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Post-it Note Reviews of Recent YA Releases

IMG_3631Ah, summer. Three months off of work is great. It’s so nice to have all this extra time to write, read, blog, clean, run errands, parent, sometimes socialize, pet my dogs, and so on. I’m getting a lot of reading done, but not all of my reading spots/times are conducive to really thoughtful analysis or even casual note-taking. Maybe I’m at the waterpark, reading in the shade, but half keeping an eye on my kid (he’s 12—I can get away with only half keeping one eye on him most days), being interrupted a ton. Or maybe I’m reading in my own house, but while covered in sleeping dachshunds, or while trying to block out the noise of kids playing. I still want to share these books with you, so here are my tiny Post-it Note reviews of a few titles. I do these posts monthly during the school year, focusing on books for younger readers. It’s a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers. (To see my June version of this post, hop on over here.)

All summaries are from the publishers.

 

 

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Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

Cosplay, comic shops, and college applications collide in this illustrated novel, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Noelle Steveson!

Cameron’s cosplay creations are finally starting to earn her attention–attention she hopes to use to get into the CalArts costume design department for college. But after she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans online.

When Cameron’s family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse.

Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town–her main destination for character reference–is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother’s suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she’s shocked at how easily she’s accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her brother Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her “secret identity” gets more and more entrenched, Cameron’s portfolio falls by the wayside–and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious in this geek girl anthem from You’re Welcome, Universe author Whitney Gardner, complete with fully illustrated comic pages inked by Gardner herself.

 

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All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages by Saundra Mitchell

Take a journey through time and genres to discover stories where queer teens live, love and shape the world around them.

Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.

From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.

Featuring original stories from:

Malinda Lo
Mackenzi Lee
Robin Talley
Kody Keplinger
Elliot Wake
Anna-Marie McLemore
Shaun David Hutchinson
Dahlia Adler
Tess Sharpe
Kate Scelsa
Natalie C. Parker
Sara Farizan
Nilah Magruder
Tessa Gratton
Tehlor Kay Mejia
Alex Sanchez
Scott Tracey

 

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The Place Between Breaths by An Na

From master storyteller and Printz Award–winning author An Na comes a dark, intensely moving story of a girl hell-bent on finding a cure for the illness that swept her mother away, and could possibly destroy her own life as well.

Sixteen-year-old Grace is in a race against time—and in a race for her life—even if she doesn’t realize it yet…

She is smart, responsible, and contending with more than what most teens ever have to. Her mother struggled with schizophrenia for years until, one day, she simply disappeared—fleeing in fear that she was going to hurt herself or those she cared about. Ever since, Grace’s father has worked as a recruiter at one of the leading labs dedicated to studying the disease, trying to lure the world’s top scientists to the faculty to find a cure, hoping against hope it can happen in time to help his wife if she is ever found. But this makes him distant. Consumed.

Grace, in turn, does her part, interning at the lab in the gene sequencing department in hopes that one day they might make a breakthrough…and one day they do. Grace stumbles upon a string of code that could be the key. But something inside of Grace has started to unravel. Could her discovery just be a cruel side effect of the schizophrenia finally taking hold? Can she even tell the difference between what is real and what isn’t?

With unerring accuracy, An Na has created a mesmerizing story with twists and turns that reveal jaw-dropping insights into the mind of someone struggling with schizophrenia.

 

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Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
Moss Jeffries is many things—considerate student, devoted son, loyal friend and affectionate boyfriend, enthusiastic nerd.

But sometimes Moss still wishes he could be someone else—someone without panic attacks, someone whose father was still alive, someone who hadn’t become a rallying point for a community because of one horrible night.

And most of all, he wishes he didn’t feel so stuck.

Moss can’t even escape at school—he and his friends are subject to the lack of funds and crumbling infrastructure at West Oakland High, as well as constant intimidation by the resource officer stationed in their halls. That was even before the new regulations—it seems sometimes that the students are treated more like criminals.

Something will have to change—but who will listen to a group of teens?

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes again, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

 

 

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Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, Emily Carroll

The critically acclaimed, award-winning, modern classic Speak is now a stunning graphic novel.

“Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless—an outcast—because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. With powerful illustrations by Emily Carroll, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak: The Graphic Novel comes alive for new audiences and fans of the classic novel.

 

 

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Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen

When Viola Li returns from a trip, she develops a sudden and extreme case of photosensitivity — an inexplicable allergy to sunlight. Thanks to her crisis-manager parents, she doesn’t just have to wear layers of clothes and spaceship-sized hat. She has to avoid all hint of light. Say goodbye to windows and running outdoors. Even her phone becomes a threat.Viola is determined to maintain a normal life, particularly after she meets Josh. He’s a funny, talented Thor look-alike with his own mysterious grief. But their romance makes her take more risks, and when a rebellion against her parents backfires dangerously, she must find her way to a life — and love — as deep and lovely as her dreams.

Comments

  1. Love your post-it reviews! Thank you for clear, concise information and the age recs! This is so valuable.

  2. For accessibility, wouldn’t it be best to have these captioned? I think the format is fun, but it occurred to me while reading them that others may not be able to visit and get the same information as I did.

    Thank you for sharing your reviews. This is the first time I’m seeing the post-it type, and as I said, it’s a fun way to share/read.

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