Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

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.

 

 

 

tell me no liesTell Me No Lies by Adele Griffin (ISBN-13: 9781616206765 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Publication date: 06/12/2018)

A riveting novel about secrecy, complicated friendships, and heartbreak, set against the iconic backdrop of the late 1980s.

Lizzy Swift is a senior in high school, emerging from her nerd chrysalis to become a social butterfly. She starts dating popular Matt Ashley, whom she’s been pining for since freshman year. She’s delighted when rebellious new girl Claire Reynolds introduces her to Center City Philadelphia—clubs, street life, and the eye-opening art scene. As Lizzy begins to question her own long-held dreams, the changes in her life mirror the upheaval of a decade marked by a drug epidemic and the AIDS crisis. She’s no longer sure of her Ivy League ambition. While she has a special connection with Matt, something’s missing. And Claire carries around a mysterious sadness and talks about a breakup so bad she changed schools—but she won’t tell the whole story. Lizzy wants Claire to confide in her, even as she keeps her own embarrassing secrets.

Before too long, the heady thrill of her new life starts to crumble under insecurities and deceptions.  When the truth emerges from the wreckage, will it be too late for Lizzy, Claire, and Matt to save their love and friendships?

She’s Lost Control, a companion to the acclaimed Be True to Me, is a novel of unflinching emotional honesty about secrecy, lies, love, and identity.

 

 

 

harbor meHarbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson (ISBN-13: 9780399252525 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/28/2018)

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Jacqueline Woodson’s first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories.

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

 

 

 

that's not whatThat’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger (ISBN-13: 9781338186529 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 08/28/2018)

It’s been three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre. Three years since my best friend, Sarah, was killed in a bathroom stall during the mass shooting. Everyone knows Sarah’s story—that she died proclaiming her faith.But it’s not true.I know because I was with her when she died. I didn’t say anything then, and people got hurt because of it. Now Sarah’s parents are publishing a book about her, so this might be my last chance to set the record straight . . . but I’m not the only survivor with a story to tell about what did—and didn’t—happen that day.Except Sarah’s martyrdom is important to a lot of people, people who don’t take kindly to what I’m trying to do. And the more I learn, the less certain I am about what’s right. I don’t know what will be worse: the guilt of staying silent or the consequences of speaking 304668up . . .

 

 

 

 

 

a room awayA Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma (ISBN-13: 9781616203733 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 09/04/2018)

Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will cost for her to leave . . .

In A Room Away from the Wolves, critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author Nova Ren Suma weaves a spellbinding ghost story about who deserves a second chance, how we lie to those around us and ourselves, and what lengths girls will go to in order to save each other.

 

 

 

 

tightTight by Torrey Maldonado (ISBN-13: 9781524740559 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/04/2018)

Tight: Lately, Bryan’s been feeling it in all kinds of ways . . .

Bryan knows what’s tight for him—reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama is every day where he’s from, and that gets him tight, wound up.

And now Bryan’s friend Mike pressures him with ideas of fun that are crazy risky. At first, it’s a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into all kinds of trouble. But Bryan never really feels right acting so wrong, and drama really isn’t him. So which way will he go, especially when his dad tells him it’s better to be hard and feared than liked?

But if there’s one thing Bryan’s gotten from his comic heroes, it’s that he has power—to stand up for what he feels . . .

Torrey Maldonado delivers a fast-paced, insightful, dynamic story capturing urban community life. Readers will connect with Bryan’s journey as he navigates a tough world with a heartfelt desire for a different life.

 

 

we are not yetWe Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson, Tonya Bolden (ISBN-13: 9781547600762 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 09/11/2018)

Carol Anderson’s White Rage took the world by storm, landing on the New York Times bestseller list and best book of the year lists from New York TimesWashington PostBoston Globe, and Chicago Review of Books. It launched her as an in-demand commentator on contemporary race issues for national print and television media and garnered her an invitation to speak to the Democratic Congressional Caucus. This compelling young adult adaptation brings her ideas to a new audience.

When America achieves milestones of progress toward full and equal black participation in democracy, the systemic response is a consistent racist backlash that rolls back those wins. We Are Not Yet Equal examines five of these moments: The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with Jim Crow laws; the promise of new opportunities in the North during the Great Migration was limited when blacks were physically blocked from moving away from the South; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to laws that disenfranchised millions of African American voters and a War on Drugs that disproportionally targeted blacks; and the election of President Obama led to an outburst of violence including the death of black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri as well as the election of Donald Trump.

This YA adaptation will be written in an approachable narrative style that provides teen readers with additional context to these historic moments, photographs and archival images, and additional backmatter and resources for teens.

 

 

here to stayHere to Stay by Sara Farizan (ISBN-13: 9781616207007 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Publication date: 09/18/2018)

Bijan Majidi is:

  • Shy around girls
  • Really into comics
  • Decent at basketball

Bijan Majidi is not:

  • A terrorist

What happens when a kid who’s flown under the radar for most of high school gets pulled off the bench to make the winning basket in a varsity playoff game?

If his name is Bijan Majidi, life is suddenly high fives in the hallways and invitations to exclusive parties—along with an anonymous photo sent by a school cyberbully that makes Bijan look like a terrorist.

The administration says they’ll find and punish the culprit. Bijan wants to pretend it never happened. He’s not ashamed of his Middle Eastern heritage; he just doesn’t want to be a poster child for Islamophobia. Lots of classmates rally around Bijan. Others make it clear they don’t want him oranybody who looks like him at their school. But it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends.

Here to Stay is a painfully honest, funny, authentic story about growing up, speaking out, and fighting prejudice.

 

 

 

map of daysA Map of Days: The Fourth Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (ISBN-13: 9780735232143 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 10/02/2018)

 

The #1 bestselling series returns with a thrilling new story arc set in America!

Vintage photographs reveal the never-before-seen world of peculiar America with a stunning addition—full-color images.

Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe.

Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop.

Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand. New wonders, and dangers, await in this brilliant next chapter for Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Their story is again illustrated throughout by haunting vintage photographs, but with a striking addition for this all-new, multi-era American adventure—full color.

 

 

 

don't call me crazy(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health by Kelly Jensen (ISBN-13: 9781616207816 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Publication date: 10/02/2018)

Who’s Crazy?

What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when such a label gets attached to your everyday experiences?

In order to understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things—wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?—to different people.

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy is a conversation starter and guide to better understanding how our mental health affects us every day. Thirty-three writers, athletes, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and do not talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy.

If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has, come on in, turn the pages, and let’s get talking.

 

 

where she fellWhere She Fell by Kaitlin Ward (ISBN-13: 9781338230079 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 10/30/2018)

Watch your step.

Eliza knows the legends about the swamp near her house — that people have fallen into sinkholes, never to be seen again, maybe even falling to the center of the earth. As an aspiring geologist, she knows the last part is impossible. But when her best friends drag her onto the uneven ground anyway, Eliza knows to be worried.

And when the earth opens under her feet, there isn’t even time to say I told you so.

As she scrambles through one cave, which leads to another, and another, Eliza finds herself in an impossible world — where a small group of people survive underground, running from vicious creatures, eating giant bugs, and creating their own subterranean society. Eliza is grateful to be alive, but this isn’t home. Is she willing to risk everything to get back to the surface?

 

 

 

 

you are the everythingYou Are The Everything by Karen Rivers (ISBN-13: 9781616208158 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Publication date: 10/30/2018)

Can you want something—or someone—so badly that it changes your destiny?

Elyse Schmidt never would have thought so, until it happened to her. When Elyse and her not-so-secret crush, Josh Harris, are the sole survivors of a plane crash, tragedy binds them together. It’s as if their love story is meant to be. Everything is perfect, or as perfect as it can be when you’ve literally fallen out of the sky and landed hard on the side of a mountain—until suddenly it isn’t. When the pieces of Elyse’s life stop fitting together, what’s left?

You Are the Everything is a story about the fates we yearn for, the fates we choose, and the fates that are chosen for us.

 

 

 

 

hide with meHide with Me by Sorboni Banerjee (ISBN-13: 9780451478351 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/06/2018)

 

Debut author Sorboni Banerjee crafts a gripping story about the unbreakable bonds of friendship, the sweeping power of first love, and the courage to fight for a brighter future against all odds.In the dying cornfields of his family’s farm, seventeen-year-old Cade finds a girl broken and bleeding. She has one request: hide me.Tucked away in an abandoned barn on the edge of the farm, the mysterious Jane Doe starts to heal and details of her past begin to surface. A foster kid looking for a way out, Jane got caught up in the wrong crowd and barely escaped with her life.

Cade has a difficult past of his own. He’s been trapped in the border town of Tanner, Texas, his whole life. His dad is a drunk. His mom is gone. Money is running out. Cade is focused on one thing, a football scholarship—his only chance.

Cade and Jane spend their nights in the barn planning their escapes, and their days with Cade’s friends: sweet, artistic Mateo and his determined sister Jojo who vows to be president one day.

But it’s not that easy to disappear.

Just across the border in a city in Mexico lies the life Jane desperately wants to leave behind—a past filled with drugs and danger, information she never wanted, and a cartel boss who is watching her every move.

Jane Doe’s past is far from over, and the secret she holds could kill them all.

 

 

storytellerThe Storyteller by Traci Chee (ISBN-13: 9780399176791 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/13/2018)

 

Sefia is determined to keep Archer out of the Guard’s clutches and their plans for war between the Five Kingdoms. The Book, the ancient, infinite codex of the past, present and future, tells of a prophecy that will plunge Kelanna in that bloody war, but it requires a boy—Archer—and Sefia will stop at nothing to ensure his safety. The Guard has already stolen her mother, her father, and her Aunt Nin. Sefia would sooner die than let them take anymore from her—especially the boy she loves.
But escaping the Guard and the Book’s prophecy is no easy task. After all, what is written always comes to pass. As Sefia and Archer watch Kelanna start to crumble to the Guard’s will, they will have to choose between their love and joining a war that just might tear them apart. Full of magic, suspense, and mystery, Traci Chee brings her Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy to a close in this spellbinding final installment.

 

 

 

dark daysThe Dark Days Deceit by Alison Goodman (ISBN-13: 9780670785490 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/20/2018)

 

The thrilling, genre-bending conclusion to Lady Helen’s demon-hunting adventures, set in the glittering Regency world.

Lady Helen has retreated to a country estate outside Bath to prepare for her wedding to the Duke of Selburn, yet she knows she has unfinished business to complete. She and the dangerously charismatic Lord Carlston have learned they are a dyad, bonded in blood, and only they are strong enough to defeat the Grand Deceiver, who threatens to throw mankind into chaos. But the heinous death-soaked Ligatus Helen has absorbed is tearing a rift in her mind. Its power, if unleashed, will annihilate both Helen and Carlston unless they can find a way to harness its ghastly force and defeat their enemy.

In the final book of the trilogy that began with The Dark Days Club and continued with The Dark Days Pact, the intrepid Lady Helen’s story hurtles to a shocking conclusion full of action, heartbreak, and betrayal.

 

 

 

 

amberAmber & Dusk by Lyra Selene (ISBN-13: 9781338210033 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 11/27/2018)

Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d’Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies.

So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.

But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to seize what should be her rightful place, she’ll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.

An extraordinary, vividly rendered YA debut.

 

 

black enoughBlack Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America by Ibi Zoboi, Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth, Dhonielle Clayton (ISBN-13: 9780062698728 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 01/08/2019)

 

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi and featuring some of the most acclaimed, bestselling black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.

Black is…sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is… three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s bougie debutante dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be black enough.

Contributors:
Justina Ireland
Varian Johnson
Rita Williams-Garcia
Dhonielle Clayton
Kekla Magoon
Leah Henderson
Tochi Onyebuchi
Jason Reynolds
Nic Stone
Liara Tamani
Renée Watson
Tracey Baptiste
Coe Booth
Brandy Colbert
Jay Coles
Ibi Zoboi
Lamar Giles

 

girl kingThe Girl King by Mimi Yu (ISBN-13: 9781681198897 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/08/2019)
Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this richly imagined, Asian-inspired fantasy for fans of Renée Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir.

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: the eldest, assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Then their father names their male cousin Set the heir instead, throwing both girls’ lives into chaos.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu is forced to flee, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the decimated Ashina, nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–and he has no trust for the Empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the key to unlocking his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens–a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other.

Told in three distinct points-of-view, this first book in a sweeping fantasy series weaves a story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

 

 

in parisIn Paris with You by Clémentine Beauvais (ISBN-13: 9781250299161 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 01/08/2019)
For fans of Eleanor & Park and Emergency Contact comes a sweeping romance about the love that got away.Eugene and Tatiana could have fallen in love, if things had gone differently. If they had tried to really know each other, if it had just been them, and not the others. But that was years ago and time has found them far apart, leading separate lives.

Until they meet again in Paris.

What really happened back then? And now? Could they ever be together again after everything?

 

 

 

 

highHigh: Everything You Want to Know About Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction by David Sheff, Nic Sheff (ISBN-13: 9780544644342 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 01/08/2019)

Just Say Know!  With drug education for children more important than ever, this nonfiction book draws on the experiences of the NY Times bestselling father/son team of David and Nic Sheff to provide all the information teens and tweens need to know about drugs, alcohol, and addiction.

From David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy (2008), and Nic Sheff, author of Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines(2008), comes the ultimate resource for learning about the realities of drugs and alcohol for middle grade readers.
This book tells it as it is, with testimonials from peers who have been there and families who have lived through the addiction of a loved one, along with the cold, hard facts about what drugs and alcohol do to our bodies. From how to navigate peer pressure to outlets for stress to the potential consequences for experimenting, Nic and David Sheff lay out the facts so that middle grade readers can educate themselves.

 

 

inventing victoriaInventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden (ISBN-13: 9781681198071 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/08/2019)

In a searing historical novel, Tonya Bolden illuminates post-Reconstruction America in an intimate portrait of a determined young woman who dares to seize the opportunity of a lifetime.

As a young black woman in 1880s Savannah, Essie’s dreams are very much at odds with her reality. Ashamed of her beginnings, but unwilling to accept the path currently available to her, Essie is trapped between the life she has and the life she wants.

Until she meets a lady named Dorcas Vashon, the richest and most cultured black woman she’s ever encountered. When Dorcas makes Essie an offer she can’t refuse, she becomes Victoria. Transformed by a fine wardrobe, a classic education, and the rules of etiquette, Victoria is soon welcomed in the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D. C. But when the life she desires is finally within her grasp, Victoria must decide how much of herself she is truly willing to surrender.

 

 

promise of changeThis Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce, Debbie Levy (ISBN-13: 9781681198521 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/08/2019)

In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated schools violated the U.S. Constitution. This decision, Brown v. Board of Education, was a big deal–but Supreme Court rulings do not enforce themselves. If Brown‘s promise of change was to become reality, people had to take action.

And so, in the small town of Clinton, Tennessee, twelve African American high school students stepped up. You probably haven’t heard of the Clinton 12–but what they did in 1956 (a year before the Little Rock 9, four years before Ruby Bridges) was front-page news all over the nation. My co-author, Jo Ann Allen Boyce, was one of the Clinton 12, and we have worked together to tell her story. Like my book The Year of Goodbyes, this is nonfiction in verse, with primary archival materials and additional backmatter features.

 

 

 

 

white stagWhite Stag: A Novel by Kara Barbieri (ISBN-13: 9781250149589 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 01/08/2019)

 

White Stag, the first book in a brutally stunning series by Kara Barbieri, involves a young girl who finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

A Wattpad break out star with over a million reads! Now expanded, revised and available in print and eBook.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

 

unnaturalUnnatural Disasters by Jeff Hirsch (ISBN-13: 9780544999169 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 01/22/2019)

From a bestselling author, an edgy, voice-driven novel set in a not-so-distant-future world about teens trying to survive when attacks by an unknown terrorist organization throw the entire planet into chaos. Just right for fans of Tommy Wallach’s We All Looked Up.

Will the Class of 2049 be the last class ever?

Lucy and her boyfriend have been planning an epic post-graduation trip for months, despite the unstable world they live in. But when everyone’s phones start to ring during prom, Lucy knows something terrible has happened—something new. Decades of climate change have taken their toll, religious extremism is spreading, refugees have nowhere left to turn, and terrorism is common. But this is worse. Far worse.

An unforgettable story about teens finding their way in a world the adults have destroyed, Unnatural Disasters is an ultimately hopeful tale of survival, identity, family, and love.

 

 

 

imprisonImprison the Sky by A. C. Gaughen (ISBN-13: 9781681191140 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/22/2019)

 

The sweeping Elementae series continues with a heroine so powerful she can command the sky . . .

Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus’s black market empire to captain her own trading vessel–and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can.

But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets–not only that Aspasia is a wind Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can’t find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free.

Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the center of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.

 

 

a curse soA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (ISBN-13: 9781681195087 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/29/2019)

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

 

 

courtingCourting Darkness by Robin LaFevers (ISBN-13: 9780544991194 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 02/05/2019)

First in a duology, this darkly thrilling page-turner set in the world of the best-selling His Fair Assassin series is perfect for fans of THRONE OF GLASS, RED QUEEN, and GAME OF THRONES. Told in alternating perspectives, when Sybella discovers there is another trained assassin from St. Mortain’s convent deep undercover in the French court, she must use every skill in her arsenal to navigate the deadly royal politics and find her sister in arms before her time—and that of the newly crowned queen—runs out. 

When Sybella accompanies the Duchess to France, she expects trouble, but she isn’t expecting a deadly trap. Surrounded by enemies both known and unknown, Sybella searches for the undercover assassins from the convent of St. Mortain who were placed in the French court years ago.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she no longer knows who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. When she discovers a hidden prisoner who may be of importance, she takes matters into her own hands.

As these two worlds collide, the fate of the Duchess, Brittany, and everything Sybella and Genevieve have come to love hangs in the balance.

 

 

giverThe Giver (Graphic Novel) by Lois Lowry, P. Craig Russell (ISBN-13: 9780544157880 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 03/05/2019)

Now in graphic novel format, Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal–winning classic story of a young boy discovering the dark secrets behind his seemingly ideal world is accompanied by renowned artist P.Craig Russell’s beautifully haunting illustrations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

since we lastSince We Last Spoke by Brenda Rufener (ISBN-13: 9780062571083 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/02/2019)

 

When true love is shattered by tragedy—how much would you risk to save it all?

When Aggi Frank and Max Granger finally admitted their feelings for each other last December, it felt like love was beautiful and endless… until it wasn’t.

A fatal car accident involving their older siblings throws their lives into sudden chaos. And with a restraining order now in place between the two bitter households, Aggi and Max’s love runs cold. Being together again seems like a distant fantasy, even though they share the same driveway.

Still, Plum Lake is a small town, and staying apart can’t last forever. Aggi and Max eventually reunite at a lake-house party hosted by a mutual friend and break the ice after a year of silence. But just as they begin to rebuild their relationship, the unthinkable happens when Aggi’s little sister, Grace, flees from home after their father spirals into a fit of rage. With a support system of friends close by, Aggi and Max must confront each other and their families in the hopes of mending all the broken pieces.

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven and Nicola Yoon, Brenda Rufener’s (Where I Live) second heartbreaking and uplifting novel captures the ups and downs of star-crossed lovers in the face of unimaginable grief, the fragile balance of their family relations, and the rocky journey to healing, peace, and forgiveness.

 

 

love and otherLove & Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford (ISBN-13: 9780062791207 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/09/2019)

 

Perfect for fans of David Levithan and RuPaul’s Drag Race, this new stand-alone novel from the critically acclaimed author of Suicide Notes explores the complexities of identity, the pain of loss, and the joy of finding yourself.

The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the nine weeks before his birthday. He’ll spend his time working at the Eezy-Freeze with his dad; cooking up some midsummer magic with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother (the Grands); and experimenting with drag with the help of the queens at the Shangri-La, the local gay club. But when a new guy comes to town, Sam finds himself in trouble when they strike up a friendship that might be way more than that.

As Sam’s birthday approaches and he still hasn’t quite fallen in love, the curse seems to get more powerful and less specific about who it targets. A mysterious girl Sam talks to on the phone late at night and a woman he’s only seen in a dream might have the answers he’s been looking for—but time is running out to save the people he cares about.

 

 

 

meaning of birdsThe Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown (ISBN-13: 9780062824448 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/16/2019)

 

Before, Jessica has always struggled with anger issues, but come sophomore year that all changes when Vivi crashes into her life. As their relationship blossoms, Vivi not only helps Jess deal with her pain, she also encourages her to embrace her talent as an artist. And for the first time, it feels like the future is filled with possibilities. After In the midst of senior year, Jess’s perfect world is erased when Vivi suddenly passes away. Reeling from the devastating loss, Jess pushes everyone away, and throws out her plans to go to art school. Because art is Vivi and Vivi is gone forever.

Desperate for an escape, Jess gets consumed in her work-study program, letting all of her dreams die. Until she makes an unexpected new friend who shows her a new way to channel her anger, passion, and creativity. Although Jess may never draw again, if she can find a way to heal and room in her heart, she just might be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi.

Book Review: Dream Country by Shannon Gibney

Publisher’s description

dream countryThe heartbreaking story of five generations of young people from a single African-and-American family pursuing an elusive dream of freedom.

Dream Country begins in suburban Minneapolis at the moment when seventeen-year-old Kollie Flomo begins to crack under the strain of his life as a Liberian refugee. He’s exhausted by being at once too black and not black enough for his African American peers and worn down by the expectations of his own Liberian family and community. When his frustration finally spills into violence and his parents send him back to Monrovia to reform school, the story shifts. Like Kollie, readers travel back to Liberia, but also back in time, to the early twentieth century and the point of view of Togar Somah, an eighteen-year-old indigenous Liberian on the run from government militias that would force him to work the plantations of the Congo people, descendants of the African American slaves who colonized Liberia almost a century earlier. When Togar’s section draws to a shocking close, the novel jumps again, back to America in 1827, to the children of Yasmine Wright, who leave a Virginia plantation with their mother for Liberia, where they’re promised freedom and a chance at self-determination by the American Colonization Society. The Wrights begin their section by fleeing the whip and by its close, they are then the ones who wield it. With each new section, the novel uncovers fresh hope and resonating heartbreak, all based on historical fact.

In Dream Country, Shannon Gibney spins a riveting tale of the nightmarish spiral of death and exile connecting America and Africa, and of how one determined young dreamer tries to break free and gain control of her destiny.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

Confession: I have been staring at the blank screen now for 18 minutes. I’ve been writing book reviews for 16 years, since I was in graduate school at Simmons. How many reviews have I written in those years—many hundreds, maybe more than a thousand? And yet here I sit, trying to put together even just one useful, coherent sentence that might begin to sum up how powerful, unique, and phenomenal this book is. I’m frowning as I type, because those words don’t even begin to do this novel justice.

 

The first thing you should know is that this novel will challenge readers, and I mean that in the best possible way. We move around in time and in place, and though there are parts of a family tree shown, I had to draw my own to start to make the connections clearer. You know who is up for challenging reads? Teenagers. They’ll be fine.

 

We’re first introduced to Kollie, a 16-year-old Liberian boy living in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota (just outside of Minneapolis) in 2008. His family fled Liberia during the Second Civil War and lived for three years in a refugee camp in Ghana. Many of his friends and classmates are Liberian, and there’s a lot of tension between the African immigrant kids and the black American kids. Kollie and his friends are regularly called slurs, called “jungle animals.” Things are not easy for Kollie, but he’s getting by. His parents have high hopes for him, that he can help be a positive influence in the community. His mother warns him that America may be the land of opportunity, “but if you want to destroy yourself, they will give you that opportunity too.” She says the world will do its best to convince black boys that they should destroy themselves, but she’s proud he’s working to better himself. Of course, this speech is before Kollie is involved in a violent incident at school, suspended, and working for William, a neighborhood “degenerate.” Devastated and ashamed, his parents send him away.

 

From here, we weave back and forth in time and location, meeting some of Kollie’s ancestors and following their struggles, losses, and achievements as they try to make their way through a world that doesn’t seem to want them to succeed or even to exist. Readers meet Togar, in 1926, in Grand Bassa County, Liberia, fleeing from Congo soldiers. We follow the story of Yasmine, who we meet in 1827 on a plantation near Norfolk, Virginia. The American Colonization Society’s new idea is to send “the coloreds” back to Africa’s Gold Coast to share their knowledge, experience, and salvation with the people there. Though this opportunity seems rife with potential, another woman there warns Yasmine that their new town is a hell and to stay away from hope. Yasmine and her family quickly realize that their new life is one filled with tension and fighting, and that the white men who came up with this idea weren’t looking to better anyone, but rather to ship people away to eliminate them. We also spend time with Evelyn and Ujay, in 1980, in Monrovia, Liberia, where we see Ujay’s work as an activist with the Progressive Alliance of Liberia and the hope for indigenous, not Congo, rule. We flash forward to 1994 with Ujay, now in a refugee camp near Ghana. And finally, we hear from Angel, Kollie’s sister, in 2018, ten years after Kollie was sent away from their family.

 

The stories are loosely tied together (in the sense that we’re following the line of one family and returning to the same place over and over), but read like short stories, complete on their own. It feels especially profound, then, when we reach Angel’s portion of the narrative and understand that it is she who has been telling all of these stories as a way to help make sense of her lineage, history, and ancestors. Through her revelations about her writing, readers see the choices she made in telling these stories, her search for explaining people and their actions, her desire for wholeness, for neat intertwining, for being able to know what these experiences were like. The title, Dream Country, takes on new significance through Angel’s eyes, and with Angel’s own story. This powerful and well-written story examines deep human emotions, the desire and fight for freedom, power, and immigrant experiences. Perhaps shamefully, I managed to make it to 40 without knowing much of anything at all about Liberia, but this book has changed that. Gibney’s complex look at one family, told through a wide scope, is moving and unlike anything I have ever read before in YA. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Don’t miss it. 

 

Review copy (ARC) courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9780735231672
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/11/2018

 

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

IMG_3631Three months off for summer vacation meant I got a lot of reading done. Here are some quick looks at books I read for younger readers. I’m excited to head back to the elementary school library  and share many of these titles with the students and see what everyone read and enjoyed over the summer!

Post-it Note reviews are 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.

All summaries here are from the publishers. Transcription of Post-it note review under the summary.

 

 

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Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat in this big-hearted middle grade novel. Not to be missed by fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Drama and Tim Federle’s Better Nate Than Ever!

Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse. Now she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods.

But this summer brings a lot of big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself unexpectedly falling for another girl at camp. To top it all off, Melly’s not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock n’ roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Melly’s a shy girl, but she finds friendship and confidence at music camp. She learns how to rely less on her best friend and experiences her first crush on a girl. Really sweet. Ages 10-14)

 

 

 

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Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: A powerful look at working class poverty. Unique take on an imaginary friend story. We don’t often see families in situations like this in middle grade. Serious but ultimately hopeful. Ages 9-13)

 

 

 

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The Terrible Two (Terrible Two Series #1) by Mac Barnett and Jory John, Jory John, Kevin Cornell

Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.

It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.

In The Terrible Two, bestselling authors Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a series that has its roots in classic middle-grade literature yet feels fresh and new at the same time.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Wide appeal. The illustrations and high-interest plot help make for a quick read. Fun, silly, and full of mischief. First in a series. Ages 8-12)

 

 

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The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend by Sharon Robinson

Stephen Satlow is an eight-year-old boy living in Brooklyn, New York, which means he only cares about one thing-the Dodgers. Steve and his father spend hours reading the sports pages and listening to games on the radio. Aside from an occasional run-in with his teacher, life is pretty simple for Steve.

But then Steve hears a rumor that an African American family is moving to his all-Jewish neighborhood. It’s 1948 and some of his neighbors are against it. Steve knows this is wrong. His hero, Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball the year before.

Then it happens—Steve’s new neighbor is none other than Jackie Robinson! Steve is beyond excited about living two doors down from the Robinson family. He can’t wait to meet Jackie. This is going to be the best baseball season yet! How many kids ever get to become friends with their hero?

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Uplifting story of understanding prejudice and encouraging tolerance/acceptance. A quiet story, the strong characters and thoughtful, unexpected friendship and its lessons make up for the lack of real plot. Ages 8-12)

 

 

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Cursed (Enchanted Files Series #1) by Bruce Coville

Previously published as Diary of a Mad Brownie. Introducing The Enchanted Files—a new magical, modern-day comedy series by the master of funny fantasy and bestselling author of My Teacher is an Alien: Bruce Coville!
 
In the first hilarious Enchanted Files, Angus is a brownie. No, not the kind you eat! He’s a tiny magical creature that loves to do chores. Angus has just “inherited” a new human girl, Alex. To say that Alex is messy would be an understatement. She’s a total hurricane-like disaster—and she likes it that way, thankyouverymuch! Living with each other isn’t easy but Angus and Alex soon learn there is a curse that binds them. What’s worse, it threatens Alex’s family! Working together, Angus and Alex will set out to break the curse . . . without killing each other first . . . hopefully.

This laugh-out-loud adventure, full of humor and heart, is ideal for fans of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library or Chris Grabenstein.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Whimsical story, fun illustrations and “documents” help flesh out the story. Humorous, but the story does drag a bit and mixed format/places we learn information a bit confusing. Fans of magic will enjoy this brownie’s story. Ages 8-12)

 

 

 

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Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: A feel-good story about embracing differences and seeing beyond labels and impressions. Characters are interesting and complicated. Great story about friendship, too. Ages 9-12)

 

 

 

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Webster: Tale of an Outlaw by Ellen Emerson White

A cynical shelter dog learns to let down his guard and form a new animal family in this heartwarming and humorous friendship story from the author of Santa Paws.

Webster is too cool to be scared. Or alarmed. Or even a tiny bit nervous. So what if no one will adopt him? He’s had it with people anyway. He’s going to be a loner. Not going to get too comfortable in this new shelter, even if the home-baked treats are good. Not going to get used to the nice soft bed. Not going to make friends, no matter how much he kind of likes Jack the Terrier and even Florence the bossy cat. Nope, he doesn’t need friends. Acquaintances are just fine. And the first chance he gets, he’s hitting the road and living life on the range, just like one of the stoic cowboys he’s decided to model himself after.

But sometimes the best-laid plans (even those of a dog’s) have a way of backfiring. Will a tough pup like Webster find a home and family after all?

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Webster thinks he’s a bad hat, but he’s a very good dog. A sweet and emotional look at animal neglect/abuse and rescue. Humorous and full of adventure and rescues. Ages 9-13)

 

 

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Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre

Sheila Turnage meets Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie in this debut about a small town and a young girl who discovers some old family secrets.

Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that it’s never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.

(POST-IT SAYS: Strong characters carry this rather slow story of Lou and friends working to save her house and solve a Civil War mystery. Themes of racism, atonement, and changing values. Limited appeal due to slow pace. Ages 9-12)

The American Opioid Crisis in YA Literature

For the past couple of years, national, state and local communities in the United States have been trying to figure out how to deal with the growing opioid crisis. In the city of Mount Vernon, Ohio, where I currently work, I went to a series of training sessions last year that discussed this growing issue. This past year, there was also a state wide day of dialogue about the opioid crisis and public libraries, which some of my peers attended. It has struck me, however, that this topic hasn’t come up as much as it feels like it should given current statistics in YA literature. Until now.

real talk addiction brochure 1 real talk addiction brochure 2

Some Beginning Resources RE The American Opioid Epidemic/Crisis

Opioid Overdose Crisis | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Opioid Epidemic – HHS.gov

Opioid Crisis Fast Facts – CNN – CNN.com

I’ve recently read two forthcoming books which include or directly address the current opioid crisis in not just the United States, but specifically in the state of Ohio. Ohio is current ranked third in terms of states struggling with the impact crisis. Although there are often times when a state wants to be so highly ranked, this is sadly not one of those times. The opioid crisis is having a very real impact on Ohio citizens. I know teens who have watched their parents overdose and been forced to call 911, I know teens who currently have parents serving in jail, and I know teens that are struggling to eat because of poverty who are eating even less because their parents are using whatever little income they have to buy drugs. I don’t know a lot of teens who are doing drugs themselves, though I know that they exist, in part because they don’t appear to be coming into our libraries.

heroine

Heroine by Ohio resident Mindy McGinnis is a realistic look at how one very dedicated, athletic teen with a promising future loses it all because of her slow descent into opioid addiction. In Heroine, Mickey’s use begins as many others has, because she is prescribed pain killers after a devastating accident. It is believed that a lot of our current opioid crisis began because doctors were over prescribing painkillers. In Heroine, Mickey is in a devastating car accident that causes very real trauma to her body and painkillers are prescribed to help control the pain while healing. In part because Mickey tries to rush her healing and get back on the field, her painkiller use becomes amplified. Soon, like many addicts, MC is trying to find ways to get drugs because she can no longer get them through her doctor. Mickey finds herself a supplier and begins hanging out with other addicts as her life spirals out of control.

YA A to Z: Guilt, Shame and Blame – Heroin Overdose Deaths in Teen

With Heroine, McGinnis provides a very realistic look at how addiction works and how even the most successful of us can become caught in its throes. Each decision leads to the next and before our main character knows it, everything about who they are and how they function in the world changes. It’s a hard but necessary read for a world trying to understand what addiction is like. Heroine ends on a realistic but hopeful note, not glossing over the fact that addiction is a lifelong issue but that with the right tools and support, you can put your life back onto a positive track.

The American Opioid Crisis: A Reading List – Book Riot

what you hide

What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards is not about addiction, but it takes place in a public library and it touches on how addiction is effecting libraries. Richards is not only an author, but she is an Ohioan who works during the day in an Ohio public library. I know Natalie and have visited her library (it’s very nice!) and am not surprised to find that she is contemplating the current effect that the opioid crisis is having on public libraries in Ohio. We all are. Most public libraries are making decisions based on the opioid crisis, whether it be trying to determine whether or not staff should be trained in administering Narcan or whether or not to keep the bathroom doors locked. Some libraries have put in needle disposal bins to help protect patrons and staff from loose needles. Some libraries are buying all hardwood furniture so that needles can’t be shoved down upholstered cracks where patrons or staff can be stuck by them. From staff training to resources to programming to policies and procedures, the opioid crisis is having a very definite effect on public libraries in Ohio and nationwide.

8 Fiction Books that Shed Light on the Opioid Crisis – Electric Literature

What You Hide is the story of a homeless teenager named Mallory who hides out in the library after closing for a safe place to stay. She has left home because her stepfather Charlie is psychologically abusive and she is worried about the growing threats of physical violence. At the library, she meets Spencer, who is volunteering at the library to fulfill a community service obligation. Early on in the book, a dead body is found in the library and it is believed that the young woman has died of an overdose. At several points in the book, as Mallory seeks to find a way to solve her problem, as Spencer tries to figure out who he is and who he wants to be, and as they both try to determine the origin of the weird goings on in the library, there are some very realistic discussions about addiction and the current opioid crisis.

See Also: Sunday Reflections: When the Opioid Crisis Hits the Library

If you know anything about the process of publishing, it can take a long time for a book to be written and then published. Books are often announced more than a year before publication date. So even as the crisis has been discussed and building, and as policy makers at all levels are trying to figure out how to address the issues, it has taken a while for the issue to be discussed and reflected in YA literature because of this slow publishing turnaround. There are plenty of YA literature titles that discuss addiction and substance abuse in general, though not nearly enough, but there are few that touch on this current opioid epidemic in particular. I was grateful as an Ohioan, as a public librarian, and as a teen librarian to read these titles. I thought that they both did a good job of talking about the issues, raising awareness, and helping us to better understand the current crisis in our world. They are very much needed in the world of contemporary YA literature. Our teens are dealing with these issues, our teen literature should be as well.

Additional Resources

Northeast Ohio Libraries Feel Impact of Opioid Epidemic

The Opioid Epidemic: How Can My Library Help? – PLA 2018

Opioid Symposium – Ohio Library Council

Libraries Confront the Opioid Crisis – School Library Journal

Opioids in Communities, Libraries in Response – State Library of Ohio

About Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Three screws in her hip.
Two months until spring training.
One answer to all her problems.

Mickey Catalan is no stranger to the opioid epidemic in her small town. There are obituaries of classmates who “died suddenly” and stories of overdoses in gas station bathrooms—but none of that is her. No, Mickey is a star softball catcher—one part of a dynamic duo with her best friend and pitcher Carolina—about to start her senior season with hopes of college recruitment. Until a car accident shatters that plan, along with her hip and Carolina’s arm.

Now Mickey is hurting. She can barely walk, much less crouch behind the plate. Yet a little white pill can make it better. After all, it is doctor prescribed. But when the prescription runs out, Mickey turns to an elderly woman who pushes hot meatloaf and a baggie full of oxy across the kitchen counter. It’s there Mickey makes new friends—other athletes in pain, others with just time to kill—and finds peaceful acceptance, a place where she can find words more easily than she ever has before. But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her desire for pills becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.

Coming out March 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books

About What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards

A new pulse-pounding romantic thriller from the author of We All Fall Down and Six Months Later

Spencer volunteers at the library. Sure, it’s community service, but he likes his work. Especially if it means getting to see Mallory.

Mallory spends a lot of time keeping her head down. When you’re sixteen and homeless, nothing matters more than being anonymous. But Spencer’s charm makes her want to be noticed.

Then sinister things start happening at the library. Mysterious symbols and terrifying warnings begin to appear, and management grows suspicious. Spencer and Mallory know a homeless teenager makes an easy target, and if they can’t find the real culprit soon, they could lose more than just their safe haven…

Coming December 2018 by Sourcefire Books

Sunday Reflections: YA Literature Too Dark! Why Don’t We Ask the Teens?

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It’s another day ending in the letter Y, which means yet another article is being written by an adult regarding the darkness of YA literature. Years ago, when there was a large number of these articles, I wrote a post here called “Dear Media, Why Don’t You Let Me Help You Write That Article on YA Literature.” I stand by a lot of that post, but I would add in one very important caveat: Why don’t we ask teens themselves?

I’ve written here a lot about how I feel that adults are increasingly taking over a part of the YA market, and I stand by that assertion as well. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a big difference between YA publishing, the online YA community, and YA librarians. YA publishing is, of course, going to follow the money; they are a profit driven business, so it is no surprise that some of the actors are catering to adults because the research shows that adults are buying YA. The problem is, of course, that this doesn’t indicate who they’re buying it for, but I’m not naive and I know that a lot of adults are reading YA. Then there is the online YA community, like Bookstagram, Booktube and YA Twitter, all of which have teen participants but also appear to be adult dominated.

Serving Full TILT Infographic

And then there is YA librarianship. YA librarians are, of course, adults, because they tend to have an undergraduate or MLIS degree. But, outside of those YA librarians who are being asked to fill a hole out of convenience, most of us are in this business to serve actual teens. Many of us have or have had teen advisory boards. All of us work with teens and get feedback all the time from our teens. We help them find books of interest, we talk to them about books, and they ask us to buy certain books. Teachers and librarians who work with teens and are doing their jobs correctly have some pretty good ideas about what teens are reading and why. And overwhelmingly, they like to read dark books.

There are, of course, always exceptions. No one group is just one thing. I regularly ask for more funny YA, more HEA YA, and more “light” YA, in part because I do have teens asking for this. For example, because of the make up of our local community, we have a large “Horse and Buggy” collection which is a collection of Amish fiction that gets asked for regularly. I also still have teens coming in and asking for Dystopian. I helped a teen boy just the other day who wanted Dystopian but not The Hunger Games or Divergent because he had read those.

The Teen spending time in the Teen MakerSpace

Even The Teen, who comes from a supportive family with two parents who adore each other and invest in her, likes to read dark and angsty YA. Adolescence is a time of great change and challenges and it can be very emotionally overwhelming. Even my teen who is cloaked in all kinds of privilege finds the realities of life overwhelming.

I used to host a poetry contest and slam every April as part of my regular YA services. Every year we would get tons of poems and the adults who didn’t work with teens that I asked to judge would be surprised by the overwhelming darkness of the poems. The adults who did work with teens never were. Judging a teen poetry contest will open your eyes quickly to how dark the mind of a teen can be. YA isn’t making teens dark or depressed, it’s dark and depressed because a lot of our teens are. Teens will catch on to any inauthenticity quickly and reject a book that they read as false, pandering, or overly didactic. The surest way to get teens to stop reading is to write the types of books adults want them to read which are very different than the types of books that teens want to read for themselves. I’m pretty sure my teen is never going to commit murder, but if no one dies in a book she doesn’t want to read it.

Whenever someone complains about how dark YA is, it is almost always an adult. It is often a parent and often these parents don’t understand how dark the inside of their children’s minds can be. Even if they themselves aren’t wrestling with an internal darkness, they are friends with someone who is. 1 in 4 teens wrestle with mental illness. 1 in 5 teens are victims of sexual violence. Rates of depression, anxiety and suicide are increasing. Less than 50% of teens identify as straight. They regularly practice shooter drills in school and chances are they have heard rumors about someone threatening to bring a gun to their school. It happened twice just last year at my teen’s school. Add in hormones, first crushes and rejection, bullying, parental pressure and all the other normal parts of the teenage years, and that’s kind of a lot.

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The reason that I know this is because YA librarians are in the unique position of being trusted by a lot of teens. The stories I could tell you about the lives teens are living. I work with teens who have had to move out of state for a period of time to stay with a distant relative because both parents were in jail. I work with teens who have had their personal stuff sold by siblings and parents so they can buy drugs. I work with teens who have watched their parents overdose. I work with teens who live in oppressive poverty in homes where adults have come and gone and they have little reason to hope for a future that is any less bleak than it currently is because they can so no way out.

Not all of these teens like to read dark literature, because some of them are looking for escape. But a lot of them like to read books about people like them because even in these dark books, there is often a glimpse of escape, and they need to know that there are people who care, resources to help them, and a hope for a future. But even if a teen doesn’t lead a dark life, it’s meaningful and powerful for them to read dark books because reading builds compassion and awareness. My teenage daughter has learned a lot about, for example, violent dating relationships by reading. She recently told a friend that she was concerned that her boyfriend was too controlling and that it could be an indication of an unhealthy relationship. She had this awareness, these relationship tools, because she has read dark YA about abusive relationships and now has a greater awareness of what she should demand for herself and refuse to tolerate while dating.

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The types of books I get asked for the most: Realistic fiction, Paranormal, LGBTQ Lit, “books that will make me cry”

Fifteen minutes from my house Jordan Edwards was killed by a white police officer. Just this past week that officer was found guilty of murder. My teenage daughter is best friends with the daughter of one of Jordan’s teachers. We did not know this young man, we don’t live right there in the community, and we are cloaked in white privilege, but we have been here watching this community and this family wrestle with this profound loss. The Teen has read both All American Boys and The Hate U Give to help her gain a better understanding as an outsider looking in to what this family, this community is going through. As a parent and a librarian, I am glad that books like this exist because they help outsiders better understand the very real challenges that other people face in life. My daughter is learning that racism is real and that she has white privilege and a duty to speak out against it because reading books helps to open minds and build compassion.

I think of these teens and their stories every time I read about an adult making claims about YA literature. I wish that as part of their research the writers of these articles would spend some time talking to teens and asking them what they think about YA literature. YA literature has and should be for teens, so maybe it’s time we stopped letting adults talk about it and asked the teens themselves. That’s what YA librarians have been doing for years and I highly recommend it. But don’t just ask one teen, ask many. In fact, I would love if it would become standing operating procedures to speak to a minimum of 10 teen readers before writing an article on YA literature. It’s time for adults to stop speaking for teens and let them start speaking for themselves.

Friday Finds: August 31, 2018

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA September 2018

MakerSpace: DIY Games

Book Review: Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

#ReadForChange: Back to School with Brendan Kiely’s TRADITION

Recently in Book Mail

2018 Diversity Audit Resources – The Quest to Create an Own Voices Master List as an Audit Tool

Sunday Reflections: When Darkness Means You Can’t Read – Reflections on Mental Health and Reading

Around the Web

Detroit’s Public School District Shuts Off Drinking Water, Citing Lead, Copper Risk

The School Shootings That Weren’t

The FDA is Investigating Juul for Targeting Teens

This fall’s 11 YA novels that you just can’t miss

 

 

 

Recently in Book Mail

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Here to Stay by Sara Farizan

Bijan Majidi is:
  • Shy around girls
  • Really into comics
  • Decent at basketball

Bijan Majidi is not:

  • A terrorist

What happens when a kid who’s flown under the radar for most of high school gets pulled off the bench to make the winning basket in a varsity playoff game?

If his name is Bijan Majidi, life is suddenly high fives in the hallways and invitations to exclusive parties—along with an anonymous photo sent by a school cyberbully that makes Bijan look like a terrorist.

The administration says they’ll find and punish the culprit. Bijan wants to pretend it never happened. He’s not ashamed of his Middle Eastern heritage; he just doesn’t want to be a poster child for Islamophobia. Lots of classmates rally around Bijan. Others make it clear they don’t want him oranybody who looks like him at their school. But it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends.

Monstrous Devices by Damien Love

On a winter’s day in a British town, twelve-year old Alex receives a package in the mail: an old tin robot from his grandfather. “This one is special,” says the enclosed note, and when strange events start occurring around him, Alex suspects this small toy is more than special; it might be deadly.

Right as things get out of hand, Alex’s grandfather arrives, pulling him away from an attack—and his otherwise humdrum world of friends, bullies, and homework—and into the macabre magic of an ancient family feud. Together, the duo flees across snowy Europe, unraveling the riddle of the little robot while trying to outwit relentless assassins of the human and mechanical kind.

Secrets From the Deep by Linda Fairstein

It’s the end of summer, and Devlin Quick is invited to join her best friend Booker’s family on vacation at their summer home in Martha’s Vineyard. Booker has a science project for school: to take a daily bucket of water from the Vineyard Sound and submit a sample to an oceanographic DNA lab. From that, they can actually tell you what species of fish have been in those waters: striped bass, blues…and sharks! But Devlin comes up with something else in her bucket from the days when pirates hid treasures along New England coastline. With access to the crime DNA lab back in NYC (courtesy of her mother), Dev is going to solve the mystery of this treasure…and figure out all of the secrets Martha’s Vineyard is hiding.

Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo

A meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighbourhood left Sylvia Acevedo’s family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia’s life transformed when she joined the Brownies. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science. With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Red Fox Clan by John Flanagan

Picking up where The Royal Ranger: A New Beginning left off, this next installment continues the story arc featuring young apprentice, Maddie, and the student-turned-master, Will Treaty. The time has come for the next generation to assume the mantle and become protectors of the kingdom of Araluen.

After passing her third-year assessment as a ranger’s apprentice, Maddie is called home to Castle Araluen. Forced to keep her ranger training a secret, Maddie feels trapped by the monotony of castle life and longs to find a way out. But there are whisperings of a new threat to the kingdom. The mysterious Red Fox Clan, a group of anarchists all donning fox masks, have threatened Castle Araluen and question Princess Cassandra and Madelyn’s succession to the throne. Will they succeed in unseating Cassandra and Madelyn and take the throne for themselves?

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Did you drink a glass of water today? Did you turn on a light? Did you think about how miraculous either one of those things is when you did it? Of course not–but you should, and New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson has. This adaptation of his adult book and popular PBS series explores the fascinating and interconnected stories of innovations–like clean drinking water and electricity–that changed the way people live.Innovation starts with a problem whose solution sets in motion all kinds of unexpected discoveries. That’s why you can draw a line from pendulums to punching the clock at a factory, from ice blocks to summer movie blockbusters, from clean water to computer chips.In the lively storytelling style that has made him a popular, bestselling author, Steven Johnson looks at how accidental genius, brilliant mistakes, and unintended consequences shape the way we live in the modern world. Johnson’s “long zoom” approach connects history, geography, politics, and scientific advances with the deep curiousity of inventors or quirky interests of tinkerers to show how innovation truly comes about. His fascinating account is organized into six topics: glass, cold, sound, clean, time, light. Johnson’s fresh exploration of these simple, single-syllable word concepts creates an endlessly absorbing story that moves from lightning strikes in the prehistoric desert to the herculean effort to literally raise up the city of Chicago to laser labs straight out of a sci-fi movie. In other words, it’s the story of how we got to now!

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN is a stunning reimagination of the classic, speaking to the fears we all bury deep inside.

2018 Diversity Audit Resources – The Quest to Create an Own Voices Master List as an Audit Tool

Whenever I talk about doing a YA collection diversity audit (links at the end of this post), the #1 question I get asked, after how in general, is how do you know if an author is own voices or not. It’s a good question that typically takes a lot of research, even for me. I have somewhat of a basis now using my own collection and my first audit, but starting from scratch was a time consuming endeavor that had me checking and double checking lists I found online and cross checking them with my own shelf list. There are lots of good individual resources out there that focus on things like Latinx authors, or LGBTQ authors, or POC authors, but you have to find and navigate each one, which makes the task a bit more cumbersome.

Lee and Low have a good resource to help librarians understand the Diversity Gap in Children's Litearature http://blog.leeandlow.com/2017/03/30/the-diversity-gap-in-childrens-book-publishing-2017/

Lee and Low have a good resource to help librarians understand the Diversity Gap in Children’s Litearature http://blog.leeandlow.com/2017/03/30/the-diversity-gap-in-childrens-book-publishing-2017/

This year, I want to work on creating an Own Voices master list that would help other YA librarians have some starting points for doing their own diversity audits. Some other librarians have agreed to help.  Lisa Krok (@readonthebeach), Allie (@alphabeticallie) and I are working on creating a YA Own Voices Master List that we can upload to Google Docs and share with the general public. But it’s quite a task and we are working out the details. It’s a discussion in progress. In the meantime, we could really use your help.

Want to know more about Own Voices? Here’s a brief beginning.

#ownvoices • Corinne Duyvis

1. Help us create the Master List by sharing resources you know about in the comments so we can add them to our list.  A lot of people have done some initial work and compiled great lists, so if you know about them please place a link in the comments.

2. If you have some sort of a spreadsheet already and don’t mind sharing, please consider sending it to me via email. We will make sure that your work is acknowledged.

3. If you are an author who wants to be included, please comment below or email me.

A note about this list: Our goal is to create a tool to help YA librarians assess the make up of their collections in order to build the most inclusive collections as possible. We do not expect that this list will ever be exhaustive or all inclusive because new authors are always being announced and also, some authors may not wish to be identified. For example, we do not want to ever accidentally out an LGBTQ author who does not wish to be identified. We also want to work and make sure that we correctly identify authors in the ways they wish to be identified and respect their right not to be included if they so choose. We are choosing to focus not just on works that include diverse characters, which have value, but on focusing on and lifting up own voices authors to help ensure that we are not just lifting up diverse titles, but diverse authors because as recent research has indicated, children’s and YA publishing is still overwhelmingly white. We want our kids to not only read about characters that look like themselves, but to read about it from an author who looks like them and can remind them that not only can they read diversely, but that they too can grow up to be an author and share their words if they so choose.

We live in an increasingly diverse world, but many areas of our lives do not reflect this. Publishing is one of these areas, and we want to provide a resource to help libraries do the necessary work of making sure that they are purposefully curating inclusive collections. While organizations like We Need Diverse Books does the work on helping to diversify publishing, librarians need to do the work of making sure we are buying the books and building inclusive collections for our patrons.

Please note, for the purposes of this discussion, we are talking about books published as YA. I fully understand that teens read both down and up, but for the purposes of this project we will be looking at YA authors who have published at least 1 title published as YA/Teen.

Current Resources and Discussion

Diversity in Publishing

Statistics | Diversity in YA

The Diversity Baseline Survey | Lee & Low Books

Infographic Series: The Diversity Gap | Lee & Low Books

SLJ Resources for Diversity in Kid and YA Lit | School Library Journal

We Need Diverse Books | Official site of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Children’s Book Council (CBC) Diversity ;CBC Diversity Initiative | Children’s Book Council

Cooperative Children’s Book Center: Publishing Stats on Children’s Books and Diversity

Population Statistics

U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts selected: UNITED STATES

LGBT America: By the Numbers | Washington Week – PBS

Doing a Diversity Audit

Diversity in Collection Development – American Library Association

Having Students Analyze Our Classroom Library To See How Diverse It Is

Diversity in Libraries–From Collections and Community to Staff

Third Graders Assess and Improve Diversity of Classroom Library

How You Can Support the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign

Additional Resources: Book Lists and New Releases

Diversity in YA (General)

We Need Diverse Books | Official site of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Reading While White

Rich In Color

Book Lists | Diversity in YAwww.diversityinya.com/category/book-lists/

Diversity in Young Adult and Middle Grade (1351 books) – Goodreads

31 Young Adult Books With Diverse Characters Literally Everyone

Diversity YA Life: Diverse Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror – The Hub

Diversity YA Life: Urban Fiction – The Hub

Rich in Color | Reading & Reviewing Diverse YA Booksrichincolor.com/

Diversify YA Life: Horror with Diverse Characters

50 Years of Diversity in Young Adult Literature by Edith Campbell

60 Diverse Books To Look for in 2017

10 Diverse Books by YA Authors of Color to Read in 2017 | Teen Vogue

Faces of Color on 2017 YA Books – Book Riot

#OwnVoices YA Favorites

14 of Our Most Anticipated OwnVoices YA Books of 2018 – July through December

Asian American Protagonists

Best Asian-American Teen Fiction (156 books) – Goodreads

A Round-Up of Awesome Asian American Protagonists in YA Lit

11 Young Adult Novels By Asian-American Authors – Bustle

LatinX Representation

Latinx Ya Shelf – Goodreads

13 Upcoming YA Books By Latinx Authors To Start Getting Excited

9 Books By Latinx Authors I Wish I Had As A Teenager – Bustle

Latinxs in Kid Lithttps://latinosinkidlit.com/ 

Native American Representation

American Indians in Children’s Literature

#OwnVoices Representation: Native American Authors – YA Interrobang

Teen Books With Native American Characters and Stories (66 books)

Some thoughts on YA lit and American Indians – American Indians in Children’s Literature/Debbie Reese

Books Outside The Box: Native Americans – The Hub

Teen Books by Native Writers to Trumpet Year-Round | School Library

POC Leads

10 Diverse Books by YA Authors of Color to Read in 2017 | Teen Vogue

Faces of Color on 2017 YA Books – Book Riot

12 Young Adult Novels With POC Protagonists – Bustle

14 YA Books About LGBTQ People of Color – The B&N Teen Blog

Books By and About People of Marginalized Races

BrownBookShelf

LGBTQAI+

YA Pride (formerly Gay YA) : YA Pride (@YA_Pride) | Twitter

30 Essential LGBT Books for YA Readers – AbeBooks

100 Must-Read LGBTQIA YA Books – Book Riot

23 of Our Most Anticipated LGBTQA YA Books of 2017 – The B&N

72 Must-Read YA Books Featuring Gay Protagonists – Epic Reads

LGBTQIAP+ Books By People Who Identify as LGBTQIAP+

Trans-Identifying Authors

The Rainbow Book List

Stonewall Book Awards List

Disability in YA Lit

Disability in Kidlit — Reviews, articles, and more about the portrayal of …

People First: Disabilities in YA Lit – The Hub

#ownvoices in Disability and Neurodiversity

Feminist YA

50 Crucial Feminist YA Novels – The B&N Teen Blog

34 Young Adult Books Every Feminist Will Love – BuzzFeed

100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader | Bitch Media

Body Acceptance

5 Body-Positive YA Reads to Take to the Beach – The B&N Teen Blog

Celebrating Every Body: 25 Body Image Positive Books for Mighty Girls

7 Body Positive YA Books That Slay | Brit + Co

Julie Murphy’s ‘Dumplin’ And 6 Other Body Positive YA Novels – Bustle

Religious Diversity in YA

#FSYALit at Teen Librarian Toolbox

Rich in Color | Six YA Books with Middle Eastern or Muslim Protagonists

Diversity in YA Literature: Muslim Teens – The Hub

Jewish Themed Young Adult Books, Not About The Holocaust

The Big Five (+1) in YA: Atheism and Agnosticism – The Hub

The Big Five (+1) in YA: Buddhism – The Hub

Mental Health in YA

#MHYALit at Teen Librarian Toolbox

29 YA Books About Mental Health That Actually Nail It – BuzzFeed

16 YAs That Get it Right: Mental Health Edition – The B&N Teen Blog

YA novels that get real about mental health – HelloGiggles

11 YA Novels That Deal With Mental Health Issues – Bustle

10 Must-Read YA Books That Also Talk About Mental Health – Healthline

Socio-Economic Diversity in YA Lit

Socio-Economic Diversity in YA Lit

Poverty in YA Literature

Rich Teen, Poor Teen: Books that depict teens living in poverty

#SJYALit: A Bibliography of MG and YA Lit Featuring Homeless Youth

Own Voices

MG/YA/NA #ownvoices (216 books) – Goodreads

#OwnVoices in Disability and Neurodiversity | The Daily Dahlia

11 of Our Most Anticipated #OwnVoices Reads of 2017

10 Amazing #OwnVoices Reads from 2016

LGBTQA Science Fiction and Fantasy YA by #OwnVoices Authors

Don’t forget to check out the hasthag #OwnVoices on Twitter

New Releases

YA Books Centralwww.yabookscentral.com/

Teen Reads – www.teenreads.com

Book Riot – www.bookriot.com

Barnes and Noble Teen Blog – www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/

YA Interrobang – www.yainterrobang.com

YA Lit – www.yalit.com

Epic Reads – www.epicreads.com

Pop Crush – www.popcrush.com

Bustle – www.bustle.com

Adventures in YA – www.adventuresinya.com

Coming Soon

17 Upcoming YA by Authors of Color: Bustle

Teens of Color on 2018 YA Book Covers – STACKED – books

2018 YA/MG Books With POC Leads (120 books) – Goodreads

Thirteen YA Books That Feature POC Leads Coming to You This 2018

17 YA Books By Authors Of Color To Look Out For In The First Half Of 2018

2018 YA Books with (Possible) LGBT Themes (114 books) – Goodreads – please note the possible noted here

The Complete List of 2018 YA Releases | Fictionist Magazine

YA Novels of 2018 (708 books) – Goodreads

YA Debuts 2018 (96 books) – Goodreads

Electric Eighteens | Electric 18s – 2018 Debut Young Adult

*with assistance from TLTer Heather Booth

Complete YA Collection Diversity Audit Series

Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: Understanding Your Local Community (Part 1)

Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: The How To (Part 2)

Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: Resources and Sources (Part 3)

Diversity Audit Outline 2017 with Sources

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Three months off for summer vacation meant I got a lot of reading done. Here are some quick looks at books I read for younger readers. I’m excited to head back to the elementary school library in a few days and share many of these titles with the students and see what everyone read and enjoyed over the summer!

Post-it Note reviews are 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.

All summaries here are from the publishers. Transcription of Post-it note review under the summary.

 

 

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The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Now available in paperback, this 2015 National Book Award finalist and instant New York Times bestseller is a stunning debut novel about grief and wonder.

Everyone says that it was an accident… that sometimes things “just happen”. But Suzy won’t believe it. Ever. After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory—even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: A moving examination of grief, loss, friendship, and healing. Zu’s scientific approach to this loss is compelling, especially as we watch her retreat further from reality and deeper into her theory. Well-written and emotional. Ages 10-13)

 

 

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Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk

Sixth grade was SO much easier for Danielle. All her friends were in the same room and she knew what to expect from her life. But now that she’s in seventh grade, she’s in a new middle school, her friends are in different classes and forming new cliques, and she is completely lost.

When Danielle inherits a magical sketchbook from her eccentric great aunt Elma, she draws Madison, an ideal best friend that springs to life right off the page! But even when you create a best friend, it’s not easy navigating the ups and downs of relationships, and before long Danielle and Madison are not exactly seeing eye-to-eye.

To make matters worse, Danielle has drawn the head of her favorite (and totally misunderstood) cartoon villain, Prince Neptune. He’s also come to life and is giving her terrible advice about how to make people like her. When she rejects him and he goes on a rampage during a school pep rally, Danielle and Madison have to set aside their differences to stop him!

 

(POST-IT SAYS: LOVE! This will fly off the shelf. Wide appeal and will be an instant hit for Telgemeier fans. Dany’s problems are ones many kids will relate to. The fantasy element is great and fun. Ages 9-13)

 

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Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School, Book 1 by Julie Falatko, Colin Jack

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!

 

(POST-IT SAYS: So silly and fun. Short chapters, dynamic and cartoonish illustrations, and bolded words/sentences will make this appeal to even reluctant readers. A clever and goofy story. Ages 7-10)

 

 

 

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Love Double Dutch! by Doreen Spicer-Dannelly

From the creator of the popular Disney Channel original movie, Jump In! comes a double Dutch novel perfect for fans of stories about sports, summer, and friendship.

Brooklyn middle-schooler MaKayla can only think about one thing–taking her double Dutch team all the way to the National Jump-off at Madison Square Garden. That is, until her mother breaks the news. Kayla has to spend the summer at her aunt’s house in North Carolina while her parents work out their problems . . . or decide to call it quits.

Kayla does not feel at home in the South, and she certainly doesn’t get along with her snooty cousin Sally. It looks like her Jump-off dreams are over.

Hold the phone! Turns out, double Dutch is huge in the South. She and Sally just need to find two more kids for a team. And a routine. And the confidence to stand up to the double Dutch divas who used to be Sally’s BFFs. Time to show those Southern belles some Brooklyn attitude!

 

(POST-IT SAYS: A fun, fast read with a small plot—get to the National Jump-Off competition. Lots of little obstacles to overcome keep it interesting. A good look at friendship, teamwork, and a competitive sport we don’t see much of in fiction. Ages 10-13)

 

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The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

An emotionally-charged new classic about the science of hope, love, and miracles! Natalie’s uplifting story of using the scientific process to “save” her mother from depression is sure to take root in readers’ hearts!

How do you grow a miracle? 
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific process. But Natalie’s botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that’s important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She’s going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. As Natalie prepares for the competition, she will discover that talking about problems is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light.

An extraordinary debut about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too. Think THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH meets THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Alert! A middle grade book that deals with mental health! Compassionate and moving look at families, support, therapy, and the ways depression can affect a family. As hopeful as it is heartbreaking. Ages 10-14)

 

 

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Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and A Snicker of Magic will be swept away by Cindy Baldwin’s debut middle grade about a girl coming to terms with her mother’s mental illness.

When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.

With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.

But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Unbeknownst to her family, Della’s mom has stopped taking her schizophrenia meds. Della feels responsible for her mom’s illness and for finding a cure. A quiet and empathetic look at how mental illness can affect a family. A supportive community helps Della through this hard time. Ages 10-13)

 

 

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The Jigsaw Jungle by Kristin Levine

A mysterious treasure hunt helps to heal a broken family in critically acclaimed author Kristin Levine’s first contemporary tale—perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Jennifer L. Holm

Claudia Dalton’s father has disappeared. What began as a late night at work has spiraled into a missing persons case—one that’s left twelve-year-old Claudia questioning everything she’s ever known about her father and their family.

But when she finally gets word from her dad, it turns out he isn’t missing at all. He’s just gone to “think things over” and visit an old friend, whatever that means. Feeling confused and helpless, Claudia starts to assemble a scrapbook, gathering emails, receipts, phone transcripts and more, all in a desperate attempt to figure out what’s happening with her dad. Claudia’s investigation deepens at her grandfather’s house, where she receives an envelope containing a puzzle piece and a cryptic message.

It’s this curious first clue that sets Claudia on an unexpected treasure hunt that she hopes will bring her dad home and heal whatever’s gone wrong with her family. Told through the pages of Claudia’s scrapbook, The Jigsaw Jungle is a moving story of a family lost and then found, with a dash of mystery and loads of heart, from award-winning author and middle-grade master Kristin Levine.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Interesting format with texts, emails, video transcripts, receipts, etc. The story behind the mystery is a complex one of identity and sexuality. Strong characters carry the story. A thoughtful look at family relationships and truth. Ages 10-13)

 

 

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The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio

A coming-of-age story that explores culture and family, forgiveness and friendship, and what makes a true home. Perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Joan Bauer.

Lou Bulosan-Nelson has the ultimate summer DIY project. She’s going to build her own “tiny house,” 100 square feet all her own. She shares a room with her mom in her grandmother’s house, and longs for a place where she can escape her crazy but lovable extended Filipino family. Lou enjoys her woodshop class and creating projects, and she plans to build the house on land she inherited from her dad, who died before she was born. But then she finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer.

Lou discovers it’s not easy to save her land, or to build a house. But she won’t give up; with the help of friends and relatives, her dream begins to take shape, and she learns the deeper meaning of home and family.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Wonderful look at community and culture. Filipino American Lou has a real talent for carpentry, design, and architecture. Lou is spirited, filled with determination and heart. Unique read. Ages 9-13)

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, and the July version can be found here.)

All summaries are from the publishers. Transcription of Post-it note review under the summary. 

 

 

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Storm-Wake by Lucy Christopher

Moss has grown up on the strangest and most magical of islands. Her father has a plan to control the tempestuous weather that wracks the shores. But the island seems to have a plan of its own once Callan — a wild boy her age — appears on its beaches. Her complex feelings for Callan shift with every tide, while her love for the island, and her father, are thrown into doubt…

And when one fateful day, a young man from the outside world washes up on the beach, speaking of the Old World, nothing will ever be the same.

A dark reflection of Shakespeare’s The TempestStorm-wake is one girl’s voyage of discovery — a mesmerizing tale of magic, faith, and love.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Ooh. I’ve always loved  The Tempest. A magical island, a father with powers, and a journey into the unknown propel this post-apocalyptic tale. This dark and magical tale is sometimes very slow and dense. Give this to readers who enjoy a challenge.)

 

 

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Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator by Catherine Reef

On the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, comes a riveting biography of its author, Mary Shelley, whose life reads like a dark gothic novel, filled with scandal, death, drama, and one of the strangest love stories in literary history.

The story of Frankenstein’s creator is a strange, romantic, and tragic one, as deeply compelling as the novel itself. Mary ran away to Lake Geneva with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was just sixteen. It was there, during a cold and wet summer, that she first imagined her story about a mad scientist who brought a corpse back to life. Success soon followed for Mary, but also great tragedy and misfortune.

Catherine Reef brings this passionate woman, brilliant writer, and forgotten feminist into crisp focus, detailing a life that was remarkable both before and after the publication of her iconic masterpiece. Includes index.

(POST-IT SAYS: A deeply engaging biography. Older readers with English degrees will really love this look at Mary Shelley’s life and her writings. The detailed story of her life is as dark and dramatic as you’d expect. Comes out 9/18/2018)

 

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Steal This Country: A Handbook for Resistance, Persistence, and Fixing Almost Everything by Alexandra Styron

A walk-the-walk, talk-the-talk, hands-on, say-it-loud handbook for activist kids who want to change the world!

Inspired by Abbie Hoffman’s radical classic, Steal This Book, author Alexandra Styron’s stirring call for resistance and citizen activism will be clearly heard by young people who don’t accept “it is what it is,” who want to make sure everybody gets an equal piece of the American pie, and who know that the future of the planet is now.

Styron’s irreverent and informative primer on how to make a difference is organized into three sections: The Why, The What, and The How. The book opens with a personal essay and a historic look at civil disobedience and teenage activism in America. That’s followed by a deep dive into several key issues: climate change, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, immigration, religious understanding, and intersectionality. Each chapter is introduced by an original full page comic and includes a summary of key questions, interviews with movers and shakers—from celebrities to youth activists—and spotlights on progressive organizations. The book’s final section is packed with how-to advice on ways to engage, from group activities such as organizing, marching, rallying, and petitioning to individual actions like voting with your wallet, volunteering, talking with relatives with different viewpoints, and using social activism to get out a progressive message.

This is a perfect book for older middle-schoolers and teens who care about the planet, the people with whom they share it, and the future for us all.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Intersectional and impressively thorough, this book is filled with essays, interviews, photos, comics, and plenty of tips on how to take action and be an ally. Includes a glossary. A great and accessible guidebook to social justice. Comes out 9/4/2018)

 

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Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if —especially if—you love them.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: For readers who like complicated friendships, “unlikable” characters, and little real plot. Lulu is Muslim and Iraqi-American. An honest look at how messy the teenage years can be. Slow to start but picks up in second half.)

 

 

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Paper Girls, Volumes 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughan

From Brian K. Vaughan, #1 New York Times bestselling writer of SAGA, and Cliff Chiang, legendary artist of WONDER WOMAN, comes the first volume of an all-new ongoing adventure.

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: For nearly 30 years, my friend Seth has been recommending comics to me. He was right to think I’d love this. 80s setting, badass girls, wormholes, monsters, mind-bending plot, plenty of action, and great art. Ages 15-18)