Posts tagged: young adult

Book Review: Shadowshaper

By , November 3, 2015

Shadowshaper cover


by Daniel José Older

Set in Brooklyn, Shadowshaper introduces a fierce teen heroine to the Urban Fantasy literary scene. The book centers around Sierra Santiago, a budding Latino artist faced with the challenge of harnessing the power of art to save her community. I loved the urban backdrop combined with a cast of rich, diverse teen characters.

Shadowshaper opens with Sierra noticing something odd; one of the murals in her neighborhood is changing. The painting of her grandfather’s late friend, Papa Acevedo, appears to be crying and Manny, another close friend of her grandfather, keeps pushing her to complete her largest mural project to date. Fast forward to a meeting with stroke-stricken Grandpa Lazaro who tells Sierra that she must save the shadowshapers with the help of fellow artist, Robbie, but can he really be trusted? We learn that shadowshapers are visual artists who create real, living, breathing works of art with magic. Unbeknownst to her, Sierra comes from the ruling family of shadowshapers and she is tasked with saving her legacy from forces of evil with the help of her friends. Sierra loves her family and her neighborhood, but she doesn’t understand why the adults in her life choose to keep such important secrets from her.

Daniel José Older magnificently infuses magic, culture and heritage with typical elements of fantasy. This book is full of strong female characters and Sierra draws her strength from them. I highly recommend this book to fans of YA Urban Fantasy authors like Cassandra Clare and Laini Taylor.


Graphic Novel Adaptations of Classic Books

By , September 1, 2015

Graphic novels might be the most stigmatized literary medium in the history of written word. Have you ever found yourself wondering what’s so great about graphic novels? Or what separates a graphic novel from comic books or manga? Have no fear; the answer to (most) of life’s questions is always at your fingertips…in the library. The Internet Public Library defines graphic novels as “book-length comics”. It is important to note that graphic novels are a format, not a genre, so you won’t have to look too hard to find one to match your interests. In addition to being an ingenious mashup of visual art and literature, graphic novels also have the potential to breathe new life into classic literature.

For the skeptics: The graphic novel can be a powerful tool for teaching visual literacy. Reluctant readers and visual learners can cultivate a love for reading through graphic novels. As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.


Based on the play by William Shakespeare
Adapted and Illustrated by Gareth Hinds

Stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires. – Macbeth

What would you do if three witches said you were destined to be king one day? Would you go on a murderous rampage with the hope of making your dreams come true? Oh, Macbeth. Why, oh why, did you listen to those creepy witches? Dude, they totally disappeared into thin air in the middle of your conversation. One of the great Shakespearean tragedies, Macbeth, is the classic tale of how ruthless ambition can lead to murder and madness. Hinds’ rich illustrations reflect the dark tone and action of the play while staying true to the original text.

Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austen
Adapted by Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus

Gender representation is a hot topic in discussions about graphic novels and this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice shines with female characters at the forefront. The novel opens with the Bennett family discussing the possibility of marrying one of the Bennett daughters to the wealthy, eligible bachelor, Mr. Bingley. The graphic novel’s illustrations clarify the dizzying interpersonal drama amongst the characters. If you’re a fan of witty banter and British dramas, like Downton Abbey, you’ll love Pride and Prejudice.

The Odyssey

The Odyssey
Based on the epic poem written by Homer
Adapted by Seymour Chwast

Written in 800 B.C.E., the Odyssey wins the award for being the oldest classic on our list. The poem centers on the journey of Odysseus, a Greek hero, back to his home in Ithaca after the fall of the city of Troy. I’ll be honest. I absolutely dreaded reading this text when I was in high school, and I wish this graphic novel was available back then. Chwast’s adaptation infuses the text with modern language and witty captions, which makes the graphic novel more accessible than the original. The illustrations combine classical, Greek elements with modern inventions, like space ships and rockets. This graphic novel is a fun read, especially if reading classical language poses a challenge to you.


Makerspaces for Kids

By , August 27, 2015

August is National Inventor’s Month. Celebrate by creating a “tinkering” space for your young children. Or bring your teens to one of the library’s great makerspaces, called Studio NPL.

Rachelle Doorley, of Tinkerlab (one of my favorite preschool tinkering sites), describes tinkering as “hands-on experiences, learning from failures, and unstructured time to explore and invent.”

As they tinker, kids work through a trial and error process in which they think about questions, test theories, brainstorm, research, and design. Don’t do it for them. Even if you know how it works, let the kids experiment and figure it out. Later, you can talk with them about what they learned.


Young Inventors Need Space

Setting up a Tinkering Space

If you are going to explore hands-on experiences, you need stuff to explore and tinker with.

For toddlers, take a look at this tinkering space from the blog A Mom with a Lesson Plan, inspired by the book Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Dave Roberts.

For preschoolers, give them access to a wide range of materials. The blog Let the Children Play offers some good suggestions. Check out this tool space at Scholastic, with a worktable, shelves, and lots of jars for hardware. This project gets a little extreme–even mounting a computer on the side. Great idea, but it’s a little too Silicon Valley for my budget.

For those of us with slightly more limited means, a corner in a carport or basement works well, or even a re-purposed kids closet. Keep it simple with measuring tools, cutting tools, drawing tools, woodworking tools, and cans of hardware components along with fasteners, tape and glue.

Invite your family and friends to donate old tools and hardware from their junk drawers to your mini makerspace. Save coffee cans and tin cans for storage (make sure to tape over rough edges). You can also take apart small machines that are no longer working and save the parts for future explorations.


Young Inventors Need Ideas

 Do you need inspiration for things to build?

Check out these art and project websites for kids:


Inspiration for younger children at your library:


For inspiration for teens and youth at your library:


A Young Inventor’s Story

Caine’s Arcade

This clip shows how one boy’s tinkering inspired a community. His concept, Cain’s Arcade, was adopted by the Imagination Foundation, who now sponsors the annual Cardboard Challenge.




Upcoming Movies from YA Books

By , April 7, 2015

Insurgent_poster Insurgent is based on the book by Veronica Roth Now out in theaters, Insurgent is attracting droves of fans, eager for the next installment in Triss’s quest for the truth. Reviews have been discouraging, and there are some significant changes from Roth’s book. Nevertheless, box office sales are through the roof.





Paper Towns Paper Towns  is based on the book by John Green The thing to know about this movie is that it is not TFiOS. True, there is a girl, Margo, played by Cara Delevingne. She’s fierce, beautiful, and utterly fascinating to the boy next door, Quentin. Quentin is played by Nat Wolff, who fans will remember from the movie TFIOS, although he wore sunglasses for much of the movie. Due out July, 2015.





Fallen is the first book in a series by Lauren Kate. Addison Timlin stars as Luce Price, who has been sent to the Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. Jeremy Irvine plays opposite her as the elusive Daniel Grigori. Also due for release in July, 2015.





The Scorch Trials is the second in James Dashner’s Maze Runner series. The big mystery of the Glade was answered at the end of the first movie…kind of. Now there’s more action as the Gladers confront a new situation and what it means for them. Look for this one in September, 2015.




Fifth Wave The Fifth Wave  is based on the book by Rick Yancey In Yancey’s thrilling novel, aliens have invaded Earth, leaving a bleak land that has been compared to the setting of Cormac McCarthy’s The RoadChloe Grace Moretz is lined up to play Cassie Sullivan, who lives by one rule: “Trust No One.” Projected release date: January, 2016.




ASA peregrine

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars is based on the book with a similar title by Ransom Riggs. Tim Burton will be directing a cast of adorably peculiar children, headed by Asa Butterfield,  who plays Jacob Portman. Currently in production, the release date is set for March 2016.





Daughter of Smoke and Bone reportedly has a screen play written by author Laini Taylor. This one has been has been in the works for a while, with Michael Gracey set to direct. No news on casting or release date.






Grasshopper Jungle  is based on the Printz Honor Award-winning novel by Andrew Smith. Edgar Wright is set to direct this one – eventually. Aside from the heartwarming story of how Facebook brought Grasshopper Jungle to Wright’s attention, not much has come to pass. Should be worth the wait!
























Book List: Teen Lock Up

By , March 31, 2015

Wise Young Fool  by Sean Beaudoin Eighteen-year-old Ritchie Sudden finds himself locked in juvenile detention as a direct result of issues related to anger and loss.  While inside, he journals about his time locked-up and the events which lead to his arrest and incarceration.




The End of the Line    by Angela Cerrito Thirteen year old Robbie Thompson is in solitary at Great Oaks School, a juvenile-detention center of last resort. He’s been kicked out of similar facilities and alternative schools.  While locked-up, Robbie sorts through the events in his life as a way to earn food and water.



The Journey Back
by Priscilla Cummings

Soon after his 14th birthday, Michael Griswald escapes from the Cliffside Youth Detention Center, where he has been incarcerated for his role in a prank which turned into murder.  He’s desperate to return home to protect the rest of his family from his father’s violent raging temper.



We Were Here  
by Matt de la Pena

Sixteen year old Miguel Casteñeda, is serving time in a group home surrounded by other youthful offenders. With two friends, Miguel escapes and the three young men embark on a journey toward Mexico.



Something Like Hope
by Shawn Goodman

Seventeen year-old Shavonne, is back in juvenile lockup, but dreams of a better life. She vows to overcome corrupt guards, out-of-control girls, and her own past to regain hope in her life.



On the Come Up
by Travis Hunter

DeMarco lives in a high crime area of Atlanta, except when he’s doing time in juvie because at least there he knows he’s got a place to sleep and foot to eat.




by Patrick Jones

After spending time in a juvenile detention center for a crime related to severe anger issues, seventeen-year-old Jada is sent to a foster home and enrolled in an alternative high school, and begins to move past her old life.




Dirt Road Home
by Watt Key

Fourteen-year-old Hal Mitchell is doing time at Hellenweiler, a reform school for second-offenders.  Even though he’s inside, he’s anything but safe due to gangs and other threats.




Counting Backwards
by Laura Lascarso

After a reckless crime spree, sixteen-year-old Taylor is sent to a juvenile psychiatric correctional facility where she tries to maintain her sanity despite craziness around her.




by Terra Elan McVoy

Eighteen-year-old Nikki’s love and devotion to her boyfriend Dee takes a dangerous turn when he involves her in a murder that lands her time in prison while Dee walks free.



by Walter Dean Myers

Reese feels alone stuck in a juvenile detention facility, but makes an unlikely friend with a shocking history.





Getting Somewhere
by Beth Neff

Four teenaged girls find their times in a progressive juvenile detention facility changes their lives in unexpected ways.




by Alex Sanchez

Diego’s anger gets him into trouble and on probation.  He’s got one chance to turn his life around, but first he’s got to deal with the trauma in his past.





Black and White
by Paul Volponi

Two star high school basketball players, one black and one white pull a robbery, but when caught, find they have very different experiences in the justice system because of their face.





Rikers High
by Paul Volponi

Seventeen-year-old Martin Stokes awaits his trial on a minor drug charge in the huge Riker’s complex. Although he tries to stay out of trouble, trouble has a way of finding him.





Four Secrets
by Margaret Willey

Three middle school girls journal about the events that lead to their incarceration.





These titles and annotations were obtained from  Patrick Jones’s blog








Book List: Dreaming of Dystopia

By , March 17, 2015

Ship Breaker  
by Paolo Bacigalupi

In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life.


 Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life-a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free.



Perfect Ruin
by Lauren DeStefano

Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge of Internment, the floating city and her home, can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. There’s too much for her on Internment: her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. Her life is ordinary and safe, even if she sometimes does wonder about the ground and why it’s forbidden. Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city.



Of Metal and Wishes
by Sarah Fine

Sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic, housed in a slaughterhouse staffed by the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor. Wen often hears the whisper of a ghost in the slaughterhouse, a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. And after one of the Noor humiliates Wen, the ghost grants an impulsive wish of hers-brutally. Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including the outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the ghost. As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen is torn between her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat-real or imagined.


The Dark City
by Catherine Fisher

Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters-some human, some not-that also want the relic’s power and will stop at nothing to get it.


Maggot Moon
by Sally Gardner

Set in a ruthless regime, an unlikely teenager risks all to expose the truth about a heralded moon landing. What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell — who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright — sees things differently than the rest of the “train-track thinkers.” So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. 



The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim
by E. K. Johnston

There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition. But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected. Such was Trondheim’s fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds–armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard. 

The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them -the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters. Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend-a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike.


The Young Elites
by Marie Lu

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelinas black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fevers survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars–they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.


by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. 



by China Mieville

On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. Spectacular as it is, Sham can’t shake the sense that there is more to life than the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain thinks only of hunting the ivory-colored mole that took her arm years ago. But when they come across a wrecked train, Sham finds something–a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible–that leads to considerably more than he’d bargained for.


The Glass Casket
by McCormick Templeman

Death hasn’t visited Rowan Rose since it took her mother when Rowan was only a little girl. But that changes one bleak morning, when five horses and their riders thunder into her village and through the forest, disappearing into the hills. Days later, the riders’ bodies are found, and though no one can say for certain what happened in their final hours, their remains prove that whatever it was must have been brutal. Rowan’s village was once a tranquil place, but now things have changed. Something has followed the path those riders made and has come down from the hills, through the forest, and into the village. Beast or man, it has brought death to Rowan’s door once again. Only this time, its appetite is insatiable.


The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey

fter the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the un lucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death.





Book List: Those Lying Liars

By , March 3, 2015


We Were Liars 
by e. lockhart

The Liars were cousins: Cadence, Johnny, Mirrem, and Gat. They spent summers together basking in the luxury of their grandfather’s private island. Last year, Cadence wasn’t able to be there, and by this year, things seem different. The Liars’  esprit de corps has wilted as they languidly hang out, secluded from the rest of the family. Cadence, suffering from terrible headaches and memory loss, cannot define what is missing. The twisted ending changes everything she believes to be true about the Liars.



Little White Lies  
by Katie Dale

Even as Lou falls hard for handsome, enigmatic Christian, she knows that he is deliberately hiding his past. This troubles Lou less than it should. After all, she has her own secrets. But some secrets are more destructive than others, and Lou finds herself in the terrible position of choosing between the truth and the one she loves.




by Justine Larbalestier

She lies all the time. But it might be that Micah is hiding something so big, so unbelievable, or so dangerous that others could never accept the truth. When Zach, Micah’s not-boyfriend, is found dead, more than one person suspects that Micah had something to do with it. But Micah can’t, or won’t, tell the truth.





Lies My Girlfriend Told Me 
by Julie Anne Peters

Swanee was the love of Alix’s life. Beautiful and charismatic, she seemed the last person likely to die suddenly. Now that she is gone, Alix seeks understanding by taking Swanee’s cell phone from her room. To her horror, Alix discovers that Swanee was involved in another relationship, one that appears as exclusive and passionate as Alix’s own. Against all good sense, Alix seeks out the mystery lover, only to find a girl that Alix herself could love.



There Will Be Lies 
by Nick Lake

For as long as she can remember, Shelby’s life has been driven by her mother’s steady, suffocating presence. When there is a crack in Mom’s vigilance, Shelby has a supernatural vision of a coyote. The coyote tells Shelby that there will be two lies in the future, and then the truth. Soon Shelby discovers that her “mother” is hiding a notorious past, and that the coyote needs Shelby in an alternate universe to save the world. As events spin ever stranger, Shelby finds it’s not so easy to recognize a lie, or the truth.



The Liar Society 
by Lisa & Laura Roecker

One year after the death of her BFF, Grace, Kate is still yearning for her company. Nevertheless, when an email from Grace lands in her inbox, Kate is less than thrilled. Grace is dead. But if the email is not from Grace, who is the sender? In the messages, they are goading Kate to uncover the truth about Grace’s death.  But in pursuing the truth, Kate finds herself in increasing danger.



The Lying Game
by Sara Shepard

After twins Emma and Sutton are separated at birth, their lives took dramatically different paths. While Emma is placed in foster homes, Sutton was adopted by a wealthy family. Emma is thrilled when she discovers that she has a long lost sister with an enviable life, although by the time Emma reaches her, Sutton is dead. Enter Emma as the replacement Sutton. Written by the author of the Pretty Little Liars book and television series,  The Lying Game is itself the first in a series.



The Truth Commission 
by Susan Juby

Normandy and her friends at Green Pastures Academy of Art and Design are all about exposing the truth. Calling themselves “The Truth Commission,” their technique is to ask people directly about their secrets, inviting the liberation of truth. But Normandy lives in a thick web of deception. Her brilliant older sister has become famous for a graphic novel series populated by gross permutations of Normandy and their parents. Normandy herself is depicted by a fish-faced girl named “Flounder.” Can Normandy set herself free from her sister’s exploitation?



Book List: YA Horror

By , March 1, 2015

The Vanishing Season  
by Jodi Lynn Anderson

“Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter’s come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I’ve watched the danger swell. The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I’m the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I’m tied–it seems–to this house, this street, this town. I’m tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because death is coming for one of them, or both. All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.”


Long Lankin
by Lindsey Barraclough

In an exquisitely chilling debut novel, four children unravel the mystery of a family curse — and a ghostly creature known in folklore as Long Lankin. When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less-than-warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don’t know is that their aunt’s life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries — before it’s too late for little Mimi.


The Sin-Eaters Confession  
by Ilsa Bick

People in Merit, Wisconsin, always said Jimmy was . . . you know. But people said all sorts of stupid stuff. Nobody really knew anything. Nobody really knew Jimmy. 
“I guess you could say I knew Jimmy as well as anyone (which was not very well). I knew what scared him. And I knew he had dreams—even if I didn’t understand them. Even if he nearly ruined my life to pursue them.
“Jimmy’s dead now, and I definitely know that better than anyone. I know about blood and bone and how bodies decompose. I know about shadows and stones and hatchets. I know what a last cry for help sounds like. I know what blood looks like on my own hands. ”


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown   
by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave. One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. 


Pretty Girl- 13   
by Liz Coley

Pretty girl 13 when she went missing lost to her family to her friends to the world found but still missing her self In Liz Coley’s alarming and fascinating psychological mystery, sixteen-year-old Angie Chapman must piece together the story of her kidnapping and abuse.




by Daniel Kraus

Imagine your father is a monster. Would that mean there are monsters inside you, too? Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister eke out a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father’s physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler. 


 I Hunt Killers  
by Barry Lyga

It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field. Except for the body. Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say. But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, “Take Your Son to Work Day” was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminals’ point of view. And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo’s Nod. Again. In an effort to prove murder doesn’t run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?


More Than This
by Patrick Ness

 A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this.


 Beware the Wild 
by Natalie C. Parker

There’s something about the swamp in Sticks, Louisiana. Something different, something haunting . . . something alive. Everyone knows this, and everyone avoids going near it. And even the Mardi Gras-bead-decorated fence that surrounds it keeps people away. Until one morning when Sterling Saucier’s older brother, Phineas, runs into the swamp . . . And doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out in his place, and all of a sudden, no one in Sticks remembers Phin at all. They treat Lenora May as if she’s been Sterling’s sister forever. Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance–but first she’s got to find someone who believes her. Heath Durham might be that someone. A loner shrouded behind rumors of drug addiction, Heath has had his own strange experience with the swamp. He and Sterling will have to piece together enough bits of memory and ancient swamp lore to get to the truth. But as the wild swamp encroaches on their town, Sterling and Heath may find a lot more than they expected . . . and Phin may be lost to them forever.


The Forest of Hands and Teeth
by Carrie Ryan

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best.  The Guardians will protect and serve.  The Unconsecrated will never relent.  And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. Now, she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?


Last Night I Sang to the Monster
by Benjamin Alire Saenz

 Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He’s also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn’t remember how he got there. He’s not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive, well, what’s up with that? (School Library Journal)




The Madman’s Daughter
by Megan Shepard

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London–working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true. Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward–both of whom she is deeply drawn to–Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius–and madness–in her own blood. Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

by Neal Shusterman

In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away. 


The Monstrumologist
by Rick Yancey

“These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.” So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was feeding on her, Will’s world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagi–a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth in its chest–and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatenning to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.


Book List: Hey, that’s Nashville!

By , September 16, 2014

Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker

by Alecia Whitaker

Bird sings back-up and plays the fiddle in her family’s bluegrass band. They travel throughout Mid-America at venues that range from bars to music festivals. When they arrive in Nashville, Bird’s dad, the lead singer, comes down with laryngitis. They’re booked to play at The Station Inn, an unassuming white stone building overshadowed by its neighbors on 12th Ave. S. The place is legendary, with many big names in bluegrass stopping by over the past twenty-six years. This is where a very nervous Bird is forced by circumstances to sing the lead. And she makes a favorable impression on a talent scout in the audience. Next thing she knows, Bird is at the Bluebird Cafe, a place now famous throughout TV land, thanks to the show, NashvilleReaders will recognize several other places familiar to Nashvillians, such as a great place for pancakes and a restaurant that’s named for a dog.


Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Breathe, Annie, Breathe  
by Miranda Kenneally

Annie’s boyfriend had a dream: To complete all 26.2 miles of the Country Music Marathon. But he died while still in training. So Annie is going to run it herself. No matter that she can barely make it around the track. She joins a training program and gets to work. Annie runs in some locations very familiar to local runners: Music Row, the Batman building, LP Field, and Bicentennial Park. And there is the marathon itself. Annie’s Country Music Marathon is scheduled for the fall, which is traditionally the season for the Nashville Marathon. The Country Music Marathon is in the spring.



Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee

Somebody Everybody Listens To  
by Suzanne Supplee

With the word’s of Dolly Parton’s “Down on Music Row” running through her head, Retta Lee Jones battles the snarl of Nashville traffic that slows her pursuit of country music fame. She finds herself cruising through Belle Mead, fruitlessly searching for a Howard Johnson’s or a Motel 6. It’s the weekend of the Country Music Awards festival. Everything’s booked. But Retta Lee’s serious about her singing, so she finds a way to hang on, even if it means singing in the back of Ricky Dean’s Auto Den.



The LocketThe Locket by Stacey Jay  
by Stacey Jay

Trying to make up with her boyfriend, Isaac, after cheating on him with their best friend, Katie suggests going to Loveless Cafe for milkshakes. Instead, Isaac pulls down a random gravel road and pushes her out of his truck. So much for making up. That night, Katie had worn her grandmother’s locket for luck, but suddenly it began burning – straight through her dress to her skin. When it stopped, she found that she had gone back in time to the moments just before she betrayed Isaac by kissing Mitch. Could she have a do-over?
There are some great Nashville moments in this book. Katie, Isaac, and Mitch participate in cross-dressing the Shelby Bridge, an event that took place when the bridge opened in 2008. Katie remembers being frightened by Athena in the Parthenon when she saw it as a small girl. But none of that seems like real life, because of the locket.

Dirty Little Secrets

Dirty Little Secret 
by Jennifer Echols

Bailey plays her fiddle at cheesy mall gigs as back-up for fake Willie Nelson and fake Dolly Parton. It’s when she’s backing fake Johnny Cash when she meets Sam, a musician who recognizes Bailey’s talent. Sound like a story you’ve heard before? Not this one. Bailey has a few secrets that create some interesting twists. The Nashvillle setting has Bailey fiddling in Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park. Later stops including the streets of Lower Broadway and the Grand Ole Opry.




Diane Colson

Book List: A Rainbow of YA Romance

By , August 5, 2014

Book of David by Anonymous

The Book of David  
by Anonymous

In the style of Go Ask Alice, this book is the purported diary of David, a young football player finishing his senior year in an Arkansas high school. He’s gotten pretty good at hiding his secret, but when a new kid shows up in his English class, David gets lost in the boy’s blue eyes. Suddenly, the boring assignment of writing in a journal becomes an essential survival tool for David, whose deep secret is about to be big news.


One Man Guy by Michael BarakivaOne Man Guy  
by Michael Barakiva

Who knew that summer school would turn Alek Khederian’s life inside out? But when uber-cool Ethan rescues him from a posse of bullies,  Alek glimpses a different way of being alive. With his floppy hair and skateboard, openly gay Ethan is a joyful free spirit. Alek thinks it might be love. But what does a sheltered Armenian kid know about love?



Great by Sara Benincasa

by Sara Benincasa

“Great,” is a spin on The Great Gatsby, with some notable gender bending.  Our narrator is seventeen-year-old Naomi, a Chicago native who spends summers with her socially ambitious mother at East Hamptons. Through the machinations of her mother, Naomi is hanging out with Delilah Fairweather, beautiful daughter of a conservative senator. Next door to Naomi lives wealthy Jacinta Trimalchio, who throws extravagant parties and embraces Naomi like her new best friend. Since this is the plot of Gatsby, readers understand that Jacinta is not as interested in Naomi as she is interested in someone Naomi knows. Someone who should be out of bounds….

My Best Friend Maybe by Caela Carter

My Best Friend, Maybe  
by Caela Carter

Colette and  Sadie were best friends, until suddenly Sadie cuts it off. Makes new friends. Ignores Colette completely. Three Sadie-less years pass. It’s completely unexpected, then, when Sadie invites Colette on a summer trip to Greece to attend a wedding. Colette agrees to go. She has to find out why Sadie suddenly needs her again, even if the reason will break her heart.



Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Something Real 
by Heather Demetrios

From the moment of her birth until her disastrous suicide attempt at age fourteen, Bonnie Baker’s life was televised as part of the reality show, Baker’s Dozen. Since it’s cancellation, she, and her best friend/brother Benton have been enjoying life as incognito high school students. But their publicity-hungry mother signs them up for another run on the show, so soon all the world will be peering at their lives once again. This time, however, Bonnie and Benton decide to fight back.


The Sowing by Steven Dos Santos

The Sowing (Book Two of “The Torch Keepers” series)  
by Steven Dos Santos

For readers who loved the action and violence of The Culling, this second volume fully lives up to expectations. Defiant Lucian Spark now uses his insider status to help fuel the insurrection against The Establishment. It’s necessary, because The Establishment’s tyranny and sick games are destroying the people. But it’s also personal. Lucian must rescue the love of his life, Digory Tycho, from a terrible fate, or how will Lucian go on?


Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis Moon at Nine
by Deborah Ellis

One of the first things Sadira tells Farrin is, “Sometimes it seems as if the whole world is run by demons.” When you’re a fifteen-year-old girl growing up in Iran, that statement cuts close to the truth. Farrin then realizes that Sadira is a rare kindred spirit. As time goes on, their friendship deepens into romance. For Iranian girls like Farrin and Sadira, the future promises only arranged marriages, whole lives based on lies. Or, if they dare to be together, the penalty for their “deviance” is execution.


I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

 I’ll Give You the Sun 
by Jandy Nelson

Twins Noah and Jude are as close – and as different – as two people can be. Dreamy, artistic Noah has fallen in love with the enigmatic Brian, who saves him from the abuse of bullies. Jude, with her mass of blonde curls and entourage of friends, is a daredevil who communes wit their dead grandmother. After a family tragedy tears them apart, it seems as though nothing in their world will ever be right again.


Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peter Lies My Girlfriend Told Me 
by Julie Anne Peters

Alix was finally going to tell her girlfriend, Swanee, that she was ready to take their relationship to the next level. Instead, she is sitting through Swanee’s funeral. Already devastated, Alix is plunged deeper in despair when she sees that Swanee had been texting a lover, “LT,” before she died. Who is LT? Alix decides that she is going to find out, regardless of the certain pain.



Far from You by Tess Sharpe

Far from You  
by Tess Sharpe

Inseparable best friends Sophie and Mina have been through a lot together. Mina stuck by Sophie after  a nearly fatal car accident lead to Sophie’s addiction to pain killers. And Sophie accompanied Mina, a budding journalist, to a mysterious, late night meeting with a possible news source. Neither could have predicted how terribly wrong that meeting would go. Mina is shot to death, and everyone blames Sophie, assuming the girls were meeting Sophie’s drug dealer. Out of grief, Sophie resolves to find out the truth about Mina’s death on her own.


Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper Jungle: A History 
by Andrew Smith

Austin is fascinated by history. As he says, “Sometimes, in wonder, I can marvel at the connections that spiderweb through time and place; how a dying bull in Tsarist Russia may have been responsible for the end of the world in Ealing, Iowa.” Austin is not exaggerating the circumstances in Ealing, where he and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally released giant, man-eating praying mantises. This is the backdrop for Smith’s often hilarious, often poignant story of Austin, a boy who loves both his girlfriend and his best friend.

This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

This Side of Salvation 
by Jeri Smith-Ready

David’s parents are withdrawing from the world in preparation for the Rush, a spiritual reclamation of true Christians, similar to the Rapture. For David, this means abandoning his dreams for the future, his girlfriend, and his hard-won spot on the varsity baseball team. And it means that in his parents’ eyes, David’s best friend, Kane, is headed for hell.



Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Fan Art  
by Sarah Tregay

To his horror, Jamie finds himself falling for Mason, his best friend since fourth grade. And hard as he tries to dissuade himself (Thou shalt not check out thy best friend,) Jamie can’t deny that his heart does a little dance whenever Mason is around.  But…Jamie doesn’t even know if Mason knows that Jamie is gay. And Jamie certainly doesn’t know if Mason himself is gay. Maybe Mason doesn’t even know. How to find out without destroying their friendship?


The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi

The Summer I Wasn’t Me  
by Jessica Verdi

Since Lexi’s father died six months earlier, she and her mother have clung to each other in grief. Until the day Lexi comes home from school and discovers that her mother is sobbing about something entirely different. She knows, Lexi thinks, a bit relieved. Now maybe she can really be herself. But in their small town in South Carolina, homosexuality just doesn’t exist. The solution: Lexi must be fixed. And the place to fix her is New Horizons summer camp. A heart-wrenching look at the promises and lies of conversion therapy.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

by Scott Westerfeld

Darcy has a book contract before she even finishes high school, and nothing can stop her from the big adventure ahead. Moving to New York is every bit the thrill she imagined it would be. Alternating with Darcy’s real-life story are chapters from her soon-to-be-published YA novel. As the main character in her novel falls in love with a mysterious Lord of Death, Darcy herself finds happiness in the arms of a mysterious fellow author, who will not even reveal her true name.



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