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Journey Through the National Book Award Longlisters…Part 1

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 07:00

Happy almost-Halloween, Hubbers! The leaves are changing, it’s cooling down (even in Arizona where I just was – it was 90 degrees! Brr!), and it’s my favorite time of the year. But, on to the books! Over the next couple of months, I thought I’d focus on the National Book Awards longlist for Young People’s Literature – although, due to my trip, I wasn’t able to get as much reading done as I’d have liked. But, we’ll start small this month, and I’ll be working my way through the longlist over these cold & rainy months to come. This month, I’m focusing on 3 books that are fun, interesting and perfect books for all the teens in your life. I know they’ve announced the finalists by now, but I thought it would be fun to celebrate all of the great books that made the longlist since they are all winners to me! Here we go…

Nimona written & illustrated by Noelle Stevenson: I remember a while ago, one of my teens kept telling me how much she loved this webcomic – Nimona – and, she thought I should read it, too. I kept putting it off until I saw they had put the webcomic into book form. I fell in love right away with the shapeshifting Nimona and the villain she is the sidekick to, Lord Ballister Blackheart. All Lord Blackheart wants to do is show the citizens that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, Mr. High & Mighty, Mr. Can-Do-No-Wrong, really isn’t that great. Plus – there’s a backstory to their relationship! And, there are dragons! And, feelings & emotions! Noelle’s illustrations are so bright and colorful and the characters are fully fleshed out; they feel like real people to me! It’s just a fun and hilarious story that certainly quenched my thirst for an action story without your typical leading man or lady. A great story of a girl who’s not afraid to show her strength, but showing her feelings might be a bigger problem than anyone realized.

Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson: This is a nonfiction title that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I finished it a few months ago. In September 1941, Hitler’s army surrounded Leningrad after previously fooling Stalin into thinking they were friends & allies. No one could come in or out of the city (legally, at least), and food was scarce if not nonexistent. During this time, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote a symphony, his 7th symphony, for Leningrad – his place of birth and life. But, the book is so much more than a story of the symphony; it’s also an engaging and thrilling story of the life of Shostakovich as well as a history lesson of Leningrad and Russia from the deaths of the Romanovs to the end of the war. This book is tough to read at times, the desperation and misery that the citizens of Leningrad went through is unbearable to imagine…but, to know that so many of them survived this torture is what makes the book so uplifting, as well. A nonfiction book that will intrigue anyone interested in the power of music or more generally, World War II.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: This is a book that still stands out like a fairy tale to me – here’s what I said about it in my feminist teen literature post: I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this book. It’s described as magical realism, and I don’t know if I like magical realism. Well, I’m still not sure I do, but I definitely do if Laura Ruby is writing it. This is the story of Finn and Roza and the town they live in, Bone Gap. Roza was a beautiful and bright spark in the lives of Finn and his older brother Sean. She showed up one day, and then, after a while, she disappeared. But, Finn knows what happened; a man who moved like a corn stalk kidnapped Roza, and he stood by and watched it happen. No one believes him and his far out story, especially since he can’t describe what the man looked like. Told from many different voices and perspectives, nothing and everything is what it seems in Bone Gap. Lest you think this is some story of Prince Charming coming to Sleeping Beauty’s rescue, it’s not. Roza is determined to get away from the terrible man who has taken her away from everything she loves, and Finn is dead set on making people see that he’s more than just a “spaceman”; he has hopes and dreams, too – most notably, wanting people to believe him and realize that Roza is more than just her looks. She is a person. Plus, there’s a beautiful horse that takes him on wonderful rides with his sweetie, Priscilla – wait, she likes to be called Petey. If a book could be called ethereal (can it?), this is the epitome.

Sorry for only 3 books this time; I always like to base my life on High Fidelity and their “top 5 lists” whenever I’m listing things I like. Alas, I will do better next month. Join me as we continue along this journey through the National Book Awards and the great books for teens that have been recognized.

—  Traci Glass, currently reading The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

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Non-Fiction for Halloween

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 07:00

I don’t know about you, but Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of year. This was especially true when I was a teen and not just because I got to put on a crazy costume and run wild, although that was a big part of it, but also because of the spooky atmosphere and the chance to indulge in scary stories and movies.

CC Image via Flickr user Alejandro Tuñón Alonso

Thinking back on teen me’s favorite Halloween stories, though, I realized that it never occurred to me to look for something scary in the non-fiction section of the library.To help save the teens in my library from such a mistake I started wandering around the non-fiction shelves in our library and came up with a lot of fun non-fiction materials that show that truth can be even creepier than fiction. Here are just a few examples.

Are You Afraid Yet? The Science Behind Scary Stuff
By Stephen James O’Meara

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
By Mary Roach

Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
By Bess Lovejoy

The Other Side: A Teen’s Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal
By Marley Gibson, Patrick Burns, And Dave Schrader

Ghosts Caught on Film: Photographs of the Paranormal?
By Dr. Melvyn Willin

Extreme Costume Makeup: 25 Creepy & Cool Step-By-Step Demos
By Brian and Nick Wolfe

Do you have any favorite Halloween non-fiction books to recommend?

— Miriam Wallen, currently reading A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

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What Would Hermione Granger Read?

Wed, 10/28/2015 - 07:00

I will always be a fan of the Harry Potter series and will forever fondly remember how obsessed I was to read all of the books and watch all of the movies.  Now that the Sorcerer’s Stone is almost twenty years old, J.K. Rowling’s characters still ignite my mind.

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One of my favorite characters is Hermione Granger.  We all know Hermione as the smart and studious muggle-born witch from the Harry Potter series, but after reading the series, I think that there is much more to Hermione all together.  To sum it up, Hermione is driven to be the best and the smartest student at Hogwarts.  She has a brilliant mind, is very gifted at spells, and may have a photographic memory.  She is a loyal friend with strong convictions and somewhat of a rule follower.  She doesn’t like bullies and she stands up to those that are cruel and indecent.  Hermione’s parents are both dentists, so she know all about teeth.  She wants to feel pretty sometimes and she longs for the love and attention of someone special.

So… what if Hermione walked into my library right now?  Let’s say she was done with school and on a break and wanted some books to read for fun.  What books would I recommend for Hermione? Well, here goes…

What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis – A book about witches, spells and changing your looks, yes Hermione will love this one! 

When Brooklyn Sparks turn sixteen her life completely changes.  She finds out she is a witch and when her parents unbind her powers she can’t help making improvements on her life.  She changes her looks by giving herself a major makeover and she starts hanging with the elite crowd.

Of course there’s a price to pay for being the center of attention and Brooklyn is not sure that she wants this kind of life after all.  After all she has achieved, she has so much to lose and the fall from popularity may be a difficult one to face.

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – This story is about Brimstone a Chimaera who sends his adopted daughter Karou to collect teeth from all around the world. I’m guessing Hermione would love to hear all about Karou’s travels.

Karou is a seventeen year old girl living in Prague with a big secret.  She may look like a normal art student with friends and annoying ex boyfriend, but she secretly works for the mysterious Brimstone or “wishmonger” as he trades wishes for teeth.  When Karou is attacked by an angel her whole world collapses and all that she has ever known is set off in flames.  In an astonishing revelation, Karou’s suddenly return and she realizes that she was never really who she thought she was and her entire life was a disguise.  A tiny wishbone is all the proof she needs to finally understand the truth of who she really is.

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell –  There’s no doubt that Hermione would flip for Simon and Baz!  I wonder which one she would fall for? 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.  Well, the entire world love Simon Snow, but for Cath it’s more than that.  Simon Snow has been her friend when she was down and he has been her inspiration to start writing fan fiction, which she is really good at.  Her sister Wren is a fan fic writer too, and they both enjoy writing stories about Simon and his nemesis Baz.  Cath and Wren are going off to college and Cath worries about her dad a lot.  Wren has chosen not to room with Cath and that has caused a lot of hard feelings.  Cath feels very alone and lost in this new environment.

Will she immerse herself into the lives of her fiction friends or make new friends at school that could change her life forever?

 

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – You can’t go wrong with a kick butt girl from Kansas caught in the middle of a war in Oz. Hermione would absolutely love Amy’s courage and aptitude for witchery, and of course her good taste in cute guys! 

Amy Gunn has been bullied all her life.  The bullies nicknamed her “Salvation Amy” because she was poor.  Suddenly, Amy is transported through a terrible tornado to the land of Oz.  As she is finding her way around she realizes that Oz is not the place she remembers from her childhood.  The place looks like it was hit with apocalyptic bang and much worse than that, Dorothy has become an awful evil person.  Her minions the Tin man, Scarecrow and Lion are also evil and hurt and kill just for fun.  Amy meets up with the wicked witch gang and learns a thing or two about magic.

Will Amy be able to defeat the deranged Dorothy?  Amy is determined to try and that’s all that matters.

 

How to be Popular by Meg Cabot – Well, Hermione does not really care about popularity, but if she found a book like Steph Landry did, I bet she would read it and follow the directions, that just totally sounds like her.  Stephanie Landry feels like she is the most unpopular girl ever.  The mean girl in school has been making fun of her for years and even coined the phrase “don’t pull a Steph Landry” for when someone messes up or makes a mistake.  Steph is tired of taking the abuse, so when she finds an old book called “How to be Popular” she decides to follow the books’ rules and make some changes in her life.

As Steph begins to change, the kids at school begin to notice.  Steph has some great ideas to do a fundraiser for the school and soon everyone is looking at Steph in a different way.  The one thing that she forgot was that she was already great the way she was and she didn’t need to change to make anyone like her.  Reading the book did give her more confidence and that was what she really needed!

— Kimberli Buckley, currently reading Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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YA Literary Trope: The Awesome Outfit

Wed, 10/28/2015 - 07:00

So far this fall we have explored many tropes commonly found in young adult literature including the Old Clunker I DriveThe I Already Know you Introduction, The I Have to Take Care of my Parent(s), The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (and Boy), and The A-Hole Friends.  This week let us discuss and celebrate the Awesome Outfit trope.

This trope is dedicated to someone I consider to be fiction’s original awesome dresser: Claudia Kishi.  Girl, no one could pull off a fedora in real life like you can on the pages.

  • Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff.  Yovanoff’s tale is genre-defying (or maybe it exists on a different plain without the constraints of genre).  All at once this book is a story of best friends and destruction.  It a ghost story, a love story, and a complex mystery.  It is also all about awesome outfits.  The main character in this book, Hannah, is one of the best dressed gals ever.  Hannah raids the thrift shops and improves upon their vintage awesomeness with her own crafty tools (including a hot glue gun, sewing machine, and maybe a be-dazzler)?

 

  • Twilight Saga  (Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers: 2006, 2007, Teen’s Top Ten: 2007, 2008, & 2009) by Stephenie Meyer.  Bella is in awe of the Cullens; and we’re not just talking Edward.  The rest of the family are described in terms of superlatives; the most beautiful ever,  strongest, and most dazzling voice.  But Alice stands out even in the land of the gorgeous rich vampires as having incredible style.  Her outfits are, well, awesome.  And she starts dressing up Bella too which we all really wish would happen to us.

 

  • Hush, Hush series (Teens Top Ten: 2010 & 2011) by Becca Fitzpatrick.  Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series is steamy and full of twists and turns.  Patch might be the sexiest angel ever (though he does have some tough competition).  But when Nora dresses for a date or a non-date (depending the couple’s fight schedule) with Patch she takes it up a notch.  And Nora, we all appreciate the stuff you “throw on”.  You rock.

 

 

  • Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.   Blue’s spiky hair, layered ensembles, and unique appearance are vital for her character.  Blue is a quirky girl, she may rail against the constructs of mainstream beauty, but we know she takes her time putting together a specific look.  Blue is a one of a kind kind of awesome and her outfits reflect that.

 

  • Mortal Instruments Series (Teens Top Ten: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Readers’ Choice Nomination) by Cassandra Clare.  Does anyone else take the fashion chances that Magnus takes?  He is not afraid of the bold, colorful, sparkly or feathered.  What makes this man such a fashionista? Living over three centuries?  Being comfortable with his sexuality?  Having magical powers to make any outfit he wants (or change the color of his hair, skin, or eyes)?  I vote all of the above.  And Magnus; I’m jealous.

Some of our favorite YA authors whip up some pretty swanky clothes for their characters. Who else out there is a well dressed character?  Did you ever wonder how would an author describe the way you dress?  Spoiler alert: for me it would be pretty boring. Join in next week for a discussion of the trope: “The Repressed Protagonist.”

-Tara Kehoe, currently reading Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay & Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

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2015 Teens’ Top Ten Titles Unveiled!

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 11:37

The moment is finally here! Teens voted and the results are in. Here are the official 2015 Teens’ Top Ten titles.

2015 Teens’ Top Ten

  1. The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic)
  2.  I Become Shadow by Joe Shine. (Soho Teen)
  3. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. (Simon & Schuster)
  4. My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak. (Sourcebooks)
  5. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. (Bloomsbury)
  6. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
  7. The Young Elites by Marie Lu. (Penguin/G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  8. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. (Macmillan/ Henry Holt & Company)
  9. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. (Simon & Schuster)
  10. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. (Hachette/Poppy)

Thanks to all the teens who voted and congrats to all the authors! Learn more about the Teens’ Top Ten here.

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Genre Guide: Paranormal Romances for Teens

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 07:00
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Definition

Paranormal Romance is a sub-genre of Romance. For a novel to be a Paranormal Romance, a simple thing must occur: love must begin between a human and a supernatural being (whether wholly supernatural or partially, just as long as there are supernatural elements present). However, this can be a broad interpretation. Usually, the protagonist (often the human) in these novels is put in some kind of danger, where they come to realize they can overcome this danger either on their own or with the help of the supernatural love interest.

Authors to Know

Characteristics
Main characters include both humans and supernatural beings. The supernatural being can be wholly supernatural or partly, and include but are not limited by the following “types”: vampire, werewolf, fairy, magician, mermaid, zombie, psychic, ghost, demon hunter, demon, angel, shapeshifter, dragon, and gods or goddesses.  Additionally, the human in Paranormal Romances can have a touch of the paranormal as well.  An example is the teen psychic that can see the ghost. Quite often, when it comes to paranormal romances written for teens, a love triangle is involved.  There could be more than one human, or more than one supernatural being in the triangle.

Plots of supernatural romances are first and foremost about the love, but often the human in the relationship is put in some kind of danger or plays an important role in a dangerous mystery. Traditionally, the lines between the good and the bad characters are well defined in paranormal romances, and heroes and heroic attributes are prominent in the plots and characters.  Settings of Paranormal Romances can be in the past, present, or future (often centering on time travel).  A common theme of reincarnation can be used to create an epic love story.  The tone of Paranormal Romances can be both light and dark.  In other words, Paranormal Romances can range from the funny, lighthearted romance to the dark, horror with an emphasis on the paranormal.

Appeal
The appeal of the Paranormal Romance novel lies not only in the romance itself, but the circumstances around the romance.  It could be the idea of the forbidden romance where two people should not be together, but against all odds they are making it work.  It could also be the idea of supernatural powers and how having those can make the romance more magical and heighten the stakes of love.  The appeal of Paranormal Romance also lies in the scary factor– the love could literally kill you or vice versa.  Finally, Paranormal Romances seem to always be written in a way where the love is more true, more real, and more loving than anything possible between two humans.

Trends
While Paranormal Romance saw it’s heyday about five years ago, it is still a strong genre for teen readers.  Now, Paranormal Romance can be mixed with other genres, like dystopias, but the ones that we see finding interest among teens now are the ones where there is a new twist on the Paranormal Romance.  The more interesting and unique of the paranormal aspect of the novel, the more likely teens are going to be interested in reading it.  As Scott Westerfeld pointed out in his novel, Afterworlds:

“What about a selkie?” Coleman suggested. “YA hasn’t had many selkies.”

“What the hell is a selkie?” Oscar asked…

…”It’s a magical seal you fall in love with,” Darcy explained.

“Just think of it as a portmanteau,” Coleman said. “Combining ‘seal’ and ‘sexy.'”

Oscar raised an eyebrow. “I don’t see the appeal.” (page 57)

Websites

Reference Books

Rocked by Romance: a guide to teen romance fiction by Carolyn Carpan (Libraries Unlimited, 2004).

Fang-Tastic Fiction: twenty first century paranormal reads by Patricia O’Brien Mathews (ALA Editions, 2011).

Forthcoming publication: Perfectly Paranormal:  a guide to adult and teen reading interests by Nanci Milone Hill (Genreflecting, February 2016)

Publishers
Most publishers both large and small produce paranormal romance novels but Entangled publishing, SwoonReads, and Harlequin Teen are examples of publishers who specialize in the teen romance genre.

Awards
The RT Awards for Young Adults has a Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal category

The Romance Writers of America Awards (RITA Awards) includes a Paranormal Romance and a Young Adult Category

Recommended Titles

— Colleen Seisser, currently reading Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

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Take Five: Favorite Teen Movies

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 07:00

With the changing of the season, it seems like a perfect time for a movie marathon, and after reading the submissions from a handful of Hub bloggers about their favorite teen movies, I bet you’ll be ready for a marathon, too.

What’s your favorite teen movie? 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Hands-down the best teen flick ever.  Sly Ferris.  Moody Cameron.  Fun-Loving Sloane.  And (of course) super angry/jealous Jeanie.  One of the best movies of all time!  And my second place choice:  Dazed & Confused.— Stacy Holbrook

Clueless. Based on Emma by Jane Austen (one of my favorite authors) and it perfectly captures the styles of the ‘90’s. — Carla Land

Sixteen Candles.  John Hughes makes moves that totally express the teenage experience in such a normal way.  Sixteen Candles was a movie my older sister loved, and when I was a teenager, I identified so much with Sam (embarrassing grandparents, unrequited crush) that I wanted to be her – if only to end up with Jake Ryan in the end!  —Traci Glass

Mean Girls.  This movie has it all.  The cool A-list clique called the Plastics, the handsome guy Aaron, the fun Christmas play with short skirts, the burn book, and of course Lindsay Lohan as Cady.  The movie tells the story of Cady’s rise to popularity after being homeschooled in Africa her entire life.  I love this movie and can even relate to it now as a grown up in my daily life at work and out in the world.  — Kimberli Buckley

My favorite teen movie is the oft-overlooked and totally underrated Pump Up the Volume, starring Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis.  Shy, awkward Mark keeps his pirate radio alter-ego, Hard Harry, a secret until the audacious and persistent Nora, a fellow student at Hubert Humphrey High, discovers his true identity.  Come for the familiar story, but stay for Harry’s spot-on rants and disaffected, but hopeful, rambling.  And buy the soundtrack. — Julie Bartel

—Molly Wetta, currently reading A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

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Cute and Creepy Autumn Anime for Book Lovers

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 07:00

I love horror, but sometimes I crave a little sweetness mixed in with my scary stories. If you too enjoy some cuddles with your creep-outs here are a few anime titles that you may enjoy!

To help match you up with the best media on the sweet vs scary scale I have rated them using creepy cupcakes. 

School-LIVE!

Cupcake rating: super creepy

 

 

The school-live club members have dedicated themselves to living at their high school full time. Yuki Takeya, Kurumi Ebisuzawa, Yuri Wakasa, and Miki Naoki sleep in one of the classrooms and use another as a kitchen/dining room. Yuki Takeya, one of the oldest girls in the club, is a total flake so the other members usually end up taking care of her. Is there something important that Yuki is missing?

Warning: this series starts off all cuteness and sunshine, but it takes a sharp turn into horror and heart wrenching sadness. Be prepared for blood and violence liberally mixed in with adorable school shenanigans.

Love this series? You will also love…

I Love Him to Pieces (My Boyfriend Is a Monster #1) by Evonne Tsang, Illustrated by Janina Görrissen (Graphic Novel)

A perfect fit for fans of the Kurumi Ebisuzawa character (and her shovel) this graphic novel also features a strong female lead with creative survival skills in an atypical zombie apocalypse story.

Fracture by Megan Miranda

A fast read with a paranormal twist, this book is full of intense relationships and the same sense of seeping dread as the mid-season episodes of School-LIVE!

Hometown rebuilding: Folktales from Japan

Cupcake rating: mostly cute and occasionally creepy

 

 

Each twenty five minute episode covers three folktales and they range from adorable talking vegetables to ghost stories. Two tales from the series on the spookier end are “You There, Grandpa?” about a man haunted by his dead wife, and “The Cursed Blade that Sank into the Swamp” is about a sword that slaughters everyone around it.

This series is a great chance to see Japanese folklore retold by modern artists using a variety of animation styles and the two voice actors do a marvelous job with the multitude of characters they each play. It is great to watch in small snippets.

Love this series? You will also love…

Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

A chilling, modern interpretation of a Mohawk legend, Skeleton Man and its sequel The Return of Skeleton Man are written by Bruchac, of the Abenaki tribe. The first book is a short but thrilling story about missing parents and listening to dreams.

Mercury by Hope Larson (Graphic Novel)

This graphic novel is a powerful tale about magic, family, and betrayal. The distinctive art style, multiple timelines and ghost story elements in this work make it a good match for fans of Folktales from Japan.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Cupcake rating: mostly cute, but witches?

 

 

Part of a witch’s right of passage is leaving home after they turn thirteen. The witch must prove her self sufficiency by living on her own for a full year. Kiki has to leave home but the only skill she has is flying on her broomstick, so she starts a delivery service!  In addition to the bright and lovely Kiki you will get to know a reclusive artist, an aviation obsessed schoolboy, and Kiki’s adorable cat sidekick Jiji.

All of the Studio Ghibli works are beautifully animated and full of lovely characters and fueled by the power of friendship. If you have never seen a movie by Hayao Miyazaki, feel free to start with this title. This movie is the cutest thing on this list, possibly the cutest thing ever filmed.

Love this series? You will also love…

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (Book two in this series is coming out Fall 2016!)

Like Kiki, Sunny is an engaging and bright young witch who is looking for her place in the world. The author does a fabulous job of weaving Nigerian culture into a genre dominated by eurocentric magic systems, but the book is as much about building friendships and dealing with change as it about saving the world.

The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce (Sandry’s Book is the first volume)

Like Kiki’s Delivery Service, this title has plenty of suspense but never really trips the line into scary. This is a long running series that eventually goes beyond magical school story-lines, and the first books are centered on a diverse quartet of young magic users banding together to cope with their growing powers. They will fill you with feels.

 

— Jennifer Billingsley, currently reading Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl.

 

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An Ode to the Magic in Bone Gap and A Corner of White

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 07:00

It’s October and I’ve been thinking a lot about cornfields and scarecrows since Halloween is almost here. I associate cornfields and scarecrows with horror (Children of the Corn, the short story by Stephen King anyone?).

Actually I’ve been thinking about cornfields ever since I listened to the wonderful A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty this past summer as part of the summer SYNC audio book program that pairs a YA book with a classic title.

I also recently listened to Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, a 2015 National Book Award finalist for Young People’s Literature, and currently nominated for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and noticed that cornfields play a big part in that book too. So, although it might be more seasonal to discuss horror books, I’m going to focus on two wonderful magical tales, one with a touch of horror, instead.

Ruby deserves all the praise she’s getting for her unforgettable book Bone Gap. It’s an amazing read, and it’s also terrific on audio. Bone Gap is a town in the Midwest where Finn and his perfect, and very responsible older brother Sean live on a farm. Their mother’s left them to live in another state with a new guy. One day a beautiful woman named Roza shows up in their barn, hurt and on the run from something that she won’t talk about.

They help her and she ends up staying – until one night she’s kidnapped right in front of Finn but he can’t recall enough about the man who took her to help the police find her. Roza’s been taken to a place between – a gap – by a terrifying man who has magical powers and she must try to figure out if, or how, she can get away. At the same time, Finn and his girlfriend Petey are trying to find a way to find Roza too.

 

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty is also hard to describe because it also combines our world with a parallel one that’s also mostly set in the present, but with a uniquely magical and quirky aspect to it. In Cambridge, England, 14-year-old Madeleine is struggling to adjust to her new life after she and her mother mysteriously leave their rich father and their wealthy lifestyle for a more impoverished one.

Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello on a farm with his mother. His father has disappeared under strange circumstances. People think that one of the villainous colors “a third-level purple” was responsible because in Cello, colors can actually attack and kill people. Madeleine and Elliot become aware of each others existence after they begin exchanging letters through a crack between their worlds. Elliot leaves a letter in a sculpture in his world that appears in a slit in a parking meter in Madeleine’s world. As they get to know each other, events in their lives begin to intertwine.

In Bone Gap, Finn and his girlfriend Petey are attempting to write their college entrance essays and they love trying to come up with their own strange essay questions such as “Describe someone who has had the biggest impact on your life using only adverbs.”

As an ode to both of these extraordinary books, I will answer the essay that asks me to:“Describe the magical awesomeness of these books, written in a recipe format.”

Ingredients:

6 characters (Elliot, Madeleine, Finn, Petey, Roza, Sean)

5 Rude boys

2 homeschooled teens (Jack and Belle)

2 fathers who are missing or not around

2 Princess Sisters (Ko and Jupiter)

1 chicken obsessed old man named Charlie Valentine

1 Scare Crow

1 magical horse named Night

1 magical Butterfly Child

1 parking meter

1 sculpture made of broken TVs

1 best friend Miguel

Colors that can attack people (Amaranth Cerise, Crimson, Gray, Lemon Yellow)

Quirky characters from Bone Gap

Isaac Newton

Kingdom of Cello (that includes the Farms; the Magical North; Olde Quainte; Jagged Edge

Deftball

Honey

Corn fields

9 girls sitting on the side of the road

1 doz. Fence posts

1 Dog That Sleeps in the Lane

1 Dog as Big as a Horse

 

To Make First Layer:

Combine 1 parking meter and 1 sculpture made of broken TVs. Mix in Elliot and Madeleine, and then slowly stir in 2 homeschooled teens; Isaac Newton, and 2 princesses. Using a sieve, scoop out 2 fathers. Whip together a handful of sub-level dangerous Colors, and then blend a magical Butterfly Child into the mixture. Beat in Deftball; Mix well. Cook for 300 years. Result: The quirky and colorful Kingdom of Cello from A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty.

To Make Second Layer:

Combine Finn, Sean, Roza and Petey, and 1 Dog as Big as a Horse in a large vat that is propped up with 1 doz. fence posts. Mix in quirky Bone Gap characters. Stir in generous amounts of honey; Add 1 magical horse and 1 Dog That Sleeps in the Lane. Gently fold in 9 girls sitting on the side of the road and 1 best friend Miguel. In a separate bowl, chop up 5 Rude boys; and grind up 1 Scare Crow into a fine paste; season with 1 chicken-obsessed old man. Add contents of this bowl to vat. Sprinkle several bushels of cornfields over the top. Bake for 3 days. [Queen bee garnish optional]. Result: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, a magical confection full of mystery and suspense with a warm gooey center.

Combing both layers together will create an even more exquisite and magically delicious dish.

Serves: Unlimited lucky readers

— Sharon Rawlins, currently reading Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

The post An Ode to the Magic in Bone Gap and A Corner of White appeared first on The Hub.

Week in Review: October 22nd

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 07:00

We’ve still got a few more days of Teen Read Week left! Browse the #TRW15 hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to see what fun activities and events libraries had to celebrate reading for the fun of it.

There’s been lots of buzz this week about the end of an icon, too: the ‘future’ of Back to the Future is now.

Check out the rest of the roundup of interesting and helpful links for those who work with teens in the library.

Books and Reading

School Library Journal rounded up a list of under the radar YA novels to “get away” with this week.

The Washington Post reports what we all know: kids need time to read at school. Nancie Atwell explains why: “All that quiet time reading stories chosen for me by an adult who loved me changed me forever. Now I had all these narratives inside me, all these people, and all this knowledge, not to mention a passion for books and the ability to read fast and with feeling.”

Gearing up for Halloween? Epic Reads has a list of 18 scary stories and Penguin Teen has some books that prove you should be scared of the dark.  If zombies are more your thing, check out this post at Lit Reactor.

Amanda at Teen Librarian Toolbox rounds up the forthcoming LGBTQ titles for the rest of 2015.

The B&N Teen blog shares a list of YA romances between characters on opposite sides of the tracks.

Graphic Novels and Comics

What does diversity mean in today’s comics? Check out this post at Comic Book Resources about a New York Comic Con panel.

How cool is this behind the scenes look at how Lumberjanes is made?

Movies and TV

So how many times have you watched the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer?! Also, it’s hard not to realize just how evil Darth Vader really is after watching the supercut of his kill count.

In a win for diversity, a new Sesame Street character, Julia, is on the autism spectrum.

The new Alice in Wonderland-inspired Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes was optioned for film by Universal.

Librarianship

Ah, sometimes collection development can be overwhelming because of all those shiny books. Pam at Teen Services Underground shares her process for deciding what to buy and keeping track of orders.

Kansas City and Toronto libraries are getting into some friendly competition over their respective baseball teams bid for a spot in the World Series.

Video Games

Back to the Future isn’t the only video game that predicted the future. Check out these other blasts from the past at Mashable.

Share this list of debunked myths about video games with those who wonder if video games are a worthwhile resource for libraries.

Check out four video games based on mythology. How easy is it to make connections to other literature through these games! Awesome readers’ advisory opportunity.

Even more applications for video games! They might be able to help kids with autism exercise.

Did we miss any other important news or great articles this week? Share in the comments! 

— Molly Wetta, currently reading Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

The post Week in Review: October 22nd appeared first on The Hub.

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