The Secret Life of Kitty Granger by G.D. Falksen Lerner / Carolrhoda Lab Publication Date: March 2, 2021 ISBN: 978-1541597966
Kitty is an unordinary, autistic, 16-year-old British teenager living in the 1960’s London East End. Kitty is offered the chance to work as a spy for Her Majesty’s government against fascist agents in England, and she soon finds out that the things that made her different (like hyper-awareness of the world around her) could make her a spy. Stumbling into the Cold War spy game, Kitty has gone from being an outsider to being a part of a team trying to protect their nation.
Crime dramas are very popular, so much so that many shows (NCIS, CSI, Law & Order, to name a few) have spawned spin-offs which then become popular as well. CSI: Cyber is no exception.
This criminal show follows a team that tracks criminals who are using technology to commit their crimes. One of the newest members of this team is Brody Nelson, a convicted hacker who uses his computer skills to catch cyber criminals. If Brody were to walk in today and ask for a good book to read, this is what I’d offer him:
Books with lots of action are often a home run with readers, especially those who like a plot-driven story. They can cross a wide-range of genres, from spy fiction to murder mysteries.
Action books are often very heavy on the plot with danger pulling the story forward, leaving readers on the edge of their seat desperate to know what happens next. Elements of risk and surprise are key factors in action stories. The events that trigger the action or danger are typically outside the protagonist’s day to day life. Often, at the end of the story, the hero or heroine is never the same.
With action novels, readers quickly turn the pages – often reading these novels in a single setting. In a series, there is often an overall arc that ties all the books together, even though the primary plot of the book is resolved.
Actions books are perfect escapism reads; this type of story rarely happens in real life.
Readers like rooting for the underdogs. Often times these teen characters go against supposedly smarter more savvy adults and yet, they are victorious in their quest. It’s hard not to root for the underdog.
Spy fiction is a sub-genre of mysteries and thrillers. For a novel to be considered spy fiction, some form of espionage must be present in the plot. This can include one person as a spy, or a whole agency of spies. Spy fiction can be set in the present day, past, and future. When spy fictions are written for teens, the protagonist or protagonists are often inexperienced and considered amateur sleuths.
Spy fiction must have action and adventure. Though some have it outright, others may have more of a cerebral approach. The main character or characters have a mission that is given to them at the start of the story. This can be a mission that they adopt themselves or one that is handed to them by a higher-up. Oftentimes, spy fiction involves some kind of political entity, either employing the spy or working against them. In spy fiction, good and bad parties are clearly defined. Most often, we are receiving the story from the good guy’s point of view, and that good guy is the spy. However, readers must always beware of the double agent! Unless part of a series, most spy fiction novels end with justice. However, before justice is carried out the reader is usually led on a series of twists and turns and kept guessing as to if the main character will be victorious in the end. Spy fictions are usually set in the past, alternate past, or present, and rarely are they set in the future. Continue reading Genre Guide: Spy Fiction
The definition for teen mysteries seems to be slightly less strictly defined as in comparison to their adult counterparts. First, there is usually “something” to solve. Generally, it is a crime, but in some cases it can be a secret that is not necessarily illegal or punishable by law. For example, why someone killed themselves or discovering that someone is cheating in a contest or academic endeavor. Also, while adult mystery novels usually have detectives at work at solving mysteries, in teen novels it is often an average teen with an inquisitive nature–someone who is a true amateur.
Teen mysteries are similar to their adult counterparts, however, when it comes to the plot unfolding. The clues are presented to the main character(s) and to the reader, and steps are taken as to get more information to discover the how, what, why, who, and sometimes even the where and when. Ultimately, we are given the final reveal at the end of the novel.
I belong to a book club where we do a roll call to see what everyone is reading. I am always interested to know what other people are reading or waiting to read- but just knowing what is popular in Ohio or the whole United States no longer satisfies my curiosity. I want to know what teens are reading all over the world.
Though the nation has existed since the Neolithic Age, it just gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The first municipal library opened in 1910. In 1998 the library was officially named National Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has a very unique geography which includes , steppes, taiga, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. (Kazakhstan) This diversity is reflected in its population of 16.6 million people who comprise over 130 ethnicities.
Which makes me wonder: what are all of them reading?
Thank you to Celia of Haileybury Astana who has the answers. Here’s what Celia has to say about her school: Haileybury Astana, is a private British international school with over 350 pupils from nursery up through secondary school, growing every year. The operate two libraries, one for primary students and the other for secondary students. The school is located in Astana, Kazakhstan, which is billed as the second-coldest capital in the world — so we enjoy staying indoors and reading in the winter! **All commentary here is of course my own, and is not an official statement from the school!
What are the most popular titles for teens at your library right now?
Right now our teens are picking up new dystopian novels like Matched Ally Condie, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, but others are still reading perennial favorites like Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson’s fiction.
What genres are most popular with your library’s teens?
Our teens read a variety of historical, fantasy, or scary stories. Nonfiction gets a good go as well, especially in science or history, and anything in our adventure or teen relationship categories tends to go quickly!
In your teen collection, what languages are the books available in?
Most of our books are in English, but we have a growing collection in Russian â€“ and we’ve even had donations of teen books in German or Kazakh! I’d love to see our pupils get the chance to read more intelligent teen fiction in Kazakh.
Do your teens prefer to read print novels or ebooks?
Right now, they prefer print, but many haven’t yet been introduced to ebooks â€“ I hope to do that soon.
I hope to learn and share about teen reading around the world. If you or someone you know lives overseas and works as a teacher or librarian with teens, please message me so I can do a post about the country they live in. To learn more about what other teens are reading, check out my previous posts in this series:
It is snowing at my library. It might be snowing at your library too. Even when I am not reading I like to imagine things. I wonder what people are doing other places. Sometimes I like to role play and suppose I am another person. If I were a teen and not a librarian, would I read the same books? Would I suggest the same books I suggest now? Below are suggestions of awesome teen fiction as recommended by young adult patrons.