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Blog Tour: Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag

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From the publisher:

It is eight years after Colleen Cavanaugh’s home world was invaded by the Derichets, a tyrannical alien race bent on exploiting the planet’s mineral resources.

Most of her family died in the war, and she now lives alone in the city. Aside from her acquaintances at the factory where she toils for the Derichets, Colleen makes a single friend in Jann, a member of the violent group of rebels known as the Chromatti. One day Colleen receives shocking news: her niece Lucy is alive and in need of her help. Together, Colleen, Jann, and Lucy create their own tenuous family.

But Colleen must decide if it’s worth risking all of their survival to join a growing underground revolution against the Derichets … in Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag’s Shattered Warrior.

My thoughts:

Colleen lives in a world ravaged by war. The survivors are basically enslaved by the alien race and live in constant fear. She still lives in the half-ruined grand old mansion Avon, in which her family used to live, isolating themselves from the poorer families except for the annual parades when they would toss gold coins to the masses. Now she is one of the masses, struggling daily to earn enough money for food and avoid the notice of the Derichets, who regularly make people ‘disappear.’ This is what happened to her sister and niece, Lucy. When she is able to retrieve Lucy from the Derichets, her anger over what has happened, both to her sister and Lucy, but also to her world, motivates her to begin to resist the Derichets.

At first glance, this world seems so different from the one in which we live. Indeed, it is easy for me to avoid acknowledging this same world exists in places on our own planet. It is an effective and brilliantly written and illustrated way of introducing this world to those of us who are fortunate enough not to live in it, while saying to those who do, “I see you.” Even in our own country, there are young people who are basically enslaved by minimum wage, lack of child care, lack of access to medical care, etc. They live in constant fear, both of the authorities and of the criminals the authorities should be policing. They struggle daily just to provide food for their families and a safe place to live. One wrong step, one unfortunate circumstance, and it could all come crashing down around them.

In short, Shinn and Ostertag have done an amazing job in creating a classic science fiction narrative which both imagines new worlds and shows us the realities of the one in which we live. While I’d highly recommend this title for any collection serving teens in grades 7 and up, I’d also recommend it as a possible class read for a high school civics, modern history, or world cultures class as a way to introduce these concepts and foster discussion.



SharonShinnSharon Shinn has published more than twenty-five novels, one collection, and assorted pieces of short fiction since her first book came out in 1995. Among her books are the Twelve Houses series (Mystic and Rider and its sequels), the Samaria series (Archangel and its sequels), the Shifting Circle series, and the Elemental Blessings series. She lives in St. Louis, loves the Cardinals, watches as many movies as she possibly can, and still mourns the cancellation of “Firefly.”
MollyKnoxOstertagMolly Knox Ostertag grew up in the forests of upstate New York and read far too many fantasy books as a child. She studied cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and now lives in Los Angeles, where she enjoys the beach year-round but misses good bagels. While at school she started drawing the award-winning webcomic Strong Female Protagonist, which continues to update and be published through Kickstarter and Top Shelf Comics. She draws comics about tough girls, sensitive boys, history, magic, kissing, superpowers, and feelings.

Friday Finds: May 19, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: It’s Hard to Get Out of a Town Like This

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI and Sex Positive YA, a guest post by author Sandhya Menon and a GIVEAWAY

(Not so) Middle School Monday: In Which I Attend a State Library Conference

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA May 2017

#SJYALit: Author Victoria Scott Talks About Social Justice and YA Lit

May 2017 #ARCParty

A #FSYALit Take 5: A Faith That Bends and Stretches, but Does Not Break (Faith and Spirituality in YA Lit)

Around the Web



ASL: Writing a Visual Language Comments

Is ‘Internet Addiction’ Real?

6 Historical YA Novels in Which #ShePersisted

Teen Vogue FTW

For Families With Special Needs, Vouchers Bring Choices, Not Guarantees

Free tampons in school bathrooms? A 14-year-old girl made it happen

Teen magazines have always covered more than fashion. You just didn’t notice.


(Not so) Middle School Monday: In Which I Attend a State Library Conference

MSM1Dearest Readers,

In case you missed it, almost a year ago I moved from the School Library Media Specialist arena to that of Public Library Children’s Services. (I also moved two states up the east coast.) And I can honestly say I have never felt so valued in my professional life.

Several months ago I received an email congratulating me on being chosen to attend this year’s state library conference; I thought this was a little odd since I had not applied to attend, but I was assured that it was normal, and that the library system tries to send its new people. Cool, cool. Someone was going to pay for me to attend a library conference. After I picked myself up off the floor, I started to look through the schedule of events. Man, they had some neat preconferences – wish I could go to those! It turned out that I could. For the whole day, if I chose to. You can see where this is going, right? The library system paid for my registration for the conference and the preconferences, paid for my hotel room, organized carpools (I didn’t even have to drive), paid for my meals, and paid me for the time I was at the conference – including my travel time.

I know some of you are thinking, “this is not exactly groundbreaking.” Let me back up and explain the world in which I spent the previous 21 years of my professional librarian career. If I wanted to attend a library conference, I either had to present a session (to have my registration covered) or find a grant or pay for it myself. Ditto for the travel and hotel room (without the present a session option.) I did get a grant once to attend ALA which paid for my travel and food…but they chose me because I didn’t need housing. Unless the conference fell during a school break I often had to take some kind of leave to attend (the legality of this still eludes me.) If I didn’t take leave, the library would be closed for the days I was gone, because the school certainly wasn’t going to pay a substitute on its own dime.

So this was different. Really different.

Anyhow – on to the conference highlights!

If you ever have a chance to hear author Jason Reynolds speak in person, run, DO NOT WALK, to the event. He was lyrically eloquent and a truly beautiful human being. He spoke of his childhood and youth, and made me cry. He spoke of the chip on his shoulder that didn’t allow him to believe the people who said he couldn’t write (thank goodness.) He spoke of all of the other authors and publishing professionals who have mentored and guided him along the way, and made me cry again. It was stunning. And then I went to a smaller venue and heard him talk again, where he gave us highlights of his upcoming works – be excited, be very excited.

I attended two preconferences. One, Sensory Storytime and Beyond, provided a wealth of resources and ideas for serving your patron population who are on the spectrum. My favorite ideas had to do with holding a Teen Sensory Hangout. They set it up in centers where the teens can choose to interact or not with their peers. One of the centers is Wii gaming, but with the sound turned down low. Basicall everything was set up in such a way as to not be too stimulating, but to encourage the teens to make friends.

The second preconference I attended was Ukuleles in Storytime. The presenter was super engaging and funny. She said it should only take a month for me to build up calluses so I can actually play during storytime – we’ll see. Luckily, one of the handouts was a songbook with the chords for most of the common storytime songs.

I attended a variety of sessions, including my first Guerrilla Storytime, one on starting a robotics club, and one on starting a homework help center. Overall, it was the best conference experience I’ve ever had – including ALA. Have you had a similar conference experience? Hit me up in the comments.


Friday Finds: May 12, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: Thinking About Mental Health, a #MHYALit Post by Ally Watkins

In Our Mailbox: More Thoughts on 13 Reason Why, Teens and Libraries

Middle School Monday: Teens, Body Image and Wonder Woman

Book Review: City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino

#MHYALit at Teen Lit Con

Video Games Weekly: Overcooked – One of the Best Teen Game Night Games You’ve Never Heard Of

Book Review: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Resources: #SVYALit and #MHYALit – Teens and Suicide, Teens and Sexual Violence Brochures

Around the Web

America’s Cult of Ignorance

A Huge Sports Sex Abuse Scandal Is Unfolding, And You Probably Haven’t Heard About It

Record-Setting Senate Support Needed to Save Federal Library Funding

Book Deals: Week of May 8, 2017

Sorry, everyone, I’ve been at a conference all week. More links next week!



Book Review: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland

51zXxrQpDUL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_From the publisher:
Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone.The Spill claimed Addison’s parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn’t spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone’s twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death—or worse. When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits—and it seems to be calling Addison’s name.

What I thought:
This graphic novel is both griping and gritty. Addison is incredibly well drawn (ha – get it?) I shouldn’t be surprised, though, since Westerfeld has a knack for writing well realized teen girls. He could teach some other authors some things… But I digress. I find it fascinating to read an author who is so good at writing novels and see him do so well with the graphic novel format. It must be difficult, to boil it down to just the basics and let the pictures tell some of the stories. This is an engaging and well told tale of a mini apocalypse. I highly recommend it to anyone serving a teen audience.

Meet The Authors
Scott Westerfeld is the author of the worldwide bestselling Uglies series and the Locus Award–winning Leviathan series, and is co-author of the Zeroes trilogy. His other novels include the New York Times bestseller AfterworldsThe Last Days, Peeps, So Yesterday, and the Midnighters trilogy.

Alex.Puvilland2Alex Puvilland was born in France where he grew up reading his father’s comic books. He now lives in Los Angeles with his ridiculously talented wife and two extraordinary children, Leo and Adrien. He works for Dreamworks Animation, and does comics whenever he has a moment. Alex co-illustrated Prince of Persia and Templar.


Friday Finds: May 5, 2017

fridayfindsThis week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: Doing the Heavy Lifting at the Library, Working with a Hurting Public to Find Healing

#SJYALit: The Lunar Chronicles as a Reflection of Current U.S. Political Climate, a guest post by Emily Keyes

Book Review: Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Book Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Take 5: MakerSpace Tools I Learned About at TLA 2017

Sunday Reflections: When There is No Village

Book Review: The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah

#MHYALit: A Letter to My Teen Self, by author Sara Wolf

Around the Web

Chechen authorities tell parents: ‘Kill your gay sons or we will’, survivor claims

Trump Administration Rolls Back Michelle Obama’s Healthy School Lunch Push

Trump administration memo calls for ending Michelle Obama’s girls education program

Free Comic Book Day

Tim Federle shares cover for Life Is Like a Musical

Teen with autism denied trip he won to UN

Why Don’t More People Consider Competitive Cheerleading a Sport?


Friday Finds: April 28, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

MakerSpace: 5 Low or No Tech Activities for a Teen MakerSpace

Middle School Monday: Fangirling from Afar

National School Climate Survey results about LGBTQ students’ experiences in school

#SJYALit: Ten Young Adult Novels for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a guest post by Clara Kensie

Thinking about 13 Reasons Why: Teens, Mental Health and Media

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Recently in Book Mail

Around the Web

What Betsy DeVos wants to do to your student loans

New York City Believes in a Free and Open Internet

10 Novels with Latinx Main Characters to Look Forward to In 2017

Tahereh Mafi returns to the Shatter Me series with three new books

A survey on sexual assault alarmed colleges. Here’s how top schools responded.

Teachers should not shy away from addressing controversial issues in the classroom.

Why YA Series Aren’t Guilty Pleasures

Why Harry Styles’s Respect for Teen Girls Is So Important

Middle School Monday: Fangirling from Afar

MSM11Because Karen (@tlt16) loves me, she regularly visits authors on whom I have the most indelible of crushes. This includes, almost exclusively, Kiersten White. I’ve never had the great fortune to meet her, but Karen regularly visits her table at conferences on my behalf. She is lovely like that. This time, I asked her to seek out a copy of the ARC of Beanstalker, Kiersten’s first middle grade novel:

Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest and became a zombie.

Wait, no, that’s not how this story is supposed to go. Let’s try again.

Once upon a time, a boy did a horrible job as a sheep-sitter and burned his tongue on stolen pie.

No, children in these stories are always good and virtuous. From the top.

Once upon a time, a king and queen tried to find a princess for their son to marry, and he wound up fleeing from a group of very hairy vampires.


What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales… in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

Coming July 25!

She did get a copy! I await its arrival with baited breath!


Friday Finds: April 21, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: Empty Bellies, Starving Hearts – What happens when teens see compassion die

App Review: Enlight

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA April 2017

#SJYALit: Rape Culture–Twenty-five years ago and today, a guest post by Clara Kensie

Rethinking How We Think about Cheerleaders

You Don’t Have to Use the Internet & Other Absurd Things Politicians Say in 2017

#SJYALit: Good Girls Don’t Wear That! a guest post by Kim Baccellia

#SJYALit: Breaking Taboos, Telling Secrets, a conversation between Isabel Quintero and Elana K. Arnold

Around the Web

How I Feel As a Native Woman When Trump Idolizes Andrew Jackson

In Portugal, Drug Use Is Treated As A Medical Issue, Not A Crime

Schools Will Soon Have To Put In Writing If They ‘Lunch Shame’

A teen girl flawlessly took a Republican senator to task and defended Planned Parenthood in epic town hall exchange


Friday Finds: April 14, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: That’s Me in the Corner . . .

Middle School Monday: Book Review and Giveaway, The Speed of Life by Carol Weston

For National Poetry Month: A Social Justice Poetry Project for Teens, a guest post by Laura Shovan

#SJYALit: How to be Female, a conversation between Mindy McGinnis and Amber J. Keyser

MakerSpace Madness: Out of the 1, Many – Transforming Art in Multiple Ways

Spotlight on Salaam Reads

Around the Web

Help with understanding the United incident

Desertification by Donalyn Miller

Lawmaker’s Childhood Experience Drives New Mexico’s ‘Lunch Shaming’ Ban

Should High School Students Need A Foreign Language To Graduate?

A library’s purpose in the internet age

Why Do Conversations About Pop Music Still Bash the Fangirl?

5 reasons to love Beverly Cleary for her 101st birthday

Meet The Teen Sexual Assault Survivors Who Took On Their School District And Won