Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5: 5 TV Shows Teens are Talking About

Ah, September. Time for school, turning leaves, football, sweaters….

and new television episodes!!!  If your teens are anything like mine, they are almost as excited for some of the new things on TV as they are for Catching Fire and Thor: The Dark World to be released. Yet I know your schedule is as packed as mine, so I am here to share what my teens are talking about to keep you in the loop! READY?!??!!

The CW is to my teens what Fox is to “new adults” – edgy, on trend programming that captures the imagination. The teens I work with caught the last bit of Smallville, and are addicted to Arrowthe updated tale of the DC hero the Green Arrow starring Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen. The second season will premier on October 9, 2013.
It used to be just me who was geeking over Doctor Who I saw the series when I was younger, and when I caught the reboot with the 9th Doctor I got hooked. Slowly, though, my teens caught up (probably because PBS started airing it- my teens don’t have the upgraded cable to get BBC America) and now they are full-on hooked. It also doesn’t hurt that stores like Hot Topic and Barnes and Noble are selling Doctor Who swag. The 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who airs November 23, 2013.  Check out our Doctor Who Central for read-alikes, programming ideas and more.

Sleepy Hollow premiered Monday, September 16, and my teens were blowing up my DM on Twitter and Facebook asking me if I had seen it- asking me questions about the storylines and actors since I know the original story. A ‘modern-day retelling’ of the Ichabod Crane story, I will have to catch it online or on-demand because I work nights. Ichabod comes back from being buried since 1781, and comes back to life in Sleepy Hollow 2013. So does the Headless Horseman.

My teens never really got into Once Upon a Time (and to be honest, neither did I), possibly because it skewed a bit older- it never really held their interest. However, my teen girls are extremely hyped about Once Upon a Time in Wonderland- in Victorian London, Alice is locked away in an insane asylum for talking about hooka loving caterpillars, talking playing cards, and disappearing cats. Yet the Knave of Hearts and the White Rabbit save her- or do they? Once Upon a Time in Wonderland premiers on October 10, 2013 on ABC.

And if there was any doubt, my teens are clamoring for taking over our game room and big screen TV on the rec side of the building on Tuesday nights and having group viewings of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Held in the Marvel Universe of of The Avengers, this series headed by Agent Coulson (back from the dead, BTW) tells stories about the agents on the ground: “Not all heroes are super”. With Joss Wheadon as executive producer, a lot of eyes are on this series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiers on September 24, 2013.

What are you excited for? What are your teens talking about? Share in the comments!

Take 5: Teenage Assasins in YA Lit

One of the big trends in teen lit for 2013 is without a doubt teenage assassins.  In addition to Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff, here is a look at 5 titles that incorporate this trend, presented to you in alphabetical order by author’s last name – because I’m a librarian.

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Do you know what I thought when you tried to kill me? The first time? I thought, How can somebody want me dead when no one knows I’m alive?” 

There are people in this world who are Nobody.  Nobody can see them.  And they make the perfect assassins. Seriously cool concept.

Dualed by Elsie Chapman

“Be the one.  Be worthy”

In the city of Kersh, everyone must eliminate their genetically alternate twin by the time they are twenty.  West becomes a striker, a type of assassin for hire that does this for others.  But can she look herself in the face and kill her twin?  Is she worthy to be the one?  This is what I said about Dualed earlier.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin series, book 1)

“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?” 

I feel like all I need to say about this series is this: Nuns as Assassins. Seriously, do you need more?  I think not.  Also, great series.  Go read it.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.” 

Technically released in 2012, Caleana agrees to act as the Princes champion in a competition to find the new royal assassin in exchange for her early release from the salt mines.  Soon, other contestants begin turning up dead and she must try and discover who the killer is before she becomes the next victim.

Mind Games by Kiersten White

“She’s a monster.” Ms. Robertson
Clarice, small laugh: “But she’s our monster.” 

Fia is born with flawfless instincts.  She is trapped in a “school” that uses the powerful weapons of Fia and her sister, Annie, for sinister purposes.  If they refuse to obey, they risk each other’s life.  These two sisters are determined to protect each other, no matter the cost.  And the cost is high.

Have some titles to add to the list?  Leave the title and author in the comments with your mini review.

Trend Watch 2013

The year is halfway over and we’re tracking trends.  So, what are we seeing?  We’ll be tracking it right here.  But I can’t read everything (even though I try!) and we need your help!  Leave us a comment or Tweet us at #trendwatch2013.  We need to come up with 10 signficant trends in #yalit for 2013 to create this year’s poster.  Previous years posters are available after the jump.

Here’s how it will work:  Tell us what trends you see in the comments.  We can compile a list of more than 10.  Beginning in July, we will ask readers to vote on what they feel are the Top 10 Trends in YA Lit.  In August, we’ll put the poster together.  In addition, if you know of a title that fits a trend listed on the page or in the comments, please share.  Thank you.

Some Possible Trends

Unconventional Main Characters

In Dualed by Elise Chapman, we see a teenaged female hitman.  Technically they are called Strikers in this world, but she is a hitman.  And in Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan our main character is a female thief who becomes part of the Queen’s guard (it’s historical fiction).

You could Have Been an X-Men

Characters with mutant like powers.  New titles to add to this list: Blackout by Robison Wells (coming out in October) and The Twelve-Fingered Boy

Teenage Assasins

Dualed by Elise Chapman, Nobody by Jennifer Lynne Barnes, Mind Games by Kiersten White
Rich Teen, Poor Teen: Socioeconomic Diversity in YA Lit

Rich Teens: When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney, Winger by Andrew Smith
Poor Teens: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Strong Male Voices

Winger by Andrew Smith, Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin, When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

It’s a Tech Thing: Technology in the Lives of Teens

Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt , Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown, Canary by Rachele Alpine

2010 Trends

Throwdown: Do the rules of romance apply in supernatural fiction?

Stephanie and I need you to weigh in on an ongoing debate we are having.  Simply stated our question is this: do real world rules of romance apply in the world of supernatural fiction?  But let’s back up and get some background info, shall we?

It began simply enough yesterday when I tweeted that I was upset about something I read in a teen fiction book and asked: What’s the deal with our female protagonists falling for a guy who is clearly a jerk?  People weighed in and the general consensus was that this happens in real life and they wish that they had this type of fiction when they were teens because it would clearly have saved them a lot of heart ache.

Then I asked: What type of responsibility do you think teen fiction has to make sure teens understand that the relationship being depicted is not a healthy relationship?  Of course an author should be true to the story, and not overly preachy, but the general consensus was that teens tended to get the message.  Then I brought up the whole Edward and Bella thing from Twilight.  There are numerous online articles you can read (just google it) about the fact that Edward portrays a number of traits found in abusive relationships.  I mean, he apparently falls in love with her because she smells delic and at one points he tampers with her vehicle to stop her from going someplace that he doesn’t want her to go.  In the end, Bella ends up isolated from her family and friends and literally becomes a monster in order to be with him.  None of these are the hallmarks of a healthy relationship.  As a librarian who works with teenage girls, as a mom to two little girls, I ponder these things.

Then today I posted about the book Embrace by Jessica Shirvington and how I was deeply concerned because an episode of what happens in the book can basically be construed as rape and that maybe perhaps we should be talking about that.  And this was Stephanie’s response:

You know that I find it hard to have a logical discussion about any certain issue when it occurs in a paranormal novel. I haven’t read Embrace but like we discussed about Twilight, I wouldn’t say that Bella and Edward have an unhealthy relationship because it is a relationship between a vampire and a teen girl. What is normal?

I think that the paranormal aspect allows the reader to suspend belief of the world around them and the same things that would be considered violations of morality in the real world, don’t necessarily equate in the supernatural.

Now I also see the problem brewing of if that makes it okay if it’s supernatural. I think that it all depends on how you look at it. I could pull many instances out of supernatural type books that could be considered rape, abuse, and even sorcery (such as using a potion to make someone fall in love with you…also against their will). When you pull them out of context, of course it will look back.

But I think, that as a reader, you just see it as a fantasy world and the same rules that apply in our world need not apply in theirs.

But I maintain, part of the value of genre reading is that it helps us to view real world problems through a slightly refracted lens and gain perspective.  For me, part of the value of Science Fiction is that we can discuss things like racism and environmentalism in the abstract and then apply it to the real world.  And I would maintain that certain truths are just universal truths: like the fact that people deserve to be treated in certain ways and that there are hallmarks of good, healthy relationships.  Just because you can manipulate my mind doesn’t make it okay for you to do so.

So, please, weigh in . . . do real world rules of romance apply to supernatural fiction?  Discuss now in the comments. Go.

Join us Wednesday, May 16th as we have our first ever TLT Trend Chat and expand our discussion of Romance in Teen Fiction.  Love triangles, insta love and more.  We’re talking trends.  (TLT Trend Chat: Romance in Teen Fiction May 16th at 3:00 PM Eastern, on Twitter #tltchat)

Please know, I love Stephanie as a friend, respect her as a librarian and value her as a blog partner.  I think we all can learn from each other and there is great value in healthy debate and discussion.