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New Releases and Mini Reviews: Little & Lion, The Bakersville Dozen, and The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

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Today is a good day for book releases, as apparently all the recent books I have chosen to read release today. Is it fate? Destiny? Hard to say. Let’s dive right in, shall we.

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

august83Two step-siblings who were closer than close are reunited after one, Little (the female) spends a year in boarding school so that her step sibling, Lion (the male), can figure out how to deal with his bipolar disorder. At first the two of them deal with tension as they try to navigate who they are now after a year apart and the secrets they are both keeping, but as everything starts to unravel they have to learn to face their various truths.

There’s a bit of every aspect of teen life in this one: friendship, family, siblings, identity (both racial/ethnic and sexuality including frank discussions of bi and pansexuality), mental health, sex, teen, pregnancy, abortion, feminism, drinking and drug use, consent and more. It is in many ways the most authentically fleshed out and inclusive YA book I have ever read. There are a few brief moments where the character’s get a little didactic in how they talk about these various subjects, but it almost has to in order to make sure that the reader fully understands the topic at hand. For example, many readers may be unaware of the difference between bi and pansexuality and the discussion helps flesh out the concepts for the reader. There are moments in this book where teens clearly make bad decisions, sometimes even acknowledging that they are making bad decisions and then going on to make them anyway, and we see the ultimate results of those decisions. It’s a thoughtful look at the very real complexity of teen life with a respectful tone and engaging story. Brandy Colbert is a fantastic author and really does a good job of telling this story and diving into these issues.

The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride

bakersvilledozenWhen compromising videos of several – a dozen to be exact – students go viral, life is not the same for the students in this Ohio high school. Then one of the Bakersville Dozen goes missing. Soon, a note is found with a challenge: find five trophies, follow the rules or everyone dies. It’s a macabre scavenger hunt full of twists and turns that you won’t see coming. Kristina McBride is a good author who deals with issues like online bullying, friendship, rivalries, broken relationships and more in the pages of this mystery thriller. Every step of the way you’re shouting to the teens, no don’t go into the basement and please call the police – which of course they can’t do or else we don’t have a story. And what a story it is.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Lee

august81Genie thought she was just a regular girl trying to get into a good college, until the Monkey King shows up and she discovers that she is a celestial being with a destiny to fight demons. Things get complicated – and snarky. For those of us old enough to know what this means, it definitely has a Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel to it in both storytelling and vibe, but has some unique twists in that it is steeped in Chinese culture and folklore. For the younger crowd, think Shadowhunters with a Chinese folklore infusion. I was not familiar with the legend of the Monkey King and found this story to be both entertaining and enlightening. It’s a fun read and that is high praise indeed. We need more flat out fun reads and this fits the bill.

About the Books

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

A stunning novel on love, loss, identity, and redemption, from Publishers Weekly Flying Start author Brandy Colbert

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride

You have four days to locate five treasured trophies. Break the rules and you all die. Happy hunting!

Back in September, the town of Bakersville, Ohio made national news when a video went viral featuring thirteen of the high school’s elite in compromising positions. Now it’s May, and every month since the “Bakersville Dozen” made their infamous appearance on the national stage, one girl has gone missing. Officials are no closer to identifying the criminal.

Bailey “Like a Virgin” Holzman is getting really fed up with the scrutiny. She just wants to enjoy the rest of her senior year and have an epic summer before heading off to college. So when she discovers a note in her locker on the last day of school inviting her on a scavenger hunt, she thinks it’s just a sweet surprise from her boyfriend trying to cheer her up.

But following the clue leads her, instead, to the first official casualty. And another sinister envelope. The killer is close, and it could be anyone. Even the people Bailey’s always trusted most—her best friend, her perfect boyfriend, or the boy-next-door she’s always pined for.

With the clock ticking, she faces a terrifying choice: play the game by the killer’s rules—follow the clues, tell no one, and no cops—for a chance to save the rest of the missing girls, or risk becoming the next grisly victim.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Lee

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined… (Amulet Books, 9781419725487)

Recently in Book Mail + a Giveaway

IMG_5235The following are books that have arrived here recently. I’ll be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months. Head on over to the Rafflecopter to be entered to win one package of three books from this list! You can also enter by retweeting this post or following me (@CiteSomething) on Twitter! US entries only, please. Contest runs April 28th through May 5th. 

 

All summaries from the publisher.

 

killtheboyband2Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky (ISBN-13: 9780545867474 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 02/23/2016)

Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him-his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make-or break-the people we call “celebrities.”

 

exitExit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (ISBN-13: 9781101994580 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/15/2016)

Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

 

seventh gradeMy Seventh-Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin (ISBN-13: 9780553512502 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 04/12/2016)

Football hero. Ninja freestyler. It’s seventh grade. Anything is possible.

All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.

At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?

Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor in this kid-friendly humorous debut by Brooks Benjamin.

 

savingSaving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki (ISBN-13: 9781626722712 Publisher: Roaring Brook Press Publication date: 04/19/2016)

A beautiful and offbeat novel from Mariko Tamaki, co-creator of the bestselling Printz Honor and Caldecott Honor Book This One Summer.

Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, forced to go to a school full of jocks and girls who don’t even know what irony is. It would all be impossible if it weren’t for her best friends, Thomas and Naoki. The three are also the only members of Jefferson High’s Mystery Club, dedicated to exploring the weird and unexplained, from ESP and astrology to super powers and mysterious objects.

Then there’s the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet Monty bought online. Will it help her predict the future or fight back against the ignorant jerks who make fun of Thomas for being gay or Monty for having lesbian moms? Maybe the Eye is here just in time, because the newest resident of their small town is scarier than mothmen, poltergeists, or, you know, gym.

Thoughtful, funny, and painfully honest, Montgomery Sole is someone you’ll want to laugh and cry with over a big cup of frozen yogurt with extra toppings.

 

two summersTwo Summers by Aimee Friedman (ISBN-13: 9780545518079 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 04/26/2016)

ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . .

ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . .

When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds. In one, she travels to France, where she’s dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue — but nothing is as it seems.

In both summers, she will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. What may break her, though, is a terrible family secret, one she can’t hide from anywhere. In the end, it might just be the truth she needs the most.

From New York Times bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.

 

hundred hoursA Hundred Hours of Night by Anna Woltz (ISBN-13: 9780545848282 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 04/26/2016)

When Emilia de Wit ran away to New York City, she planned everything to a T. Plane ticket, purchased. Cute apartment, rented online. Subway map, printed and highlighted. This was no ordinary trip — this was Emilia’s declaration of independence. Her chance to escape the disaster her life has become. To get away from the horrible scandal that has rocked Amsterdam, the scandal that is all her dad’s fault. To see if her mom, the glamorous, world-famous artist, will even notice.

New York steals Emilia’s heart at first sight — even though absolutely nothing goes to plan. She didn’t plan to end up homeless on a stranger’s doorstep. She didn’t plan to make friends with Seth, Abby, and Jim. And she could never have known that Hurricane Sandy would be barreling up the coast, straight for the city.

All she wanted was to get away from her parents, her problems, her life… but when the storm hits and the power goes out, Emilia feels farther from home than she could have imagined.

 

silverOne Silver Summer by Rachel Hickman (ISBN-13: 9780545808927 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 04/26/2016)

After losing her mom in an accident, Sass is sent to live with her uncle in England. Far from her native Brooklyn, the rocky shores and crumbling castles of Cornwall seem like the perfect place to hide her grief. And when she stumbles across a silver horse in a sunlit meadow, Sass feels a surprising sense of peace . . . only to have it broken by a boy.

Arrogant and distrustful, the horse’s trainer, Alex, doesn’t approve of the trespassing American. Yet after a few chance meetings, he begins to feel a connection to the curious girl with the sad eyes, and offers to teach her to ride. Sass never expected to feel anything again–least of all love–but the lessons reveal a far different Alex, and soon their friendship turns into something more.

But Alex has a secret–a bombshell about his family that could shatter Sass’s trust . . . and force him to abandon the one girl who made him believe in himself.

 

keep meKeep Me In Mind by Jaime Reed (ISBN-13: 9780545883818 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 04/26/2016)

Ellia Dawson doesn’t recognize the handsome boy who sits in tears by her hospital bed. He claims he’s her boyfriend, Liam. But to Ellia, he’s a stranger. She remembers her name. Her parents. Her best friend, Stacey. But Liam is a total blank in her life.

Liam McPherson is devastated. His girlfriend, Ellia, suffered a terrible accident–maybe because of him–and now she’s lost her memory. But the harder Liam tries to reach Ellia, and remind her of what they had, the more she pulls away. As Ellia begins on the slow road to recovery, Liam begins work on a secret project that he hopes will bring back the girl he loved.

But can there ever be a future when the past is in pieces?

 

jerkbaitJerkbait by Mia Siegert (ISBN-13: 9781631630668 Publisher: Jolly Fish Press Publication date: 05/03/2016)

Even though they’re identical, Tristan isn’t close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself. Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other’s lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can’t escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world.

Robbie’s future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer. As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as “Jimmy2416.” Between keeping Robbie’s secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path.

How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him?

 

meet me hereMeet Me Here by Brian Bliss (ISBN-13: 9780062275387 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date:05/31/2016)

In a single night—graduation night—Thomas has to decide: do what everyone has always expected of him, or forge an entirely new path? Bryan Bliss’s absorbing examination of one boy struggling with expectations and realities will appeal to readers of Sara Zarr and Chris Crutcher.

Thomas is supposed to leave for the Army in the morning. His father was Army. His brother, Jake, is Army—is a hero, even, with the medals to prove it. Everyone expects Thomas to follow in that fine tradition. But Jake came back from overseas a completely different person, and that has shaken Thomas’s certainty about his own future. And so when his long-estranged friend Mallory suggests one last night of adventure, Thomas takes her up on the distraction. Over the course of this single night, Thomas will lose, find, resolve, doubt, drive, explore, and leap off a bridge. He’ll also face the truth of his brother’s post-traumatic stress disorder and of his own courage. In Bryan Bliss’s deft hands, graduation night becomes a night to find yourself, to find each other, to find a path, and to know that you always have a place—and people—to come back to.

 

withoutWithout Annette by Jane B. Mason (ISBN-13: 9780545819954 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/31/2016)

Josie Little has been looking forward to moving halfway across the country to attend Brookwood Academy, a prestigious boarding school, with her girlfriend, Annette, for ages. But underneath Brookwood’s picture-perfect image lies a crippling sense of elitism that begins to tear the girls apart from the moment they arrive.

While Josie struggles to navigate her new life, Annette seems to fit in perfectly. Yet that acceptance comes with more than a few strings. And consequently, Annette insists on keeping their relationship a secret.

At first, Josie agrees. But as Annette pushes her further and further away, Josie grows closer to Penn, a boy whose friendship and romantic feelings for her tangle her already-unraveling relationship. When Annette’s need for approval sets her on a devastating course for self-destruction, Josie isn’t sure she can save her this time-or if Annette even wants her to try.

 

leavingThe Leaving by Tara Altebrando (ISBN-13: 9781619638037 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 06/07/2016)

Eleven years ago, six kindergartners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They’re sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn’t really recognize the person she’s supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they’re entirely unable to recall where they’ve been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max–the only one who hasn’t come back. Which leaves Max’s sister, Avery, wanting answers. She wants to find her brother–dead or alive–and isn’t buying this whole memory-loss story. But as details of the disappearance begin to unfold, no one is prepared for the truth.

This unforgettable novel–with its rich characters, high stakes, and plot twists–will leave readers breathless.

 

long gameThe Long Game: A Fixer Novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ISBN-13: 9781619635968 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 06/07/2016)

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can–and cannot–be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in Washington, but she’s about to discover first-hand that power always comes with a price.

Perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and Ally Carter, the second book in this thrilling series will leave readers breathless.

 

red velvetRed Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith (ISBN-13: 9780062062277 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 06/14/2016)

Rock music. A broken family. Difficult sisters. A road trip. The blush of first love. Red Velvet Crush has everything that fans of Eleanor & Park and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist are looking for.

Teddy Lee has always shied away from attention. Her younger sister Billie is the one who stands out: brave, outgoing, and so beautiful that people can’t help but stare. Instead, Teddy Lee prefers writing songs and playing her dad’s old guitar. Until she gets the opportunity to start her own band. Suddenly Teddy Lee has everything she ever wanted—the band, the stage, and the irresistible drummer who only has eyes for her. It’s finally her chance to shine, to share her music with the world. Unless Billie steals the spotlight—and the boy—just like she always does.

 

lost and foundThe Lost and Found by Katrina Leno (ISBN-13: 9780062231208 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 07/05/2016)

A charming and imaginative new YA novel about getting lost before you can be found, for fans of Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost and Margo Rabb’s Kissing in America.

LOST 

Frannie and Louis met online when they were both little and have been pen pals ever since. They have never met face-to-face, and they don’t know each other’s real names. All they know is that they both have a mysterious tendency to lose things. Well, really, things just seem to . . . disappear.

FOUND

Louis and Frannie both receive news in the mail that sets them off on a road trip to Austin, Texas, looking for answers—and each other. Along the way, each one begins to find, as if by magic, important things the other has lost. And by the time they finally meet in person, they realize that the things you lose might be things you weren’t meant to have at all, and that you never know what you might find if you just take a chance.

 

chasing starsChasing Stars by Helen Douglas (ISBN-13: 9781619634107 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 07/19/2016)

Hunted down by a ruthless “cleaner” from the future, star-crossed lovers Eden and Ryan have been forced to travel a hundred years forward to 2123. Ryan has broken fundamental laws of time for them to be together, and now they face his trial and permanent imprisonment . . . and a life without each other.

Eden knows that she must save Ryan, but he’s under tight security. All Eden wants is Ryan, but is it possible to be together when it seems the whole universe is against them?

Fans of Claudia Gray, Amie Kaufman, and Meagan Spooner will be swept away by this epic cross-century romance in which love bends the laws of time and reason.

 

 

girl in piecesGirl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (ISBN-13: 9781101934739 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 08/30/2016)

For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes Kathleen Glasgow’s debut novel about a girl who has lost everything—almost even herself.

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

 

detachedDetached by Christina Kilbourne (ISBN-13: 9781459734319 Publisher: Dundurn Press Publication date: 09/06/2016)

Anna has always been so level-headed, so easy-going, so talented and funny. How could anyone have guessed she wanted to die?

Anna is not like other people. For one thing, she’s been an accomplished artist since she was a preschooler. For another, she’s always felt like she didn’t belong: not with other kids, not with her family, not in her body. It isn’t until her grandparents are killed in a tragic accident, however, that Anna starts to feel untethered. She begins to wonder what it would be like if she didn’t exist, and the thought of escaping the aimless drifting is the only thing that brings her comfort.

When Anna overdoses on prescription painkillers, doctors realize she has been suffering from depression and start looking for a way to help her out of the desperate black hole she never thought she would escape. It’s then that rock bottom comes into sight and the journey back to normal begins.

 

 

labyrinth lostLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (ISBN-13: 9781492620945 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 09/06/2016)

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.

 

 

last trueThe Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely (ISBN-13: 9781481429887 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 09/13/2016)

From the critically acclaimed author of The Gospel of Winter and the coauthor of All American Boys comes a cool, contemplative spin on hot summer nights and the classic teen love story as two teens embark on a cross-country journey of the heart and soul.

The point of living is learning how to love.

That’s what Gpa says. To Hendrix and Corrina, both seventeen but otherwise alike only in their loneliness, that sounds like another line from a pop song that tries to promise kids that life doesn’t actually suck. Okay, so: love. Sure.

The thing about Corrina—her adoptive parents are suffocating, trying to mold her into someone acceptable, predictable, like them. She’s a musician, itching for any chance to escape, become the person she really wants to be. Whoever that is.

And Hendrix, he’s cool. Kind of a poet. But also kind of lost. His dad is dead and his mom is married to her job. Gpa is his only real family, but he’s fading fast from Alzheimer’s. Looking for any way to help the man who raised him, Hendrix has made Gpa an impossible promise—that he’ll get him back east to the hill where he first kissed his wife, before his illness wipes away all memory of her.

One hot July night, Hendrix and Corrina decide to risk everything. They steal a car, spring Gpa from his assisted living facility, stuff Old Humper the dog into the back seat, and take off on a cross-country odyssey from LA to NY. With their parents, Gpa’s doctors, and the police all hot on their heels, Hendrix and Corrina set off to discover for themselves if what Gpa says is true—that the only stories that last are love stories.

 

forgettingThe Forgetting Machine by Pete Hautman (ISBN-13: 9781481464383 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date:09/20/2016)

People all over Flinkwater are losing their memories—and it’s up to Ginger to figure out what’s going on—in this sequel to the “quirky, dryly funny” (Booklist) The Flinkwater Factor from National Book Award–winning author Pete Hautman.

Absentmindedness in Flinkwater, a town overflowing with eccentric scientists and engineers, is nothing new. Recently, however, the number of confused, forgetful citizens has been increasing, and no one seems to know why. Ginger Crump figures it’s none of her business. She has her own problems. Like the strange cat that’s been following her around—a cat that seems to be able to read. And the report for school due Monday. And the fact that every digital book in Flinkwater has been vandalized by a fanatical censor, forcing Ginger to the embarrassingly retro alternative of reading books printed on dead trees.

But when Ginger’s true love and future husband Billy Bates completely forgets who she is, things suddenly get serious, and Ginger swings into action.

 

 

we knowWe Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash (ISBN-13: 9781481462006 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 10/04/2016)

Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars in acclaimed author Maggie Thrash’s new Strange Truth series.

It’s better to know the truth. At least sometimes.

Halfway through Friday night’s football game, beautiful cheerleader Brittany Montague—dressed as the giant Winship Wildcat mascot—hurls herself off a bridge into Atlanta’s surging Chattahoochee River.

Just like that, she’s gone.

Eight days later, Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds will be the only ones who know why.

 

 

some writerSome Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet (ISBN-13: 9780544319592 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 10/04/2016)

“SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. Budding young writers will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White and includes an afterword by Martha White, E. B. White’s granddaughter.

March #ARCParty

March #ARCParty// It's time for another #ARCParty, where The Teen, The Bestie and I share some of the latest ARCs we have received and I get a first hand look at what a couple of teens are thinking.




  1. A book series for Doctor Who/Sherlock fans. Book 3 coming 8/23/16 from @AlgonquinBooks https://t.co/oMx49CW6oY

    A book series for Doctor Who/Sherlock fans. Book 3 coming 8/23/16 from @AlgonquinBooks pic.twitter.com/oMx49CW6oY


  2. TWO SUMMERS: parallel worlds, love, self discovery, family secrets "this sounds good" #arcparty https://t.co/aUhiM5VTRI

    TWO SUMMERS: parallel worlds, love, self discovery, family secrets “this sounds good” #arcparty pic.twitter.com/aUhiM5VTRI


  3. Hurricane Sandy, a teen on her own during the storm after the power goes out #ARCParty https://t.co/kD3OC3bm7S

    Hurricane Sandy, a teen on her own during the storm after the power goes out #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/kD3OC3bm7S




  4. GIRL ABOUT TOWN: Hollywood It Girl, historical, new lovers set up for murder (1930s) #ARCParty https://t.co/osOxRVLtTg

    GIRL ABOUT TOWN: Hollywood It Girl, historical, new lovers set up for murder (1930s) #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/osOxRVLtTg



  5. The Teen: "OMG it's a new Morgan Matson!" That says everything really. A fave author. #ARCParty https://t.co/iVn1m4WxvL

    The Teen: “OMG it’s a new Morgan Matson!”
    That says everything really. A fave author. #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/iVn1m4WxvL




  6. Historical fantasy, multicultural, and blurbs from Doctorow, R L Stine & Jonathan Maberry #ARCparty https://t.co/UcaDfxARla

    Historical fantasy, multicultural, and blurbs from Doctorow, R L Stine & Jonathan Maberry #ARCparty pic.twitter.com/UcaDfxARla



  7. A college investigates charges of rape after a house party #SVYALit #ARCParty Very culturally relevant https://t.co/RHYQlnxr0N

    A college investigates charges of rape after a house party #SVYALit #ARCParty Very culturally relevant pic.twitter.com/RHYQlnxr0N


  8. If you aren't already reading Kelly Barnhill, you should fix that. Fantasy. #ARCParty https://t.co/683xu5C8Kg

    If you aren’t already reading Kelly Barnhill, you should fix that. Fantasy. #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/683xu5C8Kg


  9. Not an ARC, but I got this in #bookmail "a girl who can't remember, a boy who can't forget her" #love #romance https://t.co/8Sq32En2Jq

    Not an ARC, but I got this in #bookmail “a girl who can’t remember, a boy who can’t forget her” #love #romance pic.twitter.com/8Sq32En2Jq

 

Penguin Teen on Tour, DFW Stop

Penguin Teen on Tour, DFW Stop//

On Tuesday, The Teen and I were able to catch the Penguin Teen on Tour stop at the Dallas Half-Price Books store. Authors on this stop included Alison Goodman (THE DARK DAYS CLUB), Sabaa Tahir (AN EMBER IN THE ASHES), Rachel Hawkins (The Rebel Belle series), April Genevieve Tucholke ( WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT) and Alwyn Hamilton (REBEL OF THE SANDS). I tried to tweet as many of the profound things these ladies were saying, and those tweets are shared below. I certainly didn’t catch everything, and there are some typos, but it was a really fun and fascinating discussion of everything from strong women in YA to the most troubling things these authors have researched. Let’s just say there was lots of talk about death and dying.





  1. Rachel Hawkins: Rebel Belle began with a little crazy and lazy, my two favorite azies #PenguinTeenOnTour


  2. Rachel Hawkins: Set out to make Rebel Belle different from Hex Hall by making the characters polar opposite #PenguinTeenOnTour


  3. AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is about character & how world they live in forms who they are says Tahir #PenguinTeenOnTour https://t.co/ER0dt4Blw5

    AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is about character & how world they live in forms who they are says Tahir #PenguinTeenOnTour pic.twitter.com/ER0dt4Blw5


  4. THE DARK DAYS CLUB was inspired by the idea of Jane Austen meets Buffy says Alison Goodman #PenguinTeenOnTour https://t.co/YrKEGUfyhS

    THE DARK DAYS CLUB was inspired by the idea of Jane Austen meets Buffy says Alison Goodman #PenguinTeenOnTour pic.twitter.com/YrKEGUfyhS


  5. Goodman researched regency for 8 months and even had a full outfit made & learned to dance #PenguinTeenOnTour


  6. Tahir: Woman are just strong, it's part of being a woman. #PenguinTeenOnTour


  7. Tahir: I wanted to create a character who has a core inner strength but doesn't know it yet because that's how a lot of us are


  8. Hawkins: Harper gets super strength but still remains more traditionally feminine. That's important to me. #PenguinTeenOnTour


  9. Goodman: I wanted to examine society's courtesies and see which ones are designed to hold you down #PenguinTeenOnTour


  10. Alison Goodman just told us how a lady went potty in regency times. So thankful for modern day toilets!


  11. Rachel Hawkins: I would be so happy in the shire eating breakfast and hanging out in the house - I want to be a hobbit #PenguinTeenOnTour


  12. Sanaa Tahir: I really want to turn into a talking dragon, it's my deepest, darkest fantasy #PenguinTeenOnTour


  13. Sanaa Tahir: I make my husband act out fight scenes with me #PenguinTeenOnTour


  14. Tahir: I wrote to make sense of my world and to put myself in it #PenguinTeenOnTour


  15. April: I realized I like playing god (on why she is a writer) #PenguinTeenOnTour


  16. Goodman: never have a passive character, your character must act. Don't just have things happening to them. #PenguinTeenOnTour

 

Why I Write YA, a guest post by author Amanda Havard


Before the release of the second book in my debut series, The Survivors: Point of Origin, when asked if I’d always wanted to write YA, I would say this in an interview:

“I knew I wanted to write YA because I’ve always been drawn to the forming of a person. Formative experiences are usually the most interesting ones. Why do you think people talk about them in therapy? They’re what make us who we are.”

That might not be the most lighthearted way to look at things, but if you’ve ever read any words I’ve strung together, this can’t possibly be surprising. My view on life is not as bleak as that statement might seem, but instead, it paints a sort of realism we don’t often think about.

Life is a funny thing. We’re given chances to form ourselves into selves when we’re too young to know what the hell we’re doing. Only, somehow, we’re simultaneously held back and governed by rules, restrictions, and an ever-lengthening definition of the concept of “adolescence.” We generally become some version of our eventual selves when we are so young it embarrasses us. And though we grow — hopefully we never stop growing — I’m not one to believe we quickly or readily abandon the original parts of ourselves that formed in adolescence, at least not until we have really good reason to. Or until someone, something forces us.

That’s why the Survivors-world protagonist, Sadie Matthau, is a 144-year-old adolescent when you meet her. It’s not just that she looks the part (in the aforementioned broader definition of the word; she appears about 20), but she acts it. She lives naïve to experiences to which she hasn’t ventured simply out of fear. She makes questionable decisions not because she’s too stupid to know the consequences, but because of a weirdly mixed concoction of invincibility and total dejection. She has freedom, but her family limits her in some ways (more in her mind than in actuality, which is so often the case). She hurts people out of an unfortunate blend of selfishness and denial. And she is always searching to become a version of herself she can love, a self with whom she can find peace.

Three books in, and I’d be lying if I said she’d found it.

A weirdly large proportion of my dedicated fan base pretty much hates her. (And by “pretty much” I generally mean “really, really.”) They can’t stand the denial and the hurt and the flip-flopping and self-pity. They can’t stand how much she hates a life they perceive isn’t so bad. They want to shake her. They’ve lost patience with her. They want her to be more than she is.

They want her to grow up. Into a good person.

Guess what I want for every young adult (however you’re defining that term)? For him or her to grow up. Into a good person.

This is at once more difficult and easier than it seems. The ‘young’ factor allows for a multitude of mistakes, but the ‘adult’ factor calls for real-world consequences. In fact, in an age where simple mistakes and youthful foolishness haunt you for a veritable eternity (thank you, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and your contemporaries), we are all simultaneously young enough to be stupid and unformed — or brilliant and unformed, or foolish and unformed, or generally perfect and yet, still, unformed — and adult enough to be held accountable. That’s Sadie at 144. In some weird ways, that’s me at 27. Maybe that’s you at 16. Or 34. Or 144.

I write and love young adult because in the era before the mold hardens and the plaster sets, we can become anything. Our hardness can harden, and we crack. Our smooth surface can bubble and we at once have personality, distinction. Our artful lines can crumble into something more beautiful. Our whole selves can fall apart. I write and love young adult fiction because we have all been there, and in some ways, we will always be there. We will be embarrassed by our dark periods or awkward phases (and I know a thing or two about awkward phases, mine having lasted from about 7 to 24), but proud of our innate qualities we know have been there all along. And we all know the universal truth: we all f*ck up. We all do things we might regret. But we are all offered a chance at growth, at salvation, at redemption, if only we will take it.

And isn’t that always a story worth reading?

You can see Amanda Havard at the Betty Warmack Branch Library in Grand Prairie, Texas on Sunday, November 17th at 3:30 PM.

About Amanda Havard:
Amanda Havard is the creator of the patent-pending  Immersedition™ experience. Havard has advanced degrees in Early Childhood Education and Child Development, as well as in Cognitive Development as it pertains to Curriculum & Instruction from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University and was appointed a fellowship to Peabody Research Institute. The author of the supernatural young adult series, The Survivors, a transmedia franchise — including the pilot full-length novel Immersedition — with an online following of over 4.5 million readers, Havard has been profiled in a diverse array of publications (Wired, American Cheerleader Magazine, Ypulse) and recently wrote an article on the tangible learning benefits of immersive storytelling and future literacy for the National Council of Teachers of English’s (NCTE) ALAN Review.  

Amanda online and on Twitter

Thursday Throw Down: Teen Read Week Genres

So, this week on TLT we’re talking about Teen Read Week and different genres…  and we want to know WHICH genre is your favorite and why?

Is it….

PARANORMAL ROMANCE that gets your heart aflutter?

OR

VAMPIRES that you can sink your teeth into?

OR

ALIENS that send you into orbit?

OR

BIOENGINEERING that tweaks your genes?

Share your favorite genre (and if you want your favorite title) in the comments below!

Book Review: Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Should the sun beat
summer too fiercely
through your afternoon
window, you can
                                     slant
the blinds to temper
heat and scatter light,
sifting shadows this way
and that with a
                                                   lean
of slats.  And if candor
strikes too forecully,
step back, draw careful
breath and consider the
                                                                 angle
your words must take
before you open
your mouth, let them leak
out.  Because once you
                                                                               tilt the truth,
it becomes a lie.


Tilt is called a companion book to Ellen Hopkins’ 2011 adult book, Triangles, but it can really stand alone, and unless your teens are die-hard Hopkins’ fans, I don’t know that they would want to read Triangles.  However, Tilt will definitely be on their list, and in true Hopkins style it does not pull punches.  Tilt is gritty and hard hitting, dealing with issues that I know no adult wants to think teens deal with and teens know either someone or they themselves are dealing with all to well.

Like all of Ellen Hopkins’ books, this one is told in verse, and after tearing through the book, I went through again and looked at the way the poems were set.  Often times there are double and triple meanings that are within the text, depending on placements or alignment of words.  They would be an excellent lead-in for visual poetry-programs.
I would completely recommended it for any library; however, it is definitely graphic with some of the scenes, so if you know that your community is one that is more conservative, keep reviews on hand.  I would put it right up there with Hopkins’ 2009 book Tricks in the details.
I will now give you space to let you know that below here, there are SPOILERS in case you don’t want details.
Ready?  Then hold on.
 Tilt tells the story of three teens interconnected by family relationships:
  • Mikayla, almost 18, completely in that soul devouring love with her boyfriend, who is seemingly as in love with her- until she turns up pregnant.  Mikayla has to figure out what to do about the baby, her family, her boyfriend, and her life, without loosing herself in the process.
  • Shane, who is turning 16, falls for his first boyfriend, Alex, who confesses that he is HIV positive.  Having lived with his sister’s chronic and ultimately fatal illness, Shane has to figure out whether to accept Alex knowing that their love will be shortened, as well as the death of his sister midway through the book, which brings his facade of well-being crashing down.
  • Harley is 14, an innocent good girl looking for love, and finding it unrequited in older boys.  She changes her appearance to find that love, then starts moving unawares towards self-destructive and dangerous extremes in order to get that love, from drinking and drugs to sexting and date rape.
Told you, a lot to deal with, and there are NO punches pulled.  However, that is what makes Hopkins’ writing so real to teens, and so relatable- they know that she lives these characters, and it’s like these teens could be someone that they know.  They’re gripping, and you want everything to be OK, and you cringe and your heart breaks with them when it’s not.  And that’s everything that a wonderful book should be.
And, just for you, we have a GIVEAWAY!!!  Share in the comments below your favorite Ellen Hopkins book and WHY, along with your email address, and you could win a copy of Tilt!  You have until Sunday, October 14th to leave a comment and be entered to win.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents.

Body Image and Every Day by David Levithan, a discussion by Christie Gibrich

Recently, I had one of those moments where I am talking about a book that I really loved and the person I am talking to, in this case fellow blogger Christie Gibrich, says “yes, but . . .”  So I asked her to write about her “Yes, But” because it is an issue that I myself even referenced last week in my review of Butter by Erin Jade Lange.  I’ll let her tell you all about it.
A little background: Every Day is the story of a person known only as A who wakes up every day in a different body.  For 24 hours A lives the life of this person.
My co-blogger, Karen, wrote a review of Every Day by David Levithan in June (find it here).  I fully admit that I am a rabid fan of David Levithan- I had the pleasure of meeting him at a conference after his Boy Meets Boy came out, and I went into full fangirl worship mode and we talked for a good thirty minutes about his work and how much I loved it, and how much my teens loved that he was writing such realistic characters for teens- and for GLBT teens.  So when I got ahold of an e-ARC of Every Day, I stayed up through the night to read it.  And I was loving it.

Until I hit Day 6025.


Day 6025 is approximately 7/8ths of the way through the book.  “A” has already been a variety of teens:  twin linebackers, girls, gays, drug addicts, alcoholics, etc., and has handled those with a grace and understanding that others have pointed out could be more than a teen voice.  Then he becomes Finn, and that understanding goes out the window.  Finn is an obese teen, by Levithan’s own description “at least 300 pounds” wearing “an XXXL buttondown and some size 46 jeans” and when “A” wakes up in Finn’s body, the prejudice and loathing for his host starts from the moment he opens his eyes, and never goes away. 

“Finn Taylor has retreated from most of the world; his size comes from negligence and laziness, a carelessness that would be pathological if it had any meticulousness to it.  While I’m sure if I access deep enough I will find some well of humanity, all I can see on the surface is the emotional equivalent of a burp.”

“A” never bothers to see what’s beneath- most obese teens are not like this by choice.  Unlike society’s belief that if you just walk it off or eat less, or that it’s because schools are cutting physical education, or that it’s just a choice, there’s usually deep psychological issues going on- depression, emotional abuse, suicidal impulses being turned inward.  Or medical issues that are not being treated properly, because of lack of health care or parents not being advocates for their “fat/lazy” child.  If it was as simple as just eating right, a teen could turn it around.

“The chairs are wobbly underneath me at the bookstore’s café.  I decide to walk the aisles instead, but they’re too narrow, and I keep knocking things off the shelves.”*

Really?  REALLY?!?!  We need to have an image of this teen as GODZILLA or THE THING going through a public bookstore destroying things because he’s 300 pounds?!?!?  There’s a difference between hyperbole for a point and encouraging the stereotypical mental image that society has for those who are overweight.  Unless the chairs were antique wicker chairs, or the aisles didn’t meet minimum ADA requirements, this wouldn’t happen to a person of Finn’s description, and the twin linebackers would have had similar problems.  Even then, if “A” bothered to access Finn’s memories like he did with other hosts to work in their worlds, he would have figured out how to work within his body instead of joining the chorus of disgust.

“If I were in a different body, this would be the time I would lean down and kiss her.  If I were in a different body, that kiss could transform the night from off to on.  If I were in a different body, she would see me inside.  She would see what she wanted to see.”


“A” doesn’t bother to relate to Finn.  He can’t get through the day fast enough; Rhiannon can’t be bothered to look beyond the surface to see “A” within Finn’s body.  If he was only someone else, then things would be different and he could change everything … but because he can’t be bothered to work with what he was dealt, or be bothered to work around his own personal prejudice, the date and the time with Rhiannon was a waste.  This furthermore enforces the belief that if you are overweight or obese or fat, you’re unworthy of love- because no one will ever be able to see the “real” you.

I was so let down by this chapter in Every Day.  Up to that point I was loving the book, and how “A” was flipping from character to character.  The fact that Levithan, who writes so well for teens, wrote this whole chapter, left me in compete disbelief.  I know other YA librarians/readers who are split- some didn’t catch it, while others reacted the same way I did.  It’s bad enough that we have the media shoving preconceived notions of how we’re supposed to look, how we’re supposed to act, and how we’re supposed to dress down our throats every day.  Being told that having a certain amount of body mass makes us unworthy of love is unacceptable.
Have you read Every Day – what do you think?  What ya titles do you think handle the issue of body image well?
*Editor’s note: I (Karen) recently read Skinny – which I will review soon – about another morbidly obese teenager, in this case a female, and she undergoes weight loss surgery after the chair she is sitting on stage breaks beneath her. And in Butter, reviewed last week, our main character has specially made school furniture to accomodate his size. In both of these titles, I thought the issue of weight and the emotions that go with it were handled well.

Don’t read those %&#@ YA books! A discussion of profanity in teen fiction

Trend Watch: Profanity in Teen Fiction

Lately, everyone has been a buzz about the profanity in teen novels.  It even made the news! A recent study was done and they counted the swear words and noted an increase in the use of profanity in teen books.  There have been some informative – and some amusing – blog posts about the topic (linked at the end of this post).  Apparently, the women’s lib movement is somehow to blame and all us women folk got a potty mouth when we put on our shoes and walked out of the kitchen.

I am not going to lie, I have noticed as a reader the increase in profanity in teen books and it has given me pause.  Not because I personally care, but because I stop for a moment and think to myself yep, a parent is going to complain about this.  So far they haven’t, but with all the press it increases the likelihood.

I am a huge believer in Intellectual Freedom.  I believe that authors have the right to tell their stories the way they feel they need to be told; it is their character and they have a right to give them the voice that feels authentic to them.  That doesn’t mean I have to like it, it means that I have to make it available and allow my patrons to make decisions for themselves.

As a parent, I can’t help but notice that faux-swearing has even invaded my tween television time.  The cast of iCarly spend a lot of time saying “shiz” or “chiz” or however they might spell it.  So here’s what I do as a parent: I either decide I am okay with it, I talk to my child about it, or I ban the show in my home.  Or some combination of the above.  I think whether you continue to watch the show or not, you have to have the conversation about what you view to be acceptable as language in your home.  If I took a moment, I could really evaluate every show we watch and tell you something that I find objectionable: Sam is mean to Freddy, Alex is a disrespectful slacker in Wizards (now over), Squidward is mean . . . I could go on, but you get the point.  This is where parenting is an active process: I watch TV with my children and we talk about it.  I read books with my children and we talk about it.  Sometimes topics come up that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk about otherwise, I wouldn’t think to.  That is part of the value of reading.

For example, my tween and I have had a lot of discussions about the way that Sam acts on iCarly, specifically how she acts towards Freddy.  You see, she hits him a lot and it is played for laughs – except I can’t help but feel that if the situation were reversed, if he were hitting her, there would be a huge outcry.  To me, it is not okay.  Any type of abuse between two people is never okay and I don’t appreciate the implication that it is a source of humor and I worry that it may send the wrong message to young viewers.  But again, I talk to my tween about it.  That’s my job as a parent.

So back to swearing.  As I read these various teen books, the question I always ask my self is this: is it organic to the story, to the character?  You see, books have to be about SOMETHING, and they are often about teen characters struggling with real life issues and whether we like it or not, teens cuss.  A lot in fact.  And sometimes, when you are hurting or angry, profanity is a good way to express the high emotions that teens feel because those words have known power and meaning.  Hurting people call the people who hurt them a bitch precisely because it has the known cutting power that they need in that moment.  When it comes to stroytelling, characters have to choose the words they need to convey their emotion in context of their setting and culture.  We don’t have to like it, but profanity is part of contemporary culture.  In fact, I think the F word is one of the few remaining words you still can’t hear on prime time television.

I was personally amazed when watching a special on Whitney Houston on Lifetime television and they kept showing an ad for an upcoming movie on Drew Peterson. Right there in the ad Rob Lowe said, “I’m unstoppable bitch.”  In an ad.  I understood why they had chosen that clip, it packed a wollop and conveyed their message in the 30 seconds that they had to do it.  Like I said, if our tv characters aren’t actually swearing, they are fauxswearing.  Is there really any difference?  The intent is definitely the same.

If we want teens to read, they have to have access to books that speak to them.  We can pretend that teens don’t cuss and present them with squeaky clean fiction – but they will immediately cast it aside because it’s not real to them.  This is especially true for those teens growing up in homes that we can’t imagine or in the inner cities. And of course the truth is that however we may feel about certain words, not all parents feel the same.  To be honest, I grew up in a home where my parents didn’t care about cussing as long as I didn’t direct it at them.  If I should make the mistake of cussing out my mom, well, the soap was coming out.  Otherwise, they were just words.

I think if we want teens to read, we have to respect the diversity of lifestyles that exist out there.  They are not all growing up in cookie cutter homes.  Just like the rest of the population, there is a tremendous diversity in how they live and love and think and feel and, yes, speak.  Our collections must reflect this diversity.  We must also remember that part of the value in reading is in helping the teens understand lives outside their own and develop empathy; thus, teens step into the shoes of main characters different from them and experience what it is like to grow up in homes and communities different than their own.

I understand the parental desire to protect your children, I also understand the value of engaging with your teen and helping them to see and understand that the world is a complex place full of a wide variety of people having a wide variety of experiences – some that we couldn’t even imagine.  As we talk to our teens about this, they develop the tools they need to live and thrive in a world that isn’t black and white but full of complex shades of gray.  I think, too, we have to respect our teens and recognize that if a book doesn’t feel right to them, they will stop reading it.  When we respect our teens and value them by providing thoughtful, well rounded collections, we all win.

It’s also important to remember that when we are talking about teens, we are talking about a huge age group: anywhere from around 12 up through 18 years of age.  So when I am working with teens or parents, I always tell them to look at the books before they check them out and note the age of the characters; middle school characters are going to talk the way middle school students do and deal with middle school issues and high school characters are going to talk the way high school characters do and deal with high school issues for the most part.

So what do you think, is there too much profanity in teen fiction?

More:
Research: more swearing in teen novels than video games
Spark Life: Is there too much swearing in teen fiction?
What teens may be learning from swearing in teen fiction
Daily Kos: Rich, beautifyl and popular, fould mouthed characters in teen books have it all
Cursing: Not just for sailors anymore
Censorship

TLA Baby!

Tuesday night I left work and drove 4 1/2 hours to make my pilgrimage to TLA.  TLA baby, here I came! It was a truly amazing day where I met a ton of amazing teen authors, talked to publishers and yes, I received some ARCs (which will get their own post).

Although the exhibit halls were amazing, and I’ll get back to them, the fun truly began at the Texas Teen Author Tea.  Here we were invited to speed date with a wide variety of amazing teen authors.  There were 60 authors in total present, but I didn’t get to date them all.  The even was introduced by Andrea White, author of the fabulous Surviving Antarctica, which I have loved for a long time and being a new Texas transplant I had no idea she was a Texas author.  Ms. White, it was announced, gave some money to YART, the Young Adult Round Table, and they were starting some cool online resources including something called SPOT, the Spirit of Texas Reading Program.  My favorite was when she said that our goal – authors, librarians – was to help teens learn that “books are relationships”, a book is more than just two covers with pages in between.  Well said.

Then the speed dating began!

First I dated Morgan Matson, author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and the upcoming Second Chance Summer, and Jessi Kirby, author of Moonglass and the upcoming In Honor.  Both of these ladies were incredibly nice and I was lucky to later get signed copies of books by both.  Second Chance Summer and In Honor are both contemporary titles and I am so excited to read them.  As much as I love paranormal and dystopian – and you know I do! – it is always great to have those contemporary titles that help teens see the real world they live in just a little different, to open their hearts and minds and just be.

I had just tweeted that I hoped I got to meet David Lubar and bam – he sat down right next to me.  David is funny, not surpringly.  I also got the opportunity to tell him how much I appreciated authors like him who participated in the Yalsa-bk listserv discussions (Alex Flinn and Jonathan Maberry post frequently as well).  And then he mentioned the possibility of Zombie Weenies! I know he would also want me to mention the Weenies Topical and Literary Index, where he painstakingly indexed his weenies stories.  With David Lubar I met Christina Mandelski, the author of The Sweetest Thing.  My favorite part was when she told us that she took cake decorating classes to help her write this book and admitted to being obsessed with The Food Network.

I then got to meet Mary Lindsey, whose book Shattered Souls may have the most fabulous book cover ever.  She did a great job of selling her book and talked about the book cover process and it was very cool.  I ran into her again later and we chatted some more.  She shared that she was in the process of writing a very cool sounding Poe inspired book that I honestly can not wait to read.  With Mary came Greg Leitich Smith, author of Chronal Engine and yes, husband to Cynthia Lietich Smith.  He came bearing dinosaur tattoos and as far as I am concerned, there can no be enough dinosaur books.

I also met (cue squeeing) Megan Miranda, author of the breathtaking Fracture and learned that she has a background in science that helped influence the book.  Stasia Kehoe talked about her book, Audition, and how it really delves into the question of identity and talent and passion.  Also, audition has ballet and dance is really popular right now.  Here is my true confessions moment: I always wanted to be a ballerina, I own a copy of Center Stage and watch it often, and I watch Dance Academy on Teen Nick – purely for professional reasons, of course).  Then P. J. Hoover talks about her undying love of mythology and how it plays into her book series which begins with book 1, The Emerald Tablet.  Fans of the Percy Jackson series will love these.

After being sad for a few moment about the authors I didn’t get to speed date, which for me included Orson Scott Card, I returned to the exhibit halls where I had to buy a new copy of Shiver so I could have it signed by Maggie Steifvater.  Being a huge Shiver fan, this was quite the moment for me and Maggie was incredibly nice and gracious to everyone who stood in that line.

Then – bam – the moment truly had a moment of synergy as just that moment John Corey Whaley had written his Why YA? post about Love is the Higher Law and who should I meet?  Why yes, David Levithan himself.  He is, of course, one half of the brilliant writing partnership behind the truly marvelous Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  And it turns out, he is a book editor.  He is, in fact, the editor of The List by Shiobhan Vivian.  I have been dying to read this book so yes, yes I did buy it and get it signed.  I also got a picture of the wonder team.

Then, the most amazing thing happened! I met Barry Lyga.  That’s right folks, THAT Barry Lyga.  Author of the fabulous, and fabulously creepy, I Hunt Killers.  He himself is not creepy, just the book.  But fabulously so.  Barry himself was very personable.

I also met and talked to a look author named Beth Fehlbaum.  Her book, Hope in Patience, is a 2011 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.  Hope in Patience is about one young girls journey of recovery from abuse.  Fans of the Dave Pelzer books will want to read these.

I learned at the Harper Collins booth that Robison Wells was going to be at TLA today, a truly devastating realization for me as I left last night.  Thursday, in fact, is teen day and they are having a ton of great authors, groups of teens, lots of great ARCs and a huge Divergent/Insurgent moment.  I ran into a bunch of great librarians, authors and book bloggers and I am sure there will be lots of great posts in the next few days about it all.  I love conferences because they are this moment when all of us – authors, publishers, librarians – come together and rejuvenate.  We are all working towards the same goal: to get books into the hands of teens.  It’s nice to get together in person and share our stories of success, those moments when we learn how a book made the difference in someone’s life.