Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5: Reproductive Rights in YA Lit

Today Christie and I are talking about Reproductive Rights and Abortion in YA literature.  Here is a list of 5 books where teens acknowledge that abortion exists in their world.  Some of them consider it and decide it is not the right option for them, and others do make the choice to terminate their pregnancy.  It is important that a wide variety of discussions and choices and reactions be represented because it reflects the real world, the world teens are living in and allows them to make more informed opinions and choices because it helps them develop a more complete picture.

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

“You can’t just plan a moment when things get back on track, just as you can’t plan the moment you lose your way in the first place.” 

Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she’s carrying his baby, she’s devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it’ll never break–because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever. (Goodreads)

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

“I stretch my fingers across my belly and glide my hand back and forth, waving softly. Sometimes I think I feel a hand reaching out for mine. Or it could be a foot, kicking my hand away. I wish I could tell the difference.” 

Ellie remembers how the boys kissed her. Touched her. How they begged for more. And when she gave it to them, she felt loved. For a while anyway. So when Josh, an eager virgin with a troubled home life, leads her from a party to the backseat of his van, Ellie follows. But their “one-time thing” is far from perfect: Ellie gets pregnant. Josh reacts with shame and heartbreak, while their confidantes, Caleb and Corinne, deal with their own complex swirl of emotions. No matter what Ellie chooses, all four teenagers will be forced to grow up a little faster as a result. Told alternately from each character’s point of view, this deeply insightful novel explores the aftershocks of the biggest decision of one fragile girl’s life — and the realities of leaving innocence behind. (Goodreads)

Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti

 “A lot of life is just surviving what happens.” 

Scarlett Hughes is overly involved in the lives of everyone around her, and exceptionally interested in the habits of her neighbors. But Scarlett is thrust solidly into her own life when her sister, Juliet, returns home from school—pregnant and surprisingly married to a sweet, handsome man whom she seems to have no interest in, but who is hopelessly in love with her. Forced to take a look inward for the first time, Scarlett discovers the necessity of dreams, as well as the necessity of facing reality and speaking the truth. (Goodreads)

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

“In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn’t a perfect world. The problem is people who think it is.”

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive. (Goodreads)

Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein

 “Words aren’t magic,” Rawe said, “but talking, opening up can be.”

There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent here. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about. (Goodreads)

Do you know of other titles where the issues are discussed? Share with us in the comments.

Take 5: Weird Science

I recently received a special grant from my Friends of the Library grant to update our YA collection.  They tacked on an additional $500.00 with the challenge that they wanted me to add more math and science related books in the collection.  So the challenge was this: Can you find some YA titles that talk about science and math?  Here are my Take 5; 5 ya titles with enough science to meet the bill but action, adventure and more . . .

For nonfiction titles, I am a huge fan of the Basher Science books (found here).  They are definitely aimed at the younger end of the YA spectrum in terms of layout and design BUT you can’t beat them for their simple, straightforward presentation of the information.  They won’t give you in depth information for a report, but they will help you understand the basics and serve as a great ready reference tool for your basic questions.  I bought a collection of these for my tween at home for a really good price through the Scholastic book fair (which I love and The Mr. hates because of what it does to his wallet).

In addition, here are 5 of my favorite YA fiction titles that have just enough science in them to fit the bill and get teens thinking while providing quality thrills, chills and just a dash of romance.

Unwind and Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
This is a great dystopian read with a look at what a future where parents can decide to “unwind” their children may look like.  In Unwholly, out this year and amazing, they also dabble in creating a modern day Frankenstein.  Unwind is one of my favorite dystopians, out before dystopians were all the rage.

BZRK by Michael Grant
Nanotechnology: What can we do with it? What should we do with it?  This is a great guy read.  Mature content.  I am looking forward to the sequel, I really liked this one.  Read my full review here.

Virals and Seizures by Kathy Reichs
A group of teens live on a secluded island where their parents are all scientists.  Like those meddling kids from Scooby Doo, these teens just can’t keep their nose out of things and in the process of trying to solve an old missing persons case they find their lives forever changed – literally.  This series is popular with my teens.  I read book 1 and it was a decent read.

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
In this vision of the future, each body is born with two souls with the expectation that only one of them will remain.  The recessive soul is expected to “settle.”  But what happens when they don’t?  Is there a scientific cure?  I just finished this book and will be reviewing it in a few days.  In the end, it is definitely recommended.

 Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Can we alter teenagers, cut the part out of them that makes them able to love?  In Lauren Oliver’s brilliant dystopian, the future has declared love a disease and all teens undergo a surgery that renders them cured from its curse.  Moving, brilliant, and thought provoking.  This is a must read.

And of course, Origin by Jessica Khoury.

What’s on your list of ya lit with a hint of science?  Share it with us in the comments.

Top 10 YA Books that Buffy fans will want to read . . .

As you know, we are in the midst of our Sunnydale Project here at TLT, where we are discussing all things Buffy blah blah blah.  Today I share with you some of my favorite must reads that will definitely satisfy Buffy fans.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Buffy has spent her fair share of time hanging out in graveyards waiting for vampires to rise so she can stake them through the heart.  Joey spends a lot of time in graveyards at night too, but for completely different reasons.  Sure our Slayer was quipping and the show could be funny, but sometimes it was seriously dark.  And trust me, Rotters is seriously dark and twisty and reminiscent of some of the best moments and themes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine
Glass Houses is book #1

“Run first,’ Shane said. ‘Mourn later.’
It was the perfect motto for Morganville.” 


What if you went to college and learned that your college town had a secret underworld of vampires? Yeah, that’s what happens.  I love this series.  Claire’s roommates may not be showing any signs of life, but there are more than just vampires here – which makes it even more fun.

“There’s a ghost in this house! An unquiet spirit!”
Unquiet spirit?” Shane said under his breath. “Is that politically correct for pissed off? You know, like Undead American or something?”

Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

“They were the screams of riders torn apart by the twisted reflections of their own inner selves.”

In Hush, the Gentlemen came to town and in the most amazing episode of television, and the most silent, the Gentlemen wreaked havoc and gave us all nightmares.  Full Tilt is a throwback to the days of Ray Bradbury – think Something Wicked This Way Comes.  In a very special Halloween episode of Buffy, our Scooby gang become their costumes.  Full Tilt reminds me of that kind of Buffy episode.  Blake and Quinn are brothers who find their very souls at stake when they visit a phantom carnival.  They have to ride all the ride – and they are not your normal rides – before the sun comes up or hand over their souls.
Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

“There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends – why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they’re happening to me.”

Speaking of Neal Shusterman, one of my favorite and most underrated books ever is Bruiser by Shusterman.  This book reminds of the more emotional Buffy episodes where people can suddenly hear others thoughts.  In Bruiser, Bruiser can literally take away other people’s pain, but it means that he has to feel them.  This is an amazing and thoughtful book and if you haven’t read it yet, you should.

The Fury Trilogy by Elizabeth Miles
Fury book 1, Envy book 2

The town of Sunnydale was built right on top of the Hellmouth, and it has secrets.  Fury introduces us to a town with supernatural secrets as well.  The town in question is Ascension, Maine and Ascension is an automatic nod to Buffy, right.  Here our main characters Em and Chase are being haunted, literally, by the things they have done and someone – or some thing – is very angry.

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

“You went out and made magic. Made your own wishes come true.” 

There are moments on Buffy where everyone steps into some bizarro world and then suddenly, they are the Halloween costume they are wearing.  Or they become literal neanderthals from the beer that they drink.  Or they are being chased around by a cheese man in their dreams. Kill Me Softly is a look at a world where many people are living lives that are twisted version of the fairy tales.  See that girl hobbling over there down the street? She is obviously supposed to be the stepsister from Cinderella and the show didn’t fit so she hacked off her toes.  This is a dark, interesting look at a world that you can definitely see our Scooby gang making a visit too.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

“Jazz hadn’t given her many details of exactly what life in the Dent house had been like, but he’d told her enough that she knew it wasn’t hearts and flowers. Well, except for the occasional heart cut from a chest. And the kind of flowers you send to funerals.” 

At some point or another, it seems like everyone in the Buffyverse has to try and hold back the evil inside them.  Anya is of course a demon and Angel and Spike are vampires, so they are quite literally trying to hold back evil.  But even Buffy had times where she is tempted into darkness.  And let’s not forget the story arc where Willow became addicted to magic.  I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is also about a boy trying to hold back the evil he fears inside of him: his father is the world’s most notorious serial killer, so what does that make him.

The following books were previously reviewed and discussed.  Please click on the titles to read the reviews:

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Embrace/Entice by Jessica Shirvington
Every Other Day by Jenny Lynn Barnes
Ashes/Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Slayer Scavenger Hunt

Did you notice some words written in red in this post? If not, go back and take a look. You’ll want to, I can reassure you. Why? Because we are having a Buffy themed scavenger hunt! How fun is that? To find out how to participate, read the details below. And I know you’ll want to participate because we are working on getting some GREAT prizes lined up for the winners!
  • Each week on our Slayer Saturday posts look for the words highlighted. There will be 3 sets of words each weekend, so make sure to visit all three blogs (Bookish Comforts, Patricia’s Particularity and Teen Librarian Toolbox).
  • Write down the words each week (Sept. 8 – Oct. 20), putting them in an order that makes sense. All together these words create a quote from Buffy.
  • During the last week a form will be made available on all three blogs where you can turn in the quote that you have pieced together.
  • On the last weekend of The Sunnydale Project, Oct. 27, the quote will be revealed! We will then draw a winner from those who have correctly completed the quote.
We really hope you have fun with this! We’re still finalizing the prize, but it’ll be worth participating for! An announcement will be made when all details have been finalized.
And yes, there are a few more than titles on this list – but I can live with that.  What would you add?