Thursday, April 16, 2015

Washington Library Association conference 2015: here's your booklist!

SITL cover
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Mary Jo Heller
Aarene Storms 

Alexander, Shannon
Love and Other Unknown Variables

Alexie, Sherman
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

Anderson, Laurie Halse

Armentrout, Jennifer
Don’t Look Back 

Beam, Cris
I am J

Berry, Julie
All The Truth That’s In Me 

Black, Holly
Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Blume, Judy

Bray, Libba
Beauty Queens

Burgess, Melvin
Doing It

Calame, Don
Swim the Fly (series)

Chbosky, Stephen
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Coley, Liz
Pretty Girl 13

Connor, Leslie
The Things You Kiss Goodbye

Cross, Julie
Whatever Life Throws at You

Federle, Tim
Better Nate Than Ever

Fitzpatrick, Huntley
My Life Next Door

Gaiman, Neil
Ocean at the End of the Lane

Green, John & 
Levithan, David
Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Green, John
The Fault in Our Stars

Halpern, Julie
The F* It List

Han, Jenny
To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Harkness, Deborah
All Souls (series)

Higgins, Wendy
Sweet Evil (series)

Hodge, Rosamund
Cruel Beauty

Johnston, E.K.
The Story of Owen, Dragon Slayer of Trondheim    (series)

Keanneally, Miranda
Breathe, Annie, Breathe   

Lewis, R.C.
Stitching Snow

McBride, Lish
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

McCormick, Patricia

McGovern, Cammie
Say What You Will

Mathiew, Jennifer
The Truth about Alice
Mesrobian, Carrie
Sex & Violence

Meyer, L.A.
Bloody Jack (series)

Meyer, Marissa
Cinder (series)

Myracle, Lauren
The Infinite Moment of Us

Neal, Bethany
My Last Kiss

Nelson, Jandy
I’ll Give You the Sun

Niven, Jennifer
All the Bright Places

Novgorodoff, Danica
The Undertaking of Lily Chen

Nix, Garth
A Confusion of Princes

Oliver, Lauren
Before I Fall

Preston, Natasha
The Cellar (series)

Quinn, Kate Karyus
Another Little Piece

Racculia, Kate
Bellweather Rhapsody

Rosoff, Meg
How I Live Now

Roth, Veronica

Rowell, Rainbow

Seamon, Hollis
Somebody Up There Hates You

Shusterman, Neal
Unwind (series)

Sandler, Karen
Tankborn (series)

St. John Mandel, Emily
Station Eleven

Sones, Sonja
To Be Perfectly Honest

Steifvater, Maggie
Raven Boys (series)

Taylor, Laini
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (series)

Tintera, Amy

Trumble, J.H.
Just Between Us

Valentine, Genevieve
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
Wein, Elizabeth
Code Name Verity

Westerfeld, Scott

Westerfeld, Scott

Bell, Ruth
Changing Bodies, Changing Lives

Corinna, Heather
S.E.X. : the All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College

Drill, Esther
Deal With It

Kuklin, Susan
Beyond Majenta: transgender teens speak out

Rodriguez, Gabby
The Pregnancy Project

Savage, Dan
It Gets Better

Sex in the Library: a guide to sexual content in Teen Literature  by Mary Jo Heller  and Aarene Storms ISBN: 978-1617510281

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire  by E.K. Johnston

​Listen!  For the Song of Owen has a second--and final--verse.

Owen Thorskard ​, Dragonslayer of Trondheim and his bard Siobhen barely survived the extermination of the dragon hatchery, and Siobhen's hands were severely damaged in the fire.  She still hears music in the world around her, but she can no longer play most of her instruments, and she can't even write the music down anymore.

And yet, she and Owen have officially joined the Oil Watch. 

Instead of being posted in a new and exotic locale, the team falls victim to political corruption and in-fighting, and are stationed in Alberta.  However, it turns out that in Alberta there are dragons everywhere.  Really nasty dragons.

A solid companion to The Story of Owen, this book does not stand alone easily.  Romances are kindled, and some go a bit further than that, but all intimacy beyond flirtation is taken tactfully off-page.  However, the dragon-killing action (and evisceration for disposal after) sweats, slashes, oozes, stinks and explodes right on the page.  Especially in the final chapters...

Recommended for readers ages 14 and up.  
I really wish somebody would produce an audiobook edition of this, it would be fabulous.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bellweather Rhapsody

Bellweather Rhapsody, by Kate Racculia,  Kate

Fifteen years ago, a bride walked into her honeymoon room (#712) at the Bellweather Hotel, shot her husband and hung herself.  The only witness was a junior bridesmaid, Minnie Graves.  

Enter the Now.  

The Bellweather is rather rundown and now hosts the annual high school music festival.  Bassoonist “Rabbit” Hatmaker is in the orchestra section while his sister Alice is in the drama division of the festival.  New this year is director Viola Fabian, who seems to have (negative) history with everyone at the festival except the twins.  That changes when Alice finds her daughter, violinist ­­­­Jill, hanging from the lights in room 712.

Add to that a Concierge trying to hold it all together, the return of an adult Minnie Graves, a star egotistical conductor, and of course, a snowstorm.  But wait!  There’s more!  Every character is well detailed.  And everyone at the Bellweather has a secret. There are murders.  There are mysteries.  There are romances. There are even sweet moments.  There is definitely great writing.  .

This page-turner was marketed as an adult novel, but teens will love it.

For ages 14 and up.

Anything but Typical

Anything But Typical  by Nora Raleigh Baskin

12-year-old Jason Black isn't dumb.  Since his diagnosis with autism when he was four years old, Jason has been coached by counselors, teachers, doctors, assistants, and members of his family, all in an effort to help Jason seem more normal to neurotypical people.  

But most days, it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong.  

Maybe somebody is already logged into the computer he prefers at the school library.  Maybe a teacher touches his shoulder when she talks to him.  Maybe he gets so lost in his own thoughts that he tears the first page of his math book into many tiny pieces.  No matter what, Jason does not fit in. His hands flap, he makes strange noises, he makes even stranger choices.  He does not understand why neurotypical people behave the way they do, and nobody understands why he acts as he does.

The only place Jason is really comfortable is on the Storyboard writing website.  He posts his original fiction there, and interacts with other writers, especially PhoenixBird, whom he considers kind of a girlfriend although they've never met in person.

Jason explains to readers that trying to explain his actions is like trying to speak in a non-native language:  the story often conveys the sense that Jason's thoughts have lost something in translation.
Thought-provoking and intriguing, this book would be a good discussion-starter in classrooms and reading circles. A reading group guide is included at the end. 

Recommended for readers ages 10-15.  

The Carnival at Bray

The Carnival at Bray   byJessie Ann Foley

Sixteen-year-old Maggie and her nine-year-old sister have been living through her alcoholic mother’s poor choices in boyfriends since they can remember.  

But their grandmother lived in the apartment upstairs, and they could always escape there. Maggie’s uncle Kevin lives there as well, and while everyone else said he was a rock star wannabe deadbeat, Maggie adores him.  It is 1993 and Kurt Cobain reigns.

Then mom finds a new boyfriend who wants to marry her and move the family to Bray, Ireland.  Life changes in a hurry.  

Nine-year-old Ronnie thrives in the environment.  While Maggie is not popular with any clique in her new school, she does fine a friend in 99-year-old Dan Sean, and with seventeen-year-old Eoin, the grandson of the local bartendress.

Then tragedy hits, and Maggie makes a daredevil run to Rome to the Kurt Cobain concert, taking Eoin with her. 

A good story we can say little about.  

There are some predictable turns in the road, and some nice moments.  The writing is complex and strong.  It has garnered many awards.  However, how many teens will want to read about this time period?  

None of my teens even know who Kurt Cobain was- in Seattle!  This is really for older teens and adults who can stick with a book, as this one wanders slowly down that narrow Irish path.

 Recommended 14 up.

The Things You Kiss Goodbye

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Sixteen-year-old goth-dressing Bettina Vasilis is looking for a way to create time outside her very traditional, strict Greek family, when she is “chosen” by Brady, the star basketball player.  

Brady appears to be just the polite kind of boy her father would allow her to date, and at first she is thrilled by his attention, not to mention the fact that she has a lot more freedom.  Brady talks her into try- outs as a cheerleader, or as Bettina nicknames them, the “not-so-cheerleaders.”

Bettina loves her new freedom- and her new, very popular boyfriend.  Even when his nickname for her, “P’teen-uh,” is wearing thin.  Even when he pulls her braid until her head hurts.  Even when he slams her locker door so hard, it comes back and hits her, hard, in the face.  Even when they start having sex and it really hurts.  She is willing to, as her Bampas told her, fili antio- kiss it good-bye. Rough starts.  Get over it. 

Then Bettina meets “Cowboy,” a 25 year old mechanic with his own garage, who encourages her to face up to Brady, and with whom she feels she might be falling in love…

Although Bampas is close to a one-dimensional stereotypical Greek father, there are many well-developed side characters. Simply, beautifully, written, with a mixture of humorous and thought-provoking scenes.  And with only alluding to any further plot lines, this is a three Kleenex box book.

Recommended 14 up because of the sexual scenes

Love and Other Unknown Variables

Love and Other Unknown Variables  by Shannon Lee Alexander

Don’t you hate it when the cover of a book compares the book to Fault in Our Stars?  

So let’s start in the middle of the book, when Charlie, boy genius with an MIT future, finds out the Charlotte, his sister’s best friend, has brain cancer, with a very limited future.  Now let’s also say that this funny, witty, story of two improbably matched teens finding love, is worth reading, even when we know the ending.

Charlie is very uncomfortable with real feelings, and recites the prime numbers, or the Table of Elements to keep his mind from wandering into uncomfortable territory.  Charlotte’s sister, Ms Finch, is the new English teacher at Brighton, Charlie’s exclusive math and science school.  There have been many new English teachers.  In fact, Brighton students are experts with the game of making English teachers leave school, crying.  Ms Finch says she knows this- to “bring it on.” Charlotte, interestingly, is also encouraging Charlie to do this, as it will keep her sister occupied trying better lesson plans, rather than harangue her into getting an experimental cancer treatment.

How much control do we/should we have over our lives, especially in facing the end? 

Are you the kind of person who will “never give up,” or one who one who thinks teens should manage their own treatment?  

That is the real question in this witty, charming, and yes, tear-jerking novel.   Makes for a great teen discussion with parents. 

Mature 13 up.