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5 Question Interview with Undead Girl Gang author Lily Anderson

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Today we are lucky to be joined by Lily Anderson, author of Undead Girl Gang, for a 5 question interview:

Other than Mila, who was your favorite character to write and why?

I love all of my characters, obviously, but writing love interests is such a unique challenge in every book. For UNDEAD GIRL GANG, I knew going in that Mila was going to have a crush on Xander–her best friend’s big brother–because I spent all of junior high and high school crushing on the older brothers of my friends. Xander is a popular guy with a nerd background, so it was too fun to put him in situations where a lot of attention was on him and he wasn’t sure what to do with it.

I also wanted to make sure he was earning his keep as the swooniest boy in school, so I based his looks on a young Tom Hiddleston, which meant spending a lot of time watching his movies and interviews and gifs of his face. Just to make sure that I was capturing all that sharp faced, blue eyed earnestness (and not at all for my own fangirl purposes).

The Nouns are consummate mean girls – did you have a lot of experience with mean girls growing up?

Being a teenager is so much about discovering how your actions affect other people and the depths of your own emotions. It’s why I love YA! Teenagers are so willing to put everything on the line, every day. Which is the longest, most convoluted way of saying that I was a mean girl! I was the youngest of my friends by a couple of years and being mean was a shortcut to fitting in. Because being mean can be perceived as being funny (see: my first book, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You). I viscerally remember being 16 and thinking about the friends I had. We were theater kids and very physically affectionate (we once spent an entire summer having cuddle parties in the park) but I truly didn’t know if any of them knew that I cared about them. And decided, from then on, to use my empathy instead of smothering it.

I focus a lot on meanness in my books because of my past. Not to excuse it, but to examine it. In UNDEAD GIRL GANG, June and Dayton die as the most popular girls in school and come back to life, stuck with two girls that they made miserable. And both June and Dayton seem truly shocked to find out that people considered them to be mean because they never thought about themselves from a macro point of view. They were the heroines in their story and the villains in other people’s. Coming back from the dead gives them a chance to not just atone, but to understand their power and use it positively.

How did you research the Wiccan practices that Mila uses to bring the girls back?

I grew up in a house with zero religion (I’d call us an agnostic family, but I can feel my father shouting “Atheist!” as he reads this). My grandmothers and some of my extended family went to church, but I knew basically nothing about Christianity. (Later, I would learn almost everything I currently know about Western religion from Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Fiddler On The Roof. True Story.) Wicca is the only religion that I’ve ever claimed as my own. I discovered it when I was eight or nine and found a Silver Ravenewolf’s TEEN WITCH in my local bookstore. The idea of divinity being equally reflected in nature as in ourselves has guided my personal spirituality since.

Mila, the main character in Undead Girl Gang is Wiccan. She later discovers that she can also wield real, big, scary magic capable of bringing back the dead. These are not the same thing and the book says as much. Wicca couldn’t be less about things that go bump in the night. It’s about seeing the light and purpose in everything—midnights as beautiful as dawns, the planet always providing for our needs—and never about things that go bump in the night. Mila self-identifying as a witch makes it all the less likely that she would be able to do something as dark and extraordinary as necromancy. It’s like knocking on wood and having something bad happen anyway. She can’t bring back the dead because she’s a Wiccan. She’s a Wiccan who brings back the dead (and basically every other Wiccan in the book is not cool with it).

Is your mythology of the undead based on any particular mythology?

More than anything else, the rules for the undead in UGG were inspired by my lifelong obsession with the movie Death Becomes Her. In it, Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn take a magical potion that makes them young and beautiful and immortal—as long as they can take care of themselves. The movie is full of comical body horror that even I—a straight up fraidy cat—could handle and I’ve always wondered how to translate that into fiction.

So, like Meryl and Goldie, our girl gang has to be careful because they don’t heal. They are walking corpses being held up by Mila’s spell, so they’re in better shape nearer to their lifeforce than away from it. And since they’re only back in the land of the living for seven days, they start to show some physical wear as their time counts down.

What can you tell us about any upcoming projects you have in the works?

Right now, I’m trying to balance writing two very opposite YA books at the same time—my first full out drama (writing without jokes is hard!) and a lighter, sillier contemporary that might have some magic in it.

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From the Publisher:

Veronica Mars meets The Craft when a teen girl investigates the suspicious deaths of three classmates and accidentally ends up bringing them back to life to form a hilariously unlikely–and unwilling–vigilante girl gang.

Meet teenage Wiccan Mila Flores, who truly could not care less what you think about her Doc Martens, her attitude, or her weight because she knows that, no matter what, her BFF Riley is right by her side.

So when Riley and Fairmont Academy mean girls June Phelan-Park and Dayton Nesseth die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders. But they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

 

About the Author:

Lily Anderson is a school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. She is also the author of THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU and NOT NOW, NOT EVER. She tweets @ms_lilyanderson.

Friday Finds: April 27, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Book Review: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

YA A to Z: The Long Road to Gentrification, a guest post by author Lilliam Rivera

New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about

Parrot Mambo Drone Review by Michelle Biwer

Collection Development: Updating My GN and Manga Collection; or, that time I decided I wanted to face my arch nemesis and build a better collection for my patrons

Sunday Reflections: What are the limits of free speech in the library? Reflections on the incident at Aurora Public Library

Around the Web

Justina Ireland on Dread Nation, an alternative American Civil War story with zombies

17 Children’s Books That Promote Understanding Of Autism

Youth Sports Participation Continues To Decline And Congress May Have A Solution

Aurora Library Removes Poem After Accusations Of Islamophobia

Rethinking How Students With Dyslexia Are Taught To Read

 

Book Review: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Publisher’s description

stay sweetFrom the author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World and The List comes a bold and sweet summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best for friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

 

Amanda’s thoughts

Totally enjoyable book. Vivian is one of my auto-read authors—if she has a new book, I’m reading it. Reading this delightful summery book was just the ticket on an annoyingly cold day in Minnesota in April (we had a snow day this week and it was below zero two mornings this week). It made me want ice cream, which is no small feat given the unseasonable cold and the fact that I don’t generally like ice cream (Breyer’s nearly impossible to find vegan ice cream being the exception).

 

Vivian excels at great characters and great dialogue. The plot here is fairly small—when Grady inherits the ice cream stand, changes are afoot, including the possibility of selling the stand—but the relationships between the characters and the introduction of Molly’s own teenage diary makes this quiet story full of life. I like that Vivian is never afraid to show how complicated friendships/relationships between girls can be. Amelia and Cate are the very best of friends, but they keep secrets from each other, they argue, are jealous, they hold grudges, they lash out, and they figure out how to move past all those slights. I loved the whole concept of the ice cream stand—started in World War II by a young woman and only ever staffed by girls, all these years later (until Grady comes along). The system of support and friendship these Meade Creamery girls have is lovely and powerful. I would happily read a whole series about Meade girls over the years and what hijinks they got up to and saw each other through, from Molly and friends in the 1940s through now.

 

This will easily fly off shelves this summer. Give this to fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. And when you sit down to read this, have some ice cream handy, because you’re going to want some. A satisfying and sweet read. 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781534405035
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Publication date: 04/24/2018

YA A to Z: The Long Road to Gentrification, a guest post by author Lilliam Rivera

Today we are honored to have YA author Lilliam Rivera join us for YA A to Z to discuss gentrification. Lilliam Rivera is the author of The Education of Margot Sanchez.

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When the Lyft driver veers the car to the first right on to Willis Avenue, I notice the large billboard sign. “New Luxurious Condos.” The billboard stands erect in front of a large empty lot. I try to remember what was on the empty lot before. Was it a tenement building? Was there a bodega? It’s only been six months since my last visit to the South Bronx, New York and I already see so many changes. It’s hard to keep up.

Although I’ve lived in Los Angeles for the past fifteen years, my heart is closely tied to where I grew up in the Bronx. My young adult novel The Education of Margot Sanchez (Simon & Schuster) is set in the Bronx with our protagonist Margot Sanchez being forced to work at her father’s failing supermarket. All around her, a slightly privileged Margot sees how the Bronx is quickly changing. The affects of gentrification are taking its toll on the neighborhood and on her family’s livelihood. This is the Bronx I see as I exit the car and walk to my parent’s house and notice yet another new boutique hotel promoting its grand opening.

When I set out to write my coming-of-age novel I knew I would write about gentrification. Like many I have my preconceived notions of how gentrification occurs. You see new buildings being erected, millions of dollars being funneled to rebuild parks, or a new police station sets up shop on a once abandoned lot and you think gentrification is here. It happened in Brooklyn. The same happened in the lower east side and Harlem. Detroit. New Orleans. What seems so sudden is actually an economic system placed to improve an urban neighborhood at the cost of the families living there.

Gentrification and the Criminalization of Neighborhoods – The Atlantic

Below, I’m sharing books that might help readers understand the history of gentrification as well as young adult novels that dig deep on how this can shape a young person’s life.

The following nonfiction books can give any reader a starting point in to the sordid history that pits the economic growth of a city on the shoulders of working class and poor families.

CDC – Healthy Places – Health Effects of Gentrification

How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood by Peter Moskowitz

Moskowitz breaks down the history of gentrification in Detroit, San Francisco, New York and New Orleans. The author writes: “What Gentrification is not about individual acts; it’s about systemic violence based on decades of racist housing policy in the United States that has denied people of color, especially black people, access to the same.”

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Rothstein argues that federal, state, and local governments create and reinforce neighborhood segregation. “To prevent lower-income African Americans from living in neighborhoods where middle-class whites resided, local and federal officials began in the 1910s to promote zoning ordinances to reserve middle-class neighborhoods for single-family homes…”

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Desmond follows families in Milwaukee as they try to keep shelter. “After a few weeks, the city found Arleen’s favorite place ‘unfit for human habitation,’ removed her, nailed green boards over the windows and doors, and issued a fine to her landlord.”

As proven every day, young people are at the forefront of change. The following young adult and middle grade books tackle gentrification in a nuanced and intelligent manner:

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Set in Miami, this Pura Belpré Honor book is full of humor and love as a young boy fights against a land developer encroaching on his family’s restaurant.

shadowshaper

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

An urban fantasy, Older creates a city that is not only under attack by dark forces but can only be saved by a young Afro-Latina Sierra Santiago in a changing Brooklyn.

educationof

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

While stuck working at her father’s supermarket, Margot Sanchez witnesses first hand how gentrification is blanketing the Bronx with the help of the young activist Moises.

revolution

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

Set in 1969 New York, Manzano’s novel depicts the rise of the Puerto Rican activist group The Young Lords and one girl’s own political awakening.

Realistic Teen Fiction: Racism and Gentrification

This Side of Home by Renee Watson

Watson takes on gentrification in a Portland neighborhood as twin sisters try to carve a space in their slowly unrecognizable home.

Also, don’t forget to add the following forthcoming young adult book to your TBR pile:

pride

Pride by Ibi Ziboi

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

Meet Lilliam Rivera

rivera

Lilliam Rivera is the author of The Education of Margot Sanchez, a contemporary young adult novel from Simon & Schuster available now in bookstores everywhere. Named a “2017 Face to Watch” by the Los Angeles Times, her work has appeared in Lenny LetterTin House, and USA Today, to name a few. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Lilliam currently lives in Los Angeles where she’s working on her second young adult novel, Dealing in Dreams, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in March 2019.

About THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ

educationof
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sánchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moisés—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

See Also:

4 YA Books That Deal With Gentrification – Book Riot

3 On A YA Theme: Social Justice in YA Fiction – Book Riot

The 5 Books You Need to Read to Understand Gentrification | The Nation

New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about

tltbutton7Books, books, and more books! My neighbors probably wonder what exactly goes on over here at the house where UPS of FedEx stops nearly every day. All of the books I get end up going back out the door in some fashion—to teen readers I know, to classroom libraries of friends, to my own school, or in giveaways. I can’t read/review every book I get, but it’s fun to be able to sift through boxes and see what grabs my attention, and to see what books will find loving new homes with the right reader. The following are the books that have arrived here in the past few weeks. I will be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months on TLT. See something you’ve already read and need to make sure I don’t skip? Or something you’re super excited to read when it comes out? Let me know with a comment here or on Twitter, where I’m @CiteSomething. All descriptions from the publishers.

 

 

train of lostThe Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette (ISBN-13: 9781524739393 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/20/2018)

A magical story about a boy’s love for his dying father and his journey to the mythic Train of Lost Things, where beloved lost objects are rescued and protected until they can be returned. Perfect for fans of The Phantom Tollbooth, The Bridge to Terabithia, and Lost in the Sun.

Marty cherishes the extra-special birthday present his dad gave him — a jean jacket on which he’s afixed numerous buttons — because it’s a tie to his father, who is sick and doesn’t have much time left. So when his jacket goes missing, Marty is devastated. When his dad tells him the story of the Train of Lost Things, a magical train that flies through the air collecting objects lost by kids, Marty is sure that the train must be real, and that if he can just find the train and get his jacket back, he can make his dad better as well.

It turns out that the train is real — and it’s gone out of control! Instead of just collecting things that have been accidentally lost, the train has been stealing things. Along with Dina and Star, the girls he meets aboard the train, Marty needs to figure out what’s going on and help set it right. As he searches for his jacket, and for a way to fix the train, Marty begins to wonder whether he’s looking for the right things after all. And he realizes that sometimes you need to escape reality in order to let it sink in.

In this achingly beautiful adventure, it is the power of memories, and the love between a father and son, that ultimately save the day.

 

 

way the lightThe Way The Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen (ISBN-13: 9780399547447 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/27/2018)

A powerful novel in verse about fitting in, standing out, defining your own self-worth, and what it takes to keep a fracturing family whole.

Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ daughter biologically, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family’s high-achieving model of academic success.

Linc is desperate to pursue photography, to find a place of belonging, and for her family to accept her for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when she comes up with a plan to use her photography interests and skills to do better in school—via a project based on Seneca Village, a long-gone village in the space that now holds Central Park, where all inhabitants, regardless of race, lived together harmoniously—Linc is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets, that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must decide whether her mother’s love is worth obtaining.

A novel in verse that challenges the way we think about family and belonging.

 

 

until tomorrowUntil Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth by Sheila O’Connor (ISBN-13: 9780399161933 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/03/2018)

Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, one young girl is determined to save her brother from the draft—and gets help from an unlikely source—in this middle-grade tale, perfect for fans of The Wednesday Wars

When eleven-year-old Reenie Kelly’s mother passes away, she and her brothers are shipped off to live with their grandmother. Adjusting to life in her parents’ Midwestern hometown isn’t easy, but once Reenie takes up a paper route with her older brother Dare, she has something she can look forward to. As they introduce themselves to every home on their route, Reenie’s stumped by just one—the house belonging to Mr. Marsworth, the town recluse. When he doesn’t answer his doorbell, Reenie begins to leave him letters. Slowly, the two become pen pals, striking up the most unlikely of friendships.

Through their letters, Reenie tells of her older brother Billy, who might enlist to fight in the Vietnam War. Reenie is desperate to stop him, and when Mr. Marsworth hears this, he knows he can’t stand idly by. As a staunch pacifist, Mr. Marsworth offers to help Reenie. Together, they concoct a plan to keep Billy home, though Reenie doesn’t know Mr. Marsworth’s dedication to her cause goes far beyond his antiwar beliefs.

In this heartwarming piece of historical fiction, critically acclaimed author Sheila O’Connor delivers a tale of devotion, sacrifice, and family.

 

 

from the earthFrom the Earth to the Shadows: Valkyrie Book Two by Amanda Hocking (ISBN-13: 9781250084804 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 04/24/2018 Series: Valkyrie Series #2)

The epic conclusion to the thrilling Valkyrie duology by New York Times bestselling YA author Amanda Hocking, From the Earth to the Shadows.

While dealing with dark revelations about her life and her world, Malin finds herself with new allies—and new enemies. Her quest for the truth leads her to places she never thought possible, and she’s never been one to shy away from a fight. But for all her strength and determination, will it be enough to save the world before it’s too late?

 

 

 

amalAmal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (ISBN-13: 9780399544682 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/08/2018)

Aisha Saeed’s middle-grade debut tells the compelling story of a girl’s fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude.

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when—as the eldest daughter—she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens—after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal—especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

 

 

one of a kindOne of a Kind by Chris Gorman (ISBN-13: 9781524740627 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/08/2018)

Bold, graphic art by indie rocker Chris Gorman of Belly captures the thrill and challenges of marching to your own beat.

Meet a pogo-dancing, punk-rock-loving kid who loves to express himself in his own unique way. His clothes, hairstyle, music, and just the way he hears the world, all set him apart. Not everyone understands him, but he likes being one of a kind—even though it’s lonely sometimes. Fortunately, it’s a wide world out there, and if he looks around a kid is sure to find other one-of-a-kinds with common interests.

 

 

boying upBoying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold and Brilliant by Mayim Bialik (ISBN-13: 9780525515975 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/08/2018)

Mayim Bialik, star of The Big Bang Theory and author of the #1 bestseller Girling Up, puts her Ph.D. to work to talk to teen boys about the science and pressures of growing up male in today’s world. A must-have book for all teenage boys!

Why does my voice crack like that? What should I eat to build muscle? How do I talk to someone I have a crush on? What do I do if someone calls me names or bullies me?

Growing from a boy to a man is no easy task. Bodies are changing, social circles are evolving, hair is appearing in places it never was before — and on top of it all, there’s the ever-present pressure to conform to the typical idea of what it means to be “manly” and masculine. But it’s easier to do if you’re armed with facts.

Using personal anecdotes as an overly observant mother of two boys and plenty of scientific information from her life as a neuroscientist, Mayim Bialik, PhD, star of The Big Bang Theory, talks directly to teen boys about what it means to grow from a boy to a man biologically, psychologically, and sociologically. Using the same cool, fun, and friendly tone that she took in Girling Up, Mayim takes boys—and their parents!—through the challenges and triumphs of Boying Up today.

In six sections (How Boys Bodies Work; How Boys Grow; How Boys Learn; How Boys Cope; How Boys Love; and How Boys Make a Difference), she takes a look at what it means for boys to come of age in today’s world, how can they take control of their paths, and what can they do to help shape the types of futures they want for themselves.

 

 

queen underneathThe Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak (ISBN-13: 9781624145605 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 05/08/2018)

In a city on the brink of war, it isn’t a king that the people need to save them—but a thief queen from Under.

Yigris is a world divided—where aristocrats in Above rule from grand palaces, and thieves, sex workers, and assassins reign in the shadowy tunnels of Under. When the leaders of Above and Under are both murdered on the same night, the fissure between the two opposite worlds grows and suspicion threatens to break the tenuous peace.

Gemma, a former orphan-thief and new queen of Under, and Tollan, heir to the Above throne, must salvage a truce to rescue the city. But they soon discover that the conflict is far bigger than two murders, as the city falls into an enchanted sleep and a cage of deadly brambles slowly ensnares the streets, buildings, and tunnels of both districts. With the fate of Yigris at stake, only Gemma and Tollan have the power to prevent another civil war from tearing their world apart forever.

 

 

whatshisWhatshisface by Gordon Korman (ISBN-13: 9781338200164 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/08/2018)

When 12-year-old Cooper Vega moves for the third time in five years, he receives a state-of-the-art smartphone to help him stay in touch with old friends. He’s had phones before, but this one is buggy and unpredictable. When a boy named Roderick Northrop communicates with him through the phone, Cooper realizes that his phone isn’t buggy at all; the thing is haunted

 

 

 

 

 

what i leave behindWhat I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee (ISBN-13: 9781481476560 Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books Publication date: 05/15/2018)

After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this exquisitely crafted story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each, by award-winning and bestselling author Alison McGhee.

Sixteen-year-old Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the Dollar Only store, trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe, and walking the streets of Los Angeles. Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped. But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on Fourth Street where his father died, and his childhood friend Playa’s house.

When Will learns Playa was raped at a party—a party he was at, where he saw Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn’t left early—it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness and do some good in the world. He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life, from Superman the homeless guy he passes on his way to work, to the Little Butterfly Dude he walks by on the way home, to Playa herself. And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again. Oh, and discover the truth about that cornbread.

 

grumpGrump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff (ISBN-13: 9781524717018 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 05/29/2018)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rump, comes the true story behind another unlikely hero: a grumpy dwarf who gets tangled up in Snow White’s feud with the wicked queen.

Ever since he was a dwarfling, Borlen (nicknamed “Grump”) has dreamed of visiting The Surface, so when opportunity knocks, he leaves his cavern home behind.
At first, life aboveground is a dream come true. Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.) is the best friend Grump always wanted, feeding him all the rubies he can eat and allowing him to rule at her side in exchange for magic and information. But as time goes on, Grump starts to suspect that Queen E.V.I.L. may not be as nice as she seems. . . .
When the queen commands him to carry out a horrible task against her stepdaughter Snow White, Grump is in over his head. He’s bound by magic to help the queen, but also to protect Snow White. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, the queen keeps bugging him for updates through her magic mirror! He’ll have to dig deep to find a way out of this pickle, and that’s enough to make any dwarf Grumpy indeed.

 

funeralI Felt a Funeral, in My Brain by Will Walton (ISBN-13: 9780545709569 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/29/2018)

How do you deal with a hole in your life?

Do you grieve?

Do you drink?

Do you make out with your best friend?

Do you turn to poets and pop songs?

Do you question everything?

Do you lash out?

Do you turn the lashing inward?

If you’re Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what’s happened — and is happening — to you.

I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain is an astonishing novel about navigating death and navigating life, at a time when the only map you have is the one you can draw for yourself.

 

 

two dogsTwo Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School, Book 1 by Julie Falatko, Colin Jack (ISBN-13: 9781338189513 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/29/2018)

Sassy and Waldo are good dogs. They spend the day keeping their house safe. Has a squirrel ever gotten inside? No! But every day their boy, Stewart, comes home from this terrible place called school smelling like anxiety and looseleaf paper.

Sassy and Waldo decide to save Stewart. But they don’t let dogs into school. So Sassy and Waldo decide to get creative. They put on an old trench coat, and now everyone at Bea Arthur Elementary thinks they are a new student named Salty from Liver, Ohio. Well, everyone except Stewart.

Sassy and Waldo love school! Everything smells like meat and dirty socks. And they discover a whole other way to help out Stewart!

 

 

cross fireCross Fire: An Exo Novel by Fonda Lee (ISBN-13: 9781338139099 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/29/2018)
Earth’s century of peace as a colony of an alien race has been shattered. As the government navigates peace talks with the human terrorist group Sapience, Donovan tries to put his life back together and return to his duty as a member of the security forces. But a new order comes from the home planet: withdraw. Earth has proven too costly and unstable to maintain as a colony, so the aliens, along with a small selection of humans, begin to make plans to leave. As word of the withdrawal spreads through the galaxy, suddenly Earth suddenly becomes vulnerable to a takeover from other aliens races. Invaders who do not seek to live in harmony with humans, but to ravage and destroy the planet.

As a galactic invasion threatens, Donovan realizes that Sapience holds the key that could stop the impending war. Yet in order to save humankind, all species on Earth will have to work together, and Donovan might just have to make the ultimate sacrifice to convince them.

 

 

truthGive Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth (ISBN-13: 9781338143546 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/29/2018)

Carson Mastick is entering his senior year of high school and desperate to make his mark, on the reservation and off. A rock band — and winning the local Battle of the Bands, with its first prize of a trip to New York City — is his best shot. But things keep getting in the way. Small matters like the lack of an actual band, or the fact that his brother just got shot confronting the racist owner of a local restaurant.

Maggi Bokoni has just moved back to the reservation from the city with her family. She’s dying to stop making the same traditional artwork her family sells to tourists (conceptual stuff is cooler), stop feeling out of place in her new (old) home, and stop being treated like a child. She might like to fall in love for the first time too.

Carson and Maggi — along with their friend Lewis — will navigate loud protests, even louder music, and first love in this stirring novel about coming together in a world defined by difference.

 

 

front deskFront Desk by Kelly Yang (ISBN-13: 9781338157796 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/29/2018)

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

 

 

history of jane doeThe History of Jane Doe by Michael Belanger (ISBN-13: 9780735228818 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/05/2018)

A poignant, deeply funny coming-of-age story about first love, first loss, and the power of history to give life meaning.

History buff Ray knows everything about the peculiar legends and lore of his rural Connecticut hometown. Burgerville’s past is riddled with green cow sightings and witches’ curses, but the most interesting thing about the present is the new girl—we’ll call her Jane Doe.

Inscrutable, cool, and above all mysterious, Jane seems as determined to hide her past as Ray is to uncover it. As fascination turns to friendship and then to something more, Ray is certain he knows Jane’s darkest, most painful secrets and Jane herself—from past to present. But when the unthinkable happens, Ray is forced to acknowledge that perhaps history can only tell us so much.

Mixing humor with heartache, this is an unmissable coming-of-age story from an exciting new voice in YA.

 

 

 

smoke in theSmoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh (ISBN-13: 9781524738143 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/05/2018)

The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestselling Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn.

After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice—to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.

With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.

 

 

reaperA Reaper at the Gates (Ember in the Ashes Series #3) by Sabaa Tahir (ISBN-13: 9780448494500 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/12/2018)

The highly anticipated third book in #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir’s EMBER QUARTET.

Beyond the Martial Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister’s life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. But she knows that danger lurks on all sides: Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor’s volatility to grow her own power—regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But in the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender—even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.

 

 

the brinkThe Brink of Darkness by Jeff Giles (ISBN-13: 9781619637559 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 07/03/2018)

In this sequel to the cinematic, romantic fantasy The Edge of Everything, star-crossed X and Zoe must overcome the boundaries of their two worlds in order to find their way back to each other.

Things have changed for seventeen-year-old Zoe ever since the otherworldly events that brought her together with the mysterious bounty hunter she calls X. In order to save Zoe and her family, X has done the unthinkable—he’s given up his freedom and returned to captivity in the Lowlands.

X is determined to break the lords’ hold on him once and for all, but being stripped of his power pushes him toward a darkness he’s never experienced and a pas he’s never known. The secrets that surface could be the key to reuniting X and Zoe . . . or they could mean the destruction of everything they have been fighting for.

Gripping and full of heart, this epic continuation of Jeff Giles’ series—which already has rave reviews from New York Times bestselling authors Kami Garcia, Melissa de la Cruz, and Cassandra Clare, among others—will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

 

legacyLegacy by Jessica Blank (ISBN-13: 9780399256479 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/10/2018)

A powerful coming-of-age novel about a seventeen-year-old girl who joins a radical environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest.

Ever since her older brother Andy died, Alison’s life has been just as dark as her home in Tacoma, Washington.

Her mom is in perpetual mourning, her father ran out on them, and after hanging out with Andy’s hard-partying friends for a year, Alison’s reputation is trashed. She planned on taking the path of least resistance during her senior year—hanging out with her punk rocker boyfriend and trying not to flunk out of school—until a massive fight with her mother pushes her over the edge, and she runs away.

At first, joining a group of radical environmentalists who are occupying a Washington State forest is just about having a place to crash. But the ancient woods prove to be as vibrant and welcoming as they are vulnerable, and for the first time, Alison realizes that she might be more powerful than she thought. As tensions in the forest mount and confrontations with authorities get physical, Alison has to decide whether she’s willing to put her own life on the line to fight for what she believes in.

In this stunning literary work, Jessica Blank uses the anti-establishment and radical mood of the 1990s to show a girl grappling to find the strength and courage to do what’s right . . . for the world . . . and for herself.

 

 

camp valorCamp Valor by Scott McEwen, Hof Williams (ISBN-13: 9781250088246 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 07/10/2018)

Valor: great courage in the face of danger

When Wyatt gets framed for a friend’s crime, he thinks his life is over. But then a mysterious stranger visits him in jail with an unusual proposal: spend three months in a secret government camp and have a ten-year prison sentence wiped clean.

Wyatt agrees, and finds himself in a world beyond his wildest dreams, with teenagers like him flying drones, defusing bombs, and jumping out of helicopters. This is no ordinary camp. Camp Valor is a secret training ground for teenage government agents, filled with juvenile offenders—badasses who don’t play by the rules—who desperately need a second chance. If they can prove themselves over their three month stay and survive Hell Week, they will enter the ranks of the most esteemed soldiers in the United States military.

But some enemies of the United States have gotten wind of Camp Valor, and they will do everything in their power to find out its secrets. Suddenly Wyatt and his friends have to put their training into practice, and find the bravery to protect their country.

 

 

i am still aliveI Am Still Alive by Kate Marshall (ISBN-13: 9780425290989 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/24/2018)

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild meets The Revenant in this heart-pounding story of survival and revenge in the unforgiving wilderness.

After
Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.

Before
Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

After
With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father…and she wants revenge.

 

 

mirageMirage by Somaiya Daud (ISBN-13: 9781250126429 Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication date: 08/28/2018)

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

 

 

someone i used to knowSomeone I Used to Know by Patty Blount (ISBN-13: 9781492632818 Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire Publication date: 08/01/2018)

It’s been two years since the night that changed Ashley’s life. Two years since she was raped by her brother’s teammate. And a year since she sat in a court and watched as he was given a slap-on-the-wrist sentence. But the years have done nothing to stop the pain or lessen the crippling panic attacks that make her feel like she’s living a half-life.

It’s been two years of hell for Derek. His family is totally messed up and he and his sister are barely speaking. He knows she partially blames him for what happened, and totally blames him for how he handled the aftermath. Now at college, he has to come to terms with what happened, and the rape culture that he was inadvertently a part of that destroyed his sister’s life.

When it all comes to a head at Thanksgiving, Derek and Ashley have to decide if their relationship is able to be saved. And if their family can ever be whole again.

 

 

star-touched storiesStar-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi (ISBN-13: 9781250180797 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 08/07/2018)

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

 

 

bonnieBonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend by Karen Blumenthal (ISBN-13: 9780451471222 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/14/2018)

Bonnie and Clyde may be the most notorious—and celebrated—outlaw couple America has ever known. This is the true story of how they got that way.

Bonnie and Clyde: we’ve been on a first name basis with them for almost a hundred years. Immortalized in movies, songs, and pop culture references, they are remembered mostly for their storied romance and tragic deaths. But what was life really like for Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in the early 1930s? How did two dirt-poor teens from west Texas morph from vicious outlaws to legendary couple? And why?

Award-winning author Karen Blumenthal devoted months to tracing the footsteps of Bonnie and Clyde, unearthing new information and debunking many persistent myths. The result is an impeccably researched, breathtaking nonfiction tale of love, car chases, kidnappings, and murder set against the backdrop of the Great Depression.

 

 

second lifeThe Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner (ISBN-13: 9780451478306 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/28/2018)

Ava’s disappearance was the crack in the Rivers family glacier. I wish I could explain to you how we were before, but I can’t, because the before is so filmy and shadowed with the after.

The after is all Vera remembers. When her twin sister, Ava, disappeared one Halloween night, her childhood became a blur of theories, tips, and leads, but never any answers. The case made headlines, shocked Vera’s Northern California community, and turned her family into tragic celebrities.

Now, at eighteen, Vera is counting down the days until she starts her new life at college in Portland, Oregon, far away from the dark cloud she and family have lived under for twelve years. But all that changes when a girl shows up at the local hospital.

Her name is Ava Rivers and she wants to go home.

Ava’s return begins to mend the fractures in the Rivers family. Vera and Ava’s estranged older brother returns. Vera reconnects with Max, the sweet, artistic boy from her childhood. Their parents smile again. But the questions remain: Where was Ava all these years? And who is she now?

 

 

sacrifice boxThe Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart (ISBN-13: 9780425289532 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/28/2018)

A horror story about friendship, growing up, and finding a place in the world: Gremlins meets The Breakfast Club by way of Stephen King and Stranger Things.

In the summer of 1982, five friends discover an ancient stone box hidden deep in the woods. They seal inside of it treasured objects from their childhoods, and they make a vow:

Never come to the box alone. 
Never open it after dark. 
Never take back your sacrifice. 

Four years later, a series of strange and terrifying events begin to unfold: mirrors inexplicably shattering, inanimate beings coming to life, otherworldly crows thirsting for blood. Someone broke the rules of the box, and now everyone has to pay.

But how much are they willing to sacrifice?

 

 

sadieSadie by Courtney Summers (ISBN-13: 9781250105714 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 09/04/2018)

A gripping novel about the depth of a sister’s love; poised to be the next book you won’t be able to stop talking about.

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial—like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

 

 

heart in a bodyA Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti (ISBN-13: 9781481415200 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 09/18/2018)

A girl tries to outrun her demons in this searing, universal novel about the impact of gun violence, everyday sexism, rape culture, and internalizing—and overcoming—guilt from National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti.

When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?

So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.

Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.

Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.

 

 

unstoppable mosesUnstoppable Moses: A Novel by Tyler James Smith (ISBN-13: 9781250138545 Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication date: 09/25/2018)

In this coming-of-age debut, a seventeen-year-old boy has one week in the aftermath of a disastrous prank to prove to the authorities, and to himself, that he’s not a worthless jerk who belongs in jail.

Moses and his cousin Charlie were best friends, wisecracking pranksters, unstoppable forces of teenage energy—until the night they became accidental arsonists and set in motion a chain of events that left Moses alone, guilt-stricken, and most likely trapped in his dead-end town.

Then Moses gets a lucky break: the chance to volunteer as a camp counselor for week and prove that the incident at the bowling alley should be expunged from his record. And since a criminal record and enrollment at Duke are mutually exclusive, he’s determined to get through his community service and get on with his life. But tragedy seems to follow him wherever he goes, and this time, it might just stop him in his tracks.

 

 

500 words or less500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario (ISBN-13: 9781534410442 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 09/25/2018)

A high school senior attempts to salvage her reputation among her Ivy League–obsessed classmates by writing their college admissions essays and in the process learns big truths about herself in this mesmerizing debut novel-in-verse, perfect for fans of Gayle Forman and Sonya Sones.

Nic Chen refuses to spend her senior year branded as the girl who cheated on her charismatic and lovable boyfriend. To redefine her reputation among her Ivy League–obsessed classmates, Nic begins writing their college admissions essays.

But the more essays Nic writes for other people, the less sure she becomes of herself, the kind of person she is, and whether her moral compass even points north anymore.

Provocative, brilliant, and achingly honest, 500 Words or Less explores the heartbreak and hope that marks the search for your truest self.

 

 

seven tormentsThe Seven Torments of Amy and Craig (A Love Story) by Don Zolidis (ISBN-13: 9781368009614 Publisher: Disney Press Publication date: 10/02/2018)

Janesville, Wisconsin (cold in the sense that there is no God)
1994

“You’re going to find somebody so much better than me.”


“What? No, I’m not! Look at me! Are you insane?”

The worst thing that’s ever happened to Craig is also the best: Amy. Craig and Amy should never have gotten together-Craig is a Dungeons and Dragons master with no life skills and Amy is the beautiful, fiercely intelligent student body president of their high school.

Yet somehow they did until Amy dumped him. Then got back together with him. Seven times to be exact.

Over the course of their senior year, Amy and Craig’s exhilarating, tumultuous relationship is a kaleidoscope of joy and pain as an uncertain future-and adult responsibility-looms on the horizon.

Craig fights for his dream of escaping Janesville and finding his place at a quirky college, while Amy’s quest to uncover her true self sometimes involves being Craig’s girlfriend and sometimes doesn’t.

Seven breakups. Seven makeups. Seven of the highest lows and lowest highs. Told non-sequentially, acclaimed playwright Don Zolidis’s debut novel is a brutally funny, bittersweet taste of the utterly unique and utterly universal experience of first love.

 

colletorsThe Collectors by Jacqueline West (ISBN-13: 9780062691699 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 10/09/2018)

Even the smallest wish can be dangerous.

Look closely.

Do you see that marble in the grass? The tiny astronaut with one arm raised? The old-fashioned key in the gutter?

Van sees them. Van notices all sorts of things. But usually no one notices Van. He’s small, and always the new kid, easy to overlook. But one day he watches a mysterious girl and a silver squirrel dive into a fountain to steal a coin.

And—even more strange—they notice Van.

Suddenly, the world changes for Van. It becomes a place where wishes are real. A place where wishes can be collected, just like his little treasures. A place where wishes can come true.

But that’s not always a good thing.

Not all wishes are good, you see, and even good wishes can have unintended consequences.

And Van is about to find out just how big those consequences can be.

 

Parrot Mambo Drone Review by Michelle Biwer

parrot_mambo_fly_packshot_01Our library recently purchased a set of Parrot Mambo Drones for use in STEM programs. They are about $110 each plus accessories.

With Parrot Mambo Drones you can:

  • Fly a drone using a smartphone or other device with a bluetooth connection as a remote.
  • Program a drone using different programming languages/platforms including Swift Playground, Tynker, Blockly, HTML, and Python.
  • Perform tricks including using the cannon launcher and gripper tools.
  • Take pictures with the drone’s camera.
  • Follow STEM lesson plans set up by other teachers.

I recently used our drones in a “Flight School” program for middle schoolers. I set up an obstacle course and let the teens fly through the course. They loved flying the drones and found them easy to use, although it takes some practice to be able to maneuver well. The only issues I have with the drones are the short (15 minute) battery life and occasionally it takes a second try to connect the drone to the remote. I recommend the Parrot Mambo minidrone as a versatile tool that can be used for a wide variety of programs, from traditional STEM to fun racing events.

Tips for running a successful program:

Lay the ground rules before teens can fly their drones. I said teens were not allowed to fly their drone into another drone or another person, and if they did they would have to give up their turn.

Purchase extra batteries, as each battery will only last 15 minutes. Since I did not have enough batteries, I let half of the group fly first and then we took a Virtual Reality break. I used Google Expeditions to show the teens some other flying machines and explained the mechanics of flight. After the batteries recharged (which takes 30 minutes), the second half of the group flew the drones for the last 15 minutes of the program.

Read the FAA regulations on drone use. Since my library is within 5 miles of an airport I cannot fly the drones outside.

Collection Development: Updating My GN and Manga Collection; or, that time I decided I wanted to face my arch nemesis and build a better collection for my patrons

collectingcomics

Hello all, Collecting Comics is Ally Watkins’ column, but I’m co-opting her column for a brief moment to share with you how I’m going about re-vamping my graphic novel and manga collection. It’s okay, Ally helped me periodically on this project. I could not have done it without her and the help of several other librarians and my friends on Twitter, who are way better at graphic novel collection development than I am. I went to the experts.

Some of you may be aware, but I am in the midst of a massive collection development project. I took over here 3 1/2 years ago and after getting the Teen MakerSpace organized, I took a deep dive into collection development. That deep dive has included a huge weed (twice now), a re-organization, a diversity audit, and now I am looking at what I have always called my arch-nemesis: graphic novels. Let me state right at the beginning, I do not hate graphic novels or manga. I know that they are valuable and popular formats, they just don’t personally work for me as a reader, which makes ordering them more challenging. And to be honest, I find them overwhelming, in large part because they are often long running series which keep me on my toes and take a lot of space and budget. The budget issue comes in because I feel like I’m always replacing lost or damaged copies. Graphic novel collection development does not come as easily to me as YA collection development does, and I know I’m not alone.

Graphic novels still make up about 8% of the book market, and some 11.3 million graphic novels were sold in 2017. Source

So, here I am taking this deep dive into graphic novels and manga. Let me share with you a quick outline of what I’ve been doing.

I began by running a shelf list and weeding report.

I then made a list of every series that we have and every superhero we have something on. I used the stats to help me determine if it earned shelf space. If something hasn’t circulated in the last year, it goes into the consider weeding pile. My shelf space for this collection is tight and you have to earn your space.

I used the statistical information to determine whether we should keep or weed the series. I was only able to weed about 100 titles as the circulation statistics indicated that this is a high circulating collection. I also want to make a note here that we are very aware that circulation statistics alone can’t be our only measure because we have a large number of manga and gn readers who come in, read books off the shelf, and then place them back on the shelf. We see it happen daily. We have tried to put a basket for readers and asked that our patrons don’t re-shelve these items to help us get a better idea of what people are reading. I highly recommend not relying on circulation statistics alone for a manga/graphic novel collection because of in-house readers.

I went through and filled holes on massively popular series that we get a lot of I.L.L. requests for. This was a time consuming process that involved my shelf list which let me know which items were missing or lost.

Source: https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/01/childrens-books-salon-international-issues-trends-rights/

Source: https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/01/childrens-books-salon-international-issues-trends-rights/

We then made the decision to re-catalog all of our YA and Adult graphic novels simply as Graphic Novels (for us, GN means graphic novels and manga). This allowed us to put all of our adult and YA GNs into one location. Because we combined them both, we no longer wanted to promote them as YA or house them in YA. So they are no longer YA, but they are YA adjacent. We did this because we had a handful of graphic novels stuck in the 741.5 section, like The Walking Dead, that we knew our teens were reading but were getting lost in adult nonfiction. We wanted to adopt a more book store model and put all of our items of the same format into one location, but we also wanted to make sure that we weren’t saying the titles were necessarily YA. We do still have a separate E and J graphic novel section on our children’s floor.

I then turned to my librarian friends who excel at graphic novel collection development, including TLT’s own Ally Watkins, and several people I know from Twitter. I even tweeted pics of the series we do have and asked for recommendations. I compiled these recommendations and did some research.

I of course did the research and looked at things like award winners and YALSA best graphic novels lists. If a series appeared on a list, it got higher priority when considering whether or not to add it.

I then grabbed a notepad and pen and went a spent a day at Barnes and Noble. This was the most illuminating part of my research. You see, my library has two ranges of graphic novels and manga. Barnes and Noble has sixteen. That’s right, they have fourteen more shelving ranges of graphic novels and manga than the library has. I spoke at length to the staff at B&N and learned that graphic novels and manga are high selling items and a growing market. I knew from our stats that graphic novels were circulating well for us, but I had no idea how big of a market they are. Barnes and Noble has as much graphic novels and manga as they have Young Adult literature. I was blown away by this. Also, going through the graphic novels and manga at Barnes and Noble allowed me to look at a few titles from each recommended series, thumb through them, look at the rating on the back, etc. I felt it allowed me to make a somewhat more informed decision.

“According to NPD Bookscan data from global information provider the NPD Group, the comics and graphic novels category in the U.S. trade book market has experienced compound annual unit sales growth of 15 percent over the last three years, making it one of the highest growth categories in the trade book marketplace.” Source

I then placed an order to help add some new series to my graphic novel collection. I ordered a couple of titles in each series. I will then look in a couple of months to see how they are circulating and determine whether or not we want to add more of that series.

Today I am sharing with you a shelf list of the series that we either own or were recommended to me. Please note, it does not contain stand alone titles or titles by authors such as Raina Telgemeier or Gene Luan Yang, this is simply a look at some manga series that are recommended and some superheroes that you might want to make sure you have. These are not titles necessarily recommended by me, but have been recommended to me or their circulation at our library meant they were worth keeping in our collection. I am sure there are many series that we are missing, in fact, please feel free to comment and let me know what else you recommend.

Series Title (GNs and Manga, not superheroes)
Adventure Time
Ajin
Amulet
Assassination Classroom
Attack on Titan
Bakuman
Behind the Scenes
Black Butler
Bleach
Blue ExorcistBone
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Cleopatra in Space
Death Note
Doctor Who
Fairy Tale
Faith
The Far Side
Fruits Basket
Gabriel Dropout
Garfield
Giant Days
The Good Neighbors
Gotham Academy
Haven’t You Heard
I Hate Fairyland
I Kill Giants
Immortal Hounds
iZombie
Kill Shakespeare
The Last Airbender
Lumberjanes
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzaumiya
Miki Falls
Monster Hunter
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
Naruto
One Piece
One Punch Man
Ouran High School Host Club
Pandora Hearts
Princeless
Riverdale (Archie)
Pretty Guardian (Sailor Moon)
The Sandman
School-live!
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Secret Coders
A Silent Voice
Simpsons
Spill Zone
Star Wars
Tokyo Ghoul
Transformers
Twin Star Exorcists
The Unbeatable Squirrell Girl
The Walking Dead
Zits
Superhero GNs
Ant-Man
Avengers
Batgirl
Batman
Black Panther
Captain Marvel
Daredeveil
Deadpool
Doctor Strange
Guardians of the Galaxy
Justice League
Ms. Marvel
Runaways
Spider-Man
Supergirl
Watchmen
Wonder Woman
X-Men

Sunday Reflections: What are the limits of free speech in the library? Reflections on the incident at Aurora Public Library

Yesterday I was sitting at the Reference Desk, scrolling through Twitter to see what was happening in the world – and the library world more specifically – when I came across an angry post by many of my peers that shared the picture of a poem on display in the Aurora Public Library (IL). They had a display of poetry out in the public to celebrate National Poetry Month. Upon further research, they also shared a picture of this particular poem on their Facebook poem.

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I am not going to share a picture of the poem here, but you can see it for yourself if you are not familiar with it here. This is a poem that celebrates a son yanking the hijab of a nearby Mulsim and liken a hijab to jihad; it celebrates violence against Muslims and proclaims it as the most sincere expression of patriotism, never mind that the First Amendment guarantees the right to religious freedom. Never mind, also, that this poem is an expression of hate speech, arguably the only form of unprotected speech, that seems to suggest committing a crime, in this case assault, because someone practices a religion that the parent doesn’t agree with. The poem is placed on top of a picture of the Confederate flag.

It should be noted that many people, including the poet’s author and the Aurora Public Library itself, suggest that this poem is satire. Satire is “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issue.” I am a well read individual with a strong passion for poetry, and I must admit that I did not read this poem as satire. With no context, just a picture of a poster on display in a public library lobby, no artist’s statement, no show title, etc., the poem reads like any anti-Muslim Facebook post or comments section that we see far too often on the Internet in the year 2018.

Furthermore, this is a public display, which means that every patron that walks into that lobby is met with this poem. Including young children who know how to read but do not yet have any real skills to breakdown and analyze a poem of this nature. Including Muslim women who already live in increased fear in the United States because violent acts of this nature can and do occur far too often. Including White Supremacists who are just as likely to see this poem as an affirmation of their beliefs as they are to view it as a satirical criticism challenging their beliefs.

But, of course, the discourse soon turned to the First Amendment protection of free speech and whether or not the library had an obligation to show this poem in the manner that it did. To be clear, I view the shelving of books on a shelf as a far different thing then putting something on public display. There is a huge difference between simply putting a book on a shelf that a patron can choose or not to read and putting a poem like this on prominent display in a public building.

Our public libraries should be safe and welcoming spaces for all. Muslim members of our community should not have to fear walking into a public library and reading a prominently displayed poem that advocates ripping off their clothing because someone finds it offensive. It defies the very mission of a public library; its very sacred role in the local community. By putting that poem on display that library broke trust with its community and and it amplified the harm already being done to these marginalized populations.

And please note, the poem doesn’t just do harm to Muslim women, it does harm to Native Americans as well in the comparisons that it makes.

I used to host an annual teen poetry contest and right there on the submission form it said that the library reserved the right to not put on display or publish any poems that were harmful or inappropriate for a public display. And there IS a difference here, the library has no legal or moral obligation to put hate speech on public display.

In a follow up tweet this morning, the Aurora Public Library indicated that the poem was being taken down. It’s unfortunate that they did so without any apology to the members of their public that they put in harms ways. My heart breaks for every Muslim man, woman and child that walked into that library and was reminded, once again, how hostile their local community is to them and learned that even their public library is not a safe and welcoming space for them. And my heart breaks because this goes against everything I think a public library should be to its community.

The Mayor made a statement about the display here.

Initial statement from Aurora Public Library here.

Message from the President of the Board from the Aurora Public Library here.

Edited to correctly identify who the above statements are from

Friday Finds: April 20, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

#ReadForChange: Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Midnight at the Electric and climate change, a guest post by Marie Marquardt

YA A to Z: H is for Historical Fiction, a guest post by librarian Amanda Perez

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

YA A to Z: Friends and Troublemakers, a guest post by author Lisa Brown Roberts

Book Review: The Gender Identity Workbook for Kids: A Guide to Exploring Who You Are by Kelly Storck, Noah Grigni

MakerSpace: DIY Faux Enamel Pins

Sunday Reflections: The Truly High Cost of Childhood Trauma

Around the Web

Cue Up SYNC for Free Teen Audiobooks

Tracy K. Smith and Jacqueline Woodson Talk Reading, Race and Spreading the Gospel of Literature

The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World

Fake Teen Challenges

 

#ReadForChange: Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Midnight at the Electric and climate change, a guest post by Marie Marquardt

ReadForChange copyTeen Librarian Toolbox is excited to be partnering with Marie Marquardt for her #ReadForChange project. Hop on over to this post to learn more about the initiative. Today, she and Jodi Lynn Anderson join us for a conversation about climate change and Anderson’s new novel, Midnight at the Electric. 

 

 

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one less traveled by – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.

Rachael Carson, Silent Spring, 1962

 

A Smooth Superhighway that Ends in Disaster?

midnightJodi Lynn Anderson’s Midnight at the Electric begins with Adri, one of the story’s three teenage protagonists, climbing into her self-driving car and speeding north on a superhighway away, from Miami and toward Kansas. The year is 2065 and Miami has been submerged in seawater. Leaving her devastated city behind, Adri sets out for a brief stint in Kansas, where she will train to be a “colonist” before heading off to Mars.

In the hands of a less innovative author, this might be the setup for a futuristic science fiction novel that takes the reader to an imagined place far away from this planet. In the hands of Jodi Lynn Anderson, Adri’s escape from Miami sets up something entirely different. We might call it a love story to the planet earth, and to the relationships that we build on its particular landscapes.

 

Adri arrives in Kansas to live with a distant relative, the fabulous, flaky 107-year-old Lily, and Lily’s ancient Galapagos tortoise. When Adri sanctimoniously announces that Galapagos tortoises are endangered, and thus it’s illegal to have them as pets, Lily replies with her mischievous humor, “We should have her arrested.” Lily inherited the tortoise – she came along with the property. As Adri learns more about the history of this ancient creature, she begins to uncover the two stories that weave together with Adri’s to form Midnight at the Electric.

 

The first story is Catherine’s. Her diary entries bring readers into the devastation of living in Oklahoma’s dust bowl in the mid 1930s. Catherine’s sister is being slowly suffocated by dust in her lungs, and the farm they live on can no longer sustain the family. When a traveling show called the Electric comes through Catherine’s town, she’s lured into the promises made by its creator: “It is a time of upheaval and uncertainty. The world is changing beneath our feet. Death is around every corner. Fear and despair lurk in every house…. But it is possible to outrun it, to outstrip it, to outsmart it.”

 

Like Catherine, the story’s third protagonist, Lenore, lives in a world transfixed by the power of human technologies. Lenore, a young woman living in England at the end of World War I, grieves the death of her brother, a fallen British soldier, as everyone around her seems bent on hailing technologies of war and “progress” and celebrating the bravery of the dead and wounded men. In her wonderfully irreverent tone, Lenore writes to her friend Beth of her village: “If you toss a pebble in Forest Row, you’re going to hit a one-armed boy.” Through her letters to Beth, Lenore tells a beautiful and morally complicated story of her friendship with James, a man whose face is so disfigured that most instinctively turn away.

 

This week, I heard a disturbing report about mounting evidence that the U.S. federal government is systematically removing, in scientific studies, any reference to human causes of climate change (you can listen here).  This, of course, followed weeks of reporting about Facebook, and the unintended (I hope!) consequences that this technology has had on our political systems and our networks of relationship. I think our natural instinct, when faced with these stories, is either denial or guilt. Both are counterproductive and crippling. Midnight at the Electric, by framing these issues both in real history and in imagined future, offers us a way to enter more productively into discussion of humans’ influence on climate change, and of how technology inevitably changes the ways we relate to each other.

 

Lenore and Catherine give readers a chance to live in times that, like ours, were so enamored with technologies of “progress” that it was almost impossible to imagine the negative effects they would have on our planet and on our relationships (until it was too late).  Adri discovers, through the course of this story, that she doesn’t want to leave the earth and the loving relationship she has formed on it. But will she have to?

 

I guess that depends on us.

 

“Leveraging what you’re good at and what you love to do”: A Conversation with Jodi Lynn Anderson

 

jodiMARIE: Tell us about the moment when you knew that this story had to be written, and that you needed to be the one to write it.

 

JODI: My son had recently been born and I was feeling a bit delirious and dreamy. I wanted to write about climate change but what was really digging into my imagination was the Dust Bowl. I kept picturing this girl standing in a decimated yard in Kansas, but I didn’t know what to say about her, and it was only when I started to nestle the two ideas together that the book flamed to life in this magical way. The more I wrote, the more I recognized the parallels between the Dust Bowl and our current climate crisis– the same upheaval, the same denial and anger, the same fear. And I saw these women navigating it — I just fell in love with writing that story.

 

MARIE: What are some of the things you’re doing to create the world that you want future generations to live in?

 

JODI: I try to write about our capacity for doing harm without meaning to, that’s a big thing for me as a writer. I try to be a good listener and to call myself out and put my ego aside as much as I can —  I feel like  defensiveness and not wanting to admit what we’re doing wrong is at the root of so much terrible stuff. I try to trust that just because I don’t see an obvious result, it doesn’t mean my efforts – volunteering or donating or marching or calling whatever — aren’t feeding a current that points the right way.

 

MARIE: What’s your message for readers wanting to take action on climate change?

 

JODI: I think focusing locally can be rewarding in that often you get to see results. Local groups need so many divergent things that I think you can offer the best of who you already are. So maybe that means you pick a few things that are draining, like phone calls or whatever, but you find a group where you can spend the rest of your energy leveraging what you’re good at and what you love to do. I guess I’d say also, the big thing I always struggle with is not to turn away because what you’re doing feels so tiny. I think we can’t lose faith because what we do doesn’t make some obvious splash.

 

“Feeding a current that points in the right way”

 

Ready to learn more? Jodi recommends that a great starting place is Grist a nonprofit environmental news outlet with this fabulous tagline: “A planet that doesn’t burn, a future that doesn’t suck.”

 

Here’s a link to two podcasts that Jodi loves:

no placeNo Place Like Home: This is a great, conversational podcast covering different angles of climate change and culture, and offering examples of people taking positive, achievable steps to create a better future.

 

 

 

 

warm regardsWarm Regards: This one has some fascinating stuff untangling how climate change has become so political.

 

 

 

 

Jody also recommends From the Ashes, a documentary about the coal industry that she describes as “beautifully empathetic and smart.”

 

 “We can’t lose faith because what we do doesn’t make some obvious splash”

 

Ready to take action? Here’s Jodi’s description of a few movements and organizations that really excite her:

 

350.org uses all sorts tools and pressure points to shift our fossil fuel economy to renewable energy.”

 

earthjusticeEarthjustice focuses on our legal rights to sensible legislation on climate, working legal channels to combat political inaction.”

 

 

 

The Poor People’s Campaign is something intriguing and inspiring I learned about a few months ago – it addresses the intersection of poverty, racism, and environmental devastation through the idea of a moral movement.”

 

“I get excited to hear about faith-based climate action groups. Young Evangelicals for Climate ActionNC Interfaith Power & Light, and Wisconsin Green Muslims are a few examples. Also, state action initiatives seem really powerful to me. In North Carolina we have NC Warn, among others.”

 

“The book flamed to life in this magical way”

I’m so grateful to Jodi for writing this beautiful and stirring story. Reading it also felt magical, and it sparked my memories, emotions, and passions for change in ways I hadn’t expected.

In our interview, Jodi also brought up the importance of working for change by using our own gifts and doing the things that we love.  Other authors I’ve interviewed for the feature have talked about this too. I think it’s so important to celebrate that working for change doesn’t mean doing something grueling or miserable – it means embracing our gifts and finding ways to do the things we love as a way to become change agents. This takes creativity and vision, and that’s all a part of the fun.

Thank you, Jodi, for this reminder!

 

Midnight at the Electric is sure to ignite your passion to #ReadForChange!

Can’t wait to get your hands on MIDNIGHT AT THE ELECTRIC? It just might be your lucky day!  Here’s a link to the giveaway.  U.S. only! We’ll be announcing the winner on Twitter @MarieFMarquardt and Instagram marie_marquardt May 1!

 

Meet Marie Marquardt

Women’s March, January 21, 2017

Women’s March, January 21, 2017

Marie Marquardt is the author of three YA novels: The Radius of UsDream Things True, and Flight Season (available 2/20/18). A Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, Marie also has published several articles and co-authored two non-fiction books about Latin American immigration to the U.S. South. She is chair of El Refugio, a non-profit that serves detained immigrants and their families. She lives with her spouse, four kids, a dog and a bearded dragon in the book-lover’s mecca of Decatur, Georgia.