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YA A to Z: H is for Historical Fiction, a guest post by librarian Amanda Perez

Today in our YA A to Z series, new librarian Amanda Perez joins us to talk about Historical Fiction in YA Lit.

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Historical Fiction authors go through a great deal of research in order to present their readers with an accurate window into history.  The final product presented to teen readers is often a masterful look into that particular moment in time, which encourages the development of empathy and new perspectives.  The benefits of reading Historical Fiction are well documented and as such are often the focus of book reports.

It is important to note that Historical Fiction can also be fun and not just a homework assignment.  The genre is unique in that it enlightens as well as entertains. The current trend of genre-bending include the latest works of historical fiction, and they may well be thrillers, humorous tales, or tinged with fantasy. Below is a list of recently released Historical Fiction teen novels, with great reviews.

(All Book Summary’s taken from Amazon.com)

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What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper (2018)

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.

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Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon (2018)

Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.

Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.

Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.

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The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe and Lilit Thwaites (2017)

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

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Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough (2018)

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.
By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia’s heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia’s most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman’s timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence.

I will show you
what a woman can do.

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Hell and High Water by Tanya Landman (2017)

Caleb has spent his life roaming southern England with his Pa, little to their names but his father’s signet ring and a puppet theater for popular, raunchy Punch and Judy shows — until the day Pa is convicted of a theft he didn’t commit and sentenced to transportation to the colonies in America. From prison, Caleb’s father sends him to the coast to find an aunt Caleb never knew he had. His aunt welcomes him into her home, but her neighbors see only Caleb’s dark skin. Still, Caleb slowly falls into a strange rhythm in his new life . . . until one morning he finds a body washed up on the shore. The face is unrecognizable after its time at sea, but the signet ring is unmistakable: it can only be Caleb’s father. Mystery piles on mystery as both church and state deny what Caleb knows. From award-winning British author Tanya Landman comes a heart-stopping story of race, class, family, and corruption so deep it can kill.

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Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (2018) – Historical Fiction/Alternate History/Horror

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.

In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.

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Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (2017) – Historical Fiction/ Multiple Timelines

Some bodies won’t stay buried.
Some stories need to be told. 

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the present and the past.

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self-discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.

Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important questions about the complex state of US race relations–both yesterday and today.

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Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (2017) – Historical Fiction/SciFi/ Multiple Timelines

2065: Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house more than a hundred years ago and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate.

1934: Amid the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine’s family’s situation is growing dire. She must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

1919: In the recovery following World War I, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail from England to America. But can she make it that far?

While their stories span thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful. In Jodi Lynn Anderson’s signature haunting, lyrical prose, human connections spark spellbindingly to life, and a bright light shines on the small but crucial moments that determine one’s fate.

But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.

And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

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Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen (2018) – Historical Fiction/Thriller

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she’s the Nazis’ worst nightmare.

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The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls, edited by Jessica Spotswood (2018)

To respect yourself, to love yourself, should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced when you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs — whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.

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The Book of Pearl by Timothee de Fombelle (2018) – Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in — a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place — an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II. As his memories begin to fade, Joshua seeks out strange objects: tiny fragments of tales that have already been told, trinkets that might possibly help him prove his own story before his love is lost forever. Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon translate the original French into a work both luminous and layered, enabling Timothée de Fombelle’s modern fairy tale to thrum with magic. Brimming with romance and history, mystery and adventure, this ode to the power of memory, storytelling, and love will ensnare any reader’s imagination and every reader’s heart.

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Murder, Magic and What We Wore by Kelly Jones (2017) – Historical Fiction/Thriller/Comedy

The year is 1818, the city is London, and 16-year-old Annis Whitworth has just learned that her father is dead and all his money is missing. And so, of course, she decides to become a spy.

Annis always suspected that her father was himself a spy, and following in his footsteps to unmask his killer makes perfect sense. Alas, it does not make sense to England’s current spymasters—not even when Annis reveals that she has the rare magical ability to sew glamours: garments that can disguise the wearer completely.

Well, if the spies are too pigheaded to take on a young woman of quality, then Annis will take them on. And so she crafts a new double life for herself. Miss Annis Whitworth will appear to live a quiet life in a country cottage with her aunt, and Annis-in-disguise as Madame Martine, glamour artist, will open a magical dressmaking shop. That way she can earn a living, maintain her social standing, and, in her spare time, follow the coded clues her father left behind and unmask his killer.

It can’t be any harder than navigating the London social season, can it?historical13

 

Odd & True by Cat Winters (2017) – Historical Fiction/Horror

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

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The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein (2017) – Historical Fiction/Mystery
When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she’d imagined won’t be exactly what she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather’s estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister, Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she witnesses firsthand some of the prejudices they’ve grown used to-a stark contrast to her own upbringing-and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

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Guide Series by Mackenzi Lee (2017-2018) –Historical Fiction/Comedy

Summary for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Book 1):

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi LeeSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

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Conqueror’s Trilogy by Kiersten White (2016-2018) – Historical Fiction/Alternate History

Summary for And I Darken (Book 1):

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

More Historical Fiction Series:

Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

Charlotte Holmes Series by Brittany Cavallaro

Valiant Series by Lesley Livingston

Soldier Girl Series by Michael Grant

The Diviners Series by Libba Bray

Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson

Jackaby Series by William Ritter

Meet Guest Blogger Amanda Perez:

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Amanda is in her first year as a Youth Librarian, currently at the Folsom Public Library, and has recently graduated with her MLIS from San Jose State University.  The fact that her nose was always stuck in a book should have been an early indicator of her eventual profession; however her undergrad degree is actually in Economics. When she’s not reading Amanda can be found attempting to keep up with her husband and two kids at their busy home.

YA A to Z: Friends and Troublemakers, a guest post by author Lisa Brown Roberts

Today as part of our ongoing attempt to build an index of topics in YA from A to Z, author Lisa Brown Roberts is joining us to talk about friends and troublemakers. Please share with us your favorite friendships and troublemakers in YA lit in the comments.

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As much as I enjoy writing YA romance, I love writing friendship just as much, if not more (it’s probably why I write friends-to-lovers romance).

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In my newest book, Spies, Lies, and Allies: A Love Story, there’s a bestie because we all need one, but I also tried something new: writing an enemies-to-allies friendship. Heroine Laurel has a summer job at her dad’s company working alongside Trish, who’s determined to make things hard for Laurel. The girls are opposites, and at first Laurel’s goal is to stay out of Trish’s way, but by the end of the summer their relationship has transformed.

As I wrote this book, I realized Trish was a stand-in for one of my dearest high school friends. Amy and I were opposites- she was punk and I was Princess Di (for real, I had the haircut and everything). She was sarcastic, hilarious, and loved to challenge authority. I was a people pleaser and afraid of getting in trouble, yet somehow our orbits intersected. Amy pushed me out of my good-girl zone, daring me to take risks and have fun. The first time I experienced being  pulled over by the police, Amy was driving. When I was almost suspended for a prank (um, make that twice), Amy was my partner-in-crime.

We worked in the same mall, in candy stores right next door to each other. Once again, I was the good girl, wearing a black-and-white Russel Stovers’ uniform complete with bow tie that we called the “penguin suit.” Amy rocked her punk clothes, Doc Martens, and purple-streaked hair at the funky local snack shop. She gave away candy to cute boys and when those same boys flirted with me, I followed the rules – no free stuff from me!

When we didn’t have customers, we stood outside our respective stores and bonded. We talked and laughed and swooned over David Bowie and Robert Smith and Billy Idol, and checked out guys and took turns watching each other’s stores so the other person could run off to do whatever. Some of my favorite high school memories are of those evening and weekend mall shifts. Whenever I watch the mall scenes from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I tear up a bit thinking of Amy.

Our shining mall moment was the night Amy called me and whispered, “Get over here now. INXS is in my store.” This was the eighties, friends, and INXS was big – and oh so sexy. My first thought was that if they saw me in my penguin uniform, I’d be humiliated. But I hurried next door anyway, casually strolling in like it was no big deal to see these sexy rock stars selecting candy and nuts.

Amy, always cool, smack-talked and joked with them while I just…stared. After they stocked up on snacks, they took a peek in my store, where I rushed to stand behind the glass candy cases and tried to act cool. Needless to say, they bought nothing from me. Somehow Amy and I held in our squees until they were far out of earshot.

Last summer, while attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Atlanta with amazing authors and readers, I received the shocking news that Amy had died suddenly of an aneurysm. I was at dinner with writer friends when I found out, and I pretty much fell apart. My writer friends were lovely and kind as I blubbered and told them all about Amy, and the INXS story, of course.

Returning to the hotel, my friends asked the Uber driver to play INXS. Our party Uber had a fun light system, and as INXS blasted through the speakers, the lights shimmered in time with the music. I cried and cried, and laughed, too, remembering my old friend while being comforted by new friends.

Spies, Lies, and Allies was written during the last year of my dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s and the same year Amy died. It was the hardest book I’ve written – striving for romantic comedy as I grieved. Yet to my surprise, this book became an homage to both my father and my friend. As a writer, I can’t ask for more than that.

Cherish your friends, new and old, whether you’ve known them for a lifetime or just one summer. And if you’re lucky enough to have a troublemaker friend, hug them extra-tight.

About Spies, Lies, and Allies:

Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.

There’s a crazy guy running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting –– in a good way. But I can’t even think about him that way because Crazy Guy says any fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.

As if that’s not enough, an anonymous weirdo with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media…and I’m afraid it’s working.

Much as I’d love to quit, I can’t. Kristoffs Never Quit is our family motto. I just hope there’s more than one survivor by the end of this summer.

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/spies-lies-and-allies-a-love-story.html

About Lisa Brown Roberts:

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Award-winning romance author Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage catastrophes of tweezing off both eyebrows, or that time she crashed her car into a tree while trying to impress a guy. It’s no wonder she loves to write romantic comedies.   Lisa’s books have earned praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal. She lives in Colorado with her family, in which pets outnumber people. Connect with Lisa at www.lisabrownroberts.com.

Author Links:

Author Website: WWW.LISABROWNROBERTS.COM

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LBROWNROBERTS

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorLisaBrownRoberts/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisabrownroberts/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8287979.Lisa_Brown_Roberts

Newsletter: http://lisabrownroberts.us15.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=1f2f19aa89bc2b30b56c3d1f2&id=4accff162c

Keeping History Alive Through Inspiration L.B. Schulman, author of Stolen Secrets

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. In its honor, we are proud to share this guest post by author L. B. Schulman.

In 1959, the Israel parliament officially chose the date one week after Passover to be dedicated as Holocaust Remembrance Day. That’s today, April 12th. In honor of this important day, I would like to share the inspiration and intent behind my young adult novel, Stolen Secrets–a contemporary story with a Holocaust mystery at its core.

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The idea for Stolen Secrets began in my car, while listening to a Holocaust survivor on NPR. It dawned on me that one day, we would lose all of our firsthand witnesses. No more speakers at schools or interviews on the radio. How would this impact society’s ability to empathize with this tragic historical time?

This led me to consider one of the most influential Holocaust victims–Anne Frank. She touched many people with a diary that recorded the daily life of a Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis in the annex apartment behind her father’s business. This book was published in 70 languages. Over 30 million people have read it. Ballets, operas, plays, movies, and works of art found their inspiration from the thoughts of this young victim.

I soon discovered that many schools no longer require students to read The Diary of Anne Frank. The power of Anne’s voice seemed to be fading away. Were we relegating future generations to learning about history through dry textbooks? I decided to try and revive Anne’s story through my own novel, while taking a look at the crucial role that witnesses of all kinds contribute to a deeper understanding of history.

In Stolen Secrets, sixteen-year-old Livvy must move to San Francisco, where she discovers an estranged grandmother. The woman has Alzheimer’s and shouts out memories from her time at Bergen Belsen concentration camp that can’t be verified as truth or dismissed as hallucination from a debilitating disease. When Livvy uncovers a concentration camp journal in her grandmother’s home, she wonders who wrote it, why her grandmother has kept it hidden for six decades, and what, if anything, it might have to do with Anne Frank who was in the same concentration camp at the same time.

I realized how little I knew about what had happened to the eight annex residents, including the Frank family, after they were betrayed. On August 8th, 1944, the residents were sent to Westerbork, a work transit camp, where they pulled apart dusty old batteries all day long. A month later, they were packed like cattle on a harrowing three day train ride to Auschwitz.  Ironically, they were sent on the very last train to ever leave Westerbork. Had they remained hidden one more month, they might have all survived.

At Auschwitz, the family was separated. Men in one line, women, in the other. This was the last time that Anne saw her beloved father, Otto. Anne, her sister, Margot, and their mother labored hard, hauling heavy stones, for two months, until it became clear that the Russian army was advancing to liberate the camp. In a panic, the Nazi’s moved as many Jews to Bergen Belsen in Northern Germany as possible. Anne and Margot were sent, but their mother was forced to stay behind. She died of exhaustion and starvation a few weeks later.

Bergen Belsen did not have a gas chamber, but it was overcrowded with people dying of infectious diseases. In fact, over 50,000 people died there. Sometime in early spring, Margot succumbed to Typhus. Anne, at age fifteen, believing that her entire family was gone, died a few days later of the same disease. Only a month later, Bergen Belsen was liberated by the British.

Of the eight original residents who had hid in the annex, Otto Frank was the sole survivor. He returned to his work place where one of the family’s helpers, Miep, gave him Anne’s diary, which she had gathered together after the Nazi’s tore the attic apart, scattering the pages. It took Otto a month before he could bear to look at it. He found Anne’s words to be powerful, but highly personal. Two years later, he was finally convinced to let a publisher turn the diary into a book. The rest, as they say, is history.

For myself with my own book, I found it challenging to incorporate a real person’s life into a fictional scenario. I didn’t want to inadvertently teach readers an invented history. I did this by limiting the imagined details of what happened to Anne and applying them to my main character’s high-stakes hypothesis of her grandmother’s secret. In the end, I couldn’t avoid a few inventions, but they are duly noted in the Author’s Note. I wish I could say more about the twists and turns in the ending, but I won’t spoil it!

I am happy to say that the United States Holocaust Museum now offers Stolen Secrets to their adult and teen guests. The book was named a notable selection by the Sydney Taylor Book Awards, which selects quality literature that authentically portrays the Jewish experience. But the best news of all happened via a Facebook post, when a reader wrote that she was inspired by my book to buy The Diary of Anne Frank for her daughter.

I had an “aha” moment. Even without firsthand witnesses, we can effectively teach history in memorable ways. Authors and artists, with the help of librarians, educators, and word of mouth, can pass along fresh new works to readers. Together, we can create for future generations a connection to a past that must never be forgotten.

Meet Author L. B. Schulman

STOLEN SECRETS is L.B. Schulman’s second young adult novel. Her debut, LEAGUE OF STRAYS, was published in 2012. She grew up in Maryland and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two daughters, and a pair of loveable mutts. When she isn’t writing, she’s visiting genealogy sites, trying to find famous people she’s related to. You can visit her online at LBSchulman.com.

YA A to Z: Being Heard – Anne Frank, Diaries and Teens, a discussion of Anne Frank with Author Mary Amato

Today as a part of our ongoing A to Z look at teen issues, teen fiction and more, author Mary Amato is discussing Anne Frank and diaries with us.

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On March 28, 1944 a radio address changed Anne Frank’s relationship to her diary. Gerrit Bolkestein, the Dutch Minster for Education, Art, and Science gave the address from London, where the Dutch government was in exile. In it, he asked for the Dutch people to save written evidence of the persecution and oppression that they had endured or were enduring under the German occupation. Diaries would be particularly useful.

When Anne heard about Bolkestein’s interest in collecting personal records, she turned to her own diary with a new passion and began seriously revising. The prospect of sharing her words with a larger audience must have given Anne a sense of purpose and power, a feeling that her experience and her expression of that experience was valid and valuable.

The fact that Anne was intentionally revising her diary for possible publication is a remarkable detail about the Frank story that many readers don’t know—one that I didn’t know until a recent visit to the Anne Frank House.

The gift of a diary to a child or teen is an old-fashioned tradition, a sweet gesture that typically comes with the modest hope that the child will enjoy writing down his or her thoughts. Who knows, the child or teen might even enjoy sharing the entries with his or her own children in the years to come.

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In June of 1942, when Anne received the cute red-and-white checked diary for her 13th birthday, she began writing in it with the typical mix of reluctance and desire. Most kids want to write, but don’t know what to write about. In her diary, she noted that writing might be a substitute for something she wanted but didn’t have at that moment: a close friend. Anne named her diary Kitty, after a character in one of her favorite books, and began to write as if writing to a friend. Ordinary stuff.

In July, life for the Frank family changed radically. Anne’s older sister Margot received a call-up notice from the Nazis to return to Germany and work in a labor camp. Otto Frank knew what this meant, and he had a plan. The family went into hiding in a series of walled-off rooms in the rear of the building of the spice-distribution company where he worked. When the Franks took that desperate act, Anne took her diary with her.

“The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I’d absolutely suffocate.” –March 16, 1944.

Most of the readers of Anne’s diary know this much of Anne’s story, and many assume that the published edition (known most commonly in English as The Diary of a Young Girl) was Anne’s one and only diary. The red-and-white checked book was Anne’s first diary. After it was full, Anne wrote in several additional notebooks, and—a heartbreaking thought—we don’t have them all. According to the Anne Frank House, nearly all of 1943 is missing. The Diary of a Young Girl is a compilation of her original diary, three notebooks, and the revision on loose sheets of paper that she began after hearing the radio address and that she was working on up until the time of her arrest and deportation to Bergen Belsen in 1944, where she died in March of 1945, just a month before the death camp was liberated by British troops.

When I was first read Anne Frank’s diary, I couldn’t imagine or understand anything as horrific as the holocaust. I wasn’t Jewish and knew only the basics about World War II. I connected with Anne because I was the same age and, by that time, also a serious diarist.

It was my mother who gave me my first diary. Although she had cancer at the time, I’m certain that she thought she would beat her disease, that she had no inkling that she was giving me the tool that would help me most to cope with her death. Because the culture in which I grew up was all about silent stoicism and the suppression of emotions, my diary became the only place to voice the truth of what I was experiencing, the only place for me to cry, to scream, and to ask questions.

At the time, even though most of what I wrote was for myself, I also wrote some things with the goal of sharing my experience. The biggest platform I could hope for was a mimeographed and stapled literary journal that my English teacher, Mr. McCauley, organized. The emotion I remember feeling when I first saw my words in print was a sense of relief. Seeing my words in print made me feel real and valued. Publication was the permanent proof of not only my existence, but also the worth of my existence.

I think about that and then I think about Anne and how powerless she was and how the thought that her diary might be published must have energized her in the darkest time.

And now I’m also thinking about the Parkland, Florida, students, the survivors of that school shooting, and what happened when they began speaking the truth of their experience. What has struck me is how radically some things have changed. Social media and the internet has enabled the voices of children and teens to be received and delivered at a dizzying speed. A speech written by a teen and given at a small-town meeting can be recorded and uploaded onto YouTube one day; and, within 24 hours, that student can be on CNN.

Unfortunately, what hasn’t changed is that there are still people out there who believe that young people should not be taken seriously, that young voices aren’t worthy of time or respect, that young voices shouldn’t be trusted or even actively silenced. How heartbreaking it was to see and hear the ridiculing of the Parkland students by some adults and the accusations by others that the students must be paid actors or shills for liberal adults in power.

From the time Anne’s diary was published until his death, Anne’s father Otto Frank—the only member of the immediate family that survived the death camps— had to deal with numerous people who claimed that the diary was a forgery, a ploy for sympathy, a propaganda tool. Today the Anne Frank House has to continue in the fight and has taken successful legal action against deniers.

What hasn’t changed is that teens need and want to be heard. Perhaps more than ever, the diary is a tool that can help.

On a personal note, I have to say that when I finally made my pilgrimage to the Anne Frank House, I was worried that the place would have the emotionally-flat atmosphere that some museums can have. And during the initial part of the visit, my fears were confirmed. The building itself is drab and unremarkable looking. Snaking my way through the first few rooms along with so many tourists, holding the audio wand to my ear, and straining to peek at the various photographic and textual displays, I felt nothing. But the second half of the tour is different. When you pass by the specially-constructed false bookshelf and duck through the portal to the secret annex of the building, the rooms where Anne, her family, and four other Jews lived in hiding for two years, the audio portion suspends, and you are forced—wisely—to experience the heart of the museum silently. You walk through the small rooms and see where Anne slept and wrote. You listen to the sound of your footsteps, the creaking of the floorboards, the hushed whispers of the visitors in the next room, and it hits you as it has never hit you before. To be any age and have to be quiet, contained, restrained minute after minute, day after day, month after month within these dark walls would be a nightmare. But to be fourteen?

I have a deeper understanding now, how, at a time when a young girl’s voice was quite literally suppressed, her diary gave her both a place to speak and the hope of being heard.

If you work with teens and haven’t encouraged diary writing, please consider trying a station with supplies in the library.  No need for expensive blank books—pretty or thick books can be intimidating. Some businesses will donate small notebooks and pens, or small, thin diaries can be made on the spot by folding and stapling standard copier paper. I have a pdf of tips for download and display.

Encourage Diary Writing Display

And if you have a teen in your personal life, consider giving a diary as a gift. I recommend something plain and small with a gentle reminder that writing can be a powerful friend.

Meet Mary Amato

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Mary Amato is an award-winning children’s and YA book author, poet, playwright, and songwriter. Her books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, produced onstage, and have won the children’s choice awards in Ohio, Minnesota, Utah, and Arizona. She teaches popular workshops on writing and the creative process around the country.

YA A to Z: Guilt, Shame and Blame – Heroin Overdose Deaths in Teen Fiction, a guest post by Kerry Sutherland

As I contemplate where to put this in YA A to Z, I realize there are far too many options. D for drugs, or death. E for epidemic, as our country is facing a devastating opioid epidemic. G for guilt. H for Heroine.  S for shame. I wanted to put it up now as opposed to later, because it’s such an important topic facing our teens today. So D it is, for death by drug overdose. I am thankful to Kerry Sutherland for sharing this post, and sharing her own experiences within it.

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As a young adult librarian, I meet many children and teens who have lost a loved one. Terminal illnesses, tragic accidents, suicide – I’ve heard about them all, and as an adult who still has the luxury of two living parents and a large group of friends I have known since kindergarten, I know how fortunate I am to have lost few of those close to me unexpectedly.

Unfortunately, some of those few have been young people in my family, and whether accepted or admitted as such or not, more than one of those deaths have been from a heroin overdose.

Wait – those don’t happen to middle class, white suburban families, do they?

real talk addiction brochure 1

real talk addiction brochure 2

Sunday Reflections: When the Opioid Crisis Hits the Library

My family would beg to differ, as shocked and pained as they were by each one. Did any of them struggle with addiction? Yes, but not all. Were there signs? Maybe, but maybe not. The big question is why. With family and friends who loved them, why? Was it accidental, or did they truly want to die? As those left behind, what have we as a family, and their friends, had to deal with, both within our own hearts and minds and those of others who are either quick to sympathize or to judge, or to act as if heroin played no role in the deaths at all because they are ashamed?

#MHYALit: Where Are the Books on Addiction for Your Mental Health Lists?

Plenty of teen fiction deals with death and loss, with grief and mourning, but when I looked into what novels I could offer teens in my area, which as a part of northeast Ohio has been hit hard by the opiate epidemic, I found very few that focus on heroin overdose deaths. What is different about those deaths, and why do teens need stories with that distinction, especially if they have either known someone who has overdosed or are vulnerable to becoming a user themselves?

A closer look at each of these titles makes the distinction and the need clear.

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In Sarah Porter’s When I Cast Your Shadow, two months have passed since Ruby’s “young and talented and amazing” older brother Dash died from a heroin overdose, but she is still devastated, in spite of her father’s attempt to force her, as well as Ruby’s twin brother Everett, to move on. Dash’s room has been emptied, new furniture replacing the old, and Ruby is trapped in memories of her attempts to follow Dash into rough neighborhoods, of Dash’s anger that she was exposing herself to his new life and that she had found him “crazed, filthy, with a feverish stench”: “You do not have my permission to see me like this . . . you will keep your image of me as bright and clean and blazing as a supernova.” Unfortunately, as much as she fights to maintain the dignity of Dash’s memory, she can’t forget that she knew about his addiction but was unable to prevent his death. Her father looks the facts straight on as if it would help Ruby get past her grief, telling her that Dash was manipulative, destructive, and selfish, but Ruby feels like “the only one who will fight for Dash, now that he can’t defend himself.” She was the only one who had any hope that he would get clean, and while she didn’t see his body after he died, she “heard they found him, naked in his girlfriend’s bed . . . with his head hanging over the edge and the needle still in his arm. Eyes wide and gray in the silvery morning light.” She thought that he had kicked heroin six months before his death, making it more of a shock. “I’ll never love anybody that much again,” she asserts, coming to realize that her father’s hatred of Dash is his way of coping with the loss, but knowing that no matter what anyone thinks or does, Dash is gone forever. There is a supernatural horror aspect to this story, but the details of Dash’s addiction and how that along with the manner of his death affects Ruby and Everett are the powerful drive behind this tragedy.

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When Andria’s twin sister Iris overdoses on heroin in Robin Bridges’ Dreaming of Antigone, Andria can’t help but feel guilty. Born with a disorder that causes seizures, Andria had been faking one to distract her parents from Iris’s partying the night Iris died, and if they had been home instead of at the hospital with Andria, Iris might have been saved. Iris’s boyfriend Alex, who is “about as broken as they come,” is back from rehab, but Andria can’t forgive his role in encouraging Iris’s drug use, which was brought on by their stepfather’s abuse. Iris’s friends try to include Andria in their social activities, but Andria’s heart isn’t in it, and she can’t “fill the Iris-shaped hole” in their lives. Her nightmares about Iris revolve around guilt and blame, as Iris is angry with her but she can’t “hear her in my dreams because I never heard her crying out for help in real life” and she feels “like I never really knew my sister at all. And now that she’s gone, I won’t ever get the chance.” Her mother doesn’t think Andria needs counseling, however, fearing that it would be an admission of emotional weakness, but Andria knows she “can’t fix myself, not yet.” As Andria spends more time with Alex, “the boy who killed my sister,” she is forced to face her sister’s responsibility for her own behavior. “Your life was perfect before I came and turned your sister into a drug addict, right?” Alex sneers as he confronts her, and even when they discover Iris’s terrible reason for her drug use, they both know that the only thing they can do is honor her memory by keeping the girls’ stepfather from hurting more girls. Nothing will bring Iris back, but the pain of her loss and the preventability of her death continue to haunt them half a year after she is gone, as Andria tries to determine who is at fault: “Maybe we all failed her, because we didn’t know she needed help.”

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The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone has a cute cover and a jacket blurb that focuses on the standard ‘summer before their senior year of high school’ woes: boyfriend drama and popularity concerns. What it doesn’t detail is the heroin addiction that threatens to kill one of the secondary characers. Sadie reconnects with Alice after they’ve grown apart, but has fond memories of Girl Scouting adventures with Alice and another girl, Izzy. Alice reveals that after becoming addicted to Oxy following a riding accident, Izzy has “been doing heroin pretty much every day, and it’s getting worse.” Izzy disappears when Alice threatens to tell her parents, and Sadie is stunned: “I had a vivid memory of baby-faced Izzy playing tug-of-war in her riding boots and braids at one of our jamborees. I couldn’t believe she was doing heroin.” Alice’s texts to Sadie detail Alice’s fears as Izzy gets worse: “At the hospital. Izzy might be dead. Please come” and later, she asks, “Who overdoses on a Tuesday afternoon?” Alice feels guilty about “allowing” Izzy to disappear, about “letting go away with that hideous dealer,” and is understandably furious with Izzy’s parents, who are so disconnected from their daughter that they don’t realize that she is using until the overdose. “This is hell. Some guy she’s sleeping with called 911 when she turned gray and her lips went blue and she choked on her own vomit . . . I can’t even tell you what it has been like to deal with my best friend nodding off, trying to score smack all day, stealing money from my car, lying, smelling like shit because she never showers. It’s hell.” The group of friends make a dangerous visit to a trap house looking for Izzy, as Alice bluntly reveals that Izzy is probably having sex with whomever will give her heroin. The story concludes with Izzy in rehab in another state, with no clear hope that she will get better, especially since her parents are still in denial and are shamed by the gossip that Izzy’s sexual and addictive behaviors have garnered in the community. Sadie’s heart aches for Alice and Izzy, but how can Alice move on with her life knowing that Izzy is still at risk?

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Kayla is a popular and athletic honor student, so when her boyfriend and best friends find her dead of a heroin overdose days before their senior year begins in Cecily Wolfe’s That Night, they are stunned and heartbroken. Some of their classmates are kind, but others are judgmental, and as texts roll in on Cassidy and Sarah’s phones, they discover that not everyone is sympathetic to their loss. What about other teens who have died of drug overdoses, some texts ask. Why didn’t they get any attention? Cass and Sarah have never heard of anyone else dying in this way in their town, but soon they realize that Kayla’s status and background make her stand out as someone worthy of mourning, unlike teens in rougher neighborhoods where the community has come to accept the losses as part of life. Both girls feel guilty, believing that they could have prevented Kayla’s death, as Kayla’s failed attempts to get help from her parents and doctors after a sports injury left her in constant pain and open to self-medicating. A soccer teammate refers to Kayla as a “junkie” during calling hours at the funeral home, and a normally quiet Sarah attacks her, because “Kayla was gone and there was nothing else she could do for her but fight.” Adults tell them to “get on with your life” but their insensitivity reflects the way Kayla’s problems were treated as insignificant while she was alive. Cassidy and Sarah decide that in honor of Kayla, they can bring attention to the kids who are dying without being noticed, to “give them a voice” and start focusing on bringing a stop to heroin availability in their community: “Why the hell did she do it? What would make a girl like Kayla want to, even once? If someone like Kayla could do it, that meant a lot of kids could, kids no one would ever think would use.” Finding Kayla unresponsive at the party, holding her “limp hand between her two, as if she could warm Kayla’s heart through her fingers,” is a memory that Sarah, who had held Kayla while Paul tried to revive her and Cassidy called 911, and the others will carry with them the rest of their lives, but their guilt and questions can’t change the reality of her death.

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Lo’s brother Oren has been her saving grace her whole life in Kate Ellison’s The Butterfly Clues, as the childhood onset of obsessive compulsive behaviors and constant moves because of their father’s job make it difficult to find friends. His death from a heroin overdose a year earlier exacerbated her behaviors, and her parents have abandoned her, her mother confined to sleeping in her room and her father to his work. She wears her brother’s shirt and dreams of Oren sitting on his grave, begging her to help him, asking her why she left him. Lo wonders if Oren “thought he was missed, as he eased down the gradual slop of his slipping away from us, from everything, into nothing” or did he think she didn’t care? Once Oren had saved her from drowning in a creek, but she couldn’t save him, and her guilt is crushing: “I wonder if Oren thought we didn’t care. It’s probably why he didn’t come back, why he ended up rotted away in some abandoned building somewhere.” If he was there with her now, she would never let him go again. Her dreams are full of Oren calling to her, her bright beautiful brother who had been “so close. Just a couple of miles away. And we sat, waiting, doing nothing, while he fell apart, disintegrated.” He wasn’t found until he had been dead a week, and the details of what remained are horrifying: “The only thing left after his skin melted off in that apartment where he died, all alone” were his teeth. Her own memories of him the last time she saw him are haunted by how skinny he was, how “his eyes were ringed with purplish disks, his hands shaking” and she wonders if he knew that he was leaving her forever. Her father hates her compulsive behaviors and just wants her to be “normal” but he eventually comes to realize how his expectations and the way he and Lo’s mother have been dealing with their own grief is hurting Lo. Whatever changes are on the horizon for her family, Lo holds “every single moment I ever had with him” close: “I have them all – folded into a million messy drawers in my brain; they belong to me, my dowry, my heritage.”

What do these novels have in common that make the stories stand out from others about death and mourning, speaking to the difference of experience these teen characters have by losing someone to a heroin overdose?

The details of the manner of death. The horror. It’s real, it’s honest, it’s heartbreaking.

The shame. The guilt. The questions. The big WHY? Why did he or she use? Why didn’t I know? Why couldn’t I stop it from happening?

The blame game. Was it he dealer? The loved one? The drug? Yourself?

The judgment. The shame. The defensiveness. The contradictory feelings that fight a weary, unwinnable battle in your heart.

As heroin continues to add to its death toll in my state and many others, those of us who serve and support young people will need more of these stories to help them cope with the realities they face, as well as to show them the devastating effects this drug has on users and those who love them.

Meet Our Guest Blogger

Kerry Sutherland is the young adult librarian at the Ellet branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library in Akron, Ohio. She has a PhD in American literature from Kent State University, along with a MLIS from the same. She reviews middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction for School Library Journal, and is a published author of short fiction, novels, poetry, professional and academic work. She loves cats, Shadowhunters, Henry James, anime, and NASCAR.

Twitter: @catfriends

Instagram: @superpurry

YA A to Z: “Fake News” and Disinformation, a guest post by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Today for YA A to Z author Diana Rodriguez Wallach is talking with us about disinformation and “fake news”.

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I’m often asked, “What sort of research did you do for your novel?” For me, that’s a loaded question. The Anastasia Phoenix series is set around the world, so I traveled overseas to Italy, England, and Brazil to create some of the settings for my novels. That’s research! (Or so I tell my husband.) My books also deal with conspiracy theories of real historical events, so there was a lot of Googling that could have gotten me flagged by the FBI. Then, there were the in-person interviews, the real life people who inspired the characters in my books and who helped me portray the espionage world of disinformation. For me, the most important interview came from a professor at Boston University.

I was a journalism major in college back in the late 1990s. (Yeah, I’m giving my age.) At the time, one of the professors in the College of Communication was a man named Larry Martin Bittman (formerly Ladislav Bittman). He was the former Deputy Director of Disinformation for Czechoslovakia during the Cold War—a real life Communist spy who went on to teach budding journalists how to tell when they were being fed disinformation.

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At the time I started writing PROOF OF LIES, way back in 2008, Trump had yet to coin the term “fake news.” In fact, I hadn’t really heard of the concept outside of wartime propaganda. But because of that professor from BU, who generously met with me in his home in Massachusetts to discuss my novel, I decided to give this specialty to the spies in my book.

fake news | Lesson Plan | PBS NewsHour Extra

It’s a research dream come true. Now, not only do I get to wander the streets of Rome claiming I need to taste the gelato for “book research,” but I also get to spend months in a deep dive into conspiracy theories. All of the historical moments I twist in my novels are based on real events. One of my favorite compliments from reviewers is when they state that “The Truth” page at the end of my novels made the books stand out even more.

(FILES) This file picture taken on May 9, 1978 in Via Caetani near the Communist Party headquarters, in central Rome shows Aldo Moro's bullet-riddled body, found in the boot of a car. Thirty years since the Red Brigade leftist militant group killed former prime minister Aldo Moro, many Italians still blame his death on what they see as a self-interested political class. Most remember the moment they learned on March 16, 1978, that the former Christian Democrat leader had been kidnapped and five bodyguards had been killed. Fifty-four days later, on May 9, Moro's body was found in the boot of a car halfway between the Rome headquarters of his party and that of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), symbolising his killers' disdain for Moro's proposed "middle way" associating the two parties. AFP PHOTO/FILES/UPI (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

(FILES) This file picture taken on May 9, 1978 in Via Caetani near the Communist Party headquarters, in central Rome shows Aldo Moro’s bullet-riddled body, found in the boot of a car. Thirty years since the Red Brigade leftist militant group killed former prime minister Aldo Moro, many Italians still blame his death on what they see as a self-interested political class. Most remember the moment they learned on March 16, 1978, that the former Christian Democrat leader had been kidnapped and five bodyguards had been killed. Fifty-four days later, on May 9, Moro’s body was found in the boot of a car halfway between the Rome headquarters of his party and that of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), symbolising his killers’ disdain for Moro’s proposed “middle way” associating the two parties. AFP PHOTO/FILES/UPI (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

So was Aldo Moro, the prime minister of Italy, really kidnapped, murdered, and left in the trunk of a car in 1978? Yes, and there are a lot of people who don’t believe the Red Brigades, the communist group blamed for the crime, did it. Were hundreds of journalists and military officersunjustly imprisoned in Turkey in 2010 over a fake coup plot? Yes, and to date no one has been brought to justice for those lengthy false imprisonments. Did soccer super star Ronaldo LuísNazário de Lima of Brazil secretly suffer a seizure before the 1998 World Cup but play anyway? Yup, and people still wonder why,especially after the team’s epic loss.

Do tweens and teens believe “fake news”? – Common Sense Media

I understand the urge to roll your eyes at another “fake news” headline, but remember these types of covert campaigns really exist and have been around a long time. Trust me, I know; I did the research, and you can read all about it in PROOF OF LIES, and its new sequel LIES THAT BIND.

If you want to enjoy some more books on disinformation, here are some I read as research:

The Deception Game; by Ladislav Bittman

The KGB and Soviet Disinformation, an Insider’s View; by Ladislav Bittman

The Women of the OSS, Sisterhood of Spies; by Elizabeth P. McIntosh

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About Lies That Bind:

What do you do when you learn your entire childhood was a lie?

Reeling from the truths uncovered while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. The only way to stop being a pawn in their game is to remove herself from the board. But before she can leave her parents’ crimes behind her, tragedy strikes. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists.

Now, with help from her friends, Anastasia embarks on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire. From a fire-filled festival in England to a lavish wedding in Rio de Janeiro, Anastasia is determined to confront the enemies who want to destroy her family. But even Marcus, the handsome bad boy who’s been there for her at every step, is connected to the deadly spy network. And the more she learns about Department D, the more she realizes the true danger might be coming from someone closer than she expects…

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/lies-that-bind.html

 

About Diana Rodriguez Wallach:

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Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, three young adult spy thrillers (Entangled Publishing, 2017, ’18, ‘19). The first book in the trilogy, Proof of Lies, was named by Paste Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Bustle also listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017.” Additionally, she is the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).

She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, a school-based Workshop Instructor for Mighty Writers in Philadelphia, and has been a Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth since 2015. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.

Author Links:

Author Website: dianarodriguezwallach.com

Author Blog: http://dianarwallach.tumblr.com

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dianarwallach

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dianarwallach/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1404210.Diana_Rodriguez_Wallach

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dianawallachauthor/

YA A to Z: Designer Drugs, a guest post by author Anna Hecker

Today for YA A to Z we’re discussing Designer Drugs with author Anna Hecker

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If you frequent raves or EDM festivals, you might sometimes see a neon-yellow table covered in candy, condoms, earplugs, and bright postcards. Get closer, and you’ll notice the postcards each name a drug, from alcohol and nicotine to MDMA and LSD. Flip them over to find simple, unbiased information: effects, side effects, and contraindications.

At this point, a volunteer might ask if you have any questions. If you’d like to take some postcards to share with your friends. If you want complimentary earplugs, along with a brochure on hearing loss. Sometimes, they may be able to perform onsite pill testing: a series of chemical reagents that can help determine whether a square of blotter paper really contains LSD, or a capsule of “molly” is a synthetic cathinone or pure MDMA. Given the proliferation of adulterated substances masquerading as “molly”, these tests can save someone’s night…or someone’s life.

Popular Drugs: Most Common & Emerging Drugs Among Teens

This is DanceSafe, a non-profit dedicated to promoting health and safety in the nightlife and electronic music communities. Consider them the librarians of the rave scene—gatekeepers of information, with the goal of disseminating it widely (on the ground, directly to its target audience) so young people can make safe and educated choices.

I’d been seeing DanceSafe around since I started going to raves in the late 90s, and was doing some volunteer work with them when I conceived the idea for my debut YA contemporary novel, WHEN THE BEAT DROPS. To say the organization influenced my decision to write this book is an understatement. I was inspired by the way DanceSafe tackles issues within the dance music community (from designer drugs to consent) without flinching or fear mongering. I wanted my book to do that, too.

 

hecker1DanceSafe in action (I’m second from the left)

 

“Designer drug” is a blanket term used to describe any psychoactive chemical created in a lab with the intention of getting people high. It gained popularity alongside the rise of MDMA (short for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, known as Ecstasy to Gen-X’ers and Molly to Millennials) in the mid-1980s, and has since been used to describe any number of synthetic opioids, psychedelics, amphetamines, and empathogens. Because MDMA and the rave scene are inextricably intertwined, designer drugs that claim to be pure MDMA are arguably the greatest danger to the electronic music community today.

YA Drug & Substance Abuse Novels (56 books) – Goodreads
8 YA Reads to Spark Authentic Discussions About Drugs and Alcohol

Taken alone, pure MDMA is relatively safe. In 2017, the FDA granted it Breakthrough Therapy Status for use in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It has since entered large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trials, with the goal of being on the market for clinical use by 2021. In Phase 2 trails, 61% of users no longer qualified for PTSD after just three sessions of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. All trial participants had been previously diagnosed with “chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD,” and had suffered for an average of 17.8 years. By increasing feelings of trust and empathy, MDMA allows users to confront traumatic events in their past without the crushing panic and fear that usually accompanies these memories.

Infographics on Drug Use and Effects | NIDA for Teens

It’s no surprise that young people would be attracted to a drug that fosters trust and empathy while reducing fear. Adolescence can be brutally lonely: you feel like you’re the only freak out there and nobody will ever get you, yet have an oppressive, all-consuming need to fit in. The rave scene offers a potent antidote to these feelings: pop a pill, shed your fear, and find your tribe on the dance floor. For many young people, this is the community they’ve spent their whole life searching for. It certainly was for me.

The problem arises when underground labs and black-market dealers control the flow of unregulated substances to young people who are hungry for connection and may not have all the facts. MDMA is difficult and expensive to produce, so labs create synthetic analogues that may have a similar molecular structure but can produce wildly different effects. Dealers, in an effort to maximize profit, then cut it even further, with more or less anything they can find. End users think they’re taking pure MDMA. In reality, they could be ingesting anything from baby aspirin to bath salts.

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In WHEN THE BEAT DROPS I wanted to explore the many sides of rave culture: the connection and bliss as well as the discomfort and danger. My protagonist, 17-year-old Mira, is a diehard jazz fan who dreams of attending a music conservatory for trumpet and composition. But when her older sister Britt comes home from college with a new look, new friends, and a new passion for warehouse parties, Mira sees an opportunity to reconnect. To her surprise, she finds herself falling in love with dance music, DJing…and Derek, a gorgeous older promoter who thinks he can make her a star.

But the electronic music community isn’t all sun-soaked festivals and kandi necklaces. Mira may be all about the music, but Britt increasingly turns to club drugs as an escape from her rage and grief. Instead of confronting her emotions, she’s getting high—and she’s not exactly paying attention to what she’s taking, or how much.

12 Signs of Teen Drug Abuse Infographic | Alcohol Awareness Month

As Mira struggles to forge her own place in this world, she also has to confront her sister’s drug use, and come to terms with the fact that not everyone is as well-intentioned as they seem.

WHEN THE BEAT DROPS is not, first and foremost, a “drug book”. It’s about family and friends, falling in love and finding your beat. But it’s impossible to write about the culture of electronic music without acknowledging the very real role that drugs play. My hope is that by addressing designer drugs within the context of a broader story, and showing the nuanced ways they both shape and destroy this scene, I can continue some of the great work of informing, educating, and, yes, even entertaining that DanceSafe has begun.

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About Anna Hecker

Anna Hecker grew up at the end of a dead-end road in a rural town in Vermont, and moved to New York City as soon as she possibly could. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from The New School, spent ten years writing for ad agencies and digital publishers, and still dabbles in copywriting and sponsored content. When she’s not reading or writing she enjoys tooling around Brooklyn with her husband and son, snuggling with her fluffy bundle of glamor, Cat Benatar, or blasting soulful house and dancing around her living room. She is represented by Eric Smith at P.S. Literary.

Author Links:

Preorder: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781510733336

Website: annahecker.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heckerbooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnaTheHecker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaHeckerAuthor

YA A to Z: All You Need are Dragons, a guest post by Cindy Shutts

Today for YA A to Z, guest poster Cindy Shutts is talking dragons!

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Dragons are beasts that have lived in the imagination of people all over the world and bring an element of mythology and world building to the canon of Young Adult Fiction.

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Patricia Wrede changed the role of dragons in Young Adult Fiction with her Enchanted Forest Chronicles starting with Dealing with Dragons. She wrote about Princess Cimorene who became friends with Kazul, a dragon whom she ran away with and was employed by. Wrede was tired of traditional princess roles and wanted adventure for her characters. The Princess became the hero of the series and was able to fight back. This series is great for both Young Adult and Middle Grade readers. Cimorene and Kazul turned the princess-dragon dynamic around; their friendship was wonderful to read about because it broke away from the classic fantasy tropes. The dragon is not the villain and the princess is not helpless. This was one of the first books marketed as Teen Read. By today’s publishing standards, it would be labeled as Middle Grade.

If you loved The Enchanted Dragon Chronicle, definitely check out the Dragon Slipper series by Jessica Day George. Creel’s aunt wants to sacrifice her to a local group of dragons in the hope that a knight will come to rescue Creel and marry her; so that her aunt will no longer have to support her. When she meets the Dragons, she develops a warm and rich friendship with many of them.  It explains the political structure of the dragons.  The dragons have their own complex rules of government and who are in charge.

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For an awesome Science Fiction dragon story, check out Scorched by Mari Mancusi. Trinity is forced into a world of Dragon’s, when her grandfather purchases the last dragon egg. She meets two twins from the future who are on different sides of the dragon war. One saying the egg must be destroyed and one saying it must be protected at all costs.

Goodreads List of YA Dragon Books

17 YA Books With Dragons – Epic Reads

The Best Dragon Books for Teens – The YA Shelf

Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina won the Morris award in 2013. This is one of the most beautifully written dragon books for teens. Seraphina has joined the court as a musician, but she is hiding a secret that could cost her life. Dragons and Human hate each in Seraphina’s world.  This book brings a love of music to the world of dragons and explores the dark secrets of dragons. Hartman has a new book coming out this month, Tess of the Road, another dragon fantasy that is surely to be as captivating as Seraphina.

Other great dragon Young Adult titles include: The Prophecy Series by Ellen Oh, Dragon’s Keep by Janet Lee Carey, and Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Also if you like Dragon-like creatures check out Serpentine by Cindy Pon, who is amazing!

cindydragonCindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL. You can follow her on Twitter at .

YA A to Z: Comics 101 with Ally Watkins

Today as we continue YA A to Z, our very own TLTer Ally Watkins is discussing Comics 101 with us. She writers our monthly Collecting Comics feature.

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Comics are wildly popular and fun, but they aren’t always the easiest thing to collect for libraries. But our patrons love comics, so a little information about how comics work and how to collect them for libraries can really with collection development.

An important thing to remember at the start: comics are not a genre, they’re a format. There are many genres of comic books and graphic novels, but they’re all written in the comic format.

In America, comics are sold by something called the direct market system, in which a large distributor (Diamond Comics Distributors) provides comics to local comics shops in order to meet consumer needs. Unlike regular book sales, these books can’t be returned from the shops for a refund, so comic shops try to gauge their customers’ interest through pre-orders which have to be placed a several weeks ahead of the release date.  The downsides to this system are that consumers have to take a chance on new publications before they’ve even come out, and new comics that don’t do well (perhaps because of poor pre-order numbers) are often discontinued.

Confused yet?

Basically: local comic book shops are still the primary way that comic readers purchase single issue comics (the traditional 32 page “comic books” that you’re envisioning, also called “floppies”). Individual single issues come out every week on Wednesday.  Single issues are numbered, so that’s where you might hear someone talking about “Ms. Marvel #1.”

 

If your library is very lucky, you might have a relationship with Diamond or a local comic book shop, and you can get single issue comics in your library weekly! But many of us don’t have the budget or purchasing procedures for that, so libraries often get collected editions that contain multiple single issues.

 

A collected edition most often comes in the form of a trade paperback (shortened to “trades” or “TPBs”), which might collect between 4 and 8 single issues of a comics series. These trades are numbered as “volumes.” For example, Volume 1 of the comic series Lumberjanes collects Lumberjanes issues #1-#4.  These trades generally collect a story arc or several related issues. These are just like series books, so you want to commit to collecting the whole series for your patrons.  You can buy volumes of collected issues at a variety of places: comic book shops have them, but they’re also available at Amazon, regular bookstores, and your vendors: they have ISBN numbers so they’re available anywhere books are sold.  Collected editions can also come in hardcover deluxe editions, which collect more issues than a trade paperback (or have ‘bonus’ content). These are usually longer and much more expensive.  Make sure that when you’re cataloging your collected edition, you put as much information as possible into the record. You’ll want to include the volume number and what issues it contains so that your patrons can see that in the catalog record and follow along with the series in order.

 Graphic novels are original stories told in the comic format. They are not published in issues first. These are meant to be read like books. They can be a part of a series, or they can stand alone. You may see graphic novels referred to as “OGN” or “Original Graphic Novel.”  Graphic nonfiction is also becoming increasingly popular, including the multiple award-winning March books by John Lewis. The comic format lends itself to telling memoirs and other nonfiction topics powerfully.

 Webcomics are very popular and are an excellent way for amateur artists and storytellers to get their stories into the world. Sometimes comics or more mainstream book publishers will pick up a webcomic and publish a book edition of it, like Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona or the upcoming Check, Please, written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu.

If you aren’t sure where to start, check out awards and lists! A major award for comics that has categories for kids and teens is the Eisner Award. Presented every year at San Diego Comic-Con, there are Eisners in categories for early readers, kids, and teens. Another great comics resource is YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list.

Even though comics can be a little complicated, your kid and teen patrons probably love them and are tearing through them, and keeping them on the shelves is important! Stay tuned to TLT for our monthly column about comics for kids and teens, called Collecting Comics!

More Resources:

Manga 101 | School Library Journal

50 Essential Manga for Libraries – ThoughtCo

Introduction – Graphic Novels, Manga, & Anime – Library Guides

Graphic Novels and Comics in Libraries | News and Press Center

Comics, the King of Libraries – Publishers Weekly

Comic Books 101 Overview and History – ThoughtCo

YA A to Z: Classic Hollywood in YA Literature, a guest post by Lisa Clark

Today for the letter C, librarian Lisa Clark is talking about Classic Hollywood in YA Literature.

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When I was in grade school, my dad showed me the 1950 movie Harvey starring James Stewart. From that moment, I was enamored with Old Hollywood. With a certain charm and innocence to them, these movies are classics for a reason. Over the years, my love has only grown and I have continuously sought out more and more of these films.

In our world of sequels and remakes, it is not unusual that these beloved and timeless movies would be retold. While young adult is no stranger to a retelling, be it Shakespeare or fairy tales, lately I’ve noticed that some young adult literature is throwing it back to the golden age of cinema and getting inspiration from these classic Hollywood stars and films. After all, they are still being remembered and talked about after all these years for a reason: they continue to resonate with people today.

Hollywood in YA Fiction: List from Goodreads

Teens in Tinseltown: Six Hollywood YA Novels | LitReactor

So, here is a list of a few classic Hollywood inspired young adult fiction:

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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Most people will see the synopsis of this book and think of the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie You’ve Got Mail from the 1990s. But really You’ve Got Mail is a remake of the Jimmy Stewart movie The Shop Around the Corner from 1940. It’s no surprise that the film has been remade over and over as it is the story of anonymous pen pals falling in love, while not realizing they already know each other in real life.

In Alex, Approximately, Bailey, who is a classic film fan, befriends Alex online. The two connect as they write back and forth and form a close bond. Meanwhile, Bailey has moved to California and has started working in a museum, where one of the guards annoys her incessantly. If you know either of the movies mentioned, you can probably guess that Bailey’s pen pal Alex is actually the annoying museum guard. This is a sweet contemporary romance about love, hate, and everything in between.

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The Last Best Story by Maggie Lehrman

This book is not published until August, so that gives you plenty of time to familiarize yourself with its inspiration His Girl Friday. In the classic movie, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell play exes who used to work on a newspaper together. When Cary learns Rosalind has become engaged to a boring insurance agent, he tries to convince her to come back to the exciting life of journalism. The dialogue and wit keeps the story moving and makes it feel fresh even after almost 80 years.

The Last Best Story focuses on high school seniors Rose and Grant, who were almost a couple, until Rose abruptly quit the school paper. Now she is trying to enjoy being a normal high school student with a new, normal boyfriend, until Grant tries to get her back — except he isn’t sure if he wants her back for himself or for the paper. Add in excitement surrounding the Senior Prom being put on lockdown and you have a witty screwball comedy that makes this book sound like the perfect modern take on a classic movie.

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Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman

Just like Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Lisbeth longs for a glamorous life away from her dysfunctional family. When Lisbeth gets a chance to try on Hepburn’s iconic dress from the aforementioned movie, she is thrust into the spotlight as the new “It Girl”. In the end, Lisbeth has to decide what is more important and choose between her old life and the spotlight. While not a direct retelling of an old movie, it still touches on the appeal of an old Hollywood star like Hepburn, who is still just as beloved today as decades ago.

For more Hepburn love try Oh Yeah, Audrey by Tucker Shaw .

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Selling Hope by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb

This is another book that is not a direct movie retelling, but has silent film star Buster Keaton as a central character. This book immerses the reader into the history of 1910. Hope McDaniels and her father are part of the vaudeville circuit, which bores Hope. She wants out, so she finds a way to make money quick. With the help of a young Buster Keaton, Hope starts a con where she sells anti-comet pills to people worried about the upcoming Halley’s Comet. With insight into the time period and vaudeville, this book is for historical fiction fans and anyone wanting a peek into what life was like just before the silent era of movies.

For another book with Buster Keaton as a character, try Bluffton by Matt Phelan

Meet Guest Blogger Lisa Clark

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Lisa Clark has worked at the Kenton County Public Library in northern Kentucky since 2005. She’s done a little bit of everything, but currently works at the children’s reference desk where she helps maintain the collection by weeding and ordering materials. She also leads the writers group at her branch and writes read alike recommendations for Novelist. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she likes to run, watch TV shows and movies with her husband, and listen to podcasts.