Tweets of the Week: January 10

Here are some bookish tweets you might have missed this week.


Continue reading Tweets of the Week: January 10

Librarians Love: 80s-Inspired Books

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

my little 80s pony by merwing

The original request
I am putting together a 1980s party for winter break and I want to have a book list or display to go along with it. Can you help me think of any books that really have to do with the 1980s? So far I have Eleanor and Park and Ready Player One. Thanks everyone!

Continue reading Librarians Love: 80s-Inspired Books

One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Maggie Stiefvater

Check out previous interviews in the One Thing Leads to Another series here.

Here’s a personal story. Almost five years ago now I was just finishing up back-to-back stints on selection committees as a member of the 2008 Michael L. Printz Award committee and then the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Information Book Medal committee.  It was a heady time, made slightly more mad by the arrival of a new baby (our first–this is important) right in the middle of the process.  That summer I found myself sitting in Chicago at a dinner hosted by Scholastic, trying desperately to engage in articulate adult conversation while totally consumed by the thought of my tiny daughter being so far away (ok, back at the hotel) in addition to being really, really tired and mostly incoherent.  I was seated next to a very  interesting author whose name sounded so familiar–I was sure I had a book or two waiting for me at home in the stacks of titles I’d had to hold off on reading while I finished committee work.  She was young and cool and her editor was so excited about her forthcoming book (which sounded awesome) that even my unfounded parental worry couldn’t dampen his enthusiasm.

Obviously that author was Maggie Stiefvater, and obviously being completely freaked out about being away from my (new) baby for so long meant that I didn’t take advantage of the moment to hit her up for some awkward dinner conversation or polite small talk, which is just sad.  Mostly I remember (through new mother haze) being sort of jealously appalled that someone who could draw so well (I think she was doing it at the table) was there to be honored for her writing.  (I should also note that Maggie’s editor is David Levithan, who was sitting across from me.  Hello missed opportunity!)

Anyway, after the conference I went home and dug Lament out of a pile of books and felt very sad indeed, because it was Excellent and I was sitting right next to her and could have said so, had I been capable of thought and/or speech.  And that was before The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys and all the rest.  It was also before I fully realized the extent of Maggie Stiefvater’s ridiculous talent, so maybe it was for the best–I probably would have babbled.  I mean, have you seen her book trailers?

Thank you, Maggie, for taking the time to answer my questions (especially the forty-point ones) and sorry for the terrible dinner conversation back in Chicago.  I love your work.

Always Something There to Remind Me

Maggie Stiefvater. Photo by Robert Severi.
Maggie Stiefvater. Photo by Robert Severi.

Please describe your teenage self.

Sulky. Effervescent. Pugnacious. Push-over. Gloomy. Elated. Musical. Musical. Musical. I was a creature of opposites: black-hearted and belligerent or funny and warm — no one got both sides of me.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I remembering wanting to be was a writer — books, especially, because books pleased me, and in my family, there was no difference between consuming a thing and making a thing. But I also wanted to be a screenwriter, because movies pleased me, and a cartoonist, because cartoons pleased me, and an animator, because animated movies pleased me, and a soundtrack composer and a pilot and a radio personality and a pastry chef and a rose breeder and — I wanted to be lots of things.

What were your high school years like?

Technically speaking, I had no high school years. I sort of had high school months, but those barely even counted. I was home-schooled from sixth grade on, and by the time I got to high school I was bored with it — school felt like practice for real life, and I’d wanted to start real life for a very long time. My high school books arrived and I just thought: no. I tested out of school (can you do that now? It sounds fishy) and went to college at age 16. That . . . was a thing.

I had a rather rough time with a lot of the men I encountered in positions of college power at the time, but I did have one history professor who was incredibly influential. I recall that in one of my classes, he gave me a B on a paper, and I marched into his office and hurled it on the desk and said “B!” He concurred. I spat, “Tell me anyone else in that class wrote a better paper than I did!” He said that he couldn’t. I said, “Then why!? Why did I get a B?” And he replied, “Because you could write a better paper.”

I’ve never forgotten that I’m only in competition with myself.

Continue reading One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Maggie Stiefvater

Bookish Brew: Inspired by Lissa Price

starters-lissa-price-coverenders-lissa-price-coverIn December I first blogged about heightening your reading experience by concocting a “bookish brew,” a beverage inspired by the book that you’re into at the moment.  Today, in honor of yesterday’s release of Lissa Price’s Enders, I thought I’d share a drink recipe that I created in the spirit of her Starters (2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers), the first book in this duology and one of my favorite reads.

In Starters, sixteen-year-old Callie lives in a futuristic Los Angeles in which everyone is either under age 20 or over age 60.  A fatal spore illness has killed all those in the age range in between.  Callie, her ill young brother Tyler, and her friend Michael are attempting to survive together by living in abandoned buildings, trying to avoid being sent to a prison-like institution for parentless children.  Desperate to help Tyler, Callie decides to sign up to rent her body out to seniors who will take control of her mind, living as youth again for a short period.  In return Callie is promised a very large sum of money.  During Callie’s third “rental,” however, she experiences periods where she is back in her own mind, learning that her current renter may plan to use her body to kill someone.  This initiates an action-packed series of events in which Callie learns more about her renter’s motivations and the plans of Prime Destinations, the company which she’s allowed to loan out her body.  Fans of the Hunger Games trilogy will love Starters, another great dystopian read about a strong and compassionate female lead taking a stand in a society divided between haves and have-nots.

Continue reading Bookish Brew: Inspired by Lissa Price

Jukebooks: Guitar Boy by M.J. Auch

Guitar Boy by MJ AuchTravis sits in the old wood cabin built by his great-great-great grandfather Eli, holding the guitar built with Eli’s own hands. His heart is broken. Travis’s mother is hospitalized after a serious car accident, and his father has nearly lost his own mind with grief. Minutes before, Travis’s father had been ready to smash the old guitar against the wall. Now, cradled in Travis’s hands, the guitar vibrates with the spirit of years long past.

It was Travis’s mother who could really play. She knew all the old gospel songs, tunes that Travis knows down in his bones. Sitting in the lonely cabin, Travis begins to play and sing.

Sometimes I feel Like a motherless child.
Sometimes I feel Like a motherless child.
Sometimes I feel Like a motherless child.
A long way from home.
A long way from home.

Motherless Child is a powerful Negro spiritual that once expressed the grief of slaves separated from their homeland, sold apart from their family, and shorn of human respect. The slow, beautiful tune voices a plaintive cry that comes from our most helpless selves, granting emotional release in its simple repetition.

The song has been recorded many, many times, by artists ranging from Billie Holliday to Prince. My favorite version is sung by Odetta (Holmes,) who performed it on April 8, 1960, at Carnegie Hall.

-Diane Colson, currently listening to The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, read by Gretchen Mol

Sneak a Peek at Our “Gotta Have” Spring Reads

With most of the United States facing the coldest winter seen in years, we here at the Hub thought it might be fun to distract you, and ourselves, with thoughts of the upcoming Spring! Sunshine, warmer days, new flowers, and, of course,  great new book releases. *Happy sigh*

As you can probably guess, most of us are continuously scouring the internet for news about up and coming releases. Checking dates for the next book in a beloved series, “oooohing” over a newly revealed book cover, and of course adding more and more books to our never ending “to be read” lists.  If you do the same, here’s another opportunity to add some great books that will be coming out before June.

Laura Perenic:

Continue reading Sneak a Peek at Our “Gotta Have” Spring Reads

Spotlight on YALSA’s Nonfiction Award Finalists: Fiction Readalikes for The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb

The Nazi HuntersIn 2014 Nonfiction Award Finalist The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi, author Neal Bascomb recounts the heart-pounding search for a man who was responsible for the deaths of thousands during the Holocaust, and explores the aftermath of that horrific time. If you’re riveted by this compelling true life narrative, try the following novels that also deal with the Holocaust and its aftermath.

(The following book summaries are from the publishers’ jacket copy.)


  • TamarTamar by Mal Peet

When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War — and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar’s life forever.

  • roseunderfire-weinRose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her? (Companion novel to 2013 Printz Honor book Code Name Verity)

Set in contemporary Israel, this powerful novel is narrated in real time by many voices: Sixteen-year-old Thomas, from Berlin, seeking answers to questions about his grandfather, a Nazi officer in World War II. Vera from Odessa, reclaiming her Jewish heritage. Baruch Ben Tov, a Holocaust survivor. Sameh Laham, illegally employed at a diner. His boss. Sameh’s friend Omar. A Palestinian doctor in an Israeli hospital. A mother. A soldier.
A newscaster . . .
Minute by minute, hour by hour, these lives and many others unfold—and then intersect in one violent moment on a highway outside Jerusalem. Each is drastically and irrevocably changed. What do secrets, hopes, dreams, and future plans mean after such a catastrophe? Can what was destroyed be made whole again?
  • mother_nightMother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.

  • gentlehandsGentlehands by M.E. Kerr (Best Books for Young Adults 1978)
Buddy and Skye are from opposite sides of the tracks, but that doesn’t stand in the way of their love. To impress Skye, Buddy takes her to visit his cultured grandfather. But when a reporter comes searching for a vicious SS officer known as “Gentlehands,” Buddy realizes that his grandfather’s sophisticated bearing may hide a sinister past.
-2014 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults committee in collaboration with Hub blogger Diane Colson

The Monday Poll: Coolest Tattoo in YA Lit

photo by flickr user Kelvyn Skee

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked which winter 2014 sequel you’re most looking forward to reading. With twenty titles to choose from, it was a tough call! Cress by Marissa Meyer took the lead with 34% of the vote, followed by Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, which garnered 21% of the vote. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab wasn’t far behind with 18% of the vote. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks very much to all of you who voted!

This week, we want to know what you think is the coolest tattoo in YA lit. Vote in the poll below, and be sure to comment if we’ve missed your favorite!

[poll id=”130″]

Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!

Photo by dynamosquito. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Photo by dynamosquito. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Since the publication of the first Sherlock Holmes story in 1887, Holmes has captured the imagination of readers– so much so that when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle initially killed him off, readers clamored for more, eventually convincing him to resurrect the character. In modern day, Holmes’ popularity has remained high, with many books including either the detective himself or references to him, not to mention a recent movie series that reimagined Sherlock in a more steampunk inspired setting and two currently-airing television shows bringing Holmes and Watson into modern day.

Photo by minifig. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Photo by minifig. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Though it is never mentioned in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, many Sherlock scholars and fans have placed his birthday on January 6th. In celebration of this date and the fact that the early Sherlock stories were declared to be in the Public Domain in the U.S. just recently, this post collects some books that build on the Sherlock mythology directly and others that are not directly related, but will nevertheless captivate fans of Sherlock’s adventures. Continue reading Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!

2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in #4

yalsa morris nonfiction sealsNot signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. If you’re finished, fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let us know!

This year will be my first participating in the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge, so I was excited to see the lists when they were released. While I must confess that I have only just started in on the books since the holidays, the lists have a little something for everyone, making them a great way to start the year. It will make my reading for January very diverse and I can’t wait to see what my favorites are.

So, follow my example and join the challenge even if you haven’t gotten started yet; you have until January 27th to finish up! Or, if you are already well on the way to completing the challenge, leave a comment and let us know how you feel about what you have read so far. And, for those of you who have already completed the challenge, be sure to fill out the form below.

– Carli Spina, currently reading Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn