In Harm’s Way: the SInking of the USS Indianapolis and the Story of Its Survivors (Young Readers Adaptation)
by Doug Stanton and Michael J. Tougias
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
Imprint: Henry Holt and Company
Release date: February 8, 2022
The USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by the Japanese on July 30, 1945 killing hundreds on impact; however that was only the beginning of a four day ordeal of survival. Thrown into the South Pacific Ocean with only life vests, a few rafts, and no supplies, nearly 1,000 sailors had to endure dehydration, injuries, the sweltering sun, and the worst – the sharks that fed on them each night.
Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of In Harm’s Way: the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Story of Its Survivors (Young Readers Adaptation) by Doug Stanton and Michael J. Tougias
Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil
Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
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.
Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
Penguin Random House
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
17-year-old Cristian’s family, like everyone else’s in 1989 Romania, is suffering under the yoke of Ceaușescu’s totalitarian regime. Food is scarce, listening devices and spies are ubiquitous, and dissent is quickly stamped out under the threat of imprisonment. When Cristian is picked up by the secret police, the Securitate, he is blackmailed into informing on the son of an American diplomat in order to help save his ill grandfather. Dismayed at being forced to betray a friend, Cristian turns to recording his dangerous thoughts into a hidden notebook.
This fast-paced work of historical fiction focuses on an era many readers may not be aware of. Fans of dystopian fiction as well as historical fiction will be aghast at the level of oppression and manipulation Romanian citizens endured for decades under the rule of strongman dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu. Extensive supplemental materials, including photos, an author’s note, and recommendations for further research, help drive home the realities of life under Ceaușescu as well as the bloody revolution that ended his reign in 1989.
Fans of Ruta Sepetys’s other works of historical fiction will not be disappointed. For readers interested in learning more about what life was like in former Communist countries, Walls by L.M. Elliott or House of One Thousand Eyes by Michelle Barker would be strong choices.
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
Loveless by Alice Oseman
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
White, British, romcom-loving teen Georgia has always been told that she would eventually find someone she would be attracted to, but Georgia is tired of waiting. For her first year at university, she is determined to find someone that she likes in that way. But after a few revelations, it starts to become clear to Georgia that attraction doesn’t work the same way for her as it seems to for everyone else. Good thing she has some amazing friends to help her figure things out.
Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Loveless by Alice Oseman
Have you ever wondered what YALSA’s Morris Award winning authors have been up to today since they were recognized for their first novels? Well then, this post is the one for you.
For a little background, YALSA has been giving out the Morris award since 2009, which honors debut young adult authors with impressive new voices. This post is not intended to be a comprehensive list of what all of the finalists and winners have been up to, but it’ll give you an idea of what some of our Morris winners and finalists have been writing since winning their awards. (Be sure to take a look at the full list of Morris winners and finalists.)
Then: 2009 Awards
- 2009 Winner – A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
- 2009 Finalist – Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Continue reading Where Are They Now? Morris Award Finalists & Winners
Historical fiction can be a deceptively complex genre to define. It would seem initially that any fiction set in the past might be considered historical fiction but as we examine this basic distinction, it becomes significantly less simple. After all, how far into the past does a novel need to be set to be considered historical rather than contemporary realistic fiction? Do we use a specific range of years? Do we consider the likely cultural memory and lived experiences of the intended audience? For the purposes of this guide, I’ve decided to define historical fiction as a novel set in the past in which the particular realities of that time and place play a significant role in the narrative.
The genre of historical fiction is vast and varied. The idea of compiling a definitive genre guide is fairly daunting so I chose a focus: “off the beaten path” historical fiction–novels set in the past that feature perspectives, places, time periods, or events frequently unexplored in both the average history class curriculum and historical fiction.
These novels expand the genre beyond the ‘white people in interesting clothing’ approach that can dominate the historical fiction shelves. In the process of creating history, many voices have been silenced, forgotten, or shoved aside. Good historical fiction–like all good fiction–weaves an absorbing story with complex characters, providing us with an opportunity to counteract simplified or biased versions of history. Through fiction, readers can look at well-known events from a new perspective, immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures, or see an exploration of their heritage.
Continue reading Beyond The History Books: Genre Guide to ‘Off The Beaten Path’ Historical Fiction
A variety of scientific studies have proposed that scent is a powerful trigger for memory, and for me, that has certainly been true. Cinnamon and ginger will always kindle the warm anticipation associated with my family’s Christmas cookie baking. Similarly, there’s a particular combination of musky hairspray, sweat, & dust that immediately brings back the nerves and adrenaline of theatrical performances. And finally, the smell of fresh drawing paper, pencil shavings, and paint fumes will always be thrilling and soothing for me. Why? Because those scents symbolize a key aspect of my adolescent identity: being an artist.
By high school, art was embedded into my daily life. I took classes at school and at a local art studio, where I also worked as a teaching assistant for a couple hours every Saturday. I doodled during play practices and spent hours agonizing over pieces for local shows. When I drew, my intense focus could be alternatively relaxing, exciting, or frustrating–especially if the piece wasn’t working out. However, it was always a transporting experience–a time to escape my life and be more present in myself.
Accordingly, I’m always keen to find stories that explore and celebrate the varied roles of visual art in the lives of young adults. And as March is Youth Art Month, it seems like the perfect time to share some novels featuring young artists.
Page by Paige – Laura Lee Gulledge (2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens) When her family moves from Virginia to Brooklyn, Paige’s only friend and solace is her trusty sketchbook. Through her drawings, Paige can be her adventurous, clever artist self– but taking that identity into the big, overwhelming world is a whole different story. Spanning her first eight months in New York, Paige’s journey of new friendships, tentative romance, and growing artistic confidence unfurls through imaginative & organic images. Continue reading Portrait of The Artist As a Young Adult: Celebrating Youth Art Month in YA Lit