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Tag: YA books

What Would a Jedi Read? Reader’s Advisory for Star Wars Characters

Our favorite Star Wars characters need good book recommendations too! Yet, could you figure out a book picks for popular Star Wars characters off the top of your head? The latest and (apparently) final entry into the Skywalker saga within the Star Wars universe is just around the corner. It is always important to reflect on popular culture in the library. Such a large percentage of our collections embrace the idea of pop culture. Also, aspects of the fandoms can be great touchstones for reader’s advisory. If the teen you are trying to help doesn’t know how to explain their needs or desires in a book, asking for the name of their favorite Star Wars character could be the “in” that you need.

Quiet Books: They Deserve More Love

lost-boy-coverHold-Me-Closer-Necromancer-cover out-of-nowhere-cover dead ends cover

 

 

 

 

When you think about YA fiction, there are the “big” books – The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, Twilight, Fangirl, Grasshopper Jungle – these are the books that are in the magazines, that have been adapted as movies, that everyone seems to be talking about. They are great books not in need of any additional promotion. Everyone knows about these titles.

But today, I’d like to talk about those other YA books out there. Books that, in my opinion, are just as good, just as heart rending, as powerful, as emotionally satisfying, but for whatever reason, they did not hit the publicity jackpot. They are what I call quiet books. It is not that their plots or characters are quiet, but their fame is quiet. They may not get as much love, but I feel they are worthy of attention. Here are some quiet books; books that I feel deserve more renown. I hope you will read them and discover new authors and stories. Do you know of some quiet books of your own? Please leave a comment and tell us all what books you think are unsung! I’d love to add more quiet books to my ‘To Be Read’ pile.

Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange
Dane is a high school senior, an excellent student, and one suspension away from expulsion. He has anger management issues. Dane must spend time with Billy, a high schooler with Downs Syndrome, to work off his detentions. To the surprise of both boys, they develop a real friendship based on their similarities: both are fatherless, both have tempers, and both appreciate cute girls. Lange writes realistically about teens with rough lives, and readers will believe in the friendship, will feel Billy’s pain of abandonment, and will appreciate the honesty of the not-tied-up-with-a-bow ending.

Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride (A 2011 Morris Finalist)
Is humorous horror a genre? Because that is the best way to describe this unique and charming book. Sam’s life is not the best, but it’s not the worst. He has friends, a job, and a loving mom. He has no idea that he is a necromancer, a magician who can control the dead. A dumb prank brings him unwanted attention from a powerful necromancer who wants Sam to work with him, or be killed. Sam must learn to master powers he never knew he had, fast. McBride writes snarky, funny, sweet, and scary characters and places them in unusual magical jeopardy. She makes death and situations around it scary but also somehow silly. Knowledge of ’80s pop music is not required, but does enhance the reading experience. 

Try these alternatives to the “classics”

School will be starting in less than a month & that means English class and those literature “classics”  you’re forced to read. To this day, I’ve never been able to get through Moby Dick. I think that’s why I love the current commercial so much for Microsoft I heard on a radio station about the girl doing to book report using initialisms. Part of it goes something like this, the girl says it’s about LFW (looking for whales) and “OMGROTDC“ (Oh my God, rolling on the deck crying)  – is, of course, the captain’s response to losing his leg.

I do love Jane Austen so I don’t think it’s so bad having to read her, although I understand that guys don’t feel the same way. But, if you’re not into reading Austen’s books set in the Regency Period, try this recently published contemporary tribute to her Sense and Sensibility called Sass and  Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler. Gabby Rivera’s almost 18, and a senior in high school. She’s very sensible, responsible  and grouchy all the time – completely unlike her younger sister Daphne, 15, who’s always dreaming about the perfect guy. Daphne’s popular, upbeat and isn’t afraid to feel things – and is head over heals over a new guy at school. Gabby’s the opposite. She doesn’t have any friends except guy pal Mule (why he’s named that is a story in itself).  She once had feelings for a boy but he tragically died and she ended up completely debilitated. She never wants to feel that way again. Their parents have divorced and their rent’s gone up so much they’re forced to move. Unable to find a decent place, they end up in the carriage house of a wealthy family. Gabby hates their son, Prentiss, without really knowing him because she believes he caused the death of his cousin Sonny, the guy she once loved. Like Sense and Sensibility, misunderstandings ensue and Daphne has a extremely humiliating experience before it ends happily. I have to admit that after reading it, I prefer the original because I thought both girls in Ziegler’s version were a lot less sympathetic than Austen’s and their heartbreak unnecessarily drawn-out (the review in Kirkus says it reads like “sisters on the verge of a nervous breakdown”). Despite that, their problems are compelling in a car crash kind-of-way and readers who have sisters will relate to their love-hate relationship.