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Tag: YA lit

Diversify YA Life: Social Justice League-Reader’s Advisory for Teens Dealing with Social Issues

As library workers, especially those of us who work with teens, our role can shift to “social worker” in an instant. Our teen patrons visit the library everyday and they begin to trust and confide in us.  Because most of us don’t have the training to work with at-risk youth, we can feel a little helpless but we don’t have to because we have the power of a good book.

About a year ago, a member of my book discussion group seemed to be questioning his sexuality and he never talked about it.  I gave him Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith to read because I thought the ending was perfect for his situation.  He loved the book and now he’s very open with his sexuality and he accepts who he is.  Did my recommendation help him? I don’t really know but I like to think it gave him some perspective.  When I see a teen who I think or know is struggling with a personal problem, I’ll strike up a book conversation on their next library visit asking them what they like to read.  If they are a reader, I’ll find a book from their favorite genre that deals with the subject they are struggling with.

In my library, I see homeless teens, teens with alcoholic parents, teens living with a dying parent, and teens dealing with gender identity and body image.  I used to feel powerless but after I recommended Grasshopper Jungle, I realized that I could be an effective adult in the lives of teens. Below are a list of good books that blend popular genres with social issues.  Gone are the days of feeling helpless. Say goodbye to sifting through numerous Google results.  You now possess the power of reader’s advisory in a flash.  You are the newest member of the Social Justice League!

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Spotlight on: Teens’ Top Ten Nominees – Part 1

TeensTopTen_winner_WMIn today’s first  of a 4-part series, we’re going to highlight a bunch of titles from the current list of nominees for the Teens’ Top Ten awards. Voting (for teens!) starts August 15th, here. The Teens’ Top Ten list is always one of my favorites, because I love to see what, y’know, actual teenaged bookworms loved reading last year.

An annotated list (for reader’s advisory) of all the nominees is here. The annotations below focus on supplemental and promotional materials for each title, as well as where to find the authors online; if the young adults you serve are anything like the ones in my library, they love to follow their favorite authors in every medium available, and they’re definitely using authors as a resource to find more reading. Hopefully these spotlights will help you and your readers to discover more about each of the nominees!

I’m also going to break down some stats about the nominees in each post. To start, here are some stats about the authors: out of 24 nominated titles, 4 of the nominated authors are male, and the other 20 are female. I’m pretty uncomfortable assigning or guessing someone else’s racial identity based exclusively on pictures available online, so about the racial diversity of the nominated authors I will just say that it’s mostly a very white-looking crowd. 7 of the nominated authors have had a book nominated for a Teens’ Top Ten list before, and 5 of those 7 have made the list with a previous book or books.

Below, our first batch of nominees (they’re just broken into smaller groups for posting purposes, alphabetically by author’s last name, no significance to order!):

lets_get_lostLet’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid. Numerous reviews are comparing Alsaid’s writing style to none other than John Green, so I think it’s fair to say we can expect more from him in the future! Let’s Get Lost was his debut novel; his second, Never Always Sometimes, comes out in August. He blogs here, there’s a nice landing page for Let’s Get Lost here, and a video shoot + author interview here. Alsaid is also on Twitter.

dont_look_backDon’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Armentrout is already a bestselling author with a *deep* backlist; great news for readers looking for their next pick after finishing Don’t Look Back (although, fair warning, not everything she’s published is YA), and this suspenseful mystery was already recognized on the 2015 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list. Her official author’s page is here, and she’s also on wattpad here. She’s active on Twitter, and Facebook, as well.

midnight_thiefMidnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. First in a projected series (with a prequel, Poison Dance, available now as well), Midnight Thief is Blackburne’s first traditionally published novel, and readers anxious to follow the narrative thread will be relieved to know the sequel, Daughter of Dusk, comes out August 4th. Blackburne’s author page is here, and she also blogs here, and is on Twitter


New and Forthcoming LGBTQ Young Adult Fiction

This summer, The Hub did a round up of Speculative LGBTQ fiction and highlighted other notable LGBTQ young adult novels. If you’ve worked your way through those lists and are looking for more LGBTQ fiction, you’re in luck! This post is highlighting teen fiction that features lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise non-heterosexual identifying characters and themes that are coming out in Fall 2014 and Winter 2015.

In some of these novels, the sexual orientation and gender identity are integral to the plot, and in others, it’s just another characteristic of the protagonist. There’s a great mix of genres and styles so that any reader can find a book they’ll enjoy. With titles from debut authors as well as those firmly established in the YA world, it’s great to see such an eclectic assortment of titles.

New LGBTQ YA Fiction FallWinter 2014-2015

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What are you reading over Vacation?

Summer is here! It’s been here for a while but there is a something about July that seems to be the prototypical summer month: school is neither just getting out or just about to begin; it’s hot but you aren’t sick of it yet like you are at the end of August; and even the word “July” tends to lend itself to being drawn out in a long, slow, lazy way.

With summer at its height, lots of people are on vacation and there is national focus on reading. Almost every library has a summer reading program and many schools require students to read over the summer. Even people who don’t normally read feel pressure to pick out a good “beach read” for their summer vacations.

So I wanted to know what some of my other Hub bloggers were reading for the summer. Are they reading YA or taking a break and sneaking in – gasp! – an adult book? And are they reading from any interesting locales? Here are pictures that feature your Hub bloggers reading– or the stacks of books they plan on reading this summer.

I’m reading Rebel Belle  by Rachel Hawkins in my little town on Boston’s North Shore: no vacation for me until the summer is over! Luckily for me I live a short, five-minute walk from the beach. There is nothing like the cold New England sea to make you want to read some Southern Gothic YA fiction!


Jennifer Rummel reads The Diva Wraps it Up by Krista Davis in her local park:

jennifer rummel

Tara Kehoe reads Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver on the beach in St. Maarten!

Tara Kehoe



In early October, Nikki Grimes wrote about the current state of YA literature on her blog, Nikki Sounds Off. In her post, she lamented the lack of originality in books being published for the young adult audience today. What she sees as a lack of originality, I see as the opportunity to ca$h in. So, for those of you that have it in mind to write the “it” novel, here is a DIY guide to getting it published. Think of it as a paint by numbers for writers. Good luck!


The plucky heroine (insert full name of protagonist, preferably a name that isn’t really a name but is more descriptive or just plain obscure) leaves the only home she’s ever known. Her parents were (killed in an accident or on an archaeological expedition), leaving her on her own, which has toughened her but left her vulnerable at the same time. (first name of protagonist) begins attending St. (name of a person who may or may not be an actual saint), a school with dark and Gothic architecture whose pedagogy and curriculum is (a synonym for mysterious that suggests that the true purpose of the school is perhaps sinister or fighting against things that are sinister or affiliated with people who are sometime impolite when they’ve had a hard day, or…).