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Friday Finds: March 8, 2019

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

Book Review: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Book Review: The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project by Lenore Appelhans

The Teen Reads the Complete Works of A. S. King

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Local Legends and Local Libraries, a reflection on Luke Perry

Book Review: Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Feminist AF: Hearing Their Voices: Supporting Female Empowerment in Middle Grade Fiction for Tweens and Teens a guest post by Author Diane Magras

Around the Web

We Need Diverse Books™ Announces the Opening of Applications for the 2019 WNDB Internship Grants

The Absurd Structure of High School

Democrats have united around a plan to dramatically cut child poverty


Things I Never Learned in Library School: Local Legends and Local Libraries, a reflection on Luke Perry

thingsineverlearnedinlibraryschoolI began my career in public libraries in the Fall of 1992 in a small, rural town in the state of Ohio. It’s small, but in many ways magical. Next to this small town is an even smaller town that is still part of our library system, Fredericktown, Ohio. Despite some very real issues with poverty in Knox County, Knox County has a thriving arts community, great walking/bike trails, and it’s always just kind of felt like home. It’s where The Mr. and I went to college, where we lived after we first got married, and where I have spent a large and meaningful part of my years working in public libraries. I hope to return to it one day in the future as it really casts a spell on you.

This small, rural town doesn’t have a lot to claim fame, but it does have Luke Perry. By the time I started working with teens, Beverly Hills, 90210 has already been on the air for two years. While I had moved from Southern California to Knox County, Ohio, Luke Perry had moved from Knox County, Ohio to Southern California. And as someone who had dedicated her life to working for and with teens, I was very familiar with Luke and his work. He is, after all, not only Dylan McKay on 90210 but Pike from the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, which also came out in 1992.


Living in a small town, there are a lot of charms but also, especially if you are a teen, there is often a desire to just get out of there. Not everyone shares the desire, but those that understand small town life know how compelling the desire to change scenery can be. For my early teens, Luke Perry was a symbol of hope that they could indeed do just that. Luke Perry was a small town success that reminded us all that we could leave home, make a name for yourself, but also never forget our roots. For even though Luke Perry left, there were traces of him everywhere and he even came back a variety of times. It was, after all, his home and it helped form the core of who he was. There is something about Knox County, you leave but you never really leave; it becomes a part of you and somehow, that means something.

Fredericktown, Ohio remembers Luke Perry

I left Knox County for several years and worked at other libraries, but in January of 2015 I returned to the library I started at and it was glorious. That feeling of going home meant everything to me. And as Riverdale debuted on TV, I was reminded once again of what it meant to have a local hero from your local small town to help inspire teens. And this time was different because I didn’t just talk about the show with my library teens, but I watched it with my very own teenage daughter. Riverdale was a pop culture moment that I could share with my own teenager and that has such tremendous value. Once again, Luke Perry had cast his spell on both my personal and professional life. He feels woven into the fabric of who I am as a YA Librarian.

Yesterday the news came that Luke Perry had passed away and I felt a deep sadness. I watched 90210 because I felt it made me better at my job. Working with teens during the 90s at the height of 90210, he was an important part of many conversations that I had with those teens. And it was different than other pop culture moments because he had those local ties. He was one of our own and we were both proud and inspired. He mattered because he was one of us and he had made us proud.

Sometimes losing someone you don’t know hurts in ways that don’t make sense. I did not know Luke Perry, but he came in and out of my life in important ways as I tried to be successful at my job. And he was a homegrown legend, which always made him seem more real and personal. He wasn’t just some Hollywood star, he was a local boy who succeeded and that meant something to us.

The local is so very important in public libraries. We work hard to know, understand, connect with and serve our local communities. We study statistics, we develop plans and goals, we put together projects and programs to help us meet those goals. But at the end of the day, it is the people that matter. Every conversation that you have, every question you answer, every teen you share a moment with. For me, many of those moments have somehow involved Luke Perry.

Several times throughout the course of the day yesterday I wept. This one feels way more personal than so many of the other pop culture losses. I am thankful every day for the inspiration and hope he provided for the many teens I have worked with over the years. My heart aches for his family as they mourn this loss. Knox County, Ohio has lost one of its own and even though I’m not there today, I feel that loss so acutely. Rest in peace Luke Perry.

Feminist AF: Feminist YA That Does Not Disappoint a guest post by Mary Ellis

feministFeminist book lists frequently revolve entirely around the strongest, toughest, non-traditional young women that YA has to offer. This is not one of those lists. Feminism is the belief and unyielding pursuit of equality for all. For this reason, this is a Feminist YA book list that is more inclusive, has a broader reach, and does not disappoint.

This list will help enhance your perception of feminism and broaden your understanding of the human experience. The gender spectrum is wonderfully varied and diverse and the representation of own voices finally making its way onto YA bookshelves is promising, but we still need to do better. You can find strong female characters here, ones who eat the hearts of their enemies and love themselves more than any one else, but there is so much more feminist YA can offer you. Here you will find books that focus on race, social justice, immigration, disability, LGBTQ lives, mental health, abuse, and rape survivors as well. As in real life, many intersect and fall into several of these categories.

Books like A Wrinkle in Time and Speak are often heralded as feminist YA masterpieces that will maintain a place in our hearts and on our shelves for a long time to come. The books included here are meant to reach further than the most obvious feminist YA books. If you couldn’t relate to little Meg Murry, then maybe Sunny, Radu, or Gabi are the characters that will finally make you feel seen. These books can take you to places profoundly different and into situations you could scarcely fathom before. These are the books that deserve a hold at your library, a spot in your TBR pile, and to be recommended to your friends. If you have struggled to find your own experiences reflected in the books you’re reading, you are not alone. Hopefully this book list leaves you feeling understood and introduces you to diverse human experiences. Feminism is for everyone and so are these books.

And I Darken by Kiersten White (series) 

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh (series)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (series) 

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (series)

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

We Free Men by Terry Pratchett (series)

Once & Future by Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (series)

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft by Tess Sharpe

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein (series)

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (series)

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

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

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (series)

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (series)

Let’s Talk About Love by Clarie Kann

The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex by Amber J. Keyser

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

This Land is Our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

Tomboy by Liz Prince

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

What Girls are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold

You Don’t Know Me, but I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Dreadnought by April Daniels (series)

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

That Thing We Call A Heart by Sheba Karim

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson, Ellen Hagan

Done Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (series)

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

This Impossible Light by Lily Myers

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Drag Teen by Jeffery Self

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Swing by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess

Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All by Candace Fleming

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Someone I Used to Know by Patty Blount

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

American Panda by Gloria Chao

Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert

Ladycastle by Delilah S. Dawson

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

Sadie by Courtney Summers

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier (series)

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi

Crazy Horses Girlfriend by Erika T. Wurth

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (series)

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnson

Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX by Karen Blumenthal

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Run by Kody Keplinger

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (series)

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens by Marieke Nijkamp

Giant Days by John Allison (series)

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows (series)

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

What’s A Girl Gotta Do? By Holly Bourne

American Girls by Alison Umminger

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

Does My Head Look Big in This? By Randa Abdel-Fattah

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala



Mary Ellis is a Youth Specialist in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is a die-hard feminist and readers advisory is her jam. You can find her at @motherofreaders on Instagram.

Friday Finds: February 15, 2019

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

New books alert: Writing advice, Latinx teens on a road trip, Muslims in love, and so much more

Fight the Power: Music as a Social Force, a guest post by Lisa Krok

Cindy Crushes Programming: Hosting a Fortnite Party, by Cindy Shutts

Feminist AF: The Amelia Bloomer Project, by Ally Watkins

Post-It Note Reviews: Books for younger readers featuring a biracial protagonist, homeless kids in India, babysitters, and more

Book Review: Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

My MARVELous Vocabulary: a guest post by author Jerry Craft

Sunday Reflections: Are Teens Reading Less?

Around the Web

Federal Watchdog Issues Scathing Report On Ed Department’s Handling Of Student Loans

‘We Live With It Every Day’: Parkland Community Marks One Year Since Massacre

J.J. Abrams & ‘The Other Two’s Chris Kelly Developing Half-Hour ‘They Both Die At The End’ At HBO

31 YA Books By Black Authors That You Can’t Miss This Year

My MARVELous Vocabulary: a guest post by author Jerry Craft

NewKid HC cAs far back as I can remember, I have always loved comic books. Way before I had ever heard the term “graphic novel,” or aspired to create one, I remember running to my local candy store almost every week to buy the latest issues. But even though I bought them, I didn’t always read them. I had never heard the term “reluctant reader,” back then, but that’s exactly what I was. Occasionally, I would read my comics cover to cover, but those were mainly the issues that had more action scenes and fewer pages with our heroes as their secret identities. Those pages I would quickly scan in order to get the gist.

In junior high school, comics were looked at as some type of contraband that teachers would confiscate “to keep them from rotting our brains.” In fact, by the time the school year came to an end, some of those teachers would have larger comic collections in their bottom desk drawer than most of us had at home. So that was what I expected. Until Mr. Krupka, the first teacher I ever had who not only liked comics, but he actually encouraged us to read them. We quickly realized that if Mr. Krupka took one of our comics, it was only because he wanted to read it first! And much to our surprise, he even returned them!

With the exception of Mr. K., few of my teachers ever saw how comics helped to build my vocabulary. Especially Marvel Comics, because I couldn’t even read the cover without having to go and consult my family’s 400-pound Miriam Webster Dictionary (a book that looked more like I would use it to recite some type of ancient incantation than look up a word). But I had to because every title I bought had some type of fancy adjective before the name of the hero.

The Uncanny X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Invincible Iron Man, Astonishing Tales, The Macabre Man-Thing, and of course, Spider-Man who was both “amazing” AND “spectacular!” And if that wasn’t enough, I also had to go back to the dictionary to see what my favorite hero was trying to prevent! An apocalypse? . . .  Total annihilation? . . .  I went back to that gigantic dictionary so many times that not only did I build my vocabulary, I also built up my arm strength! (Have I mentioned how heavy it was?) So the better my reading skills and vocabulary, the less intimidated I was about reading other types of books. Even though I STILL didn’t really enjoy reading. It was not as if I COULDN’T read other books—I just didn’t WANT to. There’s a huge difference between the two.

Reading comics also encouraged me to write and draw my own comic books, which I absolutely loved (and obviously still do.) By the time I got to high school (in Riverdale), I was confident enough in my skills that I tried to talk my earth science teacher into allowing me to make a comic book instead of writing a term paper. And she let me! My comic was all about the life of a plant and how winter came in the form of an onslaught of spaceships armed with freeze rays! I still remember how our heroes transported supplies by using the xylem and phloem systems! Let me type that again . . . because I used that in my comic, I STILL remember xylem and phloem! And that’s without having to look it up!

By the time I was a college student at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), my comics were even better. And I also began to realize that between comic books, which I still loved, and TV cartoons like Schoolhouse Rock, did not rot my brain at all. If anything, they nourished it. But it still amazed me how many teachers did not understand. (Luckily, many of the teachers at SVA were cartoonists, so of course, they got it.) 

When I got out of college, it was very hard for me NOT to use my platform to help teach. So I created a comic strip called Mama’s Boyz — the story of a mom raising her two teenage sons while also running the family bookstore. Needless to say, Mom spent a lot of time trying to get her sons to read. In addition to literacy, over the years, I also used my comic strip to teach my readers about healthy eating, diabetes, teenage pregnancy, and organ and tissue donation. And the NY Daily News even commissioned me to develop a series of comic strips for their AIDs supplement. Miraculously, I pulled it off.

Fast forward  twenty years, during which time I published about two dozen books on my own because I NEVER thought that mainstream publishing would be interested in the types of stories that I wanted to tell. Stories with African-American protagonists where, even if they dealt with serious issues, still have to convey a sense of hope. And because I love to make people laugh, I wanted to add humor. There are sooo many important books by African-American authors who cover a myriad of topics, from historical to contemporary fiction, and my goal is to add my stories to complement their narratives so that kids can get a wide range of African-American life.

And that brings us to New Kid, my middle-grade graphic novel that follows the life of Jordan Banks, a 12-year-old boy from the Washington Heights section of New York City. More than anything, he wants to go to art school. But much like my parents, Jordan’s mom and dad don’t think that being an artist is a real job, which means they think he’ll probably live the rest of his life in their basement. So they send him to a prestigious and predominately white private school in Riverdale, a very affluent community. (Just like my parents did to me.) Each day, Jordan leaves his African-American and Latinx neighbors and tries to fit into a community that he has only seen on TV. But because he is also small for his age, and light-skinned with straight hair, he doesn’t always feel a part of the kids from his neighborhood, either. So, in essence, it’s a classic fish-out-of-water story. 

The teaching aspect comes from examining many of the nuances of trying to fit into the setting of Riverdale Academy Day School. The microaggressions, the code-switching, the “being confused with other Black kids” . . . (And English teachers will like that I teach kids about metaphors!)  But Jordan’s not perfect either. My goal is definitely not to blame, it’s to open eyes while also opening mouths that will look forward to having healthy conversations. I’d love for New Kid to be a book that African-American kids proudly claim as their own, while other kids see it as a book that always embraces them without ever being condescending. And it’s very important for me to make them laugh.

So with your help, we can start healthy discussions, and if the book does well, then maybe, I can finally move out of my parents’ basement.

Thank you!

CraftJerry ap 1 Credit Hollis KingJerry Craft is an author and illustrator whose most recent book is New Kid (HarperCollins, February 5, 2019). Craft has worked on numerous picture books, graphic novels, and middle grade novels, including The Zero Degree Zombie Zone by Patrik Henry Bass. He is the creator of Mama’s Boyz, an award-winning syndicated comic strip. He has won five African American Literary Awards and is a cofounder of the Schomburg Center’s Annual Black Comic Book Festival. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and now lives in Connecticut. Visit him online at www.jerrycraft.com.

How Fairytales Help Us Navigate the World, a guest post by author Maureen McQuerry

Between Before and After_Rd3When I was little, my mother read me fairytales. I remember Andrew Lang’s books, The Tall Book of Fairytales, and a peculiar story about a girl who jumped rope and could skip through a key hole and light as a feather on dandelion thistle. It took me years to track down Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep, again. My father told a different kind of story. Especially when he was drinking. He told stories of surviving alone on the streets of Brooklyn as a ten year old flu orphan, about stealing food from Wallabout Market and hoping for the kindness of strangers. These were the stories that haunted his life.

It took me years to see the connection between the two types of stories I grew up with, and it was a fairytale, specifically Hansel and Gretel, that helped make that link. As I wrote my YA historical novel Between Before and After, I realized that the theme of survival and eventual redemption in my novel was intimately tied to Hansel and Gretel, and in a risky move, I wove a retelling of the fairytale between the chapters.

In Fairytales, the woods are dark and dangerous places where anything might happen. There are many tales of children lost, abandoned, or sent into the woods at the request of a parent or evil stepmother.  Author and fairytale expert Terri Windling put it this way in her blog post Into the Woods,10: Wild Children: “The heroism of such children lies … in the ability to survive and transform their fate — and to outwit those who would do them harm without losing their lives, their souls, or their humanity in the process.” No one leaves the mythic woods unchanged. This is a truth I wanted to capture in my own novel.

Between Before and After is a mother daughter dual narrative set in 1919 Brooklyn, New York and 1955 San Jose, California.  In researching my novel I discovered that in late 1800’s New York, up to 30,000 abandoned or orphaned children filled overflowing orphanages or lived on the streets. This vast number of orphans was due in part to the overwhelming number of destitute immigrants living in crowded tenements. By 1900 there were 16 million Irish immigrants alone. During these years, childbirth was still the number one cause of female mortality, leaving impoverished fathers with young children.

Then the Spanish flu arrived with its scythe and black cloak.

Many children became half-orphans, abandoned by one parent after the other died. For these children, the streets of our cities were the woods of the grimmest fairytales, dark, full of predators and danger.

Against all odds many of these immigrant children survived their sojourn through the woods without losing their humanity. Many, of course, did not. Surviving childhood is not always easy nor is it guaranteed. And that’s what the fairytales have warned us about all along.

This is my family’s story, but it’s the story of thousands of children who have had to follow breadcrumbs on perilous journeys to find their way home.

What is it about fairy tales that compels us, that resonates with the themes in our own lives?

JRR Tolkein in his magnificent essay “On Fairy Stories” talks of the eucastic turn or happy ending.  The fairy story “denies universal defeat…giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy. Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” While fairy tales acknowledge and warn us of the existence of evil, they never pretend that evil is good or that despair has the final word. Fairy tales persist because in their themes, they tell us truths about the world.

  • The world is not a safe place: Myth reminds us that world is not a predictable and safe place. Fairies leave changelings, labyrinths hide monsters, shapeshifters cast spells. The mythic world is never tame.
  • There is no easy way out of the maze: when Theseus finds his way to the heart of the maze, he still must battle the minotaur, birds eat breadcrumbs, dragons swoop in, and we must travel through the dangers.
  • We often fear the wrong things: We fear outside enemies, but it’s our own greed, jealousy and hubris that most often cause our downfall.
  • We are all more than meets the eye: The reluctant hero discovers strengths she never knew she possessed.
  • We can fight dragons and win: As G.K. Chesterton says, “Fairy stories are more than true, not because they tell us there are dragons, but because they tell us dragons can be defeated.”
  • All stories are about transformation: no one leaves the woods unchanged. Without change there is no story.

Children still struggle in the woods today. Some are still locked in the witch’s house by parents’ addictions, cruelty, or dire circumstances. There is still a need for tales of hope, stories that say circumstances no matter how dark need not define you.


4bf19d_1a05afe193ac49afb4bd9ae3537f1160~mv2Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet) is an ALA Best Book for YA 2013, winner of the Westchester Award. Her MG fantasy duo Time Out of Time, includes Beyond the Door, a Booklist top Ten Fantasy/SciFi for Youth, and The Telling Stone, a finalist for the WA State Book awards. Between Before & After, a YA historical novel (HarperCollins/Blink) will be released in Feb 2019. She taught middle school through college for almost twenty years specializing in gifted education.  In 2000 she was awarded the McAuliffe Teaching Fellowship for WA State.

Find out more: www.maureenmcquerry.com



Kicky’s Post It Note Reviews: Royals, Twisted Fairy Tales, a Rabbit, a Robot, and Pure Evil


At TLT, we like to hear what teens have to say about YA Lit. The Teen has been doing a lot of reading lately, so it’s time for another round of Kicky’s Post It Reviews.



Royals by Rachel Hawkins


Publisher’s Book Description

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

Post It Note Review

Cute, but I still don’t like Miles. (She liked the book, but she doesn’t like Miles AT ALL.)

Editor’s Note: This book came out in 2018

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston


Publisher’s Book Description

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Post It Note Review

Absolutely fantastic, great representation

Editor’s Note: This book will be published in May of 2019

The Diviners by Libba Bray

We recently bought this book at a nearby book store because The Teen has read – twice now – Beauty Queens by Libba Bray and she is obviously a huge fan of that book, so she wanted to try reading something else by Libba Bray and she chose The Diviners.


Publisher’s Book Description

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Post It Note Review

Loved it so much and can’t wait to read the next one when I get the time. So many unexpected twists and a great ending.

Editor’s Note: This book is the first book in a series and it was released in 2012.

Tin Heart by Shivanun Plozza


Publisher’s Book Description

When Marlowe gets a heart transplant and a second chance at life, all she wants to do is to thank her donor’s family. Maybe then she can move on. Maybe then she’ll discover who she is if she’s no longer The Dying Girl.

But with a little brother who dresses like every day is Halloween, a vegan warrior for a mother, and an all-out war with the hot butcher’s apprentice next door, Marlowe’s life is already pretty complicated. And her second chance is about to take an unexpected turn…

Post It Note Review

Not exactly my type of book but still good.

Editor’s Note: This book will be published in March of 2019.

Rabit & Robot by Andrew Smith


Publisher’s Book Description

Cager has been transported to the Tennessee, a giant lunar-cruise ship orbiting the moon that his dad owns, by Billy and Rowan to help him shake his Woz addiction. Meanwhile, Earth, in the midst of thirty simultaneous wars, burns to ash beneath them. And as the robots on board become increasingly insane and cannibalistic, and the Earth becomes a toxic wasteland, the boys have to wonder if they’ll be stranded alone in space forever.

Post It Note Review

This book was completely absurd, but in a good way. Definitely the book to read if you want to laugh.

Editor’s Note: This book was published in 2018.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer


Publisher’s Book Description

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 Lacy. 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.

Post It Note Review

Not really for me but good for people who want fairytales.

Editor’s Note: This book publishes tomorrow, January 29, 2019.




Honoring the Heart of History, a guest post by author Roshani Chokshi

39863498When I first set out to write THE GILDED WOLVES, I had imagined a fun and lighthearted story set in an alternative Paris during the late 19thcentury. Something about that era had always tickled my imagination. I blame watching Moulin Rouge dozens of times when I was a kid…dreaming about mahogany stages, feathered silk gowns that trailed over frosted champagne flutes fallen from poet’s hands…the power of seizing an audience’s imagination so thoroughly that they followed you as if your mere shadow promised salvation. To me, 1889 Paris was opulence incarnate. What I hadn’t realized was how that imagery of an era was only slice of what it truly represented to millions of people across the world. 

In particular, writing this story made me rethink how fiction sheds light on historical truths. Nineteen century Paris is a celebration of juxtapositions. That feeling of artistic revolution was still true, but it was only a portion of the vast truth of that era. This was the epoch of Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, of the Moulin Rouge and its red windmill promising liberation. This was a time that earned its place in “La Belle Epoque” or “The Beautiful Years.” But it was also the Age of Imperialism, an age wherein many parts of Europe set sail to colonize swathes of Asia and Africa under the guise of a “civilizing mission” to bring civilization to the “dark and savage” parts of the world.

This is something that struck me in particular as someone acutely aware of how colonialism has shaped my cultural heritage. My mother is from the Philippines, which was controlled by Spain for 300 years. My father is from India, which was similarly controlled by the British. It’s a hard truth to stomach how an era that looked so beautiful on the outside was also a time for outside forces to enslave, extort and erase the native cultures of other civilizations. This really came to a head for me when I started delving into the details of the 1889 Exposition Universelle, the world fair that incentivized the creation of one of France’s cultural icons, the Eiffel Tower. 

Once, the Eiffel Tower served as the entrance to the world fair. The world fair had multiple cultural pavilions, all of which celebrated the civilizing might of Western European powers. Their biggest draw that attracted nearly 28 million visitors was a human zoo, then advertised as a “Negro Village” where viewers could watch natives in their “natural habitat.” This is the kind of term that makes the soul recoil. It’s dehumanizing in the extremes, and something that was not a historical one-off incident. During the 1904 St. Louis World Fair, there was another human zoo, this time featuring Igorots, indigeneous Filipinos who ceremonially butchered dogs and were then forced to do so for spectacle. Hearing those stories put my own past into perspective, as I started thinking about the stories that have become forgotten, slowly swept under the rug of the highlight reels of various centuries. 

When I started writing THE GILDED WOLVES, I made the decision early on to honor the heart of the history even as I set the book in an alternate world and infused it with its own magic system. At some points, I faced pushback from early reviewers for the decision I made, but I stand by my word choice and the presentation of uglier truths. There is a great danger in sanitizing the grotesque at the risk of offending someone’s modern sensibilities. We do not live in a beautiful world. At best, it is gilded, which does not mean that it’s without beauty and splendor. For me, there’s a huge responsibility among children authors to reflect the world’s spectrum of color, ethnicities, religious backgrounds. Our histories are highlight reels, often smoothed over by the patina of 

conquerors and the threads lost between bloodshed and colonialism. Even though that was not the focus of the story, it is the backdrop. It is the emotional context which informs how the characters interact with each other and with their world.

My hope for my stories is that they spark curiosity and conversation. With this story in particular, I hope it encourages readers to be more critical of their surroundings and of history. I hope it encourages them to look to the shadows, and lift the darkness and confusion, and see what hidden truths lie there. I hope they question what is gold and what glitters. 


SIC_0760-719x1024Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of Aru Shah and the End of Time, The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and The Gilded Wolves. Her work has been nominated for the Locus and Nebula awards, and her books have appeared on Barnes and Nobles Best New Books of the Year and Buzzfeed Best Books of the Year lists. Chokshi lives in Georgia, but doesn’t have much of a Southern accent. Alas.

Her novel, The Gilded Wolves, is available now.

Set in a darkly glamorous world The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts:

An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Thoughts on Collection Development

Having discussions about collection development and book selection, so I tweeted out some thoughts which I am gathering here so I have them in the future. Also, often non-library people don’t know what all happens behind the scenes to get those books into the local library and they may find this interesting.

Meet Our New TEEN Contributor to TLT: Elliot

We are very excited to welcome Elliot as our first, full-time, regular TEEN contributor to Teen Librarian Toolbox. Read a bit about Elliot below and look for their posts in 2019.


I am currently a student at [Name redacted for safety reasons] High School who wishes to pursue a career in journalism. I have been an avid writer and a human rights activist for as long as I can remember. My goal in life is to help other people and I believe that one of the best ways to help someone in a bad situation is to share their stories. Sometimes the only thing that a person needs is a voice; however, not everyone has the opportunity for their voice to be heard. I want my writing to be a voice for all of those who are kept silent and I want my writing to make a difference in our slowly declining world. Although times are tough, I believe that there is always hope: you just have to find it.

Elliot is involved in theater, works as part of the yearbook staff, plays Dungeons and Dragons and is all around amazing, intelligent, kind and cool.