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What to Read if You Like The Prom, The Musical, a guest post by Teen Librarian Maisie

In case you haven’t heard, we’re talking about Broadway musicals this week at TLT and today we have a list of YA books you might like to read if you like The Prom, the musical.

The Prom is the latest Broadway show to get the YA novel treatment! The musical follows Emma, a lesbian teen growing up in a conservative town in Indiana. All Emma wants is to take a girl to the prom, but when the PTA catches wind of this, they cancel it. Help comes for Emma’s cause comes from the most unexpected of places—a group of slightly washed up Broadway actors who want to tie their brand to a cause to prove their relevance. Comedy, first heartbreak, and some big voiced classic Broadway style show tunes ensue!

This musical certainly didn’t get as big as others, but it has a solid cult following, especially of LGBTQ+ teens. Read-a-likes for this title focus on the prom as a setting, promposals and their inherent drama, and LGBTQ+ romances! Check the list out below:

The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical by Saundra Mitchell

Seventeen-year-old Emma Nolan wants only one thing before she graduates: to dance with her girlfriend at the senior prom. But in her small town of Edgewater, Indiana, that’s like asking for the moon. Alyssa Greene is her high school’s “it” girl: popular, head of the student council, and daughter of the PTA president. She also has a secret. She’s been dating Emma for the last year and a half. When word gets out that Emma plans to bring a girl as her date, it stirs a community-wide uproar that spirals out of control. Now, the PTA, led by Alyssa’s mother, is threatening to cancel the prom altogether.

Enter Barry Glickman and Dee Dee Allen, two Broadway has-beens who see Emma’s story as the perfect opportunity to restore their place in the limelight. But when they arrive in Indiana to fight on Emma’s behalf, their good intentions go quickly south. Between Emma facing the fray head-on, Alyssa wavering about coming out, and Barry and Dee Dee basking in all the attention, it’s the perfect prom storm. Only when this unlikely group comes together do they realize that love is always worth fighting for. 

Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

High school junior Leila’s Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates at Armstead Academy, and if word got out that she liked girls life would be twice as hard, but when a new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual, so she struggles to sort out her growing feelings by confiding in her old friends.

How  (not) to Ask a Boy to Prom by S.J. Goslee

Nolan Grant is sixteen, gay, and very, very single. He’s never had a boyfriend, or even been kissed. It’s not like Penn Valley is exactly brimming with prospects. Unfortunately for him, his adoptive big sister has other ideas. Ideas that involve too-tight pants, a baggie full of purple glitter, and worst of all: a Junior-Senior prom ticket.

 Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Emily Franklin 

Feeling humiliated and confused when his best friend Tessa rejects his love and reveals a long-held secret , high school senior Luke must decide if he should stand by Tessa when she invites a female date to the prom, sparking a firestorm of controversy in their small Indiana town.

Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

The sequel to Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda, this book follows his best friend Leah.  With prom and graduation around the corner, bisexual and plus-sized senior Leah Burke struggles when her group of friends start fighting.

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way: She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog. Her crush already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after. Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick. And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland-ever-unless she can find a way to stop it from closing. 

Kings, Queens, and In-betweens by Tanya Boteju

After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town. Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be— one that can confidently express and accept love.

Social Intercourse by Greg Howard

Told from both viewpoints, Beckett Gaines, an out-and-proud choir member, and star quarterback Jaxon Parker team up to derail the budding romance between their parents.

A Really Nice Prom Mess by Brian Sloan

Gay high school senior Cameron Hayes endures a disastrous prom night when forced to take a girl as his date, and after fleeing the dance in disguise, he finds himself involved in a surprising on-stage performance, a high-speed police chase, and unexpected revelations.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Paul’s simple high-school life is confused by his desire for another boy who seems unattainable, until Paul’s friends help him find the courage to pursue the object of his affections.

It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Anne Peters

Told in separate voices, Azure, who is a lesbian, and Luke, who is bisexual, help plan an inclusive senior prom while Luke is writing and producing a musical about his life, both are working through the crush they have on their friend Radhika, and all three are dealing with problems at home.

Promposal by Rhonda Helms

Camilla hopes her secret crush, Benjamin, might ask her to prom but feels pressured into accepting the invitation of a casual acquaintance, and Joshua has worked up the courage to ask his best friend, Ethan, to be his date when Ethan asks his help in crafting the perfect “promposal” for another boy.

Meet Our Guest Blogger

Maisie is a teen librarian for the White Oak Library District who loves musicals, bogs, and Diana Wynne Jones novels. They live with two fat cats and way too many plants. 

Books for fans of Hamilton: an American Musical, a guest post by Maisie

Today as part of our week dedicated to Broadway musicals, because why not, teen librarian Maisie shares with us a list of read-alikes for the hit musical Hamilton.

Hamilton: An American Musical, for those who don’t know, is a hip-hop musical that follows the life of Alexander Hamilton–you know, the founding father? It follows Hamilton from his arrival in the US to the end of his life, spanning the Revolutionary War, his marriage, and the founding of the United States.  It has become a cultural touchstone and broke the record for the most Tony nominations in 2016! While I love the music, the humor, and the fact there are several songs that make me weep uncontrollably; my favorite part of this musical is I can talk to theater kids and non-theater kids about it at my library. Everyone loves Hamilton, and that’s pretty amazing!

Their performance from the 70th Annual Tony Awards features the original cast and has a fun cameo from Barack and Michelle Obama!

But people love Hamilton for different reasons, so the read-a-likes below are broken into three categories: books for teens who loved Alexander Hamilton the person, books for teens who loved the hip-hop, and books for teens who loved this take on history. Find those suggestions below:
             

If you loved Alexander Hamilton the person:

Alex & Eliza : a Love Story by Melissa De la Cruz

When Alex and Eliza meet one fateful night, an epic love story begins that would forever change the course of American history. The first book of a recently finished trilogy!

Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship by Laura Elliot

In the throes of the Revolutionary War, Peggy Schuyler finds herself a central figure amid Loyalists and Patriots, spies and traitors, friends and family. Among those friends, she develops a relationship with Alexander Hamilton, who becomes romantically involved with her sister, Eliza.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda 

This book offers a behind-the-scenes view of Hamilton the musical, detailing the many dramatic episodes in Alexander Hamilton’s life.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 

Though a longer adult biography, this is also the biography of Hamilton that inspired the musical and totally approachable for older teens!

Alexander Hamilton : the graphic history of an American founding father by Jonathan Henessey

This complete graphic novel-style biography presents the life and legacy of one of the most influential figures in United States history.

Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough 

Complex, passionate, brilliant, flawed? Alexander Hamilton comes alive in Martha Brockenbrough’s exciting biography Alexander Hamilton: Revolutionary, which is an essential read fans of Hamilton.

If you loved the hip-hop:

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

When a young black teen is murdered, his two best friends decide to keep his memory alive by promoting his music — rhymes that could turn any hangout into a party — with the help of his younger sister, Jasmine, who is out for justice. As the buzz builds, it forces Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine, to each confront the death in their own ways.

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel

Rani Patel, almost seventeen and living on remote Moloka’i island, is oppressed by the cultural norms of her Gujarati immigrant parents but when Mark, an older man, draws her into new experiences red flags abound.

Spin by Lamar Giles

When DJ ParSec (Paris Secord), rising star of the local music scene, is found dead over her turntables, the two girls who found her are torn between grief for Paris and hatred for each other–but when the lack of obvious suspects stalls the investigation, and the police seem to lose interest, the two girls unite, determined to find out who murdered their friend.

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur’s music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, she discovers slam poetry, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers, especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

If you loved the history…

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the nation. 1, The pox party by M.T. Anderson

Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was bred to be a gentleman. His passions for gambling halls and late nights spent with a bottle of spirits have earned the disapproval of his father. His quest for pleasures and vices have led to one last hurrah as Monty, his best friend and crush Percy, and Monty’s sister Felicity begin a Grand Tour of Europe. When a reckless decision turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything Monty knows.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

A fictionalized account, told in verse, of the Salem witch trials, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692–Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam, Jr.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand

You may think you know the story. Penniless orphan Jane Eyre begins a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester–and, Reader, she marries him. Or does she? Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems…

Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold : a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin

Most people know that Benedict Arnold was America’s first, most notorious traitor. Few know that he was also one of its greatest war heroes. Packed with first-person accounts, astonishing battle scenes, and surprising twists, this is a gripping and true adventure tale.

Meet Our Guest Blogger

Maisie is a teen librarian for the White Oak Library District who loves musicals, bogs, and Diana Wynne Jones novels. They live with two fat cats and way too many plants. 

Take 5: All the World’s a Stage and Music is Its Language, books that feature teens involved in musical theater

No one was more surprised than me when The Teen announced in the 7th grade that she was going to take musical theater. From that moment on, our life has been very different and I am amazed every day at what this girl has the courage to try and how very talented she is. So this week, in coordination with some other musical theater loving librarians, we’re going to be talking about musical theater. Today, I am here to share with you a Take 5 list of my favorite books that feature tweens and teens involved in theater or musical theater.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Publisher’s Book Description: PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Publisher’s Book Description: Will Grayson meets Will Grayson. One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers are about to cross paths. From that moment on, their world will collide and lives intertwine.

It’s not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old – including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire – Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most awesome high school musical.

The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar

Publisher’s Book Description: Here’s what Margo McKenna knows about genies:

She’s seen Aladdin more times than she can count; she’s made three wishes on a magic ring ; she’s even fallen head over heels in love with Oliver, the cute genie whose life she saved by fighting off his archenemy. But none of this prepared her for the shock of becoming a genie herself.

At a time when she’s trying to figure out who she wants to be, Margo is forced to become whomever her master wants. Everything she’s taken for granted—graduating from high school, going to college, performing in the school musical, even being a girl—is called into question. But she’s also coming into a power she never imagined she’d have.

How will Margo reconcile who she is with what she’s becoming? And where will she and Oliver stand when she’s done?

Barnes and Noble Books Tagged Musical Theater

You in Five Acts by Una LaMarche

Publisher’s Book Description: It’s always been you—you know that, right?

Five friends at a prestigious New York City performing arts school connect over one dream: stardom. For Joy, Diego, Liv, Ethan and Dave, that dream falters under the pressure of second semester, senior year. Ambitions shift and change, new emotions rush to the surface, and a sense of urgency pulses among them: Their time together is running out.

Diego hopes to get out of the friend zone. Liv wants to escape, losing herself in fantasies of the new guy. Ethan conspires to turn his muse into his girlfriend. Dave pines for the drama queen. And if Joy doesn’t open her eyes, she could lose the love that’s been in front of her all along.

No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman

For our last book on this list, I’m going to go way back to one of the most absurd musicals I’ve ever seen on the page. It includes a teenage rebellion against books in which the dogs always die, roller skates, disco, and a musical.

Publisher’s Book Description: Nobody understands Wallace Wallace. This reluctant school football hero has been suspended from the team for writing an unfavorable book report of Old Shep, My Pal. But Wallace won’t tell a lie — he hated every minute of the book! Why does the dog in every classic novel have to croak at the end?After refusing to do a rewrite, his English teacher, who happens to be directing the school play Old Shep, My Pal, forces him go to the rehearsals as punishment. Although Wallace doesn’t change his mind, he does end up changing the play into a rock-and-roll rendition, complete with Rollerblades and a moped! 

Maker Mondays: How do you make those cool graphics for social media?

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Branding. It’s a thing we talk a lot about in all walks of life, including libraries. And branding is more important than ever with our prolific use of social media. When you share something on social media, you want an image to share with your post that is easily recognizable, immediately associated with your brand, and points directly back to you when it is shared by others on social media. Even better if you create regular content that is predictable, expected and communicates to your patrons who and what you are. So consider having regular features like New Title Tuesdays, for example, with well developed images to market that content. And consider adding your logo and website url onto each image.

Popular websites like Epic Reads are already doing this and doing it well. They have regular features that are comfortable and familiar to their readers, and that is a powerful tool.

But how do you create the images? Today I am going to share with you two separate tools that work well for this: Canva and Word Swag.

Canva

I have previously talked about Canva at length so I’m just going to touch on it here briefly. Canva is a free online tool that you can use to create all types of images, including social media images. You set up an account for free and you can upload your own pictures or use their library of free images. If you want to spring for the bonus features, there is additional content you can tap into for a free. I have, however, successfully used Canva for multiple projects and never had to pay any additional money. I sincerely recommend Canva, in under five minutes I might add. Previous posts on Canva:

Tech Review: Online Creation Tools Piktochart and Canva

MakerSpace: Postcard Party

These social media images were created using Canva:

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Canva has both an online portal and a mobile app. At first I hated the mobile app version, but I am getting better at it. I still prefer the online portal.

Word Swag

Word Swag is an app that you can purchase and download to your mobile device to make quick images to share. Word Swag is a bit pricey for an app at $4.99, especially given what it does, but it is quick and easy to use with effective results. It is available for both iOS and Android. You can start with a provided image or access an image from your camera roll. You can then crop it, add text, and quickly save your photo. It’s fast and easy, but man do I hate the filters that it has.

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These images were created using Word Swag.

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Some thoughts about Word Swag:

I find Word Swag to be particularly good for making book quote art to share on social media

After you put in your text, you can select your font style and roll the dice to find the best fit and look for your background image. Seeing what the roll of the dice produces can be fun.

In addition to being able to insert your own text, it does have a feature where you can select a category and it offers a few choice quotes in that category for you to use. If you have a picture you have taken but not a great text, it can be fun to see what comes up.

You can only add one text block unless you save, reload your image, and start the process all over again. So if you want to have a heading text at top and your website url at the bottom, the process is much more complicated.

As I mentioned, the filters in this app are basically awful. This is, after all, an app that focuses on words more than images.

It’s easy to use, fast, and can all be done while on the go right there on your phone.

A Final Analysis

After buying Word Swag and using both tools to create square shaped social media images to share, I found that I kept using Canva more than Word Swag, mostly because Canva just offers a lot more options. I like the filters on Canva more (though Instagram is still my favorite quick app for filters and the blur feature). I like that you can add images to your image, like a silhouette. And I like that you can add multiple lines of text in multiple locations. So in terms of functionality, Canva definitely beats out Word Swag. But if you want quick, easy, and portable, either one works. And for the novice, Word Swag may be easier to use.

Word Swag gets the edge for quick and easy, Canva gets the edge for higher functionality.