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Updated: 3 hours 21 min ago

Cinderella Retellings

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 07:00

With a new movie of Cinderella coming out, it’s a great time to round up some book adaptations.


Ash by Malinda Lo (2010 Morris finalist and 2014 Popular Paperbacks for YA Top Ten)
Ash lost both her mother and her father. Now she’s stuck in a world with an evil step mother and two wicked step-sisters. She finds solace in the fairy world and with her new friendship with the King’s Huntress. Can she find happiness on her own terms?

Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey
Cendrillon’s mother dies in childbirth. The death of her mother forces her father to abandon her, leaving her to the care of the housekeeper. Her father remarries and sends his wife and two daughters back to the cottage, without telling her about his daughter. Everything changes once the truth comes out.

Bewitching by Alex Flinn
Kendra can’t help coming to someone’s rescue, even though she shouldn’t, but Emma really needs her help. Emma’s stepsister isn’t the sweet girl she portrays. Instead Lisette steals everything Emma holds dear. Can Kendra help Emma?  

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Xing Xing’s father dies leaving her alone with her stepmother who only cares for securing an advantageous marraige for her own daughter. Xing Xing finds her mother’s green silk gown and gold slippers. She sneaks out and wears them to a festival where she meets a handsome but unconventional prince.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (2012 Teens’ Top Ten and 2013 Best Fiction for YA and 2013 Reader’s Choice Book List)
The first in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder’s part human and part robot. Cinder doesn’t remember what happened to her before the age of 11. A stranger wanders into her station at the marketplace looking for a mechanic. To her surprise, it’s the Prince in disguise. As a plague sweeps through, Cinder might hold the answers to the future and her past.

Cinderella Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan
Cinderella’s held captive by her step-mother.  She can take care of herself, perfecting her skills in secret, waiting for the day until she can escape.  A ball will be held with two contests: one beauty and one magical.  Cinderella doesn’t care about the beauty contest or meeting the prince, she simply wants to win the magical competition for the wizard training opportunity. She’s determined to win her freedom.

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
Cindy isn’t popular, but her social life goes from nonexistent to outcast after she writes an anti-prom letter to the school newspaper. She wishes the newspaper would focus on more important issues.  With three people in her corner, Cindy isn’t about to back down. Can she still find her happily ever after without attending prom?

Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Helper
When the actors in Disney World go on strike, Ella’s hired to become the next Cinderella.  Ella marries the prince every afternoon at 3 pm. But it isn’t the prince she wants to date, it’s Luke.

Just Ella by Margaret Petterson Haddix (2005 Popular Paperbacks for YA)
Ella went to the ball and married her prince – but life afterwards isn’t happily ever after. The royals try to mold her into a perfect princess with endless rules on etiquette and protocol.  How can she escape this life and find happiness on her own terms.

Add in your favorite Cinderella tales in the comments!

~ Jennifer Rummel currently reading The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Narrators You Love to Hate in YA Lit

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 07:00

Unreliable, whiney, un-likable, liars—we’ve all read characters like this!  I love to read a good book with a “bad” (and/or unreliable) narrator. This kind of flawed storyteller reaches to the reader and asks us to question, look deeper, and ponder truth and lies. It is a sign of an excellent author who can manipulate you to love the book and hate the character. Skilled writers make the reader believe the lies and then accept the truth.

Here are some favorite examples of protagonists I love to hate.

  • In this year’s Printz Award recipient I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson twins Noah and Jude lie to each other, lie to their parents, and lie to themselves (and by extension to us: the reader). With all the lies it’s no wonder there was so much to reveal in this tale. The sneakiness and bad treatment of each other made me distinctly dislike them. But Nelson also juxtaposed the twins’ nastiness with descriptions of how deeply they love each other.
  • Cadence from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults). Here is what I consider to be a likeable character and one whom I really felt for. But what if I knew the truth of what really happened that summer at the beginning of this book? Would I still have felt so sympathetic towards Cady?
  • Froi and Quintana from Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles. Only Melina Marchetta (Printz Award winner) could take a predatory lowlife like Froi was when we first met him in Finnikin of the Rock (2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults) and turn him around so distinctly then lead him to star in his own story. Froi is redeemed in Finnikin of the Rock; grows in Froi of the Exiles, and become a hero in Quintana of Charyn. In the second installment of the Lumatere Chronicles Marchetta also introduces Quintana: one of the grossest characters I have ever imagined in a book and quickly made me love her. Quintana is prickly, deranged, damaged, paranoid, abused, and abusive. But she becomes a hero too—fiercely protective and thoroughly decent.

  • This One Summer (2015 Printz honor) by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. Main character Rose is judgmental, sullen and frankly—a lot less fun than her younger buddy Windy. Rose is distinctly cruel to her mother in this tale (a woman who cannot really be that old but is even drawn in a cruelly- ageing sketch). Rose is quick to side with the townie lowlife guy (the “dud”) who works at the local store because she has a crush on him. She attempts to further sully the reputation of the local girl impregnated and ignored by the loser. I would certainly not want Rose as a friend — but Takami and Tamaki have created such a realistic portrayal of a pre-teen girl.


  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers (1994 Margaret A. Edwards Award winner). This 2000 Printz Award Winner is an oldie but goodie! Steve Harmon is in a juvenile detention center awaiting trial and tells his story in the form of a movie script. He was “involved” in a crime, but what really happened? How does the format in which Steve tells his side of things affect what we learn later?

  • 2015 Printz Honor Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.  Austin Szerba is a polarizing character who dredges up strong reactions from readers all across the board. Some love Austin; dubbing him a punk and touting his “typical teenage boy” characteristics.   Some hate Austin; his self-centered arrogance, concern with only his own (male) family history, as well as his dismissive treatment of female characters.. Yet readers cannot argue that this unique book has merit.
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2011 Teens’ Top Ten) Samantha Kingston is that girl from high school: the pretty, popular, and mean one whom everyone hated but also wanted to befriend. Samantha is one of the most realistically portrayed characters I have ever read. And I hated her. Sam is shallow in such a real way. Yet I cheered for her to grow into a better person by living her last day over and over; to learn to see the good in people, and become better.

Some other examples of unlikeable characters and/or unreliable narrators:

What narrators do you love to hate? Any disagree with my selections?

– Tara Kehoe, currently reading All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven




Reading List for International Women’s Day

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 07:00

The UN’s theme for International Women’s Day this year is Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!

Yesterday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, a holiday born out of women protesting their work in garment factories, trying to get the right to vote, and later just celebrating and trying to better the roles of women in the world. In fact in the United States, the U.K. and Australia, the entire month of March is identified as a celebration of Women’s History.

For many people, celebrating women’s history and women in general goes hand in hand with being a feminist. In 2014, feminist – being a person who believes in gender equality – became a cultural concept very much in the spotlight. Reporters and bloggers asked celebrities if they identified as feminists; Beyonce performed at the MTV music awards in front of a giant “FEMINIST” sign; and Time magazine controversially added the word to a poll of words to be banned. Other serious issues such as campus rape and Gamergate harassment made the lives of women and their treatment take center stage.

I didn’t self-identify as a feminist until middle or high school because I didn’t know that there was a word for what I had felt my whole life: that women and girls were unquestioningly the equal to men and boys and that we had the right to exciting, meaningful, and amazing books. I feel so happy and privileged to go up in a house where my 8 year old intention to be a brain surgeon during the day and a concert pianist at night was met with a supportive, “Ok.” I didn’t quite reach those heights but my family never made me feel like I couldn’t do that because I was a girl. Sadly, this is not the norm throughout the whole world, and not even in the United States.

Tangibly, materially, and in terms of rights and freedoms, there is a lot to be done for women and girls throughout the world and our country. But one of the things libraries and bookstores and readers can do is to read about lives of women and girls. By reading and sharing stories of women and girls we can show others the amazing things women can do. We can also share the struggles of women and girls and help inspire change.

Here are just a handful of books I’ve read recently that have a strong, pro-women message. They present women and girls who are strong without being caricatures; emotional without being a harmful stereotype; and most of all, full realized characters with hopes, dreams, and struggles.

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
by Isabel Quintero (2015 Morris winner and Amelia Bloomer Project list): Gabi is a girl that I simultaneously wish I knew in high school or had been in high school. She doesn’t have all the answers but is still so confident in herself even when dealing with sexuality, her weight, family tragedies, her friends’ pregnancy and coming out, and more. She has a wonderful message of power and sense of self that speaks well to girls both struggling and not. This is also one of the few YA books I’ve read with abortion as a plot point.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman (2013 Alex Award): Rory Dawn has a hard life growing up in her Nevada trailer park and desperately wants to be a Girl Scout. This is a great meditation on the expectations of girlhood and poverty. 

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (2009 Printz honor): Frankie infiltrates the boys club at her boarding school and many hijinks ensue! This book shows

I am Malala: The First Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb: The story of the young Nobel Peace Prize winner’s attack and why she believes in the importance of education.

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (Amelia Bloomer Project list): Talley weaves a believable romance between two girls all while dealing with school integration in the 1950s South. It will definitely make you cry.

Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark: Centering on three characters, one a transwoman and another a questioning boy wondering about gender fluidity, this novel in verse breaks stereotypes all over the place. It’s a good reminder to many of us that remembrances such as International Women’s Day and Women’s HIstory Month need to include transgender women as well as cisgender women.

Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Amelia Bloomer Project list): Kamala Khan is a Muslim teen growing up in Jersey City, idolizing Captain Marvel Carol Danvers and the Avengers. Getting superpowers like Captain Marvel does not diminish her fandom but makes her have to grapple with her newfound duty to help and to her family and culture. This has been the unofficial breakout hit of Marvel’s slate of comics and it deserves all the attention.

Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis (to be published April 2015): Diverse campers at a Girl Scout-esque summer camp who whose exclamations – Sweet Bessie Coleman! – reflect feminism and girl power? If you haven’t been reading this in issues, check out the trade paperback. It’s fun, powerful, and all about friendship.

A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word by Julie Zeilinger: This is a great primer geared towards teens and young women on the history of feminism in the United States. I breaks down the “waves” of feminism and many current and former feminist issues especially like the need for the current feminism movement to include women of color and LGBTQ women.

Lastly, if you are looking for more amazing books to celebrate women, members of Feminist Task Force of the ALA work to compile the Amelia Bloomer Project book list. Every year they highlight feminist books for readers aged 0 – 18. 2015’s list - as with all of the years – has some really great titles. Another list that is great but hasn’t been updated since 2013 is Bitch Magazine’s 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader. These have more great books celebrating women for you to explore!

-Anna Tschetter, currently reading Black Widow Vol. 1, The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson

The Monday Poll: Teen Tech Week

Sun, 03/08/2015 - 23:33

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you to choose the YA book that would make a hit on Broadway. Topping the votes with 43% was Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. (It’s all about Tiny Cooper, isn’t it?) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell followed with 25% of the vote. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, YALSA is celebrating Teen Tech Week – when libraries showcase all the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers. So we want to know about your favorite YA book featuring current tech. Choose from the options below, or suggest another title in the comments!

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

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #4

Sun, 03/08/2015 - 07:00

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 9 counts, so sign up now!

Now that we are a few weeks into the 2015 Hub Reading Challenge but still have more than three months before the deadline, I thought it would be interesting to discuss strategies for completing the Challenge. Personally, I’ve had a busy winter, so I haven’t been able to get started yet and I am already thinking about how I am going to catch up. So, I want to hear from all of you. What approach do you take to the Challenge? Have you already finished all 25 books? Are you just reading down the list or are you organizing your reading list by genre or favorite authors? Do you try to move outside your comfort zone when you are picking books from the list? Or do you stick to familiar territory? Do you have a goal for each week or month? Do you review the comments from other Hub Challenge participants on Twitter using the #hubchallenge hashtag or have you joined the 2015 Goodreads Hub Reading Challenge group to find out what to move up on your to-be-read pile? Are you at the mercy of your library’s hold list? No matter what system you are using, I would love to hear more about it and the books you’ve read so far. And, even if you haven’t gotten started yet like me, let me know in the comments if you have a plan for how you are going to finish in time for the June 21st deadline.

Don’t forget that books you read for the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge count for this challenge as well, but if you’ve read any of the other books prior to February 9, you’ll have to re-read them if you want to count them towards your total.

You have until 11:59 PM EST on June 21st to finish at least 25 books. When you read the weekly check-in posts, again, please don’t forget to read the comments and keep track of your progress by commenting yourself! If you review books online, please include links to your reviews. Also, don’t forget to post the Participant’s Badge on your blog, website, or email signature, and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email.

If you are a particularly fast reader and have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response and, perhaps best of all, to notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles. 



Women in Comics: Manga

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 07:00

For March, rather than focusing on a specific genre, I thought I would take a look at a wide range of manga created by women. Though I think many readers assume that most of the top manga creators are men, in fact there are a number of famous and important works created by women. Here are just a few examples.

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa – Featuring two main characters, one with a prosthetic arm and leg and the other a disembodied soul in a metal body, Fullmetal Alchemist is a fun series set in a world where alchemy offers practitioners the ability to transform the world around them, but not without a price. The story offers a perfect combination of a steampunk setting, compelling characters, humor, and adventure. Told over the course of 10 volumes, the story is one that has gone on to spawn two anime series, video games, and a series of Japanese novels. This is a great manga for serious manga fans and new readers alike.

Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori – This classic manga series is difficult to sum up. It follows a young girl who is swept up into her new school’s host club after she breaks an expensive vase and is mistaken for a boy. The finer points of the complex plot are less important than the fact that this series is designed as a send up of many of the tropes and cliches of the shojo manga. It contains many romantic subplots, humor that occasionally breaks the fourth wall, and a focus on issues of class and gender. It spawned a successful anime series and remains a well-known and popular series.

Strobe Edge by Io Sakisaka (2014 Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens) – This manga follows 15-year old Ninako Kinoshita as she meets and falls in love with a quiet, but extremely popular boy from her school. Their relationship is complicated by the fact that the boy already has a girlfriend and Ninako has never been in a relationship. Over the course of the series, they must each confront their feelings and decide whether they want to proceed with a relationship. In addition to the manga, a movie adaptation is due to be released in Japan later this month.

Wandering Son by Shimura Takako (2012 Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens) – In Wandering Son, Takako introduces readers to two fifth graders: Shuichi Nitori, a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino Takatsuki, a girl who wants to be a boy. Full of relatable characters and humor, this book will simultaneously remind readers of their own middle school years and immerse them in the characters’ lives. Once you start reading the series, you won’t be able to put it down.

A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori (2012 Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens) – This series by the woman who also created the award-winning manga series Emma (2008 Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens), which is being reprinted later this spring, takes place in Central Asia during the 19th century. It centers around a woman who travels a great distance to marry a man who is younger than her and lives in a town that is in contrast to her own nomadic background. The series is an interesting introduction to a lifestyle and time with which many readers will be unfamiliar and has beautiful artwork that will keep you captivated throughout.

After School Nightmare by Setona Mizushiro (2008 Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens) – Mashiro Ichijo seems to have it all. He’s popular, attractive, a student at an elite school, but he also has a secret. When he is forced into a class that requires him to find a mysterious key in a dream world to graduate, he must also confront this secret, which is the fact that he is intersex. Along the way, Ichijo attracts the romantic attention of two classmates, one of whom is a beautiful girl and the other of whom is a slacker boy. Ichijo must decide on a true identity to succeed at the quest and graduate.

xxxHolic by CLAMP – Kimihiro Watanuki has a problem – he can see spirits all around him. When he stumbles upon a mysterious store, the woman named Yuko who owns it offers him the chance to wish his problem away. But, no wish comes without a price and Kimihiro ends up bound to work for Yuko to pay off his debt. Along the way, he encounters people with a range of supernatural and natural problems and watches Yuko “help” people, albeit in her trickster manner. This series is a popular offering from CLAMP, a group of female manga artists who have been working together for many years, and has been a bestseller in both Japan and the U.S.

Hopefully this list will help you to add some new manga to your reading list, but these are just a few of the great women who are creating manga. Let me know in the comments if there are others that you would add to the list!

– Carli Spina, currently reading SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

Tweets of the Week: March 6th

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 07:00

Happy First Friday in March, Hub Readers! Just remember…Spring will be here soon (I hope!)! Lots of great tweets around Teen Tech Week – be sure to check it out by searching for #ttw15. For now, look at these tweets of the week with news about the new book by Lauren Oliver, Avengers! Trailer! & the bad boys of YA fiction.  In case you missed it…I’m here to compile it all for you!

Books & Reading





— Traci Glass, currently reading Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Notes from a Teens’ Top Ten Book Group Participant: Fangirl Fantasy Casting

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 04:00

Teens across the nation voted for the 2014 Teens’ Top Ten list, and the winners have been announced- but did you know how the books are nominated for this list in the first place?

Books are nominated by members of Teens’ Top Ten book groupsin school and public libraries around the country. To give you a glimpse of some of the teens behind this process, we’re featuring posts from Teens’ Top Ten book groups here on The Hub. Today we have a video creation from Marissa Muller of Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans. 

I love reading books about adventure, romance, and fantasy. I especially enjoy reading books with a strong and relatable female main character. I read because I find it relaxing and it helps get my mind off the problems I’m facing in my world. Reading transports me to the deepest parts of my imagination and lets me live out a thousand different dreams. What I like about being a Teens’ Top Ten / YA Galley Project club is that we are not only reading the books but we as readers feel connected to those books because we are giving feedback to the author and publishers.

I was inspired to make my fantasy casting of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl because one, it helps people better visualize and immerse themselves in a book, and two, I would love to see this book one day become a movie.


Jukebooks: Everybody Knows Your Name by Andrea Seigel & Brent Bradshaw

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 07:00

It’s a really big deal to be selected as a contestant on Spotlight. Teens from all over the country audition for a place on the reality show/singing competition. Some, like Ford, hailing from very small town Arkansas, see this as the chance to escape a bleak future. Others, such as Magnolia, are not even certain why they are there. All come to be molded into sell-able images and, incidentally, sing. But sometimes something genuine happens, even in the world of fake reality.

So here is a book that is chock-full of songs. It was hard to pick one, so I’ve included a playlist that includes songs picked by Magnolia and Ford while they travel cross-country. See if you can guess who picked each song!


1. Alicia Keys – “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart”

2. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (This is the title of an album, so I’ve chosen just one track, “Shelter from the Storm”)

3. Britney Spears - “Til the World Ends”

4. Spoon - “The Underdog”

5. Fleetwood Mac - “Gypsy”

6. Led Zeppelin - “When the Levee Breaks”

7. Haim - “The Wire”

8. Iggy Pop - “The Passenger”

9. Prince - “I Would Die 4 U”

10. The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street (Another album! I picked “Tumbling Dice off this one.)

Double Cover Trouble

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 07:00

We all have our share of complaints about book covers – especially YA book covers. Dead-looking girls on covers, pretty dresses, white people, and almost-kisses abound. Lately, it looks like cover design has gotten better. It’s more focused on cool fonts, graphic design, symbolic representation. Slowly but surely, we’re seeing more people of color, and they’re less obscured by shadows, objects, or silhouettes. Happy as this makes me, I am a little worried about these upcoming titles and their ability to stand out in a crowd. A cover, whether we like it or not, directs a lot of a book’s interest and determines its circulation, and these are perhaps a bit too similar to other titles coming up. Make sure you study up now; you’re bound to have to clear up confusion for your patrons or yourselves when these almost-twins are released.

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer and Forever for a Year by B.T. Gottfried
In addition to similar-sounding titles, these covers feature similar fonts and shared curves, one with a film strip and one with cherries. Hillyer’s book, due out June 2, is about summer camp and second chances. One-time friends accidentally reunite and have the chance to recreate and perfect a summer – and figure out why their friendship ended. Gottfred’s book (July 7) is a romance, but it also deals with how forevers can be broken and it can be hard to pick up the pieces. Still, the plots should be different enough that you can figure out which one a patron is asking for – so long as you keep the titles straight.

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb and I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
On May 26, Rabb’s novel about heartbreak and road trips drops. The cover seems to indicate that there will be many stops at motels on the road while protagonist Eva journeys to find her lost love, Will. Demetrios’ book, which came out on February 3, has a bit of a head start. Its characters are staying put – but they work at a roadside motel. Rabb’s cover is a bit busier, but if Demetrios’ book is still hot when Rabb’s comes out, expect a bit of confusion. Both really call attention to themselves.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio and Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Starkly different content in these books, which look related thanks to their title-centric line-by-line covers, sans-serif fonts, and handwritten details. Each looks like a nice, simple cover that an actual reader took and marked up. Gregorio’s will be here April 7, and Kirby’s follows two weeks later on April 21. The former is like Middlesex for teens with a more contemporary feel, dealing with coming to terms with being intersex. Things We Know By Heart also deals with the world of interesting medical conundrums. It’s about a girl who tracks down the recipient of her late boyfriend’s donor heart. Still, you should be able to keep these ones straight.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
Niven’s novel, an Eleanor and Park readalike released last month, is sure to remain popular for awhile thanks to movie buzz and aggressive marketing from the publisher. Teens are sure to go for this romance between two people who need each other to bring out their true selves…. and that’s why I worry about Aguirre’s book, due out on April 7, which deals with similar themes, has a shared word in the title, and also has post-its on the cover. One tip: Niven’s book is about a boy obsessed with death, and Aguirre’s male lead loves guitar.

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Gray and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
You might think that because Hawkins’ book is published for adults and is already published that you’ll have no trouble keeping these titles straight. But between the jewel-toned covers and similar titles and the fact that your library likely has a 100+ hold list on The Girl on the Train, I’m willing to bet that when you put Gray’s title on your New Books display on April 28, people will flock to it and think it’s the other. Just remember that Gray’s YA book is a fantasy for fans of Holly Black or Sarah Rees Brennan, and Hawkins’ adult novel is a contemporary thriller in the vein of Gone Girl.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter and After the Red Rain by Barry Lyga, Peter Facinelli and Robert DeFranco
If you don’t remember the one on the left, that’s probably because it was released recently, instantly checked out, and now it’s permanently on hold for everyone. Popular author Carter started a new series with more international intrigue and adventure, about a girl who wants to avenge her mother’s death. This novel came out recently, so it will have a head start over this three-creator title on the right, which doesn’t arrive until August 4 and takes a post-apocalyptic approach. However, given that Carter’s book will likely still be in heavy circulation through the summer, you may do well to familiarize yourself with the two, since the only thing that visually sets them apart is the size of the girl on the cover and what she’s standing on. Then again, they both say “action” so strongly that readers may want both.

I thought I had finished this one, but then I logged into NetGalley and saw Charlie, Presumed Dead on offer, and I thought to myself, “I know I’ve seen that before!” Turns out I kind of have. May 19, Schmidt’s new series opener (Once Upon a Crime Family) drops, so you’ll see a dark and contemporary retelling of The Princess and the Pea in this story about a girl who suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder that makes her bruise easily. Heltzel’s book comes out soon after, on June 2, and also deals with a crime – possible homicide – but its focus is mystery and adventure. While they’re sure to confuse people, I do think that the sans serif font and dark presentation of things we consider light and beautiful make for a compelling cover look.

Have you noticed any other near-twins out there?

–Hannah Gómez, currently reading Gulp by Mary Roach and listening to Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

The Monday Poll: YA Lit Destined for Broadway

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 00:03

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we wanted you to choose your favorite teen superhero in comics. Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel took the top spot with 45% of the vote, followed by Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, with 32%. Nice choices, Hub readers! You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, we want you to tell us which YA book would make a hit Broadway musical– and be sure to leave fantasy casting notes in the comments! I feel like I could see the talented Anna Kendrick as Hazel Grace in a musical adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, personally. Choose from the options below, or we’d love to hear your own suggestion!

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

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #3

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 07:00

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 9 counts, so sign up now!

Are you familiar with the modern aphorism “don’t read the comments?” In general, online, it is wise advice, but it does not apply to The Hub and it especially does not apply to the annual Reading Challenge! There are so many books to choose from. Look at this list! If you feel overwhelmed, I encourage you to find all the posts tagged “2015 Hub Reading Challenge” and then read their comments, reply to people, maybe start a dialog. Hub readers are encouraging, cheerful, and smart. They offer good, well articulated insights into what they like and dislike about books. You will get a solid feeling about books you may be waffling on. And you can get so much support from your fellow readers as you all work towards completing the challenge.

As you work on the challenge, why not share your progress on social media? On Twitter please use the hashtag #hubchallenge.  If you are a Goodreads person, you can join the 2015 Goodreads Hub Reading Challenge group.

Don’t forget that the titles you read during the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge count for this challenge but if you’ve read any of the other books before February 9, you’ll have to read them again to make them count.

You have until 11:59 PM EST on June 21st to finish at least 25 books.  When you read the weekly check-in posts, again, please don’t forget to read the comments and keep track of your progress by commenting yourself! If you review books online, please include links to your reviews. Also, don’t forget to post the Participant’s Badge on your blog, website, or email signature, and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email.

If you are a particularly fast reader and have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response and, perhaps best of all, to notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles. 



Tweets of the Week: February 27th

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:00

Here is a roundup of your tweets for the week! When people weren’t tweeting about #llamadrama and #thedress, they were tweeting about a lot of great #yalit

Book News 

TV/Movie News


Just for Fun

-Katie Shanahan Yu, currently reading Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole

One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Gail Carriger

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 07:00

Check out previous interviews in the One Thing Leads to Another series here.

I grew up reading and re-reading Verne, Kipling, Stevenson, Doyle, and the not-Victorian mysteries of Agatha Christie while trying to memorize the entirety of Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalott” for reasons I’m still not certain I could articulate.  At the same time, I fancied myself something of an amateur naturalist (though at 10 I probably wouldn’t have used that word) and spent an inordinate amount of time messing around with age-inappropriate powders and vials that resulted in the cigar-box pinning and labeling of many unfortunate insects.  My teen years were draped in velvet, and at 16 I felt that elbow-length black silk evening gloves were appropriate for almost every occasion, including math class.  And I spent too much time thinking about and trying to procure tea, which was not at all easy to come by in my small mountain-ringed Utah town.

In other words, Gail Carriger is in oh so many ways the wheelhouse of my formative years, discovered slightly later, but no less welcome for that.  The world she creates (and it is a world, both on and off the page) is full of dirigibles, social commentary, mechanicals, custard, tea, diabolical secret societies, werewolves, proper manners, perfect curtsies, and treacle tarts, which is to say it’s delightful and immersive and subversive all at once.  If you’re looking for fun and froth, mystery and adventures, parasols and poison, Gail’s world is what you want; if it’s an ongoing and masterful dismantling of the Hero’s Journey, the Parasol Protectorate series is just the thing; if an unusual heroine (“with family and friends,” as Spike bemoans) flying cheese pie, and subtle examinations of race, class, and gender, among other things, sound exciting, you need to meet Sophronia, of the Finishing School series.  Or you might be, like me, waiting for the release of Prudence (The Custard Protocol: Book One) on March 17th because it’s impossible to resist a book wherein “a marauding team of outrageous miscreants in a high tech dirigible [charges] about fixing things, loudly and mainly with tea.”

Please imagine me performing one perfect curtsy here.  Thank you, Gail!

Always Something There to Remind Me
Photo by Robert Andruszko

Please describe your teenage self.

A demanding, arrogant, overachiever nerd-type with an unexpected interest in fashion who was constantly reading or writing. Not all that different from now, frankly. Except perhaps the overachiever part.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

An archaeologist, because I wanted to touch history.

What were your high school years like? 

I actually really enjoyed high school. I met, made, and kept most of my still-dearest friends. I remember laughing… a lot. I wasn’t a depressive kid. I didn’t have an identity crisis. I was proud to be weird, nerdy, and an outsider. I spoke up in class. I had a healthy relationship with food and exercise. I went to my first convention. I learned to sew and took up cosplay. I was the first to drive amongst my group, so I had purpose. I was a scholarship kid at a prep school so I was challenged. I had some fantastic teachers. And if I did need to escape, I just read books.

What were some of your passions during that time?

I remember being obsessed with Monty Python, Tamora Pierce, and dancing. I was on the swim team, but never really a team player. Dressing up and thrifting for unique fashion was very important. This was the 90s, so grunge was in and it was easy to be stylish on the cheap. I got into throwing massive costume parties and my house quickly became one of the primary gathering places (I had the “cool parents,” still do).

Would you be willing to share a difficult teen experience or challenge that you feel shaped the adult you became?

My parents’ divorce was rough, but then I had plenty of role models. Nearly all my friends were also the children of divorced parents; I just came to it later than everyone else. It didn’t really effect how I thought about romance, but it did force me to rethink how I conceived of family. As a result threads of friendship, and the concept of building one’s own family, and the importance of loyalty weave through many of my books. My main characters are never going to be solitary agents against the universe in a hero’s journey kind of way.  In fact, I react strongly against that archetype.

What about a positive experience or accomplishment that had an impact on your adult self?

I was taken under the wing of a series of wonderful teachers and librarians. I think they contributed into making me the author I am today, not just how I write, but how I interact with my readers and my fellow authors. These are MY people and I feel a real sense of responsibility to passing along the mentorship I received as a teen. I also inherited a sense of showmanship. My favorite teachers were also entertainers, thus I believe it’s important to amuse as well as educate. The first makes the second so much more palatable.

What advice, if any, would you give your teen self? Would your teen self have listened?

Don’t give up dancing. However, I don’t think the teen me would have listened. I was still a teen, and I thought my body would last forever, fit and healthy.

Do you have any regrets about your teen years? Anything left undone or anything that might have been better left undone?

Nope. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do it any differently.

What, if anything, do you miss most about that time?

The lack of aches and pains.

Every Day I Write the Book

You’re a “real live archeologist” and despite describing fieldwork as “mind-numbingly dull,” you clearly loved your work and converse enthusiastically about “8-12th century Islamic ceramics,” the Etruscans, and Peruvian kilns, among other things. Having participated in excavations all over the world as an expert in your field, I have to ask: any daring adventures, embarrassing stories, or nefarious deeds you’d be willing to share?

There’s a lot of trudging through Italian forests (yes, forests), getting excited over fragments of pottery, being stranded at airports, but really it isn’t at all like Indiana Jones.

Steampunk seems to be both what you write and the inspiration behind your persona, and you look like you’re having a great deal of fun with both. I’m curious, though, whether you ever feel constrained by those boundaries, either in your work or in the expectations of your readers?

You know, I worried about this when I started this madcap switch in careers, but no, I pretty much love it. This may be because I see myself as an artisan not an artist — a distinction made by archaeologists between those who produce art as a hobby and those who produce for a consumer marketplace. I write what I want, yes, but I can tailor what I want to what I think my readers want too. And I don’t think there is anything wrong, or lowly, or base about that. You might call me a workhorse author. I try to make my deadlines and keep to the style readers expect from me. I think it comes back around to how much I value loyalty and the sense of mutual identity I feel with readers.

I’m impressed by the clear, consistent, and unusual themes throughout your books, themes that you’ve acknowledged sneak in, like “strong willed women, [the] benefits of practicality, [and] tolerance of alternative lifestyles,” and themes that you deliberately set out to explore like “the idea that in order to succeed a hero/heroine must be strong and independent and act alone.” Despite the appearance of frothy adventure and exuberant absurdity in your work, you explore these themes in some depth–but never overtly; it’s a fine balancing act.  Does walking that tightrope come naturally to you as a writer or are there techniques you use to make sure you’re never didactic or heavy-handed?  Could you talk a little about your influences when it comes to creating characters that are “strong in the way that you or I would be strong”?

I think the characters and underlying themes come pretty naturally to me, it’s the plot and series arcs that require work. While I am actively writing a rough draft, I keep only two things in mind: keep writing and don’t lose the funny. People will forgive a lot if you make them laugh. If you can make someone laugh and also think? That’s magic. For me, there can be no greater achievement. As for influences on characters, my friends have had the biggest impact. I have been so very lucky to be surrounded by a ranging group of pure awesomeness. Not only do they not mind that they trickle into my books, they occasionally dress up as themselves as my characters… its very meta.

In an interview some years ago you said you “always try to have strong opinions on frivolous subjects and weak opinions on serious matters,” which keeps you “young and irreverent.” Is this still the case? Would you be willing to share some of your strong (and/or weak) opinions with us?

Did I say that? How very accurate. Yes it is still true. Many of my strong opinions surround food, tea, and clothing. But I can discuss the epistemological state of scientific truths for hours. An example? PJs, sweats, and yoga pants should not be seen in public unless you are a. deathly ill, b. sleepwalking, or c. actually exercising. Lavender, rose, and violet should be kept out of all things food related, and while we are at it keep your darn child off my flipping chocolate! I won’t even start on fruit flavoring in black teas. For the love, why? And I could keep going…

Just Can’t Get Enough

Question from Garth Nix: If you re-read, what is the book you turn to when you are weary with the world, and what do you think it is that about that book that lifts you up again or gives you respite?

It depends on what soul wound I’m feeling. Taming the Forest King by Claudia J. Edwards reminds me of the enduring nature of real love and that it’s OK to take on the responsibility for someone else’s heart. The Daughter of the Empire series by Feist and Wurts reminds me that one requires intelligence to handle responsibility and duty with grace. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is my escape book, it reminds me of nothing to do with my own life, just carries me away. And the Song of the Lioness Quartet is my rock. Tamora Pierce manages to write in such a way as to remind me of who I was, and who I wanted to be then, and that I should keep fighting for the integrity of my ideal identity.

Gail has contributed a question for the next author in the series, Laura Ruby.  Watch for an interview with her coming soon!

Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in higher learning, a fondness for cephalopods, and a chronic tea habit.

Her books are urbane fantasies mixed with steampunk comedies of manners. They have now been published in over a dozen different languages and she received the Prix Julia Verlanger from French readers. Her debut novel, Soulless, won the ALA’s Alex Award and was nominated for the Compton Crook, Campbell, and Locus Awards. All five in the Parasol Protectorate series (including Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless) plus manga adaptations Soulless Vol. 1-3 were New York Times Bestsellers.  Curtsies & Conspiracies, the second in her critically acclaimed Finishing School series for young adults, debuted at #5. The first book in the series, Etiquette & Espionage,won the French Elbakin Award for best YA novel in translation. The first book in her new Custard Protocol adult series, Prudence, releases March 17, 2015.

Her other hats (neither pith helmet nor fedora) have included tromping the globe excavating ancient cultures, torturing undergraduates with science, and writing cryptic reviews of YA novels for the Horn Book Guide.

You can find Gail via her website, on Blogspot, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, or Facebook. She also has a ridiculously silly newsletter, The Monthly Chirrup.

Jukebooks: Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go by Laura Rose Wagner

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 07:00

Before the earthquake, Magdalie was a fifteen year-old girl living with her aunt and beloved cousin, Nadine. After the earthquake, Magdalie and Nadine were everything to each other. The survival of each became entwined with the other. They dreamed of the day that they would travel to Miami together, how they would go see movies, get belly piercings, and live in air conditioning. Too soon, Nadine gets the chance to leave. Magdalie can only try to save money and hope that she will also leave her homeland, if that indeed becomes her choice.

So what kind of music do Haitian kids listen to? Magdalie and Nadine like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Beyonce. Of special interest is the ring tone Nadine has for a special boy friend: “Je lui dirai,” sung by Celine Dion. This emphasizes the French influence on two very different cultures – Quebec and Haiti. The novel weaves together the languages of Haiti – English, Creole, and French. The musical tastes of Magdalie and Nadine embrace popular music from all of these influences.

Diane Colson, currently reading an advance reader’s copy of The Truth Commission by Susan Juby.

Celebrating Sharon Draper

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 07:00

As the U.S. celebrates Black History Month (and many broaden the discussion via #morethanamonth, #blackfuturemonth and #BlackHistoryYouDidntLearnInSchool), we teen lit fans have a chance to further amplify the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement and spotlight African American book characters and authors. This year’s ALA Youth Media Awards gave us several welcome chances to highlight diversity via award winners, especially the 2015 Margaret A. Edwards Award winner, Sharon Draper, whose “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature” is no secret to her fans.

The award is for these titles:

Pam Olszewski’s 8th grade Language Arts class in Westerville, Ohio, knows Draper’s work well. They can choose Tears of a Tiger, Forged by Fire, or Darkness Before Dawn for their realistic fiction novel, and told me why her work speaks to them:

There’s a lot of cliffhangers. You have a bond with [the characters]. It feels like they’re a real person. And the books are set in Ohio. –Bankole

Realistic and heart-moving. –Robert

Really inspiring. I felt like I wanted to read all of them. –Ethan K.

Reluctant readers can connect with her characters in a way that encourages them to read. I haven’t met a kid yet who didn’t love her work. –Mrs. Olszewski

I love finding out how authors get their start at writing, and Sharon Draper’s “author origin story” has to be one of the best. According to this BookPage interview, she was already an accomplished classroom teacher when she was challenged by a student from the back row one day: “Why don’t you write something?” She took this challenge to heart. Since entering and winning first prize in a literary contest, her prodigious book output has been capturing the attention of readers both inside the classroom and out. Draper has also written additional books for teens, books for tweens, books for teachers, and two books of poetry.

Even if you haven’t read one of her titles (and there’s no time like the present!), you probably know a teen who has. Ask around and start a discussion! Book award season, diversity movements, #blacklivesmatter, Black History Month, and even challenging one’s teacher to become a writer can all be catalysts for positive connection and change. You never know what may result! Congratulations, Sharon Draper!

-Becky O’Neil, currently reading Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

For the Love of Dogs (and a Few Wolves): Canines in YA Literature

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 07:00

Image by NDPetitt. See:

This Valentine’s Day, because my husband needed to be away, my dog was my date.  That evening she and I took a walk, had dinner and lounged on the couch together.  I read while she dozed and snored.  In other words, we had a perfect evening.  This made me think that in this month of love, I’d like to honor our canine friends who devote themselves to us so unconditionally.

Below are several YA novels (and one adult novel well-suited to teens), some in print and some in graphic format, in which canines play a large part.  They may be the main character’s best friend or arch enemy, or even the story’s protagonist.  I’ve taken the liberty of including a few books with wolves. I’m hoping you’ll agree that the probable common ancestry of wolves and dogs — and also just the fact that these “wolf” novels are pretty great — justifies the inclusion of these works.

Make sure to also check out earlier Hub posts about dogs and other animals in YA literature.  See Laura Perenic’s “Dog Days of Summer…Reading” (8/7/12) and Kate McNair’s “Animals Who Shine” (9/14/12).

Laika by Nick Abadzis (2008 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

This is a fictionalized account of Laika, the Samoyed-husky who in November 1957 became the first sentient being to leave Earth’s orbit, on the Sputnik II satellite.  A dog who had survived on the streets of Russia, she was taken by scientists in order to further their space program, her life knowingly sacrificed.  This is a powerful and poignant graphic novel which shows how politics can generate intense pressure on scientists to be first in their field.  (younger teen graphic novel)


BB Wolf and the Three LPs by J. D. Arnold & Rich Koslowski (2011 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

This graphic novel turns the story of The Three Little Pigs on its head.  In this version, BB Wolf is a farmer and blues musician in the Mississippi Delta in the 1920s. When the pigs decide that they’re going to take his land, BB Wolf strikes back in revenge.  There are parallels here to Jim Crow racial segregation and oppression and also to the life of the real Barnabus Benjamin Wolf, who influenced American Blues music and was executed for murder.  (older teen graphic novel) 

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (2007 Alex Awards)

In this fantasy novel for adults, twelve-year-old David, in search of his late mother, enters an alternate world of fairy tale characters and frightening creatures.  One of the David’s principal foes there is Leroi, who is a half-human wolf, the son of Little Red Riding Hood.  Leroi is plotting to take over the kingdom in which David finds himself.  If David ever wants to make it home to his family and town in England, he must reach the king in time to foil Leroi’s plans.  (adult fiction)


Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata

Based on Kadohata’s thorough research into the U.S. Army’s canine program, Cracker! is the story of a German shepherd of the same name who becomes an Army booby-trap-finding and ambush-detecting dog in Vietnam in the 1960s. Chapters are told from the alternating viewpoints of Cracker and her handler, Rick.  At one point, the two become separated, prompting Cracker to initiate an arduous journey to find her best friend.  (younger teen fiction)


Last Chance by Norah McClintock

The first of a mystery series, this novel begins the story of Robyn Hunter, a high school student who is volunteering at an animal shelter as punishment for breaking a window during an animal rights protest.  In this job she must confront her phobia of dogs, stemming from an attack by a German shepherd when she was a child.  Also mandated to volunteer is Nick, Robyn’s former middle school classmate who has been in some trouble with the law.  Robyn begins to think that Nick may be innocent of the violent crime of which he is currently accused.  (older teen fiction)


Edge of Nowhere by John E. Smelcer

Smelcer, an archaeologist, anthropologist, Ahtna tribal member and a writer in both English and Inuit, knows the Alaskan setting of this novel very well. He writes with authority about part-Native American sixteen-year-old Seth, who is swept overboard from his dad’s salmon-fishing boat, along with his golden retriever, Tucker.  Seth and Tucker must survive as they swim between and traverse a chain of islands, trying to find their way back home.  (younger teen fiction)


Robot Dreams by Sara Varon (2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

This nearly wordless graphic novel tells the story of a dog and the robot which he builds to fulfill his need for companionship.  After a fun day together at the library and movie theater, they end up at the beach, where the robot reluctantly begins playing in the water.  He unfortunately rusts as a result and, because he then can’t move, the dog leaves him on the beach. The two then begin separate lives with, needless to say, very different possibilities.  This story encompasses many themes, including guilt, the quest for freedom, friendship, loss and making the best of life.  (younger teen graphic novel)


Dust City by Robert Paul Weston

In this fantasy/mystery, Henry Whelp is a teenage wolf who is one of many animals of human size and intelligence.  Henry tries to clear his dad of the charge of killing Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother.  Through its focus on “real” and synthetic fairy dust, this novel demonstrates the hold of mind-altering drugs on society and the havoc that this wreaks.  (younger teen fiction)

– Anna Dalin, currently reading Nantucket Red by Leila Howland

The Monday Poll: Your Favorite Teen Superhero

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 23:22

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you to name the YA book-to-screen adaptation you’re most looking forward to this year. Looks like most of you will be lining up for Mockingjay Part 2, which pulled in 39% of the vote. Paper Towns is also highly anticipated, with 29%. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, since Comic-Con 2015 registration just opened (and promptly sold out), we’ve got comics on the brain. Who’s your favorite teen superhero or heroine? Choose from the options below, or add your own suggestion in the comments!

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

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #2

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 07:00

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 9 counts, so sign up now!

Hello readers!  How is the challenge going?  I’m not participating this year because 1. I have read a lot of the titles already since I was on the 2015 Quick Picks Committee and 2. I am on another committee and need to read those books. I can tell you that I have already read 23 titles on this list. Maybe on my next check-in I’ll let you know which ones were favorites and which one had me cackling in laughter.

If you are a social media person (like me!), be sure to share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #hubchallenge.  You can also join the conversation over at the 2015 Goodreads Hub Reading Challenge group.

The titles you read during the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge totally count, so make sure you count them! I didn’t read any during that time, but I had already read four before the announcements for my committee.

You have until 11:59 PM EST on June 21st to finish all 25 books which is plenty of time, right?  Keep track of your progress by commenting on the weekly check-in posts to let us know how you’re doing and what you’re reading and/or listening to; if you’ve reviewed those titles somewhere online, please include links to your reviews! Don’t forget to grab the Participant’s Badge for your blog, website, or email signature, and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email.


If you are a particularly fast reader and have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response and, perhaps best of all, to notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles. 


From Page To Screen: A ‘We Need Diverse Books’ Wish List

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 07:00

image from Flickr user Kenneth Lu (

As the number of film adaptations set to be released  in the 2015 illustrates, Hollywood seems firmly committed to turning to the world of young adult fiction for inspiration–and box office success.  While this trend is exciting for YA fiction fans, the lack of the diversity present in the stories selected remains disheartening. While planning a recent movie night at my library, I was freshly reminded of this problem and as usual, I took to Twitter to share my frustration.

The ensuing discussion was vibrant and, inspired,  I polled friends & colleagues to develop a wish list of diverse young adult novels we’d like to see on the silver screen.

Everything Leads To You - Nina LaCour (2015 Rainbow List, 2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Talented young set designer Emi is spending the summer before college with her best friend Charlotte in Emi’s older brother’s apartment when an estate sale & a mysterious letter brings Ava into her life. But despite their immediate, electric connection, Emi & Ava each have pain in their past and their path to happily ever after will be far from simple.  Between Emi and Ava’s “will they or won’t they” chemistry, great supporting characters and an intriguing setting, you’ve got the perfect rom-com of the summer!

One Man Guy - Michael Barakiva (2015 Rainbow List)

Alek Khederian assumed that summer school will be an extension of his horrible freshman year; he never expected that it would lead him to Ethan.  Alek can’t imagine why someone like confident skateboarder Ethan wants to hang out with him and when romantic sparks start to fly between them, Alek will have re-evaluate everything he knew about himself. This novel isn’t just a lovely coming of age tale–it’s a love letter to New York City and Alek’s Armenian heritage featuring a built-in soundtrack of Rufus Wainwright songs.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz (2013 Stonewall Book Award, 2013 Prinz Honor, 2013 Pura Belpre Award, 2013 Rainbow List, 2013 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

On the surface, Ari and Dante don’t appear to have much in common. While Ari is taciturn and shy, Dante can start up a conversation with anyone. Ari is angry and sometimes inarticulate; Dante is outrageously optimistic and creative. From their first meeting at the swimming pool one hot summer day, Ari and Dante form an unbreakable bond.  In the right hands, a film version of Ari and Dante’s story could be one of the loveliest surprise hits of the year.

Other diverse romances we’d love to see on the big screen include: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (recommended by Katelyn Browne), Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (suggested by Hub blogger Erin Daly), and, one of personal favorites,  If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson.

If I Ever Get Out Of Here - Eric Gansworth (2014 American Indian Library Association Honor Book, 2014 YALSA Best Fiction For Young Adults)

Lewis “Shoe” Blake doesn’t feel like he’s had the best of luck in life so far. His family is the definition of dirt poor, he’s the only kid from the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in the advanced class at school, and he’s a regularly bullied. But at least Lewis knows what to expect–until George Haddonfield shows up. George seems happy to talk to Lewis and fueled by their shared passion for the Beatles, they build an unlikely friendship.  Again, this novel comes with a fantastic soundtrack already in place and it would bring a much needed Native voice to the cinema, if created in cooperation with the author and the Tuscarora Indian Reservation and cast with Native American actors.

Ms. Marvel: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Alphona Adrian (2015 YALSA Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2015 Top Ten Amelia Bloomer List)

Since its release, this graphic novel has been collecting praise and honors left and right. The introduction of seemingly ordinary Muslim American teenager Kamala Khan as the newest Ms. Marvel is funny, action-packed, and thought-provoking.  Considering the current media domination of Marvel superheroes, there’s no better time to bring Kamala Khan to the big screen!  This title was not only on my wish list–it was mentioned by several others include Hub blogger Erin Daly and librarian Katelyn Browne.

Beauty Queens - Libba Bray (2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2012 Amelia Bloomer List, 2012 Rainbow List)

This feminist satire would be a challenging project to adapt but if done well, it could be stupendous! When their plane crashes on an apparently deserted island, the surviving contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant suddenly have much bigger things to worry about than their lipstick supply and talent routines. But instead of resorting to violent conflict, the teens bond together and channel their wills to win into the quest for survival.


The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black

Considering the recent upswing in fairytale-inspired films ranging from Into The Woods to the live-action Cinderella coming out in March, this new fantasy seems right on trend.  In the strange town of Fairfold, humans and fae folk live side by side, under a delicate peace.  Hazel and her brother Ben grew up playing at being knight & bard and daydreaming about the horned boy asleep in a glass coffin in the forest.  But now the horned boy has woken up, bringing all sorts of dark chaos with him.  This rich fantasy flips around the heteronormative tropes and traditional gender roles prevalent in fairytales–something I’d love to see more often in Hollywood.

Love Is the Drug  – Alaya Dawn Johnson

Between its action-packed conspiracy plot, its astute examination of racial identity, and its heady romance, this thriller seems built for the big screen–especially today when race, government, and privilege remain at the forefront of the cultural conversation. ‘Good girl’ Emily Bird wakes up in the hospital, confused and weak.  She’s told that there was an accident with designer drugs at a party but senses there’s more going on. Bird teams up with Coffee, a drug-dealing & conspiracy theory-spouting diplomat’s son, to dive into a thrilling adventure that will force Bird to confront sinister government secrets and her own unclear future.  Hub blogger Hannah Gomez & I both placed this novel high on our movie adaptation wish lists!

Hub blogger Sharon Rawlins is also hoping for film versions of Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince, Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch and Tara Sullivan’s Golden Boy. 

What diverse young adult titles are on your page to screen wish list?

-Kelly Dickinson, currently reading All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven