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Take 5: YA Horror 2014

It’s October, which means everything is pumpkin flavored or scented and you can’t change the channel without running across a horror movie. While I’m not big on horror movies – I haven’t been able to watch them ever since I saw The Ring because if the scary isn’t going to stay inside the TV box then what is going to keep you safe? – but I still like to read it.

Last night’s #YALove conversation was all about horror (you can find a recap here). Naomi Bates asked what everyone read as a teen for horror and my go to authors were Stephen King, Dean Koontz and John Saul. While I still read King and Koontz, it has been a while since I read some John Saul. Last year we shared a collection of Haunted Readings, all our best October ready booklists for you in one place. There are a few new titles for 2014 I want to make sure you all have seen.

Amity by Micol Ostow

Amity is a twisted look at an already twisted story: The Amityville Horror Story. In this version, two separate teens move into the Amity house ten years apart and the haunted happenings bring them together in really disturbing ways. Blood drips, the house seems to stare, and everyone who enters seems to change – and not in good ways at all. Don’t read it alone in the dark.

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

True fact: My favorite short story writer is Edgar Allan Poe and I desperately wanted to name either one of my girls Annabel Lee, but The Mr. was not sold on naming our daughter after a dead girl in a poem. When Annabel Lee’s mother dies, she ends up living with her father, whose experiments have always troubled her. In this new home she meets his young assistant, Edgar Allan Poe.  As a series of murders begin to plague the town, it is up to Annabel Lee to figure out what is happening and who might be involved. Check here for more Poe inspired YA lit. Pair this with The Madman’s Daughter or The Monstrumologist.

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

If The Ring taught us anything, it’s that we should never trust a girl from a well. This dead girl from the well roams the streets hunting murderers. A strange boy with even stranger tattoos finds himself drawn to this spirit and soon the two of them are fighting creepy evil – their are dolls involved, it turns out dolls can be incredibly creepy (I’m looking at you Doll Bones by Holly Black). The Girl from the Well takes you from the American suburbs to Japan and keeps you on the edge of your seat while doing it.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

This may seem like a strange book to put on this list, but I think it’s a fitting choice. Afterworlds is two books in one. In the real world, Darcy Patel moves to New York to write her debut YA novel. And the debut YA novel, well that is a haunting read. In the novel Darcy is writing, Lizzie has just survived a massive terrorist attack at the airport and finds that she can now step into the Afterworld, a place between life and death where a madman is hunting her because he wants her power.

Sanctum (Asylum #2) by Madeleine Roux

Dan, Abby and Jordan barely survived their summer at a school set in an asylum, but now they are receiving disturbing pictures of an old time carnival. The three return to Brookline in an attempt to discover what it all can mean when they find themselves once again sucked into a tale of terror. Definitely put this in the hands of American Horror Story fans.

And if you are a horror movie fan, be sure to follow Daniel Kraus (who writes most excellent YA horror) on Twitter for the #31HorrorFilms31Days discussion. He’s sharing his favorite horror films, which you don’t want to miss.

Now it’s your turn: What new YA horror titles are you reading this month? What are some of your favorites, new or old? Tell us in the comments.

Book Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

This summer has been the summer of Ramen noodles at my house, which is a continual reminder to me that I need to write my review for Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. What, you may ask, does Ramen noodles have to do with Scott Westerfeld’s newest title? It was here that I learned that there are expensive Ramen noodles served in New York restaurants. Having grown up in a home where we ate (and we eat)  Ramen because we were income challenged, I was stunned to learn that they were served in restaurants and that they could be expensive. I was also stunned to learn that various things that people do with Ramen noodles. But that, I suppose, is a post for another day. 


Afterworlds is really two novels in one. It is the story of a teen author, Darcy Patel, who is writing and publishing her first novel. Told in alternating chapters, each chapter of Darcy’s journey to get published is juxtaposed with a chapter from the novel that Darcy is writing. One of the most interesting parts of this book is seeing how the real world life of Darcy effects the novel that she is writing.

Darcy’s novel is titled “Afterworld”. In it, we meet Lizzie. Lizzie slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to escape a terrorist attack at the airport late one night. Now, it seems, she can see ghosts. Or something like ghosts as she can slip back and forth from our world into the in between place. There are bad people here, people who are after her, people who want to teach her about this new world.There is a childhood murder mystery, a man who wants to steal the lives of the spirits, and a little bit of romance.

In our world, Darcy is delaying her first year of college and packing up her belongings to move to New York. Here, she delves into the New York YA literary scene, with an in depth look at the journey to being published. She falls in love, she struggles with writers block, she has her heart broken and more. For those looking for more diversity on their shelves, Darcy has a very lovely GLBTQ love story and she is Indian. In fact, at one point she wrestles with whether or not one of the characters she uses in her book is cultural appropriation, an issue that comes up a lot lately in the press for artists like Katy Perry and Iggy Azalea.

It’s an ambitious project, creative in concept and executed superbly. Every teen I have ever seen at an author panel asking all those questions about how do you become a writer will enjoy the insider perspective. 

Robin also read this title. I liked the book portion best, the supernatural story. Robin liked the real world story best. The supernatural story is nice and dark, while the real world story is an interesting look at post high school life and trying to find your own way in a very new world, which coincidentally mirrors the supernatural story. And this is the brilliance of Westerfeld’s novel, the way the two stories are interwoven.

And just for fun, here are 30 Ramen Hacks for you to transform your Ramen noodles. I think it would be great fun to have a book discussion of this title and have a Ramen Cook Off. Or to display the book with some Ramen cookbooks. That’s right, it turns out there are some Ramen Cookbooks.




Coming in September from Simon Pulse. ISBN: 9781481422345

Afterworlds has received starred reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. Highly recommended.

Take 5: YA Lit for Rose Tyler fans (Doctor Who), a guest post by Amy Diegelman

“The first nineteen years of my life, nothing happened.
Nothing at all.”  

Image property of Megan Lara at Megan Lara Tumblr


Rose Tyler.

Companion, friend, comforter, badass.

Resourceful, empathetic, brave, determined.

I could go on for days and days about all Rose Tyler’s amazing qualities (and trust me, I’ll get back to that in a second) but there is one aspect I don’t think we talk about enough. Before she was the Bad Wolf, Rose Tyler was just a shop girl with minimal education living in an estate with her mother. Her life is chugging forward in the mundane, slightly below average way everyone expects it to.. Jackie indicates that a butcher shop would be more suitable work for Rose because the department store was too fancy. Rose has no A-levels, the requirements for college. Estates like the one the Tylers inhabit are not just apartment buildings but large housing projects (often owned by the government or non-profit organizations) for the lower end of the economic scale. She’s a chav – a British stereotype and derogatory term similar to calling someone ‘white trash’ or ‘ghetto.’ The implication is always there in Rose’s history and fashion, and in the episode “New Earth”, when the ever-fabulous Cassandra inhabits Rose’s body, she openly despairs, “I’m a chav!”

I love a character like Rose. A girl who leads a disadvantage life, who is simply following the path set out for her when a door to something better opens up. Once given the chance, Rose proves that she is more than up to snuff. Through the new life of adventuring she is able to show everyone, including herself, that she is brave and smart and compassionate. She saves herself, strangers, friends, and the Doctor more than once. She becomes the Bad Wolf and puts her mark on time itself. So I’ve made up a small list of characters who are pulled from low circumstances to extraordinary ones, and prove that they themselves are extraordinary.


Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella in the future. I tend to think any characterization of Rose Tyler as Cinderella to somewhat miss the mark. But Cinder isn’t the classic Cinderella either. Cinder is a cyborg, and that makes her, like Rose, a second class citizen to most people. And though her family lives in a certain level of luxury, Cinder herself earns most of the wages as a mechanic and sees few of the benefits. Regardless of all that, when trouble turns up, Cinder rises to the occasion. She throws herself into danger when she doesn’t have to, because it is the right thing to do. What is perhaps most Rose Tyler-esque, is the fact that Cinder doesn’t question it. She doesn’t stand around and agonize over things. She sees what needs to be done – often who needs to be helped – and she finds a way to do it. Neither she nor Rose have fairy godmothers. They prove themselves all on their own.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – Raised by a man who never wanted her, sold off to an abusive husband. These are the only things we really know about Ismae’s life before she is taken in by the nuns of St. Mortain- better known as Death himself – to be trained as an assassin. Its not often you can say a girl raised by assassin nuns is similar to, well, anyone – but Ismae came to mind right away when I started this list. She is taken from a life of being beaten and neglected, to one where she is shown how truly amazing she can be. Its Ismae’s faith and fidelity (along with a fair amount of badassery, of course) that really connect her with Rose. Ismae is firmly dedicated to what she feels is right, and to Death, who she has sworn to serve, even though she has every reason to believe only in the terrible things and people in the world.. It makes me think of the scene in the Satan Pit episodes when everyone believes the doctor is dead but Rose stands firm, “You don’t know him. Cause he’s not. I’m telling you he’s not. And even if he was, how could I leave him?”


Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – In this alternate, steampunk, bioengineered version of World War I Deryn is a commoner girl disguised as a boy so she can serve in the British Air Service. And boy is she good at it. Oh man, how much do I love Deryn Sharp? So much. Smart, funny, brave – Deryn goes after what she wants and takes it. The best part? What she wants isn’t power or wealth or fame, she just wants to do what she loves – flying. Deryn doesn’t hesitate, and she doesn’t give up. She’d do anything for her friends, she doesn’t blink before tossing herself into danger to save another. She and Rose would be fast friends, I have no doubt.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Alina is an orphan serving in the military with her best friend Mal. Her life is truly average. But when a unique ability manifests in her, she is swept up into the elite, majestic world of the Grisha and their leader, the Darkling. I agonized a bit over this one, but in the end I decided that Alina deserved a spot on this list. Don’t get me wrong, I love Alina and adore this book (Epic fantasy with a Russian twist? Yes, please!) but I wasn’t sure she was Rose Tyler material. Alina is a bit of a Rose in training. She struggles with a woe-is-me attitude for quite some time, but to be fair the Darkling, while powerful and mysterious, isn’t quite the inspirational figure the Doctor usually is. But at the end of the day she is much like the Bad Wolf – an immense power just waiting to find her way.

Color of Rain by Cori McCarthy – Rain’s story is much darker than Rose’s. She and her little brother are the only surviving members of their family, living in an abandoned pool and scrounging for a life in the crime and grime of Earth City. When Rain’s brother’s life is at risk she gives up everything to save him. She trades herself to a man named Johnny in exchange for passage on his ship to The Edge, where there may be a cure for her brother, whole will have to make the trip cryogenically frozen. But Johnny’s ship, a city all its own, proves to be almost as dangerous as Johnny himself. Rain is one of my favorite YA heroines of the last couple of years. Her life is ugly and often awful, but she never gives up. NEVER. There were so many moments when I couldn’t imagine even having the will to continue, but Rain finds a way. And she does her best not to trample anyone in the process. Rain shares with Rose the ability I love most in them both – a refusal to be beaten, without a loss of compassion.

    BIO
Amy Diegelman is a Young Adult Librarian in Massachusetts, with an MLS and Specialization in Youth Services from Indiana University. She lives on an island, and Batman is her one true love.


Top 10: Books for the Geek in Us All

The second week in March is reserved for Teen Tech Week in teen services everywhere.  Sponsored by YALSA we take the whole week to celebrate the formats of tech in the library- databases and online help, text reference, ebooks, movies and much more!  Yet, there is no reason why we can’t celebrate Teen Tech Week with some sensational hard copies, either!  Below, find 10 (in one base, not binary) books that celebrate this year’s theme while enticing teen readers….


15 short stories from some of the most amazing and geeky authors today
4th in the Uglies series, Extras debates the questions about what happens when you’re too popular….    Optioned by Fox.

When their AOL in the 80’s shows them their Facebook future, can they change it? Or do they want to? Optioned for the big screen by Warner Brothers

Sequel to Little Brother, Marcus is back, and having to chose between  his dream job and continuing the rebellion he started.

True story of Kevin Mitnick, hacking his way through companies and keeping one step ahead of the authorities.  


Sent by his parents to summer camp in order to ‘normalize’ him from his  RPG world, Perry instead finds the creators of his game, and will need all his skills (both gaming and social) in order to save the princess in this game.

Very (Veronica) is addicted to tech- can’t live without her iPod, IM, texts, comp time….  But when she’s forced to go to tech rehab, can she figure out her life before it’s too late?

Always trusting Society to control everything, Cassia is perfectly content with her match- until a second face appears for a brief second.  Can she regain her trust with Society, or will she forge a new and dangerous path?  Trilogy optioned by Disney.

Drawing upon actual interviews with the hackers of Anonymous and LulzSec, this tells the tales of the most  organized and secretive hacker group so far. 

In 2044, Wade escapes reality by burying himself in videogames, and trying to discover the Ticket that will give one person unlimited money and power- if you can unlock the puzzle.  Optioned for the big screen by Warner Brothers.

TPiB: Steampunk in the Library


“I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clockmaker.” – Voltaire

Steampunk: Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.(Urban Dictionary)
 
Steampunk is not tricky, it’s a way of looking at the world through a different lens.  Worlds that exist in the books of Cassandra Clare, Kady Cross, Kenneth Oppel, Cherie Priest, and Scott Westerfield and HG Wells help set the ideas that you’re looking for, and with these crafts to tie into those worlds, your teens will be into steampunk in no time….  Have ideas that have worked for you?  Share in the comments!


Wearables

For day wear with a twist, think about creating a charm bracelet with shrinky dinks and old world charms added in.  If you don’t have the means to make the photos at your workplace, think about making them at home and bringing them in the day of with using teen volunteers to scouring old magazines for images. 

 Over the Cresent Moon’s blog has this example:
 

For a top hat with steampunk style and duct tape pizzaz, take a look at what Cut Out and Keep has on their site:
 
Or for your special someone, how about a button ring?  Lana Red has an easy tutorial: 
 

Carryables
For those who have a writing bent in them, what about creating smash books (scrapbook by way of a junk drawer) with your teens?  Over on the Craftster site, there was some interesting ideas to get you started, like this one:
It starts from scratch, but if you get a DIY journal from Oriental trading like these, you could easily add embellishments to steampunk them out.
 
You could also collect all those metal tins (mints, gum, etc.) that your staff and teens have around, and make mini scenes and modge podge pictures into the insides and outsides of them.  Go Make Something has a good tutorial for prepping them (although I’m sure there’s others):
 

And the Guides from the Mesa Library has an awesome directory for steampunk and other crafts…

Take 5: Vampire Books with Bite

There are no shortage of YA Vampire books, many of them extremely popular.  So here are 5 that are not wildly popular that I think should be – and as an added bonus, there are no sparkling vampires.




Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
This book rocks! In this universe, vampirism is a disease.  And every other chapter is a look at a real parasite in the world of biology.  So you read a great vampire story AND you learn some freaky facts about science.  I wouldn’t eat while you are reading it, but I would read it.

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
You know that wicked hot guy that you keep staring down at the bus stop? He’s a vampire.  And – more importantly – you were sworn to be his bride way back when you were a wee little tot.  Surprise!

“Lucius paused, turning on his heel to face me. “I grow weary of your ignorance.” He moved closer to me, leaning down and peering into my eyes. “Because your parents refuse to inform you, I will deliver the news myself,and I shall make this simple for you.” He pointed to his chest and announced, as though talking to a child, “I am a vampire.” He pointed to my chest. “You are a vampire. And we are to be married, the moment you come of age. This has been decreed since our births.”



Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer
Eighth Grade Bites, Ninth Grade Slays, Tenth Grade Bleeds, Eleventh Grade Burns, Twelfth Grade Kills
Half vampire, Vlad struggles with his blood lust urges – and the daily tribulations of life in middle school and high school.  I have a group of kids that come into the library that think this series is the best thing since sliced bread.  Eighth Grade Bites was a 2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers.  There is a companion series called The Slayer Chronicles.

“Whoever had decided that school should start so early in the morning and last all day long needed to be hunted down and forced to watch hours of educational television without the aid of caffeine.”
Heather Brewer, Eighth Grade Bites



Sweetblood by Pete Hautman
Once a straight A student, Lucy now finds her life falling completely apart.  She also fears she may be turning into a vampire.  In the end, Hautman has written a very interesting look at the life of a girl with uncontrolled diabetes. Read Pete Hautman’s essay on how he came to write Sweetblood here.  For the record, this is not technically a vampire book.



Thirsty by M. T. Anderson

“People talk about the beauty of the spring, but I can’t see it. The trees are brown and bare, slimy with rain. Some are crawling with new purple hairs. And the buds are bulging like tumorous acne, and I can tell that something wet, and soft, and cold, and misshapen is about to be born.

And I am turning into a vampire.”

 
For a really great, comprehensive booklist of vampire titles and some discussion about the appeal of the vampire, check out They Suck, They Bite, They Eat, They Kill by Dr. Joni Richards Bodart.
 
Further Reading: