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Diversify YA Life: Islamic Mythology & Middle Eastern Folktales

Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00

Jinns have made a remarkable appearance in YA fiction in the last couple of years and with it comes diverse characters.

A Jinn is any of a class of spirits, lower than the angels, capable of appearingin human and animal forms and influencing humankind for either good or evil.

Below, you’ll find a list of YA fiction about Jinns.

When Zahara is released from her lamp she finds herself in a world where her magic is forbidden but when the King offers her permanent release, she must decide between freedom from the lamp or love.

This twisted tale changes one plot detail from popular Disney stories.  Whole New World asks what would happen if Jafar was the first one to summon the genie.

Azra, a Jinn, is evading her Jinn duties and masquerades as a human but when she discovers her powers are different from her Jinn friends, she must find out if her new powers will save or endanger her friends.

When Zayele is forced to marry a prince of Baghdad, she finds a Jinn and wishes to trade places.

Nalia is a powerful Jinn who was sold in the Jinn slave trade.  She’s stuck in a bottle and must grant wishes for her horrible Hollywood master. One day Nalia meets Raif who promises to free her but it’s a high price and Nalia isn’t sure she can trust him.

Amani lives in Dustwalk where nothing happens.  When her sharpshooting skills fails to aid in her escape, she finds a wanted stranger to help.

Islamic Mythology & Middle Eastern Folktales Printable Booklist

— Dawn Abron, currently watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

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2016 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees Announced!

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 10:10

The moment is finally here! Here are the 2016 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees!

This year’s list of nominees features 26 titles that were published between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015.

The nominees are as follows:

  • Baker, Chandler. Alive. Disney/Hyperion.
  • Bardugo, Leigh. Six of Crows. Macmillan/Henry Holt & Co.
  • Black, Holly. The Darkest Part of the Forest. Little, Brown & Co.
  • Boecker, Virginia. The Witch Hunter. Little, Brown & Co.
  • Brockenbrough, Martha. The Game of Love and Death. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Childs, Tera Lynn, and Tracy Deebs. Powerless. Sourcebooks Fire.
  • Cornwell, Betsy. Mechanica. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion Books.
  • Dinnison, Kris. You and Me and Him. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion Books.
  • Doktorski, Jennifer Salvato. The Summer After You and Me. Sourcebooks Fire.
  • Doller, Trish. The Devil You Know. Bloomsbury.
  • Heltzel, Anne. Charlie, Presumed Dead. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Kaufman, Amie, and Kristoff, Jay. Illuminae. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Laurie, Victoria. When. Disney/Hyperion.
  • Matharu, Taran. The Novice: Summoner: Book One. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends.
  • Nielsen, Jennifer, A. Mark of the Thief. Scholastic/Scholastic Press.
  • Niven, Jennifer. All the Bright Places. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Priest, Cherie, Illustrated by Kali Ciesemier. I Am Princess X. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine.
  • Schmidt, Tiffany. Hold Me Like a Breath. Bloomsbury.
  • Schreiber, Joe. Con Academy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Sedgwick, Marcus. The Ghosts of Heaven. Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press
  • Simmons, Kristen. The Glass Arrow. Tor Teen.
  • Stohl, Margaret. Black Widow Forever Red. Disney/Marvel Press
  • Stone, Tamara Ireland. Every Last Word. Disney/Hyperion
  • Westerfeld, Scott, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. Zeroes. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse.
  • Weingarten, Lynn. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
  • Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything. Random House/Delacorte Press.

A full list of the nominees with annotations can be found at

Encourage teens to read the nominees throughout the summer so they are ready for the national Teens’ Top Ten vote, which will take place August 15 through Teen Read Week (October 9-15). The 10 nominees that receive the most votes will be named the official 2016 Teens’ Top Ten.

In celebration of the nominees being named, YALSA will be giving away 40 sets of the nominees through its 2016 Teens’ Top Ten Book Giveaway, generously funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Interested applicants can apply now through May 1, 2016 via this online form.

Learn more about the Teens’ Top Ten at

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International Stories in Verse for National Poetry Month

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 07:00

Books can allow readers to experience other parts of the world than where they live, exposing them to new cultures. Novels in verse can be an especially accessible way to access these stories, since the sparse, vivid language focuses on images and emotions, painting a picture of other times, places, and experiences.

These novels in verse tell stories of struggles from around the world, and are great to feature for National Poetry Month and year-round.

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

A young girl in rural Haiti has a powerful dream of becoming a doctor. But can that dream overcome extreme poverty and a devastating earthquake? Her interest is in both traditional ways of healing and modern medicine, and her hope is to honor her brother who died as a child. This is an inspiring story beautifully told.

Caminar by Skila Brown

In this novel in verse, the horrors of the Guatemalan civil war serve as a backdrop for a young man’s coming of age. This can serve as a conversation starter for discussions on gender and war. 

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle

In this beautiful novel in verse Margarita Engle tells us the story of the Panama Canal and the people who built it despite incredible hardship and cruelty. This history was unknown to me, and will likely be unfamiliar to teen readers as well.

All of Margarita Engle’s books are fantastic, so don’t limit yourself to picking up just one.

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pickney

An inspiring and revealing story of a young Sudanese refugee’s experience. Poetic verse and captivating illustrations make this a great book to hand to a reluctant reader.

The Good Braider by Terry Farish

In beautiful, sparse prose, Farish tells the story of a Sudanese refugee family making a new life in the United States. This is a long, hard, and ultimately hopeful journey of a young Sudanese refugee from a country terrorized by war to Portland, Maine, where cultural differences present a continuing struggle.

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Veda is an accomplished dancer, so when an accident causes her to to lose part of her leg, she’s devastated. This story is one of resilience as she learns to dance with a prosthetic and connects to dance on a more spiritual level. Teens can relate to Veda, who realistically experiences jealousy and frustration even as she’s determined to learn to dance again.

Do you have a favorite novel in verse that set outside the United States? Please share in the comments.

— Molly Wetta, currently reading If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #11

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 21:02

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, and the challenge runs until 11:59pm on June 23, so sign up now!

I’ve been on a graphic novel and nonfiction streak.

I finally read Nimona, and thought it was a lot of fun. I’m not generally a fan of manga, but A Silent Voice was a great look at bullying and people with disabilities, and seemed to be a very sensitive portrayal of the characters. The teens in my library tend to be drawn to the fantasy and action-filled manga, so I was glad to familiarize myself with this title so I could potentially recommend something a little different to them. I was a big fan of My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, so I was excited to check out Trashed. I was surprised by how much research went in to it! 

I really liked Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and thought it was a great introduction to several topics legal history, and the graphics were really well done. It was great paired with Rad American Women A-Z, which introduced me to a lot of women in history that I wasn’t familiar with.

The only fiction I’ve crossed off my list is one audiobook. I listened to Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and it was enchanting! The narration and sound effects definitely added to the experience, and I think this is the perfect title to recommend to families looking for a road trip audiobook.

I’ve finished  11 titles for the challenge, so I’ve still got a way to go. I plan on reading some of the Alex Award winners, as past titles honored have really been great for me personally and great for readers’ advisory. I’m also excited to read Half Wild by Sally Green and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

What have you been reading for the Challenge lately? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and join the conversation on social media; look for the #hubchallenge on Instagram, Twitter, and our Goodreads group. If you’ve finished the Challenge, a) bravo! and b) fill out this form.What have you been reading for the challenge? What are you most excited to get to? Share in the comments!

— Molly Wetta, currently re-listening to Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

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Booklist: Books to Celebrate Earth Day and the Environmentalist in All of Us

Fri, 04/08/2016 - 07:00

Friday, April 22, 2016 is National Earth Day, a day celebrated around the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Started in 1970 and gaining momentum in the 1990s, Earth Day is great time to reevaluate the impact that we are having on the planet. Environmentalism has often been a cause taken up with passion by teens and new adults, and one recent study shows that during the recession years, conservations efforts among teens rose.

In honor of Earth Day, here is a list of nonfiction and fiction titles that explore a variety of aspects of environmental issues and conservation actions.



It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change by Bridget Heos

Exploring the science behind global warming, Heos examines the past, present, and future of climate change, the effects of political denial, and how we can work together, tackle, and lessen the impacts of a warming world.

Plants Vs. Meats: The Health, History, and Ethics of What We Eat by Meredith Sayles Hughes

Covering the historical, nutritional, and ethical impacts of what and how humans eat, Hughes brings in discussion around popular diets; the health and science of what we ingest; environmental impacts of food production; political, ethical, religious factors that lead to personal decisions; and what the future of food may look like.

The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World by Nancy F. Castaldo

Another look at the impact that food production has on the environment with the importance of plant biodiversity prolonged by seed preservation. It also explores the impact of monocultures and genetic engineering on food production.


Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman

A guide to help teens navigate conflicting information around environmental issues that are represented in a variety of newsfeeds. Full of resources and ways that teens can make a difference. Also, see the updated resources and information from Fleischman on the book’s website.

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World by Bill Nye

Nye applies his scientific rigorous understanding of the world to climate change, showing opportunities in today’s environmental crisis as a new beginning to create a cleaner and healthier world.

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni

Investigative journalism  in a graphic novel format  Part diary, part documentary, this looks at our relationship with the planet and explains what global warming is all about.


Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani (Great Graphic Novels 2014)

Graphic novel memoir about three leading primatologists that have often risked their lives to study endangered primates in their diminishing habitats.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind With the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip M. Hoose (2013 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults finalist)

By looking at the remarkable life of B95, a 20-year-old robin-sized shorebird, we see a species of rufa red knots in peril of extinction due to environmental issues.

World Without Fish: How Could We Let This Happen? by Mark Kurlansky (2012 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Nominations)

Could it be possible that the main fish we eat, tuna, salmon, cod, and swordfish, could become extinct within fifty years? Kurlansky shows the environmental state of our oceans and the dwindling supply of our oceanic food supply, and what we can do to help preserve our seas.


We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change by Sally M. Walker (2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

An adaptation by Sally Walker of Tim Flannery’s adult book Weather Makers. This book  looks at climate change and gives suggestions for how young people can  reduce the carbon emissions in their homes, schools, and communities.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat by Richie Chevat and Michael Pollan (2010 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Nominations)

An adaptation for teens of Michael Pollan’s book for adults. With facts, photos, graphs, and visuals, this book encourages youth to consider the personal and global implications of their food choices.

The Green Teen: The Eco-friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet by Jenn Savedge

Filled with easy  tips for things that teens can do increase conservation efforts.


Greasy Rider: Two Dudes, One Fry-Oil-Powered Car, and a Cross-country Search for a Greener Future by Greg Melville (2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

A humorous road-trip from Vermont to California fueled by leftover vegetable oil collected from restaurant grease and dumpsters along the way. Many stops on the way look at institutions seeking alternative energy options for a greener future.

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau (2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

Many teens encounter Henry David Thoreau and his writing during their course of study in the high school years. This anthology is a collection that explores some of the finest environmental writing in the United States since Thoreau’s Walden days.

An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming by Albert Gore

A young reader’s companion to the documentary of the same name, Gore explores the causes and effects of global warming.


The Ghost With Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking, and the Search for Lost Species by Scott Weidensaul (2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

A look at the approximately 30,000 species of animals and plants that go extinct every year, and those rare occurrences when a supposedly extinct species makes a surprise reappearance.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1999 Outstanding Books for the College Bound)

First published in 1962 this book   caused enough alarm and outrage that it led to the banning of the pesticide DDT. Still considered a quintessential book in the environmental cannon.

A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation by Aldo Leopold (2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

Another classic for nature lovers and conservationists, this collection of essays and photos has been hailed as some of the finest nature writing since Thoreau’s Walden.



Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Younger teens will appreciate this fictional and thrilling account of biotechnology gone awry, and what the frightening implications could be if ever an event was to occur.

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer (2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

A tale of survival in the deep wilds of Gabon, living among a group of Chimpanzees threatened by hunting and deforestation.

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston (2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2015 Morris Award Finalist)

An alternate world where dragons thrive on carbon emissions. In an alternate  world where dragons thrive on carbon emissions, and people are unable to give up their use of fossil fuels. Dragon populations are starting to boom requiring the dependency of dragon slayers.


Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

Filled with ecological mysteries and online predators this is one wild ride through the Florida wilds.

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer   (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 14-year-old Sophie’s life is upturned when her mother’s bonobo sanctuary is attacked and she has to rescue the apes and somehow survive in the jungle.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (2011 Printz Award, 2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

A look into the potential future where we need to scavenge our oil from grounded oil tankers. Young Nailer spends his days dismantling toxic waste heaps, until he finds a girl on a shipwrecked tanker, and has to make the choice to strip the tanker or save the girl.


Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

A modern Romeo and Juliet with the differing sides being over the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park.

Empty by Suzanne Weyn

When oil supplies are gone and global warming is leading to devastating storms, teens join together to lead others to a more environmentally-friendly society.

The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd

In this eco-thriller, England is the first country to start carbon dioxide rationing in an attempt to combat global warming. Sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year with  rationing as things spiral in and out of control.


The Law of Ueki by Tsubasa Fukuchi

Manga series full of supernatural beings in a tournament over who gets to be the next god of The Celestial World. Each being picks a junior high school student to fight for them. Ueki has the power for recycling trash, giving this an underlying conservationist message.

Boys, Bears, and A Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald

Jenna, an ardent environmentalist, is spending the summer in rural Canada. She finds that not everyone agrees with her beliefs  and her “Green Teen” initiative is not as well-received as she anticipated.

–Danielle Jones, currently reading The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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Throwback Thursday: Tenderness by Robert Cormier

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 07:00

It’s easy to focus on exciting new releases in YA fiction, but there are titles that stand the test of time and are still relevant to today’s readers. Throwback Thursdays highlights those novels with enduring themes and appeal.

It may seem like just yesterday when you read about the disturbing main character in Cormier’s Tenderness, but the current reader who is 16 years old was not even born when this book was published.  Television and books today are populated with crime shows, serial killers, and loads of suspense, but these books have always had an audience.

Lori is looking for tenderness.  Not the kind she receives from her mother’s boyfriends, but true tenderness where someone will notice and care for her.  She hopes to find that tenderness in Eric.  Eric is also looking for tenderness.  This tenderness seems to always be out of reach, except for that fraction of a moment before death.  The death he brings to others.  Eric is finally leaving jail at the age of 18 for killing his parents.  He claims it was self-defense, but Detective Proctor knows better.  He believes that Eric has also killed at least two other girls, but can’t prove it. This novel will keep you filled with anticipation as Lori and Eric’s lives intersect and as Detective Proctor is determined to make sure that Eric will never kill again.

#TBT Tenderness by Robert Cormier, published in 1997  

Readers who enjoy Tenderness can pick up other thought provoking titles by Cormier, such as We All Fall Down, The Rag and Bone Shop, and Heroes.

Hand Tenderness to readers who loved:

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, published in 2012

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, published in 2013

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, published in 2012

— Mariela Siegert, currently reading Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

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Booklist: Time Travel Reads for Teens

Wed, 04/06/2016 - 07:00

Time travel has been a popular subject of fiction since The Time Machine by H.G. Wells was published in 1895. Over a century later, it still captures the imagination of many readers. The mix of philosophy and theoretical physics allows for endless combinations to explore parallel universes, to go back and forward in time, and is an especially great backdrop for both adventure and star-crossed love.

There is no shortage of time travel stories in young adult fiction. With so many great time travel novels coming out this year, it’s a great time to some time bending novels to your “to read” list. You won’t even need to build a time machine to read most of these right now!

If you like your time travel with a time-crossed romance

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Cassandra’s summer takes a strange turn when she meets a stranger who claims her family’s beach house belongs to him and that the year is 1925. As Cassandra tries to solve the mystery of Lawrence’s appearance she will also have to try to find a way to change history if the two hope to have any kind of future together.

Ruby Red by Kersin Gier

Gwyneth Shepherd’s cousin has been preparing to time travel for her entire life. Until both girls find out that it’s Gwyneth, not Charlotte, who carries the rare time travel gene.

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Something strange is happening in Natalie’s hometown. Little things at first like her front door being green instead of red. Then a strange apparition Natalie calls “Grandmother” appears and tells he she has three months to save a boy she hasn’t met yet.

Return Once More by Trisha Leigh

Kaia is an apprentice with The Historians–a group of time travelers who observe and record history. Kaia doesn’t see the harm in catching a glimpse of her long-dead soulmate in Ancient Egypt but that one search sets off a series of events that will leave Kaia scrambling to save her future.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

After her parents’ death Michele is sent across the country to live with her grandparents in New York and finds a diary that transports her to 1910 where she meets a blue-eyed stranger who has haunted her dreams for as long as she can remember.

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Hope will have to learn how to conquer her fears before she can try to work with a group of time travelers to save her mother who is trapped in 12th Century England.

If you you want high stakes adventures across time

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Traveling across centuries and around the world, Etta and Nicholas will have to trust each other as they hunt down a long-lost artifact and uncover a truth that could threaten their natural times and everything in between.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Determined to get revenge for her father’s murder and the theft of his universe-crossing device, Marguerite embarks on a multi-universal hunt for Paul. The closer Marguerite gets to Paul, the more she begins to wonder if he really is the villain she thought.

The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove

Nearly a century ago the Great Disruption remade the world and threw all of the continents into different Ages. When her renowned mapmaker uncle is kidnapped, Sophia Tims will have to travel across Ages to rescue him.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix Song has spent all of her sixteen years watching her father, Slate, use historical and mythical maps to travel to distant lands and times most people can only imagine. Slate’s quest to return to a time and place where Nix’s mother is still alive has driven him to desperate acts before. When the promise of another map surfaces, Nix will have to decide how far she is willing to go to help Slate this time.

Erasing Time by C. J. Hill

Twins Taylor and Sheridan wake up 400 years in the future to find a world they barely recognize and a totalitarian government that will stop at nothing to find out their secrets.

Wildwing by Emily Whitman

An elevator transports Addy from her dreary life in 1913 London to a castle in 1240 where she is mistaken for royalty.

If you’re looking for some time travelers who have to save the day

Loop by Karen Akins

Bree Bennis lives in the twenty-third century where, because of a special gene mutation, she can travel anywhere in time. After her solo midterm to the twenty-first century goes spectacularly wrong, Bree knows she’s in big trouble. Failing to complete her mission is one thing. Accidentally revealing herself to a boy and sort of taking him hostage? That could get Bree expelled. Or worse.

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Prenna came to New York when she was twelve after immigrating from a disastrous future. In order to try and change that future, Prenna and her community have to follow certain rules: Never reveal where they’re from, never interfere, never get involved with someone outside of the community. The only problem is Prenna might be in love with a boy from the present.

Tempest by Julie Cross

Jackson can travel through time. It’s never been a problem until his girlfriend Holly is fatally shot and Jackson accidentally travels back two years and can’t return to his present to try and save her.

Longbow Girl by Linda Davies

Merry Owen will have to use her archery skills to save her family’s land when she travels to the year 1537 and solve their current financial problems in the present.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

For the past four years Emerson Cole has seen strange apparitions from the past that seem to be hallucinations. Instead, Emerson learns that she can manipulate time and, with help from the mysterious Michael, she might even be able to prevent a murder that happened six months ago.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Em and Marina stand on opposite sides in a race to protect time and keep a time machine from ever being built. Only one of them can come out alive.

If you want a book about accidental time travel:

Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren

While fighting off boredom at yet another of their parent’s archaeological sites, sisters Gabi and Lia touch the wrong handprint in an ancient tomb and find themselves transported to 14th Century Italy.

The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen

Alex Wayfare is used to getting in trouble because of her visions of the past. Turns out Alex is a Descender able to travel through time by accessing her past lives–all 56 of them.

Shadows Fall Away by Kit Forbes

Mark’s stay with his eccentric, Jack the Ripper obsessed, aunt is cut short when he is struck by lightning and wakes up in 1888. When his knowledge of the Ripper murders single him out as a suspect, Mark decides to try to solve the murders himself to clear his name and return to his own time.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Cat Crawford definitely doesn’t want an elaborate party for her sixteenth birthday. Instead she welcomes her father and stepmother’s offer of a trip to Italy. The only problem comes when an unusual tent transports her to Renaissance Firenze.

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

After a photo booth camera sends them back in time, four estranged friends will have to relive their summer from two years ago if they want to get back to their present.

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Anna’s world is turned upside down when Bennett–a time traveler–shows up in her perfectly ordered life in 1995 Evanston, Illinois.

If you want a novel about parallel lives/worlds

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

In 1996 best friends Josh and Emma use a free AOL CD to go online for the first time where they get a glimpse of their Facebook pages–and their lives–fifteen years in the future.

Tandem by Anna Jarzab

Thrust into a life that isn’t her own, Sasha has to play the part of a princess in a world that shouldn’t exist if she ever wants a chance to return to her own world.

Planesrunner by Ian McDonald

Everett Singh will have to use the Infundibulum–a map of parallel earths–to travel across worlds to try and rescue his kidnapped scientist father.

Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols

Thrown together by the most unlikely of circumstances, Danny and Eevee will have to work together to get Danny back home to his own universe before time runs out.

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Caroline can stay at her grandmother’s side in the hospital waiting for the worse. Or she can go to a party and try to forget for a little while. One decision might bring closure and one might bring something unexpected. But only one is the right choice.

Pivot Point by Kasie West

At a crossroad that will change everything, Addie will have to user her psychic ability to live both outcomes for every decision she makes to decide what she is willing to live through and who she is willing to lose.

If you want to test out your own time machine, you can check out these books later this year

Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Everything goes wrong when Elena and her team look into their own fates on a routine data gathering mission in the future. With only 24 hours left to get back to the present can Elena save her team and the future?

Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

What happens if Summer Everett picks up her phone and stays home all summer? What if she doesn’t answer and ends up on her planned trip to France? In both summers there will be first love and self-discovery. But how will a shocking family secret play out in each parallel world?

It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble

Emma and Charlie haven’t aged for a hundred years. Seventeen forever, the two should have a perfect romance. But dangerous forces have kept the two apart until a series of murders suggest that Emmamight have the chance to find the threat–and her lost love–at last.

The Square Root of Summer by Harrier Reuter Hapgood

Gottie H. Oppenheimer begins traveling back to key moments in her past through wormholes opening around her small seaside town. She returns to moments of first love and regret while she struggles with the loss of her grandfather in the present. When two boys from her past return, Gottie will have to confront her past–and her future–head on.

— Emma Carbone, currently reading The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

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Crossovers: It Happened to Me

Wed, 04/06/2016 - 07:00
David and Jon Kushner

Earlier this year, journalist David Kushner published his eloquent memoir, Alligator Candy. At the core of his story is a terrible crime. When Kushner was just four-years-old, he watched his older brother, Jon, ride away on his bicycle, never to return. Jon’s mutilated body was found later. At first, Kushner is a confused small boy missing his brother, fearing that he could have prevented the crime had he not requested candy from the store. Then, as a thirteen-year-old boy, he secretly begins reading accounts from the newspapers on microfilm at the library. There were details that he couldn’t have even imagined as a four-year-old boy.

After publishing several books and articles as an adult, Kushner was ready to write about Jon’s disappearance and murder. As part of his research, he received access to police records. He discovers details that are so horrific that he wonders how his family survived.  Kushner also realizes that while Jon’s disappearance and murder devastated his family, the entire community was deeply affected by the violence of the crime.

Memoirs, by definition, are collected memories of a person’s life. Unsurprisingly, memoirs are most often written when the author is older, as in Alligator Candy. But his story speaks directly to a teen’s experience. There are numerous memoirs written by adults that look back on their teen years. Here are a couple of examples that have won Alex Awards:

The Terrorist’s Son: A story of choice by Zak Ebrahim (2015 Alex Award Winner)

In 1993, radical Islamic terrorists plotted to bomb the World Trade Center. One of these despised, shadowy terrorist was the father of Zak Ebrahim, who was just a boy at the time. (You can find Zak’s TED Talk here.)

Breaking Night: A memoir of forgivness, survival, and my journey from homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray (2011 Alex Award Winner)

At fifteen, Liz was foraging on the street, riding subways all night to stay warm. When her mother, a drug addict, dies of AIDs, Liz made the decision to start high school and forge her own destiny.

Sometimes the stories are particularly relevant for teen readers and are published for young adults.

This Star Won’t Go Out: The life and words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl, Lori Earl, Wayne Earl, and John Green.

Nerdfighter Esther reflects on the mercilessness cancer, and how the knowledge that she would die inspired her to life. Her humor and intelligence attracted many friends, including the novelist John Green, who dedicated The Fault in our Stars to her. Here is Green’s vlog post to here.

Rethinking Normal: a memoir in transition by Katie Rain Hill

Katie is open about her male-to-female transition, providing support  for teens going through their own transgender journey and advice for those who love them. Katie can be seen here with Arin Andrews, author of the memoir, Some Assembly Required:The not-so-secret life of a teen transgender.

The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon

At fourteen, Brent came home from school, put on a gasoline-soaked bathrobe and sat in his bathtub. Then he lit a match. His story of physical and emotional recovery is tough but essential reading. More from Runyon can be found here.

For more good memoir suggestions, check out the nomination site for the 2017 Popular Paperbacks topic: Biography: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.

— Diane Colson, currently reading Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

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