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New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about

tltbutton7Books, books, and more books! All of the books I get end up going back out the door in some fashion—to teen readers I know, to classroom libraries of friends, to my own school, or in giveaways. I can’t read/review every book I get, but it’s fun to be able to sift through boxes and see what grabs my attention, and to see what books will find loving new homes with the right reader. The following are the books that have arrived here in the past few weeks. I will be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months on TLT. See something you’ve already read and need to make sure I don’t skip? Or something you’re super excited to read when it comes out? Let me know with a comment here or on Twitter, where I’m @CiteSomething. All descriptions from the publishers.

 

 

no sad songsNo Sad Songs by Frank Morelli (ISBN-13: 9780989908740 Publisher: Fish Out of Water Books Publication date: 02/20/2018)

Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined. And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

 

 

night diaryThe Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (ISBN-13: 9780735228511 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/06/2018)

In the vein of Inside Out and Back Again and The War That Saved My Life comes a poignant, personal, and hopeful tale of India’s partition, and of one girl’s journey to find a new home in a divided country

It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home, for her own identity…and for a hopeful future.

 

 

final sixThe Final Six by Alexandra Monir (ISBN-13: 9780062658944 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 03/06/2018)

Set in the near future, this action-packed YA novel—already optioned by Sony Pictures—will take readers out of this world and on a quest to become one of six teens sent on a mission to Jupiter’s moon. This is the next must-read for fans of Illuminae and The Martian.

When Leo and Naomi are drafted, along with twenty-two of the world’s brightest teenagers, into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever changed. Overnight, they become global celebrities in contention for one of the six slots to travel to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—and establish a new colony, leaving their planet forever. With Earth irreparably damaged, the future of the human race rests on their shoulders.

 

 

olivia twistOlivia Twist by Lorie Langdon (ISBN-13: 9780310763413 Publisher: Blink Publication date: 03/06/2018)

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.

Olivia Twist is a jacketed hardcover with decorative embossing.

 

brazenBrazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu (ISBN-13: 9781626728691 Publisher: First Second Publication date: 03/06/2018)

Throughout history and across the globe, one characteristic connects the daring women of Brazen: their indomitable spirit.

With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Pénélope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

 

 

 

more than weMore Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (ISBN-13: 9781681190143 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 03/06/2018)
With loving adoptive parents by his side, Rev Fletcher has managed to keep the demons of his past at bay. . . until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue’s parents are constantly fighting, and her only escape is the computer game she built from scratch. But when a cruel online troll’s harassment escalates, she not only loses confidence but starts to fear for her safety.

When Rev and Emma meet, they’re both longing to lift the burden of their secrets. They connect instantly and deeply, promising to help each other no matter what. But soon Rev and Emma’s secrets threaten to crush them, and they’ll need more than a promise to find their way out.

From the author of Letters to the Lost comes a new compulsively readable story for fans of Nicola Yoon.

 

 

monsters bewareMonsters Beware! by Rafael Rosado, Jorge Aguirre (ISBN-13: 9781626721807 Publisher: First Second Publication date: 03/13/2018 Series: Chronicles of Claudette Series)

Claudette is back AGAIN, and she’s ready to kick major monster butt!

She’s fought giants, clobbered dragons, and now Claudette faces her biggest challenge yet… herself! Well, that and a gang of vile monsters. It all begins when Claudette’s town hosts the annual Warrior Games. After some sneaky maneuvering, Claudette manages to gets herself, Marie, and Gaston chosen as her town’s representatives. But none of Claudette’s past battles has prepared her for this. And to make matters worse, they must stop the vicious Sea Queen and her evil children from using the Warrior Games to free the dark Wizard Grombach and conquer the world!

In Monsters Beware!, the third and final book of the Claudette graphic novel series, Claudette is put the ultimate test. With her honor on the line will she learn that there’s more to a fight than just winning?

 

 

me, fridaMe, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring by Angela Cervantes (ISBN-13: 9781338159318 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 03/27/2018)
A room locked for fifty years.

A valuable peacock ring.

A mysterious brother-sister duo.

Paloma Marquez is traveling to Mexico City, birthplace of her deceased father, for the very first time. She’s hoping that spending time in Mexico will help her unlock memories of the too-brief time they spent together.

While in Mexico, Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael, who present her with an irresistible challenge: The siblings want her to help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Finding the ring means a big reward — and the thanks of all Mexico. What better way to honor her father than returning a priceless piece of jewelry that once belonged to his favorite artist!

But the brother and sister have a secret. Do they really want to return the ring, or are they after something else entirely?

 

 

hurricanHurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (ISBN-13: 9781338129304 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 03/27/2018)

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She’s hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won’t stop following her, and — worst of all — Caroline’s mother left home one day and never came back.

But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline’s first and only friend — and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.

Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother — before Caroline loses her forever.

 

 

pros of consThe Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, Michelle Schusterman (ISBN-13: 9781338151725 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 03/27/2018)

Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she’s ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.

Writer Vanessa Montoya-O’Callaghan has been looking forward to the WTFcon for months. Not just because of the panels and fanfiction readings but because WTFcon is where she’ll finally meet Soleil, her internet girlfriend, for the first time.

Taxidermy assistant Callie Buchannan might be good at scooping brains out of deer skulls, but that doesn’t mean it’s her passion. Since her parents’ divorce, her taxidermist father only cares about his work, and assisting him at the World Taxidermy and Fish-Carving Championships is the only way Callie knows to connect with him.

When a crazy mix-up in the hotel lobby brings the three girls together, they form an unlikely friendship against a chaotic background of cosplay, competition, and carcasses!

 

 

reboundRebound by Kwame Alexander (ISBN-13: 9780544868137 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 04/03/2018)

From the New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander comes Rebound, a dynamic novel in verse and companion to his Newbery Award-winner, The Crossover, illustrated with striking graphic novel panels.
Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to.

A novel in verse with all the impact and rhythm readers have come to expect from Kwame Alexander, Rebound will go back in time to visit the childhood of Chuck “Da Man” Bell during one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family’s past.

 

 

scarlett hartScarlett Hart: Monster Hunter by Marcus Sedgwick, Thomas Taylor (ISBN-13: 9781626720268 Publisher: First Second Publication date: 04/03/2018)
Scarlett Hart, orphaned daughter of two legendary monster hunters, is determined to carry on in her parents’ footsteps—even if the Royal Academy for the Pursuit and Eradication of Zoological Eccentricities says she’s too young to fight perilous horrors. But whether it’s creepy mummies or a horrid hound, Scarlett won’t back down, and with the help of her loyal butler and a lot of monster-mashing gadgets, she’s on the case.

With her parent’s archrival, Count Stankovic, ratting her out to T.R.A.P.E.Z.E. and taking all the monster-catching rewards for himself, it’s getting hard for Scarlett to do what she was born to do. And when more monsters start mysteriously manifesting than ever before, Scarlett knows she has to get to the bottom of it and save the city . . . whatever the danger!

 

 

ace of shadesAce of Shades by Amanda Foody (ISBN-13: 9781335692290 Publisher: Harlequin Publication date: 04/10/2018 Series: Shadow Game Series #1)

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…and secrets hide in every shadow

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

 

 

family game nightFamily Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary E. Lambert (Paperback ISBN-13: 9780545931991 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 04/24/2018)

Annabelle has a secret . . . a secret so big she won’t allow friends within five miles of her home. Her mom collects things. Their house is overflowing with stuff. It gives Annabelle’s sister nightmares, her brother spends as much time as he can at friends’ houses, and her dad buries himself in his work.

So when a stack of newspapers falls on Annabelle’s sister, it sparks a catastrophic fight between their parents–one that might tear them all apart–and Annabelle starts to think that things at home finally need to change.

Is it possible for her to clean up the family’s mess? Or are they really, truly broken?

 

 

 

you are mightyYou Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World by Caroline Paul, Lauren Tamaki (ISBN-13: 9781681198224 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 05/15/2018)

Passionate about politics? Dedicated to saving the environment? Outspoken about animal rights? No matter the cause, kids can make a difference! This guide features change-maker tips as well as anecdotes of young activists around the globe and throughout history. The suggested activist tactics covered range from tweaking everyday habits—like the sisters who call themselves the Plastic Patrol and convinced their family to stop using grocery bags and straws—to stretching to achieve something extraordinary—like the teen who used food waste to invent a water purification system. Told in Caroline Paul’s trademark breezy voice and including Lauren Tamaki’s delightful spot illustrations and tons of DIY activities, this is the ultimate practical—and fun!—manual for kids looking to change the world.

 

 

legendaryLegendary (Caraval Series #2) by Stephanie Garber (ISBN-13: 9781250095312 Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication date: 05/29/2018 Series: Caraval Series #2)

Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.

 

 

breakoutBreakout by Kate Messner (ISBN-13: 9781681195360 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 06/05/2018)

Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek—two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town’s maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.

Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics—a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project—Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who’s really welcome in the places we call home.

 

 

fall ofThe Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez (ISBN-13: 9781524737757 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/12/2018)

For the past eight years, sixteen-year-old Emilia DeJesus has done her best to move on from the traumatic attack she suffered in the woods behind her elementary school. She’s forced down the memories—the feeling of the twigs cracking beneath her, choking on her own blood, unable to scream. Most of all, she’s tried to forget about Jeremy Lance, the boy responsible, the boy who caused her such pain. Emilia believes that the crows who watched over her that day, who helped her survive, are still on her side, encouraging her to live fully. And with the love and support of her mother, brother, and her caring boyfriend, Emilia is doing just that.

But when a startling discovery about her attacker’s identity comes to light, and the memories of that day break through the mental box in which she’d shut them away, Emilia is forced to confront her new reality and make sense of shifting truths about her past, her family, and herself.

A compulsively-readable tragedy that reminds us of the fragility of human nature.

 

 

sometimeSometime After Midnight by L. Philips (ISBN-13: 9780425291634 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/12/2018)

“A fun, swoony, and romantic novel that honestly expresses the trials and tribulations of finding the right one.” —BuzzFeed on L. Philips’s Perfect Ten

Late one night in a dingy Los Angeles club, Nate and Cameron meet and discover they have much more in common than their love of an obscure indie band. But when Nate learns that Cameron is the heir to a soul-sucking record label—the very one that destroyed his father’s life—he runs away as fast as he can. The only evidence of their brief but intense connection is the blurry photo Cameron snaps of Nate’s Sharpied Chuck Taylors.

When Cameron’s sister Tess—a famous model and socialite—posts the photo on Instagram for her legions of fans, the internet just about breaks with the news of this modern fairy tale. “Anyone know the owner of these shoes?” she writes. “My Prince Charming brother is looking for his Cinderfella!” But while the viral sensation begins to bring the pair back together, their own demons and pasts might get in the way of any happily ever afters . . .

 

thiefThief of Happy Endings by Kristen Chandler (ISBN-13: 9780425290477 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/19/2018)

Wild mustangs, irresistible wranglers, and lovesick teens abound over the course of one beautifully crazy summer at a Wyoming Ranch Camp.

Ever since her father moved out, Cassidy feels like her life has been falling apart. So a summer of riding horses at a ranch camp in Wyoming sounds like just what she needs—never mind the fact that she has a paralyzing fear of horses. She’s determined to move past her fear, even if that means taking lessons from the insufferable (yet irresistible) junior wrangler Justin and embarrassing herself in front of the other campers. What follows is a summer of rodeos, complicated friendships, and a wild mustang thief on the loose.

 

 

game of hopeThe Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland (ISBN-13: 9780425291016 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/26/2018)

For Napoleon’s stepdaughter, nothing is simple – especially love.

Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom have suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother’s dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother, Josephine, has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror.

Where will Hortense’s future lie? For Napoleon regards all his family as pawns to be used in his rise.

Inspired by Hortense’s real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of life long ago, this is the story of a girl chosen by fate to play a role she didn’t choose.

 

 

raging onesThe Raging Ones by Krista Ritchie, Becca Ritchie (ISBN-13: 9781250128713 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 08/14/2018)
An edge of your seat sci-fi romance with twists and turns that you will never see coming!

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

 

 

Why I DNFed MUNMUN by Jesse Andrews and Won’t Be Recommending It

Please Be Aware: SPOILERS abound in this discussion

munmun

Last summer I went to ALA and picked up an ARC for a book called MunMum by Jesse Andrews. After reading the back copy, this was the book I was most excited to read, but I wanted to wait closer to release date. This past weekend I spent a lot of time driving in the car and read it I did. Well, I started to, but I am DNFing this one. To be honest, it has been a long time since a book has made me this angry. Let me tell you why.

Please note: There will be intense spoilers for the first 100 pages of MunMun below.

So. Many. Spoilers.

In this world, everyone’s size is directly proportional to their economic worth. So the poorest of the poor are the size of rats and called littlepoor. And the richest of the rich are the size of skyscrapers and are called bigrich. There are a lot of sizes in between. There is a handy picture chart at the beginning to put it all in visual perspective for readers.

This story is told in the voice of Warner, a littlepoor and brother to Prayer. In the beginning, their milk crate house is smashed by a slightly larger and thus more well off person, and they find themselves having to live in a camp kind of like a tent city. And they are trying to find a way out of their financial predicament so they can scale up – having more money means they can get physically bigger which would make them safer. It’s a metaphor. The one thing I will give MunMun (which is what they call money in this world) is that it does really demonstrate in concrete terms how wealth is associated with power and safety. The littlepoor are literally in extreme danger constantly because they can be smashed with a single footstep by the bigrich.

But that is the only thing I am giving this book.

So what is their plan? Well, their plan is that the sister should go to law school. No, not to get an education and become a lawyer and get a good job to help bring in money, but to marry a middle rich who would have to share their munmun and scale up the family. That’s their plan: Prayer must woo and marry someone with more money.

So Warner and Prayer take an adventure to the city where a law school is. Prayer brings along U for protection, taking advantage of the love she knows he has for her in a very cold and calculated way. The first part of the novel she is truly awful to him in every way and manipulates his love and devotion to her for her own personal gain. Because of course she does, that’s what women do don’t you know. We are cold, calculating creatures that manipulate and harm people to advance our station in life. Warner, paragon of virtue and conscience, is constantly reprimanding Prayer for this and telling his friend to please stop allowing himself to be used in this way. Man I hate Warner and they way he talks about and to his sister.

When they get to the school her plan is to bat her eyelashes and just agree with everything the law students say, no matter how dumb it makes her sound. Because that’s how women woo. So the men all mock her because they know she’s being utterly stupid and no one can figure out why their plan isn’t working. Well, Warner of course knows why their plan isn’t working and sees the utter contempt that these men have for his stupid sister, because of course Warner does. Yep, I still hate Warner.

But Warner has a secret skill: he is a great dream weaver. So he goes in to the dreams of the law students and creates the most romantic dreamscape he can think of and they pretend that it is Prayer doing it to woo the law students. When she fails at wooing, her brother uses his amazing gift to help her out and takes the credit for it. Warner saves the day.

You can also dreambang, which is having psuedo-sex in the dreams. I’m not making that up, it’s called dreambanging in the book. She of course employs this as well, dream banging whoever is willing in hopes that she will find a spouse and her family can scale up. So she’s a dreambanging prostitute.

And after a while, I just couldn’t keep reading this. What should have been a wildly inventive narrative turned out to be the most horrific of tropes packaged with a new shiny bow. The idea of size being related to wealth and the jeopardy it puts you in and the power it can give is interesting in theory, but this execution is trite and weary and dehumanizing and offensive. I hated everything about the 100 pages of this book that I was reading and I literally threw it down in disgust.

Yes, women in the past have often been forced to use their bodies or marry for financial gain or stability. Yes, they still are today. We know, we’ve seen it a million times. Here is a chance to tell a different story and the first 100 pages are spent slogging through this familiar trope with the most offensive female representation I have read in a really long time. Prayer wants to marry rich, but she is portrayed as being wildly manipulative and inept at the same time. She is literally the worst female representation I have read in maybe any book ever. Not because she’s unlikable, I’m fine with unlikable characters, but because she is so horrifically stupid and inept.

It’s not just that I hated Prayer – and I did hate her – it’s that I hated that I was once again forced to read this narrative. Poor girl manipulates man to attain financial gain, is inept and must be “saved” by the talents of her brother, is willing to use the poor little lost puppy to get what she wants even though she knows she is actively hurting him. She’s like all the worst female tropes rolled into one stunningly offensive package.

As I read this book, my teenage daughter was reading another book in the back seat and I thought to myself, I really don’t want her to read this. I’m tired of people telling her and girls like her that all they have to offer to this world is their bodies, their affection, and marrying for financial gain. And I don’t want my teen boys (and here I mean the teens I serve) reading this book because I’m tired of them growing up with this narrative and developing these views of girls. It’s just a destructive cycle that we read over and over and over again.

It’s so completely demeaning to girls. To women.

Now here’s the deal: I 100% admit that I have not finished this book and I have no intention of doing so. It’s possible that somehow later in the book Andrews redeems Prayer as a character, that Warner isn’t the one to save them all, but I don’t want to have to slog through more of the same old offensive narratives to get there. I’m just refusing to do so. I don’t care how the story ends because I’m tired of it beginning in the same old ways.

This is speculative fiction. Here is a chance to tell a wildly inventive story, to flip the script. But Andrews doesn’t choose to start his story that way and I refuse to give it any more of my time. I’m done with these types of narratives where girls must sell their bodies or affections in some way to attain stability. I’m done with these types of narratives that perpetuate the idea of the cold, calculating woman who will do whatever it takes to whomever it takes for money and stability. And I’m done with the stupid girls trope that we initially see in Prayer. And I’m done with the idea that this is the only idea Prayer and her mother could come up with and yet she still needs her brother’s skill to help make it work, to save her. Everything about this book was offensive to me and made me rage.

I’m ready for something new and I’m not willing to slog my way through 100 or more pages of the same ole, same ole tropes to maybe possibly get there.

Readers deserve better.

Women deserve better.

Whatever pay off there may be at the end of this book, if any, I’m not willing to make the journey to get there.

DNF and not recommended

Publisher’s Book Description:

In an alternate reality a lot like our world, every person’s physical size is directly proportional to their wealth. The poorest of the poor are the size of rats, and billionaires are the size of skyscrapers.

Warner and his sister Prayer are destitute—and tiny. Their size is not just demeaning, but dangerous: day and night they face mortal dangers that bigger richer people don’t ever have to think about, from being mauled by cats to their house getting stepped on. There are no cars or phones built small enough for them, or schools or hospitals, for that matter—there’s no point, when no one that little has any purchasing power, and when salaried doctors and teachers would never fit in buildings so small. Warner and Prayer know their only hope is to scale up, but how can two littlepoors survive in a world built against them?

A brilliant, warm, funny trip, unlike anything else out there, and a social novel for our time in the tradition of 1984 or Invisible Man. Inequality is made intensely visceral by an adventure and tragedy both hilarious and heartbreaking.

A Collection of Tweets on the Discussion of YA Books Set in College/Post High School

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Over the past few days, there has been an ongoing discussion on Twitter about the need for YA books that highlight the post high school life and whether or not they should be marketed as YA. I tweeted a lot about it and have compiled those tweets below. I am also working on putting together a round table post from various perspectives to talk more about this issue.


A Discussion of YA Books Set in College



  1. @byobrooks This is where how we brand books get messy. Are adult YA readers (actual adults) or teen YA readers asking for YA books set in college? How do we define YA? Who is the target audience? And then, where do we put the 20 years olds, actual YAs btw


  2. @byobrooks Though the ship has long sailed, YA should have never been called YA. It should have been teen fiction. New Adult is a great place for college stories, but hasn't taken off in the ways that it looked like it might when it first cam into vogue.


  3. @dani_reviews @byobrooks From a library point of view. however, the problem is we have Pic Bks, J (MG), YA and then everything else is usually just fiction, though some libraries break them down by genre. So any contemp adult fic is just adult fic - ages 19-100+. Can be overwhelming. Thats were RA needed


  4. @byobrooks @dani_reviews I will say from a public library standpoint, we would have a hard time putting college set YA in a YA collection. We do get content complaints and it's easier to defend when set in MS or HS. Parents will read college as adult.


  5. @byobrooks @dani_reviews Now this is an interesting conversation because book stores are different than school and public libraries. Libs still get a lot of pushback about where things are shelves and how they are labelled/marketed in ways that stores don't.


  6. @byobrooks @dani_reviews I think this is also being driven by the dynamic of adult YA readers vs. teen YA readers. This dynamic is very challenging for libraries because of parental and community concerns.


  7. @byobrooks @dani_reviews I think it's a multi-faceted issue and should be discussed from all angles, for sure. I can only speak from a public library perspective.


  8. @byobrooks @dani_reviews Also, local community dynamics play a large part in all this as well. Larger, more progressive communities & their libraries will be able to adapt more quickly than smaller, rural ones. It can be challenging.


  9. @NerdyPam @byobrooks @cupcakeandy They definitely read ahead and are welcome to check out anything in the library. However, that's different then shelving and marketing adult books to teens as opposed to just having them available, when talking to concerned parents.


  10. @dancingofpens And I'm speaking from a public library stand point which is diff from a reader/writer/publisher/marketing/book store/school library perspective. It's all different.


  11. @byobrooks @dancingofpens Not just college either. What about getting first job, staying home but going to community college and working, etc. There's more than one route after HS and they should all be reflected. Focus on college reflect privilege in this discussion maybe?


  12. I do think true Young Adults, people just out of HS and in their early 20s, are underserved in so many ways in our world, including publishing and libraries.


  13. Problem 1: Who is Ya written for?
    Problem 2: Are adult readers of YA over influencing what's driving YA trends?
    Problem 3: How do we address the needs of teens? How do we address the needs of true young adults? In publishing? In libraries?
    1/?


  14. Problem 4: Recognizing that Public and school libraries very much deal with parental rights and expectations, how do we promote/shelve, etc books that technically are adult (MCs over 18 are adults) to a teen audience? How do we label,


  15. market, shelve, etc. these books to balance real life tension of parental concerns about teens reading adult content?


  16. Problem 5: Do teens sometimes read up? They always have and they always will. But just because a teen reads Stephen King doesn't make it a YA book.
    Problem 6: Are we letting adults readers of YA over influence the YA market?


  17. Problem 7: We use the wrong terminology for these age categories. YAs have never been young adults, legally or in development. They are teenagers. They deserve to be served, understood, & valued. We are the only industry that calls them young adults.


  18. The term YA is and always has been problematic for this very reason. Even book stores now call it teen fiction in their signage, as do I in my library. When I say YA to my not in the online book community readers, they draw a blank.


  19. Please note: I have no problem with adults reading YA. Everyone should read what they want. I just want us having these discussions to make sure that teens don't get pushed out of YA because they need it.


  20. Should there be books written about and marketed to early/young/new adults and things like college, moving out, etc? Yes, definitely, we need all kinds of stories for all kinds of ages. Do they need to be labeled and marketed as YA? Maybe not.


  21. Yes, middle school readers are often in limbo here as well. YA has gotten older (again I would argue due to adult Reader influence) and MG is often too young, so what about our middle schoolers?  https://twitter.com/marimancusi/status/954701521387769856 …


  22. Yes, this issue could probably be solved if we embraced New Adult as an age category and made it broader than just erotica.


  23. Interestingly enough, we now know that the brain doesn't start really developing into an "adult" brain until around ages 24 or 25 thanks to brain science. But there are legal and real world difference between a 16 year old and a 21 year old.


  24. I can tell you as a YA librarian that I have never gotten asked by a teen about YA set in college but I frequently get asked for younger/less mature YA titles. So there's that.


  25. Yes because simply "adult" is too broad a category. New adults want to read different types of stories then adults in their 30s and 40s then adults in their 60s etc. Adult isn't a stagnant development either and is way too broad. But we do it.  https://twitter.com/zachjpayne/status/954705756502151168 …


  26. Bottom Line: For a lot of libraries, if you put a book with an adult MC in a collection for and about teens, you will be on the nightly news and no library likes bad PR. The expectations for libraries are very different than a store/personal reader.


  27. Some publishers/authors/adult readers skew to the adult interests, because it broadens their audience which equals more $$$ Teens, parents, teachers & teen/ya librarians skew to the teen audience, because that is who they serve/are emotionally invested in https://t.co/Xc611tVxNY

    Some publishers/authors/adult readers skew to the adult interests, because it broadens their audience which equals more $$$

    Teens, parents, teachers & teen/ya librarians skew to the teen audience, because that is who they serve/are emotionally invested in pic.twitter.com/Xc611tVxNY



  28. Also, teen readers not heavily involved in the online book community tend to call it teen fiction. Most people go, "but they're not adults" when you call it YA. B&N has Teen Fiction shelves. Many libraries call it Teen. YA was never the right term.


  29. In an ideal library, you would have pic books flow to beginning readers flow to chap books flow to middle grade flows to twee fic flow to teen fic flow to true YA/NA flow to adult flow to later life fic. There are no ideal libs. We work w/what we have.


  30. @charlotteapaige I would not be able to and I would not be able to defend that choice. I buy them and put them in adult. Any patron can read them. But I can not market a book with an adult protagonist in my Teen/YA collection or define it as such.


  31. So from a librarian perspective, yes write and pub your post HS stories. Definitely. Just know that a lot of libraries will not be able to put/market a book with an adult protagonist as Teen/YA. It will often be shelved as adult. Teens will still read it.


  32. Libraries are diff than book stores and have a different accountability because they are tax supported public entities that have to answer to their patrons in ways that are different then a for profit business does. This disctinction matters in policies.

 

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)

Take 5: A List of YA Lists on Refugees

readmorebooks2Instead of putting together our own list of YA titles that feature refugees here at TLT, I thought I would instead direct you to several other lists that are already out there because this is an important topic and we should all make sure we have some good titles in our collections to represent this important issue.

Nerdy Book Club List of Refugees

Stacked: YA Stories About Refugees

Stacked: 3 On a Theme: Refugees in YA Nonfiction

Scottish Book Trust: 12 Teens Books About Refugees

The Educator’s Room: 5 YA Novels to Understand Refugees

There is also a list of books tagged refugees on Goodreads, but this is a user generated list so you’ll want to investigate the titles a little more.

Goodreads List of Refugee Titles

 

 

Take 5: Using YA Lit to Talk Government, Power, Politics, Corruption and More (An #SJYALit Book List)

A few years ago, I believe it was Cory Doctorow who Tweeted that no one discusses politics in literature anymore. Which struck me, at the time, as an odd statement because it was the height of YA Dystopian, which arguably is all about power and politics. It could also have been someone other then Cory Doctorow, for the record, I’ve just always remembered the tweet as being from him, and we all know that memory is a trickster god.

But since then, I have often read books with that tweet in the background of my mind, unconsciously noting books that I thought fit the bill. And now, more then ever, it seems particularly important that books talk about politics. I’m not just talking about the 2016 election, I’m talking about the way the North Carolina GOP just in effect executed a coup by stripping the incoming Democratic governor of any real power. Of the way our elected representatives remain silent about the fact that 17 intelligence agencies have stated that Russia has had undo influence on our recent government and election. Of the way that legislators just quietly made the investigation into Flint go away or the way that Governor Kasich of Ohio just signed a bill making it illegal for local governments to raise the minimum wage. I’m talking about the fact that we go into the next administration with effectively no checks and balances because for the first time in years all three arms of our federal government are now in the control of only one political party, thanks in no small part to things like gerrymandering and the repeal of voter rights acts.

Now more then ever – although we can argue that it is in fact too late – we need to be talking about politics and democracy and government with our teens. In fact, in the next presidential election, my teen will be able to vote. So we talk about it.  We read about it. And here are 5 books and series that I recommend to get teens reading and thinking about power, politics, government, corruption and more.

This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

In a small town, a group of privileged, elite teen boys goes hunting. One of them does not come back. Because of power and influence, the case of the River Point Five is given to a district attorney with the expectation that he will lose. But Kate Marino is an intern that works for him and she challenges him to pursue justice and the truth, so he does. This is a compelling read that shows you how guilty people go free and the innocent can go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit. Overall, it’s a good read. My only quibble with the book is that this intelligent and driven teenage girl compromises things because she “falls in love” with one of the suspects, which is annoying, but it’s still a powerful look at the themes being discussed. The Teen also read this book because she said, I really want to read a mystery and so I handed her this book, here’s what she thought:

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The Fixer series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Tess Kendrick finds out that her sister is not who she seems to be, in a lot of ways. Her sister is, in fact, a fixer. This means that she covers up the dirt in Washington. Scandals disappear, murders look like suicides, and more as we get an inside look at how people in power scheme, make power plays, and manipulate what the public sees and thinks about people and politics. I’ve read books 1 and 2 in this series and they are so good. Also, book 2 gives you a real sucker punch to the gut. Because this is Jennifer Lynn Barnes these are fun and engaging reads, but there are also strong female leads, meaningful conversations about important topics, and a lot of good quips. It’s interesting to note that some people in politics are called “King Makers” because it is said that they have the power to make and break kings. You’ll definitely want to check this series out. The Teen read and loves this book as well.

Publisher’s Book description:

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

Embassy Row series by Ally Carter

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Grace Blakely goes to live on Embassy Row with her grandfather, a place where politics is everything. Here, families from countries all over live in close proximity to one another and how you act, where you go, and what you say matters – the slightest misstep could start a new war. It is here that Grace begins to learn more about her mother’s murder. It is also here that Grace begins to learn more about politics, power and corruption. On the one level, these are just teens who want to do the things that teenagers do, but they can’t just be teens because their actions have never had so much consequence. I love both The Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls series, and this one does not disappoint.

Publisher’s Book Description

A new series of global proportions — from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter.

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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Monsters are real. In fact, monsters are born out of our violence. Two opposing cities sit near each other, in the midst of a delicate truce. But there are unseen things in place that are working to upset that delicate truce. There are factions that seek to force the other party to break the truce so that a war can be declared and the monsters can reign supreme. I love this book. I love how it takes the mythology of monsters and makes it something new, I love how it puts our humanity next to the monsters and asks us to question which one is truly evil, and I love the way it takes this really creative premise and uses it to examine power and corruption in politics.

Publisher’s Book Description

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

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A luxury yacht is gone, and there are very few survivors. Some people want to hide the truth of what happened – and why. Frances Mace knows the truth, and there are some people who will go to any length to keep her silent. I picked up this book because I am a fan of Ryan’s zombie series, and I was surprised by this book; It was the first book I read on this list and it made me go hmmm, that’s a really interesting look at the world of political influence for teens. So I end this list by the first book that got me compiling this list in my head. I know there are others, so what titles do you recommend? Please add yours in the comments. I think it’s really important that we get teens reading books like these and thinking about what’s happening behind the scenes in their local, state and federal government.

Publisher’s Book Description

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

P.S., Cory Doctorow is, of course, a great author that you should be reading on this topic as well.

Take 5: YA Lit Titles for Makers and MakerSpaces

Collection development is an active process in which I, like all librarians, actively seek to build balanced collections of all types of books. Because we have an active and popular Teen MakerSpace, one of the things I actively look for are “maker” related books. These can be books that include any type of maker related activity, including djing and music production, coding, hacking, robotics, film making and more. Here are 5 new (and newish) books that somehow relate to the concept of making.

Dotwav by Mike A. Lancaster

dotwavPublisher’s Book Description

Fifteen-year-old Ani Lee is a skilled hacker researching a strange .wav file that she’s downloaded when it behaves as no file ever should.

Joe Dyson is a seventeen-year-old American transplant recruited into secret teen division of the British intelligence service who’s looking into the disappearance of a friend caught up in an underground music scene that might be more than it appears.

When Ani and Joe’s investigations intertwine, they discover that the .wav file and the music are linked—someone’s embedding the file into tracks to create a mind-controlled teen army.

But who’s behind it? And why? And how do you stop a sound? (Sky Pony Press, September 2016)

Karen’s Thoughts

If you love books where teens act as spies or secret agents, this book is for you. It is also a fascinating look at how technology can be combined with music production to . . . what exactly? Control populations? Subvert? Like I said, fascinating. Lancaster writes interesting premises, and given the leaps and bounds being made with technology these days they terrify as well as fascinate. Also, there is a female hacker in this book (whom I adore) and this would be a good companion novel with the Find Me series by Romily Bernard, which also features a female hacker.

Titans by Victoria Scott

titansPublishers Book Description

Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about. (Scholastic, February 2016)

Karen’s Thoughts

Teenage girls that build mechanical creatures to race while smashing the patriarchy? Why yes please. I loved so much about this book from premise to characters, and it is the most classicly maker feeling book on the list. From problem solving to hands on building, this book is maker culture on full display.

Replica by Lauren Oliver

replicaPublishers Book Description

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever… (Harper Collins, October 2016)

Karen’s Thoughts

Full disclosure, I haven’t finished reading this one to completion yet. But put this on your list of suggested reads for Strange Things fans. Also full disclosure, I’m a big Lauren Oliver fan.

Gamescape by Emma Trevayne

gamescapePublishers Book Description

The planet is dying. Centuries of abuse have damaged the earth beyond repair, and now all the authorities can do is polish the surface, make the landscape look pretty to hide the disease within. Two prominent yet mysterious businessmen couldn’t fix it, either, but they did something even better. Together, they invented Chimera, the most complex and immersive virtual reality video game the world has ever known. The Cubes in which Chimera is played quickly became a fixture of this landscape: part distraction, part hospital, and almost wholly responsible for holding up the failing world economy.

Miguel Anderson is also dying. He isn’t the only one who plays the game–everybody does–but Miguel has more reason than most: When players leave their Cubes for the day, the upgrades and enhancements they’ve earned for their virtual characters leave with them. New lungs to breathe poisoned air, skin that won’t burn under the sun are great and everything… but Miguel, born as broken as the earth, needs a new heart–and soon–if he wants any hope of surviving just a little longer.

Then the two Gamerunners announce a competition, with greater rewards and faster progression than ever before, and Miguel thinks his prayers have been answered. All he needs to do is get picked to lead a team, play the game he’s spent years getting good at, and ask for his prize when he wins. Simple, really.

At first, things seem to go according to plan. Mostly, anyway. Inside his Cube, with his new team–including his best friend–at his back, Miguel begins his quest. He plays recklessly, even dangerously, for someone whose most vital organ could give up at any moment, but his desperation makes him play better than ever. The eyes of the world are on him, watching through status updates and live feeds, betting on his chances. With greater rewards, though, come greater risks, and the Gamerunners seem to delight at surprising the competitors at every turn. As he ventures deeper into a world that blends the virtual and the real to an unsettling degree, Miguel begins to wonder just why the game was invented at all, and whether its stakes could be even higher than life and death. (Greenwillow, September 2016)

Karen’s Thoughts

I haven’t read this yet, but gaming, game design and coding are all very popular topics with teens in my Teen MakerSpace. For more video game related reads, check out this list.

Boy Robot by Simon Curtis

boyrobotPublishers Book Description

Boy Robot is the first in a planned science fiction trilogy that follows a group of synthetic cell human teens with special abilities as they fight against the government organization that created them and now wants to destroy them. (Simon Pulse, November 2016)

Karen’s Thoughts

On my TBR list

Have some other titles to add to my list? I would love for you to drop me a comment. I’m always looking for new ones.

Sumer #YALit #ARCParty

 

A look at some upcoming May, June and July ARCs of YA Lit

  1. Getting ready to start an #aRCParty with The Teen & Bestie to look at some upcoming new releases.
  2. Here’s how it works: they’ll read the back of each book out loud & share whether they think it sounds good. #arcparty
  3. Here's a look at the May 2016 #yalit titles we'll be looking at for today's #ARCParty https://t.co/W8dLF5lih5

    Here’s a look at the May 2016 #yalit titles we’ll be looking at for today’s #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/W8dLF5lih5
  4. Montana, Romance, The Bestie says YES because she is into horses & loves romance #ARCParty Present day & past https://t.co/VhO1G2tPoa

    Montana, Romance, The Bestie says YES because she is into horses & loves romance #ARCParty Present day & past pic.twitter.com/VhO1G2tPoa
  5. Selective mutism, power, identity - @VictoriaLBYR sold me hardcore on this book & its look at power #arcparty https://t.co/tULhLdv9is

    Selective mutism, power, identity – @VictoriaLBYR sold me hardcore on this book & its look at power #arcparty pic.twitter.com/tULhLdv9is
  6. Summer in Hawaii, can you escape home? Betrayal, relationships, forgiveness #ARCParty Disney Hyperion https://t.co/tX58JpCB74

    Summer in Hawaii, can you escape home? Betrayal, relationships, forgiveness #ARCParty Disney Hyperion pic.twitter.com/tX58JpCB74
  7. A new Bryan Bliss! Military families, effects of service, identity, one night adventures #ARCParty https://t.co/zQULx51iJX

    A new Bryan Bliss! Military families, effects of service, identity, one night adventures #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/zQULx51iJX
  8. THE LIE TREE: A young woman can not resist a mystery, family scandal, science, fantasy SOUNDS GOOD 
#ARCParty https://t.co/Ix0sOIakEW

    THE LIE TREE: A young woman can not resist a mystery, family scandal, science, fantasy SOUNDS GOOD
    #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/Ix0sOIakEW
  9. After her mom does, a teen girl finds a priceless piece of memorabilia; southern life #ARCParty https://t.co/VGumQD2Pci

    After her mom does, a teen girl finds a priceless piece of memorabilia; southern life #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/VGumQD2Pci
  10. A TOTALLY AWKWARD LOVE STORY : "toilet boy Cinderella", sounds funny, romantic #ARCParty https://t.co/snp0891v8Q

    A TOTALLY AWKWARD LOVE STORY : “toilet boy Cinderella”, sounds funny, romantic #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/snp0891v8Q
  11. Teenage rebellion, teens falls in love w/poet, self discovery, the power of story #ARCParty https://t.co/nyTvClVHof

    Teenage rebellion, teens falls in love w/poet, self discovery, the power of story #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/nyTvClVHof
  12. Keplinger uses her own experiences growing up legally blind to inform this story; friends on the run #ARCParty https://t.co/SYMXO9dyfb

    Keplinger uses her own experiences growing up legally blind to inform this story; friends on the run #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/SYMXO9dyfb
  13. Alternate Earth; identity, sci fi, . . . "Nothing on Earth will ever be the same again" #ARCParty https://t.co/avAAqCJdYs

    Alternate Earth; identity, sci fi, . . . “Nothing on Earth will ever be the same again” #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/avAAqCJdYs
  14. What if everyone in town starts to turn into wax figures? Love this author, great concept #ARCParty https://t.co/AjysxKkUyN

    What if everyone in town starts to turn into wax figures? Love this author, great concept #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/AjysxKkUyN
  15. Teen writes an article for the Huffington Post, scores an agent; Reshma tries to be "American girl" #ARCParty https://t.co/Gyq3QHj6vS

    Teen writes an article for the Huffington Post, scores an agent; Reshma tries to be “American girl” #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/Gyq3QHj6vS
  16. "One of these truths is a lie, and not everyone will live to find out what it is" - Boom! #ARCParty https://t.co/Yy3jXZT2Id

    “One of these truths is a lie, and not everyone will live to find out what it is” – Boom! #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/Yy3jXZT2Id
  17. 7 interwoven stories about 1 fateful day that changes everything #ARCParty https://t.co/eq01yVd5Ks

    7 interwoven stories about 1 fateful day that changes everything #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/eq01yVd5Ks
  18. World War 1; Poppy volunteers as a front line nurse; romance and identity #ARCParty https://t.co/Pu2rR7yFEw

    World War 1; Poppy volunteers as a front line nurse; romance and identity #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/Pu2rR7yFEw

November #ARCParty

Here's a look at some upcoming titles and the November #ARCParty where The Teen and The Bestie shared what they think of some of the upcoming titles we've received in the mail here at TLT.

  1. The Teen and The Bestie are here. Gonna have an impromptu #arcparty


  2. A 100 year old mystery. Can she change history? November 2015. #arcparty Both say it sounds good. https://t.co/v9bY1UbPY1

    A 100 year old mystery. Can she change history? November 2015. #arcparty Both say it sounds good. pic.twitter.com/v9bY1UbPY1


  3. Dec 2015. Blind MC. Grief. - The Teen says she is stealing right now to read.#arcparty https://t.co/P0sMoaQrph

    Dec 2015. Blind MC. Grief. – The Teen says she is stealing right now to read.#arcparty pic.twitter.com/P0sMoaQrph




  4. Mental illness. Suicide. Inspired by authors own experiences. Sounds astounding. #arcparty https://t.co/hRSHE2Q09H

    Mental illness. Suicide. Inspired by authors own experiences. Sounds astounding. #arcparty pic.twitter.com/hRSHE2Q09H






  5. So this is by the author of Gorgeous which I actually liked. Subversive humor. #ARCParty https://t.co/xDiF2pNiL9

    So this is by the author of Gorgeous which I actually liked. Subversive humor. #ARCParty pic.twitter.com/xDiF2pNiL9


 

#WeNeedDiverseBooks Panel at Irving Public Library 5/13/15

Last night I attended the We Need Diverse Books panel at the Irving Public Library. It featured I. W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above, Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton, authors of Tiny Pretty Things, Marieke Nijkamp, author of This is Where it Ends, and Natalie C. Parker, author of Beware the Wild. I live tweeted the event and have Storified it here for you.

About the Books:

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Karen’s Note: In her earlier review Amanda MacGregor said, “This is an essential purchase for all libraries. Gregorio’s book is a very welcome addition to the small field of books depicting intersex teens.”

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

Karen’s Note: Coming May 26th from HarperTeen. I read an EArc on Edelweiss and I really liked this book. In addition to the diversity, it includes a number of important elements that you see in the dance world including eating disorders, drug use, intense rivalries, romance, and more. I thought it was an authentic portrait of the world of competitive anything, even though its focus is dance anyone involved in a competitive activity will be able to identify. Plus it captures those moments of who am I, parental relationships and pressure to succeed, friendships, and more. It has a lot of appeal factors and should be popular with teen readers.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Karen’s Note: This book will be released in January 2016 from Sourcebooks Fire and I wants it bad.

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp—the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Karen’s Note: I read half of this last night and it was fantastically creepy. Ally Watkins says, “Beware the Wild is more unsettling than scary, in that it plays with the rules and fears that you’ve carried with you since childhood. What if things you knew to be true suddenly weren’t?”

All book descriptions are the publisher’s descriptions.