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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. 

What to Read if You Like the Musical Dear Evan Hansen, by Nicholas Mitchel

Broadway week continues with a list of YA reads that fans of the musical Dear Evan Hansen may like.

“You will be found” is the foundation that the musical Dear Evan Hansen is built on, holding out a hand to anyone that feels like the world is collapsing in around them. It is a show that explores heartbreaking circumstances but also tells an uplifting story of healing and connection. I was instantly drawn to this show from my own experiences and feel that many people may have also had feelings similar to Evan’s but never felt like they could voice them. This is a musical that connects to that and to let you know that you aren’t alone. 

This great read-alike list was created by and graciously shared with us all by Nicholas Mitchel, a teen librarian at White Oak Library-Crest Hill Branch.

What to Read if You Like Mean Girls the Musical, by Cindy Shutts

Our look at all things Broadway inspired continues today with a list of books you may like to read if you like Mean Girls, the musical. This list was prepared by regular TLT contributor Cindy Shutts.

This is a cautionary tale
about corruption and betrayal!” Janis and Damian.

The musical Mean Girls is based on the movie of the same name. Cady Heron moves to a suburb of Chicago from Kenya where her parents are scientists. Her world changes as she is thrust in to the world of popular teens and realizes this world can be dangerous. She at first befriends outsiders, Damien and Janis, but then the means girls pick her to join them. Cady at first is excited to have friends and be popular, but she very quickly realizes that the queen bee Regina George can make her or break her and Cady will take her down first.

The musical is a great take on the classic teen film. The soundtrack is available for purchase wherever you buy you music or streaming. It will start touring around the United States this fall. I am hoping to see it when it comes to Chicago that is near where I live.  If you like the movie and you have the chance to see it I would recommend it. The soundtrack is great!

So You Love Mean Girls, Here Are Some Fetch Books!

Mean Girls by Micol Ostow

Cady lived in Africa with her parents who are scientists, but now is moving to America to attend high school and has no idea what to expect. She is sucked into the world of the popular girls and very quickly realizes the head mean girl Regina George has the power to crush her.  Cady decides to bring her down first.

Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman

Charlie is sick of dealing with the popular kids, but when her former best friend moves back to town and he becomes popular she  realizes she is being pulling into the drama and does not know what to do.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Four popular girls are pulled into a mystery after their former friend Alison has been missing for three years. They are receiving notes from someone who clearly knows a lot about them and their dark secrets and they wonder could Alison be alive after all this time?

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Every year at school the hottest girls and ugliest girl at school are ranked by a list that appears anonymously. The girls on this list are left to deal with the consequences.

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Mary, Kat and Lillia all have someone they want to take down, but they will have to work together to achieve their goals.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Five students walk into detention and only four walk out. The fifth student was Simon, who had a peanut allergy and was murdered. They will have to find out who the killer is because they all had secrets to hide.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

The year is 2118 and there is a large thousand floor building in New York. Avery lives on the 1000th floor and everyone thinks she is perfect but she has secrets of her own.

The Takedown by Corrie Wang

Kyla Cheng is on her way to being valedictorian and now she is at the top of her school class, but then someone appears to be trying to ruin her life.  She is going to work on finding out who she has hurt and betrayed in her years of being a mean girl.

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Gigi, Bette, and June are top students at their fancy ballet school in New York. These three dancers have worked hard to be at the top of their class and did what they needed to reach their goals.

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.

#SJYALit Reading Lists: Disability in YA Lit, a guest post by Natalie Korsavidis

sjyalitAs part of our 2017 Social Justice in Young Adult Literature project, we will be posting reading lists on various social justice-related subjects. Guest blogger Natalie Korsavidis pulled together this one on disabilities. We will mainly be focusing on books published after 2000. We encourage you to add any other titles you can think of in the comments. Interested in generating a list for us? Let us know! I’m @CiteSomething on Twitter. See more about the #SJYALit project here.

 

Disabilities Fiction

Annotations for titles from alisweb.org, publisher descriptions, and NoveList. Shout-out to Disability in Kidlit, where additional research was done. 

 

dark daysBerk Josh. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
When Will Halpin transfers from his all-deaf school into a mainstream Pennsylvania high school, he faces discrimination and bullying, but still manages to solve a mystery surrounding the death of a popular football player in his class.

 

 

shark girlBingham, Kelly. Shark Girl. Candlewick Press, 2007.
After a shark attack causes the amputation of her right arm, fifteen-year-old Jane, an aspiring artist, struggles to come to terms with her loss and the changes it imposes on her day-to-day life and her plans for the future.

 

 

 

iron trialBlack, Holly. The Iron Trial. Scholastic, 2014.
All his life Callum Hunt has been warned by his father that practicing magic is a guaranteed death sentence. When Call is summoned to attend the entrance exams for The Magisterium, he promises his father he will deliberately fail the test to avoid the dangerous lure of magic school. Unfortunately, magic is in Call’s blood, and though his permanent limp and sarcastic attitude do not appear to serve him well during testing, he is selected with two other “Iron Years” to be a pupil of the greatest mage of all, Master Rufus.

 

 

read my lipsBrown, Teri. Read My Lips. Simon Pulse, 2008.
Serena just wants to fly under the radar at her new school. But Serena is deaf, and she can read lips really well-even across the busy cafeteria. So when the popular girls discover her talent, there’s no turning back.

 

 

 

blindsidedCummings, Priscilla. Blindsided. Dutton Children’s Books, 2010.
After years of failing eyesight, fourteen-year-old Natalie reluctantly enters a school for the blind, where in spite of her initial resistance she learns the skills that will help her survive in the sighted world.

 

 

 

the one thingCurtis, Marci Lynn. The One Thing. Hyperion, 2015.
After losing her sight–and the future she dreamed of–seventeen-year-old Maggie meets the one person with the ability to help her see all the possibilities life still holds.

 

 

 

blindDeWoskin, Rachel. Blind. Viking, 2014.
After a horrific accident leaves her blind, fifteen-year-old Emma, one of seven children, eagerly starts high school as a sophomore, and finds that nearly everything has changed–sometimes for the better.

 

 

 

gameworldFarley, Christopher John. Game World. Akashic Books, 2013.
A virtual game world called Xamaica becomes real for three Jamaican sixth graders, who embark upon a quest through a fantastical landscape laden with Caribbean mythology.

 

 

 

pinnedFlake, Sharon. Pinned. Scholastic, 2012.
Adonis is smart, intellectually gifted and born without legs; Autumn is strong, a great wrestler, and barely able to read in ninth grade–but Autumn is attracted to Adonis and determined to make him a part of her life whatever he or her best friend thinks.

 

 

 

dangerousHale, Shannon. Dangerous. Bloomsbury, 2014.
When aspiring astronaut Maisie Danger Brown, who was born without a right hand, and the other space camp students get the opportunity to do something amazing in space, Maisie must prove how dangerous she can be and how far she is willing to go to protect everything she has ever loved.

 

 

push girlHill, Chelsie. Push Girl. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014.
Kara, a high school junior, is popular with a great group of friends, an amazing boyfriend, and expectations of being Homecoming Queen until she leaves a party angry and wakes up in a hospital bed, paralized from the waist down, but as she is forced to adjust to her new physical reality, she also learns that her friends are not who they seemed to be.

 

 

five flavorsJohn, Antony. Five Flavors of Dumb. Dial Books, 2010.
Eighteen-year-old Piper becomes the manager for her classmates’ popular rock band, called Dumb, giving her the chance to prove her capabilities to her parents and others, if only she can get the band members to get along.

 

 

 

accidentsJohnson, Harriet. Accidents of Nature. Holt, 2006.
Having always prided herself on blending in with “normal” people despite her cerebral palsy, seventeen-year-old Jean begins to question her role in the world while attending a summer camp for children with disabilities.

 

 

 

wiredmanKaufman, Sashi. Wired Man and Other Freaks of Nature. Lerner Publishing Group, 2016.
Ben has to wear hearing aids, but being inseparable from the super-popular Tyler allows him to think of himself as normal. But Tyler blows him off senior year and Ben needs to rethink who he is–and who Tyler is.

 

 

 

RUNKeplinger, Kody. Run. Scholastic Press, 2016.
Bo Dickinson is a seventeen-year-old girl from a bad family, but she is also over-protected, legally blind, Agnes Atwood’s best friend–so when Bo calls in the middle of the night, desperate to get out of town, Agnes helps her to steal the Atwoods’ car and the two girls go on the run, even though Agnes is not sure exactly what they are running from.

 

 

stoner andKoertge, Ron. Stoner and Spaz. Candlewick Press, 2002.
A troubled youth with cerebral palsy struggles toward self-acceptance with the help of a drug-addicted young woman.

 

 

 

not if iLindstrom, Eric. Not if I See You First. Poppy, Little Brown, and Company, 2015.
Blind sixteen-year-old Parker Grant navigates friendships and romantic relationships, including a run-in with a boy who previously broke her heart, while coping with her father’s recent death.

 

 

 

silenceLytton, Deborah Lynn. Silence. Shadow Mountain, 20015.
After an accident robs Stella of her hearing and her dream of going to Broadway, she meets Hayden, a boy who stutters, and comes to learn what it truly means to connect and communicate in a world filled with silence.

 

 

the callO’Guilin, Peadar. The Call. Scholastic, 2016.
For the last twenty-five years every teenager in Ireland has been subject to “the call” which takes them away to the land of the Sídhe, where they are hunted for twenty four hours. Handicapped by her twisted legs, Nessa Doherty knows that very few return alive, but she is determined to be one of them.

 

 

andromedaPortman, Frank. Andromeda Klein. Delacorte Press, 2009,
High school sophomore Andromeda, an outcast because she studies the occult and has a hearing impairment and other disabilities, overcomes grief over terrible losses by enlisting others’ help in her plan to save library books–and finds a kindred spirit along the way.

 

 

tone deafRivers, Olivia. Tone Deaf. Perseus Distribution Services, 2016.
Ali Collins was a child piano prodigy until a brain tumor caused her to lose her hearing, and now, after meeting Jace, the lead singer of Tone Deaf, her musical and romantic possiblities increase.

 

 

 

hurt goRorby, Ginny. Hurt Go Happy. Tom Doherty Associates, 2006.
When thirteen-year-old Joey Willis, deaf since the age of six, meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his chimpanzee Sukari, who use sign language, her world blooms with possibilities but that of the chimp begins to narrow.

 

 

 

she is notSedgwick, Marcus. She is Not Invisible. Square Fish, 2014.
A London teenager who is blind and her younger brother travel to New York to find their missing father, using clues from his notebook.

 

 

 

 

love-and-firstSundquist, Josh. Love and First Sight. Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Sixteen-year-old blind teen Will Porter undergoes an experimental surgery that enables him to see for the first time, all while navigating a new school, new friends, and a crush.

 

 

 

stuck inTrueman, Terry. Stuck in Neutral. Harper Tempest, 2001.
Fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy and cannot function, relates his perceptions of his life, his family, and his condition, especially as he believes his father is planning to kill him.

 

 

 

running dreamVan Draanen, Wendelin. The Running Dream. Knopf, 2011.
When a school bus accident leaves sixteen-year-old Jessica an amputee, she returns to school with a prosthetic limb and her track team finds a wonderful way to help rekindle her dream of running again.

 

 

 

a time toVenkatraman, Padma. A Time to Dance. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014.
In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

 

 

 

 

reachingZimmer, Tracie Vaughn. Reaching for the Sun. Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2007.
Josie, who lives with her mother and grandmother and has cerebral palsy, befriends a boy who moves into one of the rich houses behind her old farmhouse.

 

 

 

Meet Natalie Korsavidis

Natalie Korsavidis is the Head of Local History/Reader’s Advisory Librarian at the Farmingdale Public Library. She is also in charge of Collection Development for Young adult fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, and manga.

Book review: Top 250 LGBTQ Books for Teens

Get ready for a crash course in LGBTQ YA books! Top 250 LGBTQ Books for Teens: Coming Out, Being Out, and the Search for Community by Michael Cart and Christine A. Jenkins packs a lot of information in this slight book (164 pages). Their previous book together, The Heart has its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queen Content 1960-2004 (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2006) focused on the most important books on the 70s, 80s, and 90s, with annotations of titles, and looked at novels published in between 2000 and 2004, too. The focus here is primarily books from the 90s and on.

 

They begin with a look at the history of LGBTQ books, noting an increase in the inclusion of bisexual and transgender characters, as well as more diversity in characters and their stories. They also discuss where we need to go with these books, suggesting we need more books with sexual identity as a given and not the focus of the story, more middle grade LGBTQ titles, and more “with characters of color and characters from other cultures, ethnicities, religions, abilities/disabilities, and other forms of diversity.” They would like to see more same-sex parents and more bisexual characters. They make interesting observations, like 1997’s “Hello,” I Lied by M.E. Kerr was the first YA book to feature a self-identified bisexual character. “It wasn’t until 2011 that the next YA novel with a bisexual character appeared in Alex Sanchez’s Boyfriends with Girlfriends.” (But–is that right? Isn’t Jason from the Rainbow Boys series bi? And Nic from Empress of the World?) They bury one of the most interesting details in a footnote: “The first LGBTQ character of color in a YA novel appeared in 1976, with Rosa Guy’s Ruby; the second appeared 15 years later in Jacqueline Woodson’s 1991 novel The Dear One.”

 

This dense introduction helps provide a context for the annotations that follow. The authors focus on 195 fiction titles, rounding out the remaining 55 entries with nonfiction, graphic novels, and professional resources. They also generate fiction codes for each title: HV for Homosexual Visibility (or coming out stories); GA for Gay Assimilation (stories about people who just happen to be gay); and QC for Queer Consciousness (stories in context of LGBTQ people and their allies). I  don’t think the codes are necessary–many books include all of these elements, and I also don’t like the codes, period. They sound clunky and awkward.

 

The titles included are predominately from the past 20 years, though some older novels, like Dance on my Grave by Aidan Chambers (1982), Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden (1982), and Night Kites by M.E. Kerr (1986) are included, too. The reviews often sound stiff and use the same language over and over. And speaking of language, I don’t love some things that they say, like “the cloudy issue of bisexuality” or things like “there is some explicit talk of sex…but happily, none of it is gratuitous.” Or how about “the dialogue has a realistic lilt that is, unfortunately, rare in books for teens.” All of these examples feel judgmental and negative in ways I don’t appreciate.

 

I have two questions about this book: Who is the audience and what is this book’s purpose? Published by ALA, it would seem maybe the audience is librarians and the purpose is collection development and readers’ advisory. With a heavy focus on “older” books–pre-2000–many of the titles already look and sound dated. If this is a history resource, it’s useful. If this is used as a textbook, it’s useful. I’d like to think that this is a book that would be grabbed off a shelf by actual teenagers looking to read every LGBTQ book they can find. The annotations will help them with that, but the stilted and often scholarly tone sometimes manages to make even the most interesting books sound boring. I also wanted something more in the back matter than just an index. A quick reference list of the books they mention that are middle grade, or feature transgender characters, or non-white characters would be so useful.

 

Overall, despite some issues with its tone and usability, I definitely think this book should be in all library collections. It provides a lot of information about a large number of titles in a quick and (mostly) accessible format. This would be an excellent resource for any class on contemporary YA, too.

 

ISBN-13: 9781937589561

Publisher: Huron Street Press

Publication date: 3/2/2015