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Friday Finds: December 30, 2016

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Uppercase Unboxing #3

Carrie Fisher: Rebel Princess, The Library and Me

Video Games Weekly: Best Console Games for Teens in 2016

MakerSpace: Paper Circuits, an inexpensive way to introduce electronics with almost instant gratification

Around the Web

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Fighting Fake News

 

 

MakerSpace: Paper Circuits, an inexpensive way to introduce electronics with almost instant gratification

As the end of the year approached, I became acutely aware of the fact that we have a one month period between December and January when we can’t really make any purchases because we have to balance the books. So my goal was simple: fill in supplies and find a couple of new activities that we could introduce to carry us through this time period in our Teen MakerSpace. I had been aware of paper circuits, but hadn’t done much with them. This seemed like a good time.

For one, paper circuits are less expensive then a lot of the things on my “things we want to try” list. Also, they don’t take up a lot of space. It’s a great introduction to the idea of circuits without a lot of tools, wires, and things like soldering. I know nothing of soldering.

Paper circuits use a battery, copper tape, LED lights and paper to create cool things. For example, you can make light up cards. Or you could make a paper piano.

Paper Circuits | The Tinkering Studio

To begin with, we bought this set:

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It cost $30.00 on Amazon and comes with copper tape, 12 LED stickers, 2 coin cell batteries, battery clips, and a “sketchbook”. Also, you can hack the box to make cool projects as well.

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The very first page tells you how to use the book and set up a circuit.

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Then when you turn the page, you light up a light bulb.

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The Great Big Guide to Paper Circuits – learn.sparkfun.com

It has the added benefit of seeing almost immediate results. Sometimes it’s nice to have something that is quick and rewarding.

Pros: Inexpensive, good starting place, easy introduction, easy to store, lots of possibilities

Cons: I does have consumables, but they are relatively inexpensive to replace

We are just starting our journey with paper circuits, but I liked this kit so much I bought The Teen one for Christmas. It’s a good introduction to the idea of circuits and there are lots of cool things you can do. Additional components can easily be bought online.

More Info:

Paper Circuits – Instructables

Paper Circuits For Makerspaces – Makerspaces.com

Simple Paper Circuit | Make:

1000+ images about Paper circuits on Pinterest | LED, Electronics

1000+ images about Paper Circuits on Pinterest | LED, Paper and Tape

Video Games Weekly: Best Console Games for Teens in 2016

2016 was an interesting year in the gaming community, ranging from the Pokemon Go craze to the overwhelming disappointment in No Man’s Sky.  This is my last post for 2016, and I have decided to compile an annotated list of the top games from 2016 for teen gaming programs as well as circulating collections. I hope you enjoy, and I’ll see you all in 2017!

videogamesweekly

Gaming Programs:

FIFA 17 (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3)
FIFA games are always a favorite if your teens enjoy competitive sports games or soccer. Up to 4 players. Rated E.

Lego Harry Potter Collection (PS4)
Give this long game to your Potter heads! You can read my full review here.  Up to 2 players. Rated E10+.

Lego Star Wars: Force Awakens (PS4)
Lego games are always fun to play in multiplayer mode, especially if your game nights have a smaller attendance.  Buy this one for your Star Wars fans, especially since Rogue One just came out. Up to 2 players. Rated E10+.

Madden NFL 17 (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3)
Similar to NBA and FIFA, teens who are into football will enjoy playing as a career player.  Up to 4 players. Rated E.

Minecraft Wii U Edition (Wii U)
Minecraft is still a big hit for teens, especially teens who just want to create things rather than compete against one another or complete quests. Teens who play this game on the PC will have to adjust to different controls on the Wii U, but will enjoy it nonetheless. Up to 4 players. Rated E10+.

NBA 2K17 (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3)
Reviewed as one of the most “authentic” sports game this year, be sure to buy this for your teens who love basketball. Up to 4 players. Rated E.

Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 (Xbox One, PS4)
If you have teens who want to play shooter games, but your library doesn’t allow rated M games, this game is a great compromise. View full review here.  Up to 2 players. Rated E10+

Pokken Tournament (Wii U)
Give this title to teens who still have Pokemon fever, or who are looking for a fighting style game that isn’t dramatically violent. Up to 2 players. Rated E10+

Rocket League (Xbox One, PS4)
Rocket League combines soccer and race cars into a chaotic and incredibly fun game. Teens of all ages and gaming skills can compete in this absurd action-sports game. Up to 4 players. Rated E

*Street Fighter V (PS4)
Fighting games are a staple genre in the gaming community. *You should read my review and look at character costumes before purchasing for your program. Up to 2 players. Rated T.

Circulating Collection Suggestions for Teens: 

Attack on Titan (Xbox One, PS4)
This game is based off of the manga and anime show, although reviews have stated that the storyline isn’t as strong as its manga counterpart.  Still, teens who are obsessed with the fandom will want to play through this game. Rated M.

Dark Souls III (Xbox One, PS4)
This sequel takes place in the same apocalyp tic universe, although it is unclear if it is the last in the series.  Rated M.

Dishonored 2 (Xbox One, PS4)
Teens who enjoy a “choose-your-own-adventure” feel to their games will love this title . The video game  is long due to infinite choices that will impact your gaming experience, so be sure to have a few copies on hand. Rated M.

Dragon Ball Z Xenoverse 2 (Xbox One, PS4)
Teens who are heavily invested in Dragon Ball will much prefer this title over its predecessor because this game features much more frenzied battles. Rated T.

Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)
Give this title to teens who wa nt a racing game, but aren’t interested or ready for Grand Theft Auto V.  Rated E.

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One)
If you have teens who like Star Wars or want a slasher game, this game is recommended. The characters are bulky yet nimble, and teens will find satisfaction in destroying an unknown enemy. Rated M.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PS4)
Teens who are fans of the anime or manga  will love to play through this title for the action and over-the-top battles. Rated T.

Ratchet and Clank (PS4)
This ongoing series is a fun third-person shooter that doesn’t have a lot of violence but a whole lot of gag  jokes. For my full review, click here. Rated E10+.

Ori and the Blind Forest (Xbox One)
While this game isn’t exactly new, the disc version of this beautiful platform jumper was released this year. Give this game to teens who like Super Mario and Metroid. Rated E.

Overwatch (Xbox One, PS4)
Arguably the best console game of 2016, this game is a multiplayer first-person shooter that heavily emphasizes teamwork and strategy.  This game would be excellent if there was any co-op mode, but sadly the game’s strength is playing multiplayer online.  Rated T.

Pokemon Sun and Moon (3DS)
Similar to Pokken Tournament, give this game to teens who still have Pokemon fever.  Read my full review here.  Rated E.

Star Fox Zero + Star Fox Guard (Wii U)
While this isn’t the best Star Fox Nintendo game, it will still attract teens who love the franchise or whom are looking for a space adventure game. Read my full review here. Rated E10+.

Titanfall 2 (Xbox One, PS4)
One of the best first-person shooters released in 2016, give this game to teens who are looking for something more complex and thorough than Halo. Rated M.

Uncharted 4: Thief’s End (PS4)
Nathan Drake is back in this sequel.  The series is known for its renowned storytelling and parkour. Rated T.

XCOM 2 (Xbox One, PS4)
Teens interested in strategy games like chess will enjoy this incredibly difficult turn-based game. For my full review, click here.  Rated T.

Question? Comments? Tweet them at me! @LannaLibrarian

Carrie Fisher: Rebel Princess, The Library and Me

I once presented at ALA with Princess Leia hair buns. I was having a bad hair day, feeling defeated, and the clock was ticking. I needed to go sit in front of my professional peers and talk about Free Comic Book Day programming. So I summoned the Force, threw my hair up in two buns on the side of my head, and just went with it. Princess Leia hair, I would later argue to someone who questioned me, was the perfect hair for a panel on Free Comic Book Day. Comics, like Leia, are rebellious.

Using the green screen & other photo apps to make Star Wars pictures

Using the green screen & other photo apps to make Star Wars pictures

Free Comic Book Day. Star Wars Reads Day. May the 4th.

Star Wars has been a huge part of my professional library career.

It’s also been a huge part of my private life.

I remember waiting in line to go see Return of the Jedi on a dark night.

I remember my little brother going to sleep each night with a stuffed R2-D2.

I remember my own stuffed Ewok.

Green Screen Star Wars

Green Screen Star Wars

Last year, I had the honor and privilege of introducing my daughters to the Star Wars universe and taking them to see A Force Awakens. Here again was Carrie Fisher breaking the mold. Older now, she stood on that screen larger than life and she continued to lead the rebellion.

Many years ago, late at night, The Mr. and I were flipping channels when we stumbled across Carrie Fisher’s one woman show. We watched it and I was astounded to realize all that she had fought with and by most appearances won in her life time. Later, when I would have my own struggles with mental health, I remembered how she fought to erase the stigma. “She was a champion for mental illness,” I told my girls yesterday, “She struggled with depression.” My daughter looked at me and said, “that’s what happens to you sometimes.” And it is. We put a name to it, we take away it’s shame and power. It’s an illness, I remind my girls.

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It is only later in life that I would learn of Carrie’s tremendous talent as a writer, which seems odd when you consider that for 22 years I have been a champion of the written word. But as in most things in life, women have to work twice as hard to get half the credit. She did the work, and was good at it.

I recently took both of my girls to see Rogue One. We had a very Star Wars Christmas at my house. The Force Awakens, Rogue One, t-shirts and pajamas. And while I knew these gifts sat under our tree, I also knew that Carrie Fisher was in a hospital fighting for her life.

2016 has been devastating to my childhood.

Today, like that day at ALA years ago, I wear my hair in Princess Leia buns. I will rebel.

Today, like that day at ALA years ago, I wear my hair in Princess Leia buns. I will rebel.

But I do not lose hope. Hope is what rebellions are made of. And in the true spirit of Carrie Fisher, I will continue to fight the rebellions and give my teens the tools to fight it for the next generation.

To Carrie Fisher I say, “I love you.” To which she replies, “I know.”

Uppercase Unboxing #3

img_0876My third and final review box from Uppercase has arrived, and this one is a real winner. The signed book is Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill. Here is the publisher’s summary:

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.

She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

I have to say, this book looks like it was picked just for me. There is also a temporary tattoo of the cover image.

The real prize in this box, however, is the exclusive Simini Blocker designed planner. I’ve followed Simini’s work for several years and have always coveted it. Now I have my very own piece! And what a design! Each month starts with an illustration and famous book/reading/library quote, followed by a small calendar of the entire month. Then there is a reading log page, then one for each week. It is fabulous and laid out exactly how I like to use a planner. She is a genius and her artwork is breathtaking. It comes with some book stickers and a gold book planner kit.

This is by far my favorite of the three boxes I was sent and well worth what it would have cost had I purchased it. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for the teen reader in your life, this subscription would be a welcome choice.

Take 5: Using YA Lit to Talk Government, Power, Politics, Corruption and More (An #SJYALit Book List)

A few years ago, I believe it was Cory Doctorow who Tweeted that no one discusses politics in literature anymore. Which struck me, at the time, as an odd statement because it was the height of YA Dystopian, which arguably is all about power and politics. It could also have been someone other then Cory Doctorow, for the record, I’ve just always remembered the tweet as being from him, and we all know that memory is a trickster god.

But since then, I have often read books with that tweet in the background of my mind, unconsciously noting books that I thought fit the bill. And now, more then ever, it seems particularly important that books talk about politics. I’m not just talking about the 2016 election, I’m talking about the way the North Carolina GOP just in effect executed a coup by stripping the incoming Democratic governor of any real power. Of the way our elected representatives remain silent about the fact that 17 intelligence agencies have stated that Russia has had undo influence on our recent government and election. Of the way that legislators just quietly made the investigation into Flint go away or the way that Governor Kasich of Ohio just signed a bill making it illegal for local governments to raise the minimum wage. I’m talking about the fact that we go into the next administration with effectively no checks and balances because for the first time in years all three arms of our federal government are now in the control of only one political party, thanks in no small part to things like gerrymandering and the repeal of voter rights acts.

Now more then ever – although we can argue that it is in fact too late – we need to be talking about politics and democracy and government with our teens. In fact, in the next presidential election, my teen will be able to vote. So we talk about it.  We read about it. And here are 5 books and series that I recommend to get teens reading and thinking about power, politics, government, corruption and more.

This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

In a small town, a group of privileged, elite teen boys goes hunting. One of them does not come back. Because of power and influence, the case of the River Point Five is given to a district attorney with the expectation that he will lose. But Kate Marino is an intern that works for him and she challenges him to pursue justice and the truth, so he does. This is a compelling read that shows you how guilty people go free and the innocent can go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit. Overall, it’s a good read. My only quibble with the book is that this intelligent and driven teenage girl compromises things because she “falls in love” with one of the suspects, which is annoying, but it’s still a powerful look at the themes being discussed. The Teen also read this book because she said, I really want to read a mystery and so I handed her this book, here’s what she thought:

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The Fixer series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Tess Kendrick finds out that her sister is not who she seems to be, in a lot of ways. Her sister is, in fact, a fixer. This means that she covers up the dirt in Washington. Scandals disappear, murders look like suicides, and more as we get an inside look at how people in power scheme, make power plays, and manipulate what the public sees and thinks about people and politics. I’ve read books 1 and 2 in this series and they are so good. Also, book 2 gives you a real sucker punch to the gut. Because this is Jennifer Lynn Barnes these are fun and engaging reads, but there are also strong female leads, meaningful conversations about important topics, and a lot of good quips. It’s interesting to note that some people in politics are called “King Makers” because it is said that they have the power to make and break kings. You’ll definitely want to check this series out. The Teen read and loves this book as well.

Publisher’s Book description:

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

Embassy Row series by Ally Carter

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Grace Blakely goes to live on Embassy Row with her grandfather, a place where politics is everything. Here, families from countries all over live in close proximity to one another and how you act, where you go, and what you say matters – the slightest misstep could start a new war. It is here that Grace begins to learn more about her mother’s murder. It is also here that Grace begins to learn more about politics, power and corruption. On the one level, these are just teens who want to do the things that teenagers do, but they can’t just be teens because their actions have never had so much consequence. I love both The Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls series, and this one does not disappoint.

Publisher’s Book Description

A new series of global proportions — from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter.

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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Monsters are real. In fact, monsters are born out of our violence. Two opposing cities sit near each other, in the midst of a delicate truce. But there are unseen things in place that are working to upset that delicate truce. There are factions that seek to force the other party to break the truce so that a war can be declared and the monsters can reign supreme. I love this book. I love how it takes the mythology of monsters and makes it something new, I love how it puts our humanity next to the monsters and asks us to question which one is truly evil, and I love the way it takes this really creative premise and uses it to examine power and corruption in politics.

Publisher’s Book Description

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

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A luxury yacht is gone, and there are very few survivors. Some people want to hide the truth of what happened – and why. Frances Mace knows the truth, and there are some people who will go to any length to keep her silent. I picked up this book because I am a fan of Ryan’s zombie series, and I was surprised by this book; It was the first book I read on this list and it made me go hmmm, that’s a really interesting look at the world of political influence for teens. So I end this list by the first book that got me compiling this list in my head. I know there are others, so what titles do you recommend? Please add yours in the comments. I think it’s really important that we get teens reading books like these and thinking about what’s happening behind the scenes in their local, state and federal government.

Publisher’s Book Description

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

P.S., Cory Doctorow is, of course, a great author that you should be reading on this topic as well.

Kicky’s Post It Note Reviews: What a Teen Thinks about SAVING HAMLET, THE FIXES, LIFE FANTASTIC, COLOR BLIND and THE GRACES

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It’s time for another episode of Kicky’s Post It Note Reviews. We have a small teen advisory board of teens that tell us what they think and write reviews. Each teen is invited to develop their own review style. My Teen decided she wanted to write Post It Note Reviews. Here’s a look at some of the recent books she has read and what she thinks.

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Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

Publisher’s Book Description

I wanted sophomore year to be different, but this was a little much.

Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s suddenly promoted to stage manager, her best friend, Lulu, stops talking to her, and Josh—the sweet soccer player who’s been cast as the lead—turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.

One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door…landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.

It’s London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma’s a boy—even Will Shakespeare himself. Dropped into the middle of the original production of Hamlet, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant, jumping at the chance to experience theatre history and rub shoulders with legends. But the Globe’s Hamlet has its own problems, and once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. In which reality does she belong? And can she possibly save two epically tragic productions of Hamlet before time runs out?

postitnote6The Fixes by Owen Matthews

Publisher’s Book Description

Five…

Eric Connelly is about to combust.

Four…

His senator father is forcing him to spend the entire summer working a mind-numbing law firm internship. He won’t stop lecturing him about the importance of upholding “the Connelly name.” He doesn’t know the definition of “blowing off steam.” But he’s about to find out. Because Eric is ready to blow.

Three…

Then Eric meets Jordan Grant. Super-rich, semi-famous Jordan Grant. The guy of Eric’s (secret) dreams. Jordan likes Eric. And, well, Eric likes that.

Two…

Jordan comes with a group of friends—the Suicide Pack, they call themselves—and they’re sick of the shallow hypocrisy of their exclusive beachside town. So they cook up some simple “fixes” to right the wrongs that the wealthy elite have committed. But as the fixes escalate, some members of the pack start to panic. Intoxicated by Jordan’s attention, Eric stays calm. Until Jordan starts to build the bombs.

One…

The question is not whether the bombs will go off—but who will be left standing when everything goes up in flames.

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Life Fantastic by Liza Ketchum

Publisher’s Book Description

Will Teresa Find Fame But Lose Her Soul?

It’s 1913 and vaudeville is America’s most popular form of entertainment. Thousands of theaters across the country host vaudeville troupes. In Brattleboro, Vermont, fifteen-year-old Teresa LeClair–who has a “voice like a nightingale”–remembers the thrill of singing onstage as a child. But her parents have given up life on the road, and her father has decided that Teresa, blessed with perfect pitch, should drop out of school and work in the tuning rooms of the organ factory.

Determined to escape the life her father wants for her, Teresa wins an amateur singing contest in Brattleboro’s opera house and steals away on the night train to New York. She hopes to become a star on Broadway’s “Great White Way,” but has no idea of the challenges that lie ahead. There she runs into Pietro Jones and his father, talented African American dancers. Teresa and Pietro become competitors as well as unlikely friends.

At a time when young black men could be lynched for simply looking at a white girl, Pietro understands, better than Teresa, the danger of their relationship. Teresa’s quest to find her voice onstage and in her life, far from the support of her family, takes place against a complex racial backdrop of American history.

a3Color Blind by Sheila Sobel

Publisher’s Book Description

April is alone in the world. When she was only a baby, her teenage mother took off and now, unbelievably, her dad has died. Nobody’s left to take April in except her mom’s sister, a free spirit who’s a chef in New Orleans–and someone who April’s never met. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, April is suddenly supposed to navigate a city that feels just like she feels, fighting back from impossibly bad breaks. But it’s Miles, a bayou boy, who really brings April into the heart of the Big Easy. He takes her to the cemetery where nineteenth-century voodoo queen Marie Laveau is buried, and there, April gets a shocking clue about her own past. Once she has a piece of the puzzle, she knows she will never give up. What she doesn’t know is that finding out the truth about her past and the key to her future could cost her everything–maybe even her life.

postitreview1The Graces by Laure Eve

Publisher’s Book Description

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

Recently in Book Mail

The following are books that have arrived here recently. I’ll be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months.  

 

 

everydayBrief Histories of Everyday Objects by Andy Warner (ISBN-13: 9781250078650 Publisher: Picador Publication date: 10/04/2016)

Hilarious, entertaining, and illustrated histories behind some of life’s most common and underappreciated objects – from the paperclip and the toothbrush to the sports bra and roller skates.

In the tradition of A Cartoon History of the Universe and, most recent, Randall Munroe’s What If? comes Brief Histories of Everyday Objects, a graphic tour through the unusual creation of some of the mundane items that surround us in our daily lives. Chapters are peppered with ballpoint pen riots, cowboy wars, and really bad Victorian practical jokes. Structured around the different locations in our home and daily life—the kitchen, the bathroom, the office, and the grocery store—award-nominated illustrator Andy Warner traces the often surprising and sometimes complex histories behind the items we often take for granted. Readers learn how Velcro was created after a Swiss engineer took his dog for a walk; how a naval engineer invented the Slinky; a German housewife, the coffee filter; and a radical feminist and anti-capitalist, the game Monopoly. This is both a book of histories and a book about histories. It explores how lies become legends, trade routes spring up, and empires rise and fall—all from the perspective of your toothbrush or toilet.

 

terribleTerrible But True: Awful Events in American History by Dinah Williams (ISBN-13: 9780545909730 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 10/25/2016)

Think American history is all boring battles and snooze-worthy old dudes? Think again! Welcome to TERRIBLE BUT TRUE, where you’ll dig deep into America’s forgotten past to uncover some creepy, disgusting, and just plain bizarre stories. From America’s first serial killers and deadly vampire-like diseases to haunted ghost ships and vicious river pirates, our nation’s history is weirder than you could have ever imagined. So dive in and prepare to be shocked, because sometimes the truth is even stranger than fiction.

 

 

its-not-meIt’s Not Me, It’s YOU by Stephanie Kate Strohm (ISBN-13: 9780545952583 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 10/25/2016)

Avery Dennis is a high school senior and one of the most popular girls in her class. But a majorly public breakup with the guy she’s been dating causes some disastrous waves. It is right before prom and Avery no longer has the perfect date. She runs the prom committee, how could she not show up with somebody?

Post-breakup, Avery gets to thinking about all of the guys that she has ever dated. How come none of those relationships ever worked out? Could it be her fault? Avery decides to investigate. In history class she’s learning about this method of record-keeping called “oral history” and she has a report due. So Avery decides to go directly to the source. Avery tracks down all of the guys she’s ever dated, and uses that information along with her friends, family, and even teachers thoughts, to compile a total account of her dating history.

Avery discovers some surprises about herself and the guys she’s spent time with just in time for prom night!

 

truthThe Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron (ISBN-13: 9781481459471 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 01/03/2017)

Two isolated teens struggle against their complicated lives to find a true connection in this heartwrenching debut novel about first love and the wreckage of growing up.

Lily is returning to her privileged Manhattan high school after a harrowing end to her sophomore year and it’s not pretty. She hates chemistry and her spiteful lab partner, her friends are either not speaking to her or suffocating her with concerned glances, and nothing seems to give her joy anymore. Worst of all, she can’t escape her own thoughts about what drove her away from everyone in the first place.

Enter Dari (short for Dariomauritius), the artistic and mysterious transfer student, adept at cutting class. Not that he’d rather be at home with his domineering Trinidadian father. Dari is everything that Lily needs: bright, creative, honest, and unpredictable. And in a school where no one really stands out, Dari finds Lily’s sensitivity and openness magnetic. Their attraction ignites immediately, and for the first time in what feels like forever, Lily and Dari find happiness in each other.

In twenty-first-century New York City, the fact that Lily is white and Dari is black shouldn’t matter that much, but nothing’s as simple as it seems. When tragedy becomes reality, can friendship survive even if romance cannot?

 

 

great-greenIn the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary (ISBN-13: 9781250065360 Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication date: 01/10/2017)

For decades children and their parents around the world have cuddled together to read Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. While the lulling words of these stories have formed nighttime rituals for millions, few know that these classic works were part of a publishing revolution led by Margaret Wise Brown, who was renowned not only for her prolific writing and creative genius, but also for her stunning beauty and thirst for adventure.

In 1990, author Amy Gary discovered unpublished manuscripts, songs, personal letters, and diaries from Margaret tucked away in a trunk in the attic of Margaret’s sister’s barn. Since then, Gary has pored over these works and with this unique insight in to Margaret’s world she chronicles her rise in the literary world. Clever, quirky, and wildly imaginative, Margaret embraced life with passion, threw wild parties, attended rabbit hunts, and lived extravagantly off of her royalties. She carried on long and troubled love affairs with both men and women, including the ex-wife of John Barrymore, and was engaged to a younger man (who was the son of a Carnegie and a Rockefeller) when she died unexpectedly at the age of 42.

In the Great Green Room captures the exceptional spirit of Margaret whose unrivaled talent breathed new life in to the literary world.

 

radiusThe Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (ISBN-13: 9781250096890 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 01/17/2017)

What happens when you fall in love with someone everyone seems determined to fear?

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself.

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbors crossed the street to avoid.

Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?

Told in alternating first person points of view, The Radius of Us is a story of love, sacrifice, and the journey from victim to survivor. It offers an intimate glimpse into the causes and devastating impact of Latino gang violence, both in the U.S. and in Central America, and explores the risks that victims take when they try to start over. Most importantly, Marie Marquardt’s The Radius of Us shows how people struggling to overcome trauma can find healing in love.

 

the-youThe You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins (ISBN-13: 9781481442909 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 01/24/2017)

How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

 

 

exoExo by Fonda Lee (ISBN-13: 9780545933438 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 01/31/2017)

It’s been a century of peace since Earth became a colony of an alien race with far reaches into the galaxy. Some die-hard extremists still oppose their rule on Earth, but Donovan Reyes isn’t one of them. His dad holds the prestigious position of Prime Liaison in the collaborationist government, and Donovan’s high social standing along with his exocel (a remarkable alien technology fused to his body) guarantee him a bright future in the security forces. That is, until a routine patrol goes awry and Donovan’s abducted by the human revolutionary group Sapience.

When Sapience realizes whose son Donovan is, they think they’ve found the ultimate bargaining chip. But the Prime Liaison doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, not even for his own son. Left in the hands of terrorists who have more uses for him dead than alive, the fate of Earth rests on Donovan’s survival. Because if Sapience kills him, it could spark another intergalactic war. And Earth didn’t win the last one…

 

 

american-streetAmerican Street by Ibi Zoboi (ISBN-13: 9780062473042 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 02/14/2017)

American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Everything, Everything; Bone Gap; and All American Boys. In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodouculture.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

 

hate-uThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (ISBN-13: 9780062498533 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 02/28/2017)

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

 

 

here-we-areHere We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen (ISBN-13: 9781616205867 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 02/28/2017)

Let’s get the feminist party started!

Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it means to be a twenty-first-century feminist. It’s packed with contributions from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia and politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. All together, the book features more than forty-four pieces and illustrations.

Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.

 

 

campCamp So-and-So by Mary McCoy (ISBN-13: 9781512415971 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 03/01/2017)

The Cabin In The Woods meets A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a darkly whimsical adventure.

Twenty-five campers. Five cabins.

One very dangerous summer camp.

Cabin 1 must face off against their ultimate rivals, the posh campers across the lake — who may be more than they seem.

Cabin 2 is being stalked by a murderous former camper.

Cabin 3 sets off on a quest to break an age-old curse.

Cabin 4 will meet their soulmates — who also pose a deadly threat.

And Cabin 5…well, it might already be too late for Cabin 5.

This is no ordinary camp. Survival will require courage, cunning, and perhaps even magic.

And the hot dogs are terrible.

 

 

ultimatumUltimatum by KM Walton (ISBN-13: 9781492635079 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 03/07/2017)

From the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what’s more important: family or their differences.

It’s not Oscar’s fault he’s misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he’s been disrespected by his father and bullied by his self-absorbed older brother, so he withdraws from his fractured family, seeking refuge in his art.

Vance wishes his younger brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother’s death without Oscar getting all emotional. At least when Vance pushes himself in lacrosse and parties, he feels alive.

But when their father’s alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two brothers must come face-to-face with their demons–and each other–if they are going to survive a very uncertain future.

 

 

fish-girlFish Girl by David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli (ISBN-13: 9780547483931 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 03/07/2017)

The triple Caldecott winner David Wiesner brings his rich visual imagination and trademark artistry to the graphic novel format in a unique coming-of-age tale that begins underwater. A young mermaid, called Fish Girl, in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl’s longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank. Sparkling with humor and brilliantly visualized, Fish Girl’s story will resonate with every young person facing the challenges and rewards of growing up.

 

 

 

just-flyJust Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy (ISBN-13: 9781616206291 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 03/28/2017)

A debut novel about one girl’s discovery of family secrets, first love, the limits of forgiveness, and finding one’s way in the world, written with wisdom and sympathy by the bestselling memoirist, actor, and director.

When fifteen-year-old Lucy Willows discovers that her father has a child from a brief affair, a eight-year-old boy named Thomas who lives in her own suburban New Jersey town, she begins to question everything she thinks she knows about her family and her life. Lucy can’t believe her father betrayed the whole family, or that her mother forgave him, or that her sister isn’t rocked by the news the way Lucy is. Worse, Lucy’s father’s secret is now her own, one that isolates her from her friends, family, and even her boyfriend, Simon, the one person she expected would truly understand. When Lucy escapes to Maine, the home of her mysteriously estranged grandfather, she finally begins to get to the bottom of her family’s secrets and lies.

Fans of the rebels and antiheroes in the novels of Rainbow Rowell, A. S. King, and Meg Wolitzer will welcome this sharp, observant new voice in young adult fiction.

 

 

gem-andGem & Dixie by Sara Zarr (ISBN-13: 9780062434593 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/04/2017)

From renowned author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr comes a deep, nuanced, and gorgeously written story about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home.

Gem has never known what it is to have security. She’s never known an adult she can truly rely on. But the one constant in her life has been Dixie. Gem grew up taking care of her sister when no one else could: not their mother, whose issues make it hard for her to keep food on the table, and definitely not their father, whose intermittent presence is the only thing worse than his frequent absence. Even as Gem and Dixie have grown apart, they’ve always had each other.

When their dad returns home for the first time in years and tries to insert himself back into their lives, Gem finds herself with an unexpected opportunity: three days with Dixie—on their own in Seattle and beyond. But this short trip soon becomes something more, as Gem discovers that that to save herself, she may have to sever the one bond she’s tried so hard to keep.

 

 

letters-to-the-lostLetters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (ISBN-13: 9781681190082 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 04/04/2017)

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

 

 

but-thenBut Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure (ISBN-13: 9780544531260 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 04/04/2017)

From the author of This Raging Light comes the story of Eden Jones, a seventeen-year-old girl who feels lost after surviving a near fatal accident. Unable to connect with her family and friends, Eden forms an unlikely relationship with Joe, a boy who comes to the hospital to visit Jasmine, a friend who may soon be gone forever. Eden is the only person who can get through to Jasmine, but is she brave enough to face a world that’s bigger and more magical than she ever would have allowed? Lyrical, unexpected, and romantic, Estelle Laure’s new novel is about interwoven lives, long goodbyes, and the imperfect beauty of young love.

 

 

defyDefy the Stars by Claudia Gray (ISBN-13: 9780316394031 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 04/04/2017)

In her most epic and ambitious work to date, bestselling author Claudia Gray takes readers on an interstellar journey exploring what it means to be human.

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

 

 

fireworksFireworks by Katie Cotugno (ISBN-13: 9780062418272 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/11/2017)

From the New York Times bestselling author of 99 Days and How to Love comes a stunning new contemporary novel—all about boy bands, girl bands, best friends, and first love—perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She’s the talented one, the one who’s been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, is the levelheaded one, always on the sidelines, cheering Olivia on.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

 

upsideThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (ISBN-13: 9780062348708 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/11/2017)

From the award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda comes a funny, authentic novel about sisterhood, love, and identity.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

 

 

literallyLiterally by Lucy Keating (ISBN-13: 9780062380043 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/11/2017)

From the author of Dreamology comes a young adult love story that blurs the line between reality and fiction…

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out that Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut novel, which School Library Journal called “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

 

higherHigher, Steeper, Faster: The Daredevils Who Conquered the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone (ISBN-13: 9780316350235 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 04/18/2017)

Discover the daring aviation pioneers who made the dream of powered flight a reality, forever changing the course of history.

Aviator Lincoln Beachey broke countless records: he looped-the-loop, flew upside down and in corkscrews, and was the first to pull his aircraft out of what was a typically fatal tailspin. As Beachey and other aviators took to the skies in death-defying acts in the early twentieth century, these innovative daredevils not only wowed crowds, but also redefined the frontiers of powered flight.

Higher, Steeper, Faster takes readers inside the world of the brave men and women who popularized flying through their deadly stunts and paved the way for modern aviation. With heart-stopping accounts of the action-packed race to conquer the skies, plus photographs and fascinating archival documents, this book will exhilarate readers as they fly through the pages.

 

bangBang by Barry Lyga (ISBN-13: 9780316315500 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 04/18/2017)

A heartbreaking novel about living with your worst mistake, from New York Times bestselling author Barry Lyga.

A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one–not even Sebastian himself–can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend–Aneesa–to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Unflinching and honest, Bang is as true and as relevant as tomorrow’s headlines, the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed.

 

 

luckyLucky Girl by Amanda Maciel (ISBN-13: 9780062305336 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/25/2017)

Lucky Girl is an unflinching exploration of beauty, self-worth, and sexual assault, from the author of the acclaimed Tease.

Rosie is a beautiful girl—and it’s always been enough. Boys crush on her, men stare at her, girls (begrudgingly) admire her. She’s lucky and she knows it. But it’s the start of a new school year and she begins to realize that she wants to be more. Namely, she’s determined to be better to her best friend, Maddie, who’s just back from a summer program abroad having totally blossomed into her own looks. Rosie isn’t thrilled when Maddie connects with a football player who Rosie was hooking up with—but if it makes her friend happy, she’s prepared to get over it. Plus, someone even more interesting has moved to town: Alex, who became semifamous after he stopped a classmate from carrying out a shooting rampage at his old high school. Rosie is drawn to Alex in a way she’s never experienced before—and she is surprised to discover that, unlike every other guy, he seems to see more to her than her beauty.

Then at a party one night, in the midst of a devastating storm, something happens that tears apart Rosie’s life and sets her on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to face uncomfortable truths about reputation, identity, and what it means to be a true friend.

 

tenTen: A Soccer Story by Shamini Flint (ISBN-13: 9780544850019 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 05/02/2017)

Maya is a passionate soccer fan eager to start playing soccer herself. This is extra challenging because soccer is considered a “boys’ game” in Malaysia in 1986. She teaches herself basic soccer skills with only her mother and a potted rosebush as training partners, then gradually persuades enough girls to join her to form a team, all the while trying to keep her unpredictable biracial family together. Reading Maya’s witty, observant first-person narrative will make readers want her on their team, and they’ll cheer her on as she discovers that winning is great—but losing doesn’t mean defeat.

 

 

 

say-noSay No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson (ISBN-13: 9781481471930 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 05/02/2017)

The hijinks of Miss Congeniality meet the high school gender politics of The List in Kat Helgeson’s timely contemporary novel about two teens who become entangled in a cut-throat prom date auction.

Ava’s plan for surviving senior year at her new school is simple: fly under the radar until graduation. No boys. No attachments. No drama. But all that goes out the window when she gets drafted into the Prom Bowl—a long-standing tradition where senior girls compete in challenges and are auctioned off as prom dates to the highest bidder.

Ava joins forces with star quarterback Mark Palmer to try and get herself out of the competition, but their best laid schemes lead to self-sabotage more than anything else. And to make matters worse, they both begin to realize that the Prom Bowl isn’t all fun and games. When one event spirals dangerously out of control, Ava and Mark must decide whether shutting down the Prom Bowl once and for all is worth the price of sacrificing their futures.

 

when-dimpleWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (ISBN-13: 9781481478687 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 05/30/2017)

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

 

unlikeliesThe Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone (ISBN-13: 9780316382861 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 06/06/2017)

Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.

Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.

Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?

This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

 

 

boynelsonBoy by Blake Nelson (ISBN-13: 9781481488136 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 06/06/2017)

In the style of Blake Nelson’s cult favorite, Girl comes a brand-new story about the moments in life that change how you see everything and everyone you always thought you knew—including yourself.

Every school has them: the cool kids. The insiders. Gavin Meeks is one of them. He lives an easy life of parties, girls, snowboarding adventures and whatever else comes his way.

But when dark, dramatic Antoinette crash-lands at Evergreen High, the entire school feels the impact. Antoinette has seen things, been places, experienced deep tragedy first-hand. She’s not just a rebel, she’s a force of nature. Gavin, for one, is captivated and is soon pursuing interests he never knew he had. With a camera in hand, he finds a way to express his own truth, including his feelings for his favorite subject: Antoinette. It all leads to one passionate, life-altering night in this achingly authentic story from bestselling author Blake Nelson.

 

not-yetEmily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens (ISBN-13: 9780544790865 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 06/13/17)

Emily picks up a stone that looks like a cell phone but has unexpected magical powers. It’s a Spellstone! Now that she has become an unwilling Stonemaster—one who wields the power of the Stone—she has to figure out Spellstone technology fast if she is to survive a hair-raising adventure among giant dogs, demons, clones, mean girls, and deeply wicked people who want the Stone. A witty tale of a quiet girl who discovers she’s a hero when she needs to be. Stonemasters rule!

 

 

lintboyLint Boy by Aileen Leijten  (ISBN-13: 9780544528604 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 06/27/17)

Lint Boy and Lint Bear live in their cozy dryer home, carefree and happy—until the day Lint Bear is snatched away by a cruel woman with a vendetta against dolls! Can Lint Boy unite a group of lost dolls to vanquish the villain and save his brother?
This magical story is showcased in the stunning full-color art of this young graphic novel. A gently gothic, age-appropriate blend of Roald Dahl and Tim Burton, Lint Boy is a compelling tale of good vs. evil that will leave readers spellbound.

 

 

survivorOverboard! (Survivor Diaries) by Terry Lynn Johnson (ISBN-13: 9780544970106 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers Publication date: 07/04/17)

Stay calm. Stay smart. Survive.

In this exciting episode of the high-stakes adventure series, eleven-year-old Travis and his family are on a whale watching tour off the coast of Washington when disaster strikes. The boat capsizes, throwing everyone into the ice-cold chaotic waves. Separated from their families and struggling to stay afloat, Travis and twelve-year-old Marina must survive the freezing ocean water. Battling hypothermia and using all their knowledge of cold-water safety and outdoor survival, Travis and Marina will have their grit and teamwork tested to the extreme.

With seventeen years of hands-on experience and training in remote areas, real-life survival expert Terry Lynn Johnson (Ice Dogs; Sled Dog School) creates on-the-edge-of-your-seat storytelling featuring the real skills that kids need to survive disaster. Perfect for fans of Lauren Tarshis’ I Survived series and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, this books includes Coast Guard-approved cold-water survival tips.

 

disappearancesThe Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy (ISBN-13: 978-0544879362 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books For Young Readers Publication date: 07/04/17)

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

 

sorrowOne for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn (ISBN-13: 9780544818095 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers Publication date: 07/18/17)

Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.

 

 

 

specialThe Special Ones by Em Bailey (ISBN-13: 978-0544912298 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers Publication date: 07/18/17)

Esther is one of the Special Ones: four young spiritual guides who live in a remote farmhouse under the protection of a mysterious cult leader. He watches them around the clock, ready to punish them if they forget who they are—and all the while, broadcasting their lives to eager followers on the outside.

Esther knows that if she stops being Special, he will “renew” her. Nobody knows what happens to the Special Ones who are taken away from the farm for renewal, but Esther fears the worst. Like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape.

 

sparksSparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor (ISBN-13: 9780544609570 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers Publication date: 08/01/17)

For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

In this sequel to the dazzling time-travel romance Into the Dim, sacrifice takes on a whole new meaning as Hope and Bran struggle to determine where—or when–they truly belong.

 

 

little-and-lionLittle & Lion by Brandy Colbert (ISBN-13: 9780316349000 Publisher: Little, Brown Publication date: 08/08/2017)

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. Is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself—or worse.

 

 

heartsThe Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones (ISBN-13: 9780316314596 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 08/08/17)

When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

Middle School Monday: Summerlost Review by Librarian Alison Ching!

MSM1A little while ago, I wrote about how important it is for us as school librarians to advertise [and advocate for] our literacy roots. As part of shouting out our literature bonafides, I invited you all to think of a book you might like to write about so it could be featured on Middle School Monday.

I’m so excited to give a signal boost to this review from Alison Ching, the librarian at Downing Middle School in Flower Mound, Texas. Follow her at @arclibrarian. Thank you Alison for highlighting this title for us!

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summerlost-coverWhen Julie put out the call for reviews for “under the radar” books, I selected Ally Condie’s Summerlost right away, but then the joke was on me, because almost immediately, it appeared in the opening round of the Goodreads Choice Awards in the Best Middle Grade and Children’s category. I could be forgiven for thinking there was a limited cohort of people singing its praises, however; it had been well-reviewed but hadn’t attracted a lot of the attention of more “It” books. If it weren’t for the beautiful cover and the fact that I was already a fan of Condie’s YA Matched series, I would likely have given it a pass altogether. I’m so glad I didn’t do that.

Summerlost is the story of Cedar Lee, who is struggling to heal after a great loss, and her friendship with Leo, a budding entrepreneur who draws her out of her shell and into the local Summerlost theater festival.  The book is a gentle, beautiful meditation on grief—both Cedar’s, for her father and brother who have died, and Leo’s,  for his father who is still with him but feels very far away—yet it succeeds by integrating that grief into a larger tapestry of experience rather than placing it on a pedestal.

Leo and Cedar are sensitive, multifaceted characters, but they are not precocious sages; rather they have an authentically tween tendency to go barreling into schemes which seem like utter genius to them in the moment, but which a canny reader can tell are doomed from the start. The pleasure for that reader comes from weathering these disappointments and hard lessons with the characters and then standing with them in their quiet victories.

This book has a somewhat timeless feel, partly because there are extremely limited mentions of technology and pop culture that would anchor it in a particular era, but also because it is a classic coming of age story, in the vain of Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia, with all of the attendant highs and lows. If you have a patron looking for an “all the feels” sort of book, hand them this one with confidence.
—Alison Ching

***

I love this review! [“they have an authentically tween tendency to go barreling into schemes which seem like utter genius to them in the moment”—that’s perfection! :)]

We all need those “all the feels” sorts of books in our repertoire. Thank you so much for sharing, Alison!

I hope you have a great week! Reach out to me at @BespokeLib if you’re interested in writing a review!
—Julie Stivers

Sunday Reflections: Tell Me Something Good, Teens and the 2016 Election

In my focus on what’s been happening post election 2016, I have shared with you a lot of negative stories about the racism and bigotry that has been affecting my teens. Today I want to tell you something good.

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On Monday of last week, a regular teen came into the Teen MakerSpace and was talking about GLBTQA+ rights, particularly how she was afraid of what is happening to them. She then said she wished the school had an ally group. I didn’t realize they didn’t, and told her that she could start one. She thought about it for a second, and asked me how. So I pulled out my librarian skills and researched it for her and with her. It turns out the Gay Straight Alliance network has a really extensive support site which includes a beginning of the year start up guide that you can download. So I downloaded the packet for her and ran into my office where I knew there sat an empty three-ring binder. We printed the entire thing out and organized it.

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On Tuesday she went and spoke to the local school guidance counselor and got a fairly positive response. They did ask for a proposal, which she came back and I helped her write. We also submitted a cover letter.

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As we sat there in that final day writing the proposal and cover letter, she looked at me and said, “maybe I can do something positive. At least it feels like I’m trying to do something good.” This young lady is 13. I am awed and inspired every day by teens, their compassion, their knowledge, and their desire to do good things.

Her fear led her to action. And just the possibility of doing something positive, just the fact that she was trying to do something – anything – encouraged and empowered her. Sometimes, being a teen librarian is spectacularly awesome.

More on the Aftermath of the 2016 Election and Teens

Spending the Day After the 2016 Election with Teenagers

Now What? On Being a Librarian and a Book Lover After the 2016 Election

Things I Never Learned in Library School: On Being a Teen Librarian 2 Weeks After the 2016 Election

Sunday Reflections: My Teens Will be Voting in the Next Presidential Election

How the 2916 Election is Affecting Teens, Week 3