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Your Connection to Teen Reads
Updated: 22 hours 49 min ago

Fashion Hits and Misses from YA Historical Fiction Book Covers, Part 4

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 07:00

I love historical fiction.  The drama, the intrigue and, oh– the fashion.  I just assume all the period details regarding clothing are accurate.  Or I did until my friend Liz shared it was her secret delight to troll the adult fiction section and find anachronistic apparel.  Curious to know how Liz knows all that she does about fashion?  Read her bio found in our first two collaborative blog posts for The Hub:

Turns out a lot of books from specific dates and locations feature outfits as cover art that either haven’t been invented yet or were way out of fashion.  I was eager to know if these same mistakes were being made in Young Adult historical fiction. After all, how was I to know? Here are some examples of books that got it right and those that got it wrong.

The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Hit: The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.  This series takes place in Victorian London, 150 years before Clare’s popular Mortal Instuments series.  The first book, Clockwork Angel, is a 2011 Teens’ Top Ten winner. The Victorian Era  runs from 1837 to 1901 spanning the entire reign of Queen Victoria, and despite the inherent vagueness of generalizing fashion from one monarch’s rule,  examples for men’s dress and women’s dress on these covers are very typical of the 19th century and are therefore good examples despite being in a magical fantasy setting. 

1887 designer Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895 House of Worth) MMA, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Edith Gardiner, 1926 (2009.300.1094a–g)


1880s Attributed to Liberty of London (British, founded 1875) MMA, Purchase, Gifts from Various Donors, 1985 (1985.155)

“The design house Liberty & Company was known for its “artistic” dresses, with romantic and artisanal medieval effects, or faintly exotic and orientalizing motifs and silhouettes.” (Metropolitan Museum of Art) This evening ensemble by Charles Frederick Worth can only be viewed online.  Be sure to read the entire description on the The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website which features exquisite details about the the textiles and other adornments used for this dress.

The Circle of the Rue Royale, 1868, artist James Tissot (French 1836-1902) Musée d’Orsay RF 2011 53.

Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay, 1867, James Tissot (French 1836-1902), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1972 (W1972-2-1)



Man’s Morning Coat and Vest, British ca. 1880, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Purchased with funds provided by Michael and Ellen Michelson (M.2010.33.15a-b)

Man walking outdoors in a jacket with hat and stick, United States, 1890s.(1891)

The image is from Peterson’s Magazine, a popular ladies fashion magazine.  Full volumes of Peterson’s Magazine can be read for free online from Google Books.



A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

Miss: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard has no exact date for its setting. While it’s clear the book is set in Paris, France, the year is more ambiguous. However, even saying the book is the 19th century is still not a broad enough time frame to encompass all the amalgamated fashions going on with this book cover.  It is so wildly inaccurate it had to be  included here.  Each element of the outfit is accurate for the fashion of the time, but since each detail is from a different decade or century they could not appear concurrently in one look– even if the book is a fantasy.  Start with the Bell-Shaped skirt which was the style in the 1850s -1860s. How then do you explain all the other myriad of other details?

Evening dress from the House of Dior

Strapless dresses, like the one on the cover, started to make an appearance in the 1930s and gained popularity with 1950s bustline seen on the book cover and this silk and sequin dress by Christian Dior.

Belt detail with Evening dress, fall 1939, designer Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973) MMA Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1954 (2009.300.3154a, b)

The Jeweled Belt  is a turn of the century or later addition to eveningwear.  The astrology themed accessory seen here is made of  glass and rhinestones from the 1930s.

Mitts MMA Gift of Mrs. M. Fell Douglas, 1968 (C.I.68.3.3a, b)

The Crochet mitts are in the 1840s style.

Bonnet ca. 1880, probably French, MMA Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of the Princess Viggo in accordance with the wishes of the Misses Hewitt, 1931 (2009.300.1417)

“The use of feathers as a decorative element, rather than as stuffing, is a relatively new idea in the 1870s; by the 1880s the whole bird becomes a prevalent feature.” (Bonnet)

Still want to know more about the history of fashion? There are many resources available at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Audio, video and podcasts are available on topics like punk and wigs and fashion icons like Alexander McQueen.

-Laura C. Perenic, currently reading Dead Mountain: The Untold  True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

There Be Dragons!: New YA Dragon Books

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 07:00

There’s one type of fantasy book I’m always getting requests for: dragon books! Since they are so popular at my library, I was thrilled to find not only quite a few new releases featuring dragons, but the selection is quite diverse. There are dragon books inspired by Asian mythology, those that take their inspiration from tales of medieval Europe, and those that imagine our world if dragons were real, or even a post-apocalyptic future where dragons are kept on reservations. Dragons can be the “bad guys,” sympathetic creatures, or even humans who can shapeshift into dragon form. It’s a good time to be a fan of dragon stories! Here’s a chart to help you select which one might be your new favorite:

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Magic is waning in the modern world, which makes life working for a magician employment agency rough. But what happens when the last dragonslayer kills the last known dragon?

The Story of Owen by E. K. Johnston

Dragonslayers can make it big in our world protecting big cities from fossil fuel guzzling dragons, but this leaves rural areas unprotected. This is the tale of Owen, reluctant teenage dragonslayer, told by his bard, Siobhan.

Eon by Alison Goodman (2010 Best Books for Young Adults)

This is a tale of sword fighting and magic and finding oneself.

Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Kira can spot demons hiding in human bodies, making her a valuable asset to the King.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (2013 Morris Award Winner)

This is for music-loving dragon fans! In this rich fantasy world in which dragons have bartered a truce with humans, Seraphina learns her own connection to the world of dragons.

A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

This new dragon book is out next week, and is about a half-human, half-dragon girl choosing between being a princess in a kingdom where she is not wanted or a father she has never known and happens to be a dragon.

Other dragon books out this year that hardcore fans need to check out: Petra K and the Blackhearts by Ellis M. Henderson, Talker 25 by Joshua McCune, and Talon by Julie Kawaga.

–Molly Wetta, currently reading Great by Sara Benicasa

The Monday Poll: Coolest Pet in YA Lit

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 00:22

photo by flickr user akk_rus

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, asked which YA lit character you’d want to follow into adulthood and read about how their life turns out. Your top pick was Cath from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, capturing 46% of the vote– and dare we suggest that if Rowell doesn’t take readers all the way through Cath’s life… well, there’s always fanfiction? Ha! 32% of you would want to follow the life Junior from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and 13% would want to see how Doug’s life turns out after the last page of Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, we’re revisiting a previous poll topic with a whole new set of options: we want your opinion on the coolest pet in YA lit. Which  one would you want to take home for your very own? Vote in the poll below, or add your suggestions in the comments.

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

2014 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #13

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 07:00

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!

Happy Spring (and happy May the Fourth for Star Wars fans)! While it has technically been Spring for some time, it is only just starting to feel consistently warm and pleasant where I am, so it is finally the perfect weather to grab a book and read outside. Finish up your Hub Reading Challenge books in the great outdoors or curled up by your favorite window. Even if you haven’t started yet, sign up now! There is still plenty of time to read 25 books before the end of the competition!

Regardless of where you are in the Challenge, let us know how it is going for you. What’s the latest book you’ve finished? What is the best book you have read so far? Have you added anything new and exciting to your Hub Reading Challenge to-be-read list? Personally, my favorite book that I finished since my last check-in post was Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos. I can’t wait to see what else I will discover on the Challenge list.

The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge will run until 11:59PM EST on June 22nd, so even if you haven’t started reading yet, you still have plenty of time to read 25 books! Just be sure to keep track of what you are reading/listening to as you go along. We’ll be posting these check-in posts each Sunday so you can share your thoughts about the book(s) you read/listened to that week and share links to any reviews you post online. If you just can’t wait for our weekly posts, share your thoughts via social media using the #hubchallenge hashtag, or join the 2014 Hub Challenge group on Goodreads. We will be compiling posts from various places online into a Storify collection. You can see the social media conversation so far below!

If you have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response, and, perhaps best of all, notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading/listening to 25 titles. 

Tweets of the Week: May 2

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 07:00

Roundup of some bookish news this week:





Just for Fun:

~ Jennifer Rummel, currently reading QB1 by Mike Lupica

We Need Diverse Books

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 07:00

from the Tenth Grade Textual Analysis class
at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC
(photo submitted by Jessica Pryde)

There’s an ongoing and much-needed conversation about the need for more diversity in youth literature– and as much as we talk about it, the problem hasn’t been solved yet.

Did you read Entertainment Weekly’s analysis of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s report on the representation of people of color in children’s books? Notably, out of the 3,200 children’s books examined by the CCBC, only 93 were about black people. It’s not a pretty picture.

While there are fantastic YA and children’s books with representations of all kinds of diversity out there– several recent Printz titles come to mind, such as Eleanor & Park, Maggot Moon, In DarknessAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, The White Bicycle– we here at The Hub are always looking for more, more, more. And we’re not alone. There’s a campaign happening right now called We Need Diverse Books, intended to raise awareness of this important issue.

We’re participating by sharing photos of the many reasons we need diverse books.

from Lalitha Nataraj

from Becky O’Neil

from Julie Bartel

from Julie Bartel

from Carla Land

from Allison Tran

from Hannah Gomez


from Kelly Dickinson

from Jennifer Rummel

-Allison Tran, currently reading The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

Hub Photo Challenge: Spine Poetry Final Round-Up and Winner Announced!

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 07:00

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’ve been hosting a spine poetry contest here on The Hub as part of our 2014 Hub Reading Challenge. Spine poetry is the art of arranging books so their titles form a poem. All month long, readers were invited to get creative with the list of eligible Reading Challenge titles and submit a picture of their book spine poem for a chance to win a signed copy of Every Day by David Levithan, a 2013 Teens’ Top Ten winning title.

We received lots of amazing submissions from readers, and we’re thrilled to share these pictures with you today as we wrap up National Poetry Month! Thank you to everyone who participated!

from Rebekah Stafford

from Ariel Birdoff

from Killian Weston

from Elaine Fultz

from Anna Wendt

 from the Booth & Dimock Memorial Library

Those library spine labels get in the way of the artistry here, so here’s the text version:

Crap Kingdom
Far Far Away
Nothing Can Possible Go Wrong
I am the Messenger
Boy Nobody
Killer of Enemies

from Jennifer Burns

from Adrienne Gillespie

from Meghan Darling

from Charlene Hsu Gross

And the winner is… Jennifer Burns!

We loved each and every one of these spine poetry submissions, and Jennifer’s poem especially caught our eye with its wry humor. Congratulations, Jennifer! You will receive a signed copy of Every Day, by David Levithan!

Thank you again to everyone who participated, and big thanks to Hub Advisory Board member Carli Spina who headed up this photo challenge.

And if anyone is wishing they’d signed up for the Hub Reading Challenge after seeing all these great titles displayed, there’s still time! The challenge runs through June 22, so join in now. Happy reading!

-Allison Tran, currently reading Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Jukebooks: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 07:00

Emily Bean hesitates to call herself a poet, despite the fact that her brain is always composing poems, more so since her life has been shattered by tragedy. Emily’s boyfriend shot himself in the library of their high school after she breaks up with him. To remove her from the painful aftermath, Emily’s parents send her to the Amherst School for Girls. Plunging into a new environment has its own stresses, but it is the hometown of Emily Dickinson.

In the book, Emily Bean is drawn into the solitary world of the other Emily. The Dickinson family was very invested in Amherst College, and Emily herself attended the Amherst Academy from 1840-1847. Her home still stands in the center of town. Becoming immersed in the culture of Amherst and the proximity of all things Dickinson, Emily Bean finds a way to express her own voice. Poems pour from Emily Bean’s pen, articulating all the pain and wisdom inside.

At one point in the book, Emily is asked what sort of music she likes. As the book is set in 1995, her choices reflect another time. “Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls, stuff like that.” And, indeed, the Indigo Girls’s song, All We Let In, seems to speak directly to Emily Bean:

Lost friends and loved ones much too young
So much promises and work left undone
When all that guards us is a single centerline
And the brutal crossing over when it’s time

-Diane Colson, currently reading Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom