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Updated: 14 hours 31 min ago

Tweets of the Week: August 22nd

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00

It was  rough week in the news– lots of people were talking about Ferguson over the Twitterverse.  There are a couple blog posts about it in this week’s tweets.

A bit of exciting news: @Hypable  : Lionsgate ‘deep into conversations’ with theme parks for ‘Hunger Games’ attractions http://dlvr.it/6fKcx7 

 Book News:

TV/Movie:

Librarianship:

Blogs:

Just For Fun:

~ Jennifer Rummel currently reading The Wide-Awake Princess by ED Baker

National Senior Citizens Day

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 07:00

photo by Flickr user ritavida

In the summer of 1988, President Reagan proclaimed August 21 “National Senior Citizens Day.” With health care constantly improving, and people living longer, more active lives, it is a good thing to honor seniors, who can give younger folks the benefit of their experience.

Seniors and teens go together like peanut butter and jelly. Events like Senior Citizen Proms, and Teens Teach Tech, show how seniors and teens can benefit from spending time together. This is not to say that it is all smooth sailing from the start. People are people no matter their age, and there are ups and downs to any relationship. But everyone has something to share, and when you cross generations, the results can be so very positive.

This type of inter-generational relationship has been beautifully portrayed in YA literature. Here are six titles to explore…

Pop by Gordon Korman
New to town, Marcus is desperate to join his new high school’s football team, so he spends his summer practicing in the local park. There he meets former NFL great Charlie Popovich, who takes Marcus under his wing. While this is great for Marcus’ football prospects, it puts him in direct conflict with Charlie’s grandson Troy, Marcus’ new school mate and rival for a spot on the team. Charlie and Marcus are antagonistic not just because of sports rivalries, but also because of Charlie’s illness, an illness Troy and the rest of the Popovich family want to keep secret.

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
(2008 Best Book for Young Adults) Alex makes a really huge mistake involving vodka, a car, and a garden gnome statue. For this, he is sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Alex spends the time in a retirement home with Sol Lewis, the meanest old man on the planet. Alex would rather shirk all responsibility and Sol seems to hate the world. But Sol was a jazz guitarist and Alex is studying guitar, so perhaps they can find some way to connect… 

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
In this classic by the 2002 Margarest A Edwards Award winner, John and Lorraine are bored, trouble-making teenagers . They play pranks on people and crank call old man Pignati (the Pigman). Somehow, their nihilistic attitude towards life does not upset the Pigman; instead, his good-natured love for life rubs off on them. This book is over 45 years old, but it still feels timeless.

The Canning Season by Polly Horvath
(2004 Best Book for Young Adults) The summer that Rachet is thirteen, she is sent from home by her neglectful mother to live with two elderly cousins – Tilly and Penpen – in their very remote house in Maine. Penpen has espoused a new philosophy: take in whatever shows up at your door. This leads to the acerbic Harper, another abandoned teen, arriving at the house to stir things up. Tilly and Penpen may be in their 90s, but they are not fading away. They tell the girls gruesome stories as everyone gets ready for canning season: that time when what is ripe and ready gets stored up for the future.

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
After Davey’s father is murdered, her mother packs the family off to New Mexico to live with family. Davey is lost and grieving while her mother sinks into a depression, her little brother seems to bounce back too quickly, and her aunt and uncle are well-meaning, but overbearing. She begins volunteering at a nursing home and befriends an elderly Native American man who whose son becomes close to her and helps her through her grief. While Davey and Wolf’s relationship is central to the story, Davey’s relationship to Wolf’s father is touching and shows the first time Davey allows someone to get close to her since her father’s death. A deeply moving book by the 1996 Margaret A Edwards Award winner Blume.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
(2006 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers) The vampire Edward Cullen is over 100 years old when he begins romancing 17 year old mortal Bella Swan. ;-)

~ Geri Diorio, currently reading The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi

Jukebooks: Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 07:00

Swanee was a free spirit, which is part of the reason Alix loves her so much. But Swanee dies of cardiac arrest while out on a morning run, leaving Alix to mourn the love of her life. Her grief is soon mixed with betrayal when she discovers that Swanee was also in a serious relationship with another girl.

Swanee’s funeral reflects her flamboyant style. Alix observes that it has “…a carnival atmosphere about it.” In addition to balloon bouquets, a flowered arch, and teddy bears, Swanee’s parents have hired a mariachi band that is playing “Livin’ la Vida Loca.”

It’s been fifteen years since Ricky Martin released what would become his signature song. The title is a Spanglish invention that translates as “Livin’ the Crazy Life.” The instant success of this song fueled Latin pop music internationally, while swoon-worthy Martin’s dance moves inspired a revival of Latin dance.

Here is a 2001 live performance featuring Ricky Martin and Kylie Minogue.

-Diane Colson, currently reading Skink – No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

If You Like… Robin Williams Movies

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 07:00

Last Friday, Katie Shanahan Yu posted a tribute to Robin Williams that included wonderful video clips and a booklist of young adult novels that echo the joyful spirit of Williams’ work. This week, Jennifer Rummel and I extend the tribute with YA lit readalikes paired with some of Robin Williams’ most memorable movies (and one iconic television show.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Jennifer Rummel, currently reading Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen, and Diane Colson, currently reading Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier.

Coming of Age Online: Social Media in YA Literature

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 07:00

Teens today are coming of age in an environment saturated with social media, so it’s no surprise it’s featured prominently in the plots of many young adult novels. When I started noticing a trend of books that explore the impact that social media has on the lives of teens, I decided it would be interesting to compile a list showcasing the various ways that teens’ use of Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other social media are depicted in young adult literature.

Lauren Myracle’s Internet Girls series is inventive in structure and form, but the story of girls chatting online and communicating in a virtual space is also groundbreaking in the way it examines the social lives of teens. TTYL was a 2005 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and the fourth installment in the series, YOLO, is due out this year. Two other recent publications also explore internet culture. Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff explores the social aspects of online role-playing games, and the main character in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, is more at home in the online world of the fandom of her favorite book than in the real world where she’s freshman in college. These novels explore teen identity through the juxtaposition of online identity and “real life” personas.

Even as Facebook’s popularity among teens is on the decline, it’s still a part of most teen’s daily lives. #scandal by Sarah Ockler and Unfriended by Rachel Vail are both about how social media effects friendships. #scandal is about a girl whose unexpected kiss from her best friend’s boyfriend being revealed publicly on Facebook and the fallout that causes, and will be of interest to older teens who like realistic drama and romance. Unfriended has more appeal for younger teens, and examines the way social media augments a group of middle school students. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt is about finding balance. When she catches her boyfriend “cheating” on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off modern conveniences and social media in an attempt to take control of her life.

Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar, Great by Sara Benincasa, and Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley all explore how internet fame through blogs, and its impact on the identity of teens. The anonymous narrator Gossip Girl is an inventive device used to peer at the drama of fashionable teens in New York City. In Great, a teen constructs an entirely new and false identity as a fashion blogger in order to connect with a long lost childhood friend. The protagonist of Don’t Call Me Baby has had her life since birth shared online by her mother, a popular blogger, and resents the attention and lack of privacy. In these novels, the pressures of an online persona complicate the protagonists lives. While an online identity can provide freedom, it can also be create unfair expectations.

The narrators of #16thingsIthoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler and Adorkable by Sarra Manning are both Twitter-obsessed and have hordes of followers—but does that mean they have “real” friends? Like the young adult novels that feature social media, teens today are grappling with the issues presented in these books about the sometimes false intimacy of online interactions, and of constructing an identity both on and offline.

The world of social media provides fodder for the reboot of Scholastic’s horror imprint, Point. In Defriended by Ruth Baron, a teen is excited to meet a girl online who shares his interests, only to find that an online search reveals the link to her obituary. In Followers by Anna Davies, someone is live-tweeting the murders of the cast of the school play. In Davies’ other contribution to the line, Identity Thefta popular overachiever is impersonated online by a doppelganger who creates a “fake” profile to embarrass her. These plots give a modern twists to the mystery and horror novels popular in the ’90s. Think R.L. Stine or Lois Duncan for the internet generation.

Young adult literature is also speculating about how elements of social media will impact society in the future. What if you could crowdsource all your decisions through an app? Lauren Miller examines this premise in Free to Fall. In Scott Westerfeld’s Extras, a 2008 Teens’ Top Ten Selection, social media has become a kind of currency. In Feed by M.T. Anderson, teens have the internet hard-wired into their brains. The implications of extending current trends in social media just a little bit further is frightening, most of all because it seems possible.

Social media is embedded in the daily lives of teens, so it’s safe to say it will continue to play a prominent role in the plots of young adult novels. Fiction is a great way for teens to explore the issues they are grappling with in real life, including the way that social media impacts identity and relationships.

Do you think that young adult literature accurately reflects the reality of the way teens use social media? Are there other titles that explore this dynamic? 

– Molly Wetta, currently reading Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers and The Fever by Megan Abbott

Transgender Teens Take Center Stage

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 07:00

by flickr user celesteh

Earlier this year, TIME magazine made history by putting Laverne Cox on its cover, declaring that America is in the midst of a “Transgender Tipping Point.”  While many would argue we’re not quite at that point yet, given the long way we still need to go to achieve the equal rights, protection, and respect transgender people deserve, there is no denying the definite increase in visibility and support of the this community. Indeed, the past year alone has seen Laverne Cox not only on the cover of TIME magazine but also the first openly transgender person nominated for an Emmy, Barney’s unveiled a trail-blazing spring ad campaign featuring 17 transgender models from all walks of life, and Comic Con had its first panel devoted exclusively to transgender issues…and that’s just in popular culture.

On the legal front, Washington state just opted to provide transgender-inclusive healthcare for all public employees, the Department of Labor is now including transgender workers under its non-discrimination policy, and Maryland passed the Fairness for All Marylanders Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Progress indeed and heartening news for anyone who advocates for and supports equal rights and social justice.

As someone who works with youth, it’s equally exciting that this increase in visibility extends to young adult literature. Indeed, YA has been ahead of the curve. Luna, the first YA book to feature a transgender protagonist, was published over a decade ago to wide critical acclaim.  In the ten years since then, the number of novels with transgender characters have been slowly but steadily increasing (for a well researched list of titles, see Talya Sokoll’s booklist published in YALS and Malinda Lo’s list on her tumblr “Diversity in YA”.)  Which leads us to 2014, where in YA as well as larger society, there is a noticeable shift in terms of sheer visibility and volume.  That said, I’ll focus the rest of my post on recently published and soon-to-be-published books that feature characters of all genders.

Recent Titles

I was lucky enough to attend the Stonewall Awards Brunch this year at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas and saw Kristin Cronn-Mills accept her award for Beautiful Music for Ugly Children (2014 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults). She spoke passionately about the need for allies, about the power of music to transcend differences, and the need for cisgendered people to take the initiative to educate themselves about the transgender experience. (Interestingly, hers was the not the only book focused on gender identity issues to win a Stonewall Award this year, Lori Duron also won for her memoir Raising My Rainbow.)

If you haven’t read Beautiful Music for Ugly Children yet, the book tells the story of Gabe, who is in the early stages of transitioning, much to the dismay of his family. He finds solace in his passion for music and with the help of his close friend and elderly neighbor, John, becomes a DJ on the local radio station. His sudden rise to local fame as a DJ results in a number of confrontations that result in both tragedy and redemption. What I enjoyed most about Cronn-Mills’ novel is the fact that it does not solely revolve around Gabe’s gender identity. It’s obviously at the heart of the novel but, equally so, is his passion for music. In that sense, he felt more fully developed as a character–lending the novel a depth often lacking in other books about trans teens. 

Susan Kuklin’s ground-breaking book Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out delves into the lives of six transgender or gender-neutral teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Kuklin spent four years working on the book with the intent to do justice to these young people’s unique and inspiring personal journeys. Through candid interviews and vibrant photo essays, we come to understand the many struggles, heartbreaks, joys, and successes each teen has encountered in their quest to become their truest self. This book is the first of its kind and well worth an in-depth read…it captures such a complexity of experiences and does so through intimate first-person portraits.

Kristin Elizabeth Clark unusual novel in verse, Freakboy (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults), released last year is notable in that it explores gender identity from three different perspectives. The novel follows three intersecting lives: Brendan, a young wrestler struggling with his gender identity which doesn’t seem to fit neatly into any category; Vanessa, his devoted girlfriend who is the only girl on the wrestling team; and Angel, a trans woman who works at the local LBGTQ center. The focus on gender fluidity is apparent and provides us with valuable insight into the wide range of experiences that exist. Part coming out story, part coming-of-age, the novel is particularly successful in conveying that there is often no simple solution or answer but that there are always a number of paths and support to be found.

Upcoming Titles

Further proof of the shift in sensibility towards transgender people and their experiences can be found in this fall’s line-up of non-fiction books focused on the transgender community. That publishers have moved beyond fiction and are embracing the real-life stories of transgender teens and their unique stories is testimony to the fact that both the industry and the prospective audience have changed.

The romance between Katie Hill and Arin Andrews was big news last year when they were featured on a segment of TV show 20/20. The two met in a support group for transitioning teens and fell in love. Although now broken up, the two remain close and have each written a memoir about their experience to be released simultaneously in September.

Arin Andrews’ memoir entitled Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen follows his often heart-breaking journey from childhood to adolescence as he attempts to make sense of his gender identity. A failed suicide attempt convinces his mother of the gravity of his situation and with her support, Arin underwent sex reassignment surgery as a high school junior. As Andrews says, the book “gives me an opportunity to open the hearts and minds of those that just don’t understand and inspire those that do. It’s a story of acceptance, love, triumph, and standing up when you’ve been knocked down.”

Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill is an honest and moving account of one young woman’s struggle to live in a body that matches her gender identity. Hill recounts her numerous suicide attempts and the accompanying realization that she wanted to survive and thrive. As she says, “I don’t want this book to just appeal to transgendered people or their allies, I want all kinds of people to read it and to find some way to relate to it. I want people to understand that there really is no such thing as ‘normal.”

Both memoirs are excellent coming-of-age stories that will speak to transgender and cisgender teens alike in their exploration of what it means find your voice, to navigate falling in love, and to become the person you know yourself to be.

Finally, although not published specifically for a YA audience, the upcoming book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth is too important a text to leave out of this post, particularly as it was written with older teens in mind as a potential audience. Operating as a manual, an encyclopedia, and a resource guide, this anthology of essays written by transgender people for transgender people covers a range of issues from social to legal to medical. Certainly the most comprehensive book of its kind, this will be a must-have for all libraries seeking to serve not only the transgender community but the families, friends, partners, social workers, and health professionals who support them.

Looking Ahead

In researching this post, I was both heartened and dismayed by what I found. I was thrilled to see the growing number of books featuring transgender characters but still found that there are surprisingly few books out there that reflect the full spectrum of the transgender identity. Thankfully, the recent trend in publishing seems to be trying to address this and, better still, extends beyond YA to picture books and adult books. As the We Need Diverse Books campaign states, “embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality.” Here’s hoping that as transgender characters becoming more common in YA literature, we see teens of all genders feeling increasingly valued, heard, and accepting.

~Alegria Barclay, currently reading Love Is the Drug

YA/Picture Book Pairings: Where Did You Go on Your Summer Vacation?

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 07:00

Summer vacation is drawing to a close, but whether you have time to squeeze in one last trip or you just have time to remember the trips you already took, it’s always fun to curl up with a good book about vacation spots. Both YA and picture books abound with these stories, and here are some suggestions if you need a last (literary) getaway for the summer.

Camping

YA Pick: The Moon by Night by Madeleine L’Engle (1998 Margaret A. Edwards award winner)
This is still the quintessential camping book to me–the book that still makes me imagine I will one day take my family on a cross-country camping trip, seeing all the great national parks out west. The Moon by Night follows the Austin family (from, among others, Meet the Austins and A Ring of Endless Light) as they make just such a trip, but the vacation gets especially interesting for Vicky when she inadvertently picks up an admirer with a bad boy streak and the romantic plan to pursue her across the country. Vicky’s interactions with Zachary, her family’s disapproval, her upcoming move to New York City, and her ordinary growing up struggles are all on Vicky’s mind in the midst of enjoying the astounding beauty of her surroundings.

YA Pick: Patiently Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
I’ve loved the Alice series since I was a kid, and this is one that stands out as being a good mix of fun and serious issues. Alice, Pamela, and Elizabeth decide to spend part of their summer as assistant counselors for a camp for disadvantaged kids. Their camping experience is a mixture of learning how to handle all sorts of issues (including racial issues) with their young charges and counselor hijinks during their breaks. There’s less romance for Alice than in other installments of the series, but Elizabeth has a summer romance that can keep the romantically-inclined reading!

Picture Book: Carl’s Summer Vacation by Alexandra Day
Lovable Rottweiler Carl gets into adventures with his young charge, Madeleine (now getting to be less of a baby and more of a little girl) while they are supposed to be napping on the back porch of the family’s summer cabin. They enjoy a boat trip (until the boat overturns!), berry picking (before they have to run away from a family of skunks), time on the playground, and sneaking a snack from another family’s picnic. When it’s time to get up for dinner and fireworks, Madeleine’s parents can’t understand why the buddies are so tired. If you enjoy this, there are lots of other Carl episodes.

Picture Book: Lost in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasby Carl R. Sams, II, and Jean Stoick (2005 Independent Publisher Book Award Winner, Children’s Picture Books 6 and under). This isn’t so much a camping story as a story that might inspire young readers to get out into the woods. This husband-and-wife team are nature photographers who took the beautiful, up-close photos that make up the pictures, then created a story to go along with them. Readers follow a young fawn as he waits for his mother. Other animals are sure the fawn is lost, but the fawn knows he’s just supposed to wait… 

The Beach

YA Pick: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
As she spends the last summer before college in her hometown of Colby, NC, Emaline faces unexpected twists in her family, her love life, and her personal goals. She’s accepted to Columbia, but has to settle for the closer state school when her birth father goes back on an offer to help pay; she has a steady boyfriend, but the relationship ends unexpectedly; and she has a job she likes, but her summer is turned upside down by the arrival of a documentary filmmaker from New York. Dessen’s fans will enjoy the return to a familiar setting, and Emaline’s struggles will resonate with anyone who’s been through, or is anticipating, the transition from high school to college.

YA Pick: September Girls by Bennett Madison (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults). After his mom abandons the family, Sam’s father takes him and his older brother to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for “a summer you’ll never forget!” Sam doesn’t know what he thinks of all this manly togetherness, and things get even stranger when they reach the beach. Beautiful blond girls are everywhere–everywhere–and they all seem interested in Sam (not the normal course of events, especially when his brother is around). As Sam gets to know one Girl in particular, DeeDee, he starts to learn that these girls really aren’t normal. With echoes of The Little Mermaid (the Andersen fairy tale, not the Disney version), and colorful portrayals of male-female relationships (not just the romantic kind), this is a summer read that will stick with you.

YA Pick: The Summer Boys and Summer Girls series, by Hailey Abbott
Those looking for the perfect escapist beach read need look no further. Cousins Ella, Beth, Jamie, and Kelsi, and later Jessica, Lara, and Greer, come to their family’s regular beach rentals in Maine each summer looking for fun, parties, and above all boys. Drama and romance abound, and the bonds that grow between the cousins are as much a part of the story as their romantic endeavors.

Picture Book: Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion, pictures by Margaret Bloy Graham
Fans of Harry the Dirty Dog will enjoy this further adventure of Harry and his (nameless) family as they go to the beach. Harry gets into some seaweed and manages to scare sunbathers all up and down the beach who think he’s a bizarre sea monster. The sea monster aspect makes this fun read a big hit with my kids.

Picture Book: The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, pictures by Dan Hanna
 Ok, so this book isn’t actually a beach book, but it is a great summer read that refers to many of the creatures that might come up in beachy conversations. Add to that the fun of getting kids to say the refrain (it’s a rhyming book) with you in their poutiest voices and you’ve got a winner. Be warned that the fish overcomes his gloominess by becoming a “kiss-kiss” fish, so some readers may be let down by the ending (or feel that it warrants shrieking and running around)!

Going Abroad

YA Pick: Are We There Yet? by David Levithan (2009 Popular Paperback for Young Adults)
Two brothers get tricked into traveling in Italy together: Elijah, a soon-to-be senior is laid-back to the extreme, while his older brother Danny has just finished college and is obsessed with his advertising job. Against the beautiful backdrop of Venice, Florence, and Rome, readers learn why the brothers drifted apart and start to see them come back together again.

YA Pick: Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes
After her parents’ divorce, May agrees to spend the summer before her senior year in Florence with her best friend, Liam, and his mom, who is a travel guide researcher. The trip quickly veers away from an average summer-in-Europe experience when May encounters the ghost of a girl, named Cristofana, who looks exactly like May. Cristofana lures May into the Florence she knows, Florence of 1348–right before the Black Death strikes the city. This book has an interesting mix of paranormal, romance, historical fiction, and realistic fiction, and the descriptions of both eras of Florence are vivid enough to appeal to the armchair traveler as well.

Picture Book: Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer
With her characteristic style, little girl pig Olivia takes Venice by storm. She enjoys Venice as only a kid can: with LOTS of gelato, a gondola ride, the joy and fear of feeding the pigeons, and an endless search for the perfect souvenir. This last ends in a “smashing” success that has elicited squeals of glee from my test audience with every single read.

Picture Book: Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmens
I almost hesitate to include this, because it is emphatically NOT a politically correct portrayal of the Roma…but the pictures of the French countryside are just beautiful, and I am impressed at how Bemelmens works all these landscapes in while still telling a fun, funny, kid-friendly story. Fans of the other Madeline books will enjoy it, and adults will appreciate the index of all the French locations at the back of the book.

Picture Book: Possum Magic by Mem Fox
Grandma Poss uses her magic to make her grand-possum Hush invisible, but when the two possums want to see Hush again, they run into trouble. They have to travel around Australia eating magic foods in order to make Hush visible again. Although they don’t travel abroad, for those of us who haven’t been to Australia their trips make a delightful visit to a faraway land.

Road Trip

YA Pick: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (2007 Printz Award Honor Book)
After being dumped by his 19th girlfriend named Katherine and lamenting that he’s missed the boat on being a genius, Colin Singleton decides to get out of his hometown, Chicago, with his best friend, Hassan. They make it as far as Gutshot, Tennessee, where they are roped into a summer job of interviewing townspeople for a local history project by the owner of Gutshot’s largest business. Colin participates in the interviewing only reluctantly, spending his spare time on an equation to predict the course of romantic relationships. As the summer goes on, though, Colin and Hassan find out why listening to other peoples stories is so important, and their new coworker, Lindsey, may even help Colin get over his Katherine problems.

YA Pick: Going Bovine by Libba Bray (2010 Printz Award Winner, 2010 Best Books for Young Adults)
In this mother-of-all-road-trip stories, which Publishers Weekly called “inspired lunacy,” Cameron Smith sets out on a quest to find a mysterious doctor that can cure his Creutzfeldt-Jakob (aka Mad Cow) disease, taking along with him a teenage dwarf and a Norse god trapped inside a yard gnome. Inspired by, and referring to, Don Quixote, Going Bovine takes readers on a crazy journey filled with both hilarious and thought-provoking moments.

Picture Book: Let’s Go for a Drive! by Mo Willems
This is possibly my favorite of Willems’ amazing Elephant and Piggie series, and that is saying something. In this installment, careful, serious Gerald has the fun idea of going for a drive. His best friend Piggie joyfully joins in with the preparations–until Gerald’s carefully laid plan hits an unexpected bump.

 

-Libby Gorman, currently reading The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats

The Giver Movie: A Reader’s Perspective

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 07:00

As a reader, I’m not sure if I went to the movies because I wanted to watch The Giver or because I wanted to hatewatch it.

I did a little of each. I’ll try to explain my reaction to the film, while also leaving out enough information to keep the movie surprising if you’d like to be surprised. That may leave this post incomprehensible until after you’ve seen the movie. I’m not sure. You’ll have to let me know. But be forewarned: this post either has spoilers or is impossible to understand.

I think your liking of this film will depend on how passionate you are about the book. I’m not someone who thinks movies have to stick to the book word-for-word; different media require different approaches. But I’m also not someone who likes it when a movie slaps a book title on its poster and does nothing else to base it on the novel. The Giver is somewhere in between, and it’s not really a bad movie so much as a film that suffers from the glut of dystopian movies, TV, and books and designed itself to be attractive to people just catching on to that genre, not people curious to see Lois Lowry’s beloved book come to life.

That’s not to say that readers won’t enjoy this film. The creators did a brilliant job of dealing with the colorless world. The slow transitions and back-and-forth from plain to color and back again, as Jonas learns new colors and as he goes back and forth between the colorful world of the Giver’s home to his own bland dwelling, is just perfect. The set design is spot-on, and the costumes and props are stylized but not too corny. This film has excellent trappings, but it didn’t do much to translate the power of the book to the screen. 

The problem with The Giver, of course, is that there’s a lot you just can’t bring to life from the book. It’s not practical. It’s hard to find a bunch of 12-year-old actors who can carry the gravity present in the original novel, so I can understand the choice that was made when the filmmakers upped the age to 18. People don’t really like murdering children in any context, but it’s especially hard to stomach when you have to watch it, not just read about it. And I can understand, for financial reasons, why this movie was framed in its trailers, promotional posters, and even in the film itself, as another Divergent, though I think it does the movie and the book a disservice. Nearly every misstep this film makes is that it turned itself from a powerful children’s novel (not without its faults, especially if you reread it as an adult, but still an exceptionally well done book) that forces us all to confront our notions of childhood and humanity and protection into yet another movie about a teenager taking on the system and winning.

If you’d like a teen dystopia, this is a very good movie. There are still some important questions it asks, but in that insulting way that other dystopian stories for teens ask the questions and immediately push you toward an answer, this film assumes you need a lot of help coming to the right conclusion. Where the book is thoughtful and lets you mull over things by watching the result of Sameness and overzealous order, like Asher being beaten by teachers for misspeaking, or less healthy twins being euthanized for having the wrong kind of similarity, or puberty being instantly stopped at its first stirring (see what I did there) without discussion, or not even having the words to describe color, the film lets you see it and then instantly tells you, via the Giver himself or Jonas’ voiceover narration (an unfortunate addition that more firmly insinuates that the source material is a teen melodrama) or his worldly, deep phrasing when he tries to convince Fiona that she’s being duped. The way characters instantly come to terms with huge information that took Jonas a lot of training to understand, just because it’s convenient to the film if they can understand it right now, is obnoxious, if unsurprising. It’s like the movie relies on your knowing the book to fill in the blanks, while simultaneously wanting you to believe that this is a completely original story. And the entire quality of the film changes when it’s a teenager being given responsibility and having it taken away at the same time – that’s what adolescence is. That’s what we are used to thinking stories about teenagers are about. What is so chilling about the novel is that it’s children who are being put into these positions.

Then, of course, there’s the matter of the ending. This issue goes beyond the book and the movie, since you and I may be in very different camps as to how we feel about it. The film, because it takes what was an implied post-apocalyptic setup and makes it So Very Important (and yet so vague and uninteresting) that it needs to be printed at the beginning of the film, stated by Jonas as soon as the words are wiped from the screen, then spoken again by the Chief Elder at the ceremony, and then referenced again by the Giver, necessarily has a more hopeful and in-your-face, action-packed ending.

I understand that Lois Lowry herself is pleased with the movie and the changes that were made. Given her almost complete recanting of the traditional reading of the novel’s end, I’m not surprised. But I don’t agree with it. The curmudgeon in me thinks each of The Giver‘s subsequent sequels was a bigger and bigger mistake, and the student of literary theory in me is firm in her belief that authors have no business modifying and correcting the readings of their books once they’re out in the world. (The author is dead, after all.) It’s not that I take pleasure in bleak, depressing book endings (though I do think The Giver did it right, making it bleak and only slightly ambiguous), it’s just that I think instantly fixing the world is disingenuous, not to mention less interesting than prompting questions like “Was it worth it?” or “What is sacrifice?” or “Whom does Jonas’ journey benefit?” as the novel did.

If you want to get the same emotional hit you likely got from the book, you will not get it here. But if you want to see a movie that’s not bad, this is as good a choice as any.

What did you think?

–Hannah Gómez, currently reading Science…For Her! by Megan Amram

The Monday Poll: The YA Classic You’d Like to See on the Big Screen

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 23:51

by flickr user o5com

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you to choose the best book to cool off with during the summer heat. In the lead was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, with 67% of the vote, followed by The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean, with 19%. 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’re all excited that the highly-anticipated film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s YA classic, The Giver, is now playing in theaters everywhere! Have you seen it? Did you love it? In light of this beloved book being brought to moviegoing audiences, our question for you this week is: what other YA classic would you like to see on the big screen? Vote in the poll below, or add your choice in the comments.

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

Tweets of the Week: August 15th

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 07:00

Happy Friday, Hub Readers!  Check out these tweets of the week with Lauren Oliver, Red Sonja & of course, Batman!  In case you missed it…I’m here to compile it all for you!

Books & Reading

Movies/TV

Comics

Librarianship

– Traci Glass, currently reading My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal

 

 

 

Remembering Robin Williams

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 07:00

Credit: Flickr user Global Panorama, Image Courtesy: Eva Rinaldi

The loss of actor Robin Williams this week has been both shocking and sad for so many of us. He was always so full of life in his interviews and stand-up

performances. You always felt like you were watching someone special. He is probably best known for his television and movie performances. Today’s teens might not remember him in Mork and Mindy, but I encourage them and you to Youtube those old episodes. It’s a show from a long-ago TV era, but one that has special place in my heart alongside I Love Lucy from the Nick at Night of yesteryear. His comedic talents and sheer charisma in the show are timeless, so is his impressive work in film.

Two of his many films he made were selected for YALSA’s Fabulous Films for Young Adults – Dead Poet’s Society and Good Will Hunting, both 2010 selections. Williams was an artist who connected with many people and across many generations. Look to the sheer volume and diversity of people responding to his death on social media, in the news and on television. Just look at what’s been happening at the bench in Boston where they filmed Good Will Hunting. The cynics among us may believe this is just another example of a society obsessed with celebrity, but I believe it’s more than that. I believe he was one of the rare artists who touched our hearts and souls with the joy and love he infused in his work.

He was a teacher that showed his students that words and ideas could change the world and asked his students to find their voice before it was too late.  He was a straight shooting psychologist that helped a lost genius reconcile his anger and grief and asked him to make a move because someone can’t do everything for you. He was a wish granting genie and a best friend to a street rat. He was Peter Pan, a crossdressing father trying to see his kids, a night club owning gay dad pretending to be straight for the parents of his son’s fiancé, and a US president who comes to life afterhours in a museum. Robin Williams was all of these people to us because he brought them to life with his talent. He had the ability to make us believe in him and laugh with him. Just watch this moving tribute from super fan Jimmy Fallon:

I understand this outpouring of sadness from my friends and the world, because I know that the world lost a little bit its light on August 11th. Losing someone who projected such a gregarious personality especially to something like suicide is jarring. There are lots of myths out there about depression and suicide. Just know that depression is a serious illness that a lot of us don’t understand, which makes losses like these hard for us to reconcile. Educate yourself.

For more information, check out NIMH, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and to see a more personal perspective, read this letter written for National Suicide Prevention Day from John Tabin.

In honor of Robin Williams, we wanted to create a booklist in his honor respecting the family’s wish for all of us to remember “the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.” With that in mind, here is a list of books that have made readers laugh out loud.

  • Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
  • The Twinkie Squad and No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
  • I Funny series by James Patterson
  • Lemony Snicket’s books
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
  • The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham and Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen (noted for its sardonic wit)
  • Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead (The first couple of books are the lighter ones but all of them carry the same zingy wit throughout.)

All right, readers, your turn- what was the last book that made you laugh out loud?

I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite Robin Williams scene from the 2010 selected YALSA’s Films for Young Adults, Dead Poet’s Society. If you are interested in readalikes for Dead Poet’s Society , check out Libby Gorman’s post back in February of this year. 

O Captain! My Captain! I hope you have found peace.

-Katie Shanahan Yu, currently reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Oldies but Still Goodies from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels Lists

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 07:00


Lately, I’ve had to weed my Young Adult Graphic Novel collection because I am just running out of room.  Weeding is always a sad process, be it in a public library or in your personal collection – I just always think, well, if I just give them another month or another week, someone will pick up this book!   I always like to think that there’s a book here for every person, and unfortunately, some books just don’t get a lot of love or get matched up with their perfect person during their time in the collection. 

That got me thinking about this post; I wanted to spotlight older titles, but how would I choose them since there are so many great books out there from years past?  Then, aha!  I had an epiphany – what if I highlighted some of my favorite comics & graphic novels from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens lists? 

So, I went back through all the GGNT lists, and picked out some of my favorites from the 2007-2011 lists.  Now, some of these books are pretty popular and some are not, but they are all great graphic reads for all different kinds of readers.  From Star Wars to cat burglars to Batman (well, Batwoman, but, close enough), everyone will find something fun to read on this list – and these are old books!  Well, oldish – and older books can be some of the best books.   So, join me, readers, on this walk down memory lane as we revisit some favorites and hopefully, put the spotlight on some forgotten or overlooked treasures.

2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens:

Star Wars:  Tag & Bink Were Here by Kevin Rubio & Lucas Marangon:  From the inaugural GGNT list, I chose one of very favorite comics ever!  Tag & Bink are two bumbling rebels who, when they come face to face with Stormtroopers, decide to knock them out and steal their uniforms, and thus, their times as members of the Imperial Army begin.  They aren’t the most savvy or smartest of the bunch, so in addition to not being found out by Darth Vader and his minions, they are also trying to stay alive and get back to the other members of the rebellion.  What’s funny about this book is that Tag & Bink are involved in every major event that happens in the movies – and they’re usually on the verge of messing something up or getting themselves found out.  This book is great for Star Wars aficionados as well as newbies – because it introduces something new and hilarious to established movies with no prior knowledge needed.  All of your favorite characters from Episodes IV-VI make appearances here, and this book will definitely keep you laughing until the very last page! 

2009 Great Graphic Novels for Teens:

The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks:  Yay for Faith Erin Hicks!  She just won an Eisner Award (the Academy Awards of Comics – given out at Comic-Con each year) for her awesome comic The Adventures of Superhero Girl.  That got me thinking about her work in general, and how much I really love all of her books.  Going through the 2009 GGNFT list, I noticed that one of her earlier titles, The War at Ellsmere had made the list!  Juniper is a new student at Ellsmere Academy – a boarding school that has accepted her as a scholarship student.  Unfortunately, as a scholarship student, she is the odd-girl out around all the affluent students who inhabit the school.  Lucky for her, she has an awesome roommate in Cassie, who also gets teased by the upper-class students.  Plus!  There might be a mythical, beautiful beast that lives in the forest behind the school!  Part realistic fiction, part fantasy, this book is awesome – and, of course, it is – it is written & illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, after all!

Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki:  So, I love it when Mariko & Jillian work together – they are cousins, and they put out the most beautiful and thoughtful graphic novels that really exhibit the teenage experience.  They have a new book out, This One Summer, that is getting a lot of buzz, but I wanted to focus on their earlier title, Skim, the story of Kimberly Keiko Cameron who is dealing with a lot of heavy issues.   Topics like suicide, depression, love, wondering whether or not you’re gay, high school, and loneliness are handled with the upmost respect and tenderness.  Struggling with who you are is something that is a universal teen experience, and the Tamaki cousins bring teen characters to readers who are realistic and dealing with the same kind of problems.  A melancholy and quiet look at trying to make it day to day when you feel like everything is spinning out of control.

2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens:

Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala:  I remember reading Cat Burglar Black when it was first announced as part of the 2010 list, and I absolutely loved it.  K. Westree is a cat burglar; she lost both of her parents when she was a child, and was raised in an orphanage by Mother Claude who turned the orphanage into a breeding ground for thieving children.  The orphanage gang was eventually broken up (with weird & tragic results), and K. was invited to Bellsong Academy, a boarding school, which put off an air of mystery.  The weird headmistress, students – really everyone there at Bellsong seems to be hiding something, and K. is determined to figure out the mystery of the Academy.  A great and fun mysterious romp that readers will be sad to see end.  It also ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it doesn’t seem like any other books about K. have been written – too bad.  Readers will fall in love with K., her sleuthing skills, and that white hair of hers.

2011 Great Graphic Novels for Teens:

Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III:  This book really kicked off the rebirth of Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, in the DC Universe – it’s written by Greg Rucka – one of my favorite crime & mystery graphic novel writers and illustrated by J.H. Williams III, who basically draws the most beautiful art ever.  Seriously.  There is a new foe in town – Alice, who is obsessed with Alice in Wonderland, and she has horrible plans in store for Gotham City.  But, Batwoman is on the case and ready to defend her city at all costs.  A great story that sometimes is forgotten to be included with the current Batwoman run that was rebooted after this title was released.  A great superhero story with a kick-butt lady with some pretty awesome red hair.

Yay!  I’m so happy to share some of my favorite oldies, but still goodies with you!  These are all taken from past Great Graphic Novels for Teens lists which are chock full of great ideas for comic book reading if you just can’t decide what to try next.  I hope you’ll give these “geezers” a chance; I know they won’t disappoint! 

And, remember to join me next month, same bat time, same bat channel for some more graphic reads recommendations! 

–Traci Glass, currently reading My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal

Jukebooks: The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 07:00

Leilani lives in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Although her mother is Native Hawaiian, her father is white, and the family had been living in California for most of Leilani’s childhood. She’s not accepted at her public high school,  partly because of her race, and partly because of the epileptic seizure that felled Leilani in the school cafeteria. It’s because of her epilepsy that Leilani and her father are flying from the Big Island to Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. As they prepare to travel, her father reenacts a family joke by singing John Denver’s Leavin’ on a Jet Plane. Fathers can be so hokey sometimes.

But while Leilani and her father are in Honolulu, the world goes berzerk. A strange green haze appears in the sky. Communication networks collapse. There are reports of nuclear power plants exploding across the globe. Soon enough, Leilani and her dad are ensconced in a makeshift camp run by the military, and the trip back to Hilo becomes a matter of life and death.

John Denver wrote Leavin’ on a Jet Plane in 1966, originally calling it Babe, I Hate to Go. Although Denver did make his own recording of the song, it was more famously recorded by the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary.  Their single was released in 1969, in the midst of Vietnam war protests. It’s wistful message of regret and tenderness touched many soldiers longing to reunite with loved ones.

Here are Peter, Paul & Mary with John Denver in 1969.

Diane Colson, currently reading The Hit by Melvin Burgess.

 

Makin’ Stuff: Books to Inspire DIY and Creativity

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 07:00

Making stuff isn’t something that is usually associated with libraries, but it should be. The maker movement is still going strong, and it’s showing everyone that teens use libraries for all sorts of learning- including how to make all sorts of things. YALSA’s 2014 Maker Contest is going on right now, and applicants have the chance to win some neat prizes as well as share their awesome ideas with others. The deadline to apply is September 1st and you can go here to learn more and to apply. (Get some ideas on how to create a maker/ DIY program here.)

Finding themes in YA fiction that go along with the maker movement wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be until I thought bigger and stopped limiting myself to duct tape. When I did that I found a bunch that I thought might spark some interest in doing with teens. I also found some nonfiction titles, too, to get us all started on the doing!

COOKING

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams follows sixteen-year-old Sophie from the kitchen in her family’s restaurant in Washington, D.C., to the set of “Teen Test Kitchen,” a new reality show about teens cooking that her best friend has convinced her to audition for. Is Sophie ready to compete with her cooking, though? Hopefully growing up in the family restaurant will have been enough training!

Although Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous includes recipes, there are lots of teen oriented cookbooks out there. A Teen Guide to… cookbook series by Dana Meachen Rau covers everything from Breakfast on the Go to Quick Healthy Snacks, and includes safety tips, conversion charts, and tons of tips throughout. Even I can cook using these, and I once tried to microwave a frozen noodle dinner for seventeen minutes instead of seven!

 

 

APP MAKING

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise could be of equal interest to teens interested in computer programming and teens interested in romance. Audrey is trying to win $200,000 offered by global computing corporation Public in order to get herself into college and away from home. To do this she writes a matchmaking app, which pairs unlikely  couples and is sort of becoming a hit. But Audrey digs deeper and learns that her matchmaking results might be skewed, and Public is at the heart of things. Discovering the truth will lead to more than she bargained for… including love?

Programming apps is not only something that a lot of teens are interested in, but it’s also something that can make them good money. There are tons of YouTube videos and even some apps that teach how to make apps. Computer programming in general is something that a lot of teens are into, though for many of us it seems too daunting to take on.  Programming Like a Pro for Teens by Charles R. Hardnett is an introduction to programming with C++ that actually has exercises in it to practice and doesn’t use heavy computer jargon, which makes it easier for teens (and adults!) to understand than most programming books!

MUSIC

So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow deals, unsurprisingly, with music. Ari, Jonas, Yossi and Reena, four students at the Leo R. Gittleman Jewish Day School in New Jersey form a rock band. The band becomes insanely- and surprisingly-popular, though, which creates a roller coaster of emotions for its members.

Music is something that has always been an outlet for teens, and there are plenty of books on the subject. From books about the music makers to books of sheet music, there’s plenty for teens to tune in to.  For those who want to try their hand at creating music, Lisa Donovan Lukas’  The Young Musician’s Guide to Songwriting:  How to Create Music  & Lyrics can help you figure out how to structure a song, figure out harmonies and melodies, and how to develop a good song idea in the first place.

 

ENGINEERING

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld isn’t specifically about teens making stuff, but there is some serious tinkering with both the biological and mechanical going on in this alternate history, Darwin-meets-steampunk adventure. Deryn, a British girl-disguised-as-a-boy, and Alek, the fifteen year old Prince of Austria, are up against each other and their enemies in this first of a trilogy that has
flying whales and steam powered mechs roaming the European countryside in 1914.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer isn’t the traditional Cinderella story, and it’s also a Teens’ Top Ten winner (2012). There are no singing mice here! Earth is overcrowded and ravaged by plague. The ruthless lunar people are just waiting to make their move on it. Cinder is a cyborg and a gifted mechanic, and when Prince Kai comes into her shop to get his android fixed, everything changes for her. In order to protect the world she must work with- and yes, maybe fall for- Prince Kai and uncover secrets about her past in this first of the Lunar Chronicles.

 

MOVIE MAKING

Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz finds a diverse group of six high school students sneaking into an abandoned mental institution near Boston to make a film – one that aspiring film maker Derik LaPointe hopes will save him from a future of flipping burgers in his parents’ restaraunt for the rest of his life. Of course, none of them expect the inexplicably terrifying events that keep occurring, even though they probably should have, considering the building is about to be demolished and is rumored by the locals to be haunted! Their lives definitely change that night.

Some teens just want to be in front of the camera, others are interested in the behind the scenes aspects of movie making, such as editing and special effects. There are loads of books out there about making movies, but I’ve found that some of the best aren’t guides as much as memoirs, like Sean Astin’s There and Back Again: an Actor’s Tale, which combines the on-screen and the off-screen to give you an all-around picture of what it was like to make the Lord of the Rings films and how he grew as a person throughout the experience. Likewise, Doctor Who: The Inside Story by Gary Russell chronicles everything that went into producing an episode of the popular TV series- from casting and filming to designing costumes, sets, and creatures- through the end of series two. Beware with this one though- there are spoilers if you haven’t seen the show!

Have you got other titles that would be great to build a maker space program on? List them in the comments!

-Carla Land, currently re-reading The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, which is better than she remembered it being in high school.

Reader Response: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 07:00

This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2014 Hub Reading Challenge.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick  is a glorious enigma of a book, and a puzzle that I hope no reader will ever fully solve. Therefore, I won’t seek to explain it or expand much on the plot.  Instead, I want to talk about where this book took me. It seems appropriate that while reading a book that was set in multiple times and places, I was taken back to multiples times and places in my own reading life.  Midwinterblood magically transported me back to two times that I might call golden ages in my reading history.

I will call the first (forgive the melodrama) the Age of Surrender.  This time period of my reading life spanned from ages 12-16.  I did most of my reading at that time during summer vacations.  I had very few responsibilities and distractions, and, so was more able to surrender my time and attention fully to whatever book I was reading.  I think I was also able to surrender my judgement to the world of the book and only the world of the book.

These days, as a teen librarian, I read editorial reviews, blogs, and follow my fellow librarians on Goodreads.  It is almost impossible to read any YA book without hearing the interrupting voices of critics. I miss that Age of Surrender when I had no baggage to check at the first page.  Midwinterblood took me back to this place for two reasons.  First, unlike prior Printz Award winners, I hadn’t heard much about it. (Though this may have been because I was in my final months of library school when it came out).  Second, the world of the book was so intriguing, beautiful, strange and unprecedented that my own critical voice, which usually stands outside the story and makes disruptive comments, was silenced.  I felt like I was back to those summers of reading without distraction, and before it became almost impossible not to approach books as a critic.  I felt like I was reading like a teen again, which is one of the best gifts a YA novel can give an adult reader.

I will call the second golden age of my reading history the Age of Analysis. This age spanned from ages 18-21 and coincided directly with being an undergraduate English major.  Almost all the books I read during this age were later dissected and analyzed and mined for symbolism, and all interpretations, as long as they were properly supported by the text, were valid. There was no right answer, and we were never really going to figure out exactly what the author was telling us, but that was the most thrilling part of studying literature.  Readers of Midwinterblood will find countless symbols, motifs and ideas to pursue if they want to capture the heart of the story.  The fun of it is– they are never really going to capture it.

Midwinterblood was by far my favorite book of YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge, not only because the world of the book took me multiple places at once, but also because the reading experience took me back to multiple reading eras in my own reading life.

-Emily Childress-Campbell

Want to Read S’more? Have Some Ooey Gooey Delicious Books in Threes

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 07:00

Summer is the perfect time for reading for fun and making s’mores. In fact, yesterday was National S’mores Day.

So I decided to combine these two concepts and give you three books on the same topic – think of them as the graham cracker, the marshmallow, and the chocolate of a s’more- all deliciously good.

Fantasy:

Thrillers:

Sports:

Reality TV:

Movies:

Mermaids:

Spies:

Historical Fiction:

Middle Grade Fantasy:

Music:

Heist:

 What three books would you pair together?

~ Jennifer Rummel, currently reading The Bridge From Me to You by Lisa Schroeder

The Monday Poll: Best Book to Chill Out with during Summer

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 23:17

photo by flickr user RC Designer

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked which “vintage” YA novel could use a cover makeover to reach a contemporary audience. The big winner was The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger, with 31% of the vote, followed by Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher, with 26%, and Interstellar Pig by William Sleator took in 17% 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 and commented!

This week, as we’re getting into the middle of August and the long, hot summer is starting to feel… well, really long and really hot, we want to know which of the following books would help cool you down. Vote in the poll below, or leave your suggestion in the comments!

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

Tweets of the Week: August 8th

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 07:00

Drama from GISHWHES! New adult nonfiction?! NYPL’s new campaign! Snark and jokes! Read on for some of the best tweets of the past week.

Books/Authors/Reading

Movies/TV

Giveaways/Contests

Librarianship and Youth

Just For Fun

–Hannah Gómez, currently reading Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

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