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Wed, 09/06/2017 - 15:00

The Amazing Audiobooks Blogging Team is back with another round of amazing audiobook nominations, featuring historical LGBTQ romance, nonfiction, a murder mystery, a quiet contemporary, and a fantasy romance.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, narrated by Christian Coulson
Audio Published by: HarperAudio
Publication date: June 1, 2017
ISBN: 9780062743114

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue follows the story of Henry “Monty” Montague’s Grand Tour of Europe. Accompanied by his dashing best friend, Percy, and his head-strong sister Felicity, the trio manages to find danger and adventure along their journey. Monty’s sexuality and general debauchery incites disapproval from his father, who threatens to cut Monty off if he does not change his ways. The Tour is Monty’s last chance, with the expectations of obeying his chaperone and becoming the respectable member of the British aristocracy he was born to be. Rather than succumbing to his father’s whims, Monty steals an artifact from the French court after a disastrous party, then proceeds to wreak havoc across the continent. Throughout their exploits, Monty’s relationships with both his friend and sister change, leading to personal revelations and growth.

One of the aspects of the audiobook that stuck most to me was the yearning Monty felt for Percy. The narration captured the love that Monty had for his friend, despite believing his feelings to be unrequited. I love romances of all flavors and the butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling I got from listening to Monty’s thoughts about Percy made this one of the best love stories I’ve read recently.

This novel is perfect for fans of young adult gay romances like Becky Albertalli’s  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, as well as books by David Levithan, Adam Silvera, and Benjamin Alire Sáenz. If could listen to British accents all day (Prince Harry, I’m available if you want to chat), and love your fiction with a dash of humor, this is the perfect audiobook for you. 

— Kennedy Penn-O’Toole

Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular by Miyam Bialik, narrated by Miyam Bialik
Audio Published by: Penguin Random House Audio
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
ISBN: 9781524780418

Girling Up is a friendly and informational book about growing up with two X chromosomes. Bialik coined the phrase “girling up” to mean not only growing up as a girl, but also becoming the best version of yourself. The book has several sections that talk about the physical and emotional changes that happen during adolescence, nutrition, health and physical fitness, education and staying organized, the world’s expectations of women, and informed choices that can give us more options for our futures.

Bialik reads the book herself, bringing words to life in her own voice, which lends to a more honest and compelling listen. She sounds like a wise older sister sharing her own personal experiences and anecdotes. At the beginning, she explains her authority to talk about growing up a girl; her background growing up in the public eye as an actress on the television series Blossum, having her first kiss be on screen in front of millions of people, her education and PhD in Neuroscience, and research into physical and emotional developmental of adolescent girls.

Bialik is great at educating us with very little bias. She is a vegan, but does not try to convert listeners to veganism. Instead she talks about general nutrition standards and what vitamins and minerals are important for our well-being. She is also Jewish and talks about religion in a matter of fact way, in no way trying to convince listeners to conform to certain beliefs.

By being so honest and open, Bialik encourages girls to ask difficult questions, questions that could be challenging or embarrassing to speak to adults about. One section that was particularly helpful was when Bialik discussed staying organized and on top of your schoolwork. She suggested having a notebook where you write down all of your assignments and the deadlines for each one. She even used to color code her assignments for each class.

This book has a friendly and encouraging tone throughout. It is a lot of fun to hear Bialik’s stories about herself growing up and her mentions of the television shows she’s famous for, Big Bang Theory and Blossum. She candidly discusses some difficult times she’s gone through, such as her divorce. She also briefly mentions the double standards for women, especially in the aspect of her acting career, and challenges she’s faced due to these standards. Sharing her personal stories may help girls be more open in communicating with the adults in their lives.

This book is clearly aimed at girls and should be recommended reading for teenage girls of all ages. 

— Erin Durrett

Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf, narrated by Jesse Lee, Nick Podehl, Lauren Ezzo, Whitney Dykhouse, Scott Merriman, Scott Lange, Kate Rudd, Will Damron
Audio Published by: Candlewick
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
ISBN: 9781536661996

Who Killed Christopher Goodman? was written in part because of the author’s experience with the murder of a teenage boy with whom he went to high school. While a lot of the events that are found in this book are based on events from the author’s life, this book is ultimately a work of fiction. Like the author’s childhood, this story is also set in the 1970s, prime Beatles and bellbottom days.

Christopher Goodman was an all-around nice guy. Being from California, he talked differently and used words like “ennui,” wore his hair long and his bell bottoms wider than most. Kids in Goldsburg, Virginia thought he was a bit odd, but everyone liked his easy going personality and friendly attitude. The story is told in alternating viewpoints of Doc Chestnut ‘The Sleepwalker’, Squib Kaplan ‘The Genius’, Hunger McCoy ‘The Good Ol’ Boy’, Hazel Turner ‘The Farm Girl’, Mildred Penny ‘The Stamp Collector’ and occasionally from the murderer himself.  Doc and Squib are best friends who find the body of Christopher Goodman on a run one morning. The events that precede the Deadwood Days festival and ultimately the death of Christopher Goodman are all told through short vignettes by all of the characters except Christopher. The book concludes with how each of the six main characters deals with and is affected by Christopher’s death and how they pay tribute to his memory.

This audiobook is narrated by a cast of readers. Besides being able to more clearly differentiate who is speaking, the cast helps add unique qualities to each character. Squib and Hazel were especially likeable characters, having the most personality and keeping my interest. Hazel is quick-witted and sharp and is narrated that way too. Squib is highly intelligent, but we only learn that from his internal dialogue, as he dumbs himself down to fit in with his friends. The narrator assigned to Squib reads his parts with authority, good humor and confidence. Considering this book deals with a difficult topic, it was surprisingly funny. The brief part of the story that describes the murder is tragic and difficult to listen to, but not overly detailed or graphic.

At the end of the audio, the author tells us fact from fiction and shares that the character of Doc Chestnut was based off of events from his point of view. Wolf also relays what anecdotes actually happened to him or other characters in the book.

This book’s subject matter, while dealing with murder, is not gruesome in anyway. There is occasional suggestive language and banter, but otherwise this book would be appropriate for teens of all ages. This books is perfect for readers who enjoyed Bang by Barry Lyga or the mystery found in One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus.

–Erin Durrett

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos, narrated by Michael Crouch
Audiobook published by: Listening Library
Release Date: February 7, 2017
ISBN: 9781524749781

As a child, Neruda’s father and grandfather steeped him in the poems of his namesake, the Nobel-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Now a high schooler, he’s come to love “The Poet’s” works as well. They serve as his guide to matters of the heart and are hopefully the key to winning over the one he wants to be girlfriend number 8, Autumn Cho. His perspective on romantic love is very much formed by Pablo Neruda’s poetry which makes it difficult for him to accept that love can be a lot more complex and nuanced in real life. Neruda is oblivious to Autumn’s indifference until she returns his book of poetry with a heartbreaking note enclosed.

He urges Ezra, a former prisoner and now big-brother figure, to reconnect with the girlfriend he had before he went to prison, and doesn’t understand why Ezra prefers to move on. Neruda begins spending time with Callie, a classmate, and they bond over art, museum visits and movies, but even that friendship stalls when he reveals he’s fallen for her. The crushing blow is his discovery that his father has been having an affair.  Angry, lonely and disappointed, Neruda feels keenly the agonizing truths of The Poet’s words. In the end, Neruda doesn’t exactly get the girl but he does acquire a more layered and hopeful understanding of love.

In a pleasingly understated performance Michael Crouch’s youthful voice and introspective tone gives quiet emotional heft to Neruda’s painful, and sometimes awkward but thoughtful search for the meaning of love. Share this with listeners who prefer an intellectual weight to their romances (such as by authors Rainbow Rowell and John Green, and Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star. Of course, Pablo Neruda devotees will appreciate this YA tribute to “The Poet,” while those not familiar will be moved to know more.

— Beatriz Pascual Wallace

Roar by Cora Carmack narrated by Soneela Nankani
Audio Published by: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
ISBN: 9781504738224

Roar is Cora Carmack’s first foray into literature for young adults. She has previously written romance for adults. In Roar, Aurora Pravan is the princess of Pravan, but needs to marry as soon as possible to keep the throne. Her family’s lineage has produced several fierce Stormlings that capture the hearts of storms, which increases ones power and ones affinity to fight specific types of storms. However, Aurora has shown no affinities and does not seem to possess the ability to capture a storm heart.

Enter her fiancée Cassius, a Stormling prince from the city of Locke. At first Aurora is excited and nervous to meet her betrothed. Once she overhears him talking to his brother about his plans for her and Pravan, Aurora feels betrayed. She follows the prince to a secret market that sell all sorts of illegal goods made from storm hearts. At the market, she meets Locke, a member of a storm chaser group that travels, sells goods, and catches storm hearts.

Aurora learns that anyone can train to become a Stormling and that it is not just passed down in royal families. Determined to become her own person and learn to fight storms, she joins Locke and his group to travel the land and learn how to fight storms. To escape, she has a servant help her cover her tracks and makes it appear as she’s been kidnapped on the morning of her wedding.  Aurora tells her companions her name is Roar and dyes her hair, so she is not recognized as the princess of Pravan. Locke and Roar have a tension filled mentor and student relationship. Both are stubborn and argumentative, but their dissonance sparks an electric and passionate romance. Roar begins to learn that she can communicate with storms and starts to take on their personality traits. Once she learns that Cassius and his family have taken over Pravan and that the city of Locke has been destroyed, she convinces the group that they have to go back to Pravan.

The premise and ideas behind this book feel fresh and original. The personification of storms and their ability to possess emotions, thoughts, and hearts is intriguing. There are a lot of parallels readers can draw to their own lives, such as becoming your own person and self-discovery.

Soneela Nankani reads the story beautifully, expressing the fierceness of Roar and the storms that she faces, as well the passionate romance between Roar and Locke. The book is urgent and charged the whole way through and was hard to put on pause. This is the first book of the Stormheart series and will leave readers and listeners eager for the sequel.

The fantasy in this book will appeal to all teens; however the romance may appeal to older teens. This book is perfect for fans of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. 

— Erin Durrett

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Month in Review: August 2017

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:12

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

For more YA links from August:

Books & Reading Movies & TV In the News

— Cathy Outten, currently reading Wonder Woman Warbringer  by Leigh Bardugo

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Women in Comics – Refugee Experiences

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 07:00

Graphic novels can offer a wide range of perspectives on a shared topic, from extremely personal biographies and autobiographies to historical fiction to journalism. In the case of books about refugees, graphic novels offer the opportunity to tell deeply personal stories from a variety of perspectives while also sharing compelling images that bring the reader into the story in a way that is hard to do with words alone. The books in this list can be a powerful way of teaching young readers about the real lives of refugees around the world and throughout history.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui – Weaving together the stories of multiple periods in the lives of Thi Bui’s family members, this graphic memoir is simultaneously a story of war, the refugee experience, and parenthood. The book opens with the author in labor with her son. Her experience of becoming a new parent serves as a jumping off point for a reflection on her parents’ experiences growing up in Vietnam during a time of turmoil and multiple wars, culminating in her family’s escape to a refugee camp in Malaysia when Bui was a child. Through her consideration of her own childhood and those of her parents, Bui shows the long shadow that these traumatic experiences can cast and offers a window into one type of refugee experience.

Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution by Julia Alekseyeva – Julia Alekseyeva tells the story of her great-grandmother Lola interspersed with biographical segments about her own life growing up as part of an immigrant family. Starting with her childhood as a poor Jewish child outside Kiev, this book traces Lola’s life through the Bolshevik revolution, her time working for the Soviet government, and her decision to move to the U.S. as a refugee. The book covers her time in the Red Army and her work as a secretary for the predecessor to the KGB, which will offer readers a peek into a fascinating part of history.

Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland – This book follows a young girl as her family flees their war-torn home country. Covering their terrifying escape, the book focuses largely on the journey of the family as they adapt to their new country and new life. The book offers a glimpse of the difficulties that refugees face, including Azzi’s stress about her grandmother who stayed behind when the family fled, and her efforts to learn the language of her new home. Though this book is geared towards somewhat younger readers, it is nevertheless a worthwhile read those who want a perspective on life as a refugee.

Seeking Refuge by Irene N. Watts with art by Kathryn E. Shoemaker – During World War II, many individuals were forced to flee across Europe to avoid the Nazi forces. This graphic novel follows a young girl as she escapes Nazi-controlled Austria alone and resettles first in London and later in Wales. Readers see her as she struggles to adjust to her new life and the expectations of those who take her in. Along the way she experiences isolation and antisemitism The story offers meaningful insight into the experience of Jewish refugees during World War II and the Holocaust.

Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq by Sarah Glidden – When Sarah Glidden is invited to accompany two of her journalist friends to the Middle East as they conduct research, she takes the opportunity to interview a number of refugees and others who have worked with refugees. The result is a compelling and sympathetic look into the refugees who have fled the war in Iraq. This is a good read for those interested in the Iraq war and the modern refugee situation in the Middle East.

Threads: From the Refugee Crisis by Kate Evans – Kate Evans’ new book recounts her time volunteering at the refugee camps in France and is an informative read. Evans not only recounts the story of her own work as a volunteer, but also brings to life the experiences of many of the refugees she met there. This is a good option for readers interested in learning more about the refugees living in the “Calais Jungle”.

Have you read any of these books or others on the refugee experience? Let us know in the comments.

Carli Spina, currently reading Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home by Nicole J. Georges

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Monthly Monday Poll – September 2017

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 07:00

Happy Labor Day, Hub readers!

We’re back after a summer hiatus last month, with results from the last poll as follows: S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong is the debut series Hub readers are most excited about so far this year, with 37% of the vote. Next up is Jeff Giles’ The Edge of Everything, which launches a planned but currently unnamed series, with 26%. Tied with 15% each were the Daughter of the Pirate King series, by Tricia Levenseller, and the Empress of a Thousand Skies series, by Rhoda Belleza, followed by Vic James’ The Gilded Cage series (with my apologies for the typo in the original poll!), with 7% of the vote.

In honor of the Labor Day holiday today in the US and Canada, and workers everywhere, this month’s theme is YA books that deal with child labor issues, in both contemporary and historical settings. Let us know your pick in the poll, and as always, add titles you love on this theme to the comments.

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


—Carly Pansulla, currently reading American War by Omar El Akkad


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Booklist: Activism Starts With You: Nonfiction Books to Inspire and Instruct

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 07:00

It’s been a wild and sometimes scary ride lately with the political climate changing in the wake of the United States Presidential election last November and, unfortunately, racism and hatred spreading wildly. It’s hard to know where to start when you can’t vote and may not be old enough to work. The best first step: Getting information. These books can help teens do just that as you get informed and inspired.

  • Strike! The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner: A carefully researched account of the 1965 strike and the ones that followed as migrant Filipino American workers fought to negotiate a better way and set off one of the longest and most successful strikes in American history.


  • Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming An Activist by Jane Drake and Ann Love: This book includes accounts of the founding of organizations like Amnesty International and Greenpeace along with practical steps for social change including how to run meetings, write petitions, and lobby the government.


  • It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change by Bridget Heos: With so many people denying its impacts, it’s more important now than ever to know the full story about climate change. This book features real talk about global warming and ways we can all help by taking action.



  • Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen: A essay and art-filled guide to what it means to be a feminist from forty-four unique voices.


  • We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson (2013 Excellence in Nonfiction): In May 1963 4,000 African American children and teenagers marched in Birmingham, Alabama where they were willingly arrested to help fill the city’s jails. These young marchers were crucial to the desegregation of Birmingham–one of the most racially violent cities in America at the time.


  • The Teen Guide to Global Action: How to Connect With Others (Near & Far) to Create Social Change by Barbara A. Lewis (2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): This book has everything you need to know as a teen to get involved and make a difference at the local, national, or even global level.



  • Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks (2016 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2016 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): The true story of three of the most important scientists of the twentieth century–women who risked their lives pursuing their research and protecting the primates they studied.


  • Queer There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager: Queer author and activist Prager delves into the world’s queer history and heritage through the lens of these twenty-three trailblazers.


  • This Land Is Our Land: The History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne (2017 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults): This book follows the changing reception immigrants to the United States have faced from both the government and the public from 1800 through the present.


  • You Got This! Unleash your Awesomeness, Find your Path, and Change your World by Maya Penn: Everything you need to know to find your passions, reach your potential, and speak up from teen entrepreneur, animator, eco-designer, and girls rights activist Maya Penn.


  • Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz (2016 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers): This book highlights forty women from around the world and from all walks of life along with their varied accomplishments and contributions to world history.


  • The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin (2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2015 Excellence in Nonfiction): In 1944 hundreds of African American servicemen in the Navy refused to work in unsafe conditions after Port Chicago explosion. Fifty of those men were charged with mutiny. This is their story.


  • Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson: A step-by-step guide to identifying social issues, getting informed, and taking action.


  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of A War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana: In her memoir Uwiringiyimana discusses her survival of the Gatumba massacre and her move to America where she began to recover through healing and activism.


  • I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb (2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Her story started when the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley and she fought for her right to an education but that’s only the beginning.

This list is by no means comprehensive. If I’ve missed any key titles, please share them in the comments.

— Emma Carbone, currently reading Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

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Vote Now for the 2017 Teens’ Top Ten!

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 11:42

Voting for the 2017 Teens’ Top Ten is now open! Teens aged 12-18 can vote for up to three of their favorite titles among the 26 nominees, now through Oct 14. The top ten titles will be announced after Teen Read Week™ which takes place Oct. 8-14. Encourage your teens to vote for their favorite titles by sharing the nominations announcement video.

The Teens’ Top Ten is a teen choice list, with teens nominating and choosing their favorite books of the previous year. Nominators are members of teen book groups from 20 school and public libraries around the country. Applications for the next Teens’ Top Ten book group will open in October 2018.

Teens’ Top Ten nominations are posted in April during National Library Week. This gives teens around the country the opportunity to read the nominations throughout the summer and vote on their favorites come fall. To find out more information about Teens’ Top Ten, please visit the Teens’ Top Ten website.

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Volunteer for YALSA Book List Committees and Selected Lists!

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 14:39

It’s that time of year again! As YALSA President-Elect, I’ll make appointments in November for the following YALSA committees that will begin work in early 2018. The committees below are one year terms starting Feb. 1, 2018:

You can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA committee.  You will also be helping YALSA achieve its mission to  “support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.”

Additionally, appointments will be made for the Selected Lists Teams (one year term starting Jan. 1, 2018):

  • Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
  • Best Fiction for Young Adults
  • Great Graphic Novels for Teens
  • Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

For more information, email the member manager of The Hub at

Eligibility for Awards Committees:

  • To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a Committee Volunteer form by October 1, 2016. If you are appointed, service will begin on Feb. 1, 2017 (except for the nominating committees which will start January 1, 2017).
  • Individuals may not serve on more than one selection or award committee at the same time, nor may they serve on the board and a selection or award committee at the same time.
  • If you are currently serving on a committee and are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form (so I know you’re still interested and want to do serve another term).

Important Points to Keep in Mind:

  • We strive to ensure a broad representation on all committees across diverse backgrounds, types of libraries, geographic location and more.
  • Serving on a committee or task force is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time.
  • All selection and award committee members must attend every committee meeting during their term of appointment. If you cannot commit now, then please do not fill out a volunteer form.  The only exception is the Edwards.
  • When you fill out a form, you will receive an automated email response letting you know it was received. After that, you should not expect to hear about the status of your volunteer form until I contact you in November.

Want more information? Click on the links above. Check out the Committee FAQ.

Please free to contact me with any questions at

Thanks for volunteering with YALSA!

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#AA2018: Amazing Audiobooks Nominations, Volume 1

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 09:00

The Amazing Audiobooks blogging team is here with the first wave of nominations for Amazing Audiobooks! There’s something here: nonfiction, contemporary realistic fiction, and science fiction.

Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin, narrated by Mark Bramhall
Audio published by: Listening Library
Publication Date: January 2017

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team is an incredible book that focuses on the secondary school football career of early sports star Jim Thorpe and his teammates at the Carlisle Indian School. The book discusses the rise of the football team under the direction of legendary football coach Pop Warner and budding celebrity athlete Jim Thorpe.

I know very little about the history of football (or the sport in general), but when I talked about this book to a few sports fans, they immediately knew the names of Pop Warner and Jim Thorpe, even if they didn’t know the full story. In this book, Sheinkin divulges an integral piece of sports and American history that is known by too few, and he does it in a way that is manageable and entertaining for both youth and adults. The book covers not only the history of football as a sport, but also the very negative interactions between the Carlisle Indian School and other colleges and universities at the time (particularly the Ivy Leagues). While he specifies that it is not the focus of the book, Sheinkin also discusses the terrible reality of the history between the US government, even the wider US population in general, and the Native American communities still in existence at the turn of the 20th Century.

Rather than read this book, I listened to Mark Bramhall’s audiobook narration of it. While listening, I often found myself imagining that I was a young child again, enjoying a bedtime story told to me by a grandfatherly-figure whose storytelling abilities abound. I do not doubt that the book stands on its own, in any case. However, listening to Bramhall’s reading felt as though I was watching a documentary: the measured pacing and calm dictation of the book’s content created a tone that painted a vivid picture of the characters and situations at the Carlisle School that feels both fun and scholarly at the same time.

Sheinkin discusses the person that was Jim Thorpe in a way that one might discuss a mythological figure: mischievous (but not malicious), rowdy, but beyond the physical reach of anyone else in the sport. Sheinkin also writes about Thorpe as though both his athletic prowess and his general spirit were indomitable. While this isn’t the first book written about Thorpe, Undefeated offers a story about an underdog whose combined natural talent, spirit, and determination helped him succeed in the face of never-ending adversity.


Though there are few overly dramatic moments in the book, there are a number of high intensity plot twists that keep the listener invested in the story. When the narrative starts to lull, Sheinkin does a fantastic job of jolting the reader with a tense and pressured event, like a major competition, a devastating loss, a thrilling win, or an explosive scandal. Bramhall keeps up with these ebbs and flows and does an excellent job of expressing the decreased or intensified emotion through his dictation.

Readers interested in reading other books about Jim Thorpe should try Jim Thorpe: Original All-American by Joseph Bruchac. If you’re a fan of football-based fiction, you should try Abbi Glines’s Field Party Collection, Paul Volponi’s Crossing Lines. If you like to read historical biographies about sports stars, you should check out Unbroken (Young Readers Edition) by Laura Hillenbrand or The Greatest: Muhammed Ali by Walter Dean Myers.

— Katrina Ortega

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, narrated by Bahni Turpin, Dominic Hoffmann, and Raymond Lee
Audio published by: Listening Library

Publication date: 11/1/2016
ISBN: 9781524721404

Natasha has lived in New York City for a decade. It’s been a hard decade, with her family living jammed in a tiny Brooklyn apartment and constantly on edge because of their undocumented status. It’s also been a great decade, in which Natasha has grown to see the city as her home, and has yearned for a “normal” teen life. When her dad is arrested for drunk driving, the family is deported, and Natasha will do anything she has to do to find a way to stay. On her last day in the city, she runs into Daniel on his way to an interview for Yale University. Also a family of immigrants, Daniel’s parents have pushed him to excel academically, and he’s suppressed his poetic side his entire life. When their paths cross, it’s love at first sight – sort of.

This love story is told over the course of twelve short hours, but never does it feel drawn-out or slow. Natasha and Daniel tell their stories in alternating first-person narration, with separate narrators in the audiobook version for each. As the day progresses and Natasha and Daniel are brought together, separated, and brought together again, Yoon fills in glimpses of minor characters and their back stories. The characters who are woven into the story are as diverse as New York itself, and the degree to which Yoon develops these characters so richly keeps the book from feeling sticky sweet. While there is plenty of romance, Natasha and Daniel are also fighting their own battles, and their lives outside of the love story are as interesting as the sparks that fly.

Bahni Turpin, who voices Natasha, is a bit of a rockstar in the audiobook world. You may have heard her in books ranging from The Help by Kathryn Stockett to The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and she’s won three Audie Awards, along with other industry accolades. Despite the fact that she’s not a teenager, her narration feels age appropriate and is never distracting from the text. Her narration is filled with emotion throughout the book, and it’s hard to believe that she’s not experiencing the joys and heartbreak herself. Turpin is joined by Raymond Lee, who does an equally empathetic and rich reading of Daniel, and their narration is tied together with Dominic Hoffman’s appropriately authoritative narrator. Having three narrators who all nail their performances and fit together perfectly is certainly a feat!

This book is certainly a tearjerker, make no mistake, but it’s also a delightful celebration of the diversity of experiences that surround us on a daily basis. For teens who love A.S. King’s no-tradional narratives, who were crazy about Eleanor and Park, or who wish they lived in the New York of Ms. Marvel, this book will hit all the right notes. Recommended for teens, adults, and anyone who has ever fallen in love, even when they knew it was a bad idea.

— Ariel Cummins

Flying Lessons and Other Stories, ed. By Ellen Oh, narrated by a full cast
Audio published by: Listening Library
Publication Date: 1/3/2017

Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh is abundantly adept at tugging at each and every heart string. The stories contained therein are an impressive hodgepodge that cobbles together volumes of insight and vibrancy. From urban bildungsromans to tall tales of rollicking adventure yarns, each story is imbued with a strong thematic core and makes an effort to impart sage advice.

A quick synopses of a smattering of stories:

  • A young man yearns to prove himself on the basketball court of a rag-tag and tough neighborhood. It’s a coming of age story that redefines what it means to break down expectations of masculinity amongst peers.
  • A young girl copes with the butterflies in her stomach when a new student arrives at school. This is a story that examines loneliness and gathering up the courage to just be yourself. This one was propelled by a series of humorous inner monologues.
  • A young Chinese girl is arranged to be married to a stranger. But she aspires toward higher goals. Her gaze is fixed upon the high seas and adventures with pirates. Through grit and grit alone does she lift herself up by her boot straps and endeavor to better her situation.
  • A young man travels throughout Europe with his spunky grandmother who continually coaxes him to come out of his shell. He’s a determined bookworm who is reluctant to enjoy himself. But he soon finds himself swayed by the allure of summer and the potential for self-discovery.

The production values of this audio book are stellar as well. The readers are an eclectic motley crew of talent and they firm up the narrative experience well throughout. A vivid and crisp image is implanted firmly into our mind’s eye. It’s immersive and laden with emotional weight. The readings are sincere and the inflections appropriate and executed well. When aurally auspicious, there was even something akin to a detached enthusiasm when speaking from the point of view of an angst-ridden teenager. No easy tone to capture. But achieved singularly here.

The diversity of themes is what really captured my imagination. These are stories that teens should be able to identify with easily and with gusto. Themes include a lifelong love of reading, female empowerment, and the determination required to overcome obstacles. The subject matter is emphatically empathetic and should appeal to a wide teenage audience.

As a whole, the stories complement one another masterfully. They’re well curated and represent a wide spectrum of voices. There’s a little bit of something for everyone and it casts a wide net in terms of appeal. The stories are diverse in characters, social issues, and implements a kaleidoscope of voices throughout. The ambiance and seamless tonal shifts range from feisty and humorous to forlorn and somber. The stories all contextualized as a whole display a remarkable narrative dexterity.

All in all, it’s an overwhelmingly charming audio book. One that I expect will bring much joy and newly acquired insights to teens willing to lend an ear.

— Tommy Bui

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, narrated by Austin Butler and Emily Rankin
Audiobook published by: HarperAudio
Publication Date: 1/17/2017
ISBN: 978-0-0626-4201-1

On the planet of Thuvhe is the independent nation of Shotet, ruled by Cyra Noavek’s brother Ryzek, a tyrannical leader bent on assuming power over all of Thuvhe and developing strategic alliances with other planets in the Assembly of nations.

Outside of Shotet, across an expanse of feathergrass, live Shotet’s enemies, the rest of the planet’s citizens known as the Thuvhesits. There, Akos Kereseth and his siblings grew up with their mother, an oracle who can see visions of the future, and their father, a farmer.

Ryzek kidnaps Akos and his brother Eijeh, believing Eijeh is the oracle he needs to reverse a fated fall from power. Akos’ and Cyra’s paths intertwine when Akos is designated her servant. His currentgift, or special skill, is to ease Cyra’s crippling pain from her currentgift, the ability to feel and incur torturous physical pain which Ryzek uses to punish his opponents.

The power imbalance in Akos and Cyra’s relationship evolves into a tentative friendship and attraction, despite the enemy status of their nations. The stakes are raised when Cyra throws in her lot with the renegades, a shadow band of rebels who plan to assassinate Ryzek.

Butler and Rankin share solid narration duties as Akos and Cyra, respectively. Their pacing is deliberate, underscoring the complex tension between Akos and Cyra, and the suspense of a rumbling rebellion. Butler’s Akos is tormented and brooding; Rankin voices Cyra as cynical and wounded but strong. Together their performances are complementary and compelling. Suggest this opening volume of a new science fiction/fantasy series to fans of Young Elites by Marie Lu, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and Roar by Cora Carmack.

— Beatriz Pascual Wallace and Erin Durrett

The post #AA2018: Amazing Audiobooks Nominations, Volume 1 appeared first on The Hub.

Month in Review: July 2017

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 14:41

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

For more YA links:

Books & Reading

  • Things to look forward to, coming out this fall, new books by favorite authors: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater, The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, and of course, Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. (All are coming in October, except Genuine Fraud, in September). (Publisher’s Weekly’s Most Anticipated)
  • Looking for some graphic novels? Check out 10 Graphic Novels That Are Not Quite of This World including stories about India, war, cosplay and more
  • Check out the Brown Bookshelf, a group of authors and illustrators who came together to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers.
  • A new series from Zoraida Córdova coming in 2019
  • Rainbow Rowell delves into the world of comics with Runaways


Movies & TV

In the News

— Cathy Outten, currently reading The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

The post Month in Review: July 2017 appeared first on The Hub.

Women in Comics – Extending the Story

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 07:00

Last month I wrote about graphic novel adaptations of famous books and series, but increasingly authors are moving beyond merely adapting works into graphic novels and instead creating graphic novels that are entirely new stories in an existing universe. Whether they are building on universes created for TV shows, or movies, these works do more than adapt existing stories. For fans of the original work, they can be exciting opportunities to spend more time in a world that they love and gain a new insight into their favorite characters.

Girl Over Paris by Gwenda Bond and Kate Leth with art by Ming Doyle – In this graphic novel, Jules Maroni, a tightrope walker that fans first met in Bond’s Cirque American novel, travels to Paris with her boyfriend for a prestigious exhibition that will give her a chance to show off her skills. This is an exciting trip and a great opportunity for Jules, but once she arrives in the City of Lights she finds herself haunted by a mysterious ghoul. But, is it the stress getting to her or a real haunting? This story will be a great read for fans of Cirque American as it has reference throughout to Jules’ earlier adventures, but it is very approachable for new fans as well.

The Guild by Felicia Day with art by Jim Rugg – Felicia Day is famous as an actress for a number of projects, but one that is particularly noteworthy for gamers is her web series The Guild, which follows a group of gamers who meet online to play a role playing game. In this graphic novel, written by Day, fans will get a peek at Codex before the start of the web series. The story offers a glimpse at events referenced in the series and gives new information about how The Guild formed, all in the same tone and style that fans already know. This is sure to impress existing fans of the series and prompt those who haven’t seen it to dive into The Guild.

Time Trial: The CHRONOS Files by Rysa Walker and Heather Nuhfer with art by Agustin Padilla – It’s 1931 and Clio Dunne is excited to move to Chicago to pursue her artistic dreams. However, her family legacy as a time traveler might make this a bit harder than expected. When a dark figure from her family’s past encounters her in the big city, she finds herself jumping through time to keep the world safe. This graphic novel is perfect for fans of Rysa Walker’s CHRONOS Files world.

Wires and Nerves: The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer with art by Doug Holgate – In this continuation of The Lunar Chronicles Series, readers follow Iko, an android that fans will remember from Meyer’s other works in this series, as she works to stop a group threatening the peace between Earth and Luna. Filled with artwork that brings this world and the characters that readers have met in other stories to life in a whole new way, this graphic novel is sure to impress fans of the Rampion crew. If you know readers who love The Lunar Chronicles, but aren’t sure about graphic novels, be sure to share this book with them!

The Wendy Project by Melissa Jane Osborne and Veronica Fish – Debuting this month, The Wendy Project is one upcoming graphic novel that I am really excited to finally read! This work takes a new look at Peter Pan. Set in New England, it tells the story of teenager Wendy Davis whose brother dies in a car accident while she’s driving. In the wake of his death, Wendy believes that he is now with Peter Pan in Neverland, but what is the truth?

What are some of your favorite graphic novels that build on existing fictional worlds? Let me know in the comics!

– Carli Spina, currently reading The Backstagers by James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh, and Walter Baiamonte

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Going Viral – YA Books of Teens Managing Online Fame

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 07:00

There are many online platforms for sharing and creating art. Teens are taking advantage the various mediums of creating and sharing their works. But what happens when your work becomes a smash hit? How do manage instant fame? How do you take advantage of opportunity when it comes your way? Many new teen titles are exploring the effects of being or becoming an online sensation. Teens are relating to these stories both on the artist/creator end of things, and even though they may not gain instant fame, teens still have to navigate similar tricky waters in the day to day of who is a true friend, and how to manage negative comments and bullies.

The following titles are about teens experiencing internet fame:

Youtube Sensations

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Natasha “Tash” Zelenka has turned her literary crush of Leo Tolstoy to good use. With the help of her best friend, Jack, they have created a web series “Unhappy Families,” a modern retelling of Anna Karenina. When a famous vlogger gives a shout out to the series, it goes viral. Now she, along with the cast and crew, are finding what it means to be a hit sensation and are managing the adoration, and the trolls, coming their way. The instant fame is also creating tensions among the crew.  The story is paralleled with Tash, who identifies as a  romantic asexual,  navigating flirtations coming her way. Admist the fame and romance, Tash is also dealing with her older sister creating distance, her parents announcing a new sibling on the way, college applications, the impending end of the series, and the big “What’s next.”

Bang by Barry Lyga

Sebastian loves making pizza. Not your basic generic pizza, but pizza that starts with homemade dough, recipes he has thoughtfully researched, homemade sauce, and the best toppings and combinations. This isn’t enough to keeps the memories at bay though. When he was four years old, he shot and killed his baby sister, and now has plans to do the same to himself at the end of summer. When Aneesha, a Muslim girl, moves into the neighborhood she encourages him to create a YouTube channel with her about his pizza creations. Things start to shift in Sebastian’s outlook, until the YouTube channel takes off, and he is recognized, and called out for his painful childhood past.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Frances is a British-Ethiopian study machine focused on getting into the best universities. She would happily forego hanging with friends to study, create art, and listen to the YouTube podcast “Universe City,” about a genderfluid student detective, “looking for a way to escape a sci-fi, monster-infested university.”  Frances has been posting Universe City fanart online under the name Toulouse, and has just been asked by its mysterious creator to provide some graphics for the show. One night, her friends convince her to a night out where she runs into Aled, the boy next door and brother to her former friend and love interest. Aled lets something slip that makes Frances discover that he is the creator of her beloved podcast. They form a fast friendship and spend the summer working on the podcast together. When Aled’s identity is accidentally leaked on the internet, he blames Frances and severs the relationship. Frances will do what she can to get her friend back.

Online Comics and Gamers

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

High school senior, Eliza, is the creator of the incredibly popular online comic Monstrous Sea. At school she is a loner, and she keeps her identity hidden, except for two close friends she only knows on the internet and her family. Her family doesn’t quite understand or grasp how popular Monstrous Sea is, and treats is more as a disposable hobby than something serious. When Wallace, a popular Monstrous Sea fanfiction writer,  starts at her school, he identifies Eliza as a fellow Monstrous Sea fan, and tries to pull Eliza out of her shell. As the relationship deepens, Eliza struggles with how to tell Wallace that she is the creator of Monstrous Sea. Pressures from the fandom weigh heavily on Eliza, especially as she nears Monstrous Sea’s final chapters.

Draw the Line by Laurent Linn

Sixteen-year-old Adrian is trying to be as innocuous as possible in his Texan high school. He has only come out as gay to his two best friends, but finds release in his art. He has been creating the online comic Graphite, which he posts anonymously. After he witnesses a gay hate crime happen among his high school peers, he does a version of it in his comics. Soon his anonymity is at risk.

Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting it Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser

Told in alternating voices, this memoir tells the story of how the two authors met during a summer program of Girls Who Code. When their final project, Tampon Run, went viral on the internet, it raised their profile in unexpected ways. Soon, the two were having opportunities and choices coming their way.


Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Madison Nakama (Madi) is an online sensation with her online blog “MadLib,” where she watches 80’s movies and comments on them. An internet troll has started to leave nasty comments and threats that might jeopardize her final project for high school. Online friends that are starting to become friends “IRL” come to her aid.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

After a bad year at Catholic school, genderfluid Riley is starting at a new high school. Being the child of a prominent conservative congressman, Riley tries to keep a low profile. Riley’s therapist encourages Riley to keep a blog about being genderfluid. The blog gains an instant following, and a young trans girl reaches out to Riley, only to face some dire abuse afterwards. Riley is dealing with the news, just as someone close to Riley is threatening to bring to light Riley’s secret.

Serpent King by Jeff Zetner (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten, 2017 Morris Award)

A story of three friends trying to make it through the last year of high school. Lydia, sidekick to the main character, runs a successful fashion blog with national acclaim. Though famous in certain circles outside her small town, most of her classmates mock her for her blog, but it will most likely be her ticket out of the small town.

–Danielle Jones, currently reading Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

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#QP2018: 5 World War II Tales

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:00

There are teens who want to read about the here and now, and then there are teens who love to know what it was like to live in the past. World War II has been a rich and rewarding theme for fiction and non-fiction for teens – modern classics like The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas pique their interest and enhance their understanding of the world at that time.

These five books, three fiction and two non-fiction, offer events and perspectives that are unique but carry a common thread – resistance to the Nazi regime. All are based on actual events, and each one reminds the reader that the human spirit will always prevail.

Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali, translated by Penny Hueston
Roaring Brook Press/A Neal Porter Book
March 7, 2017

 In Nazi Germany, Max is created as a designer baby to increase the Aryan population, and is even born on Hitler’s birthday. In this appalling glimpse into the Third Reich’s Lebensborn program, Max “Konrad” tells the haunting story of what it meant to be a gift to the Fuhrer, and how he helped the Brown Sisters kidnap Polish children who fit the Aryan ideal.  Trained to become a fighter in the Hitler Youth, he is raised by the medical arm of the Nazi regime to hate Jews, homosexuals, and anyone perceived as weak. The chink in Konrad’s armor is Lukas, a Polish teen who has been selected in the raids as the perfect Aryan specimen. His internal conflict is heightened when he discovers that Lukas, who has taken on the role of Konrad’s older brother, is Jewish.

The stark red cover portraying a fetus wearing a Nazi armband definitely grabs attention. Max is told from the unusual perspective of one who is seasoned beyond his years, while still quite childlike. Narration begins in utero and grows along with Konrad.  The plot-driven, compelling text depicts an irreverent view of one of the most disturbing time periods in history.  Blunt, gritty language is bound to appeal to readers due to shock value.  Though Konrad is certainly flawed and twisted from his upbringing, he possesses a naiveté that will make readers alternately dislike him intensely and pity him. Although the pacing is inconsistent, the suspense and menacing plot is enough to keep readers engaged.  The Author’s Note at the end is jarring, as readers discover that Max is inspired by actual events, and that the Lebensborn program did, in fact, exist.

Konrad’s childhood will resonate with readers of Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, and fans of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak will appreciate the unique narrator. Readers who THINK they have been already been exposed to everything in WWII fiction will be surprised by this book.

-Lisa Krok and Jodi Kruse

The Plot to Kill Hitler:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero by Patricia McCormick
Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
September 13, 2016
ISBN: 9780062411082

This nonfiction title is a glimpse into the life of a German resistance hero. Deitrich Bonheoffer was a member of a group of conspirators who plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Dietrich had an idyllic childhood surrounded by seven brothers and sisters and intellectual parents.  Unlike his brothers and sisters who pursued scientific and secular interests, Deitrich was shy and introspective and contemplated God rather than physics. This led him to a life of ministry. Not exactly a candidate for spy work, Deitrich could not turn a blind eye to the events he witnessed in Germany with the rounding up of Jews and other undesirables.  

Through his network of friends and religious colleagues both local and abroad, Deitrich was able to smuggle information to the allies about Hitler’s mass deportation of Jews to concentration camps.  That should have been enough for Deitrich, but his conscience would not allow him to ignore the evil that was Adolph Hitler. The pacifist pastor decided it was his moral duty to eliminate Hitler at any cost. It was a decision that ultimately cost him his life.

Short chapters of two to ten pages with generous white space and numerous archival photographs make this 174-page book accessible and engaging to many readers. Boxed in asides define important topics mentioned throughout the narrative. A timeline at the back of the book highlights each assassination attempt on Hitler and essential events from World War I until the end of World War II. Readers who enjoy learning about Hitler, spies and World War II will find this book an informative and interesting read.

Hand this book to readers of The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb, Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport, or Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson.

Readers may also like Fearless Spies and Daring Deeds of WWII by Rebecca Langston-George.

—Dana Hutchins

Fearless Spies and Daring Deeds of World War II by Rebecca Langston-George
Capstone /Compass Point Books
January 1, 2017

This inspiring nonfiction pick highlights several unconventional allied spies who plotted against the Nazi regime. Former Miss Poland beauty queen, Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, volunteered as a fast-talking spy for the British Secret Intelligence Services. She even parachuted into occupied France with a knife strapped to her thigh when another spy was captured and executed. Others in this motley crew of rebels include a “dead” spy, a three-fingered spy, and yet another who needed permission from his mother to participate!

The cover depicts bomber planes over London, with a silhouette of what appears to be a spy and codebreaking below it. The layout of the book is extremely appealing to reluctant readers, as it has double-spaced, short chapters with file tab images on the edge of the pages, giving the illusion of spy folders.  Black and white stock photos of the time period enhance the narrative and include both the spies themselves, and devices used to access or transmit messages. Technical language such as Fuhrer, Aryan, Axis, etc. are defined both in context, as well as in the glossary. Overall writing is exceptionally clear and includes an introduction/overview, timeline of events, glossary, alternate print and online sources, and an index. Additionally, a “Did You Know” blurb of fascinating facts is included in each chapter.

Fans of both non-fiction and historical fiction will be riveted by this book, and will likely savor the other three titles in Capstone’s SPIES! series, which reflect World War I, Cold War, and Modern Time eras. Readability makes this a dynamite choice for middle grades, although older teens and adults will also revel in the intriguing anecdotes.

— Lisa Krok

Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Scholastic Press
February 28, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-545-93191-5

In 1943, sisters Lida and Larissa are brutally separated from their parents and then, even worse, separated from each other. The younger Larissa is taken away and Lida finds herself in a crowded train car full of fellow Ukrainians being taken to a Nazi work camp, where they are treated as slaves. There she does whatever she has to to survive, including risking her life daily working in a bomb factory. An eternal optimist, Lida manages to keep her positive spirit alive in spite of the terror she feels every day and the horrific things she witnesses. This fast-paced tale of the strength and ingenuity of the human spirit is both sad and uplifting. Lida’s determination to find her sister as she helps everyone around her is inspiring, and her courage as she plots to sabotage the bombs she is forced to make is remarkable.

The fact that Lida’s story could have happened to anyone makes it a compelling read for reluctant readers. The single point of view, linear timeline, and frequent breaks in the text combine to lend it an accessible rhythm and flow.  Teens will take away the message that anyone can make a positive difference in the world, even if that world is just a small barrack in the middle of a war. Lida never loses hope, never stops bolstering the people around her, and is rewarded in the end.

Fans of recent fiction that depicts teens rebelling in time of war will enjoy this one as well. The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and the non-fiction We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman all explore similar themes with great success. As is true with all good historical fiction, the fact that this really took place compels modern teens to examine their lives and ponder their own strength of character, which is a very good thing for budding adults to do.

— Laura Lehner

Four-four-two by Dean Hughes
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
November 8, 2016

Are you American if America doesn’t really want you? What if American needs you? Yuki Nakahara knows what it is to be different. As Nisei Japanese, he is stuck in between the world of his first generation immigrant father and the land of promise that is held tantalizingly just beyond his reach. He’s smart. He meets discrimination and hatred with humor and grace, but none of that matters when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Before you can say “I had nothing to do with this,” he and his family are hustled off to an internment camp in Utah where he and his best friend enlist in an Army that needs men, but doesn’t really want Yuki, Shig, or any of their ilk–and by ilk I mean Japanese.

What follows is a fictionalized account of just one member of the highly decorated Four-Four-Two from life in an internment camp, to boot camp, to the impossible battles to which the battalion was assigned. Hughes doesn’t shy away from either the tragedy of war or the triumph of spirit that brings Yuki’s broken heart and body back to his family with honor. The sheer tenacity of Yuki’s character coupled with the injustice and overwhelming odds he faces are part of the appeal of this quick read. Readers who would otherwise consider historical fiction the metaphorical equivalent of lima beans will be won over by the universal themes of friendship and survival. Fans of Tanita S. Davis’s Mare’s War will find many similarities between Yuki and Mare–neither are fully accepted by their country, both are appreciated by the countries in which they fight.

Four-Four-Two stands proudly alongside such work as Tanya Lee Stone’s Courage Has No Color: the True Story of the Triple Nickles and Steve Sheinkin’s The Port Chicago Fifty.

-Jodi Kruse

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#QP2018 Nominees: Find Your Style and Botanical Beauty

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 17:38

It’s no secret that many teens find a creative outlet and personal expression through style. Beauty vlogging has become a huge trend on Youtube and most teens I know are aware of at least a few famous ones. Common Sense Media has even created a list of popular beauty vloggers for interested parents. And it’s not just women, there are also quite a few famous male beauty vloggers. This interest in style and grooming can extend to making their own beauty products as well. Quite a few teens have even created successful businesses selling their creations.

The following are two books that hone in on that eternal interest in personal style and DIY creation.

Find Your Style: Boost Your Body Image Through Fashion Confidence by Sally McGraw
Twenty-First Century Books
February 1, 2017

Find Your Style by Sally McGraw introduces reader to fashion concepts and their deeper meanings. Readers will learn basic style skills, like how to put together outfits, shop on a budget, and choose pieces that flatter their figure. Standard fashion topics are presented with a body positive spin. For example, the chapter on “figuring out your figure” includes section headings like “what do you love about your body?” and “dress to feel good.” Includes tips and opinions from actual teens.

This book features a high interest topic (fashion) and presents it in a way that is incredibly relevant for today’s teens. Connections are drawn between what readers see in the media and their beliefs about fashion, beauty, and their own self-worth. And it doesn’t skimp on the practical style advice. The diverse models and inclusion of different body types makes it relatable for a wide range of teens from many backgrounds. The engaging voice and clear, informative text should be appealing to reluctant readers. Overall, a positive and informative book that encourages teens to think critically and cultivate a healthy self-image. Great for fans of Teen Vogue and Project Runway.

-Jessica Ormonde

Botanical Beauty: 80 Essential Recipes for Natural Spa Products by Aubre Andrus
Switch Press
March 1, 2017

Botanical Beauty: 80 Essential Recipes for Natural Spa Products by Aubre Andrus features a variety of DIY beauty recipes. Most only require three to four ingredients. A brief introduction familiarizes the reader with specialty ingredients, like jojoba oil and citric acid. Readers will learn how to safely handle and use essential oils, melt coconut oil, and store their creations. Instructions are clear and complete. There are ideas for packaging the recipes as fun gifts. Bright, colorful photography compliments each recipe.

The topic of affordable DIY beauty products is sure to entice reluctant readers interested in self-care, makeup, and cooking. The photographs are lively and nicely framed, easily on par with anything in a professional magazine. Readers who struggle with reading complex text will appreciate the simple, clear instructions and eye-catching images. The focus on instructions and recipes may lead readers to look for more in-depth books on DIY culture or recipes. Great for fans of YouTube beauty tutorials, and magazines like Seventeen and Cosmogirl.

– Jessica Ormonde

The post #QP2018 Nominees: Find Your Style and Botanical Beauty appeared first on The Hub.

Month in Review: June 2017

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 08:22

Scriiiiiccchhh… Cut the music! Stop the Presses!  

The most important thing that happened in June?

John green announced his next book!

Turtles All the Way Down will come for us October 10th.

And… on to other news:

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
  • June 21 Booklist: Pride Month Reading list A great list of 20 YA titles featuring LGBTQIA lives and experiences.
  • 2017 Hub Reading Challenge June Check-in A final check-in for the 2017 reading challenge, with links to the list.  Did you rise to the challenge?
  • June 6 Women in Comics – 2017 Eisner Award Nominees, a great round-up of the many women nominated for the prize.
  • June 5 #QP2018 Nominees: 2 more Quick Pick nominees: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and Overturned by Lamar Giles, two peeks into the uncertain world of criminal convictions.
  • June 2 Interview with Alex Award winner Ryan North, author of Romeo and/or Juliet, and writer of Adventure Time comics
  • June 1 Five Podcasts to Try for Fans of “Welcome to Night Vale” – Delve into the world of fiction podcasts, a great way to “binge” through your commute.

Books & Reading Movies & TV In the News

— Cathy Outten, currently reading The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (A fantastic book!)


The post Month in Review: June 2017 appeared first on The Hub.

Women in Comics – Graphic Adaptations

Tue, 07/04/2017 - 07:00

Given the popularity of comics, it isn’t surprising that many works originally created and released as books and films have been adapted into comics and graphic novels. Not only does this bring these stories to a new audience, but in the process of adapting and illustrating these stories, the creators of the comics are able to add their own take on the original version. In the past, I’ve written about Hope Larson’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and Leigh Dragoon’s adaptation of Legend by Marie Lu in my post on science fiction comics, but this list offers even more options for thought provoking adaptations of some popular works.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs with art by Cassandra Jean – The original version of Miss Peregrine’s was well known for integrating photographs into its story of Peculiars trapped in a time loop who are attacked by monsters. Jean’s artwork fits the mood of the story perfectly and helps to bring to life the fantastical elements of Riggs’ work. This version will appeal to fans of the original and those who have never read the story before.

The Baby-Sitter’s Club: Kristy’s Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier and adapted from Ann M. Martin’s novel – This is the first of five Baby-Sitter’s Club books that Telgemeier has adapted as graphic novels, and manages to be simultaneously true to the original book and to bring a new take on these classic characters through the way that they are written and illustrated. The graphic novel format allows her to show each character’s personality in their facial expressions and appearance. If you know any young teens who are fans of stories about friendship or babysitting, this is a great way to introduce them to this classic series.

Pride & Prejudice by Nancy Butler with art by Hugo Petrus adapted from Jane Austen’s book – With a cover that is designed to be reminiscent of Seventeen or Teen Vogue, you can tell from the start that this graphic novel aims to appeal to a teen crowd. Though the rest of the story doesn’t quite match the cover in terms of approach to the story, it does do a nice job of adapting a classic story for a new format and abbreviating the plot without losing too much. Fans of comics and fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this one. (For those who prefer manga, Pride and Prejudice has also been adapted as a manga by Stacy King.)

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare with illustrations by HyeKyung Baek – Manga fans will be happy to know that there are plenty of manga adaptations as well, including adaptations of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy. The trilogy is a prequel to her Mortal Instruments series of books (which is now also a TV show), but it also works as a standalone story, set on the supernatural side of Victorian London. Baek has done a nice job of realizing an environment that is both historical and fantastical. This one is sure to be a hit with existing fans of Clare’s work and those who are frequent manga readers.

Maximum Ride by NaRae Lee adapted from James Patterson’s books – This is another one for any manga lovers you know. NaRae Lee has adapted James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series as a manga that offers a visual take on these stories. Fans will love to see Max and her flock of friends in flight and will enjoy how Lee conveys the action inherent in the stories. So far, Lee has illustrated nine volumes of the series and more are expected, so this is a great option for readers who enjoy long series.

Hopefully you’ll find a new favorite on this list, but there are also plenty of new options coming out soon. Emily Carroll is currently working on an adaptation of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Margaret Atwood is working with artist Renee Nault on an adaptation of her classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. If you prefer movie adaptations, Amber Benson (yes, Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Sarah Kuhn are working on an adaptation of Clueless with art by Siobhan Keenan. If you know of any other current or forthcoming adaptations, let us know in the comments!

– Carli Spina, currently reading The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

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Monthly Monday Poll: July 2017 – Debut Series

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 07:00

Hello Hub readers!

Last month we explored some Nonfiction authors with works targeted at both Adult and YA readers, and Karen Blumenthal and her prolific backlist took a full 52% of the vote. Next up was Representative John Lewis with 27%, Sy Montgomery with 11%, Kenneth C. Davis with 6%, Jim Ottaviani with 5%, and Neal Bascomb.

With the never-ending deluge of awesome-sounding publications hitting the shelves, it can be overwhelming just to keep track of all the bookish excellence available (and, um, stressful to carve out reading time for even a fraction of the TBR pile), so this month, to help us all stay on top of our New Releases game and help boost some name recognition with new YA (series) authors-to-watch, we’re asking which YA series from a debut author is getting the Reader’s Advisory love from you so far in 2017. As always, please shout out titles and authors I’ve left out in the comments.

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

—Carly Pansulla, currently reading Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older

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