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#GGN2019 Nominees Round Up, March 22 edition

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 13:00

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
First Second
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
ISBN: 978-1626723634

Up-and-coming Parisian seamstress Frances is given the opportunity of a lifetime when a patron hires her to make her unique designs full time. When the patron turns out to be the young and eligible Belgian prince Sebastian, who wears the gowns under the secret identity of Lady Crystallia, the two begin a collaboration that takes the Paris fashion scene by storm. That is, so long as Frances is willing to also keep her identity a secret to protect her new friend.

Wang’s illustrations flow across the pages creating movement for each fashion design, while small gestures highlight the budding relationship between Frances and Sebastian. As Lady Crystallia struts her latest styles, readers will appreciate the journey of this gender non-conforming main character. Wang has created a strong tale about friendship, self-discovery, and acceptance.

Share this title with aspiring fashion designers and bingers of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Teens who enjoyed the fairy tale twists of Witch Boy, Ladycastle, and Princess Princess Ever After will appreciate this tale as well.

–Kate Covintree


Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
ISBN: 978-1947440005

The life and work of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide is explored in this new graphic biography by Quintero (Gabi: A Girl in Pieces) and Peña (cover artist for Gabi). Moving more thematically than chronologically, the book focuses on key moments for the artist including receiving her first camera and training with other photographers. The book also explores the stories behind photographs from Juchitán, the Sonora Desert, East L.A., India, and Frida Kahlo’s bathroom.

Many of Iturbide’s photographs focus on the mythology and reality of people, landscapes, forms, and objects. Quintero’s text articulates these experiences. Peña’s pen and ink illustrations meticulously recreate the world as Iturbide sees it–in black and white. When Iturbide’s actual photos are interwoven into the biography, they are simultaneously seamless and surprising. Quintero’s lyric prose is just as mesmerizing. Together this mix of artforms combine to create a unique and spellbinding artist statement. References provided at the end of the book help readers who want to learn more about Iturbide.

Share this book with teens interested in photography, indigenous communities, Mexican and Southwestern experiences, or any fine art.

–Kate Covintree


My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon
Oni Press
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
ISBN: 978-1620104873

This is the story of Nora who, after a succession of terrible boyfriends, finds a much happier relationship with a 500-pound American black bear. Will this relationship be a success–how will she survive hibernation–who would have thought a rom com about a girl and a bear could have so much pathos?!

Right off the bat this story grabs you with its sense of humor and wit, but there is also the deeper narrative of feeling like you never quite know where you fit, and still searching for what makes a good relationship. Whether it’s between humans or animals is beside the point.

Although this story is on the mature side, this book will fill the niche of older teens wanting something edgier, and trying on the role of adulthood. Teens will definitely enjoy the friendships, relationships, (human to human and human to bear) and humor throughout the book. The drawings are fun and playful and add a lighthearted touch to the book, giving it real teen appeal.
Give this book to fans of New Girl, Adulthood is a Myth, Slam!, and Rick and Morty… also anyone with a quirky sense of humor!

–Tina Lerno

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#AA2019 Nominees Roundup, March 21 edition

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 13:00

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga, narrated by Soneela Nankani
Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
ISBN: 978-0062689221

For the past three years, sixteen-year-old Jordanian-American Tal has been writing to indie rock star Julian Oliver, convinced that he is her father.  Tal’s evidence: a take-me-back letter from Julian to Tal’s mom, Lena; the fact that Lena attended college in Julian’s small hometown and facial similarities between Julian and Tal.  

Suddenly, after no response to Tal’s notes, Julian is on her doorstep, inviting her on a road trip to meet her dying grandfather. Feeling a mixture of excitement and anger about Julian’s arrival, Tal nevertheless decides to join him, especially as her best friend agrees to come and Tal’s mom is at that moment in France and unable to stop her.  During this trip, Tal learns about her mom as a young immigrant, Julian, and also herself, beginning to confront her difficulty with personal intimacy.

Narrator Soneela Nankani creates a distinct voice for each of the main characters of this novel, skillfully demonstrating both personality and emotional state.  Her ability to speak convincingly in both Middle Eastern and middle American accents makes a real atmospheric contribution to this story. Thematically, this novel is important for teens whose parents are not together, as well as for those facing changes in close friendships and struggling to open themselves up to additional personal connections.

Fans of Warga’s Here We Are Now may also enjoy Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally, in which seventeen-year-old Phoebe tries to reconnect with her musician father.  Solo by Kwame Alexander is another good literary match, with its focus on seventeen-year-old Blade’s challenging relationship with his rock star dad.

–Anna Dalin

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein
Listening Library
Publication Date: December 15, 2017
ISBN: 978-0525529101

The First Order has destroyed Rose Tico’s home world, causing her and her sister Paige to join the Rebellion. Now, the First Order is planning to destroy another planetary system, unless the Rebellion can interfere and break up a First Order blockade. First Order destruction is personal to Rose, who does not want anyone else to lose their home world forever.

Rose Tico entered the Star Wars galaxy in the latest movie, The Last Jedi. Rose and Paige serve the Rebellion in the Cobalt Bomber Squadron prior to the start of The Last Jedi. Cobalt Squadron is Rose’s backstory, how she joined the Rebellion, what motivates her, and more. There are many links between Cobalt Squadron and The Last Jedi creating a deeper knowledge and experience of both.

Kelly Marie Tran both narrates Cobalt Squadron and plays Rose Tico in The Last Jedi. Her narration is engaging, and adds an extra tie to the movie. The audio on the whole is very well done creating an immersive Star Wars experience through a fast-paced, action plot, appropriate sound effects, and strong character building.  

Fans of the Star Wars franchise young and old will be sure to find this entry engaging. Cobalt Squadron fits nicely with the many recent teen-focused Star Wars novels such as Leia by Claudia Grey and Rebel Rising by Beth Revis. Fans of Starflight by Melissa Landers and other adventure-loving science fiction fans should be sure to enjoy this entry.

–Cyndi Hamann


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#QP2019 Nominees Round Up, March 20 edition

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 13:00

The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan
Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
ISBN:  978-1524701864

Bethan, the apprentice healer of a Welsh Romany clan, and her friend Martyn are constantly tormented by Silas, son of the clan chieftain and his friends. One night Silas and his friends brutally attack Bethan and Martyn. As Martyn lies near death, Bethan begs Drina, the clan healer to bring him back from the brink. “There is a price to pay for such magic,” Drina warns.

The reader immediately gets a sense of the dark tone of the novel just by looking at the cover, which features a wraithlike young girl with a piercing stare. She is dressed in black, standing in a dark forest with her magic represented by a red mist that creeps toward her. The Hollow Girl is a dark and gritty tale of magic and revenge with episodes of graphic violence. The author, Hilary Monahan, is half Romany and a sexual assault survivor. Monahan warns readers about the assault and violence in her forward. The attack, although graphic, is handled skillfully. Monahan treats the assault as being both physical and emotional. The story unfolds slowly and intensifies after the assault. The combination of revenge, fueled by magic, will keep teens reading to the end to find out what happens to Bethan, Martyn and Silas.

Hand this to teens that enjoy horror novels such as Asylum by Madeleine Roux and Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake.

Beth Slade


I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
Tu Books / Lee & Low Books
Publication Date: October 15, 2017
ISBN:  9781620142639 

Alfonso Jones is a good kid. He’s a bike messenger as a way to make some money on the side, he’s cast in the part of Hamlet in his school, and he’s trying on a new suit to celebrate the homecoming of his incarcerated father. That sartorial decision is the last one he makes as he is gunned down by an officer who is moonlighting as a security guard. Alfonso’s soul will not know peace until he has viewed the historical context of the shooting as the passenger on a paranormal subway tour.

This is a timely issue that will appeal to teens as much as the beautifully rendered art. Reluctant readers will identify with the likable characters, and think deeply about the situations that call attention to the historical injustices that are driving the Black Lives Matter movement.

Though a graphic novel format, this shares the paranormal connection to history that makes Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down so appealing. This is a title that will appeal to fans of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Dear Martin by Nic Stone.

Jodi Kruse


Prince of Pot by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
House of Anansi Press/Groundwood Books
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
ISBN: 978-1554989447 

Isaac and his motley crew family live on an illegal marijuana grow-op, guarded by their family pet bear, Hazel. Having kept a low profile his whole life to protect his family, Isaac is thrown off when new girlfriend, Sam, loves the spotlight. Even worse, her father is a cop.

The forbidden fruit topic of pot is a natural draw for curious teens. Isaac’s complex, dysfunctional family and unconventional methods of living will pull them in even further. Star-crossed lovers, a gigantic pet bear, and a grandpa who interjects loud curse words at the most unexpected of moments seal the deal for reluctant readers. The atmospheric setting of the mountain lends itself to candid family moments that are both darkly humorous and thought-provoking. Trigger warning for animal lovers who are sensitive to tough scenes. Although the characters are flawed, readers will sympathize with their plight and be compelled to root for them as the story unfolds. Gut-busting humor interjects seamlessly into the most sobering of moments, bringing levity to the tough topics presented in the book.

Fans of irreverent humor, such as selections by author Andrew Smith or television shows Weeds and Breaking Bad will find common ground with Kyi’s story.

Lisa Krok

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#GGN2019 Nominees Round Up, March 15 edition

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 13:00

All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
ISBN: 978-0374304850

In this coming-of-age story, thirteen-year-old Bina is left to figure out how to have fun during summer by herself when her best friend, Austin, leaves for soccer camp for a month. At first, she spends her days binging on TV shows and playing guitar, but she soon finds friendship with a person she didn’t expect.

Teens will relate to the story of losing and gaining friendships, and the struggle of maturing into young adulthood. Readers will appreciate the candid dialogue and humor. The art gives the sense of summer with it’s simple tones accented with orange, and panels show the progression and change of each character over a short time.

Fans of Larson’s previous graphic novels will readily enjoy this story about being yourself.
–Amanda Cain


Water Memory by Valérie Vernay and Mathieu Reynès
Lion Forge
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
ISBN: 9781941302439

Marion and her mother have just moved to her mother’s childhood home with the hopes of making a fresh start. It’s a small seaside town, where mysterious rock carvings litter the cliffs, and a generations old mystery is tied to the sea. Marion faces rising tides, intimidating lighthouse keepers, and the anger of the sea itself to uncover a generations old family secret.

The illustrations feature atmospheric water colors that perfectly capture the feel of a town by the sea, sometimes gorgeous, sometimes stormy. Readers will identify with Marion’s need to uncover the truth despite the possible dangers, and her longing for personal connections.

Recommended for fans of Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier and the Bone series by Jeff Smith. Or any reader who likes a dreamy story with a scary edge.

–Jessica Ormonde


Black Bolt Vol. 1: Hard Time by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward
Marvel Press
Publication Date: December 19, 2017
ISBN: 9781302907327

Blackagar Boltagon’s brother Maximus usurped his kingdom and switches places with Blackagar, meaning that instead of Maximus in prison, it’s Blackagar instead. Blackagar finds that the powers of his voice have been taken away.

Not only does Black Bolt have to prove to his fellow inmates that he is deserving of their trust, but he also has to prove to himself that he is worthy even without his powers working to full speed. Black Bolt, Crusher Creel, and Raava end up coordinating a prison escape, but the escape brings up more complications and Black Bolt’s loyalty and bravery are put to the test.

Black Bolt’s heroics and the electrifying colors contrasted with black expanses give this volume a strong and confident visual presence. This is a strong addition to the already rich Marvel universe, and perfect for fans of X men, Avengers and lone wolf hero types.

–Amy Estersohn

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2018 Teen Read Week™ theme Announced!

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 12:30

The theme was recently announced as “It’s Written in the Stars…READ” for this year’s Teen Read Week celebration, which will take place October 7-13. Library staff, afterschool providers and educators can use this theme to encourage teens to think and read outside of the box, as well as seek out fantasy, science fiction and other out-of- this-world reads.

The official site will launch on April 12, during National Library Week. Library staff are encouraged to join the site at for a variety of free resources for help planning Teen Read Week activities, including access to the TRW grant application, the 2018 logo, a publicity kit, a program planning template and more. Theme related products will be available in the ALA store after the site launch and will include print (available in English only) and digital products (available in English and Spanish).

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#AA2019 Nominees Round Up, March 14 edition

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 13:00

The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian, narrated by Kyla Garcia
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication Date: December 22, 2017
ISBN: 978-1538512227

Daria Esfandyar and her best friends call themselves “the Authentics” because they are all trying to be who they really are inside, whether or not it is considered cool or acceptable.  When a school assignment prompts Daria to take a DNA/ancestry test to surprising results, she suddenly doesn’t feel so true and real. As she investigates her family’s history, Daria also contends with her mother’s planning of a grand Iranian-American sweet sixteen party (which she doesn’t actually want) and new developments among her friends.  Along the way she also falls for a somewhat forbidden boy.

Narrator Kyla Garcia truly becomes fifteen-year-old Daria, voicing her confidence and spirit as clearly as her doubts and introspection.  Garcia masterfully portrays both female and male characters diverse in age and cultural/linguistic background. It’s easy to forget that this recording is not an ensemble cast, so distinct is the sound of each character’s dialogue.

Those who enjoy The Authentics may also want to try The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  Without revealing too much about the plot of The Authentics, these books also focus on family history and self-identity.  And for those who simply enjoy Kyla Garcia’s voicing of the teen experience, her recording of Isabel Quintero’s Gabi, a Girl in Pieces is a also a “must-listen”.

–Anna Dalin

Artemis, by Andy Weir, narrated by Rosario Dawson
Audio Published by Audible Studios
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
ISBN: 978-1543641493

Jazz Bashara is a criminal… or is she? Artemis is the first and only city on the moon, but it is tough to live in it if you’re a rich tourist or a billionaire. Wealthy tourists get to experience the city’s luxuries, while ordinary citizens experience the normalities of everyday life: the struggles between the haves and have-nots, corruption, violence, crime, the usual. You do what you have to do to get by, even if it means smuggling contraband into the city. What’s a young woman to do? Jazz has debts to pay and working as a mere porter barely covers her rent.

Our female protagonist grew up in the city and knows the place like the back of her hand. This knowledge makes her work easier, hauling stuff around, and working as a smuggler on the side. One day, a wealthy client gives her a job that may help Jazz back on her feet. Finally, a chance to set herself up for life, whether it be on or off of Artemis, even if it is morally wrong. Things don’t go as planned. Jazz realizes that she is now in the middle of something much bigger than a “get-rich-quick” scheme. She soon finds herself on the verge of being deported back to Earth or in danger of getting killed.

Rosario Dawson’s performance of Artemis breathed life into the character Jazz Bashara from the moment she failed her test to join the E.V.A. guild because of her “bought-used” suit and her near-death experience during the exam. The vocals from Dawson makes the audiobook a fast-paced listen, listeners yearning for more. Jazz is a great personality to follow in Weir’s book, with her “don’t give two sh***” attitude, despite her being “one of the little people” living in the lowest of the low in Conrad’s bubble; a “capsule domicile,” or what the Artemis common-folk call a “coffin”. Dawson has given this audiobook exactly what it needed: the kick-butt tone, the dreariness of what realities are like for the working class people living on Artemis, the hoity-toitiness of the upper class tourists, etc.

Andy Weir’s Artemis is classified as Adult Fiction, but has a lot of Young Adult appeal. It is recommended for older teens for its content.

–Joyce Fong

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#QP2019 Nominees Round Up, March 13 edition

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 13:00

A Very, Very Bad Thing by Jeffery Self
PUSH / Scholastic
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
ISBN: 978-1338118407 

One (BIG) mistake doesn’t mean Marley is a completely awful person, right? Marley is afraid he will never find something to be passionate about, until he falls fast and hard for the new kid in town. Unfortunately for them, Christopher also happens to be the son of a very famous televangelist who is determined to prevent Christopher from having a boyfriend. Christopher’s parents’ decision to send him to a “pray away the gay” camp leads to a tragic experience that may not be what it seems at first glance. Then Marley tells a lie, and he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of attention that he isn’t sure how to handle.

A Very, Very Bad Thing is a sweet, sparse story with a heartbreaking twist. The story is told from a single point-of-view, with main characters who are relatable and distinctive and secondary characters who are well-defined but not over-explained. The cover image is fresh and striking, and the book is woven through with bits of absolute hilarity despite some very sad moments. A brief but touching and deeply emotional story about first love, first heartbreak, and how to tell the whole truth.

Read-alikes for this title include Simon and the Homosapiens Agenda (along with the newly released movie Love, Simon), The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, and selections by Adam Silvera.

Allie Stevens


The Red Bandanna by Tom Rinaldi
Viking / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
ISBN:  9780425287637

Welles Crowther always dreamed of being a fireman–it was his vocation. On the last day of his life, September 11, 2001, Welles saved dozens of people in his workplace: the South Tower of the World Trade Center. They didn’t know his name until much later, but they did remember that he carried a red bandanna. This touching biography of a real-life hero chronicles his formative years, his love of helping people, and how millions of people have been inspired by his courage and selflessness.

The Red Bandanna is a heart-wrenching biography that gives a face to the events of September 11. Black and white photographs throughout the book conveys the intimate feel of a family album. The writing is clear and accessible. Teens for whom these events are history, not a memory, will be sobered by the forthright, honest story of one man whose focus and passion was helping other people. By including the story of Welles’ high school and college years, the author makes him relatable and accessible to a teen audience who have experienced similar situations.

Readers interested in recent American history, those who enjoyed books like Wendy Mills’ All We Have Left, or films inspired by real-life events such as Sully will enjoy this book.

Pamela Penza


Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
HarperTeen  / Harper Collins Publishers
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
ISBN: 9780062330628  

Grace, Maya, and Joaquin have one thing in common: their birth mother. Their life experiences have been very different. Grace and Maya were adopted at birth. Joaquin, their older brother, has been a product of a foster system that has alternately wanted him and spit him out. When Grace gets pregnant and gives her own baby up for adoption, she is motivated to meet her biological siblings and find her birth mother.

The alternating perspectives of Grace, Maya, and Joaquin are unified in the telling by a outside narrator. Benway starts with the hook of Grace giving birth on the night of homecoming, and what follows is a believable cast of diverse characters who rapidly become the safety net for one another. This is a heartwarming story that will make readers laugh and cry by turns. Reluctant readers will be intrigued by the individual stories of each of the protagonists and their search for their birth mother.

Fans of Jennifer Niven’s Holding Up the Universe and Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything will warm to this story.

Jodi Kruse

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Best Fiction for Young Adults 2019 (#BFYA2019) Nominee Round Up

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 13:00

It’s time for more selected lists nominees! Stay tuned to the Hub as we reveal the nominees for 2019’s Quick Picks, Amazing Audiobooks, Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and Best Fiction for Young Adults!

Today you can see our first Best Fiction for Young Adult 2019 (#BFYA2019) nominee.

Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
ISBN: 9781101940440

Wren is just fourteen years old, but she is out of control: she drinks, smokes pot, shoplifts, and lies compulsively to cover up her destructive behaviour. Her parents, bewildered and at a loss for how to help her, ship her off to a wilderness therapy program for troubled teens in a last-ditch attempt to get her clean.

Wren finds herself stranded in the desert with a group of other girls and a crew of no-nonsense counselors, far from the comforts of electricity and running water. Bitter, stubborn, and angry, Wren refuses to cooperate until the need to survive the stark desert environment forces her to open herself up to their help and their friendship. It’s not an easy process, and the deep-seated anger that Wren carries with her does not dissipate lightly. Rather, this is a moving, realistic look at the process of reckoning with one’s self, which reads like a revelation into the transformative power of nature and the resilience of the human spirit.

Headstrong, feisty Wren is likeable despite behaving like a complete brat, for her inner turmoil is palpable and her voice is amusing, raw, and real. The desert wilderness setting adds an evocative dimension to this intense and ultimately uplifting story of survival and self-discovery. Wren’s journey will be relatable to teens who feel misunderstood or unappreciated by their friends and families, and the wilderness survival camp plot will hold a fascinating appeal to fans of tough-love stories.

–Jenny Zbrizher

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2019 (#GGN2019) Round Up

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 13:00

It’s time for more selected lists nominees! Stay tuned to the Hub as we reveal the nominees for 2019’s Quick Picks, Amazing Audiobooks, Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and Best Fiction for Young Adults!

Today you can see our first three Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2019 (#GGN2019) selections.

Escape from Syria by Samya Kullab and Jackie Roche
Firefly Books
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
ISBN: 978-1770859821

Amina’s family now lives in Canada, but they fled Syria four years earlier after their home was destroyed. The reader sees Amina and her family’s journey from Syria to neighboring Lebanon, and later through Europe until finally her family arrives in Canada.

This story provides the reader with relevant historical information about the events leading up to the Syrian civil war and explains some of the underlying tensions between Syria and Lebanon. In addition, it explores the difficult choices refugees must make about announcing residence and working with smugglers. The use of grim colors in both the refugee camps and in Canada underscores the scope and scale of these issues.

Hand to readers who want to learn more about current affairs or who were captivated by Refugee by Alan Gratz or Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai.

–Amy Estersohn

Life on Earth 1: Losing the Girl by MariNaomi
Graphic Universe
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
ISBN: 9781512449105

Claudia Jones is missing. Her classmates come up with wild and crazy theories. Could it be an alien abduction? But beyond theorizing, they barely notice their classmate’s disappearance. They’re too wrapped up in their own lives. We follow four classmates as they deal with difficult friendships, life changing surprises, summer jobs, and unrequited love.

This book explores the complex issues that can come up during the teenage years. Changing friendship dynamics, unexpected pregnancy, romantic rejection, domestic violence, and taking care of unstable parents are all featured prominently in the lives of the four main characters. The illustrations shift to perfectly compliment the story as the tone moves between light and wacky to serious.

Hand to fans of fast-paced, angst-filled graphic novels, or those who enjoyed This One Summer, and authors Raina Telgemeier and Hope Larson.

–Jessica Ormonde

The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
First Second
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
ISBN: 978-1626724266

Pig has an important job to do, if only somebody else understood how difficult and important it is. Since his father’s disappearance, it’s been up to Pig and Pig alone to keep the darkness of the fog away from his town. However, the fog seems to be coming back stronger and more vengeful each time Pig attempts to keep it away.

This book captures a visually arresting universe with darkness at its literal and metaphorical edges, and the art plays up the light/dark play to great effect, like eerily backlit scenes contrasted with a mysterious, foreboding fog. Readers get a story of Pig’s anguish over both the responsibilities that have been left to him and his fear of the unknown.

This title will appeal to readers who enjoy dark fantasies like The Adventures of John Blake, where kids end up having to take on adult responsibilities.

–Amy Estersohn

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Amazing Audiobooks 2019 (#AA2019) Round Up

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:00

It’s time for more selected lists nominees! Stay tuned to the Hub as we reveal the nominees for 2019’s Quick Picks, Amazing Audiobooks, Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and Best Fiction for Young Adults!

Today you can see our first two Amazing Audibooks 2019 (#AA2019) selections.

The Cruel Prince
, by Holly Black, narrated by Caitlin Kelly
Audio Published by Hachette Audio
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
ISBN: 978-1478923732

As children, Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and older sister Vivienne witness a Fairy general named Madoc murder their parents. He then whisks them away to live within the confines of the High Court of Faerie, a realm away from the human world. Desperate in trying to find their own place in their new world filled with deceitful cruel fey creatures; the sisters face hateful stares and injustice within the Faerie realm.

Years later, the sisters have their own agendas. Vivi, the only sister with Fey blood, wishes to return to the human world. Taryn finds that the only way to live happily is to assimilate with the Faerie rules. Between  their peers Prince Cardan, Locke, Valarian, and Nicasia, Jude and her sisters have plenty of drama to go around. Prince Cardan, the youngest son of the ruled-for-centuries High King, is wicked, charming, smart, and utterly cruel. He seems to have found a target in Jude and makes every effort to make her life utterly miserable. Nicasia loves having power, Valarian likes violence and Locke is intrigued with dramatics; they all have their own ways in torturing Jude and her sisters.

Jude finds comfort in rebellion, bloodshed, and proving her worth as a mortal by taking place in the King’s council. Although the Fae community depends on humankind, as Fae women are not able to conceive and bear children, they are treated as inferiors; constantly reminded of their lesser status within the community. Jude makes it clear that she wants to prove that she will become one of the greatest knights that the Faerie Court has ever seen. Tension rises as hearts are played with and emotions run awry with secrets lurking around every corner. With Jude constantly under pressure, Taryn, her twin sister, must watch and endure it all.

Caitin Kelly does a remarkable performance for this piece as she captivates the essence of each character’s words and actions throughout the reading of Black’s The Cruel Prince. The tone changes between each character, depending on type: whether they are angry and violent, sweet, or spine-chillingly meeting the face of death. Black’s novel is suitable for ages 13 and up, due to the nature of the story: violence, bullying and abuse. This book comes highly recommended for those that are very interested in creatures of the Faerie world, High Court, and the politics that lie between humans and Fae. If you’ve enjoyed Carrie Jones’ Need series or Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, this may be one that you’d like to pick up.

–Joyce Fong


Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 9, 2018

Neal Shusterman’s Thunderhead starts from where Scythe, the first book in this series, ends. Rowan / Scythe Lucifer is still on the run from the Scythdom especially since he has chosen to continue gleaning other scythes. Citra / Scythe Anastasia is also making waves in the Scythdom, choosing to give her victims 30 days to get their affairs in order and choose how they will die. Then there is the Thunderhead, which has chosen Grayson Tolliver to act on its behalf, and work around the laws that bind it from interfering in the Scythdom. Even Scythe Faraday has his own mission, looking for information on how to restore order to the Scythdom, taking him from one ancient library to the next. All forces collide throughout the story, making this a fast-paced dystopian drama and leaving every listener on the edge of their seat.

Thunderhead, while a sequel, brings to light many new topics as well as continuing to unfold topics we have already discovered while reading Scythe. The story is thought provoking, epically when it comes to technology, authority, and ethics. While Rowan and Citra continue to be the main characters, new characters are thrown into the narrative as well, and are all give their own distinct voice by Greg Trembley. Trembley’s narration and tone emulate that of the Scythes, who are powerful in a world where everyone else is equal, and the all knowing Thunderhead. There is emotion where it is needed, and a lack of emotion when it is needed as well, for the Thunderhead does not feel emotion.

In Scythe, we learn a little about the Thunderhead, but in this novel we get to be inside of the Thunderhead’s mind, so to speak. The Thunderhead is the supreme of A.I., which brings movies like I, Robot, Passengers, and Ex Machina to mind, and books like The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman. While the topic of A.I. can be quite deep and possibly scary, Shusterman has a way of throwing some dark humor into the story, Scythe Beyonce would have to be the best example of this. So with intelligence and wit this story comes together, and keeps the reader/listener intrigued until the very end, of course leaving us wanting more.

–Samantha Jackson

The post Amazing Audiobooks 2019 (#AA2019) Round Up appeared first on The Hub.

Quick Picks 2019 (#QP2019) Round Up

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 13:07

It’s time for more selected lists nominees! Stay tuned to the Hub as we reveal the nominees for 2019’s Quick Picks, Amazing Audiobooks, Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and Best Fiction for Young Adults!

Today you can see our first three Quick Picks 2019 (#QP2019) selections.

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
Dutton Books/Penguin Random House
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
ISBN: 978-0735227422

Jess Wong is a comic writer with a serious crush on her BFF, Angie. However, Angie has other plans…like her popular new girlfriend, Margot, and Margot’s circle of privileged boarding school friends. When Jess and these friends find a box of black satin holding an ornate golden gun, things change forever for all of them.

From the darkly designed, stark cover of a dripping hand to the attention-grabbing first page, readers will be instantly drawn into Jess’ world. When one of the girls in the group goes missing and is found shot and killed, the curving plot twists are plentiful. The side story of Jess’ comic keeps readers guessing as to what is part of the comic, and what is real. Varied writing formats including prose, scripted police scenes, and social media keep things fresh and engrossing. Cultural and LGBTQ diversity adds to the compelling mix and broad appeal. The intensifying pace and creepy, suspenseful plot will keep readers engaged through the jaw-dropping epilogue.

Hand this twisty thriller to fans of Little Monsters by Kara Thomas, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, and viewers of the television show How to Get Away With Murder.

Lisa Krok


Alone by Cyn Balog
Sourcebooks Fire/Sourcebooks, Inc.
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
ISBN: 978-1492655473

Seda’s mom inherits a creepy old mansion that once featured a live murder mystery show. Hanging out there while her parents prepare to sell it sounds like a fun adventure for the summer…until her mom doesn’t want to leave and return to their home in Boston.  When a twenty-inch snowstorm strands a group of teens there, live murder mystery takes on new meanings.

The door on the cover image just looks like it sounds excessively creaky, while the title Alone seems somewhat skeptical in the crumbling, eerie old house.  The atmospheric tone raises both hairs and interest right from the beginning. Seda continues hearing and seeing the presence of Sawyer, her imaginary friend from childhood, the one she told her mother was gone years ago. Her two sets of younger twin siblings have found amusement in some ghoulish old props from the haunted shows, lending humor to the sinister atmosphere as the teens are stranded during the storm. A scavenger hunt to pass the time during the storm results in disturbing and unexpected events for the participants. When the teens are dressing up in old costumes, one of them claims to be Robert E. Lee in his military attire.  Given the events in Charlottesville, this could easily have been adjusted to a generic military costume, or left out altogether. Otherwise, the menacing, suspenseful hunt through the old home is spot-on, leaving horror lovers frantically turning pages.

Obviously a nod to Stephen King’s The Shining, horror fans will eat this up. Aficionados of Jonathan Maberry, Stephen King, and American Horror Story are ideal readers.

Lisa Krok


The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves
Harper Teen / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
ISBN: 9780062488534

It’s tough being broke in the Maesta, a group of low income apartments in Tampa, and Marcos Rivas is just trying to survive. He’s trying to survive school, his mother’s boyfriend, and the rough neighborhood he lives in. If he’s lucky, he’ll be okay. If he’s really lucky, he might even find a girlfriend.

Marcos is a likable character in a difficult living situation. He’s jaded, but his environment hasn’t entirely killed his hope. Readers will be pulling for him as he and his friends struggle with temptations and situations that are universally recognizable like finding first love, getting a job, escaping through drugs, and navigating abusive family relationships. Teens who are struggling with life and school will immediately relate to challenges in Marcos’s world.

This is a title that is reminiscent of LouAnne Johnson’s Muchacho with the added benefit that it is written by a man of color who experienced the world. The emphasis on pick-up basketball games will appeal to readers of Matt de la Peña’s Ball Don’t Lie while the gritty life experiences will appeal to fans of Coe Booth’s Tyrell and Swati Avashti’s Split.

Jodi Kruse

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Women in Comics: Quests

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 07:00

Characters setting out on quests are an important part of many literary genres and formats. From the Epic of Gilgamesh to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, quests have been part of some of our most enduring pieces of literature. These stories often work perfectly as the basis of graphic novels, meaning that there are many quests in comics and graphic novels. This list brings together just a few great examples of quests in comics and graphic novels. Whether you prefer fantasy or nonfiction, there is a quest here for you!

M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder – All Abbie wants to do is make her way to the Potter’s Spine mountain range to scatter her mother’s ashes. As the book opens, Abbie is already on her quest to scatter her mother’s ashes and has been badly injured. She emerges from a sandstorm into a small town where she is given care and meets the locals. Though she wants nothing more than to continue on her journey alone, she finds herself meeting the locals and trying to deal with the fact that she has superpowers but no particular desire to be anyone’s hero. This book collects the first three chapters of Magruder’s webcomic and those who enjoy this volume can catch up with chapter 4 online while they wait for the next print volume. Abbie is a great character that will be relatable to many readers. Magruder does a nice job of making her a well-developed character whose deafness is a part of her but not her only defining quality. The artwork is beautiful and pulls readers into this world from page one. This will definitely appeal to any readers who like to follow characters as they try to achieve personal quests.

Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G. – An evil queen bent on world domination, a father focused on pressuring his son to conform to his desires, and a sister who wants nothing more than to be a knight; all in all, Cucumber is surrounded by people who are determined to force him onto a path towards heroics even though he’d rather just head off to the magical school of his nerdy dreams instead. But, the kingdom won’t save itself, so Cucumber sets off with his sister Almond to find the Dream Sword and stop Queen Cordelia before she can cause any more harm. This cute and colorful comic is just the first in four volumes of the story, but it offers a great introduction to the seven kingdoms of Dreamside and their inhabitants. It is a fun and fluffy read.

The Castoffs: Mage Against the Machine by MK Reed and Brian Smith with art by Molly Ostertag and Wyeth Yates – In a world that was torn apart by the Great Mage Machine War, Charris, Trinh, and Ursa have been asked to work together to deliver a memory potion to a healer. But working together doesn’t necessarily come easily to them, particularly since they all have such different powers. As they begin to realize that there is more at work here than anyone first realized, they will have to overcome their initial distrust and work together to be the heroes that are needed.

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson with art by Andrea Offermann – Based on a classic Arthurian story, this graphic novel follows Sir Yvain as he leaves King Arthur’s court in search of personal glory. Along the way, he undertakes multiple quests and impacts the lives of the people around in, often in ways he never realizes. This telling of the story focuses not only on Yvain but on the consequences of his actions, making it rich with emotion and growth for many of the characters. The artwork in this book is a beautiful play on medieval styles that helps to set the scene and support the action of the story.

Eternal Empire by Sarah Vaughn with art by Jonathan Luna – War has existed between the Eternal Empire and its neighbors for generations. The book opens with the Eternal Empress undergoing a ceremony with a dragon to combine human and dragon power together. What follows is a war that allows her to slowly take control of all the lands around her. As she conquers lands, she forces their people to join the brutal workforce that keeps her army in power. The story follows a man and a woman who are able to escape her clutches. As their own dreams and fate bring them together, they realize that they have a fantastic and unexplained power together that may give them the strength to fight back against the Eternal Empress and her forces.

Tomb Raider: Spore Vol. 1 by Mariko Tamaki with art by Phillip Sevy – Over the last few years, Mariko Tamaki has been quite busy, writing new arcs for She-Hulk, Supergirl, and Lara Croft. In this Tomb Raider series, she continues to show that she can write action packed stories that are great for both long-standing fans of a series and newcomers. The story finds Croft learning of a possible mushroom of immortality while at an archaeology conference and being plunged into a race to find a specimen before a mysterious group tracks it down instead. This new volume will work well for those who are new to the character. It works as a standalone story that introduces much of what has made Croft a classic character, including remote locations, fantastic action sequences, and a powerful female character.

Algeria is Beautiful Like America by Olivia Burton with art by Mahi Grand – If you prefer non-fiction quests, you may be interested in this memoir, which follows Olivia Burton as she visits Algeria on a quest to learn more about the country that she has heard about from her family for her entire life. The story is a reflection on her conflicted feelings about her family’s role in the colonization of Algeria and their subsequent actions during the Algerian War of Independence. Burton effectively mixes personal stories and history together with her own memories of her trip to the country to offer a fascinating glimpse of the country. This book, which doesn’t claim that there are easy answers, will leave readers interested in learning more about Algeria’s history.

These are only a small fraction of the comics out there that feature characters on a quest. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any of your favorites!

– Carli Spina, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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New Translated YA: Winter 2018

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 07:00

What’s new in translated YA? The beginning of the year brings us several translated fantasies out of Germany and France, a unique coming-of-age story from Quebec, and a collective feminist biography from France just in time for Women’s History Month, with five starred reviews to boot! Fill your shelves with these exciting books to give your teens a taste of what their peers around the world are reading, and gain some global perspective while they’re at it.

The Forgotten Book; by Mechthild Gläser; translated by Romy Fursland; Feiwel & Friends, 2018 (Germany)

Emma finds an old book at her German boarding school Stolzenburg Castle, and soon discovers that anything she writes in it comes true; however, someone else also knows about the book and will stop at nothing to take it from her. Boarding school life provides a vivid backdrop to this twisty mystery fantasy.

“A clever book with winks at Jane Austen novels, this boarding school story will also delight fantasy fans.” School Library Journal




The Book of Pearl; by Timothée de Fombelle; translated by Sarah Ardizzone & Sam Gordon; Candlewick, 2018 (France)

Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in — a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place — an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II. As his memories begin to fade, Joshua seeks out strange objects: tiny fragments of tales that have already been told, trinkets that might possibly help him prove his own story before his love is lost forever.

“Alternating storylines and narrators challenge and beguile, eventually merging into a masterfully interconnected tale in which compelling themes of revenge, love, and devotion transcend both the fairy world’s fantasy and the realism of wartime Paris. A luminous, haunting, intriguingly intricate modern fairy tale.” —Kirkus, starred review

“French author de Fombelle…has created a hauntingly beautiful story that has the weight and imagination of classic fairy tales by the likes of Grimm and Perrault. Can curses be broken? Can lovers be reunited and return to their home world? Or are they doomed to remain in one where they will always be separated? The answers are slowly and tantalizing revealed in beautifully artful ways, proving that ours, too, can be a world of unforgettable stories.” —Booklist, starred review

“Fans of Inkheart and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will enjoy this fantastical and romantic book, while the sophisticated language, literary devices, and historical background may make this a fine option for a class book study.” —School Library Journal

Ophelia; by Charlotte Gingras; illustrated by Daniel Sylvestre; translated by Christelle Morelli & Susan Ouriou; Groundwood, 2018 (Quebec, Canada)

Two teenaged outsiders establish an uneasy truce in this visually arresting, one-of-a-kind collage-style novel.

“Text and art mesh subtly, the latter ranging from semi-abstract to finely detailed collages, emphatic and powerful. Words scrawled in and over the art are in the original French, their meaning rewarding readers’ investigation but not essential for appreciating their impact. A spare, emotionally evocative coming-of-age journey.” —Kirkus




Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World; by Pénélope Bagieu; illustrated by Pénélope Bagieu; translated by Montana Kane; First Second, 2018 (France)

Throughout history and across the globe, one characteristic connects the daring women of Brazen: their indomitable spirit. With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Pénélope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

“This French graphic novel offers a satisfying collection of minibiographies about bold women—some contemporary, others from centuries ago—who overcame fearsome odds to achieve a variety of goals, becoming the first black woman in space, a rapper in Afghanistan, a pioneering volcanologist, and more….Bagieu delivers a pièce de résistance that succinctly summarizes the obstacles and victories of these daring women. Insightful and clever, at times infuriating and disheartening, this serves as a reminder that the hardships women face today have been shared―and overcome―by many others.” ―Kirkus, starred review

“This dynamic paean to women’s flair for fierce resistance will have readers happily sifting through history―and tackling the future with renewed verve. Rock on, ladies.” ―Booklist, starred review

“Any one of these stories would make a rousing picture book biography; 29 of them in one volume produces a work whose energy and wit will spur readers to get going and change the world.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A strikingly original collective biography for casual readers, students, and those looking for inspiration in their own lives.” ―School Library Journal, starred review

“This is an encouraging, uplifting book to highlight in any library’s women’s history collection. It will be an inspiration to many young adult readers and browsers.” ―VOYA, starred review


— Jenny Zbrizher, currently reading The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Jenny is a librarian at Morris County Library in New Jersey, specializing in YA and World Languages collection development. When she’s not reading, she’s thinking about the next place she’d like to travel while listening to showtunes. Follow her on Twitter @JennywithaZ

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Magic in the TeenSpot

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 07:00

Seemingly out of nowhere, Magic: The Gathering has become a new obsession in the TeenSpot department at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. I always find it interesting which games become popular with our teens. Most of our regulars tend to be die hard Yu-Gi-Oh players, or fanatical about Roblox. I was a bit surprised (and very excited) to watch this new passion for the Magic: The Gathering card game to unfold.

It began with one of my coworkers bringing in her Magic: The Gathering cards. When another coworker saw them, he brought in his card collection. One by one, more and more teens gained interest. Staff began bringing in extra cards to build decks for our teens. One of our security guards donated an entire box – thousands of cards – to the department. We taught the teens to build their own decks and how to play. Now, nearly every day we have a mini tournament at our public desk. Staff from other departments have grown interested, and learned how to play. As someone who grew up playing Magic, it warms my heart to see so much interest in the game.

These tournaments are fun and a great way for teens who may not know each other to come together over a common interest. Many of our teens did not know that there is a book series based on Magic: The Gathering. These tournaments have provided a great opportunity for some readers’ advisory!   

If you think your teens might be interested in this awesome game, here are some resources to get you started!

  • Basics for those who are new to Magic
  • Tournament Rules from Wizards of the Coast
  • Magic: The Gathering Wiki
  • Are your teens more interested in online gaming? Play Xmage or online, free!
  • Or play the official Magic: The Gathering online for a fee.
  • Check Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, and other online “yard sale” sites and apps for cheap, bulk cards.
  • Magic: The Gathering novels

–Megan Whitt, currently reading Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

The post Magic in the TeenSpot appeared first on The Hub.

The 2018 Hub Reading Challenge Begins Today!

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 07:00

What’s the Hub Reading Challenge?

The goal of the Hub Reading Challenge is to read 25 books over the next four months from a list of the most recent award winner and honor books and YALSA selected lists. This challenge encourages participants to discover new titles and explore genres outside of your comfort zone. And for library staff, you’ll hopefully get to build your readers’ advisory skills and totally impress your coworkers and patrons.

How do I participate?

First of all, comment on this post and let us know that you’re in! If you’re going to be tracking what you read/listen to on your blog or on Goodreads, LibraryThing, YouTube or some other site, include a link. And be sure to tag your posts #hubchallenge! (If you’re not tracking your reading online, keep a list some other way.)

Once a month, we’ll publish a check-in post. Leave a comment to talk about what you’re reading for the challenge. If you’ve reviewed those titles somewhere online, include links to those reviews! Otherwise, let us know what you thought of the books in the comments. There will be an finisher form embedded in each check-in post, so once you’re done with the challenge, fill out the form with your name and contact information.

What books can I read?

Eligible books are the YA titles that were named winners, honor titles, or top ten* selections from 2018 awards and YALSA’s selected lists. Click here for a sortable spreadsheet of eligible titles! If you’d like to see the complete lists or learn more about individual awards, links with more information will be at the bottom of this post.

*For lists with top tens that included children’s books, we added in some extra YA titles just to boost that number up to ten. Hooray options!

Challenge rewards




Beyond experiencing the best of the best that YA lit has to offer, everyone who finishes the challenge will be invited to submit a response to a book they read for the challenge. The response can be text, graphics, audio, video and will be published on The Hub. Furthermore, everyone who finishes the challenge will be entered into a random drawing for our grand prize featuring bookish goodies to be revealed later.

The fine print

  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) since the award winners and selected lists have been released and 11:59pm EST on June 30, 2018. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count.
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
  • Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
  • The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on July 1, 2018. The winner will be notified via email.

More information about specific awards and lists

–Stephen Ashley, currently reading Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi

The post The 2018 Hub Reading Challenge Begins Today! appeared first on The Hub.

Month in Review: February 2018

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:29

What happened in YA this month? Here is a quick round up of featured posts on The Hub and other links to keep you up to date when collecting for your teens.

At the Hub Books & Reading Movies & TV In the News


— Cathy Outten, currently reading The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson


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