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2017 Alex Awards Winners: An Interview with Sarah Beth Durst on The Queen of Blood

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:00

The Queen of Blood is the first book in Sarah Beth Durst’s Queens of Renthia series and one of the winner’s of YALSA’s 2017 Alex Awards. Today I’m thrilled to have Sarah Beth Durst here on the Hub to answer some questions about the book.

Congratulations on The Queen of Blood’s selection as a 2017 Alex Award finalist! Where were you when you heard the news? Who was the first person you told about your win?

Sarah Beth Durst (SBD): Thank you so much!!!

Shortly after I heard the news, I called my mom.

Me:  “My book won the Alex Award!”

My mom: “My dog was attacked by three coyotes.  I chased them off.”

Me:  “We had very different mornings.”

She began her day to the sound of her dog yelping.  Looking out the window, she saw three coyotes had pinned him to the ground out beside the well.  She ran outside — without any kind of anything to defend herself — and shouted at the coyotes.  Scared them off.  The dog was fine.

I began my day to the sound of the garbage truck rumbling one street over.  Looking out the window, I saw the truck hadn’t reached my street yet.  I ran around the house — without any kind of anything to defend myself — trying to empty all the trash cans and toss out anything suspiciously green and fuzzy in the kitchen before the garbage truck reached my street.  And as I was scurrying around, I was checking my email on my phone, because multitasking.  I saw an email from one of my editors that read, “Congratulations on the Alex!!!  Just heard the news!!”

I was floored.  It’s a moment I’ll never forget (though I did, in the moment, forget all about the garbage truck!).  I’ve wanted to be a writer my entire life, and to have librarians (the ultimate book experts) essentially say, “We like your book, and we think other people will too.”…  Really, it means the world to me.  I am so honored and grateful and thrilled!

What was the inspiration for The Queen of Blood? Did you always know that this book would be the start of a trilogy?

SBD: Sometimes ideas sneak up on me.  This one reached up and struck me right on the face.

I remember the exact moment this book was born.  I had just arrived for a writing retreat in the Poconos.  Each writer was given a charming wood cabin, nestled beneath the pine trees.  I was walking up to mine, glorying in the bird song, admiring the trees, reveling in the moment… and I tripped over the step to the cabin and landed flat on my face.  Cut my lip.  Tasted blood.  And had the idea that would eventually become THE QUEEN OF BLOOD:

Bloodthirsty nature spirits.

THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, book one of The Queens of Renthia, is set in a world filled with nature spirits.  But they aren’t sweet, frolicking pastoral sprites.  These spirits want to kill all humans, and only certain women — the queens — have the power to control them.

After falling on my face and coming up with this concept, the very next thing I decided was that I didn’t want to write a Chosen One story.  Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely love Chosen One stories.  I’ve seen every episode of Buffy, read Harry Potter at least five times, and am still waiting for Merriman Lyon to show up and tell me I’m one of the Old Ones.  But for THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, I wanted to write about the one who isn’t picked to save the world, the one who isn’t qualified to be a hero, the mediocre student who has to work hard to even be on the same playing field as her peers.  Daleina lacks the innate skill and talent necessary to be a queen, but she is determined to protect her family and save her world.  I wanted to write a story about someone whose true magic is her determination.

I knew very early on this was a world I wanted to explore in more than one book.  I’m currently working on writing book three of The Queens of Renthia, which will complete this story arc, and after that, I’ll be writing a standalone adventure set on the islands of Renthia, filled with lots of intrigue and sea monsters.

I am absolutely loving writing these books!  It’s been such an immersive experience.  Every day, I sit down at my computer and it feels like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia… except in Renthia, the trees can kill you.

YALSA’s Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults with special appeal to teen readers. Did you envision this series as being written/marketed to adults from the beginning? Did writing for adults change or influence your writing process compared to when you are writing books for younger readers?

SBD: Yes, I knew from the start that this would be a book aimed at adults… but I also knew from the start that it would be accessible to teens.  There’s a simple reason for this: I try very hard to write the book that I want to read, and I still love the kind of books I read as a teen.

For me, the writing process isn’t any different.  A story is a story.  No matter who the reader is, I try to tell the best story I can and be as true to the characters as I can be.

That’s really the secret to writing for different age groups: if you stay true to your characters, then everything else will work itself out.  If you write through the eyes of a twelve-year-old princess, as in my new middle-grade novel JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS, the book will come out appropriate for a middle-grade audience.  If you write through the eyes of an eighteen-year-old student and a forty-year-old warrior, as I did in THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, then you’ll have a book appropriate for teens and adults.

Renthia is a world inhabited by magical creatures and spirits. Of all the things that you created in this world, what is your favorite? Is there anything you created in this book that you wish you could bring to the real world?

SBD: Renthia is a world of extremes, thanks to the spirits: towering trees, endless glaciers, and sky-piercing mountains.  Aratay, the country at the heart of the Queens books, has HUGE trees — I picture a cross between Lothlorien and the forest moon of Endor.  People live in houses that are suspended about halfway up the trunks, and the bravest among them travel through the forest on terrifyingly high ziplines.  Singers perch at the top of the canopy, welcoming the sunrise and sunset with songs that echo through the forest.  It’s a beautiful place.

The spirits themselves are beautiful too.  My favorite is an air spirit that looks like an ermine with bat wings.  Daleina rides on him — you can see that scene depicted by artist Stephan Martinere on the cover of book two, THE RELUCTANT QUEEN.

But I wouldn’t want any of Renthia to exist in the real world.  I’m far too afraid of heights.  And of being eaten.

Can you tell us anything about your next projects?

SBD: My latest middle-grade novel, JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS, came out in April from Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  It’s about two sisters, one winged lion, and a lot of monsters.  My very first picture book, ROAR AND SPARKLES GO TO SCHOOL, about a little dragon’s first day of school, will be out in June from Running Press Kids / Hachette.  And book two of The Queens of Renthia, THE RELUCTANT QUEEN, will be out from Harper Voyager in July.  Also this year, the film adaptation of my YA novel DRINK SLAY LOVE will premiere on Lifetime as a TV movie!  I’m ridiculously excited about all of this.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Thank you to Sarah for taking the time to answer my questions about The Queen of Blood!

— Emma Carbone, currently reading Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

The post 2017 Alex Awards Winners: An Interview with Sarah Beth Durst on The Queen of Blood appeared first on The Hub.

2017 Hub Reading Challenge April Check-In

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 07:00

Hello Hub readers; it’s time for another Hub Reading Challenge Check-In!

According to my Goodreads shelf where I’m tracking my progress, I’ve got 15 books done for the Challenge so far. My now-standard approach to the Challenge is to load up on Graphic Novels in the first couple of months; getting my numbers up early helps keep me motivated. I love the format anyway, and I work in a high school, and have had a lot of success book-talking graphic novels to students who otherwise feel like they just don’t have time to read for fun when school’s in session. I’ve definitely enjoyed the ones I’ve managed to read so far (especially, to echo Anna’s check-in post, Paper Girls. That palette!! The eco-dystopian horror-show of Brian K. Vaughn’s We Stand On Guard felt terrifyingly plausible, and John Allison’s warm, wry Giant Days has been a perfect match for some of my seniors anxious to imagine themselves into college).

But the most delightfully *surprising* thing so far about my Challenge reading this year has been all the history! I adore historical fiction, so imagine my delight when I realized that Kiersten White’s And I Darken is only tagged so frequently as “fantasy” because of the “alternative” history component (it reimagines Vlad the Impaler as a girl). I love historical fantasy too, but I frequently crave more specificity of place and time than YA historical fantasy delivers, focused as it often is on action. I loved the imagined explanation for how one of history’s most notoriously ruthless figures could have become that way, and I learned a ton about the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th c. from the perspective of Sultan Mehmed II, aka Mehmed the Conqueror, who we meet as a young teen before he has conquered much of anything (well, maybe some hearts). This is the kind of historical fiction I wish I could find more of: stories that help to address the erasure of marginalized and non-Christian people from our (Western) understanding of historical events, and serve to enrich our awareness of just how diverse humanity has always been.

Right now I’m halfway through Julie Berry’s The Passion of Dolssa, and it is (so far) a deeply engrossing look at a (different) moment of religious fervor in 13th century western Europe. Like And I Darken, The Passion of Dolssa challenges the reader to set aside contemporary national borders and delve into what came before. This sense of the malleability of borders, and the complicated national, cultural, and religious identities they foster, is hitting hard for me right now.

Both of these books speak very clearly to the enormous influence and power of religion, to individuals and to power structures, throughout human history and that, too, feels apt for our current cultural moment.

One of the nonfiction titles I read, Sady Doyle’s compulsively readable Trainwreck, had way more history than I was anticipating, and I loved all of it. Each chapter contained a case study of a key feminist figure (from Mary Wollstonecraft to Billie Holiday), and all of it left me wanting to know even more about every one of the featured women.

For my next reads, I’m moving up to some 20th c. history: Meg Medina’s story of the Summer of Sam in NYC, Burn Baby Burn, and the audio version of Ruta Sepetys’ heartbreaking WWII refugee story, Salt to the Sea, which I’ve read but want to experience in audio.


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 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.

Happy reading, all!
— Carly Pansulla, currently reading Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

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Fantasy and Tabletop Gaming Resources for Teen Library Collections

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 07:00

During the last working weekend before I took time off for graduate school, a teen volunteer emailed me.  He had transformed Ms. Chris into a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) character for the club’s next campaign.  This volunteer had initially struggled through his time at the library until he found his purpose: facilitating a middle and high school Dungeons and Dragons club.  Watching him gain a more serious attitude and excited to attend shifts, he helped mentor tweens and teen peers during the club.  The camaraderie and enthusiasm created helped convert the library into a popular Wednesday night hangout spot, ultimately influencing the addition of Dungeons and Dragons as well more fantasy-related resources to the teen collection.

One of the best ways to create an inviting teen library space is by starting a teen-led tabletop gaming club.  Using classics like Monopoly, Uno, Apples to Apples, Chess, Heads Up, and Jenga can initiate a starter club if D&D seems a little advanced.  If space permits, Twister and Giant Jenga are also hits.  These universal games can then become the gateway to other programs and showcasing young adult collections.    

One spinoff for those who love to role-play is a Dungeons and Dragons club.  At the heart of D&D is heroic fantasy storytelling.  Players create characters that often times are drawn from graphic novels, young adult fantasy books, and favorite television shows.  Led by a Dungeon Master, characters such as elves and archers go on quests for power, treasure, rescue missions, and battles.  For those unfamiliar with D&D, the set-up can be a bit intimidating.  What dice do you need, what books should you order, and how do you start?

As a mere and curious beginner, having knowledgeable teen volunteers as teachers and leaders can help.  A few must-have resources to start include:

D&D Player’s Handbook by Wizards RPG Team: As the D&D Bible, the Player’s Handbook has everything players need to know about developing characters, starting with skills and background history along with spells, animals, and equipment.  Depending on how many players you have, owning multiple copies of this book is essential for engagement and moving along the initial start-up process.  The D&D website can also help novice players begin developing main character traits before the Dungeon Master rolls other skills.


D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide by Wizards RPG Team: Another core rulebook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide helps the Dungeon Master weave tales.  A Dungeon Master can make or break a game and player engagement.  Other players can lack experience as long as the Dungeon Master possesses expertise and patience.  This guide offers optional rules and a variety of fantasy worlds to enhance a campaign.


D&D Monster Manual by Wizards RPG Team: A third must-have book, the Monster Manual is exactly what it sounds like: a book to create fantastical beasts and classic D&D creatures: Dragons, giants, and monsters, oh my!


D&D Starter Set: Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set (D&D Boxed Game) by Wizards RPG Team: For those, like me, who all of this seems initially overwhelming but incredibly geeky awesome to, the starter set is a great way to go.  Even with an experienced Dungeon Master, the starter kit helps new and old players work together on their first campaign.  The kit comes with pre-made characters, all required dice, a rulebook, and a story to follow.  Once teens master the kit, they can move on to more successfully designing their own D&D world, which is extremely empowering.


Along with books, you’ll need starter dice including: 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided dice, 12-sided, and 20-sided dice.   Having plenty of character sheets is also a bonus, and PDFs can be printed from the D&D website.

For those who become entranced by D&D or want similar options with equal appeal, you may also add new games to the library such as The Settlers of Catan, SUPERFIGHT, and Magic: The Gathering.


  • Magic is part of the D&D family and can be played with just two people using specialized cards to create spells and destroy creatures.  


  • Catan is a board game where players build settlements and learn how to trade.


  • SUPERFIGHT requires players to use character and attribute cards to debate who would win a battle.  For instance, Hermione might be armed with Angry Birds but cannot stop sobbing.  Her opponent might be Sasquatch who owns a lightsaber and has brain freeze.  The group decides based on cardholders’ reasoning.


All of these games summon critical and imaginative thinking.  Many teens love role-playing as a way to take on a new persona and explore new realities.  They gain confidence and feel more comfortable in the library.  Surround them with fantasy book displays and chat up intelligent pop culture.  With Netflix releasing the second season of Stranger Things on Halloween 2017 and the possibility of The Big Bang Theory coming to an end, why not begin generating interest in fantasy and role-playing through games at the library?  


As for my character?  This teen had transformed me into a Ranger 3 Wood Elf from an artisan guild.  I rode a black panther and used my talents to benefit the world—it is true, this is what librarians do.  With this teen’s help, we transformed the way we look at library resources.


Christine Frascarelli is a current MLIS student at the University of South Florida, a volunteer for a literacy organization, and a former urban librarian as well as non-profit program manager.  She loves to travel the world with a good book tucked away in her bag.    

The post Fantasy and Tabletop Gaming Resources for Teen Library Collections appeared first on The Hub.

Update on Quick Picks and Amazing Audiobooks @ The Hub

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 09:53

Greetings! As many of you will already know, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and Amazing Audiobooks lists have moved to The Hub in order to provide more in depth coverage of nominated titles and to allow for more virtual volunteer opportunities. (Read all about the details of the transition in this post).

I’m happy to say that our new team of Quick Picks and Amazing Audiobooks are now working hard listening and reading to books, and we’ll soon start having blog posts highlighting nominated titles.

If you have a field suggestion for a title that the blogging groups should consider, nominate using the Amazing Audiobooks form or the Quick Picks form. The full details on eligibility and criteria can be found on the Amazing Audiobooks Blogging Group Function Statement and Quick Picks Blogging Group Function Statement.

The Amazing Audiobooks blogging team is:

  • Ariel Cummings, Coordinator
  • Kennedy Penn-O’Toole
  • Beatriz Pascual Wallace
  • Melanie Wachsmann
  • Yolanda Hood
  • Katrina Ortega
  • Tommy Bui
  • Karen Perry
  • Erin Durrett
  • Amy Oelkers
  • Tracy Sumler

The Quick Picks Blogging Team is:

  • Dana Hutchins, Coordinator
  • Karen Lemmons
  • Jenny Zbrizher
  • Jodeana Kruse
  • Jessica Ormonde
  • Kay Hones
  • Lisa Krok
  • Laura Lehner
  • Allison Stevens
  • Carrie Richmond

Regarding Popular Paperbacks, regular (meaning non-selected lists Hub bloggers) will be compiling 10 themed lists a year highlighting “The Best of the Backlist” as a way to continue to provide information on popular books readily available in paperback for libraries.

Easily accessible links to an index of official nominations for QP and AA will go live in the righthand sidebar when blog posts go live, and all this information will be archived for easy access in the top navigation bar under the “about” tab.

Questions regarding selected lists? Please reach out to Molly Wetta, Hub Member Manager, at

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The Hub Seeks New Member Manager for 2017-2018 Term

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 12:09

A huge thank you goes out to The Hub’s current member manager, Molly Wetta for all the great work she’s put into the blog since 2015. Thanks so much, Molly! As Molly will be leaving her role as member manager in August of this year, YALSA is seeking a new member manager to begin August 15, with training starting in July.

Interested in the position? Read on after the jump to see the position description and qualifications and find out how you can apply. Applications including a cover letter and resume are due to by June 1, 2017. Please note that this is not a salaried staff position, but a member volunteer opportunity. YALSA membership is required for this position.

The Member Manager will lead an advisory board and together the group will be responsible for the site, including recruiting bloggers and soliciting content submissions from the YALSA community. Also, new this year, the member manager will also finish the process of transitioning the selected book lists to The Hub.

List of Qualifications:

  1. Strong project management and organizational skills
  2. Ability to delegate work and to manage a variety of contributors and volunteers
  3. Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  4. Excellent verbal and written communications skills, in order to develop content and communicate with potential content providers
  5. Experience in web publishing with responsibilities including but not limited to: utilizing video clips, audio, and social media, maintaining a high standard of writing, and ensuring compliance with policies created for the maintenance of the site
  6. Knowledge of HTML and WordPress, which YALSA uses for administration of blog sites; as well as knowledge of plugins, tagging, categories, and other WordPress tools
  7. PHP knowledge a plus
  8. Ability to set and meet deadlines
  9. Knowledge of best practices and current trends in collection development for and with teens in libraries
  10.  Ability to work well in a team environment
  11. Ability to work well in a mostly virtual setting, including using tools such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Skype, etc. to coordinate work and communicate with others
  12.  Personal membership in YALSA
  13. A commitment to advancing the recommendations YALSA outlined in its report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action.
  14. A commitment to advancing and supporting YALSA’s new mission and three-year organizational plan.
  15. High ethical standards and no real or perceived conflict of interest with YALSA or its portfolio of print and web publications

General Member Manager Responsibilities:

Oversight & Coordination

  • Communicate with the Advisory Board and YALSA’s Communications Specialist on a regular basis to generate ideas for content, assign tasks, discuss marketing strategies, and discuss site management
  • Work with the YALS and JRLYA editors and YALSAblog manager as appropriate to coordinate dissemination of information to members and the library community.
  • Maintain communication with YALSA member groups whose work relates to collection development and content curation
  • Oversee the remaining transition period of moving YALSA’s selected lists to The Hub
  • Follow all established policies and guidelines, enforce them as necessary and periodically conduct a review of them to ensure currency
  • Direct questions about sponsorships, advertising, etc. to YALSA’s Executive Director
  • Develop a calendar for content, based on YALSA events and activities as well as those going on in the larger community related to library materials for and with teens
  • Write reports prior to the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting for submission to the YALSA Board of Directors

Seek Out & Manage Content & Contributors

  • With the Advisory Board review and edit content submitted to the site to make sure the quality is acceptable, that it is aligned with YALSA principles, and that it includes YALSA branding prior to posting, when appropriate
  • With the Advisory Board manage postings regularly to guarantee quality of content and appropriate tagging and category identification
  • With the Advisory Board recruit contributors on a regular basis, which may include but is not limited to: YALSA members, authors and teens
  • Communicate regularly with bloggers to solicit content, share news, motivate bloggers, develop a blogging schedule, etc.
  • Interact with and provide any necessary training to contributors as needed, including at ALA’s Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting and via virtual means
  • Effectively motivate, support and manage a large and fluctuating group of contributors and volunteers
  • Work with the advisory board to manage comments and spam daily to guarantee that the blog content is appropriate


  • Attend Midwinter and Annual to recruit contributors and inform member groups about the site
  • Answer questions and inquiries about the site in a timely fashion
  • Work with the Website Advisory Committee and the YALSAblog Member Manager to create cross-promotion of all YALSA’s web presences
  • Utilize social media to increase awareness of the Hub and its content

Technical Maintenance

  • Work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist as appropriate to update and manage blog software
  • Monitor new technologies as they impact the site: add-ons and plug-ins to blog software, widgets or applications for hand-held devices, etc.

Selected Book Lists and Bloggers

  • Select bloggers and coordinators for YALSA’s book lists: Amazing Audiobooks, Quick Picks, Best Fiction, and Great Graphic Novels for the Hub from volunteer applications with support from YALSA staff
  • With Coordinators, facilitate the work of these blogging groups on The Hub by communicating with bloggers about editing and scheduling of reviews
  • Support the dissemination and promotion of final lists
  • Work with the Advisory and the Award and Selected List Oversight Committee will oversee blogger training and leverage existing YALSA resources to do so, and develop new as needed
  • Provide a template and sample posts.
  • Communicate regularly with selected list Coordinators
  • Work with the Advisory Board will update and/or create guidelines for the Hub, including public comment guidelines
  • Sit in on virtual meetings of blogger groups, as needed
  • Offer guidance, support, and expertise for Coordinators throughout term as needed
  • Communicates with YALSA Board and staff regarding the possible need to expand into a co-manager format, and/or increase the size or change the make-up of the Advisory Board
  • Communicates with YALSA staff regarding any possible back-end improvements needed to the site to accommodate the selected list effort

The Member Manager will be selected by the YALSA Executive Committee by July 1, 2017. The term of the appointment is one year beginning August 15, with an option to renew for a second year, based on performance. The Member Manager will receive an honorarium of $500 per year plus $500 towards travel to each Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting while serving as Member Manager. Candidates must send a cover letter and resume, which includes management, writing and web publishing experiences to All resumes, etc. must be submitted via email. The deadline for submission is June 1, 2017. Please note that this is not a salaried staff position, but a member volunteer opportunity.

The post The Hub Seeks New Member Manager for 2017-2018 Term appeared first on The Hub.

2017 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees Announced

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 11:47

If you haven’t checked them out yet, be sure to check out the list of the 2017 Teens’ Top Ten nominees in the video below, featuring some very special guest of the upcoming movie adaptation of “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon, a 2016 Teens’ Top Ten title!  Feel free to also embed the video on your library’s homepage!

View an annotated list of the nominees here (pdf).

Be sure to encourage teens to read the nominees so they can vote for their favorites later this summer! Voting starts in August, so be sure to visit the Teens’ Top Ten page for more info and updates!

The post 2017 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees Announced appeared first on The Hub.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Booklist

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 07:00

April is sexual assault awareness month.  As some of your teens may have been a victim of sexual assault or knows someone who has, the following list may offer some assistance to help them cope.

In this reimagination of Sherlock Holmes, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are school mates in a Connecticut boarding school.  When a popular boy is found dead, Charlotte has been blamed and enlists the assistance of Jamie to clear her name.

Breezy is an MIT bound student when she wakes up dead in a grave.  As Breezy travels the country, as the walking dead, she’s determined to find her killer. During her journey Breezy encounters some interesting characters including: a preacher, a banshee, and cast of colorful monsters.

Hermione is at her last year at cheer camp and she’s vowed to make this the best year ever.  When she wakes up and is told she was sexually assaulted, she then vows to not be a victim.

No one would describe Emma as likable.  She wears revealing dresses and flirts with other people’s boyfriends.  When a video of her sexual assault surfaces on social media, Emma’s friends and family become unsupportive and blames her for ruining those good boy’s lives.

Michelle has a rough home life and decides to run away to New York.  She’s scared and doesn’t know anyone but when a nice handsome boy offers to help, Michelle finds herself in the middle of a sex trafficking house.

Andrew knows it’s a matter of time before he leaves this world to become a werewolf but his friends at his boarding school don’t believe him.  The new girl at school wants to believe him but terrible events from Andrews past surface and it’s a race to get him help before he does something drastic.

Aidan’s has turned to Adderall and his priest to help him cope with his home life.  When his priest’s attention becomes inappropriate, Aidan reaches out to the girl he loves and his friends only to find out he may not be alone.

Quincy and Biddy have special needs but want to be independent.  While Biddy is an introvert, Quincy is an extrovert and when Quincy is assaulted the two women must band together.

-Dawn Abron is currently reading, The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Vurtue

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Reading Without Walls Challenge

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 07:00

Graphic novelist, Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature mission during his term has been to encourage readers to read more diversely with his Reading Without Walls Challenge.  It is a simple challenge that asks readers to do one of these three things:

For the month April, there is a nationwide push to have every reader participate.

The YALSA Hub has long supported creating a habit of reading diversely. Here is a roundup of recent booklists that supports each of Yang’s three areas.

Hub blogger Dawn Abron’s ongoing series Diversify YA Life has had many great posts. For new authors, be sure to see her lists of Diverse Debuts of 2017 and Diverse Debuts 2016.

Also check out these posts:

Also check out our recent booklist on The Refugee Experience for Teens, as well as the following recent booklists with LGBTQ+ characters:

Don’t miss more award winning books from The Schneider Family Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Stonewall Book Awards lists.

We have covered a variety of topics from social justice to science, and created booklists to go along with them. Here are a few from the past couple of years:



We also have some resource on the following subjects:

For other great titles on a variety of subjects, be sure to look at the award winning books from YALSA’s Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award.

We love promoting the other formats that Yang is encouraging. Here are some lists to help with challenge area three.


For many fantastic lists with graphic novels and comics, be sure not to miss Hub blogger Carli Spina’s ongoing series Women in Comics. Also be sure to check out our many other lists as well as the vetted lists from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels.


Along with the vetted lists from YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults we have a few lists of own. Check out these lists:


We have many lists of books in verse to support this challenge. Check out some of these:


Other formats to consider for this part of the challenge is a book in translation, check out some new 2017 titles with our Translated YA Titles for the New Year. Also, check out our posts that involve books aimed at younger readers with these posts:

Challenge yourself, challenge others, read with windows not walls.

–Danielle Jones, currently reading A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman


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