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2018 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 10:30

In case you missed it, The Great Graphic Novels for Teens list was recently announced! Check out the top ten below!

  • The Backstagers. By James Tynion IV. Illus. by Rian Sygh. 2017. BOOM! Studios, $14.99 (9781608869930). Jory, a new student at an all-boys school, feels left out of school life until he stumbles upon the backstage crew of the drama club and the mysterious tunnels they keep watch over.
  • Black Hammer, Volume 1: Secret Origins. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by Dean Ormston. 2017. Dark Horse, $14.99 (9781616557867). Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien are trapped! In their old lives they were superheroes, but because of a strange occurrence in their multiverse they are thrust into life in a rural town from which they cannot escape.
  • Brave. By Svetlana Chmakova. Illus. by the author. 2017. Yen Press, $11.00 (9780316363189). Jensen, a daydreaming artist obsessed with sunspots and NASA, navigates middle school, bullies and math!
  • I Am Alfonso Jones. By Tony Medina. Illus. by Stacey Robison and John Jennings. 2017. Tu Books, $18.95 (9781620142639). Fifteen year old Alfonso Jones is shot by the police while shopping for a suit, and his loved ones and classmates are left behind to address his death and the larger issue of police brutality.
  • Jonesy. By Sam Humprhies. Illus. by Caitlin Rose Boyle. Jonsey’s superpower is that she can make anyone fall in love with anything… except herself!
    • v.1. 2016. BOOM! Studios, $9.99 (9781608868834).
    • v.2. BOOM! Studios, $14.99 (9781608869992).
    • v.3. BOOM! Studios, $14.99 (9781684150168).

  • Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation. By Damian Duffy and Octavia E. Butler. Illus. by John Jennings. 2017. Abrams ComicArts, $24.95 (9781419709470). It’s 1976 and Dana is trying to settle down to a comfortable life with her husband when she finds herself unexpectedly ripped from the present and sent hurtling to the slavery-era past. Here, she is tasked with saving the life of her ancestor, lest she risk never being born.
  • Lighter than My Shadow. By Katie Green. Illus. by the author. 2017. Lion Forge, $19.99 (9781941302415). The author’s personal account of the eating disorders she developed in an attempt to manage the black scribbles of her inner thoughts. Green candidly recounts both her steps and missteps along her path to recovery.
  • My Brother’s Husband. By Gengoroh Tagame. Illus. by the author. 2017. Pantheon Books, $24.95 (9781101871515). After the passing of Ryoji, his twin brother, Yaichi, and his now widowed husband, Mike, come together to learn more about the loved one they have both lost.
  • PashminaBy Nidhi Chanani Illus. by the author. 2017. First Second, $21.99 (9781626720879). Priyanka discovers in her mother’s belongings a magical pashmina that leads her on a journey to India, where she seeks to understand secrets of her family and to claim her own personal identity.
  • Spill Zone. By Scott Westerfeld. Illus. by Alex Puvilland. 2017. First Second, $22.99 (9781596439368). An event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie three years ago, forever changing reality within its borders. When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther into the Spillzone than she has ever dared.

Head over to the GGNT homepage for the extensive full list, of titles! Also, don’t forget to check out the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers lists, which were released last month! And be sure to visit our Teen Book Finder Database, which was recently updated with diverse affiliate titles! There, you can create and print customizable reading lists for your teen patrons.

The post 2018 Great Graphic Novels for Teens appeared first on The Hub.

2018 Best Fiction for Young Adults List

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:30

Have you heard? The Best Fiction for Young Adults list has been released! Check out the top ten below!

  • Arnold, Elana. What Girls Are Made Of. Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab. 2017. Sixteen-year-old Nina experiences sex, betrayal, loss, and a dysfunctional home life, all while trying to understand what it means to be female in the world and whether love can ever be truly unconditional.
  • Bardugo, Leigh. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic. Illus. by Sara Kipin. Macmillan/Imprint. 2017. Traditional fairy tales are refreshingly twisted, re-created, and wrapped in gorgeous illustrations in this stand-alone collection of six short stories. The world-building will be familiar to Bardugo’s fans, and readers new to her Grishaverse have the pleasure of knowing they can take further excursions into this world.
  • Lee, Mackenzi. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 2017. Montague, the son of a British nobleman, embarks on a European tour with his best friend (and secret crush) Percy and his sister Felicity. Along the way, they encounter adventure and conflict that leads them to a very different destiny than the one awaiting their return to England.
  • Moon, Sarah. Sparrow. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2017. Sparrow has a secret: her closest friends are birds. When she feels anxious, she goes to the roof and flies. One day, this practice lands her in the hospital, facing questions from the adults in her life. Slowly, she recovers, finds her voice, and makes new friends along the way.
  • Reynolds, Jason. Long Way Down. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 2017. Will’s brother has been shot. In this free-verse novel, Will steps into an elevator ready to head downstairs and to follow the rules he’s been taught and avenge his brother’s death, when he encounters the ghosts of victims of a chain reaction caused by a shooting.

  • Taylor, Laini. Strange the Dreamer. Little, Brown. 2017. Lazlo Strange is an orphan raised by monks, and he’s dedicated his life to learning. His favorite story is of Weep, the lost fairytale city that was literally removed from memory. This is the story of his search for the magical city.
  • Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give. Balzer+Bray. 2017. Starr Carter is a black girl caught between two worlds: her poor, black neighborhood, and her suburban, mostly white high school. Occupying this liminal space becomes nearly impossible when Starr witnesses, and is forced to speak out about, the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend by a white cop.
  • Watson, Renee. Piecing Me Together. Bloomsbury USA. 2017. Artist Jade has big dreams, but she recognizes that coming from a rough neighborhood creates barriers. She reluctantly joins Woman to Woman, a mentoring program that promises a scholarship. Her well-intentioned mentor, also black, doesn’t understand Jade has no desire to be “saved.” Each has things to learn from the other.
  • Zappia, Francesca. Eliza and Her Monsters. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2017. Fellow students don’t know that, when she’s not at school, reclusive senior Eliza is LadyConstellation, creator of the wildly popular Monstrous Sea. New student Wallace is a huge fan of the webcomic, and hr slowly breaks through her shell. However, trying to keep her two lives separate may cost Eliza everything.
  • Zentner, Jeff. Goodbye Days. Crown Books for Young Readers. 2017. Carver’s three best friends are killed in a car accident soon after he sends the driver a text message, and grief and guilt take their toll. When the grandmother of one of his deceased friends asks for a “goodbye day,” Carver agrees, hoping for closure.

Want to see the full list, which includes an extensive of titles? Head over to the BFYA homepage!

Also, don’t forget to check out the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers lists, which were released last month! And be sure to visit our Teen Book Finder Database, which was recently updated with diverse affiliate titles! There, you can create and print customizable reading lists for your teen patrons.

The post 2018 Best Fiction for Young Adults List appeared first on The Hub.

2018 Morris Award Finalists: An Interview with Nic Stone

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 07:00

This is a guest post from Jeff Zentner, author of the 2017 Morris Award winner, The Serpent King.

Nic Stone and I are imprint siblings at Crown and best buds for about as long as either of us have been in the publishing world. She’s the only person on Earth who’s read everything I’ve ever written. We discuss everything from the virtues of kettle corn to the foibles of child-rearing to race relations in America to…story stuff that really requires more context than I have room for here. Point being: I couldn’t be more thrilled for Nic that she’s a Morris finalist and no one is more deserving. I got to talk with her.

Tell us the story of how Nic Stone became a writer.
Once upon a time, six-thousand-five-hundred-seventy-three years ago, a young, brown immortal was conceived under still-mysterious circumstances… #blackdontcrack.


Okay, sorry. Getting serious now.

So I’ve always been a reader—vividly remember hours spent in this treehouse-ish nook within the children’s section of the Kansas City, KS public library—but I didn’t think I could write fiction, so I never really thought to try. I think I wanted to write made-up stories like the ones I was so fond of, but because I didn’t see people like me writing the type of stuff I was into, I think I subconsciously internalized the message that writing stories wasn’t something people who looked like me could do. Then I moved to Israel. And in Israel, I discovered all these stories I felt needed to be told. Which opened my eyes to the fact that MY OWN stories weren’t being told. So when I came back to America, I decided to try and tell them. It worked! (Fun fact: I started writing in 2013. So I’m basically a writing kindergartner.)

The story of how you got your book deal is one of the more unusual I’ve heard. Tell us how you ended up at Crown with your editor.
Before I answer this, I want to issue a disclaimer: this is super atypical, and it’s not as *cool* as it sounds. Trust me.

The long and short of it is: my agent submitted a manuscript I’d written. The first editor to respond liked my style and my writing and my voice, but wasn’t sold on the story I was telling in said manuscript. So she asked if I was working on anything else. Cue twelve-hour scramble of me pulling together probably the roughest proposal I’ve ever written—a synopsis of a current-events-based story that’d been kicking around in my head for a few weeks at most. And by some miracle, Editor was super into the idea. After a couple weeks of rejection after rejection on the full manuscript we initially submitted, Editor came through with an offer.

And I took it. And from these humble beginnings sprang forth Dear Martin. Which is now a finalist for the Morris Award and the reason you’re asking me these questions.

Wild, right?


I read a version of Dear Martin that was very different in some ways than the version that’s currently a Morris contender. Can you speak about the evolution of this book?
The initial drafts of this book were much more… complicated. It was twice as long (literally), there were eight points of view, it was nonlinear, the main character, Justyce, died on like page three, and the scope of the story was a lot broader. We decided to zoom in on Justyce’s experiences, shorten the book, and make it linear largely because… well because it’s a better book this way, I think. It’s harder hitting and more impactful because there’s less to keep up with. And I can’t even tell you how many messages I’ve gotten from kids who had never finished a book until they read Dear Martin. Doubt they would’ve gotten through it had we left it the other way. So I’m glad my editor put her foot down!


On the same day they announced you were a Morris finalist, there was an announcement of your new two-book deal. What can your readers expect from books two, three, and four?
That was probably the best day of my publishing career so far. First lemme say book TWO—wholly unrelated to Dear Martin, but there is a shoutout to Bras Prep—will be out October 2018. Title and summary coming soon, but in a nutshell, it’s a book that follows three teens as they attempt to navigate the intersections of friendship and romance and figure out who it’s okay to love. Excited and nervous and all the things about that one. After that, I’ll dive into mire that is relative poverty, and then book four will return us to the world of Dear Martin… but I’m not allowed to say more than that. #anticlimacticanswer


Do you feel like this is an exciting time to be writing YA books?
Hmm. Hadn’t really thought about this until now, but yeah. I’d say it is. For one, it’s a very dope category—both in regard to the stories themselves as well as the very particular stage of like, human development they focus on, which lends itself to a very specific type of immediacy that can’t be imitated. For another, as an author who LIVES for school visits (they are literally by far far far my favorite part of this job), I think there’s something super magical about kids having the opportunity to interact with the authors of the books they’re reading actually at/through school. No shade or disrespect to the dead white guys, but I mean come one: it’s gotta be lit to, yes: pick a book apart for theme and look for symbolism and yadda yadda #HighSchoolEnglish, and THEN have the author show up to your school where you can actually ask why that vase fell off the mantel at the exact moment Awesome Main Character was stepping out of the shower. (Spoiler alert: it was to highlight that the cat was evil. Or something. What am I even talking about?)

Who do you write for and why?
Nonreaders. Especially Nonreaders of Color. Which I didn’t even realize until so many of them started contacting me. I write for them because I think it’s important to read, and yet I also understand that when you’ve never really seen yourself if the type of stuff you’re assigned, reading seems kinda wack. So I wanna hook the reluctants and get them started reading for enjoyment.


At that moment when someone finishes Dear Martin, what do you hope is going through their head?
Everything. I want people to finish this book and think about everything. My goal for the book itself was to stimulate some critical thinking—which let’s be honest, is in short supply at present considering how quickly we’re expected/expect others to speak and act—about the world we live in and our individual places within it. It’s important if we intend to move forward in a way that benefits as many people as possible.

What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve ever had with a reader?
Very recently, a teach tweeted at me about a student in her class who exclaimed “What the freak, bro?!” while reading Dear Martin in the classroom. That quote became a part of my Twitter name: Nic “What the freak, bro?!” Stone. I then had the opportunity to surprise that particular class over Skype, and that student literally jumped out of his chair and ran to the back of the classroom. The teacher told me he spent the rest of the day in a daze, so I decided to follow him on Instagram. The message I received from him was “No No No this can not be the real Nic Stone [shocked face emoji].”

Needless to say, this kid has done a lot for my self-esteem.


What would you write to Dr. King?
I’m literally trying to figure that out for an op-ed piece, LOL!


What are five books you think everyone should read and why?
I’ll give you the five I read while writing Dear Martin: 1. A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD by Jennifer Egan, which is the book that helped me to see that I could play with various storytelling formats in one single novel, 2. WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST by Jason Reynolds, which helped me settle into my black boy character’s voice, 3. GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith, which loosened me up a bit and made it clear that irreverence is an okay thing in books written for teens, 4. WHERE THINGS COME BACK by John Corey Whaley, which was SO beautiful and lyrical and helped me find my prose rhythm and 5. GOING BOVINE by Libba Bray, which showed me the power of reaching into the heart of a story and keeping the plot from taking over.

Read all of these definitely.

Setting all modesty aside, what do you love most about Dear Martin?
The dialogue. I love writing dialogue and using that particular element of narrative to draw out the heart of a story because storytelling as a discipline really began with speech—stories orally passed down, generation to generation. Dialogue is just my most favorite thing. In all the stuff I’ve written actually.

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Women in Comics: Some Love Stories for February

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 07:00

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this month is a good time to consider the comics and graphic novels that you have on your shelf that will appeal to to fans of romance and love in all its forms. These books are just a few options for these readers.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – Set in Paris in what seems to be La Belle Époque, Prince Sebastian is stuck between the wishes of his parents and his own wishes. His parents desperately want him to find a wife and have been setting him up on ever more pointless dates. He, on the other hand, wants to continue his life as it is, including his secret practice of periodically dressing in traditionally feminine clothes. When he meets Frances, who is an incredibly talented fashion designer and dressmaker, he quickly moves to employ her full time under the guise of having her serve as his personal tailor. Together they develop the fashion and persona necessary for him to take the city by storm as the daringly dressed Lady Crystallia. But, the pressure of his secret increasingly impacts both Sebastian and Frances and will test their friendship and their working relationship. Told with beautiful drawings and a fun-loving spirit, this is a great story about the pressures that society puts on people to conform and on the sorrow of having to hide your true talents and self.

Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky and art by Anissa Espinosa – Greg is used to his quirky life in his off-beat town. He may not have a shadow, but that doesn’t bother him nearly as much as his town’s continual attempts to find the perfect tourist trap. What he isn’t expecting is to find a mansion nestled in the woods just outside his little town where he meets and falls for a beautiful girl. But, it wouldn’t be Lancaster if things were that simple. She may be funny and sweet and cute, but she’s also very definitely dead. As their relationship grows, he’ll not only learn why he is the only person who can see her, but also resolve some of his personal issues along the way. This is a story not only of a budding new relationship, but also a story about the power of family, friendship, and remembering those who have died.

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin with art by Jenn St-Onge and Joy San – This new comic is a love story across the years. After meeting and falling in love in the 1960’s, Hazel and Mari are pulled apart by the demands of society. They marry men, have families, and find a certain type of happiness. But when they find themselves at a church bingo evening when they are grandmothers, they find that the spark has not extinguished even after all of these years. Now they have a second chance for love and the opportunity for the happiness they always wanted.

Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt with art by Isabelle Arsenault – This comic tackles a lot of tough topics, including divorce, alcoholism, being siblings, and first love, but it approaches them all with a deft hand. The story follows Louis as he moves back and forth between his parents’ homes. Louis is in the throes of his first serious crush on a girl in his class named Billie. As they move between his father’s house and his mother’s apartment, he and his brother, Truffle, must confront the realities of their father’s struggles with alcohol. Throughout it all, Louis is also consumed by his efforts to work up the courage to speak to Billie. The story is a relatable and heart wrenching one about both family love and first love that will keep readers rooting for Louis throughout.

I Love This Part by Tillie Walden – Told with spare language and illustrations in black, white and shades of greyish purple, this story shows moments in the lives of two girls as they bond over music, make their way through school, and develop a relationship that shakes both of them. Despite the limited use of text, Walden conveys powerful emotions and makes the reader empathize with both of these characters as they struggle to make sense of their emotions. By the end, readers will be invested in the journey of the two characters and wishing for more of their stories.

What are your favorite comics and graphic novels about love and romance? Let us know in the comments!

– Carli Spina, currently reading A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

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