Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

The Tween and Friends Top 14 Reads in 2014

Many Friday nights I have anywhere from 2 to 5 preteen girls hanging out at my house. Not all of them are readers, but two of them are very fervent readers. In fact, I was surprised recently to learn that The Tween’s BF had almost 5 times the AR points as her, which is astounding when I think about how very much The Tween reads. Though to be fair, The Tween still reads largely in the MG category, which means her books are often worth fewer points, while the BF reads a ton of YA books which can tend to be worth more points. Also to be fair, The Tween reads a lot of the ARCs we get for TLT to give me her point of view and they are, of course, worth no points. Anyhow, it’s always interesting to talk to the kids that come to my house about books. Last Friday I had The Tween and Friends put together a list of their Top 14 Reads of 2014. For the purposes of this list I didn’t not limit it to new books, but just wanted to see of all the books they read between them what they liked best in 2014.

1. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

This should be surprising to no regular TLT reader. The Tween was crazy about this book and we even took the BF to Tween Reads to meet the author, where they both got their own signed copies. I also listened to this on audio because my daughter was such a huge fan and to be honest I really liked it a lot. When I ask The Tween why she likes it her #3wordbooktalk is “magic, hopeful, happy”.

2. The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke

The Tween actually just read this book this past week. I sent her off to the Scholastic Book Fair and she came home wanting 3 books: The Neptune Project, The Spider Ring and the 3rd book in the Land of Stories series. She bought both The Neptune Project and The Spider Ring, both of which she read immediately. She commented frequently that it was “sad” and that she “wants to speak to dolphins” while reading. In the end she said, The Neptune Project is “one of those books that just really gets to you and make you realize that you have a good life.” Note: The Spider Ring technically has a January 2015 publication date but it was sold early at her school’s Scholastic Book Fair.

3. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

The Tween’s BF LOVES this series and since I do too, we talk about it a lot. She thinks she is weird because she “likes bloody books”, but I keep assuring her that lots of people do which is why mystery and horror are so popular. We even talked a little bit about why people are drawn to these types of stories and how they help us process the darkness of life in a safe environment. Not that she cares about any of that, she just thinks the books are incredibly cool.

4. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer

One of the best things about this new group of Tweens is that they are just now finding both the Harry Potter and Twilight series. So while I was there to experience it the first time, it is fun watching them experience it for their first time. The BF is a HUGE fan of the Twilight series. Although I will be the first to point out some of its flaws (I can’t stand the scene, for example, where Edward disables Bella’s vehicle to stop her from doing something she wants to do under the pretense that he is protecting her, it genuinely enrages me), I can’t help but remember the appeal for young teens who are just starting to think about romance.

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This year I took The Tween to a Dallas meet and greet for the movie. Then I took her and her friends to see the movie. AND THEN she read the book. That’s right, she did it totally backwards. But her and her friends were compelled to read the book after watching the movie (which is also true for If I Stay), which is why I am a big champion of book based movies. The Tween didn’t cry at the movie (I sobbed like a big baby) but she did cry reading the book. All of the tweens said they liked the positive relationship in the book and that was why they were drawn to it.

6. Savvy by Ingrid Law

It was the BF who insisted this book be put on the list, neither The Tween or I have read this one yet. But that same girl who likes bloody books, she said she liked this book because “it’s one of those feel good books”. A reminder that readers aren’t drawn to just one type of book and we can take what we know about our readers and introduce them to new types of books as long as we keep them connected to the appeal factors of our audience.

7. The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer and Brandon Dorman

This is one of The Tween’s favorite series at the moment. She won’t stop talking about it and – shhhhh don’t tell – I went ahead and bought her book 3 for Christmas. Land of Stories fits nicely into the twisted fairy tales genre that is really popular at the moment, but The Tween also says she really likes the good brother/sister relationship.

8. The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was really impressed when they brought up this book because I know that 1) it’s not something they had to read for school and 2) neither one of them saw the movie (The Mr. and I went but did not take The Tween). That means that they discovered this book on their own, and yes probably sparked in part by the movie advertising, but they chose to read it and connected with it. The appeal factor for them was that it is “different than most stories.”

9. Leisl and Po by Lauren Oliver

The Tween is a huge fan of Lauren Oliver, who happens to be the first author she met in person on what our family refers to as Lauren Oliver day. She got a signed copy of Leisl and Po probably two years ago, but read it for the first time this year where she really became a fan of fantasy. In fact if you ask her, she’ll tell she is a “fantasy girl.” The appeal factor here is once again the relationships. The Tween states that Leisl and Po “taught the meaning of having a good friend.” I mean if you’re cool with your good friend being a ghost and all.

10. Dark Life by Kat Falls [Read more…]

This is what happened when I asked Twitter to recommend MG & YA lit titles for those asking about Ferguson

Inspired in part by Robin’s post yesterday on talking with her middle grade students about Ferguson and the book Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth, I wondered what kind of list we could put together quickly to recommend to students who were wondering about the events happening in Ferguson. So I went to Twitter and asked for everyone’s suggestions. Here’s what they recommended:

If you have titles to recommend and add to this list, please share in the comments. We believe that literature can help us understand current events and sharing these titles can help our communities process events happening at Ferguson.

The #SVYALit Project – What We’ve Learned So Far

Christa Desir and I are getting ready today to do a Webinar on the #SVYALit Project for NCompass Live. The session will be recorded and archived. We sat down and organized our thoughts for the Webinar and thought you might like to see what we’ve learned so far in the project, some of the titles we have discussed, and what we think libraries, schools and parents can do with the information. The recording is up here for you to listen to.

 SVYALit Webinar August 6

Trend Watch 2014

It’s time, one again, my friends for another edition of Trend Watch.

I like to create a RA poster for my teen area. Don’t worry, I share. But I need your help. What trends have you been noticing this year in YA lit? Share with me your favorite trends and a couple of examples of titles and later, I’ll share with you my poster.

Here are a few that have been suggested on Twitter:

You can leave a comment or Tweet me @tlt16 with the tag #yalittrends

In case you were curious, here are some of the previous posters we have made:

The #SVYALit Project Historical Fiction Google Hangout is Happening TODAY

Here’s a look at today’s discussion in the #SVYALit Project. Today’s topic is historical fiction and we’ll be discussing MAID OF SECRETS and MAID OF DECEPTION by Jennifer McGowan, A MAD, WICKED FOLLY by Sharon Biggs Waller and GILT by Katherine Longshore.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfMQtsqndt0]

Here’s a link to the Cuddlebuggery post on Sex Positive YA that is mentioned.

Here’s a link to the School Library Journal article I wrote on Slut Shaming with an example of a new sex positive YA title

Here are our lists of sex positive YA mentioned: Karen’s List  Christa’s List  Carrie’s List

Also, want to know more what we mean when we say Edwardian or Victorian or Tudor historical fiction? Jennifer McGowan and I wrote an article on YA Historical Fiction which will appear in your August 2014 issue of VOYA Magazine. We break down the various time periods and give you examples in our YA historical fiction reading timeline.

This is What Happened When The Tween Read EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS by A. S. King

I am an avid and vocal A. S. King fan and The Tween lives in my home so she is well aware of this. In fact, she recently got a chance to meet my favorite author and got some signed books of her own. But then an interesting thing happened, you see she ASKED me if she could read them. This was an odd thing to me for a couple of reasons.

Like her, I was an avid reader growing up. I never asked for permission to read a book, I just read it. It never even occurred to me to ask. And no one ever asked me what I was reading. So in that moment I had a weird wrestling of Librarian Mom – who was like, read what you want, read everything, go, do it – and Mom Mom – who was like, um, well, you’re a very sensitive soul and maybe you should wait a couple of years. In truth, I wish she hadn’t asked.

But then one day last week she came to me again and asked if she could read EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS and I said yes.

She is about halfway through at this point and is loving it; not that I had any doubts. But another interesting happened when she came one day and was talking to me about the book. 

EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS is about many things, but an important part of the story involves the main character’s grandfather, who was drafted and never returned from the Vietnam War and the emotional impact that has on him and his family. And my daughter, being only 12, doesn’t really know a lot about the Vietnam War, or war in general, or about the draft. And this was another one of those moments when I was reminded how important it is for us to talk with younger generations about history and politics.

So she says something to me about how she is glad that she can’t be drafted and I started talking to her about how the year I graduated high school, we went to war with Iraq and they had started talking about the draft. I told her about how afraid I was that my brother would get drafted.

Then I told her about the history of women in the military and that I thought that one day, if they ever re-instated the draft, they probably would draft women. And yes, as the mom of little girls this thought terrifies me, but as a feminist I can’t help but think it is only fair.

That’s Us Meeting A. S. King on the Right!

And through this all she kept talking about how awful war must be, so I talked to her about how the year she was born we went to war with Iraq and Afghanistan and how we have been at war the entirity of her life. She wasn’t aware of it, but we have never NOT been at war during the course of her lifetime. We talked about how because we lived here in America she was sheltered from the effects of those wars and what life was like for children in those countries where grown ups were using guns and bombs and drones to fight about their differences. We talked about how they were growing up in a world where loss was the expected norm, safety was never certain, and in some places children were asking and sometimes being forced to fight.

We talked about what it was like for children here whose parents had gone to other countries to fight those wars. I reminded her of her friend back home whose dad had served 2 tours and come back very different, very emotionally broken and how their family was no longer together. We talked about how there were children going to bed at night who didn’t get to talk to one of their parents every night and they went to bed praying that they would please come home soon.

In the back of EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS there is a chart that shows how the draft worked. She spent a lot of time talking to me about it. About what she was reading in the story. About the main character and this family. We talked about what POW MIA means, which also comes up in the story.

She has talked a lot to me in the last few days about how truly unlucky this boy named Lucky is. And how mean some of the other characters are.

Signed Books are the Best!

On Friday night, we went to a baseball game. She took the book with her and she read it in the car, she read it at the game, and on the way home in the dark she tried to use the vanity mirror on the visor to read the book. And I am reminded every time I see her reading about the ways that stories can open our minds and open up dialogues that we may not always remember to talk to kids about important things they need to understand about the world they live in.

Take me out to the ballgame . . . so I can read!

At first, I protected my child from the facts of war because it was developmentally appropriate to do so. And then, we had just been at war for so long it became a kind of horrible background noise, it was something that was happening over there as life for many of us have gone on as normal here (outside of the very real effects of our failing economy). But as I spoke with her I remembered that burning fear in the back of my throat as I watched the TV news in 1990 and prayed to a God I was just coming to believe in that this would please not happen because whatever issues I may have had with my brother, I loved him and I certainly didn’t want that for him. And I remembered how important it was for us to understand life in other countries. And I remembered how important it was for her to understand the past and how it affects who we are today and where we may be heading in our future.

Watching my daughter read and love this book has been a heartwarming experience. But I have also appreciated the conversations that this book has prompted us to have. And that is one of the most important reasons why we read. Books make us think, they make us ask questions, and if we’re doing it right, they get us to talk to one another about the things that matter and move us.

Publisher’s Description of Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King:

Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King’s smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you and taking a stand against it. Published in 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Get in the Game! YA fiction that features sports

On Sunday night I took part in a Twitter chat under the hashtag #TitleTalk about sports fiction. The truth is, I’m not a big sports fan. In fact, when people talk about some people not liking to read for recreation I use sports as my go-to example: I’m never going to like sports for fun and that’s okay, just as it is okay that some people don’t like reading for fun. What IS important is that everyone CAN read. Literacy is an important, life saving skill. Reading for pleasure – well, I don’t understand it if that’s not how you choose to spend your time and I feel like you’re missing out on a lot, but it’s not the end of the world. We each have our passions and I respect that. But sports can be a great way to get some more reluctant readers into books if you can connect them to a book that features a sport they enjoy. Plus, regular readers just like to read about the things that interest them, which I understand for a lot of people this can be sports. So let’s talk sports in YA fiction, shall we? Also, don’t forget all the awesome nonfiction and biography titles in your collection!

Some of my Go To sports authors include:
Chris Crutcher, Carl Deuker, Simone Elkeles, John Feinstein, Robert Lipsyte, Mike Lupica, Chris Lynch, and Paul Volpini. Crutcher is a particular favorite of mine and illustrates how a book can have sports in it but not actually be about sports. Miranda Kenneally, Catherine Gilbert Murdock and Sarah Ockler often feature sports in their titles. And of course Walter Dean Myers features sports in a lot of his titles.

TAP OUT by Eric Devine features a young man who gets involved in MMA fighting.

HOOKED by Liz Fichera features golf, including a female golf player.

Baseball is featured in MEXICAN WHITE BOY by Matt de la Pena, CURVEBALL: THE YEAR I LOST MY GRIP by Jordan Sonnenblick and PLUNKED by Michael Northrop, to name a few.

Rugby is highlighted in WINTER by Andrew Smith, a breakaway hit from 2013.

Cheerleading is featured in titles like I WAS A NON-BLONDE CHEERLEADER by Kieran Scott and BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris.

Soccer shows up in the graphic novel series WHISTLE by Daisuke Higuchi and the novel SHUT OUT by Kody Keplinger.

High school sports culture plays an important part in CANARY by Rachele Alpine, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jennifer Matthieu and SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller. Each of these titles highlight the way that sport culture can shape a person’s character. In SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, the main character, Travis, is the son of a professional football player and we he quits football in high school it dramatically impacted their relationship. And CANARY and THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE highlight the way that sports culture allows athletes – even high school athletes – to get away with abhorrent behavior. Football and high school sports culture also place a prominent role in INEXCUSABLE by Chris Lynch.

THIS SIDE OF SALVATION by Jeri Smith-Redy features a male protagonist who is a dedicated to baseball, which is a huge part of his personal identity. Eventually, as a sign of his faith, he is asked to sacrifice his involvement in this sport to prepare for the upcoming “Rush”, what the rapture is referred to in this title.

I am a huge fan of UNTIL IT HURTS TO STOP by Jennifer R. Hubbard for many reasons. But one of the things I love is that it features a female main character that that goes hiking and mountain climbing with her male best friend.

If we’re going to kick it old school, I think the first sports themed book that truly moved me was WRESTLING STURBRIDGE by Rich Wallace. It really captures the desperation to get out of small town life and how for many teens, sports and a sports scholarship are their only hope. And in the not truly YA (they are MG titles), I think everyone should read TANGERINE by Edward Bloor and CRASH by Jerry Spinelli. TANGERINE is quirky and compelling. CRASH is touching and humorous.

The upcoming IN DEEP by Terra Elan McVoy features Brynn, a young lady training as a swimmer. Brief blurb for IN DEEP: “Ultracompetitive Brynn from The Summer of Firsts and Lasts craves swimming victory—and gets in over her head—in this irresistible novel from Terra Elan McVoy.” Given my love for WHALETALK and STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES, which both feature swimming, it seems like this is my kind of book.

In the upcoming PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY by Carrie Mesrobian the main character takes up track as he prepared to join the military after high school. Running is also featured in the upcoming ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT by Rachel Toor, described as “a funny, uplifting debut about running, romance—and dealing with college rejection and other hurdles.” While you are waiting for these, be sure to check out THE RUNNING DREAM by Wendelin VanDraanen for an older and excellent title about running.

And in the upcoming BLEED LIKE ME by Christa Desir a female skateboarder is featured. Skateboarding is also featured in SLAM by Nick Hornby and THOU SHALT NOT DUMP THE SKATER DUDE AND OTHER COMMANDMENTS I HAVE BROKEN by RoseMary Graham.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, because sports are a huge part of Middle and High School life and they make an appearance in a lot of titles. Goodreads can be a good place to start looking: Popular YA Sports Books on Goodreads, YA Sports Novels (188) on Goodreads. In fact, leave a comment telling us about some of your favorite titles to help build a great resource list for others. Do you know of any upcoming YA titles that feature sports? Share those with us as well please.

Take 5: R is for Revenge

Earlier today I reviewed The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine. In this book, there is a nice little revenge subplot. It reminded me that I wanted to finish up this post about books that have revenge themes. So here are 5 more YA titles that deal with revenge. We all want a little revenge at some time in our life.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Publisher’s Description:
What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s Side Effects May Vary is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality

Karen’s Thoughts:
This is a really well written book where a lot of interesting things happen, including some very good character development and issues.  The idea of getting revenge on those who have wronged you as part of your bucket list was very interesting. And then – Alice goes in to remission and has to face the consequences of what she has done. SEMV is also very interesting because it explores the concept of the very angry young woman. There are lots of great Angry Young Men books – including Reality Boy by A. S. King – and it was interesting to explore the psyche of the angry young woman, especially when it is done in such a well developed way. You may not like Alice (though I actually did), but her story is compelling. You can read my complete review here.

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Publisher’s Description:

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds.

But bad things can happen, even to good girls . . . and sometimes, the only way to make things right is to do something wrong.

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate.

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person–her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he’s going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?

Karen’s Thoughts:
I loved the setting of this story and the way that Han and Vivian weave some paranormal elements into this tale of revenge. It’s the first book in a series, Fire with Fire is the second. As revenge stories go, this is highly entertaining and has a lot of dynamic relationships and tension. Very enjoyable and definitely recommended. I am looking forward to the next book in the series Ashes to Ashes, which comes out in September. 

Marie Antionette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Publisher’s Description:
Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.

Karen’s Thoughts:

Ghosts often want revenge and I love a good ghost story. And this one is more fascinating to me because the ghost is Marie Antoinette. I liked the ghost story aspect of the story but didn’t love other elements. But teen readers looking for a fun ghost story won’t be disappointed. 

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Publisher’s Description:
An intense look at the rules of high school attraction — and the price that’s paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn’t matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, “pretty” and “ugly.” And it’s also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two

Karen’s Thoughts:

This is a really well done look at the high school pecking order. I highly recommend it. If I am remembering correctly, Vivian based it in part on some true events that were covered in the news. Told from alternating points of view, The List will remind anyone out of high school why they never want to go back. And teens who are trying to run the gauntlet that is high school right now will definitely identify and want to discuss. This is a must read.

Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke

Publisher’s Description:
From international phenomenon Cornelia Funke, the bestselling author of Reckless and Inkheart.

Eleven-year-old Jon Whitcroft never expected to enjoy boarding school. Then again, he never expected to be confronted by a pack of vengeful ghosts, either. And then he meets Ella, a quirky new friend with a taste for adventure…

Together, Jon and Ella must work to uncover the secrets of a centuries-old murder while being haunted by terrifying spirits, their bloodless faces set on revenge. So when Jon summons the ghost of the late knight Longspee for his protection, there’s just one question: Can Longspee truly be trusted?

Karen’s Thoughts:
More vengeful ghosts! Technically, this book is MG lit. I checked it out but haven’t read it yet, oops. Publisher’s Weekly said, “Despite the book’s length, the story moves quickly, filled with daring midnight expeditions and close calls with death.” (Publisher’s Weekly 3/19/2012).

Now it’s your turn to share: What are your favorite revenge stories? Please leave a comment and let others know. We’re all looking for a good revenge story to read.

Take 5: Villains

Muwhahahah . . . Twirling my mustache here for this post.

Earlier today Christie shared some of her favorite villains in comics and graphic novels, so let’s take a look at villains in MG and YA lit. In the immortal words of Loki, “I am burdened with glorious purpose.” And my purpose today is to share these books with you. . .


“Slip on your acid-free gloves, make sure you have a duplicate copy of How to Grow Up and Rule the World (just in case something should happen to this one) and try to follow along as the incomparable, superior-in-all-ways Vordak the Incomprehensible teaches you a thing or two about villainy. Now you, too, can try (and fail) to attain Vordak’s level of infamy.”
Publisher’s Description (EgmontUSA 2011, 9781606840139) 

Otto Malpense may only be thirteen years old, but so far he has managed to run the orphanage where he lives, and he has come up with a plan clever enough to trick the most powerful man in the country. He is the perfect candidate to become the world’s next supervillain.”
Publisher’s Description (Simon & Schuster 2007, 9781416935711) 
Blaze (love in the time of supervillains)
Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She’s desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark’s feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her “sext” photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now” – Publisher’s Description (Sourcebooks Fire 2013, 9781402273438)

Evil Genius
“Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ and a fascination with systems of all kinds. At seven, he was illegally hacking into computers. Now he’s fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, misinformation, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. Although Cadel may be advanced beyond his years, at heart he’s a lonely kid. When he falls for the mysterious and brilliant Kay-Lee, he begins to question the moral implications of his studies for the first time. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot?”
Publisher’s Description (HMH Books for Young Readers 2005, 9780152059880) 

Cloak Society

The first in a thrilling, action-packed middle grade trilogy, which School Library Journal declared “will likely find the same wide appeal as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books.

“The Cloak Society: An elite organization of supervillains graced with extraordinary powers. Ten years ago the Cloak Society was defeated by Sterling City’s superheroes, the Rangers of Justice, and vanished without a trace. But the villains have been waiting for the perfect moment to resurface. . . .”

Publisher’s Description (HarperCollins 2012, 9780062095473)

Take 5: New LGBTQ Books to Look For 2014

One Man Guy by Micahel Barakiva (YA Fiction, May 2014)
Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again. 
Sweet Tooth by Tim Anderson (Fictionalized Memoir, March 2014)
What’s a sweets-loving young boy growing up gay in North Carolina in the eighties supposed to think when he’s diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? That God is punishing him, naturally.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (Informational, already out)
Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay (YA Fiction, June 2014)
Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters (YA Fiction, June 2014)
Brought together by Swanee’s lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they’d thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana. Alix knows what it feels like to be lied to–but will coming clean to Liana mean losing her, too?