Fandom 101: The Doctor is In

Don’t Blink.

Wibbly wobbly- timey wimey.

Bow ties are cool.

It’s bigger on the inside.

Fantastic! Allons-y! Geronimo!

Fandom 101 at The Hub

For the uninitiated, those phrases and words mean little to nothing. To the Whovian Fandom, fans of the British television series Doctor Who, they mean a whole lot. Doctor Who (never Dr. Who!) has been a phenomenon for over fifty years, and with each new Doctor a whole new generation of fans is born. To date there have been 13 different Doctors (if you include the War Doctor, who only appeared in the 50th anniversary special in 2013 and was played by Sir John Hurt). They are all the same person, though- a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who regenerates every few seasons instead of dying. Though he keeps the memories of his past incarnations, every Doctor is a slightly different man, with a different way of dressing, connecting to his companions, and even reacting to the universe around him, and every Whovian has their favorite.

whovians are

Chances are, if you’re a Whovian, you did just that!

Continue reading Fandom 101: The Doctor is In

YA Literary Tropes: The Old Clunker I Drive

“Trope” is defined as “a common or overused theme or device.” (Merriam-Webster). There are definitely over-used themes in the YA world; I know many of you have had enough love triangles and dystopian worlds.  On the flip side, tropes have always been used in literature, and they play an important part in driving a story.   Shakespeare himself successfully used literary tropes (mistaken identity anyone?)  I have found many times over that if a book has the goods, it doesn’t really matter how many common themes the author utilizes.

That said, I would like to invite you to join me each Wednesday for a hump day roundup of books that follow a familiar literary trope I have noticed and fully embrace.  Full credit and many thanks to my fellow Hub bloggers: Hannah Gomez, Jancee Wright, Carly Pansulla,  Robin Brenner, Anna Tschetter, Sharon Rawlins, Molly Wetta, and Kimberli Buckley for their awesome suggestions and input.

Literary Tropes -The Old Clunker I Drive

Literary Trope for Week 1: The Old Clunker I Drive

To say that cars are important to teens is putting it lightly.  A license to drive plus a set of keys equal freedom in a most tangible way.  Of course, most teens in life and literature have financial limitations and many drive rusty, second-hand, and always breaking-down cars.  But, those unexpected stops are usually what makes the journey so fantastic.  So, thank you clunker car literary trope, we love you. Continue reading YA Literary Tropes: The Old Clunker I Drive

What Would They Read?: Liv from iZombie

izombieI was intrigued by the concept of iZombie before I ever saw an episode. A girl who becomes a zombie, but is fighting her zombie impulses? Moreover, a girl who works in a medical examiner’s office to have easy access to her new food source and conveniently is able to step into the shoes of those whose brains she eats? A girl who now solves crimes through the “visions” she has from eating brains?  Sign me up!

Here are some great zombie, monster, and murder mystery reads that I would recommend to Liv Moore:

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

This is the first installment in the Benny Imura series, and it follows Benny as he turns fifteen in post-apocalyptic America and is forced to work in the last job he’d ever thought he’d have: apprentice zombie killer.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (2010 Best Books for Young Adults)

This series follows Mary as she tries to discover what is true and what is false in the stories she’s been told since she was a child. Also, there are baby zombies involved.  Baby zombies now invade my nightmares. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Liv from iZombie

Diversity YA Life: Diverse Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

shadowshaperMuch of diverse young adult literature is contemporary, realistic fiction, or historical fiction about the struggle of being a person of color.  As a teen library worker, I get to know the personal lives of teens and some of their stories are heartbreaking.  From poverty to bullying, I recognize that the struggle is real and I am happy to be a non-judgemental adult soundboard.  I am also grateful for the plethora of young adult fiction available so that I can hand a book to a teen I feel will provide some insight and comfort.

But when life is tough, many teens also like to escape into fantasy and science fiction. Readers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror also like to see themselves in these books.  If people of color can survive slavery and oppression and poverty, they can also survive zombies and maniacal kings and naiyadragons. So, where are the black Hermiones?

I am a teen services specialist and a major part of my job is to connect teens with books.  I have an avid reader, who is Middle Eastern, who asks me to recommend fantasy books about once a month.  A year ago when the We Need Diverse Books movement started, I asked her to do a cue card about why we need diverse books and she stated that she would like to see more Middle Eastern characters in fantasy.   A little over a year later, I gave her The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and she came back and absolutely raved about the book.  She said that she particularly loved the inside cover because there was a girl who looked and dressed like her.  This is one reason why we need diverse books.

If you are a library worker looking to enhance your diverse young adult repertoire or a teen reader looking for yourself in a magical world or a speculative fiction reader seeking something new, here’s a list of speculative young adult fantasy/science fiction titles for you to try.  Please note that some titles feature characters of color in a supporting role—but that’s okay because Hermione was a supporting character, too. Continue reading Diversity YA Life: Diverse Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Book/Life Pairings

MultitaskingFinalHow do you fit reading into life? Everywhere of course! Here are some fun suggestions of how to incorporate books into (almost) all parts of your life. I guess there are some events where books don’t belong… But you may be surprised by these multitasking opportunities.

Running/Vigorous Exercise

Some fast paced audio that will make you want to work out every day and never stop!

The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Knife of Never Letting Go

 

The Knife Of Never Letting Go
(and Chaos Walking series)

(2011 Odyssey Honor Audiobook, 2011 Top Ten Audio Books for Young Adults, 2009 Best Books for Young Adult)

by Patrick Ness and Nick Podehl

The action-packed audio book will help you keep up an energetic pace and be thoroughly entertained all the while.  Podehl’s amazing narration enhances Ness’ Sci-fi world which consists of only men whose thoughts are audible. Bonus: best talking dog voice ever.

Girl, Stolen

by April Henry and Kate Rudd

(2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Here is a thrill ride of a book that will keep you on your toes.  Follow Cheyenne, a sixteen year old girl who is blind, as she gets kidnapped accidentally by a car thief.  Clever Cheyenne methodically and systematically plans her escape while poor mistreated wannabe criminal Griffin tries to do the right thing in spite of his horrendous family.

Divergent (and sequels)

(2012 Quick Picks for Young Adults , 2012 Teens Top Ten )

Divergent Audio
Divergent Audio

by Veronica Roth and Emma Galvin

This nail-biting gritty tale is perfect to listen to and get in shape!  You will run like a Dauntless trying to catch a train as you join Tris on her epic search for the truth in post-apocalyptic Chicago.

 

Continue reading Book/Life Pairings

Happy Hug A Cat Day

Today is National Hug a Cat day. Check out some books with cats. Did I miss yours?
Add your favorite bookish cat in the comments.

Books showcased in video:
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe
Curious Cat Spy Club
by Linda Joy Singleton
Feral
by Holly Schindler
Garfield: Large and in Charge
by Jim Davis
A Grumpy Book
by Grumpy Cat
Princess Diaries
by Meg Cabot
White Cat
by Holly Black

YA Book Personality Test

Palm Reader
Palm Reader

Forget the Tarot cards, crystal balls, and palm-readers. Toss aside those stale fortune cookies.  You need only look to  your bookshelf to understand your deepest personality traits.  Look for some of your favorite YA titles below and you may find that my keen “psychic” abilities can be enlightening.

Vanishing Girls
Vanishing Girls

* Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver.  There is more to you than meets the eye.  You keep your secrets close, and may not be very trustworthy.  But you love deeply and are very protective.

* Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson. You might have a hard time trusting yourself, but go with your instincts- they won’t steer you wrong. Be yourself and don’t try so hard to please others.

Game of Love and Death
Game of Love and Death

* The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough. You may feel like you are being influenced by forces greater than your own. But it’s OK, go with it. Don’t be afraid to get hurt and great things will happen.

* Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong. Others may call you inconsistent. Your horoscope sign may be best described as “Gemini.” You are brave, smart, and have a keen sense of justice. You develop strong connections to friends and family.

Knife of Never Letting Go
The Knife of Never Letting Go

* The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (2009 Best Book for Young Adults). Some would call you are a guys’ guy. But don’t discount the fairer sex, you may find a wonderful friend. You may not be “book smart” but you are clever and can get yourself out of tough situations. Just believe in yourself, and don’t forget to appreciate your dog.

* All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. You are drawn to those in pain and have some dark times. Talking through it may help.  We all have to go through difficult times.  Let yourself mourn those you have lost.  Continue reading YA Book Personality Test

Study Break Books: Books for when you really don’t have time to be reading.

study_break_booksIt’s AP Exams season where I work, and finals time for many a college and high school. Which means legions of bleary-eyed students trying to summon up the discipline for a last surge of studying, even though they just want to be done. The sunshine is calling. I hear it too, and even though I’m well past the exam-taking phase of life, I’m still in crunch mode, trying to power through to many deadlines.

For the dedicated bookworms among us, studying for exams generally requires two sets of reading; the materials we’re actually supposed to be reviewing, and the reading we sneak for “study breaks.” This is a calculated strategy (no, really!) designed to achieve the perfect balance of discipline and release, allowing us to get all the necessary reviewing in while also getting enough of a break to feel revived and ready for…still more reviewing. Because the internet and everything that lives there can rapidly turn into a vast time-suck, all responsible students (and worker-bees) know: if you’re serious about getting something done, you have to stay (temporarily) signed out of all the stuff, especially this close to the finish line. And the pitfalls of streaming-binges are obvious, so the TV’s got to stay off too (as do the game consoles).

But a book…a book feels studious, even if what we’re reading isn’t likely to show up on any exams, or help cross anything off a task list.

So. What to read when you don’t really have time to be reading at all, but you absolutely must get a little escape in if you have any hope of staying motivated long enough to cover everything you’ve still got to do?

Unless you are a reader with very good self-discipline, novels are probably out. Novels are what we get to read when everything on the task list is actually done, when grades are in, school is out, and your to-do list is all inked-out lines.

Page count matters when you’re on a deadline. Short-ish graphic novels and short story collections are what we need when time is at a premium; pieces vivid enough to truly escape into, and short enough that we emerge from our work-respite refreshed and ready to dive back into the task at hand.

Here, then, are some suggestions for quick escapes, to tide you over until the freedom of summer is a reality, and not just a highly-anticipated future fantasy.

lips touchLips Touch, Three Times by Laini Taylor. Are you a fan of sweeping fantasy shot through with romance, like Taylor’s epic Daughter of Smoke and Bone series? Well, here are three short stories about three different girls who’ve never been kissed, told in Taylor’s distinct, dramatic style, with brief page counts (but high pulse rates). A 2010 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults book.

Through the Woods by Emily CarrollThrough the Woods by Emily Carroll. This is an I’m-too-busy-to-read jackpot of a book; short chapters in graphic format, thematically connected to make one creepy wave of foreboding descend over the reader. Gorgeous colors, stick-with-you-after-dark frames, and spare, haunting prose combine to make this 2015 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens pick a fast – but memorable – escape into the murky depths of the woods. Continue reading Study Break Books: Books for when you really don’t have time to be reading.

What Would They Read?: Avengers Assemble!

AvengersLast weekend the Avengers returned to save the world and entertain us with their witty banter.  We last saw them battle against Loki and the Chitauri he brought to Earth via a wormhole in New York City.  Now they are facing Ultron, an artificial intelligence bent on ridding Earth of humanity.  It’s been three years since the Avengers had to assemble to fight another big bad.  Obviously they must have had some serious down time to focus on their reading.  Last time the Avengers fought evil, The Hub provided a reading list for the Avengers.  I think it’s only right to give them a few more choices to peruse before they are called again to fight.

Captain America/Steve Rogers: Let’s start at the beginning with the first Avenger, Captain America.  C9781423161622_p0_v3_s260x420aptain America first started fighting evil back in the time of World War II.  Since then he has tried to acquaint himself with the events that have occurred, particularly in pop culture as Tony Stark is quick to fire off a reference or two.  In order for Cap to find some kind of camaraderie in his predicament, I would recommend Eoin Colfer’s W.A.R.P. series, starting with book one, The Reluctant Assassin.  In this book, Riley is pulled from his home in Victorian London along with his mentor Garrick, a dangerous assassin, to help the modern-day FBI capture Garrick before he finds his way back to his own time.  While Cap and Riley come from different time periods, Cap can definitely relate to the out of place feeling.

Ironman/Tony Stark: Tony Stark can be a bit obvious regarding his personality.  He loves The Alex Crowbeing the best, he loves the ladies, and he loves his ability to buy everything.  As we know from the first Ironman movie, his interests expanded when he was captured in Afghanistan.  This is why I decided to give Stark The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith.  This is a fairly new book which tells three different stories.  The first story belongs to Ariel, a Middle Eastern teenage boy who is adopted by an American scientist and his wife.  The second story is Ariel and his adopted brother Max at summer camp.  The third story tells of the ill-fated crew of a ship called The Alex Crow which was sailing in the Arctic Ocean.  The three stories eventually intertwine in a way that Stark would find quite intriguing.  I’ll leave the discovery of the connection to you..no spoilers! Continue reading What Would They Read?: Avengers Assemble!

Is This Just Fantasy?: Celebrating The Hub’s Favorite Women In Fantasy Fiction

Just Fantasy women in fantasyMarch is Women’s History Month. Woohoo! In that spirit, I wanted to dedicate this edition of Is This Just Fantasy? to the fabulous women of fantasy fiction and I asked my fellow Hub bloggers to join in the fun.  Here are some of The Hub’s favorite female characters in young adult fantasy fiction.

alannaAlanna of Trebond from Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce (2013 Margaret A. Edwards Award)

“The heroine who comes immediately to my mind (and no doubt others as well!) is Alanna.  So strong, brave, courageous and while in the first novel she must hide her sex and pretend to be a boy, I really loved how ultimately she embraced being a woman as the series evolved.” – Sarah Debraski

Dealing-with-dragons-first-editionPrincess Cimorene from Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

“After first encountering Cimorene in Dealing with Dragons, I was hooked. She is a princess who is bored with everything that goes with being a princess. She wants nothing to do with the not-very-bright princes she encounters and is so eager for more excitement in her life that she leaves her home to find a dragon to ‘capture’ her – the only acceptable alternative for a princess. Once she finds her dragon, she becomes the dragon’s chef and librarian (a fact I had forgotten until I recently reread this book). With Cimorene, Wrede turns princess stereotypes on their head and creates a funny, compelling, and exciting protagonist.” – Carli Spina  Continue reading Is This Just Fantasy?: Celebrating The Hub’s Favorite Women In Fantasy Fiction