In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira, read by Adenrele Ojo Audio Published by Brilliance Audio, Inc. Publication Date: March 6, 2018 ISBN: 978-1543661491
In alternating perspectives, Ava Dellaira relates the stories of a mother and daughter when both are seventeen years old.
Biracial Angie lives in present day Albuquerque, New Mexico, fully aware of her single mom’s deep love for her. Angie is unsettled, however, feeling that knowing little about her late father is preventing her from planning her own future. Then, separate discoveries about her father’s family prompt her to embark on a road trip to Los Angeles with her ex-boyfriend in search of her uncle, and possibly her father.
This is my second year participating and completing The Hub Reading Challenge. I am an avid reader of all things YA- enjoying all genres in YA especially nonfiction, novels in verse, and series books. This year I discovered I had read many books on the list. So I decided to push myself and delve into audiobooks in the Challenge. Below are just a few of the award winning titles I listened to and RECOMMEND in the Amazing Audiobook section of the 2015 Hub Reading Challenge.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira was awesome. Laurel is still reeling from the death and loss of her older sister, May. Laurel has transferred to a new school. In English her first assignment is to write a letter to a dead person. This assignment begins a year- long letter writing campaign from Laurel to Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse, poets and many more…What I liked about these letters is that Laurel researches each subject and the reader learns about the lives of these dead people and we see parallels to May, Laurel, and her family. As Laurel struggles with her guilt, her silence, her own self- image, and her idealization of May…who will she become? As a reader, I savored the New Mexico setting, the flawed (but real) characters, the letters, and Laurel’s journey. Teens will relate to Laurel, Sky, Natalie, and Hannah in their daily lives and interpersonal relationships in high school.
Acid by Emma Pass – I couldn’t stop listening as Jenna Strong is imprisoned by the police (the most barbaric force known as ACID) for murdering her parents when she was 15 years old. But all is not as it seems; if you love action, suspense, and thrillers; you will not soon forget Jenna’s world of lies, espionage, and sinister brutality—what will she do to remember her life as it was and as it is now? This audiobook has riveting plots, characters (nasty and nice) and a dystopian world you won’t forget! Continue reading Reader Response: Amazing Audiobooks
Today’s post is the second installment in our 4-part series highlighting each of the 24 titles (and their authors) nominated for the Teens Top Ten list. You can check out the first post here, and a handy pdf list of all the nominees, annotated for reader’s advisory, is here. To recap, the Teens’ Top Ten list is determined entirely by teens; first the nominees are chosen by teen book groups, and then voting is opened up online to teens everywhere.
Teen readers can vote starting August 15th through Teen Read Week (October 18-24, 2015), with winners announced the following.
So here we go; your next 6 (alphabetically by author’s last name) Teens’ Top Ten nominees, chosen by real, live teenagers.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. A debut contemporary realistic novel about coming to terms with grief, told in a series of letters to dead celebrities, starting with Kurt Cobain. This snagged a glowing review from The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘s elusive Stephen Chbosky, and the audiobook production was a 2015 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, if you prefer to listen your way through the nominees. Dellaira has an author website, is on Facebook and Twitter, and there’s buzz that the production team behind the Twilight, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Maze Runner movies is in talks to do a movie adaptation, so expect this title to stay in the spotlight for awhile.
Have you noticed that the 1990s seem to be popping up a lot recently in pop culture? YA lit is no exception to this and we here at the Hub have decided to take a closer look at the ’90s nostalgia that seems to be hitting us from every direction. Along with upcoming posts from Traci Glass and Katie Shanahan Yu, this is the first in a three-part series this month looking at this memorable decade’s persistent appearance and influence.
As someone who was a tween and teen in the 1990s, it does not really surprise me to see so much of this time period seeping into contemporary pop culture now. These years had a huge impact on my long-term interest in music, television, movies, and books. Now, many from my generation are at a point in our lives where we are not only creating the content found on television and in books, but we are also adults with some disposable income that we are willing to spend on these types of media.
Traci and Katie will be looking at examples of books set in or produced in the 1990s, but I have even noticed a good amount of references to this period appearing in contemporary pieces. For example, Ava Dellaira’s Love Letters to the Dead begins with a letter to Kurt Cobain, a grunge rock icon and tragic symbol of the decade. Soon after, a letter to actor River Phoenix appears; and while the majority of his films were made in the ’80s, his untimely death in 1993 was a memorable part of this time. This book is a contemporary story, but it had an undeniable nostalgia for pop culture of the ’90s. Continue reading The Hub Loves the ’90s
Now that Spring feels finally here – the giant snow pile out my north of Boston apartment finally melted – I feel the need for a different kind of book. Like many of you, different seasons of the year make me want different kinds of books. In the winter I like to hunker down with a long, multi-book series and summer brings the annual “beach” reads and the time where I sneak some adult fiction into YA-to-read pile. The return of school in the fall makes me gravitate towards the boarding school story but what about spring?
When it starts to get warmer, it’s easy to ditch the book to head outside to enjoy the not so cold evenings. Breaking my winter hibernation born of cold weather, feet upon feet of snow, makes my concentration wander so I tend to turn to books that I can read in a day or two. There’s nothing like starting and finishing a book on rainy spring day to make you feel accomplished but not overwhelmed.
Here’s a list of recent books I’ve read in a day or maybe two or three. Many are graphic novels which I find great for my spring distraction.
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (2015 Caldecott and Printz honors): This book does an amazing job of presenting a chapter in the lives of two friends. They are growing up but also apart from the friendship that they thought wouldn’t change. The gorgeous and evocative art, done in shades of blue, makes you long for summer but also revel in whatever weather you’re in, letting you melt into the page.
Secondsby Bryan Lee O’Malley (2015 Great Graphic Novel for Teens): The bright colors of the art and acceleration of the plot makes this a great one day read. You will get sucked in by Katie’s seemingly perfect way to get rid of her mistakes – the magic mushrooms that allow her to fix anything – and tearing through the book as fast as you can as all of her changed mistakes come back to haunt her at the end. Continue reading Read it in One Rainy Day
On Saturday, January 31, I had the privilege to not only attend the “Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA)” feedback session, I also was able to bring four of my local library teens to participate in the session. Here is a picture of the five of us after the session posing with all of our swag bags. My four teens joined up with other teen readers to comprise a group of 60, all ready to do what teens do best: share their opinions.
Just a little background, if you are unfamiliar with the BFYA list: throughout the year, librarians add books published that year to a nomination list. From this nomination list, a committee reads the titles and ultimately whittles the list down to a BFYA Top Ten list. In order to ensure that the best books make the Top Ten list, the committee holds a feedback session in which teens can share why they think a book should or should not be on the list. The teens lined up at microphones that faced the committee members rather than the large crowd of librarians and teachers who stopped in to get the firsthand knowledge presented by the teens. Each teen had no more than 90 seconds to prove their point and were allowed to write up their reviews ahead of time. Unfortunately, due to the length of the nomination list, not every title was reviewed by the teens during the session.
Before I begin to share the details of the session, here is the BFYA Top Ten list:
This past year I had the immense pleasure to serve as chair for the 2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults committee. It was a really great year for audiobooks and my committee was fortunate to consider a total of 395 audiobooks for our selection list! After hours and hours of listening, we had to whittle down a list of no more than 30 selections that were the year’s best. If you have not yet had a chance to checkout our list you can see it here. It was released last week, after the Midwinter Conference.
We also had the even more difficult task of selecting our Top Ten Audiobooks of the year. Below are our Top Ten titles for 2015, along with a suggested listen-a-like, in case you are ahead of the game and have already listened to these Top Ten selections.
2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Top Ten
ACID by Emma Pass, read by Fiona Hardingham with Nicholas Guy Smith and Suzan Crowley. Listening Library, 2014. 10 hours, 48 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-8041-6832-8.
The brutal police state ACID rules all, so when Jenna is broken out of prison by a rebel group she has to fight to survive as ACID’s most-wanted fugitive. Unique ACID reports and recordings read by Smith and Hardingham’s excellent pace combine with her authentic teen voice to highlight this exciting story.
Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quick. Hachette Audio, 2013. 9 hours, 30 minutes, 8 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4789-2648-1.
In the second installment of the Finishing School series, Sophronia and her classmates use their training to search for a dangerous device that may have fallen into the wrong hands. Quick’s lively narration highlights the wit and humor in Carriger’s story.
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, read by Miranda Raison: The Finishing School series, narrated by Quirk, is filled with sly humor but also packs a punch with Sophronia’s adventures. Likewise, The Screaming Staircase is not only is an action-packed steampunk mystery, but Raison brings variety to her narration by highlighting the nuances of the quirky cast of characters characters, including the darkly comedic Anthony Lockwood. (Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2014)
I know some of you are patiently waiting for the conclusion of my Firefly post in September. Unfortunately you will have to wait a little bit more as I am interrupting my own series of posts to bring you this Halloween Monster Edition of “What Would They Read.” I promise I will finish Firefly next month. As I see it, we Firefly fans are used to things we love and look forward to being abruptly ended. It’s sad, but true.
OK, back to monsters…
There were two ways I considered approaching this blog post. I could go the easy way and match various monsters with books that include characters from the same species. For example, Dracula would just love to read The Twilight Saga because of all the vampires. Sure, I’ll throw in a few of those. The real challenge lies in finding books for these monster archetypes that more reflect their personality types. It’s a bit more difficult, but I’m up for the challenge. Go big or go home, right?
Dracula – Before vampires became a standard villainous character is several movies, shows, and books, Bram Stoker brought us the original vampire story. Some may say that there’s a historical connection to the evil ruler, Vlad the Impaler. I’m not going to debate for or against that idea, but I will say that guy was fairly creepy.
Those who have read the original novel, Dracula, know that while the vampire was super spooky, he was also very lonely. He used his vampire ways to try to get friends and girlfriend. True, he didn’t go about this search in the conventional way by simply introducing himself to new people. Instead, he charmed the mentally unstable Renfield and made him his somewhat friend, although I think the term is closer to minion than friend. Once he decided he wanted a woman in his life, he did not go about courting her in a traditional manner. After a few midnight visits full of blood drinking, Dracula had Lucy right where he wanted her; in a coffin. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Monster Edition!