#ICYMI: 8 Books You Might Have Missed

It’s almost the end of 2023 and time to submit your last carts for the year!  If you find yourself with extra funds, here are some titles from the last two years that you might have missed. Some are from debut authors that snuck under the radar, while others are old favorites with new projects.

    • There’s No Way I’d Die First
    • By Lisa Springer
    • Delacorte Press: 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593643174

    This debut is for the horror-obsessed teen and pulls out all the tropes in what ends up being a campy, gory romp. If the tropes aren’t enough of a tell, each chapter starts with a quote from a horror movie and gives a hint to upcoming events. This is an homage to all the greats, with references to Stephen King, Scream, a killer clown with superhuman strength that rivals Michael Myers, and a heavy dose of teen drama. It also tries to tie in some political and social commentary and a hint of romance. Does this require suspension of belief? Yes. That’s the point. Hand to your older teens or your horror movie buffs.

    • Holly Horror
    • by Michelle Jabé Corpora
    • Penguin Workshop, 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593386217

    A scary take on our patchwork-clad, bonnet-wearing gal, Holly Hobbie. After her parents split, Evie’s mom moves the family back to her hometown and into the Horror House, so named because Holly vanished from it decades before. As Evie pokes around in the attic and discovers more of Holly’s story, weird things start to happen to her. The book ends on a cliff-hanger and readers will eagerly await book two. For younger teens that are more into supernatural mysteries, rather than slasher stories.

    • 16 & Pregnant
    • by LaLa Thomas
    • MTV Books, 2023
    • ISBN: 9781665917278

    If you are a millennial, you probably remember when this show first aired back in 2009. The show followed teens that found themselves pregnant and documented how their lives were impacted, eventually leading to the spin-off series, Teen Mom. Two teens find themselves dealing with a surprise pregnancy that derails their life plans. All options are discussed and the book does not shy away from health challenges that can accompany a pregnancy. This is an empowering story about friendship and parenthood. This is a great option for those looking for relatable stories about teen pregnancy, as well as viewers of the MTV show. This would also be a great option for parents and teens to read and discuss together.

    • Hotel Magnifique
    • by Emily J. Taylor
    • Razorbill, 2022
    • ISBN: 978059340515

    This 2022 debut is Caraval meets Howl’s Moving Castle and my favorite cover of 2022. This dark fantasy features a magical hotel that moves to a new place every night. Employees of the hotel are magically bound to service and although the hotel is gorgeous and luxurious, it’s a gilded prison. Franco-philes and fans of lush, character-driven fantasy will devour this. Additionally, the stunning cover makes this an easy book to hand-sell.

    • A Million to One
    • by Adiba Jaigirdar
    • Harperteen, 2022
    • ISBN: 978006291632

    Published right before the end of 2022, I think this one snuck past a lot of people. Take a diverse group of teens, put them on the Titanic and add in a heist. Jaigirdar’s previous YA novels have been sapphic romances–here she moves more into action and historical fiction territory. This reads quickly and is a nice option for younger teens that enjoy heists or books about the Titanic. 

    • Something More
    • by Jackie Khalileh
    • Tundra Books, 2023
    • ISBN: 9781774882139

    This romance is about a Palestinian-Canadian teen, newly diagnosed as autistic. She makes a list of all the things she wants to accomplish in high school before she graduates. She quickly learns there is no guidebook for matters of the heart when she finds herself caught between two guys. This is a refreshing take on the classic coming of age story.

    • The Grimoire of Grave Fates
    • by Hanna Alkaf and Margaret Owen, et al.
    • Delacorte Press, 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593427453

    If you have teens looking for a Harry Potter-esque story, hand them this one. It checks all the boxes: a magical boarding school that flies around à la Howl’s Moving Castle or the aforementioned Hotel Magnifique, an evil professor, a murder mystery, and magical beasts. This isn’t really a short story collection, nor is it a traditional novel. Each chapter is by a different YA author and features a different character that propels the plot forward. Some stories are stronger than others–I need a whole book about Diego, please! This collaborative effort has something for everyone and is a great option for younger teens.

    • A Heavy Dose of Allison Tandy
    • by Jeff Bishop
    • Putnam, 2022
    • ISBN: 9781984812940

    Don’t be fooled by the cotton candy cover!  This book is a lot of things–technically it’s speculative fiction. You could also consider it a romantic comedy. It should be about a boy having the best time of his life, the summer after his senior year. But ultimately, it’s about a boy that suffers a torn ACL, leaving him stuck on the couch recovering from surgery, while dealing with a really bad breakup with his girlfriend, who happens to be in a coma from a car accident, which makes it pretty weird that Cam can see and talk to her while on his sofa. Tandy is chaotic and will have you laughing and weeping, reminiscent of the John Hughes movies referenced throughout. This was my favorite debut of 2022 and one of my favorites of the year. Hand to your older teens– especially your broken-hearted high school seniors

    -Megan Nigh

    Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

    • Whiteout
    • by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jacson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
    • Narrated by Nic Stone, Danielle Shemaiah, Shayna Small, Bahnie Turpin, Alaska Jackson, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Kevin R. Free, James Fouhey, and Korey Jackson
    • Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc./Quill Tree Books
    • Publication Date: November 8, 2022
    • ISBN: 9780063088177

    It’s winter holiday time and science-minded Stevie made a mistake. A huge mistake. She must find a way to apologize to her girlfriend, romance-loving Sola, or lose her forever. An amazing group of friends pitch in and help her attempt the apology of a lifetime, while also navigating their own love stories. The only problem is, Atlanta is experiencing a once-in-a-decade snowstorm.  

    The same authors who brought us 2021’s Blackout, are back at it, this time in Atlanta. Twelve young friends work together to help save a relationship at risk. Stevie enlists her friends to help, and all are on board, but when Sola issues a time-sensitive ultimatum, the rush is on. Stevie’s friends adapt, but there’s a bigger problem: Atlanta is experiencing a snowstorm. Flights are delayed or canceled, roads are dangerous, and time is running out. During the course of the book, six couples will face second-chances, friends-to-lovers, and the realization that friendship and love are the most important part of the holiday season. 

    Multiple narrators expertly represent the diverse cast of characters, each narrator reading one of the stories. The pacing and intonation of each narrator lifts each couple off the page making their stories come alive. This fun, fast-paced, romance has something for everyone.


    For fans of Blackout by the same group of authors. Readers who enjoyed audiobooks like Slay! by Brittney Morris, Ibi Zoboi’s Pride, narrated by Elizabeth Acevdeo, or reruns of the 80s sitcom A Different World will enjoy this story of Black love and friendship.

    -Jen Haas

    Other Nominated Titles

    September 13, 2022
    January 10, 2023
    September 13, 2023
    February 7, 2023

    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.

    Genre Spotlight: Horror for Teens

    photography of cat at full moon
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    Fall is an excellent time to get into some spooky, haunty, ghoulish titles, and there are a variety of new books to tantalize teens. Horror isn’t so much a genre with a specific set of rules, but a mood that comes into a variety of other genres whether it is fantasy, paranormal, mystery, historical, or realistic and can contain elements of slasher, body horror, gothic, dark fantasy, or folk horror just to name a few. There are a variety of short story collections and novels for teens, and some adult crossovers to suggest that will be sure to give teens thrills and chills in whatever their genre inclinations are.

    Continue reading Genre Spotlight: Horror for Teens

    Pairing Music with YA Lit: “My True Love Gave to Me” Edition (Part 2)

    Back in December I posted musical pairings for the first six stories of My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins in which YA authors illustrate how the holidays can be a time of first love, caring, and sometimes even a little magic.  As promised, here are songs paired with the last six stories in the collection.

    my true love gave to me

    “Krampuslauf” by Holly Black

    Summary: At Fairmount’s annual Krampuslauf, an unnamed narrator and her friends, Penny and Wren, decide to confront Roth.  Roth is a “rich kid” who moonlights with Penny even though he already has a girlfriend.  Wren and the main character have had enough of him using their friend.  But when they confront Roth, impulsive Wren ends up inviting him and his preppy friends to a New Year’s Eve party.  And now the girls need to scramble to put one together.

    Musical Pairing:  While the main character does find some romance toward the end of the story, more emphasis seems to be on Penny and Roth’s “relationship.”  As such, I chose “Looking Too Closely” by Fink for this short story, because Penny refuses to see Roth’s wrongdoings (The devil’s right there, right there in the details/ And you don’t wanna hurt yourself, hurt yourself/ By looking too closely) and (The truth is like blood underneath your fingernails/ You don’t wanna hurt yourself, hurt yourself/ By looking too closely).  Another great pairing would be “Ghost” by Ella Henderson–especially because Penny can’t see the evidence of Roth’s other, real relationship until it’s right in front of her (I had to go through hell to prove I’m not insane/ Had to meet the devil just to know his name).

     

    “What the Hell Have you Done Sophie Roth?” by Gayle Forman

    Summary: Sophie Roth has had many “what have you done?” moments as a freshman at U of B (let’s just say it stands for University of “the middle of nowhere”).  As a city girl she stands out in this tiny college in the middle of the country.  In fact she is half expecting Ned Flanders to show himself. But at a Christmas caroling concert, she meets someone who also stands out–Russell.  Russell shares with her the best pie out of town (apple pie with cheddar cheese) and helps her celebrate something she’s missing this holiday at U of B–Hannakah.

    Musical Pairing:  Though I’m tempted to pair “Blue Moon” by the Marcels (or another 50’s song that might be a U of B favorite) with this short story, I’m more inclined to pairing it with The Simpsons theme song because Sophie and Russell get together over a shared Ned Flanders joke.

    Continue reading Pairing Music with YA Lit: “My True Love Gave to Me” Edition (Part 2)

    Scary Stories to Set the Mood for Halloween

    If you are like me, you’ve been ready for Halloween since August 1st. Not everyone is so Halloween-happy. Maybe you haven’t bought out the grocery store’s stock of canned pumpkin or purchased a new shade of orange nail polish, but, like it or not, October is upon us, which means you may have teens swarming your stacks in search of something to creep them out and give them nightmares. In my experience I get more requests for “scary stories” than horror novels.  With that in mind I’m going to highlight some collections of short stories sure to meet various spine-chilling needs as well as give some horror specific readers’ advisory tips.scary stories for halloween

    Remember-

    • “Scary” is subjective. Every reader is going to be comfortable with different levels of the supernatural, violence, gore, etc. A good way to assess what type of horror a reader wants is to ask them what their favorite scary book is. If they are not an avid reader you may need to ask about their favorite scary movie or scary television show. You are probably going to want to recommend a different book to a fan of The Sixth Sense than you would to a fan of Saw.

     

    • If you are not a horror reader yourself or get scared easily, it’s OK for you to tell teens this. Particularly with younger teens this may help them to be more open about how scary they want their stories to be. If you aren’t a horror reader, however, you will want to familiarize yourself with the popular horror titles in your collection. If you can pick the brain of a fellow staff member or teen volunteer who reads a lot of horror, this is a great start.

    Continue reading Scary Stories to Set the Mood for Halloween