Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes Little, Brown Book for Young Readers Publication Date: April 17, 2018 ISBN: 978-0316262286
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot and killed by a white police officer who says he felt threatened by a big, scary black man (Jerome is 12, 5′ tall, 90 lbs) with a gun (plastic). As a ghost, Jerome learns from the ghost of Emmett Till about the history of racism in America that led to his death, and tries to help his family heal.
While many people might wish to continue celebrating Valentine’s Day with romantic reads, there are plenty of readers who prefer their fiction fairly romance-free. If librarian listservs and Twitter conversations are anything to go by, “books with little to no romance” are a common but surprisingly challenging readers’ advisory request in libraries across the country and all year round. Again, the Hub bloggers are here to help!
This week we gathered together showcase some of our favorite young adult fiction where romance is either absent or plays a minor role in the story. Through the combined efforts of the Hub blogging team, we’ve collected a varied list of primarily recent titles that should provide books with appeal for a wide range of readers. Hopefully, you will spot something to please your readers on a quest for literature with a more platonic focus.
Owen is training to be a dragon slayer, a crucial job in a world where dragons bring death and destruction. With help from their friends and family, Owen and his female bard Siobhan seek the source of a growing dragon threat. Siobhan and Owen’s strong bond is based on their friendship and common goal, but there’s no romance involved. – Sharon R.
Kaz, a member of the Dregs gang, has scored a big heist but he needs help. He enlists five others to help him break into the unbreakable Ice Court to steal some precious cargo. – Dawn A.
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Ever since she fell into a nearby pond, Triss has been horribly aware that something is wrong. She’s suddenly developed an insatiable appetite, her little sister seems afraid of her and inanimate objects like dolls not only speak–they scream. To discover what’s happened to her and her family, Triss must journey into strange and bizarre worlds within, beyond, and beneath her world. – Kelly D.
Gen is the best thief in the world and can do whatever he wants to do. At least that is what he claims before he is caught and imprisoned by the King of Sounis. The king’s main advisor soon hatches a plan to harness Gen’s skills in order to steal a holy relic and conquer Sounis’ enemies. An adventure full of unusual characters, storytelling, and mythology. – Miriam W.
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
In a different world, the library of Alexandria survived. The library governs the people, selecting knowledge to filter to the people. Jess’s father works as a book smuggler. He decides that Jess’s value lies in his future – at the library as a spy. He forces Jess to take the entrance exam. Jess passes the exam and heads off for basic training. – Jennifer R.
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
Lozen grew up in a divided world—there were the Ones, whose genetic and technological augmentation set them apart, and the mere humans who served them. Then the Cloud came. Digital technology stopped working and much of the world is a wasteland, peppered with monsters—the Ones’ genetically engineered pets gone wild. Now, Lozen hunts down these creatures, serving the remaining Ones in exchange for her family’s safety. But Lozen is more than a monster exterminator—she’s destined to be a hero. – Kelly D. Continue reading Hub Bloggers Love: Young Adult Fiction Without Romance
Happy end of April, Hubbers! I can’t believe it’s already almost summer; time moves very quickly when you’re not noticing, I guess. And, with that little rumination on the passage of time, I give to you the third and final installment in our The Hub Loves the ’90s series – great posts from Jessica and Katie have been featured in previous weeks, so be sure to check those out if you missed them the first time around.
The thing is, the 1990s were and continue to be the best decade that’s ever existed, and I’m not just saying that because that was when I was a teenager! Like Katie said, I developed interests and favorites in the world of pop culture that still stay with me today. I was just mentoring a teen the other day that was looking at the latest Rolling Stone that features Kurt Cobain on the cover. She made a really quick comment to me about how great he is. And, readers, let me tell you – that just sparked such a wonderful feeling in my heart because I could see that things I cared about (Nirvana being the #1 thing I loved as a teen) are still resonating with teens today. As an adult, you want to think the art that shaped you will matter in the future, and a lot of 90s pop culture is still attracting teens, which is pretty great.
Well, enough with my sappy introspection! With the influx of 90s culture into the current day, and like Katie mentioned, the influx of 30-somethings into the field of YA literature, we’ve got a bit of a ’90s revival happening in recent teen fiction. Now, there’s no way I want to call fiction set in the ’90s historical fiction (how old does that make me?!), so how about recent past fiction, instead? Good. It’s settled. So, here’s a list of some recent past fiction set in the 1990s that I thought I’d feature for all you Hubbers – first up, Facebook in the 90s?!
Welcome to Banned Books Week! Carolyn Mackler’s 2003 novel, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things, received a Printz Honor Award and has been lauded for the realistic way Mackler discusses body issues, particularly big butts.
In 2008, however, The Earth was banned from an entire school district. As Mackler describes, ” The superintendent had banned the book from an entire school district. And he was responding to a parent who was offended by some words, who had not read the book, but had flipped through it and seen profanities.” (http://www.bookslut.com/features/2009_12_015466.php)
Virginia is the heavy girl in a family of thin people. Her parents are certain that she would be happier if she lost ten or twenty pounds. Virginia suspects that it’s they who would be happier if she were slim. It breaks her heart.
Contrast Virginia’s situation with that of the saucy girl in Meghan Trainor’s “I’m All About That Bass.” She’s flaunting the sexy and the profane, with some motherly advice that Virginia could have used:
Yeah my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along
-Diane Colson, currently reading Aftermath by Jen Alexander
One of my favorite types of books in the contemporary genre is the dual or multi-narrative. I’m sure I will revisit this topic again in future posts about contemporary YA fiction, but these were the first five titles that popped into my head when I started to make my list. I know I am missing a lot, so maybe this will just be part one?
Told from the point of view of two Will Graysons whose lives change drastically when they meet. Both Wills are trying to find their way, and share how their lives are affected by knowing one Tiny Cooper, who is not tiny in any sense of the word.