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Your Connection to Teen Reads
Updated: 17 hours 14 min ago

Get Ready for Season 5 With These Great Books for Downton Abbey Fans

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 07:00

This weekend Season 5 of Downton Abbey will debut in the U.S. and for UK readers, the season has just ended with the annual Christmas special, so hopefully fans everywhere are ready to delve into some new Downton readalikes. Whether you read them throughout the season or save them for the long period between Season 5 and Season 6 (which has already been confirmed!), these books will help you to dive further into the time period and themes of Downton Abbey.

Emeralds and Ashes by Leila Rasheed – Debuting next week, this is the third book in the At Somerton trilogy, which follows those who live at Somerton as World War I breaks out. Lord Averly leaves to fight on the Western front, Rose remains in Egypt, and house staff begin to move out of service and into the military or new types of employment. This final installment promises to wrap up many open plot points and introduce a new era in British history. It is a perfect option for fans of Downton, particularly those who enjoyed the early seasons.

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette by Mary M. Talbot – Written by Mary M. Talbot, an academic who has written only one graphic novel prior to this one, this book follows a fictional young housemaid who is thrown into the suffragette movement in Britain in the early 1900’s. Filled with real historical figures and a fascinating view of a major period in English history, this is a compelling read that will interest those who are curious about what was happening in England during this period beyond the walls of Downton Abbey.

Atonement by Ian McEwan – This modern classic, which was turned into an acclaimed movie several years ago, is set a bit after the period of Downton, but it is also focused on the life of a family at a country estate. Though not specifically marketed as a young adult novel, the story focuses on Briony Tallis, who is 13 years old at the time of a horrible crime on the grounds of the estate. The story is driven by her actions after this event and will keep those who are not familiar with the story guessing.

Shirley by Kaoru MoriLast year, I recommended Mori’s excellent Emma series for Downton fans, and for those who are looking for more of her books, this volume of some of her earlier stories will fit the bill! It follows Shirley, a young maid serving a woman who owns a cafe. The book is a light look at these characters and also offers a peek at the lives of some other servants during the same period.

In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters – In this 2014 William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist, Cat Winters brings alive a unique time period in U.S. history when a brutal flu pandemic intersected with the ravages of World War I. The story follows Mary Shelley Black whose father is imprisoned forcing her to move to California to live with her aunt. Once there, she is thrown into a world of ghosts and spiritualism. This is a wonderful option for Downton fans who want a story of the U.S. during the same time period.

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming – Last season we heard hints that Russian refugees might become important to the world that Downton inhabits and casting information for this season suggests that this plot line will continue. In preparation, you may want to read this finalist for YALSA’s 2015 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, which offers background on the Romanov family. The Romanovs were the last royal family of Russia and this book will tell readers about not only their lives, but also the lives of the average Russian at this time and the conditions that led to the Russian Revolution.

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge – Tracing the role of those who work in service in grand British houses from the nineteenth century to the present, this is the book I plan to read during this season of Downton Abbey. It promises to give readers new insights and a greater understanding of the role that servants have played in maintaining grand estates that were far too large to be run by individuals working alone. The book includes details about the different roles played by each type of servant and the way that these positions changed over the period ranging from World War I to now.

A Year In The Life of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes by Jessica Fellowes – In this new volume from Downton creator Julian Fellowes’ niece, Jessica Fellowes, readers will learn what happens at an estate like Downton in each month of the year. Learn more about the events the family would have attended, from parties to debutante balls to sporting events. The book includes tons of additional information about the series as well, with cast photos, information about costumes, hair and makeup for the series, recipes, and more.

Downton Abbey: Rules For Household Staff by Carson – This book, styled as an introduction to life as a servant at Downton and rules of the house from Carson to new servants, covers the details of rules of how each type of servant at Downton would do their job and interact with one another and members of the family. This is perfect for those who wish the show delved more into the inner workings of the household staff.

If none of these books strike your fancy, check out our previous Downton Abbey posts for some other options. Did we miss any of your favorites? Want to discuss the latest happenings at Downton? Let us know in the comments (but, please keep it spoiler free if you’ve already seen the whole season!).

– Carli Spina, currently reading A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Tweets of the Week: January 2

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 07:00

Happy day after New Year’s, Hubbers!  I hope you all are having a wonderful winter season.  I, unfortunately, received a cold as a present this year, but that’s not going to stop me from bringing you all the fun news from Twitter this week (and it’s going to be a lot of best of lists, people)  In case you missed it…I’m here to compile it all for you!

Books & Reading

Movies & Television

Comics & Graphic Novels

Librarianship

-Traci Glass, currently reading Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

The Eighth Day of YA

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 07:00

This year on the Hub we are celebrating the Twelve Days of YA with a series of posts loosely based on the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas gifts. We have converted each gift into a related theme common to YA and paired it with a list of relevant titles. You may use the Twelve Days of YA tag to read all of the posts in the series.

Special thanks goes to Carli Spina, Faythe Arredondo, Sharon Rawlins, Geri Diorio, Becky O’Neil, Carla Land, Katie Yu, Laura Perenic, Jennifer Rummel, Libby Gorman, Carly Pansulla, Anna Dalin, and Allison Tran for their help creating the booklists and organizing this series.

On the eighth day of YA, my true love gave to me eight maids-a-milking.

Day eight seemed like a pretty simple one to translate over to a YA lit theme since maids tend to be servants or service workers for the wealthy and this can be found in many books. While this list could have been expanded a bit to cover all characters for whom work was a requirement, such as The Boy in the Black Suit (Jason Reynolds) and The Distant Between Us (Kasie West), we decided to keep it a bit more limited. We hope you enjoy the stories of characters-a-workin’ that we picked and encourage you to share your favorites in the comments!

  

  

- Jessica Lind, currently reading As You Wish by Cary Elwes

The Hub’s Top 5 Posts of 2014

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 18:50

It’s New Year’s Eve! We hope your plans for this evening include curling up with a good YA book.

2014 has been a great year on The Hub– thank you for visiting, commenting, taking part in our reading challenges, participating in our photo contests, and voting in our Monday Polls. We’re inspired to keep blogging because of how awesome our readership is!

In case you missed anything this year, here are our most-read posts from 2014:

  1. Ain’t No Party Like a Divergent Party! (or…how to throw a party to celebrate the Divergent movie release) by Colleen Seisser
  2. Is This Just Fantasy?: LGTBQ+ and Speculative Fiction by Kelly Dickinson
  3. One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Maggie Stiefvater by Julie Bartel
  4. One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Rainbow Rowell by Julie Bartel
  5. How To Read: Step by Step Instructions to Pleasure Reading by Tara Kehoe

Thanks again for reading! From all of us here at The Hub, have a very happy new year. We’ll see you in 2015.

-Allison Tran, currently reading There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

The Seventh Day of YA

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 07:00

This year on the Hub we are celebrating the Twelve Days of YA with a series of posts loosely based on the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas gifts. We have converted each gift into a related theme common to YA and paired it with a list of relevant titles. You may use the Twelve Days of YA tag to read all of the posts in the series.

Special thanks goes to Carli Spina, Faythe Arredondo, Sharon Rawlins, Geri Diorio, Becky O’Neil, Carla Land, Katie Yu, Laura Perenic, Jennifer Rummel, Libby Gorman, Carly Pansulla, Anna Dalin, and Allison Tran for their help creating the booklists and organizing this series.

On the seventh day of YA, my true love gave to me seven swans-a-swimming.

Remember when I mentioned that there were a lot of birds in the original song? Yep, we’ve got seven more here with the swans. So, we converted this one into an ugly-duckling-to-swan theme. Rather than focusing only on make overs for this theme, we looked mostly at books that included characters that were non-traditional beauties, but others saw that they were beautiful all along. We hope you enjoy the stories of lovely swans that we picked and encourage you to share your favorites in the comments!

  

  

- Jessica Lind, currently reading My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

Jukebooks: Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 07:00

It really isn’t fair. Leigh’s dad buys a graveyard (why not a Taco Bell? why not a Ferrari?) and guess who ends up working the office? Fourteen year-old Leigh, that’s who. Never mind child labor laws. Never mind the incongruity of pushing aside Algebra homework to sell cemetary plots to sobbing customers. Leigh’s cup runneth over. Until tragedy makes her realize how good she really had it.

The song that goes with this book is completely improbable. It’s based on a conversation Leigh has in a Spanish class that goes like this:

Me: ¿Te gusta musica?
Ken Dale, my Spanish partner: Sí, yo prefiero Sade. Mucho gusto “Smooth Operator.”
Me: Sí. Yo también.
Ken Dale: ¿Vamos a la playa ahora? ¿O quizás Taco Bell?
Me: Bueno! Sí, como no. ¡Vamos!

It was Sade Adu’s performance of this song that captured the attention of Epic Records. “Smooth Operator” is included on Sade’s first album, Diamond Life, released in 1984.

-Diane Colson, currently reading Breaking Butterflies by M. Anelais

The Sixth Day of YA

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 07:00

This year on the Hub we are celebrating the Twelve Days of YA with a series of posts loosely based on the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas gifts. We have converted each gift into a related theme common to YA and paired it with a list of relevant titles. You may use the Twelve Days of YA tag to read all of the posts in the series.

Special thanks goes to Carli Spina, Faythe Arredondo, Sharon Rawlins, Geri Diorio, Becky O’Neil, Carla Land, Katie Yu, Laura Perenic, Jennifer Rummel, Libby Gorman, Carly Pansulla, and Allison Tran for their help creating the booklists and organizing this series.

On the sixth day of YA, my true love gave to me six geese-a-laying.

For day six, geese-a-laying, our theme is teen pregnancy in YA books. Whether a main topic or a side-story involving a secondary character, we were able to come up with quite a few titles. We hope you enjoy the stories of teen pregnancy we picked and encourage you to share your favorites in the comments!

          

 

- Jessica Lind, currently reading My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

What Would They Read?: Holiday Edition

Mon, 12/29/2014 - 07:00

OK, it’s time for a little make believe.  I’d ask you to close your eyes, but I know that will make reading the rest of this fairly difficult.  Imagine it’s Christmas morning and you just noticed that your stocking is filled to the brim with goodies.  Upon closer inspection, you notice that it’s not just any random gift.  Santa has stuffed your stocking with books upon books.  It truly is a merry Christmas.

Everyone makes their own personal Santa.  One Santa would only ever bring candy and never socks.  Another Santa would leave the sweets at home and fill up the stocking with silly little knick knacks.  In my imagination, Santa stuffs as many books as possible in my stocking.  The question is, how well does Santa know your personal reading tastes?  Below are several of our favorite holiday characters.  Let’s see what books Santa stuffed in their stockings.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Rudolph’s story is a familiar one.  I mean, the basics of his life are squeezed into a song.  Aside from the magical ability to fly and his glowing nose, Rudolph’s story is about trying to fit in when others make you feel like an outcast.  This is a common theme in many teen books.  Rudolph would definitely enjoy science fiction stories that include other characters with powers.  For example, I guarantee there were several “X-Men” graphic novels.  Who wouldn’t want to relate their issues with the issues of superheroes?  In addition to the “X-Men” graphic novels, I bet Santa would throw in the “Maximum Ride” series by James Patterson, starting with The Angle Experiment.  Similarly to the X-Men, Patterson’s books are about kids with powers that would normally exclude them.  Instead, these powers bring the kids together.  Who could forget about Harry Potter?  Harry Potter spends his whole life up to the age of ten thinking that he wasn’t as good as the other kids.  Then he discovers in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling that he is actually more special than his rude family.  Also, just like Rudolph and his reindeer friends, Harry gets to do the same things as the other wizards, but still must deal with being treated different.  Rudolph’s nose will always glow and Harry’s scar will always remind people that he was not killed by He Who Must Not Be Named.  Of course, let’s not forget the parallels between Rudolph’s relationship to Santa and Harry’s relationship with Dumbledore.  The similarities are definitely there.  Obviously, Rudolph will have quite a few books to read in the time before next Christmas.

Frosty the Snowman – Frosty’s story, also explained quite extensively through a song, reminds me a a ghost story.  He can only stay for a short time and then the story is over.  That being said, if I were Santa, I would stick a few ghost stories in Frosty’s stocking.  First, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (a 2012 Teens’ Top Ten pick) would definitely  be stuck in there.  The kids aren’t exactly ghosts, but like Frosty, their existence is short-lived and dependent on outside factors beyond their control.  On the lighter side of subjects, I also believe that Frosty would love fairy tales.  Magic is the reason that he was able to play that day and a few books that focus on magic would be right up his alley.  While this can skew a bit younger, I could see Santa bringing Frosty The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer.  This story includes several magical items that allow the siblings to travel to the fairy tale world as well as grant them the ability to go back home.  Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev.  This story includes magical creatures, cursed items, and life on the stage.  It’s my impression of Frosty that believes he would love all things theatrical, all the time.

The Grinch – Continuing on with characters with their own songs, I felt I needed to include The Grinch in this post.  What do you get the guy who hates everything?  Santa knows!  The Grinch likes all things gross and rotting.  Of course Santa would bring him all the zombie books he could carry!  That is, if Santa can find The Grinch’s stocking under all of the garbage in his house.  Even the cover of Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Mayberry screams Grinch.  The eye on the cover is the perfect shade of Grinch green.  In this story, Benny works as a zombie hunter.  Cue the revolting display of zombie dismemberment.  In addition to Mayberry’s series, Santa would also sneak in Zom-B by Darren Shan.  Shan is no light-weight when it comes to the horrid, puss-filled zombie descriptions that fill the pages.  In this story, B is trying to survival the zombie attack any way he can.  In addition to the books by Mayberry and Shan, The Grinch would also enjoy The Enemy  by Charlie Higson. Finally, Santa would be remiss to leave out “The Walking Dead” graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman.  Knowing The Grinch, I wouldn’t be surprised if he rooted for the zombies instead of the survivors.

It’s true that some might balk of the selection for The Grinch, stating that Santa is all about happy and cuddly things.  I wholeheartedly disagree. Who’s to say that Santa wouldn’t want a little zombie apocalypse once in a while.

So there you have it!  There’s a book for everyone and Santa knows what to bring you.  What books did Santa bring you this year?

-Brandi Smits, currently reading My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

The Fifth Day of YA

Mon, 12/29/2014 - 07:00

This year on the Hub we are celebrating the Twelve Days of YA with a series of posts loosely based on the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas gifts. We have converted each gift into a related theme common to YA and paired it with a list of relevant titles. You may use the Twelve Days of YA tag to read all of the posts in the series.

Special thanks goes to Carli Spina, Faythe Arredondo, Sharon Rawlins, Geri Diorio, Becky O’Neil, Carla Land, Katie Yu, Laura Perenic, Jennifer Rummel, Libby Gorman, Carly Pansulla, and Allison Tran for their help creating the booklists and organizing this series.

On the fifth day of YA, my true love gave to me five golden riiiiiiiings.

Marriage! Marriage is what brings us together today. In honor of five gold rings, we give you five golden stories of marriage in YA. We hope you enjoy the marriage-related stories we picked and encourage you to share your favorites in the comments!

            

  • The Selection series by Kiera Cass
  • The Story of Us by Deb Caletti
  • Twilight series by Stephenie Meyers
  • The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
  • I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan

- Jessica Lind, currently reading My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

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