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Video Games Weekly: Yoshi’s Woolly Worlds

Even if you don’t play video games, I’m sure you’ve heard of Yoshi. Yoshi

has appeared in many Mario games, as well as had his own video game spin off series since the 90s. Yoshi is probably Nintendo’s second most popular character, because he’s an adorable green dinosaur with a cute voice. I mean, look at him!

Yoshi’s Woolly World is the newest Yoshi game that came out in October 2015. I have wanted to play it for a while, but our vendor didn’t stock the game until January of this year. That’s why it has taken me a bit longer to get my hands on a copy.


Platform: Wii U.

Rated: E

Single or Multiplayer: Single and co-op multiplayer

Storyline: The game’s premise is silly. Yoshi lives in a world that is made of yarn and felt, kind of like a Pinterest Heaven. Everyone lives happily and peacefully on this tiny island, that is, until an evil Kamek unravels all of the inhabitants into yarn! Luckily, Yoshi hid from Kamek in a pile of yarn, and now it’s your job to save all of the characters that were unravelled.

Game Play: The game is a platform jumper, very much like Super Mario games. When playing through a level, Yoshi can do a variety of moves. Yoshi can unravel himself, eat yarn with his tongue and poop out a yarn ball to throw at enemies (okay maybe not technically “poop”, but that’s all I think of when I see it), and hover jump. When you play through a level, you are challenged to pick up yarn skeins that can unlock other playable Yoshi characters. These characters can be different colors or patterns, and you can play as them after you collect all 5 skeins. Each “world” has 10 levels, and the 10th level is a Boss Battle. Again, this game is formatted exactly like Super Mario, which is a little disappointing because this formula has been done over and over again since the 90s.

The game isn’t revolutionary in terms of platform jumpers, but the creators invested a lot of time in the artwork and small details. Sometimes enemies are armed with crochet hooks, or you’ll find strand pieces of yarn that you can unravel to uncover secret passages. The art style is incredible, as you can see here:

Multiplayer: There is a multiplayer component that I haven’t explored yet. A second player can play with you to beat levels, and I can see how that would make the game a lot more fun! I would say this would be great to play with younger kids who are just getting into video games, or don’t have a lot of gaming experience.

Difficult Modes: There are two difficulty modes in the game. You can play “Mellow”, which basically means easy, and “Classic”. I feel like this doesn’t really make a difference unless players are dying to collect all of the bonus pieces in each level, or you’re playing with a younger/inexperienced player.

Amiibo: You can purchase a yarn Yoshi Amiibo separately, but it is not necessary to play the game. The amiibo can unlock a Yoshi color, and you can use it to play with a computer Yoshi. They’re cute, but I don’t think they’re worth purchasing unless you want to own a cute Yoshi made of yarn.

Verdict: Yoshi’s Woolly World was a bit boring for me, but that is probably due to the fact that I’m a seasoned gamer. While the artstyle is fantastic, the creators did add any new elements to make the game engaging. I was bored after playing for like an hour, and I didn’t feel enough pressure to go back to previous levels to try to unlock all of the bonus items.

This would make a good secondary purchase for larger video game collections. It’s not a “bad” game, I just think that there are better platform jumpers out there and it’s not worth the $50. However, it is well suited for younger kids, tweens, and people who love Yoshi, so I would wait until the game goes on sale for like $35. This is certainly not for hardcore gamers who like platform jumpers; give them Super Mario Maker instead.

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian


$49.99 on Amazon

#MHYALit Reading Lists: Depression, a guest post by Natalie Korsavidis

MHYALitlogoofficfialAs part of our 2016 Mental Health in Young Adult Literature project, we will be posting reading lists on various mental health-related subjects. Guest blogger Natalie Korsavidis pulled together this one on depression (and previously this one on schizophrenia). We will mainly be focusing on books published after 2000. We encourage you to add any other titles you can think of in the comments. Interested in generating a list for us? Let us know! I’m @CiteSomething on Twitter. 


Depression in YA

Annotations for the novels were found on the Farmingdale Library catalog or NoveList


jason porterAdoff, Jamie. The Death of Jayson Porter. Hyperion Books for Children, 2008.

In the Florida projects, sixteen-year-old Jayson struggles with the harsh realities of his life which include an abusive mother, a drug-addicted father, and not fitting in at his predominately white school, and bring him to the brink of suicide.


crash into meBorris, Albert. Crash into Me. Simon Pulse, 2010.

Four suicidal teenagers go on a “celebrity suicide road trip,” visiting the graves of famous people who have killed themselves, with the intention of ending their lives in Death Valley, California.



amazine gracieCannon, A.E.   Amazing Gracie.  Delacorte Press, 1991.

A high school girl has a lot to deal with in her sophomore year when her beloved mother who is a victim of depression remarries, a new brother is acquired, and the family moves to Salt Lake City.



not so simpleCarlson, Melody. A Not-So-Simple Life. Multnomah Books, 2008.

Maya keeps a journal the year following her aunt’s death, in which she records her thoughts about her alcoholic and drug-addicted mother and her own feelings of depression, until she decides to give her heart to God.



walkawayCarter, Alden R. Walkaway. Holiday House, 2008.

Fifteen-year-old Andy, fed up with his alcoholic father and annoying older brother, leaves their northern Wisconsin cabin on his version of a walkabout, leaving his medications to combat depression, anxiety, and delusions behind.


really awesomeCook, Trish and Halpin, Brendan. A Really Awesome Mess. Egmont, 2013.

An angry girl and a depressed boy, both sixteen, are sent to a therapeutic boarding school




aspenCrane, Rebekah. Aspen. In This Together Media, 2014.

A teenage girl’s mistake on a Boulder, Colorado road left a popular teen soccer player dead. Now the deceased is following the driver around and only her boyfriend and her therapist understand her and can keep her from heading further into a deep depression.


nugrlDellasega, Cheryl. (NuGrl90) Sadie. Marshall Cavendish, 2007.

Fifteen-year-old Sadie writes on her blog about having to move to a new high school at the beginning of sophomore year due to her parents’ divorce, finding and losing a true love and a best friend, and being in therapy and taking antidepressants.


glow stoneDreyer, Ellen. Glow Stone. Peachtree, 2006.

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe cannot help but wonder if she will suffer chronic depression like her mother and her recently-deceased uncle, who shared her passion for rock-collecting, until the terrifying experience of being lost in a cave provides the answer.


everything isEllis, Ann Dee. Everything is Fine. Little, Brown, 2009.

When her father leaves for a job out of town, Mazzy is left at home to try to cope with her mother, who has been severely depressed since the death of Mazzy’s baby sister.



americaFrank, E.R. America. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2002.

Born to a drug-addicted mother, 15-year-old America had been lost in the child-welfare system for years before he finally wound up in a residential treatment center. There, over a period of several more years, a capable therapist coaxes him out of his anger and suicidal depression.



eclipseFranklin, Kristine. Eclipse. Candlewick Press, 1995.

When Trina’s father falls into a severe depression after losing his job and her mother becomes pregnant at forty-eight, Trina faces a difficult summer even with the help of her good friend Miranda.



waitingFritz, April Young. Waiting to Disappear. Hyperion Books, 2002.

After the death of her brother two years ago, Buddy’s mother hasn’t been the same, and when her depression leads to a mental breakdown, Buddy’s hopes of a relatively peaceful summer are dashed.



fat kidGoing, K.L. Fat Kid Rules the World. Speak, 2003.

Seventeen-year-old Troy, depressed, suicidal, and weighing nearly 300 pounds, gets a new perspective on life when a homeless teenager who is a genius on guitar wants Troy to be the drummer in his rock band.



get well soonHalpern, Julie. Get Well Soon. Feiwel and Friends, 2007.

When her parents confine her to a mental hospital, an overweight teenage girl, who suffers from panic attacks, describes her experiences in a series of letters to a friend.




whole storyHiranandani, Veera. The Whole Story of Half a Girl. Delacorte Press, 2012.

When Sonia’s father loses his job and she must move from her small, supportive private school to a public middle school, the half-Jewish half-Indian sixth-grader experiences culture shock as she tries to navigate the school’s unfamiliar social scene, and after her father is diagnosed with clinical depression, she finds herself becoming even more confused about herself and her family.


mercy's birdsHoleman, Linda. Mercy’s Birds. Tundra Books, 1998.

As her mother sinks into depression and her aunt turns to alcohol, fifteen-year-old Mercy tries to keep up with school and her job, until help comes for them from an unexpected source.



lettersHolmes, Sarah. Letters from Rapunzel. Harper Collins, 2006.

Through a series of letters written to a post office box, twelve-year-old Cadence describes her father’s hospitalization for depression, her subsequent problems at school, and her hope that the mysterious recipient will help her find a happy ending.


try not toHubbard, Jennifer R.  Try Not to Breathe. Viking, 2012.

The summer Ryan is released from a mental hospital following his suicide attempt, he meets Nicki, who gets him to share his darkest secrets while hiding secrets of her own.



disappear homeHurwitz, Laura. Disappear Home. Albert Whitman and Company, 2015.

In 1970, fourteen-year-old Shoshanna, six-year-old Mara, and their mother escape from Sweet Earth Farm, a declining commune run by their tyrranical and abusive father, but after finding peace and stability at Avery Elliot’s farm, their mother’s crippling depression returns.


damageJenkins, Amanda. Damage. HarperCollins, 2001.

Seventeen-year-old football hero Austin, trying to understand the inexplicable depression that has drained his interest in life, thinks that he has found relief in a girl who seems very special.



hold stillLaCour, Nina. Hold Still. Dutton, 2009.

Ingrid didn’t leave a note. Three months after her best friend’s suicide, Caitlin finds what she left instead: a journal, hidden under Caitlin’s bed.




backlashLittman, Sarah. Backlash. Scholastic, 2015.

For sophomore Lara Kelly, things are finally looking up—she’s feeling more confident after losing weight and she made the varsity cheerleading team, which she never would have imagined two years earlier when she was overweight and severely depressed. Best of all, Lara has caught the attention of a cute guy on Facebook, and he has been hinting at asking her to the homecoming dance. But when she sees horrible comments from her crush on social media, she spirals into a dangerous mental state and suicide seems like the only escape.


beyond crazyLoughead, Deb. Beyond Crazy. James Lorimer and Company, 2014.

For Stelle, being drummer in a band is what helps her cope with her mother’s depression and the problems her bandmates face with their families, until some conversations with her grandmother provide clues to the source of her mother’s condition.



savingMarchetta, Melina. Saving Francesca. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.

Sixteen-year-old Francesca could use her outspoken mother’s help with the problems of being one of a handful of girls at a parochial school that has just turned co-ed, but her mother has suddenly become severely depressed.


flightNewbery, Linda. Flightsend. Random House Children’s Books, 2010.

When Charlie’s depressed mother decides to start over, they move to a ramshackle cottage in the country, where Charlie struggles to make friends and develop her artistic skills while her mother tries to launch a business.



all the brightNiven, Jennifer. All the Bright Places. Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.

Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school–both teetering on the edge–it’s the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the “natural wonders” of the state of Indiana, and two teens’ desperate desire to heal and save one another.


solitaireOseman, Alice. Solitaire. HarperTeen, 2015.

Tori Spring is a disaffected teenager: She can almost never finish a film in one sitting, she’s smart but can’t care about school anymore, and she dislikes her friends but is unwilling to forgo their company. About the only thing she cares about is her brother Charlie, who’s recovering from an eating disorder. When a mysterious blog called Solitaire  starts triggering pranks at her school, Tori isn’t too interested, even if strange new boy Michael Holden tries to make her be.


definePeters, Julie Ann. Define Normal. Little, Brown, 2000.

When Antonia is assigned to Jazz as a peer counselor, she figures there is no way she can help her. They are complete opposites. Antonia is a straight-A student whose parents are divorced and she is struggling to keep what’s left of her family together as her mother battles depression. Jazz’s family is wealthy and seemingly perfect. As they continue through the 15 hours of peer counseling, it becomes clear that both girls have issues they need to work through


sortaQuick, Matthew. Sorta Like a Rock Star. Little, Brown, 2010.

Although seventeen-year-old Amber Appleton is homeless, she is a relentless optimist who visits the elderly at a nursing home, teaches English to Korean Catholic women with the use of rhythm and blues music, and befriends a solitary Vietnam veteran and his dog, but eventually she experiences one burden more than she can bear and slips into a deep depression.


when reasonRodriguez, Cindy L. When Reason Breaks. Bloomsbury, 2015.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson


dr birdRoskos, Evan. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets. Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

A sixteen-year-old boy wrestling with depression and anxiety tries to cope by writing poems, reciting Walt Whitman, hugging trees, and figuring out why his sister has been kicked out of the house.



view fromSappenfield, Heather. The View From Who I Was. Flux, 2015.

As part of herself observes, eighteen-year-old Oona Antunes attempts suicide, tries to pull her family and her life back together, and begins to understand her own problems and those of her parents before finally becoming one with herself again.


permanentStella, Leslie. Permanent Record. Amazon Children’s, 2013.

Having left public school under mysterious circumstances, sixteen-year-old junior Badi Hessamizadeh enters Magnificat Academy, where he struggles with his Iranian-American identity, his clinical depression, and bullies.



memory of lightStork, Francisco X. The Memory of Light. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2016.

Waking up in the mental disorders ward after a suicide attempt, Vicky makes friends with other at-risk kids, who under the guidance of a compassionate doctor help her through the first steps towards self-acceptance and confronting the challenges that prompted her depression.



it's kind ofVizzini, Ned. It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Miramax Books, 2006.

A humorous account of a New York City teenager’s battle with depression and his time spent in a psychiatric hospital.



shopaholicWaite, Judy. Shopaholic. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2003.

Tired of household responsibilities and her mother’s depression, Taylor allows a new friend to persuade her to buy things she can’t afford, but soon discovers that Kat has even more secrets than she has.



emptyWalton, K.M. Empty. Simon Pulse, 2013.

Deeply depressed after her father cheated on and divorced her mother, seventeen-year-old Adele has gained over seventy pounds and is being bullied and abused at school–to the point of being raped and accused of being the aggressor.


my heart and otherWarga, Jasmine. My Heart and Other Black Holes. Balzar + Bray, 2015.

Seventeen-year-old Aysel’s hobby–planning her own death–take a new path when she meets a boy who has similar plan of his own.




how i madeWhite,Tracy. How I Made it to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story. Roaring Brook Press, 2010.

How do you know if you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown? For seventeen-year-old Stacy Black, it all begins with the smashing of a window. After putting her fist through the glass, she checks into a mental hospital. Stacy hates it there but despite herself slowly realizes she has to face the reasons for her depression to stop from self-destructing.


blindWittlinger, Ellen. Blind Faith. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006.

While coping with her grandmother’s sudden death and her mother’s resulting depression and fascination with a spiritualist church, whose ministers claim to communicate with the dead, fifteen-year-old Liz finds herself falling for a new neighbor whose mother is dying of cancer.



oppositeYoung, Janet. The Opposite of Music. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007.

With his family, fifteen-year-old Billy struggles to help his father deal with a debilitating depression.



my beautifulYoung, Janet. My Beautiful Failure. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012.

Billy’s family is still recovering from last winter, when the teen’s father sank into a deep depression that he’s only now just coming out of. Billy, 16, channels his frustrations and worry about his father’s mental health into his sophomore-year project, volunteering as a friendly, welcoming ear for the depressed, lonely, and/or bored callers to the Listeners hotline.



programYoung, Suzanne. The Program. Simon Pulse, 2013.

When suicide becomes a worldwide epidemic, the only known cure is The Program, a treatment in which painful memories are erased, a fate worse than death to seventeen-year-old Sloane who knows that The Program will steal memories of her dead brother and boyfriend.


Meet Natalie Korsavidis

natalieNatalie Korsavidis is the Head of Young Adult at the Farmingdale Public Library. She received her MLS at CW Post University. She is currently President of the Young Adult Services Division of the Nassau County Library Association. She has spoken at New York Comic Con and the Long Island Pop Culture Convention.



#MHYALit: Anxiety, Me and It’s All Your Fault, by guest blogger Liz Anderson

#MHYALit continues as librarian Liz Anderson discusses her personal experience with anxiety and the book It’s All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick.


itsallyourfault2015 was a year which I spent reading more books where mental health played a big role in the story. Some of the titles I read were A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler, Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith, and It’s All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick, which I reviewed for SLJ. 2015 was also the year I got into a serious relationship, started taking Lexapro, and saw a therapist for a while.

I remember being five years old and my father calling me a worrywart. I’ve always been a worrier. In my teen years, it would hit me at 10:30 at night, when I was supposed to be asleep, and I’d wander to my mother’s bedside, much to her chagrin. Often the worries were about school, but sometimes they were about other things. I’ve always thought of myself as an incredibly sensitive person—I cry really easily and can be hot tempered at times. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had in my life where I’ve dissected every single word that’s been used. I tell people that I care about semantics, and it’s true. Sometimes I’ll say, “I wonder why you didn’t use this word instead of that, because it would have totally changed how your sentence sounded.”

A phrase that gets used a lot when talking about mental health is diagnosis. My senior year of high school, when I was having a rough time, my mom took me to a psychologist where I was tested for ADHD and given a diagnosis. Part of me suspected that maybe it worked the same way for mental health. Maybe a doctor says, “Oh, you seem unwell, let us discuss.” It does not work that way.

One summer after work, about three months into our relationship, my boyfriend and I got into an argument. I had plans to meet up with friends, and a misunderstanding had come up as we discussed a separate issue over text earlier in the day. Having serious conversations over text is not something I recommend, but the anxious part of me was saying that we needed to talk right that second. I’ve had to make a big effort not to listen to that voice. Every couple argues, even the ones that seem perfect, and the issue was something we needed to discuss. After I went running with friends who are very dear and let me vent to them, my boyfriend and I talked it out. Those conversations are always hard because you have to vocalize feelings you don’t want to admit you have in the first place, whether they be jealousies, irrational angers, or unfounded concerns.

I went to work the next morning, getting Starbucks on my way in. It was a Wednesday and I had Baby Time, which for me means two crowds of 70 people back to back. I always carefully select which books, puppets, flannel, and music I want to use. What always takes me a lot of time is setting up the chairs. Because of its size, Baby Time is in a big room, and I set the chairs up in something of a square, letting caregivers and children know that they should sit somewhere within the square, whether on a chair or the carpet. As I set up the chairs that morning, I didn’t mean to, but I found myself thinking about our argument last night. Even though we had resolved things, I was still upset and worried. I found myself struggling to breathe, on the verge of tears, hyperventilating, chest hurting. I’d later realize that this was something of a panic attack. After about ten minutes, I felt like I suddenly snapped out of it, and was ready to go ahead and do my storytime.

Afterwards, I talked to a few people who I consider close to me about this incident. I knew that I had no desire to feel this way again, and I also learned that I needed to take agency. I finally made a phone call to my doctor’s office for a 10:45 appointment on a Friday when I had the day off. I spent the entire morning anxious before I went in. What if I sounded crazy? What if my doctor thought I was wasting her time? I went in and talked to her, near tears most of the time. I’m lucky to have an excellent doctor, who explained that the levels of anxiety that are normal for every individual are different, but I felt that mine were right then it was a good thing I had come in. She didn’t give me an official diagnosis. We talked about the options in terms of medication and therapy. By the way, I didn’t find a therapist I liked until the third one I tried. The first one I didn’t jive with, and the second one’s schedule wouldn’t work with mine. I also didn’t make the decision to start taking Lexapro until a few weeks later, and gradually worked my way to what amount made me feel good. I knew SSRIs could have negative effects, and I have a lot of friends who have taken them who very graciously talked to me about them.

I should probably explain a few things about myself. I like to be productive. I had a snow day recently and I did four loads of laundry. I am also a feminist who is passionate about social justice. I’m very opinionated. I care a lot about being the best person can be. I want to do my best at work. When I chose my career, I couldn’t stomach the idea of working for a corporation just to make money for a corporation. I wanted to do something that would make this world a better place. When it came down to being in a committed relationship, I wanted to be the best type of girlfriend I could possibly be, and I wanted to be my best self. Being my best self doesn’t just benefit my boyfriend, but everyone that I consider close to me. Of course, wanting to be the best girlfriend I can be, the best friend I can be, and the best librarian I can be doesn’t mean that I automatically know how to do these things. Months later, I realized that trying to figure out my role in all of these relationships and who I wanted to be was perhaps exacerbating my anxiety. Going to therapy taught me how to better juggle with these questions with the emotions I feel, particularly the ones that I don’t want to admit to feeling.

It’s All Your Fault is the story of Caitlin Singleberry, a Christian girl who struggles with anxiety and is a Singing Singleberry, a member of a singing group that members of her large immediate family have formed. The events of the book take place because Caitlin is tasked with acting as a chaperone towards her wild child and several years estranged cousin Heller. By chapter two, which is page three of the book, readers learn that Caitlin was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder at the age of eight, which she has tried to manage using therapy, medication, deep breathing, and behavioral modifications. Much later in the novel, Caitlin has a panic attack upon learning that she’s been accepted into a School of Arts, and the prospect of singing alone triggers her anxiety. Her cousin tries helping her through deep breathing and then giving her a pill saying “all they do is calm you down, so you can function” (p.219). Caitlin takes the pill because she hates how she’s feeling, and she hates that other people are seeing it. She later learns that the pill was a baby aspirin. Her attitude in this case surprised me. She did give the question of whether or not to take the pill some thought, but she seemed to ultimately take it out of a desire to end a panic attack, which is understandable. Perhaps for this fictional character, taking medication seemed every day. If I was told to take a drug for panic attacks, I’d have similar questions to the ones I had when I started taking Lexapro: what are the side effects going to be? How will this affect the chemistry in my brain? Perhaps the reactions that Caitlin and I have, though different, are both perfectly reasonable. Caitlin does eventually decide to go to the School of Arts, and assumes that she will begin working through her fear of performing solo there.

I will say that I was consistently impressed by how much agency Caitlin took over her mental health. Wanting this kind of agency can be a big step to recovery, but it can also be scary to admit that you need to pick up the phone and call a doctor. As of right now, I am still taking Lexapro, because it still works for me. I’m not sure if it will always work for me. Will I take it for the rest of my life, will it someday become something that I no longer want to take or feel is necessary? I believe it is effective, but does that mean I will always need it? Since stopping my sessions with my therapist, I’ve asked myself once or twice whether resuming them would be beneficial, and how my routine has changed without it in my life. I anticipate asking these questions for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that. They are not easy questions, but at the end of the day, asking them makes me feel better and is what’s best for my mental health.

Of course, I also have friends like Caitlin, who’ve taken medication for most of their lives, and may take them for a long time. It’s important for teens to see these circumstances in YA books too. But perhaps we also need the teens who ask questions and think long and hard about what’s right for them. The prospect of taking care of one’s mental health and taking medication can be scary. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding the topic. I have a feeling that a lot of teens are like me and had to think long and hard about what medication, if any, to take. I hope to see this further addressed in young adult literature.

About IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT by Paul Rudnick

My name is Caitlin and up until forty-eight hours ago I had never:

Tasted alcohol, kissed a boy, sang in public at the top of my lungs, kidnapped anyone or—WHAT? STOLEN A CONVERTIBLE?

Now I’m in jail and I have no idea what I’m going to tell:

The police, my parents, the mayor, all of those camera crews and everyone on Twitter.

I have just noticed that:

My nose is pierced and I have—WAIT? IS THAT A TATTOO?

I blame one person for this entire insane weekend:

My famous cousin.

Who is also my former best friend.

Who I have HATED for the past four years.

Who I miss like crazy. NO I DON’T!!!!

IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT, HELLER HARRIGAN!!!! (January 2016 from Scholastic Press)

Meet Our Guest Blogger

Liz Anderson at Consumed By Books is a twenty something librarian who reads a wide variety of books, particularly fiction, YA fiction, classics and fantasy.

Recently in Book Mail (Plus a Giveaway!)

IMG_5235You know the drill by now, right? This is my roundup of all the book mail I’ve gotten in the past many weeks. I bet the UPS guy is shocked if there is ever a day that he doesn’t need to stop at my house. The following are books that have arrived here recently. I’ll be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months.

All summaries from the publisher.


It’s no fun just to SEE someone’s list of new books, is it? So let me share the fun. I’ll send out 3 packages with at least 5 randomly selected copies of books from this post or from my previous post. You can enter via the Rafflecopter, tweet this post, or follow me on Twitter (@CiteSomething). I’ll choose winners on February 14th, because nothing says LOVE like BOOKS, right? (US entries only, please.)

burnBurn by Elissa Sussman (ISBN: 9780062274595, Publisher: HarperCollins, Publication date: January 19, 2016)

Burn is the thrilling companion to Elissa Sussman’s masterful and original fairy tale, Stray. This engaging and imaginative continuation of the original fairy tale begun in Stray will appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and fans of the musicals Wicked and Into the Woods.

After helping to rescue Princess Aislynn, Elanor has finally rejoined the rebel camp she calls home. Stolen from her parents at a young age and forced into service by the Wicked Queen, Elanor now wants nothing more than to see the queen removed from power. But Elanor has secrets, mistakes she’s spent years trying to forget, and the closer the rebels get to the throne, the harder it is for Elanor to keep her past hidden away. Booklist said of Stray, “Sussman delightfully mixes dystopian tension with retold fairy tales, and the result is something wholly original.” Includes a map.


shallowShallow Graves by Kali Wallace (ISBN: 9780062366207, Publisher: HarperCollins, Publication date: January 26, 2016)

For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.


it's allIt’s All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick (ISBN: 9780545464284, Publisher: Scholastic, Publication date: January 26, 2016)

My name is Caitlin and up until forty-eight hours ago I had never:

Tasted alcohol, kissed a boy, sang in public at the top of my lungs, kidnapped anyone or — WHAT? STOLEN A CONVERTIBLE?

Now I’m in jail and I have no idea what I’m going to tell:

The police, my parents, the mayor, all of those camera crews and everyone on Twitter.

I have just noticed that:

My nose is pierced and I have-WAIT? IS THAT A TATTOO?

I blame one person for this entire insane weekend:

My famous cousin.

Who is also my former best friend.

Who I have HATED for the past four years.

Who I miss like crazy. NO I DON’T!!!!



memory of lightThe Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (ISBN: 9780545474320, Publisher: Scholastic, Publication date: January 26, 2016)

When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn’t be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had.

But Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending Vick back to the life that drove her to suicide, she must try to find her own courage  and strength. She may not have them. She doesn’t know.

Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one — about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.


spiritSpirit Level by Sarah N. Harvey (ISBN: 9781459808164, Publisher: Orca, Publication date: February 2, 2016)

Harriet (known as Harry) is a donor-conceived child who has never wanted to reach out to her half-siblings or donor—until now. Feeling adrift after a breakup with her long-time boyfriend, Harry tracks down her half-siblings, two of whom are in Seattle, where Harriet lives. The first girl she meets is fifteen–year-old Lucy, an effervescent half-Japanese dancer. Then she meets Meredith, a troubled girl who is always accompanied by her best friend, Alex. Harry and Alex are attracted to each other, much to Meredith’s chagrin, and when it becomes clear that Meredith is an accomplished liar, Harry makes it her business to figure out what Meredith is up to. In the course of her investigation, she discovers a lot about Meredith, but the biggest shock is not about Meredith—it’s about Alex, who was born female. So now Harry must deal with not only her growing attraction to Alex, but also Meredith’s hostility. As decisions are made around whether to contact their donor, the three donor sisters negotiate their relationship and Harry tries to figure out what she really wants.


rebelRebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah by Erin Jade Lange (ISBN: 9781619634985, Publisher: Bloomsbury, Publication date: February 16, 2016)

The Rebel: Once popular, Andi is now a dreadlocked and tattooed wild child.
The Bully: Sick of being the less favorite son, York bullies everyone, especially his brother.
The Geek: Boston, York’s brother, and obsessed with getting into an Ivy League school.
The Pariah: Sam, now that her mom is sober, she just wants to get through one day at a time.

Andi, Sam, York, and Boston find themselves in the woods together when a party gets busted by the cops. Trying to run rather than get caught, they hop into the nearest car they see and take off . . . until they realize the car they’ve taken has a trunk is full of stolen drugs. Now they must rely on each other or risk their lives. Should they run or turn themselves in? Would anyone even believe the drugs aren’t theirs? Every decision could determine the rest of their lives . . . but how can any of them trust people they barely know.

In a cinematic, heart-pounding race against time, four teens learn more about one other in a few hours than they ever knew in all the years they attended school together. And what they find out isn’t at all what any of them expected . . .


unbecomingUnbecoming by Jenny Downham (ISBN-13: 9780545907170, Publisher: Scholastic, Inc., Publication date: February 23, 2016)

Katie’s life is falling apart: her best friend thinks she’s a freak, her mother, Caroline, controls every aspect of her life, and her estranged grandmother, Mary, appears as if out of nowhere. Mary has dementia and needs lots of care, and when Katie starts putting together Mary’s life story, secrets and lies are uncovered: Mary’s illegitimate baby, her zest for life and freedom and men; the way she lived her life to the full yet suffered huge sacrifices along the way. As the relationship between Mary and Caroline is explored, Katie begins to understand her own mother’s behavior, and from that insight, the terrors about her sexuality, her future, and her younger brother are all put into perspective.

A vivid and exhilarating celebration of family, identity, life and–ultimately–love.



under threatUnder Threat by Robin Stevenson (ISBN: 9781459811317, Publisher: Orca, Publication date: March 1, 2016)

Franny is close to her parents, adores her horse and is head over heels in love with her girlfriend, Leah. But Franny’s parents are abortion providers at the local hospital, and an anonymous stranger is prepared to do whatever it takes to stop them. A stranger who phones at all hours. Who knows where they live. Who knows Franny’s name. When Leah’s older brother, Jake, refers to her parents as baby killers, Franny starts to wonder if perhaps the threats aren’t coming from a stranger at all. If she tells the police about her suspicions, she could lose her girlfriend. But if she doesn’t—and if she’s right—she could lose her parents.



liarsLiars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath (ISBN: 9781634501842, Publisher: Sky Pony Press, Publication date: March 15, 2016)

Keep calm and make it to prom night—without a legit panic attack.

For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High.

When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.

With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast—as a party of one.



my year zeroMy Year Zero by Rachel Gold (ISBN: 978-1594934827, Publisher: Bella Books, Publication date: March 29, 2016)

Lauren thinks she has a pretty good life—so why is it that she feels crazy most of the time? She figures it’s nothing she can’t fix by getting her first girlfriend and doing better at school. But how is she ever going to find a girlfriend in Duluth, Minnesota?

When she meets a group of kids who are telling a science fiction story online and gets invited down to the Twin Cities, she gets more attention than she ever expected, from two very different girls: charming Sierra and troublesome Blake.

Blake helps Lauren understand that she’s not the crazy one in her life. But Blake’s attention—and insights into life and living with bipolar disorder—threaten to destroy everything Lauren has created for herself, including her relationship with Sierra.



trippingTripping Back Blue by Kara Storti (ISBN: 9781512403084, Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab, Publication date: April 1, 2016)

Finn is a 17-year-old full of paradoxes. He’s a drug dealer, but he’s scoring money to send his twin sister to Harvard. He’s desperate to shoot up even though he’s the most popular kid in Dammertown. He’s a philosopher and orator who’s failing all his classes. The only time he finds peace is when he’s bird-watching. Finn’s life begins to spiral out of control, until he discovers a miracle drug called indigo. Finn is convinced that the drug is the way out of everything broken in his life. But is it really as magical as it seems?




southSouth of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf (ISBN: 9780807575680, Publisher: Albert Whitman, Publication date: April 1, 2016)

Kaycee Jean McCoy has lived her entire life in Sunshine, Tennessee. Sweet tea flows through her veins and “yes ma’am” is ingrained in her DNA. In Sunshine, going to church is basically mandatory, and gay had better be your mood and not your sexual orientation. Kaycee may not agree with the town’s socially accepted bigotry, but she’d rather fit in–even if it means letting gross Dave Bradford kiss her on occasion–than make waves. That is, until the beautiful, sexy, impossibly cool Bren Dawson moves into town. Kaycee is swept up in a whirlwind of exciting new emotions and lets her guard down. One night under a fat country moon, Kaycee’s best friend catches them kissing, and Kaycee’s whole world goes to hell in a handbasket. What is she willing to risk for the sake of love? And what will she risk for acceptance?


genaGena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson (ISBN: 9781452138398, Publisher: Chronicle, Publication date: April 5, 2016)

Gena and Finn would have never met but for their mutual love for the popular show Up Below. Regardless of their differences—Gena is a recent high school graduate whose social life largely takes place online, while Finn is in her early twenties, job hunting and contemplating marriage with her longtime boyfriend—the two girls realize that the bond between them transcends fanfiction. When disaster strikes and Gena’s world turns upside down, only Finn can save her, and that, too, comes with a price. Told through emails, text messages, journal entries, and blog posts, Gena/Finn is a story of friendship and love in the digital age.




away we goAway We Go by Emil Ostrovski (ISBN: 9780062238559, Publisher: Greenwillow, Publication date: April 5, 2016)

At a school where no one is expected to live to graduation, a group of teenagers sets out to discover where all the sick kids go when they disappear. An unflinching, provocative, but also humorous exploration of what happens to adolescents when they are thrust into impossible circumstances, from the author of The Paradox of Vertical Flight, a Fall 2013 Indie Next Pick. This novel will appeal to fans of Andrew Smith and Jandy Nelson.

Westing is not your typical school. For starters, you have to have one very important quality in order to be admitted-you have to be dying. Every student at Westing has been diagnosed with PPV, or the Peter Pan Virus. No one is expected to live to graduation. What do you do when you go to a school where no one has a future? Noah Falls, his girlfriend Alice, and his best friend Marty spend their time drinking, having sex, and playing video games on But when an older boy named Zach (who Noah may or may not be in love with) invites Noah and Marty to join his secret Polo Club, the lives of both boys change, as they struggle to find meaning in their shortened existence. With an innovative format that includes interstitial documents, such as flyers, postcards, and handwritten notes, Away We Go is a funny, honest look at the struggles of male adolescence, first love, and tragic heartbreak that will resonate with fans of the critically acclaimed Grasshopper Jungle and John Corey Whaley’s Noggin.



when weWhen We Collided by Emory Lord (ISBN: 9781619638457, Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, Publication date: April 5, 2016)

Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she’s told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels’ household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it’s not long before Vivi’s zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.

Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah’s love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn’t enough?


PRIDEPride: Celebrating Diversity and Community by Robin Stevenson (ISBN: 9781459809932, Publisher: Orca, Publication date: April 19, 2016)

For LGBTQ people and their supporters, Pride events are an opportunity to honor the past, protest injustice, and celebrate a diverse and vibrant community. The high point of Pride, the Pride Parade, is spectacular and colorful. But there is a whole lot more to Pride than rainbow flags and amazing outfits. How did Pride come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it?




scarlettScarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw (ISBN: 9781595148353, Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group, Publication date: April 19, 2016)

Cross Veronica Mars with MTV’s Daria, and you’ll get Scarlett Epstein, the snarky, judgmental, and often hilarious star of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, a witty and heartwarming novel that’s perfect for fans of David Arnold’s Mosquitoland and Kody Keplinger’s The Duff. 
Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.


unicornUnicorn Tracks by Julia Ember (ISBN: 9781634768788, Publisher: Harmony Ink Press, Publication date: April 21, 2016)

After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.


anything herbachAnything You Want by Geoff Herbach (ISBN: 9781402291449, Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire, Publication date: May 3, 2016)

Taco’s mom always said, “Today is the best day of your life, and tomorrow will be even better.” That was hard to believe the day she died of cancer and when Taco’s dad had to move up north for work, but he sure did believe it when Maggie Corrigan agreed to go with him to junior prom. Taco loves Maggie-even more than the tacos that earned him his nickname. And she loves him right back.

Except, all that love? It gets Maggie pregnant. Everyone else may be freaking out, but Taco can’t wait to have a real family again. He just has to figure out what it means to be dad and how to pass calculus. And then there’s getting Maggie’s parents to like him. Because it’s would be so much easier for them to be together if he didn’t have to climb the side of the Corrigan’s house to see her…


spotswoodWild Swans by Jessica Spotswood (ISBN: 9781492622161, Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire, Publication date: May 3, 2016)

The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden-all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives-and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past…


ask meAsk Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann (ISBN: 9780062387950, Publisher: HarperCollins, Publication date: May 3, 2016)

From the author of the acclaimed Poisoned Apples comes a novel in verse about a young woman and the aftermath of a life-altering decision. This thought-provoking and sophisticated read further confirms Christine Heppermann as an important voice in the tradition of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, and A. S. King.

Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places. Once again, Christine Heppermann writes with an unflinching honesty and a deep sensitivity about the complexities of being a teenager, being a woman. Her free-verse poems are moving, provocative, and often full of wry humor and a sharp wit. Like Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, Christine Heppermann is a voice to turn to for the truth of difficult subjects. Ask Me How I Got Here is a literary exploration of sexuality, religion, and self-discovery.


100 days100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen (ISBN: 9781481448567, Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, Publication date: May 17, 2016)

Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.

There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mein. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks, isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom, who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.
frannieFrannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup (ISBN: 9780062410207, Publisher: HarperCollins, Publication date: May 31, 2016)

Perfect for fans of Prep and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Frannie and Tru is a dazzling YA debut about a transformative summer in the life of a girl whose idol is not what he seems.

Frannie has always idolized her cousin Tru. At seventeen, Tru is charismatic, rich, charming—everything fifteen-year-old Frannie wants to be, and everything she’s not. So when Frannie overhears her parents saying that after a bad coming-out experience Tru will be staying with them in Baltimore for the summer, Frannie is excited and desperate to impress him. But as Frannie gets swept up in Tru’s worldly way of life, she starts to worry that it may all be a mask Tru wears to hide a dark secret. And if Tru isn’t the person Frannie thought he was, what does that mean for the new life she has built with him?

Confronting issues of race, class, and sexuality, Karen Hattrup weaves a powerful coming-of-age story that’s at once timeless and immediate, sharply observed, and recognizable to anyone who has ever loved the idea of a person more than the reality.



art ofThe Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (ISBN: 9780374302375, Publisher: FSG, Publication date: May 31, 2016)

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long , and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.
As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.


all the feelsAll the Feels by Danika Stone (ISBN: 9781250084095, Publisher: Fiewel & Friends, Publication date: June 7, 2016)

College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life…and her last tangible connection to her deceased father. Thus, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinare, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a call that ignites the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life, and her disapproving mother’s new boyfriend. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to get away from it all… and figure out what (and who!) she really wants.



true lettersTrue Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan (ISBN: 9780062380258, Publisher: HarperCollins, Publication date: June 7, 2016)

A thoughtful, authentic coming-out story about a high school boy who can only deal with his own truth through secret, unsent letters.

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student, and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world—letters he never intends to send—he spills the truth: he’s trying hard but just isn’t into Theresa. It’s his friend, a boy, who lingers in his thoughts.

James’s secret letters are his safe space—until someone leaks them, and words he never meant to share are being broadcast all over school. Will he come clean to his parents, his teammates, and himself or is he destined to live a life of fiction?



brilliantMy Brilliant Idea (And How It Caused My Downfall) by Stuart David (ISBN: 9780544699618, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publication date: June 7, 2016)

Meet fifteen-year-old Jack “The Jackdaw” Dawson, a young man with a serious plan. Daydreaming in class one day, Jack gets an idea he knows can’t fail: an app that stops you from daydreaming in class. (Ahem . . . ) Fame, glory, and tons of money seem just around the corner. But Jack runs into some trouble, and suddenly this sure thing doesn’t seem quite so sure.
Ricocheting from the absurd to the profound in his first book for teens, Stuart David uses his extraordinary intelligence and wit to tell the story of a boy trying to scheme his way out from under the weight of his parents’ expectations. Readers will root for The Jackdaw from beginning to end.


with maliceWith Malice by Eileen Cook (ISBN: 9780544805095, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publication date: June 7, 2016)

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.




way to gameThe Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen (ISBN: 9781250084071, Publisher: Fiewel & Friends, Publication date: June 7, 2016)

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.

Readers will be ready to sign their own love contract after reading this fun and addicting contemporary YA romance.



3P JKT Geeks_Guide.inddThe Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash (ISBN: 9781481456531, Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Publication date: June 14, 2016)

John Hughes meets Comic-Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author of Three Day Summer.

Graham Posner has fallen for his best friend Roxana and has planned (in excruciating detail) a perfect weekend for her at Comic-Con, where he intends to confess his love. But things start falling apart before the weekend even starts, and Graham has to make a lot of crazy promises to get things to go his way. When Roxana meets her “ideal guy” at the convention and Graham finds himself with some stiff competition, the stakes are raised even higher. Will all of his geeky knowledge and charm be enough to win her heart?



badThe Bad Decisions Playlist by Michael Rubens (ISBN: 9780544096677, Publisher: Clarion, Publication date: August 2, 2016)

Sixteen-year-old Austin is always messing up and then joking his way out of tough spots. The sudden appearance of his allegedly dead father, who happens to be the very-much-alive rock star Shane Tyler, stops him cold. Austin—a talented musician himself—is sucked into his newfound father’s alluring music-biz orbit, pulling his true love, Josephine, along with him. None of Austin’s previous bad decisions, resulting in broken instruments, broken hearts, and broken dreams, can top this one. Witty, audacious, and taking adolescence to the max, Austin is dragged kicking and screaming toward adulthood in this hilarious, heart-wrenching YA novel.



week of mondaysA Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody (ISBN: 9780374382704, Publisher: FSG, Publication date: August 2, 2016)

When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true…

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.


whateverWhatever. by S.J. Goslee (ISBN: 9781626723993, Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, Publication date: August 2, 2016)

Hilarity ensues when a slacker teen boy discovers he’s gay, in this unforgettably funny YA debut.

Mike Tate is a normal dude. He and his friends have a crappy band (an excuse to drink cheap beer and rock out to the Lemonheads) and hang out in parking lots doing stupid board tricks. But when Mike’s girlfriend Lisa, who knows him better than he does, breaks up with him, he realizes he’s about to have a major epiphany that will blow his mind. And worse–he gets elected to homecoming court.

It’s like the apocalypse came, only instead of nuclear bombs and zombies, Mike gets school participation, gay thoughts, and mother-effin’ cheerleaders.

With the free spirit of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the raw voice of Winger, and characters reminiscent of Freaks & Geeks, this debut YA offers a standout voice and a fresh, modern take on the coming-out story.



all weAll We Have Left by Wendy Mills (IBSN: 9781619633438, Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, Publication date: August 9, 2016)

A haunting and heart-wrenching story of two girls, two time periods, and the one event that changed their lives–and the world–forever.

Interweaving stories from past and present, All We Have Left follows two girls, Alia and Jesse, who discover that hatred and love have the power to reverberate into the future.

Then: Alia is a proud Muslim, even if it makes high school more difficult. Grounded for a stupid mistake, Alia decides to confront her father at his Manhattan office, putting her in danger she never expected. When the planes collide into the Twin Towers, Alia is trapped inside. There she meets a boy who risks everything for her.

Now: Jesse is haunted by the past. Ever since her brother died in the September 11th attacks, her dad’s rage and grief has overshadowed their lives. When one hate-fueled decision turns Jesse’s life upside down, the only way to make amends is to face the past and find out the truth of her brother’s last day.


Middle School Monday – The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

From the jacket copy:

Built on an ancient mountain pass, the city is forever being invaded by one nation or another, and every new master gives it a new name. But for the natives, their home is the Nameless City, and those who try to name it are forever outsiders.

Dreamy, sheltered Kaidu is one such outsider. He’s a Dao born and bred–a son of the latest nation to occupy the Nameless City. Cynical, street-smart Rat is a native, and at first she hates Kai for everything he stands for. But Kai’s love of his new home may be the one thing that can unite these two unlikely friends. And they will need to stand together at all costs…because the fate of the Nameless City rests in their hands.

Kai has grown up in Dao, his mother the leader of his tribe. He knows nothing of the city when he arrives, except that the father he has never met lives there. Kai has come to train as a warrior at the palace, to one day be a part of the force that keeps control of the city. On his first trip into the city 61exQG62lDL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_alone, he quickly becomes lost. When he is approached by Rat (who saw him earlier with his father) her open hostility is a welcome relief from the response of the rest of the locals, who blatantly ignore his requests for directions back to the palace.

Rat is a child of the streets. She has no family, no home, and no access to food or shelter beyond what she is sometimes offered by the monks or kindly strangers. She and Kaidu slowly form a friendship as Kai brings her enormous amounts of food he ‘liberates’ from the palace, and Rat teaches Kai how to navigate the city. Together, they uncover a plot to kill the General of all Blades – the leader of the Dao in the city.

This is an extremely engaging story, with fascinating art work. But what really worked for me about it was the level playing field that Rat and Kai share. Although Kai seems to have all of the advantages, Rat has just as much to bring to the friendship. With recommendations from the likes of Bone author Jeff Smith, Amulet author Kazu Kibuishi, and Scott Westerfeld, this is clearly going to be a heavy hitter on the graphic novel front.

Scheduled for release in April of 2016, The Nameless City is the first of a planned trilogy. Its sequel will be titled The Stone Heart.

Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, by teen reviewer Lexi

Our teen reviewer Lexi has been very busy reading lately. We’ll have a new review from her every Monday this month.

ladymidnightLady Midnight By Cassandra Clare, 657 pgs

Releases March 8th from Margaret K. McElderry Books. 9781442468351


In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other — but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, one in a long line of Shadowhunters tasked with protecting the world from demons. With her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of an secret Los Angeles where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries start turning up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were murdered years ago, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge — and Julian’s chance to get back his half-faerie brother, Mark, who was kidnapped five years ago. All Emma, Mark and Julian have to do  is solve the murders within two weeks . . . before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. As she uncovers the past, she begins to peel away the secrets of the present: What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents — and can she bear to know the truth?

The magic and adventure of the Shadowhunter Chronicles have captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Fall in love with Emma and her friends in this pulse-pounding, heart-rending new volume sure to delight new readers and longtime fans.


“She took a deep breath, ‘You’re too skinny,’ she said as brightly as she could. ‘Too much coffee, not enough pancakes.’”

Once again, Cassandra Clare has outdone herself.

This book has torn me apart and only partially glued me back together, with only Elmer’s glue at that.

When I found out Cassandra Clare had written another book that was coming out so soon, I just had to get my hands on it. And when I got my hands on it, oh boy did I never want it to end. This book being based in the Shadoworld immediately had me on edge itching for a battle. And I was not disappointed.

Every second of this book had me either bawling my eyes out or sitting on the edge of my seat, ready to jump out of my own skin. I loved the characters and their relationships, wishing I knew people like the people Cassandra writes about. Wishing I could be one of the characters she writes about. I would kill [demons mainly] to be in the Shadoworld. Maybe not as a shadowhunter but maybe as a warlock or something not involving as much cardio as saving the world.

Speaking about the characters, I really enjoyed the fact that we get a look at non-conventional shadowhunters. Ty, Julian and Mark demonstrate the type of shadowhunters the Shadoworld wouldn’t like to admit exist. This book answered alot of questions about cross breeds and Shadowhunters who don’t quite meet social standards. The human side of the shadowhunters is really highlighted in this book.

On the last note, this book creates unbelievably high standards for boys. But it also tells a story about how no one is perfect no matter how much they seem to be (except for Perfect Diego of course). Every time I thought something was going good in this book, Cassandra throws a huge plot twist right in my face. To be honest this whole book was a major plot twist. A plot twist that kept me wanting more so I can’t say the pain wasn’t worth it.

Lady Midnight is action packed, emotional drama that left me gasping for breath and grasping for more even after it left me hanging.  It was such a fantastic book that I don’t think I could ever do it justice with my words. But I have tried and I can only wish ya’ll the best of reading.

10 out of 10 would read again.

About Lady Midnight:

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.


Sunday Reflections: Reflections on Making While Sitting in My Teen MakerSpace

Reflections on Making while sitting in my MakerSpace// Having a Teen MakerSpace has changed some of how I interact with teens in my library. In addition to having a traditional program, I now have a space and a way to interact with my teens on a more come as you are informal way. I know that some libraries have teen spaces with a teen desk that is staffed by a teen librarian, but I have never had a space like that. But this past week I spent the week working with teens in small groups in my small space. And in my down time, I thought about what having a MakerSpace means to me. And I cheated and storified those Tweets for this post today.

Reflections on Making while sitting in my MakerSpace

  1. How to include literacy in MakerSpaces:
    Display teen bks; combine tech w/storytelling challenges; talk to teens about bks as you make

  2. Making doesn't supersede bks in libraries any more than programming did. They go hand in hand. Making is just programming w//diff name/tools

  3. And honestly, if a maker is someone who makes something, a large part of teen programming has always been about making.

  4. But I'm married to an artist, so I'm definitely very STEAM vs STEM oriented. We are all makers. We have always been makers.

  5. These are things I think about as I work with teens in this new space. I am loving the interaction, the creativity, the discussion.

  6. But I also realize that the meat of what I do as a librarian really hasn't changed at all.

  7. My MakerSpace also includes origami paper/bks; drawing supplies bks; a Rainbow Loom & bands; Legos; coloring sheets . . . it's not all tech.

  8. This whole process has really made me think about what I want to do and why as I "sell" it to admin & coworkers.

  9. And our process and definitions keeps evolving as we take in new information, answer questions, and just work with our teens.

  10. The best advice I hear over & over is don't be afraid to just dive in and learn along with your teens. If I wait to feel comfortable doing

  11. some of the things then I will never get them started. Coding, for example, is a huge stumbling block for me. So I am starting w/iPad apps

  12. and learning along with me teens. That has been the biggest difference for me in programming models.

  13. Coding is my biggest fear. My arch-nemesis if you will. But with some good tools & encouragement I'm diving in. Slowly. And w/my teens.

  14. What is a programming or maker idea that you would like to try but are kind of overwhelmed or afraid of? I can't be the only one.


Friday Finds – February 5, 2016

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: Wrestling with A Birthday Cake for George Washington as a Mother and a Librarian

Depression and Obsession: The Pressure of Teen Athletes, by Mia Siegert

Middle School Monday – Audacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby Lawson

Book Review: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Video Games Weekly: Lego Marvel Avengers

TPiB: Book Planters

Evy’s First Impressions

Around the Web

What’s Lost When Kids Are ‘Under-connected’ to the Internet?

MakerSpace: The Making of a Manual

In the February 2016 issue of School Library Journal, I share in an article titled Small Tech, Big Impact my journey in creating a small Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County in Ohio. In addition to creating the space itself, I was equally excited to organize and put together a manual for my MakerSpace. This is not an exaggeration, I have been known to pet it while it sits at my desk. It’s not weird, I swear. It’s just, as someone who loves planning and organizing, such a crowning achievement of this space and journey. I mean, this manual is super organized and epic. Okay, maybe it’s a little weird how much I love this manual. But it’s not just a manual, it the embodiment of a challenging and exhilarating professional journey.


It’s not much on the outside, though I could get one of those cool notebooks that allow you to make a cover and do so. (Note to self: do this ASAP).


But it’s very useful – at least to me – on the inside.


It’s divided into 5 main parts.

Part 1: YA Services 101

The Teen MakerSpace is part of our overall YA Services plan, so in this section I include a basic plan overview, information about our YA social media, and a teen collection outline. I wrote about and provide examples of all of these elements in the ALA Editions book I edited with TLTer Heather Booth titled The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services (2014). I actually used my examples as a starting point and adapted it for this library in this community.


Part 2: The MakerSpace General Overview

In this section, I include the initial MakerSpace proposal, an outline of all the various media that we have, and an outline of all the apps that we have for our iPads. I also included an inventory checklist and any information that may be necessary for re-ordering. The button makers and 3D pens, for example, require us to keep certain supplies re-stocked and it includes information on what and where to order these supplies. There is also an opening and closing checklist in this section. Although our Teen MakerSpace is always open, some of the items are only brought out when a staff member is present in order to help protect more delicate or higher cost equipment. These items are kept on a rolling storage cart so that they can easily be moved in and out of the space.

Part 3: The MakerSpace Station Instructions

In this section, I scanned in or downloaded the various instructions for each component that we purchased. There are the instructions for littleBits, Dot and Dash, Ollie and more. There are instructions for each app that we highlight on our iPad stations. There are guides for doing stop motion animation and green screen photos. If it is a part of our Teen MakerSpace, the instructions can be found here. There are also step by step examples of any of the crafts we have in the space and duplicate copies of all signage in the area. I have all of this saved onto a file as well so that I can keep them easily updated or replace any lost or damaged copies. I found that a lot of the instructions could easily be found in PDF form on the Internet to download, save and print.

Part 4: Circulating Maker Kits

A popular part of our Teen MakerSpace are our Circulating Maker Kits. We have age appropriate kits on both the children’s floor and in the Teen MakerSpace. This section contains an inventory of each kit, including ISBN numbers and any links to support materials that we may provide. Because the kits contain a variety of items, including books, thing a ma bobs (technical term, I promise) and handouts, we had to create an inventory sheet to place in each circulating backpack so that staff knew what to look for when checking the item out to a patron. These inventory sheets also help us know what topics we have covered when we look to make additional kits, and our CMKs have been so popular that we do in fact hope to add more.

Part 5: The Maker Collection

Because we care very much about books, we have included a collection of “Maker” books in our Teen MakerSpace. In fact, we have booth a Juvenile Maker Collection and a Maker Collection with age appropriate materials on each floor. In this section we have a bibliography of our collection so we can keep it stocked, order replacements, and keep an eye on new materials for subjects we may have gaps in.

There is technically a 6th section which includes the MakerSpace Assistant job description. We are looking to hire an assistant to help staff the space so we have it more fully available to the teens in our community for more hours a week.

This manual is the culmination of a lot of hard work and research. It was fun, it was challenging – and to be honest, it is and always will be something that is in process. I promise I’ll stop petting the manual soon. Probably.

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA January and February 2016

It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. Right now my list of 2016 titles stands at 86 with known pub dates and many more with unknown, as of now, dates. I’m sure it will grow as the year goes on. Need more suggestions to add to your list? Check out Dahlia Adler’s QUILTBAG Compendium, Gay YA, and this Storify, from Gay YA’s book club Twitter chat in December, of favorite 2015 titles and anticipated 2016 titles.  The titles I’m including here have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents). Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers January 2016 and February 2016 titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (October, November, and December 2015 titles) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers.


January 2016

stakesRaise the Stakes by Megan Atwood (ISBN-13: 9781467781039, Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group, Publication date: 01/01/2016)

Colin’s trans sister needs money for gender reassignment surgery. So Colin agrees to enter a mysterious contest run by “the Benefactor.” But soon his goal shifts from winning the $10 million prize to unmasking the Benefactor.





this is whereThis is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (ISBN-13: 9781492622468, Publisher: Sourcebooks, Publication date:01/05/2016)

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won’t open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

(See previous posts about this book here and here)


this songThis Song Is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin (ISBN-13: 9781492602903 ,Publisher: Sourcebooks, Publication date: 01/05/2016)

Ramona fell for Sam the moment she met him. It was like she had known him forever. He’s one of the few constants in her life, and their friendship is just too important to risk for a kiss. Though she really wants to kiss him…

Sam loves Ramona, but he would never expect her to feel the same way-she’s too quirky and cool for someone like him. Still, they complement each other perfectly, both as best friends and as a band.

Then they meet Tom. Tom makes music too, and he’s the band’s missing piece. The three quickly become inseparable. Except Ramona’s falling in love with Tom. But she hasn’t fallen out of love with Sam either. How can she be true to her feelings without breaking up the band?



colorsColors by Russell J. Sanders (ISBN: 978-1-63476-543-5, Publisher: Harmony Ink, Publication date: 01/14/2016)

With a beautiful girlfriend, a scholarship to a prestigious musical theater school, and talent to spare, life is good for high school senior Neil Darrien. He’s on his way to stardom, but then newcomer Zane Jeffrey secures a place in the school show choir, rousing Neil’s envy. Neil soon sees there’s more to Zane than a talented performer, though—he’s funny and charming, and the two boys become friends.

Neil’s girlfriend Melissa doesn’t like Neil spending so much time with Zane, and she draws Neil into her church. There, Neil is faced with a choice between righting a wrong and risking revealing a secret that could cost him everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

As Neil’s relationship with Melissa deteriorates, Neil starts to see Zane in a different light—one that has him thinking of Zane as more than just a friend.



we are the antsWe Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (ISBN-13: 9781481449632, Publisher: Simon Pulse, Publication date: 01/19/2016)

From the “author to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes a brand-new novel about a teenage boy who must decide whether or not the world is worth saving.

Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.



burnBurn by Elissa Sussman (ISBN-13: 9780062274595, Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Publication date: 01/19/2016)

Burn is the thrilling companion to Elissa Sussman’s masterful and original fairy tale, Stray. This engaging and imaginative continuation of the original fairy tale begun in Stray will appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and fans of the musicals Wicked and Into the Woods.

After helping to rescue Princess Aislynn, Elanor has finally rejoined the rebel camp she calls home. Stolen from her parents at a young age and forced into service by the Wicked Queen, Elanor now wants nothing more than to see the queen removed from power. But Elanor has secrets, mistakes she’s spent years trying to forget, and the closer the rebels get to the throne, the harder it is for Elanor to keep her past hidden away. Booklist said of Stray, “Sussman delightfully mixes dystopian tension with retold fairy tales, and the result is something wholly original.” Includes a map.



raisingThe Raising (The Torch Keeper, #3) by Steven dos Santos (ASIN: B018EL5CI6, Publisher: Curtis Brown Unlimited, Publication date: 01/20/2016)

Three Pasts. Two Fates. One Choice.

Once a humble orphan existing in the shadows of the brutal Establishment, Lucian “Lucky” Spark has evolved from lone vigilante to “The Torch Keeper,” a fiery symbol of the valiant resistance. Lucky now leads the heroic fight to restore justice and liberty to the downtrodden survivors of a world devastated by geological catastrophe and tyranny.

But as the Torch Brigade prepares to launch a final, desperate gambit against the ruthless forces controlled by his former companion, the mysterious Cassius Thorn, Lucky struggles with the secret of his own true identity. Is he the spark of hope destined to unite a nation and finally end this destructive crusade? Or is he truly the dark catalyst of the past, intent on reducing the remnants of humanity to smoldering embers?

With the fates of his brainwashed brother, Cole, and genetically transformed love, Digory Tycho, caught in the crossfire of epic war, Lucky’s final choice may have apocalyptic consequences for an entire world.


like i knowLike I Know Jack by MC Lee (ISBN: 978-1-63476-808-5, Publisher: Harmony Ink, Publication date: 01/21/2016)

When Jack finds himself assigned to a new case with Anna Baxter, the agent who made life difficult on his previous mission, he is glad to find Leo McCormack will also be joining them.

They are tasked with getting close to high school student Connor White in order to infiltrate a drug ring being run by his friend, Gregor Slovik. Connor is gay, and Jack is conflicted about just how close to get to his target. With Leo’s help, Jack tries to navigate the pitfalls of their assignment. When Agent Baxter attempts to manipulate the mission to achieve the outcome she wants, Jack is forced to make a risky decision.



shallowShallow Graves by Kali Wallace (ISBN-13: 9780062366207, Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Publication date: 01/26/2016)

For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.


any other girlAny Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips (ISBN-13: 9781617738821, Publisher: Kensington, Publication date: 01/26/2016)

After a disastrous, reputation-destroying party at the end of junior year, Kat Henley has a new plan. When it comes to boys–especially other people’s boys:

Don’t touch.
Don’t smile.
Don’t charm.

In the past, drawing attention to herself helped distract people from what really makes Kat different–having two gay parents. But it’s also cost her friendships. Kat can’t afford to lose any more of those, especially not her cousin, Harper. They’re spending one last summer together at the lake, where they run into an intriguing newcomer named Emmett Reese. After years of trying to prove she’s just like everybody else, Kat has found someone who wants her because she’s not. A boy who could be everything she wants too–if Harper hadn’t liked him first. . .


are youAre You LGBTQ? by Jeanne Nagle (ISBN-13: 9780766071391, Publisher: Enslow Publishing, Publication date: 01/28/2016)

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer or Questioning. Each of these terms has an individual meaning and community around them. Through interviews with professionals as well as those in the LGBTQ community, readers can learn not only the definition of each of these words, but also what it means on a greater scale. Perfect for research or personal use, this text will provide teens with answers to many of their questions about sexuality and create a dialogue through which they can learn to accept each other and themselves.




sunThe Sun Dragon by Annabelle Jay (ISBN: 978-1-63476-341-7, Publisher: Harmony Ink, Publication date: 01/28/2016)

Dragons once roamed the skies, as common as our modern-day airplanes but much more beautiful in their gliding, soaring thermal choreography. Until King Roland and his gold-greedy men defeated them.

Years later King Roland reveals that not only did he let the dragons live, but he turned them into humans so that they could enter the population and breed him an army. Allanah, a sophomore in high school, saves her know-it-all friend Victoria from exactly this fate with magical powers she never knew she had. Allanah’s first high school crush, Jason, reveals that he’s been sent by a secret society of wizards to bring Allanah and Victoria to the Council to have their magical abilities tested by The Egg. Everyone, including Allanah, is shocked by what she produces: the world’s first light dragon.

Allanah must save her best friend and all of the rest of the dragons from Roland’s evil plan, but when she meets the beautiful Dena, a member of the native forest-dwelling Igreefee camp, she must wrestle between her feelings for her new wizard crush, Cormac, and her attraction to Dena.


February 2016

taggedTagged Out by Joyce Grant (ISBN: 9781459410756, Publisher: Lorimer, Publication date: 02/01/2016)

The inner-city Toronto Blues baseball team is having a lousy year. Shortstop Nash and the Blues can’t seem to win. They especially hate losing to their archrivals, the rich kids of the Parkhill Pirates. When all-star player Jock joins the team, it looks like the Blues might be able to turn the season around. The only problem? When the Pirates find out that Jock is gay, they ambush Nash and Jock, and Nash has to decide if he wants to stand by his teammate.




symptomsSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (ISBN-13: 9780062382863, Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Publication date: 02/02/2016)

A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

From debut author Jeff Garvin comes a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be a person.



spiritSpirit Level by Sarah N. Harvey (ISBN-13: 9781459808164, Publisher: Orca Book Publishers, Publication date: 02/02/2016)

Harriet (known as Harry) is a donor-conceived child who has never wanted to reach out to her half-siblings or donor—until now. Feeling adrift after a breakup with her long-time boyfriend, Harry tracks down her half-siblings, two of whom are in Seattle, where Harriet lives. The first girl she meets is fifteen–year-old Lucy, an effervescent half-Japanese dancer. Then she meets Meredith, a troubled girl who is always accompanied by her best friend, Alex. Harry and Alex are attracted to each other, much to Meredith’s chagrin, and when it becomes clear that Meredith is an accomplished liar, Harry makes it her business to figure out what Meredith is up to. In the course of her investigation, she discovers a lot about Meredith, but the biggest shock is not about Meredith—it’s about Alex, who was born female. So now Harry must deal with not only her growing attraction to Alex, but also Meredith’s hostility. As decisions are made around whether to contact their donor, the three donor sisters negotiate their relationship and Harry tries to figure out what she really wants.



abyssThe Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (ISBN-13: 9780738746913, Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., Publication date: 02/08/2016)

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup and teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. Santa Elena has no idea what she’s in for.



bleeding earthBleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward (ISBN-13: 9780986448485, Publisher: Adaptive Studios, Publication date: 02/09/2016)

Between Mother Nature and human nature, disasters are inevitable.

Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood oozed out of the ground, even through the concrete, even in the water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.

Lea wishes she could ignore the blood. She wishes she could spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn’t so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and her girlfriend however she can.


radioRadio Silence by Alice Oseman (ISBN: 9780007559244, Publisher: HarperCollins, Publication date: 02/25/2016) UK BOOK

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.