Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil

Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil
Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
ISBN: 9781250755544

Anastasia Romanov is the sole survivor of the slaughter of Russia’s royal family at the hands of the Bolshevik Red Army. Anastasia knows she must get to safety before the Red Army realizes she is not among the dead and tracks her down to finish the job. Anastasia enlists the reluctant help of a teen Bolshevik villager named Evgenia and, in spite of their differences, the two form an uneasy alliance as the Red Army closes in.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Cover Art

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur
Macmillan / Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250229588 

Five years ago, Hwani and her sister Maewol got lost in the forest and were later found unconscious, just a few paces away from the apparent suicide of a young woman. Then Hwani’s father, Detective Min, disappears in the same area, and Hwani returns to the hometown they left after the incident, following cryptic clues in her father’s journal that seem to connect the Forest Incident–as it came to be called–with the recent disappearance of thirteen girls.  As she reconnects with her estranged sister and doggedly follows in the footsteps of her father’s investigation, lost memories begin to bubble to the surface — memories that someone else would like to see buried forever. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, July 31 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund
Razorbill / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
ISBN: 978-0593114919

There are no secrets in Keely’s small hometown or in her even smaller graduating high school class. So everyone knows that Keely is still a virgin. Literally everyone else in her class has found someone to lose it to, but Keely has a hard time seeing any of her classmates as possible romantic interests when she’s known them all since they were picking their noses and eating glue in kindergarten. So when Keely gets a job at the local video store with cute college guy Dean, she’s determined to have sex before she goes to college. And who better to make her seem like an experienced, worldly seductress (instead of the clueless virgin that she is) than her player BFF Andrew? But even the best-laid plans go awry, and Keely’s whole plan depends on staying JUST FRIENDS with Andrew–which is suddenly much, much harder than it’s ever been before…

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#AA2019 Nominees Roundup, March 21 edition

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga, narrated by Soneela Nankani
Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
ISBN: 978-0062689221

For the past three years, sixteen-year-old Jordanian-American Tal has been writing to indie rock star Julian Oliver, convinced that he is her father.  Tal’s evidence: a take-me-back letter from Julian to Tal’s mom, Lena; the fact that Lena attended college in Julian’s small hometown and facial similarities between Julian and Tal.  

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Oscars Best Picture Nominees: Readalikes

Credit Flickr user Rachel Jackson
Credit Flickr user Rachel Jackson

We are in the midst of Hollywood’s award show season with what seems to be an endless variety of shows every weekend. Each show bringing new red carpet styles, Youtube-able acceptance speeches and a new list of what films to watch. In the spirit of this flurry of film festivities and movie lists, we thought a readalikes post would be the best way for us at the Hub to partake in all of this fun. So in preparation for the quintessential award show, the Oscars, we’ve come up with a list of a YA readalikes for some of this year’s most talked about films – The Academy Awards Best Picture Nominees.

Special thanks goes to Hannah Gomez, Jennifer Rummel, Erin Daly, Tara Kehoe, Sharon Rawlins, Jessica Lind and Wendy Daughdrill for helping to create these booklists.  

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What Would They Read: Agent Carter

I’m a huge fan of the Marvel Universe, so I’m really excited to learn more about Agent Carter in the mini-series that premiers tonight. Here are some books I imagine might be on her nightstand should the occasion arise when she’s in need of a good read. They are all about feisty heroines, just like herself.

The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines (2012 Readers’ Choice List)
After her father lost his leg at Pearl Harbor, the Andersons had to move. Now he’s a private investigator. His daughter, Iris, stumbles across his latest case and realizes that she could be of some help. Secretly, she attempts to gather clues on her own.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (2013 Teens’ Top Ten, 2014 Popular Paperbacks, 2013 Printz Honor Book)
A British spy plane crashes over Nazi territory in France leaving two girls in very grave danger.

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The Third Day of YA

The Twelve Days of YAThis year on the Hub we are celebrating the Twelve Days of YA with a series of posts loosely based on the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas gifts. We have converted each gift into a related theme common to YA and paired it with a list of relevant titles. You may use the Twelve Days of YA tag to read all of the posts in the series.

Special thanks goes to Carli Spina, Faythe Arredondo, Sharon Rawlins, Geri Diorio, Becky O’Neil, Carla Land, Katie Yu, Laura Perenic, Jennifer Rummel, Libby Gorman, Carly Pansulla, and Allison Tran for their help creating the booklists and organizing this series.

On the third day of YA, my true love gave to me three French hens.

There is something so romantic and exciting about stories set in foreign countries. France is certainly no exception. Rather than three French hens, today we are giving you eight French stories. The following books all take place, at least in part, in France. Ooh-la-la! We hope you enjoy the titles we picked and encourage you to share your favorite French stories in the comments!

AnnaFrenchKissCover   Isla and the Happily Ever After      BelleEpoqueCover

   JustoneDayCover  White_Bicycle  Marie Antoinette Serial Killer

– Jessica Lind, currently reading My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

Genre Guide: Spy Fiction

By Employee(s) of Universal Studios (Photograph in possession of SchroCat) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Employee(s) of Universal Studios (Photograph in possession of SchroCat) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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.

Authors to Know

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

I Fought the Law and I Won: Taking a Stand in YA Lit

Photo by atomicjeep. CC BY 2.0
Photo by atomicjeep. CC BY 2.0

From dystopian futures, to political protest, to legal disputes, YA literature is full of stories about fighting the rules and even laws. This post rounds up some of the best examples of teens winning these battles in YA literature across genres and time periods. Find a book that will inspire you to stand up for your beliefs.

Dystopian Futures
Many dystopian novels are at their core about teens fighting unjust governments. From The Giver by Lois Lowry to Divergent by Veronica Roth (both of which happen to have been made into movies this year), these stories often center around teens who discover the dark side of their society and decide that they are willing to risk it all to fight for their beliefs and for justice.

little brother cory doctorow coverLittle Brother by Cory Doctorow (2009 Best Books for Young Adults) – Set in a near future where a terrorist attack prompts an increase in government surveillance, both this book and its sequel, Homeland, show teens fighting back against the government and standing up for their rights. Teens who are interested in hacking will particularly enjoy this one since the main character is a hacker who uses his skills to take down those more powerful than he is.

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson – Set in a far future Brazil, The Summer Prince tackles issues relating to relationships, art, technology, and government control through the story of June Costa, a young artist living in a society that is divided by class, gender, and technology use. Johnson has created a world that feels completely foreign while still being wholly believable and fans of science fiction will enjoy getting lost in it.  Continue reading I Fought the Law and I Won: Taking a Stand in YA Lit

Great Britain Across The Genres

London bus by E01. CC BY-SA 2.0.
London bus by E01. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Great Britain has always been a popular setting in all types and genres of literature. While I have read many books set there over the years, I never really thought about exactly how many books I enjoy are set in Great Britain until I started planning a trip to England and Scotland. But as I did start reflecting on some of my favorites, I realized how integral the British setting is to many great YA books across multiple genres. Whether you are an Anglophile looking for a new read, or are simply interested in reading books set there before planning your own trip, this list offers great British settings for fans of all genres.

The Name of the StarThe Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults– Rory Deveaux isn’t sure what to expect when she moves from the U.S. South to a boarding school in London, but it definitely isn’t getting caught up in a series of horrifying killings copying those of Jack the Ripper. When she becomes a key witness to one of the crimes, Rory gets dragged into the case and might even become his next victim if she isn’t careful. In this, the first of the Shades of London series, plot twists and laughs both come fast and furious. You won’t be able to stop with just one book; but if you start now, there is still plenty of time to catch up with the first two books before the next one comes out early next year.  Continue reading Great Britain Across The Genres