. When Hope moves to the small Wisconsin town from a fairly big city, she does not expect to get caught up in the situations of her new home. However, when the owner of the diner she works at decides to run for mayor against a corrupt politician, Hope jumps into local politics with both feet. Bauer’s book combines two of Leslie’s loves: politics and diners. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Parks and Recreation
Lesh is named after the bass guitarist for The Grateful Dead. He wears black. He scowls. And yet, when he meets Svetlana, she of the flowing skirts and pale blonde hair, Lesh is mesmerized. She’s so fresh, so full of vitality. Without thinking it through very deeply, Lesh creates an elf princess character for an online MMO game who looks like Lana and is named “Svvetlana.”
Turns out, Lesh loves playing as a statuesque elf princess way more than playing a man-character such as an orc. Is that…weird?
Lesh and Svetlana are as opposite as winter and summer personality-wise, and it comes out in their musical tastes as well. She: Bjork. He: Heavy metal band called What Dwells Within.
What Dwells Within has a new name – A Sound In Sight. Click below to get a sample of their sound.
-Diane Colson, currently reading Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy