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Going Viral – YA Books of Teens Managing Online Fame

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:00

There are many online platforms for sharing and creating art. Teens are taking advantage the various mediums of creating and sharing their works. But what happens when your work becomes a smash hit? How do manage instant fame? How do you take advantage of opportunity when it comes your way? Many new teen titles are exploring the effects of being or becoming an online sensation. Teens are relating to these stories both on the artist/creator end of things, and even though they may not gain instant fame, teens still have to navigate similar tricky waters in the day to day of who is a true friend, and how to manage negative comments and bullies.

The following titles are about teens experiencing internet fame:

Youtube Sensations

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Natasha “Tash” Zelenka has turned her literary crush of Leo Tolstoy to good use. With the help of her best friend, Jack, they have created a web series “Unhappy Families,” a modern retelling of Anna Karenina. When a famous vlogger gives a shout out to the series, it goes viral. Now she, along with the cast and crew, are finding what it means to be a hit sensation and are managing the adoration, and the trolls, coming their way. The instant fame is also creating tensions among the crew.  The story is paralleled with Tash, who identifies as a  romantic asexual,  navigating flirtations coming her way. Admist the fame and romance, Tash is also dealing with her older sister creating distance, her parents announcing a new sibling on the way, college applications, the impending end of the series, and the big “What’s next.”

Bang by Barry Lyga

Sebastian loves making pizza. Not your basic generic pizza, but pizza that starts with homemade dough, recipes he has thoughtfully researched, homemade sauce, and the best toppings and combinations. This isn’t enough to keeps the memories at bay though. When he was four years old, he shot and killed his baby sister, and now has plans to do the same to himself at the end of summer. When Aneesha, a Muslim girl, moves into the neighborhood she encourages him to create a YouTube channel with her about his pizza creations. Things start to shift in Sebastian’s outlook, until the YouTube channel takes off, and he is recognized, and called out for his painful childhood past.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Frances is a British-Ethiopian study machine focused on getting into the best universities. She would happily forego hanging with friends to study, create art, and listen to the YouTube podcast “Universe City,” about a genderfluid student detective, “looking for a way to escape a sci-fi, monster-infested university.”  Frances has been posting Universe City fanart online under the name Toulouse, and has just been asked by its mysterious creator to provide some graphics for the show. One night, her friends convince her to a night out where she runs into Aled, the boy next door and brother to her former friend and love interest. Aled lets something slip that makes Frances discover that he is the creator of her beloved podcast. They form a fast friendship and spend the summer working on the podcast together. When Aled’s identity is accidentally leaked on the internet, he blames Frances and severs the relationship. Frances will do what she can to get her friend back.

Online Comics and Gamers

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

High school senior, Eliza, is the creator of the incredibly popular online comic Monstrous Sea. At school she is a loner, and she keeps her identity hidden, except for two close friends she only knows on the internet and her family. Her family doesn’t quite understand or grasp how popular Monstrous Sea is, and treats is more as a disposable hobby than something serious. When Wallace, a popular Monstrous Sea fanfiction writer,  starts at her school, he identifies Eliza as a fellow Monstrous Sea fan, and tries to pull Eliza out of her shell. As the relationship deepens, Eliza struggles with how to tell Wallace that she is the creator of Monstrous Sea. Pressures from the fandom weigh heavily on Eliza, especially as she nears Monstrous Sea’s final chapters.

Draw the Line by Laurent Linn

Sixteen-year-old Adrian is trying to be as innocuous as possible in his Texan high school. He has only come out as gay to his two best friends, but finds release in his art. He has been creating the online comic Graphite, which he posts anonymously. After he witnesses a gay hate crime happen among his high school peers, he does a version of it in his comics. Soon his anonymity is at risk.

Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting it Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser

Told in alternating voices, this memoir tells the story of how the two authors met during a summer program of Girls Who Code. When their final project, Tampon Run, went viral on the internet, it raised their profile in unexpected ways. Soon, the two were having opportunities and choices coming their way.


Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Madison Nakama (Madi) is an online sensation with her online blog “MadLib,” where she watches 80’s movies and comments on them. An internet troll has started to leave nasty comments and threats that might jeopardize her final project for high school. Online friends that are starting to become friends “IRL” come to her aid.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

After a bad year at Catholic school, genderfluid Riley is starting at a new high school. Being the child of a prominent conservative congressman, Riley tries to keep a low profile. Riley’s therapist encourages Riley to keep a blog about being genderfluid. The blog gains an instant following, and a young trans girl reaches out to Riley, only to face some dire abuse afterwards. Riley is dealing with the news, just as someone close to Riley is threatening to bring to light Riley’s secret.

Serpent King by Jeff Zetner (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten, 2017 Morris Award)

A story of three friends trying to make it through the last year of high school. Lydia, sidekick to the main character, runs a successful fashion blog with national acclaim. Though famous in certain circles outside her small town, most of her classmates mock her for her blog, but it will most likely be her ticket out of the small town.

–Danielle Jones, currently reading Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

The post Going Viral – YA Books of Teens Managing Online Fame appeared first on The Hub.

#QP2018: 5 World War II Tales

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:00

There are teens who want to read about the here and now, and then there are teens who love to know what it was like to live in the past. World War II has been a rich and rewarding theme for fiction and non-fiction for teens – modern classics like The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas pique their interest and enhance their understanding of the world at that time.

These five books, three fiction and two non-fiction, offer events and perspectives that are unique but carry a common thread – resistance to the Nazi regime. All are based on actual events, and each one reminds the reader that the human spirit will always prevail.

Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali, translated by Penny Hueston
Roaring Brook Press/A Neal Porter Book
March 7, 2017

 In Nazi Germany, Max is created as a designer baby to increase the Aryan population, and is even born on Hitler’s birthday. In this appalling glimpse into the Third Reich’s Lebensborn program, Max “Konrad” tells the haunting story of what it meant to be a gift to the Fuhrer, and how he helped the Brown Sisters kidnap Polish children who fit the Aryan ideal.  Trained to become a fighter in the Hitler Youth, he is raised by the medical arm of the Nazi regime to hate Jews, homosexuals, and anyone perceived as weak. The chink in Konrad’s armor is Lukas, a Polish teen who has been selected in the raids as the perfect Aryan specimen. His internal conflict is heightened when he discovers that Lukas, who has taken on the role of Konrad’s older brother, is Jewish.

The stark red cover portraying a fetus wearing a Nazi armband definitely grabs attention. Max is told from the unusual perspective of one who is seasoned beyond his years, while still quite childlike. Narration begins in utero and grows along with Konrad.  The plot-driven, compelling text depicts an irreverent view of one of the most disturbing time periods in history.  Blunt, gritty language is bound to appeal to readers due to shock value.  Though Konrad is certainly flawed and twisted from his upbringing, he possesses a naiveté that will make readers alternately dislike him intensely and pity him. Although the pacing is inconsistent, the suspense and menacing plot is enough to keep readers engaged.  The Author’s Note at the end is jarring, as readers discover that Max is inspired by actual events, and that the Lebensborn program did, in fact, exist.

Konrad’s childhood will resonate with readers of Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, and fans of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak will appreciate the unique narrator. Readers who THINK they have been already been exposed to everything in WWII fiction will be surprised by this book.

-Lisa Krok and Jodi Kruse

The Plot to Kill Hitler:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero by Patricia McCormick
Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
September 13, 2016
ISBN: 9780062411082

This nonfiction title is a glimpse into the life of a German resistance hero. Deitrich Bonheoffer was a member of a group of conspirators who plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Dietrich had an idyllic childhood surrounded by seven brothers and sisters and intellectual parents.  Unlike his brothers and sisters who pursued scientific and secular interests, Deitrich was shy and introspective and contemplated God rather than physics. This led him to a life of ministry. Not exactly a candidate for spy work, Deitrich could not turn a blind eye to the events he witnessed in Germany with the rounding up of Jews and other undesirables.  

Through his network of friends and religious colleagues both local and abroad, Deitrich was able to smuggle information to the allies about Hitler’s mass deportation of Jews to concentration camps.  That should have been enough for Deitrich, but his conscience would not allow him to ignore the evil that was Adolph Hitler. The pacifist pastor decided it was his moral duty to eliminate Hitler at any cost. It was a decision that ultimately cost him his life.

Short chapters of two to ten pages with generous white space and numerous archival photographs make this 174-page book accessible and engaging to many readers. Boxed in asides define important topics mentioned throughout the narrative. A timeline at the back of the book highlights each assassination attempt on Hitler and essential events from World War I until the end of World War II. Readers who enjoy learning about Hitler, spies and World War II will find this book an informative and interesting read.

Hand this book to readers of The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb, Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport, or Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson.

Readers may also like Fearless Spies and Daring Deeds of WWII by Rebecca Langston-George.

—Dana Hutchins

Fearless Spies and Daring Deeds of World War II by Rebecca Langston-George
Capstone /Compass Point Books
January 1, 2017

This inspiring nonfiction pick highlights several unconventional allied spies who plotted against the Nazi regime. Former Miss Poland beauty queen, Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, volunteered as a fast-talking spy for the British Secret Intelligence Services. She even parachuted into occupied France with a knife strapped to her thigh when another spy was captured and executed. Others in this motley crew of rebels include a “dead” spy, a three-fingered spy, and yet another who needed permission from his mother to participate!

The cover depicts bomber planes over London, with a silhouette of what appears to be a spy and codebreaking below it. The layout of the book is extremely appealing to reluctant readers, as it has double-spaced, short chapters with file tab images on the edge of the pages, giving the illusion of spy folders.  Black and white stock photos of the time period enhance the narrative and include both the spies themselves, and devices used to access or transmit messages. Technical language such as Fuhrer, Aryan, Axis, etc. are defined both in context, as well as in the glossary. Overall writing is exceptionally clear and includes an introduction/overview, timeline of events, glossary, alternate print and online sources, and an index. Additionally, a “Did You Know” blurb of fascinating facts is included in each chapter.

Fans of both non-fiction and historical fiction will be riveted by this book, and will likely savor the other three titles in Capstone’s SPIES! series, which reflect World War I, Cold War, and Modern Time eras. Readability makes this a dynamite choice for middle grades, although older teens and adults will also revel in the intriguing anecdotes.

— Lisa Krok

Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Scholastic Press
February 28, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-545-93191-5

In 1943, sisters Lida and Larissa are brutally separated from their parents and then, even worse, separated from each other. The younger Larissa is taken away and Lida finds herself in a crowded train car full of fellow Ukrainians being taken to a Nazi work camp, where they are treated as slaves. There she does whatever she has to to survive, including risking her life daily working in a bomb factory. An eternal optimist, Lida manages to keep her positive spirit alive in spite of the terror she feels every day and the horrific things she witnesses. This fast-paced tale of the strength and ingenuity of the human spirit is both sad and uplifting. Lida’s determination to find her sister as she helps everyone around her is inspiring, and her courage as she plots to sabotage the bombs she is forced to make is remarkable.

The fact that Lida’s story could have happened to anyone makes it a compelling read for reluctant readers. The single point of view, linear timeline, and frequent breaks in the text combine to lend it an accessible rhythm and flow.  Teens will take away the message that anyone can make a positive difference in the world, even if that world is just a small barrack in the middle of a war. Lida never loses hope, never stops bolstering the people around her, and is rewarded in the end.

Fans of recent fiction that depicts teens rebelling in time of war will enjoy this one as well. The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and the non-fiction We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman all explore similar themes with great success. As is true with all good historical fiction, the fact that this really took place compels modern teens to examine their lives and ponder their own strength of character, which is a very good thing for budding adults to do.

— Laura Lehner

Four-four-two by Dean Hughes
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
November 8, 2016

Are you American if America doesn’t really want you? What if American needs you? Yuki Nakahara knows what it is to be different. As Nisei Japanese, he is stuck in between the world of his first generation immigrant father and the land of promise that is held tantalizingly just beyond his reach. He’s smart. He meets discrimination and hatred with humor and grace, but none of that matters when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Before you can say “I had nothing to do with this,” he and his family are hustled off to an internment camp in Utah where he and his best friend enlist in an Army that needs men, but doesn’t really want Yuki, Shig, or any of their ilk–and by ilk I mean Japanese.

What follows is a fictionalized account of just one member of the highly decorated Four-Four-Two from life in an internment camp, to boot camp, to the impossible battles to which the battalion was assigned. Hughes doesn’t shy away from either the tragedy of war or the triumph of spirit that brings Yuki’s broken heart and body back to his family with honor. The sheer tenacity of Yuki’s character coupled with the injustice and overwhelming odds he faces are part of the appeal of this quick read. Readers who would otherwise consider historical fiction the metaphorical equivalent of lima beans will be won over by the universal themes of friendship and survival. Fans of Tanita S. Davis’s Mare’s War will find many similarities between Yuki and Mare–neither are fully accepted by their country, both are appreciated by the countries in which they fight.

Four-Four-Two stands proudly alongside such work as Tanya Lee Stone’s Courage Has No Color: the True Story of the Triple Nickles and Steve Sheinkin’s The Port Chicago Fifty.

-Jodi Kruse

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#QP2018 Nominees: Find Your Style and Botanical Beauty

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 17:38

It’s no secret that many teens find a creative outlet and personal expression through style. Beauty vlogging has become a huge trend on Youtube and most teens I know are aware of at least a few famous ones. Common Sense Media has even created a list of popular beauty vloggers for interested parents. And it’s not just women, there are also quite a few famous male beauty vloggers. This interest in style and grooming can extend to making their own beauty products as well. Quite a few teens have even created successful businesses selling their creations.

The following are two books that hone in on that eternal interest in personal style and DIY creation.

Find Your Style: Boost Your Body Image Through Fashion Confidence by Sally McGraw
Twenty-First Century Books
February 1, 2017

Find Your Style by Sally McGraw introduces reader to fashion concepts and their deeper meanings. Readers will learn basic style skills, like how to put together outfits, shop on a budget, and choose pieces that flatter their figure. Standard fashion topics are presented with a body positive spin. For example, the chapter on “figuring out your figure” includes section headings like “what do you love about your body?” and “dress to feel good.” Includes tips and opinions from actual teens.

This book features a high interest topic (fashion) and presents it in a way that is incredibly relevant for today’s teens. Connections are drawn between what readers see in the media and their beliefs about fashion, beauty, and their own self-worth. And it doesn’t skimp on the practical style advice. The diverse models and inclusion of different body types makes it relatable for a wide range of teens from many backgrounds. The engaging voice and clear, informative text should be appealing to reluctant readers. Overall, a positive and informative book that encourages teens to think critically and cultivate a healthy self-image. Great for fans of Teen Vogue and Project Runway.

-Jessica Ormonde

Botanical Beauty: 80 Essential Recipes for Natural Spa Products by Aubre Andrus
Switch Press
March 1, 2017

Botanical Beauty: 80 Essential Recipes for Natural Spa Products by Aubre Andrus features a variety of DIY beauty recipes. Most only require three to four ingredients. A brief introduction familiarizes the reader with specialty ingredients, like jojoba oil and citric acid. Readers will learn how to safely handle and use essential oils, melt coconut oil, and store their creations. Instructions are clear and complete. There are ideas for packaging the recipes as fun gifts. Bright, colorful photography compliments each recipe.

The topic of affordable DIY beauty products is sure to entice reluctant readers interested in self-care, makeup, and cooking. The photographs are lively and nicely framed, easily on par with anything in a professional magazine. Readers who struggle with reading complex text will appreciate the simple, clear instructions and eye-catching images. The focus on instructions and recipes may lead readers to look for more in-depth books on DIY culture or recipes. Great for fans of YouTube beauty tutorials, and magazines like Seventeen and Cosmogirl.

– Jessica Ormonde

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Month in Review: June 2017

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 08:22

Scriiiiiccchhh… Cut the music! Stop the Presses!  

The most important thing that happened in June?

John green announced his next book!

Turtles All the Way Down will come for us October 10th.

And… on to other news:

What happened in YA this month? Here is a quick round up of featured posts on The Hub and other links to keep you up to date when collecting for your teens.

At the Hub
  • June 21 Booklist: Pride Month Reading list A great list of 20 YA titles featuring LGBTQIA lives and experiences.
  • 2017 Hub Reading Challenge June Check-in A final check-in for the 2017 reading challenge, with links to the list.  Did you rise to the challenge?
  • June 6 Women in Comics – 2017 Eisner Award Nominees, a great round-up of the many women nominated for the prize.
  • June 5 #QP2018 Nominees: 2 more Quick Pick nominees: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and Overturned by Lamar Giles, two peeks into the uncertain world of criminal convictions.
  • June 2 Interview with Alex Award winner Ryan North, author of Romeo and/or Juliet, and writer of Adventure Time comics
  • June 1 Five Podcasts to Try for Fans of “Welcome to Night Vale” – Delve into the world of fiction podcasts, a great way to “binge” through your commute.

Books & Reading Movies & TV In the News

— Cathy Outten, currently reading The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (A fantastic book!)


The post Month in Review: June 2017 appeared first on The Hub.

Women in Comics – Graphic Adaptations

Tue, 07/04/2017 - 07:00

Given the popularity of comics, it isn’t surprising that many works originally created and released as books and films have been adapted into comics and graphic novels. Not only does this bring these stories to a new audience, but in the process of adapting and illustrating these stories, the creators of the comics are able to add their own take on the original version. In the past, I’ve written about Hope Larson’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and Leigh Dragoon’s adaptation of Legend by Marie Lu in my post on science fiction comics, but this list offers even more options for thought provoking adaptations of some popular works.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs with art by Cassandra Jean – The original version of Miss Peregrine’s was well known for integrating photographs into its story of Peculiars trapped in a time loop who are attacked by monsters. Jean’s artwork fits the mood of the story perfectly and helps to bring to life the fantastical elements of Riggs’ work. This version will appeal to fans of the original and those who have never read the story before.

The Baby-Sitter’s Club: Kristy’s Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier and adapted from Ann M. Martin’s novel – This is the first of five Baby-Sitter’s Club books that Telgemeier has adapted as graphic novels, and manages to be simultaneously true to the original book and to bring a new take on these classic characters through the way that they are written and illustrated. The graphic novel format allows her to show each character’s personality in their facial expressions and appearance. If you know any young teens who are fans of stories about friendship or babysitting, this is a great way to introduce them to this classic series.

Pride & Prejudice by Nancy Butler with art by Hugo Petrus adapted from Jane Austen’s book – With a cover that is designed to be reminiscent of Seventeen or Teen Vogue, you can tell from the start that this graphic novel aims to appeal to a teen crowd. Though the rest of the story doesn’t quite match the cover in terms of approach to the story, it does do a nice job of adapting a classic story for a new format and abbreviating the plot without losing too much. Fans of comics and fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this one. (For those who prefer manga, Pride and Prejudice has also been adapted as a manga by Stacy King.)

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare with illustrations by HyeKyung Baek – Manga fans will be happy to know that there are plenty of manga adaptations as well, including adaptations of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy. The trilogy is a prequel to her Mortal Instruments series of books (which is now also a TV show), but it also works as a standalone story, set on the supernatural side of Victorian London. Baek has done a nice job of realizing an environment that is both historical and fantastical. This one is sure to be a hit with existing fans of Clare’s work and those who are frequent manga readers.

Maximum Ride by NaRae Lee adapted from James Patterson’s books – This is another one for any manga lovers you know. NaRae Lee has adapted James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series as a manga that offers a visual take on these stories. Fans will love to see Max and her flock of friends in flight and will enjoy how Lee conveys the action inherent in the stories. So far, Lee has illustrated nine volumes of the series and more are expected, so this is a great option for readers who enjoy long series.

Hopefully you’ll find a new favorite on this list, but there are also plenty of new options coming out soon. Emily Carroll is currently working on an adaptation of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Margaret Atwood is working with artist Renee Nault on an adaptation of her classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. If you prefer movie adaptations, Amber Benson (yes, Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Sarah Kuhn are working on an adaptation of Clueless with art by Siobhan Keenan. If you know of any other current or forthcoming adaptations, let us know in the comments!

– Carli Spina, currently reading The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

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Monthly Monday Poll: July 2017 – Debut Series

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 07:00

Hello Hub readers!

Last month we explored some Nonfiction authors with works targeted at both Adult and YA readers, and Karen Blumenthal and her prolific backlist took a full 52% of the vote. Next up was Representative John Lewis with 27%, Sy Montgomery with 11%, Kenneth C. Davis with 6%, Jim Ottaviani with 5%, and Neal Bascomb.

With the never-ending deluge of awesome-sounding publications hitting the shelves, it can be overwhelming just to keep track of all the bookish excellence available (and, um, stressful to carve out reading time for even a fraction of the TBR pile), so this month, to help us all stay on top of our New Releases game and help boost some name recognition with new YA (series) authors-to-watch, we’re asking which YA series from a debut author is getting the Reader’s Advisory love from you so far in 2017. As always, please shout out titles and authors I’ve left out in the comments.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

—Carly Pansulla, currently reading Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older

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Booklist: Pride Month Reading

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 07:00

June is Pride Month and ALA’s GLBT Book Month both of which celebrate the lives and experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) people. You can join the Pride movement yourself with this reading list to keep you busy for the rest of June and into the summer.

  1. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler: Vanessa Park is passionate about acting and loves being on set–even with her flirty co-star Josh Chester. Van’s happy to have her new career handler, Brianna, but unsure what to do when her friendly feelings for Bri become something else.
  2. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (2016 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers): Greta Gustafson Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederation, is a seventh generation hostage. She knows to follow the rules even with her country on the brink of war. Elián Palnik is a new hostage who refuses to accept any of the tenets of the Children of Peace, forcing Greta to question everything she believes and all of the rules as she struggles to save Elián and herself.
  3. Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman: Alex feels like her life is finally coming together when she stops hormone treatments and chooses to live life as a girl.
  4. Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry: Brooklyn expects to find her people and her niche at a summer apprenticeship at the Allerdale Playhouse. She and her roommate Zoe hit it off immediately. But as their friendship turns into something more, Brooklyn realizes that love isn’t nearly as simple as she thought.
  5. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults): When Alex’s spell to get rid of her magic backfires and her family disappears from their Brooklyn home, she’ll have to travel to the world of Los Lagos to get them back with help from her best friend Rishi and a strange brujo boy with his own agenda.
  6. George by Alex Gino: Charlotte wants everyone to see her for who she really is and to play Charlotte in her class play of Charlotte’s Web. But for any of that to happen she has to come up with a plan to help everyone know the real her instead of the boy they see when they look at her.
  7. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2017 William C. Morris Debut Award): Caught between her traditional Portuguese parents and her friend Colby who wants loyalty for things Pen isn’t sure she should support will force Pen to find her own way through.
  8. None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio: Kristen had her life figured out until her decision to have sex with her boyfriend changes everything Kristen thought she knew about herself.
  9. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults): When Rafe moves to a new all boys’ boarding school he decides to start with a clean slate where he isn’t “the gay kid.” Except keeping a secret like that isn’t easy. Especially when he might also be falling in love.
  10. Pantomime by Laura Lam: Gene runs away from nobility where being intersex could have Gene shunned forever. Hoping to escape her stifling life, Gene reinvents herself as Micah Grey–a performer quick to dazzle with his aerialist skills.
  11. Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson: Can fan fiction turn to true love for two superfans of a popular TV show?
  12. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (2017 Alex Award): Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children takes in used-up miracle children who have outgrown their knack for finding hidden lands. When a new girl, Nancy, arrives it becomes clear that a darkness lurks at the home and it will be up to Nancy and her schoolmates to unravel the secrets of the Home and their own pasts.
  13. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Can best friends Miel and Sam protect Miel and the roses that grow out of her wrists from the Bonner sisters, rumored witches, who seem intent to stealing them at any cost?
  14. Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian: Will doesn’t know why he hooks up with his best friend Angus. He doesn’t think he’s gay–especially not when he’s so into Brandy, a new girl at his school. But how can he love and want them both so badly?
  15. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: Ramona is six feet tall. She knows she likes girls, she loves her family, and she knows her future is going to be amazing. Her growing feelings for her childhood best friend Freddie make Ramona question everything she knows and show her that life, and love, are much more fluid than she thought.
  16. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (2016 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2017 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): When it feels like every week there’s a new impending doom, sometimes the most extraordinary thing to do is live your regular not-chosen-one life. Even if your best friend is worshiped by cats.
  17. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee: Tash doesn’t know what to think when her obscure web series skyrockets to fame and popularity. The sudden fame can take her online flirtation to IRL but first Tash has to figure out how to explain that she’s romantic asexual. Oh and there’s the whole delivering the best web series ever to her forty thousand new subscribers.
  18. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2017 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers): Amanda’s plans to keep a low profile during her senior year are tested when she meets Grant and feels understood for maybe the first time. But she isn’t sure how to get closer to Grant and her new friends with her newly public transgender identity.
  19. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley: Dream couple Toni and Gretchen fully expect to stay together as they start college. Then Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, finds belong for the first time with a group of transgender classmates while Gretchen tries to remember who she is without Toni at her side. Can love keep them together as they start to grow apart?
  20. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Interspersed with Darcy Patel’s story of trying to find herself and become a professional author is the story that brought her to New York in the first place: Lizzie’s adventures in Afterworlds. Darcy and Lizzie’s worlds blend together in this story about facing your fears and finding yourself.

If you want even more recommendations be sure to check out the Rainbow List and Stonewall Award honorees from American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.

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2017 Hub Reading Challenge June Check-in

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 07:00

Today it’s time for one last Hub Reading Challenge Check-In before the challenge comes to a close.

How is everyone doing in the final days of Challenge reading? This year, as always, there a lot of great options eligible for the Challenge. As a big fan of graphic novels and illustrated works more generally, one thing I really appreciate is that there are so many of these that are part of the Challenge and that they appear across so many awards and lists (plus they are a good option if you are looking for some quicker reads in the last couple of days).

This year’s Challenge includes something for absolutely everyone, from a picture book biography entitled Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland to the full-cast audio adaptation of Nimona. The diverse set of illustrated works (or graphic novel adaptations in the case of the Nimona audiobook) shows the broad appeal of these works, but I do have my own personal preferences.

As a fan of graphic memoirs and autobiographies, I’m excited to see a classic like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood on the Popular Paperbacks list. This book not only tells the story of Satrapi’s life, but also gives readers a glimpse of life in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, a time period that many teens may know little about. Though it focuses on a very different historical time and place, March: Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell similarly brings alive a significant period, the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. It is a powerful story and a very worthy addition to the March series, so it is no surprise that it is on the Great Graphic Novels list and also won the Excellence in Nonfiction, Printz and Coretta Scott King Book Awards. If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to read March, I highly recommend moving it up on your list!

Though also a graphic autobiography, Becoming Unbecoming by Una (a pseudonym) offers a very different but equally engrossing reading experience. This book, set in 1977 in the north of England, combines artwork, photo-based illustrations, and press clippings to create an intense reading experience about sexual violence. Set at a time when a serial killer was murdering prostitutes, the book touches on these events, but also on the violence and bullying that Una experiences at school.

The Challenge has also offered an opportunity to read some great and diverse fiction. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze is both a great superhero story and a perfect introduction to the character for any patrons who are intrigued after Black Panther’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War. From the world of manga, this year’s Great Graphic Novels also included Orange: The Complete Collection 1 by Ichigo Takano, which is a very engaging science fiction romance that touches on questions of time and changing the future. Though this one makes for a very different read than Black Panther, it is also a fun read and a great book to recommend to manga lovers. The final book on my list, Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure by Ryan North, might not be fully illustrated, but it does have enough artwork to make it interesting to graphic novel fans. It also has a great deal of humor and a very unique take on the classic story of star-crossed lovers. Reading (or in some cases re-reading) these books has reminded me of how broad and wonderful the world of illustrated books is. There truly is something out there for everyone!

Let us know how you are doing with the Challenge in the comments below, and don’t forget about the sortable spreadsheet! Here are the guidelines in case you don’t remember:

  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) since the award winners and selected lists have been released and finished before 11:59pm EST on June 22. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count.
  • Anyone can participate, and just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to win our prize for Challenge finishers. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
  • Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
  • If you have finished the challenge, let us know here! The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on June 23. The winner will be notified via email.

– Carli Spina, currently reading A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass.

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Month in Review: May 2017

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 07:00

What happened in YA this month? Here is a quick round up of featured posts on The Hub and other links to keep you up to date when collecting for your teens.

At the Hub

Books & Reading
  • SLJ’s Xpress Reviews of May releases, including Melissa De la Cruz’s new novel.
  • Do you know yet about Salaam Reads? See this interview with Hena Khan and Karuna Riazi.
  • YALSA’s Bookfinder is fully up and running and is such a great resource.  Check it out now if you haven’t yet!
  • New Releases for May including some from our favorite authors: Sarah J Maas, Julie Murphy, Jenny Han, and Renee Ahdieh.
  • May was Mental Health Awareness month, and mental health is a topic very popular in YA lit currently.  See this reading list from YA Highway for books featuring depression, anxiety, eating disorders and more.
Movies & TV
  • A Grasshopper Jungle movie continues to inch forward.
  • Have you been following #FindFinch?  Jennifer Niven is posting weekly on Mondays with a new potential actor to play Finch in the film adaptation of All the Bright Places (Elle Fanning is set to play Violet).
  • Shadowhunters, the wildly popular TV show based on Cassandra Clare’s books is renewed for a third season coming in 2018, while we impatiently wait for the drop of new episodes (Season 2B) on June 5th. 
Video Games In the News
  • Let’s get our government to support libraries in the federal budget!
  • 13 Reasons Why, opening communication?  Or encouraging suicide ideation?  Tara’s post on the Librarian who doesn’t say shhhh blog about paternalism and censoring for the sake of the children is spot on for librarians promoting the Right to Read (and view :) )  Also check out these reusable infographics about teen dating violence and suicide.
Just for Fun
  • Fan Art – Have you ever daydreamed about how your favorite characters look IRL?  Have you wished you could have their faces plastered all over your walls?  Welcome to the world of Fan Art.  Think of your favorite characters, and I guarantee someone has drawn them for you.  Tumblr is a great place to discover artists, and if you want to buy prints, Etsy, RedBubble, and society6 are great places to shop.


— Cathy Outten, currently reading Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner


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Women in Comics – 2017 Eisner Award Nominees

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 07:00

The 2017 Eisner Award nominees are here and once again they include a number of female creators. Though there are too many to list, below are some noteworthy nominees that you may want to add to your reading list or library collection.

Beasts of Burden returns this year in a standalone story named What The Cat Dragged In, which earned a Best Single Issue/One-Shot nomination for Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, and Jill Thompson. In addition to being a good new story in this universe, it is a great starting place for those who haven’t read Beasts of Burden in the past. This is also a great recommendation for any horror fans you may know.

Not surprisingly, Fiona Staples has two personal nominations (for Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team and Best Cover Artist) and a nomination with Brian K. Vaughan for Best Continuing Series all for her great work on Saga. If you don’t already have this series in your library, you should definitely consider it for your older comic fans.

The Best Limited Series has two great nominees by women. Marjorie Liu and Mark Brooks’ Han Solo limited series is perfect for your library’s Star Wars and science fiction fans. Follow Han’s adventures as a spy for the rebellion and find out more about this iconic character along the way. Kim & Kim, Volume 1: This Glamorous, High-Flying Rock Star Life by Magdalene Visaggio and Eva Cabrera is a very different take on interplanetary adventure, which follows two queer women named Kim as they become space bounty hunters. Filled with fun, friendship, diversity and great art, this book will thrill your comic book fans.

This year is also a good one for female-led superhero comics. Both Faith by Jody Houser, Pere Pérez, and Marguerite Sauvage and Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk are nominated in the Best New Series category and both of them offer fresh takes on the superhero genre that is sure to appeal to fans of high-quality female representation and excellent superhero comics.

In the Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17) category, four of the five nominees come from female creators. The nominees in this category also include two more great female superhero series, with both Batgirl by Hope Larson and Rafael Albuquerque and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson garnering nominations. Both are great for teen readers and combine humor with fun adventures.

Erica Henderson earned a second nomination in the same category for her work with Chip Zdarsky, Ryan North, and Derek Charm on Jughead (which itself was also nominated for Best Humor Publication). The series focuses on Jughead’s quest to make sure that the school cafeteria doesn’t replace its normal tasty options with healthy food and is perhaps best known for the fact that it features Jughead coming out to his friends as asexual. It’s a good option for fans of both Archie comics and the new Riverdale series on the CW, though it does offer a different take on the character.

Also nominated in this category are Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars by Jessica Abel, which combines roller derby (or in this case hover derby) with life in space for an engaging romp, and Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, which is a dark and violent tale of fantasy set in a steampunk version of Asia where humans and Arcanics are at war.

All of these comics are sure to delight comic fans at your library and entice a whole new audience to give comics a try. Be sure to consider these and other Eisner nominees when you are looking to build your comic and graphic novel collection.

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#QP2018 Nominees: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and Overturned by Lamar Giles

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 14:54

Questionable Convictions: Guilty, or Not Guilty?

The emergence of advanced scientific forensics has resulted in the ability to re-evaluate convictions. DNA via hair, blood, saliva and other bodily fluids have been used to overturn some guilty convictions for violent crimes. Newer technologies can pinpoint details better. Highly trained dogs can sniff out corpses or drugs. Appeals must be filed, but rarely a change in verdict results. With so many crime fiction and forensic television shows on the air, it may look easier than it is in reality.

These two Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers delve into this world of questionable convictions and their suspenseful plots and gritty topics make them great books for readers interested in the criminal justice system.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books
January 24, 2017
ISBN: 9780062422644

The jury said she did it. The media said she did it. Only nine years old and convicted for manslaughter, Mary B. Addison didn’t say anything. Three-month-old Alyssa was in the care of her babysitter, Mary’s mother, when she died of suspicious circumstances while sleeping in Mary’s room. Six years later Mary, now fifteen, is released from “baby jail” and is living in a supervised group home wearing an ankle monitor. The issue-oriented storyline is brought to the forefront when a pregnant Mary now finally wants to attempt to clear her name, so that her own baby is not taken away by social services.

This dramatic hook grabs the reader’s attention very quickly, and pacing intensifies throughout the saga. Although flawed in character, Mary is somewhat vulnerable and garners sympathy at times. Portrayed by the media as a baby killer with rage tendencies, Mary struggles with revealing her true self while in a group home with violent criminals as roommates. The home is a menacing place full of bullying, brutality, theft, and much verbal abuse.  

While performing her community service hours at a local nursing home, she meets Ted and begins a discreet relationship. Ted has his own demons, and does not inquire about Mary’s crime or Alyssa. He supports her quest to take the SAT and go to college, but his methods are sometimes dubious. Readers may find themselves rooting for Mary as she is bullied in the group home, just wanting to study for the SAT and do the best she can for her future baby.

With the looming threat of social services taking the baby, Mary brings a lawyer into the equation. Divulging information that may incriminate her mother while exonerating herself, some involved with the case become swayed. Even baby Alyssa’s mother advocates on Mary’s behalf. The complex relationship Mary has with her own mother unfolds as readers learn more about that fateful night. The intense, gritty descriptions of the group home, cultural implications, and other challenges Mary faces are engaging and hauntingly realistic. The effect of the media condemning Mary’s situation is thought-provoking and on target.

Aficionados of Paul Volponi’s Riker’s High, Gary D. Schmidt’s Orbiting Jupiter, and Piper Kerman’s book inspired television series, Orange is the New Black, are ideal readers for author Tiffany D. Jackson’s first novel.

-Lisa Krok

Overturned by Lamar Giles
Scholastic Press
March 28, 2017
ISBN: 9780545812504

Nikki Tate’s father has been on death row for the past five years. During that time, she has taken the lead on running their family owned casino, running illegal card games to save money for escaping Vegas and going away to college. When new evidence overturns her dad’s conviction, he is released from death row, obsessed with finding out who set him up for killing his best friend over a gambling dispute. However, Nikki’s time with her dad is limited, as he is murdered shortly after returning from prison. Nikki is determined to find both her father’s killer and the person who set him up to go to jail in the first place.

The Las Vegas atmosphere is fast paced and intriguing.  The attention-grabbing premise and the drama of her father’s release and sudden violent death drives the plot. A strong African-American female, Nikki embraces her independence, which surfaces in her character as both spirited and gutsy.  At first, cash is what entices Nikki, as she maneuvers wagers to exploit easy marks in back room games of Texas Hold’em.  Pacing intensifies as Nikki investigates her father’s ordeal. Along the way, she begins a relationship with Davis Carlino, son of rival casino owner, “Big Bert” Carlino.  When Nikki’s reveals her new relationship to her mother, a deeper rivalry with secrets from the past emerges.  Readers become further engrossed in what could be Nikki’s biggest gamble of all, her safety, as the gritty dark side of Vegas threatens to keep its secrets at all costs.

Overturned is a great fit for crime fiction readers, especially Jennifer Lynn Barnes series, The Naturals and The Fixer, and Joe Schreiber’s Con Academy. Additionally, television viewers of Riverdale and the original CSI, set in Las Vegas, will relish this casino-based crime mystery.

-Lisa Krok and Jessica Ormonde

Find all of the 2018 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees in the index or browse the posts.

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Monthly Monday Poll: Favorite Dual-Market *Nonfiction* Author

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 07:00

It’s time for the monthly poll!

Last month, a reader (and YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Honor writer!) pointed out that while I said the poll was asking about “authors,” based on the options provided, what it was really asking about was fiction authors. So true! My *personal* reading habits are heavily biased towards fiction, and it’s showing in the poll! So this month, I’m taking up the excellent suggestion to run a poll featuring nonfiction authors who write for multiple audiences. I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones; please shout them out in the comments!

The results for Fiction dual-market authors were as follows: Neil Gaiman and J.K. Rowling ran away with the 1st and 2nd spots, with 34% and 25% of the vote, respectively. Next up was Meg Cabot (11%), then Sherman Alexie (9%). Kelley Armstrong and James Patterson both snagged 6%, then Victoria/V.E. Schwab (5%), Isabel Allende (3%), and Julie Buxbaum (1%). Fiction authors I neglected to include given shout-outs in the comments are: Kim Harrison, Melissa de la Cruz, Melissa Marr, Stephanie Meyer, MaryJanice Davidson, Ellen Hopkins, Holly Black, and Rick Riordan. Also, you guys, I can’t believe I forgot to include Terry Pratchett!!

Putting the below poll together showed me that a) there are a lot of nonfiction authors who write exclusively for either adults or young people. It was challenging to find those writing for both, although as we’ve established above, Nonfiction is not my greatest area of strength! Please let me know in the comments authors I’ve neglected to include, and b) I’ve been missing out on way too many fascinating-looking titles in my fiction cave. I must’ve added over 20 titles to my to-read list while putting this poll together!

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

—Carly Pansulla, currently reading The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

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Interview with Alex Award winner Ryan North

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 07:00

I didn’t read too many Young Adult books as a teenager because I was a fool and thought I was better than them. Obviously, the joke is on me because YA books are incredible and that’s basically all I read these days. But this is one of the reasons why I love the Alex Awards. Sometimes teens just fit better with adult books and I love that YALSA supports those teens. Maybe they’ll even come to revisit young adult books in their adulthood just like me. So when we Hub writers were offered the chance to interview Alex Award winners, I jumped at the chance. When I heard Ryan North was one of the interviewees, I LEAPT at the chance.

Image via Goodreads

If you don’t know Ryan North’s work you should get on that yesterday. North is the writer of the hilarious Dinosaur Comics as well as the Harvey and Eisner award winning writer of the Adventure Time comics. North is no stranger to the Youth Media Awards as his Adventure Time comics as well as his Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics have won entry to the Great Graphic Novels for teens lists in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Most recently his “chooseable path adventure” Romeo and/or Juliet won an Alex Award in 2017. I was able to chat with Ryan via email. Check it out!

Anna Tschetter: You’ve done “chooseable path adventure books” with To Be or Not to Be and now Romeo and/or Juliet and even your Adventure Time comic. Did you read a lot of the classic “Choose your Own Adventure” books as a kid (or a grownup in preparation to write your versions?)

Ryan North: I did! I loved them as a kid and could not understand why adults weren’t reading them. They’re books where YOU get to decide what happens next: what is not to like?  When 30 years later I realized that if I wanted to see these books I guess I should write them myself, I had two advantage, I think: there’s not a lot of books written in the CYOA style for adults, and I could write my book on a computer.  Earlier non-linear narratives tended to be of the “put pieces of paper on a pinboard and connect strings between them for choices”, which obviously limits the scale of stories you can tell, but I could use software to keep track of all the different paths and how they interact with each other – and that really freed me up to try all sorts of new things.

Just as an example: there’s a page early on in the book where you choose your character: Romeo or Juliet.  But then if you play through the book as either of these characters and follow a certain path to its conclusion, you unlock a third playable character: Rosaline!  We figured out how to have unlockable characters in books.  Normally that’s tricky, since you can’t change the state of the book, but what I realized was that you can always change the state of the reader.  So the book tells you a secret for how to unlock Rosaline, and then on your next playthough, when you get to the character select page – which hasn’t changed, obviously – you can now see a way to play as Rosaline.  It’s a neat trick, and I was really happy that we were able to get it to work so well!

AT: Do you think Shakespeare would have been a fan of Romeo and/or Juliet, if we could magically transport him to our age?

RN: I think so!  Shakespeare lived in an era before copyright, so lots of his stories were based on stories he’d read elsewhere.  Romeo and Juliet is of course based on a book he read (“The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet”, Shakespeare definitely improved the title) and the whole “star-crossed lovers” story shows up again in as “Pyramus and Thisbe” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream – characters which are themselves taken from earlier sources.  We think of Shakespeare as being this towering singular genius who invented his stories full cloth, but that wasn’t the case.  I think there’s also room to look at Shakespeare as the world’s greatest remixer, and the world’s greatest fanfic writer.  He took characters and stories he liked and he told them in his own way.  So given all that, I think he’d be into my Romeo and/or Juliet.  I think he’d be into all the Shakespeare stuff that’s around us, actually.

AT: I have to know, any particular thread or ending that is your favorite?

RN: One of my favourite endings is the one I decided on the earliest.  I was trying to look at which Shakespeare play to adapt into the nonlinear choice format, and they don’t all fit.  Hamlet works because it’s structured like a game: get a mission from a ghost to kill the king, build up to it, finally kill the final boss, the end.  It’s a total videogame structure!  But other plays don’t work quite as well: Macbeth’s structure is get a mission from a witch to kill the king, kill the king, and then feel really really guilty about it for 300 pages.  It’s fun to watch on a stage, but less fun in an interactive format: there’s only so far “turn to page 145 to be wracked with guilt” gets you, you know?

And looking at Romeo and Juliet, the one thing that I always found so frustrating was the ending.  It’s a tragedy, and so the tragic ending works, but part of that tragedy is how close it could’ve been to a happy ending.  Juliet (and here I should warn about spoilers for a 400 year old play) fakes her own death, Romeo sees her and thinks she’s dead, kills himself, Juliet wakes up right afterwards, sees Romeo is dead, and kills herself.  THE END, everyone died.  But if Romeo had just delayed five minutes on his way to go see Juliet’s body, just five minutes, then he would’ve arrived when she was waking up, and it would’ve been the happiest ending ever.  I love how that one minor choice – stop to get Juliet some flowers – could swing the story from “total tragedy” to “ridiculously happy ending” so easily.   And so while it was one of the last endings I wrote – I went through the play almost chronologically – it was one of the first endings I knew I wanted to get to, and it’s one of my favourites.  After spending all this time with these characters as I wrote the book, I just wanted to give these kids at least one perfect ending, you know?

AT:.You’ve collaborated with a bunch of other amazing artists for this book, as well as in your work in comics like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Adventure Time. What is that collaboration process like? And what is your favorite thing about working with other writers and artists?

RN: My favourite thing about working with other artists is getting to see their version of what you wrote.  It’s the greatest feeling in the world!  Even though you were imagining these people in your heads when you wrote it, seeing them drawn – especially by people so talented – makes them real in a way I can’t duplicate.  I can’t get enough.

The process began by meeting with my friend Kate Beaton, who did the original character designs for Romeo, Juliet, and Rosaline.  We’d talk about the characters and what they’re like, then she’d send me some sketches that evolved into final art!  Once we knew the basics (Juliet’s amazing dress and muscles, Romeo’s heart-shaped belt-buckle) I’d send those sketches to the artists, along with a complete map through the book that led to their ending – each ending is illustrated, so each artist got a map to reach their particular ending.

Rather than go to each artist and say “you must draw the characters like this”, I’d say to use Kate’s illustrations as a benchmark, but not do whatever they wanted in their own style.  I think it’s not a HUGE surprise, given the nature of Romeo and/or Juliet, I’m big into seeing other artists’ take on the same source material, and part of the joy of commissioning that art (and, hopefully, in seeing that art as you unlock it with each ending) is seeing the different ways these characters are realized, and how different artists make them cartoony, realistic, emotional, slapstick – the works.

Once the artists had read their pathways and come up with an ending illustration, they’d send over some sketches, I’d approve them, they’d do final art, and we’d put it in the book!  For Noelle Stevenson’s cover, we came up with the idea of showing a bunch of different scenes with Romeo and Juliet and putting arrows between them, and she just took that ball and ran with it.  The result is super great: there’s smooching, there’s fighting, there’s running from a giant robot – everything you want in a cover (and in a book, really)!

AT: Do you have any plans for another Shakespearian Choose Your Own Adventure? Maybe an Othello where he realizes Iago is a jerk or a less power hungry MacBeth?

RN: Haha, I don’t just yet!  I put all the Shakespeare I could think of into this book.  When Juliet fakes her own death she has a dream (a Midsummer Night’s Dream, if you will), that you then get to play through, and when Romeo is banished to Mantua he can visit the library and read his own choose-your-own-path book based on Macbeth called Fair Is Foul and/or Foul Is Fair (I decided it did work well as a mini adventure after all!), and on top of all that there are tiny cameos and segments crossing over with other Shakespeare characters.  But even after all that there’s still lots of Shakespeare left, and it would be interesting to see what Othello is up to….

AT: Finally, are you reading anything right now that you’re really into that you think teens might like, comics or otherwise? (Assuming that they are already really into Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time, and Squirrel Girl….)

RN: Oh man, there’s so many great books out right now.  Comics wise, you can’t go wrong with Giant Days, Lumberjanes, or Ms. Marvel.  Those are all ongoing series, but a great standalone graphic novel is Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.  Book wise I’m a huge fan of books that make me feel smarter after reading them, so I’d recommend Thing Explainer and What If, both by Randall Munroe. Thing Explainer explains things using only the 1000 most common words (it’s hilarious, but you also learn how Saturn V rockets work) and What If takes ludicrous premises (what if you could throw a baseball at the speed of light?) and explores them fully using science. Spoiler alert for the baseball moving at the speed of light: it does not work out well for ANYONE.

Thank you so much, Ryan! We were so happy to chat with you and congratulations again on your Alex Award.

-Anna Tschetter, currently reading The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi


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Five Podcasts to Try for Fans of “Welcome to Night Vale”

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 09:00

Audio fiction podcasts are finally getting their comeuppance thanks largely to the success of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. Serialized fiction podcasts are an engaging storytelling medium that is drawing the attention of teens and listeners of all ages. Since its start in June of 2012, this darkly funny podcast with its premise of local radio news show has been enchanting listeners. Set in the sleepy desert town of Night Vale, it has all the government conspiracies and unexplained phenomena of X Files, but are explored with a “News from Lake Wobegon” flavor ala Prairie Home Companion.

The 2015 book Welcome to Night Vale debuted in the top ten on the New York Time’s best seller list and continues to be a teen favorite. The podcast was first produced by Commonplace Books, but is now being produced by the creators own company Night Vale Presents. Night Vale Presents also produces other podcasts “both from the Night Vale artistic team and from other artists with a similar vision for independent, original podcasting.” Be sure to check out Alice Isn’t Dead, The Orbiting Human Circus, and Within the Wires.

Here are five other audio fiction podcasts that are also worth checking out:

The Bright Sessions

Written and directed by Lauren Shippen, this science fiction podcast takes the audio drama format as it follows the therapy sessions of Dr. Joan Bryant a.k.a. Dr. Bright. The struggles of Dr. Bright’s patients are a little atypical as each has their own supernatural ability such as time travel, hearing other people’s thoughts, or feeling other people’s emotions. Each 10-20 minute episode follows one session with recurring characters.

The Hidden Almanac

Created by children’s author/illustrator, Ursula Vernon (Dragonbreath, Hamster Princess, and Castle Hangnail), it has a Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac feel to it mixed with science fiction and horror. Released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, this 5-minute podcast gives alternative histories of “what happened on this date” told by the immortal plague doctor Reverend Mord. Saint’s feasts days play a prominent role as well as a note of what is happening in the garden which will have everything from flowers, slugs to vetch.


This seven-part science fiction docudrama series from the fictionalize “American Public Radio” has the feel of an NPR produced show such as This American Life or Radiolab. It follows journalist Lia Haddock as she investigates the unexplained disappearances of over three hundred men, women and children from a small town in Tennessee near the Limetown research facility ten-years prior.


A science fiction podcast is set on Earth’s man-made second moon, Typhon. The monotone Sayer is an artificial intelligence being that is self-aware and highly intelligent. Sayer was created to help the new residents of Typhon acclimate to their new lives on the planet and their work at the research facility Ærolith Dynamics. Eerily funny, the world is created as Sayer communicates to a different members of the community, and we learn about a world where there are no bees, but many ways to die.

Wooden Overcoats

Full of dark humor and snark, this sitcom-like podcast is the story of two rivaling undertakers on the fictional Channel Island of Piffling. Rudyard Funn, who has been running his family’s failing funeral parlour now has competition when a new, and much sexier, undertaker Eric Chapman moves into town setting up shop across the town square. Funn will do what it takes to stay in business.

— Danielle Jones is currently reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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2017 Hub Reading Challenge May Check-in

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 07:00

It’s time for another Hub Reading Challenge Check-In, and with less than a month left in the challenge it’s definitely a good time to take stock.



It’s helpful for me to remember that the challenge is intended to encourage all of us to dive deeper into the award winner and honor books and YALSA selected lists with an eye towards discovering new authors and title, exploring new genres, reading outside of our comfort zones, and improving reader’s advisory wherever that happens.  For me, I’ve noticed that a lot of my reading this year has already resulted in successfully connecting friends, family, and acquaintances with books that might not have been on my radar without YALSA recognition.  I’m especially, stunned and impressed, looking back on it as I write this, by the wide range of reader’s who have benefited from these lists and honors.

For example, I gave Julie Berry’s The Passion of Dolssa as a gift to my beloved (and very well read) mother in law, along with Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys and The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge.  Ben Hatke’s Mighty Jack and Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona have been given to my daughter’s friends and classmates and have been recommended  to more parent’s of her swim team compatriots than I can count.  Every Heart a Doorway, the first of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children books, was such a hit with my niece that I have secretly pre-ordered her a signed copy of the next book to celebrate her transition from middle school to high school.  

During one of many 13 Reasons Why conversations I’ve had with friends and fellow parents over the past few weeks the subject of other book to movie adaptations came up and I was able to knowledgeably recommend Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star by way of her Everything Everything (playing now at a theater near you.)  And when a friend who was tangentially involved in that particular discussion came to me later to ask for recommendations for her 11 year old son Jason Reynolds (As Brave As You and Ghost) was right there at my fingertips, the perfect books at the perfect time.  In another fortuitous coincidence, I’d been urging (strongly) my oldest niece to read Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan for a long time so when she received a signed copy (!) as a gift she was all the more excited, knowing it was a book she was going to love.  

The longer I stare at the list of Challenge titles the more encounters spring to mind; it’s amazing just how many exceptional books are out there, and how many readers I’ve connected to using just this one year of Reading Challenge books.  What about you?  Have you recommended any of the 2017 titles to friends and family?  Is there a particular title that you’re having success with in your library?  Please share your experiences in the comments!

Let us know how you are doing with the Challenge and don’t forget about the sortable spreadsheet! Here are the guidelines in case you don’t remember:

  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) since the award winners and selected lists have been released and 11:59pm EST on June 22. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count.
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
  • Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
  • If you have finished the challenge, let us know here!  The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on June 23. The winner will be notified via email.

—Julie Bartel, currently reading Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree and Princess Cora and the Crocodile written by Laura Amy Schlitz and illustrated by Brian Floca


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#QP2018 Nominees: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Bang by Barry Lyga

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 07:00

The impact of shootings on survivors, families and communities is a timely topic. 

Unfortunately, the daily news may include incidents of gun violence including school shootings, police brutality, domestic violence, and tragic accidents.

Young Adult authors have increasingly been writing books that address these issues, to give teens touchpoints to identify with and help them understand their world. The following two recently published books, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Bang by Barry Lyga, help to tackle these issues for readers.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray
February 28, 2017

Starr struggles to balance her life at home living in a poor black neighborhood and the private prep school she attends with much wealthier students. When she witnesses her childhood friend shot needlessly by a police officer, her whole world is turned upside down.

This compelling story is told from Starr’s point of view, where readers follow her thought processes as she navigates difficult situations and harsh, contradictory realities. The timely social issue of police brutality in black communities will grab readers’ attention. Starr’s experience perfectly illustrates one of the biggest issues faced by African-American people in the United States today. “The talk” may be familiar to many marginalized populations, and an eye opener to others. Starr is a complex introspective character that many teens will identify with, while she must come to terms with the sobering, unequal roles society has forced upon her community.

Many juxtapositions help show the complexity of the social issues being tackled within the story. Police are shown in both negative and positive lights, through officer “one fifteen”, the shooter of Starr’s friend, Khalil, and her Uncle Carlos, a police officer who is striving for justice. A poor community is depicted doing its best to protect its youth against gangs and drugs, while the youth’s attraction to the money and power brought by gangs and drugs is a heart-wrenching cycle. The conflicts between Starr’s neighborhood friends and her prep school friends serve to illuminate the complicated relationships between race, class, and privilege.

Dialog features use of teen slang and pop culture references many teen readers will appreciate. In particular, Tupac is referenced often, as his “THUG LIFE” anagram is the inspiration for the book’s title. Recommended for fans of Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys and Kekla Magoon’s How it Went Down.

-Jessica Ormonde and Lisa Krok

Bang by Barry Lyga
Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers
April 18, 2017

When he was four years old, Sebastian accidentally shot and killed his four-month-old sister. Ten years later, he still can’t forgive himself. When new neighbors move in, becomes fast friends with new girl Aneesa. For the first time, Sebastian has a friend who does not know his horrific history, who doesn’t see him as a baby killer instead of a regular fourteen-year-old boy.

Teens will be drawn in almost immediately with the attention-grabbing admission that Sebastian killed his baby sister. Short, candid chapters will keep readers engaged in this character-driven story. The angst-filled household he shares with his mother, where things are emotionally intense as the ten-year anniversary of the incident occurs, propels the story forward.

Sebastian is seriously considering suicide; ending things with a bang, just as they started.  Making homemade pizzas is therapeutic and gives him a form of solace. Although his relationship with his mother is strained and awkward, she genuinely loves him and supports his pizza making ventures. Despite the heavy topics, Sebastian’s friendship with spunky Aneesa creates an atmosphere of hope, as they team up to create a YouTube channel highlighting their many creative pizza making adventures. When online haters post disparaging anti-Muslim remarks about Aneesa, Sebastian sees her courageousness and questions his own. His complex inner thoughts about his family history lead him to seek out his father…the owner of the gun that killed his infant sister.

Although this book has broad appeal for many types of readers, fans of authors who write character-driven books, such as Jeff Zentner and Jennifer Niven, especially, will appreciate the thought-provoking, well-developed characters.

-Lisa Krok


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Happy Mother’s Day: Salute to Bad Moms

Sun, 05/07/2017 - 07:00

Mother’s Day is the celebration of the woman who supported you, saved you, and loved you unconditionally.  Unfortunately the mothers below didn’t quite make the grade.


Willowdean “Dumplin” Dickson is a Texan, daughter of the Miss Teen Beauty Pageant’s coordinator, and overweight.  She has best friend issues, boy issues, mommy issues but she decides to honor her aunt by entering the pageant.

Madeline suffers from the bubble boy syndrome where she’s allergic to everything and can’t go outside. Her only human contact are her mother and her nurse. One day a new family moves in and she fall in love with Olly.

Bone Gap Illinois is a little town that has gaps where one can fall into and never find their way out.  When Roza goes missing and creepy Finn doesn’t help her, the town suspects Finn but Finn suspects a mysterious stranger.

Rani’s father is having an affair and her mother ignores it.  Rani is suffering because her father is having an affair and her mother ignores her.  Rani finds poetry and live performance a comfort in this realistic fiction novel set in 1990’s Hawaii.

Flannery needs a new school book but her unemployed eccentric mother would rather blog about how to be a good parent than actually taking her own advice.  When an old friend moves back to town, Flannery falls in love but soon finds out he has big problems of his own.

Katie is in love but she’s not ready to confront it and she can’t confide in her mother because her mother’s too consumed by her mentally disabled brother as well her Katie’s grandmother who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s.   Katie soon finds out that her mother may not know how to be nurturing because of all the issues her mother had with Katie’s grandmother.

Vivi has decided that she doesn’t need to take her meds and her mother acts like she cares but she’s never around.  When Vivi meets Jonah, she not only finds love but a new family but she could ruin it if she doesn’t take her medication.

Nora is graduating and has no plans.  Her mother expects her to take care of her younger brother who steals, abuses her and her mother, and might be on drugs.  Instead of seeking help for her brother, Nora’s mother makes excuses for his behavior which escalates the situation and it doesn’t help that everyone is scared of the serial killer in the city.

-Dawn Abron is currently reading: The Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

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Women in Comics: The World of Wonder Woman!

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 07:00

The beginning of next month will see the premier of the new Wonder Woman movie, so now is the perfect time to take a dive into the many different comics that have featured Wonder Woman over the years. Though her creation is credited to a man, it is not surprising that over the years many female comics creators have been inspired to tell stories about this character. Each one offers their own take on her, but any of these books would be a great place to start (or continue) your reading about this fantastic character.

Wonder Woman: The True Amazon by Jill Thompson – In this new take on Wonder Woman’s path to her place in the world, Jill Thompson shows her as a spoiled and selfish girl for whom everything has come much too easily. But, when her bad behavior leads to tragedy, she must redeem herself and come to earn her place in her society and her role as Wonder Woman. With such a different take on Diana’s origin story and such interesting art work, this book is a great option for those who have never read about Wonder Woman in the past.

Wonder Woman: Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult with art by Drew Johnson, Ray Snyder, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, and Paco Diaz – In this story by best-selling author Jodi Picoult, Diana Prince aka “Wonder Woman” is in disguise as an agent for the Department of Metahuman Affairs when she is tasked with capturing Wonder Woman. With an impossible task before her, she must juggle her efforts to exist undercover with her efforts to keep her secret. Jodi Picoult was the first woman to be a regular series writer for Wonder Woman and this arc is well worth checking out.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman – This collection has far too many authors and artists to list them all, but just a few of the women involved in this project include Gail Simone, Amanda Deibert, Marguerite Sauvage, and Amy Mebberson. Each story stands alone, which makes this a great option for those who prefer quick, discrete stories and those who want to see lots of stylistic variety. The anthology is sure to have something for everyone and it offers a nice starting place for those who aren’t familiar with Wonder Woman.

Bombshells Volume 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett with art by Marguerite Sauvage – Set during World War II, this series considers a version of history where the Allies call on the help of some of the greatest super heroines ever in their efforts to win the war. Readers have a chance to see Wonder Woman, Batwoman, Mera, Poison Ivy, and many more in a completely new light. Marguerite Sauvage’ artwork fits perfectly with the setting as it reimagines the iconic characters in a “bombshell” style that calls to mind actual art from the war period. These books are ideal for comics fans who also enjoy historical fiction.

Wonder Woman Volume 7: War-Torn by Meredith Finch with art by David Finch – Diana is faced with competing responsibilities as the Queen of the Amazons, a member of the Justice League, and the Goddess of War, and must try to find a way to make all of these piece of her identity come together. In the end, this is easier said than done and ultimately Wonder Woman is faced with a challenge to her role among the Amazonians. Will she be able to keep her place in her society? Though billed as a seventh volume in a series, this story mostly starts a new arc that has little to do with the major plot points of the earlier volumes, so anyone can pick up this book as a starting place. It is a great option for those who want an action-packed story of Wonder Woman’s exploits.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo – Those who aren’t fans of the graphic novel format will want to keep an eye out for Leigh Bardugo’s latest novel, which is a coming of age story starring Wonder Woman herself. In this story, Diana, Princess of the Amazons, seeks to save a mortal at the risk of being expelled by her people. This one won’t be released until August, but it is worth mentioning here since it is sure to be a popular addition to most any library’s collection.

These are just a few of the great Wonder Woman comics that have been published over the years. I’d love to hear your own favorites in the comments!

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Monthly Monday Poll: May – Favorite Dual-Market Author

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 07:00


Hello, Hub readers, and Happy Spring!

Last month we paid tribute to the explosion of incredible YA that hit shelves in 1999, and the leader of that seriously impressive pack, with 28% of the vote, was Laurie Halse Anderson’s groundbreaking work Speak. In a very close second, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban came in with 27%, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was third with 14%. Tied for 4th with 9% each were two series-openers: Tamora Pierce’s First Test (Protector of the Small series) and Louise Rennison’s Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series). Next were Fruits Basket Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya with 6%, Lemony Snicket’s (aka Danial Handler’s) The Bad Beginning (the first book in the Series of Unfortunate Events) and Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen with 3% each, and Walter Dean Myers’ award-winning Monster, with 2%. My mind is still boggled that all of these influential and acclaimed works came out the same year.

This month, we’re asking about your favorite authors who write for multiple target audiences (and yes, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that most authors – and librarians! – would argue that “target audience” is a marketing term, not a creative one. The real target audience is anyone for whom the work will make a difference, right?). I’m always curious when someone whose writing I’ve enjoyed publishes something in a spectacularly different vein. The following authors all have work that has been categorized as YA, and other work that has been classified as Adult (as always, let me know in the comments if you have a favorite I haven’t listed):

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

— Carly Pansulla, currently (re)reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Books to Read Based on Your Divergent Faction

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 07:00

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that Veronica Roth’s new book, Carve the Mark, has been released and fans are super excited! For new fans, this book might bring them to Veronica’s original phenomenon, Divergent.

In honor of this I have compiled a list of what books you should read based on your Divergent faction. Don’t know your faction? Take a quiz here!

Get your pens and papers or Goodreads account ready, here are some books you’ll love (hopefully!) based on your faction. And if you’re divergent, your list will be even longer!


Erudite: The Intelligent

  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

11-year-old Flavia de Luce, who dreams of being a chemist and has a passion for poison, must clear her father’s name in a murder case. By gathering clues, Flavia is able to tie two deaths together and investigate new suspects. This book is perfect for an Erudite because Flavia is tenacious and smart and uses her incredible depth of knowledge to crack the case.

Six unlikely outcasts band together, with the brilliant criminal Kaz leading the way. They must break into a fortress that is known to be impenetrable, without their pasts getting in the way. Six of Crows is great for an Erudite reader as all six characters have to use their smarts and skills to pull off the heist of a lifetime.

Kestrel’s Commander father wants her to join the military or get married, but she has other plans. When she saves the life of a slave, she discovers he is much more than he seems and her new path is set in motion. Kestrel, just like an Erudite, uses her wits and strategic planning to find her way out of difficult situations.

Dauntless: The Brave

After being sexually assaulted at cheer camp, Hermione, must not only come to terms with what happened and face her town, but is determined to find out what happened to her. Like a member of Dauntless, Hermione stands up for herself and fights for what is right.

Katniss takes the place of her young sister in a deadly government officiated event called The Hunger Games. Little does she know that she will find she is fighting for more than her life. Katniss goes to the forefront of a battle not only for her sister, but for her country, making her a natural fit in Dauntless.

Alina grows up thinking she is a perfectly normal girl, until one day she discovers a power she kept hidden deep inside. From then on she is hunted, as she is the only one that can save her world from total darkness. Just like when Tris joins Dauntless, Alina discovers an inner strength that she didn’t know she possessed, and uses it to change her world.

Abnegation: The Selfless

Most of her life Minnow has lived in a commune with her family, but she soon learns the truth about the outside world. This sets her down a path of sacrifices that she, like a true member of Abnegation, must make in order to save the ones she loves.

Liesel finds herself in a dangerous situation during World War II, where she discovers what she must do not only for herself, but for others. While maybe not born into Abnegation, Liesel would find herself choosing to be in this group after learning what is it like to help others.

  • The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

All of Aerity’s father has told her that she may marry for love and will not choose for her. When a new evil threatens their kingdom, Aerity must make hard decisions in order to save them all. Selfless to the core, Aerity is a prime example of an Abnegation member, as she gives up her dreams for her family and her country.

Candor: The Honest

A year in the life, told in diary format, of a senior in high school. Gabi goes through everything from finding her first love, to helping a pregnant friend, to being suspended for the one and only time. Her voice is honest and true, like any member of Candor, and this book has something almost everyone can relate to.

This is the story of Noah and Jude, twins with deep, dark secrets. Told in alternating voices of two spans of time, they come to terms with their lies, and learn what needs to be done. Both Jude and Noah have to learn to not only be honest with each other, but with themselves, proving to be true candidates for the Candor faction.

Romy has been telling the truth about the police chief’s son, Kellan, all summer, but no one will believe her. When a girl goes missing and another is assaulted, Romy must stand up for herself and her truth. Like a true member of Candor, Romy speaks her truth and stands up for what she believes in.

Amity: The Peaceful

  • Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter, the fourth main character in Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles phenomenon, is as pure as you would expect a retelling of Snow White to be. Like all members of Amity, Winter is peaceful and kind, but at what cost to herself?

  • Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Henry Fitzroy “Fitz”, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, and Mary Howard, cousin of Queen Catherine Howard, are married, but are limited by the rules of the court. Is it worth living in harmony with the king, or better to fight for their love? Like a member of Amity Mary works to keep the peace in her home and her country.

Doug comes from a family of fighters. When he moves to his new town he must not only keep the peace with his family, but with the town as whole. When you’re instantly, incorrectly, branded as a troublemaker, can you break out of that mold? A true Amity will enjoy the story of Doug as he strives to keep the peace between not only his own family, but between his family and his town.

What faction are you a part of? Or are you divergent? Do you think these books fit your faction?

— Tegan Anclade, currently reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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