Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Tween Reads!

Tween Reads
November 2015
"You know how teachers are. If they get you to take out a book they love too, they're yours for life."
~ from Gary D. Schmidt's Orbiting Jupiter
Recent Releases
Took: A Ghost Story
by Mary Downing Hahn

Horror. They say that Old Auntie the conjure woman roams the woods with her man-eating razorback, Bloody Bones. They say that every 50 years, she kidnaps another little girl. They say lots of things, but Daniel doesn't believe any of them. Having just moved to rural Brewster's Hill with his troubled family, he assumes his classmates are just trying to freak him out. Then Daniel's little sister Erica becomes quiet and brooding, talking to her doll and claiming that a voice is calling her name, and Daniel's skepticism begins to crumble. Told in classic and genuinely creepy style, this ghost story is "good for some chills on a dark night" (Kirkus Reviews). 
The Blackthorn Key
by Kevin Sands

Historical Fantasy. The Cult of the Archangel is murdering apothecaries in 1665 London. Their latest victim is kind Benedict Blackthorn, master of 14-year-old apprentice Christopher. With Blackthorn dead, Christopher is forced to go on the run while he frantically decodes his master's final message, unlocking a series of twisty puzzles that might reveal the Cult's deadly goal. History, humor, science, and explosions come together in this clever, fast-paced book (the first by Canadian author Kevin Sands). If you prefer a bit of steampunk in your alchemical adventures, try Kent Davis' A Riddle in Ruby.
The Hired Girl
by Laura Amy Schlitz

Historical Fiction. Joan is only 14, but she manages to pass as 18 in order to get a job in the wealthy Rosenbach household. She just couldn't stay on the farm with her awful father, and since it's 1911, working in nearby Baltimore is Joan's only escape route. Smart but unsophisticated, Joan has a lot to learn -- crabby housekeeper Malka is hard to please, and Joan's Catholic background comes between her and the Jewish Rosenbachs even as she starts falling for younger son David -- but her struggles are sure to entertain readers who love authentic historical fiction and spirited, imaginative heroines. 
Orbiting Jupiter
by Gary D. Schmidt

Fiction. Twelve-year-old Jack isn't sure what to expect from the new foster kid, Joseph. Fresh out of juvie, 14-year-old Joseph is silent and wary when he arrives at Jack's family's farm. Though some of the kids and teachers at school give Joseph a hard time, the foster brothers strike up a friendship. Once Joseph learns to trust Jack, he finally opens up about his past: by the age of 13, he'd survived abuse, fallen in love, and become a father. Now, all he wants is to find Jupiter, the baby daughter he's never met. Despite its short length, Orbiting Jupiter is a powerful, heart-wrenching story that will stay with you.  
Focus: Graphic Novels
The Dumbest Idea Ever!
by Jimmy Gownley

Graphic Memoir. How do you go from being a regular middle schooler to a published graphic novelist? For Jimmy Gownley (creator of the Amelia Rules! series), it began with a bout of chicken pox. Smart, popular, and athletic, Jimmy suddenly found himself sidelined by illness. However, as his grades and social life took a nose dive, his creativity flourished, and by the age of 15, Jimmy had self-published his first comic book. Without shying away from the bumps in the road, this cartoon-illustrated memoir manages to be both funny and inspiring -- a perfect fit for fans of Raina Telgemeier.
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
by Jim Ottaviani; illustrated by Maris Wicks

Graphic Biography. This vibrant biography offers fascinating peeks into the lives of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, three of the most famous scientists to study great apes. The distinct, first-person narration draws you into the perspective of each remarkable woman, helping you understand where she came from, why she loved primates, and why her discoveries were important. The lively, clean-lined illustrations add to the cozy, personal feel of the book, capturing the excitement and quiet wonder of being in the jungle, close enough to touch a gorilla. For another highly visual biography of trailblazing women, check out Tanya Lee Stone's Almost Astronauts.
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
by Prudence Shen; illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks

Graphic Novel. The age-old battle between jocks and nerds gets a makeover in this clever, off-the-wall book for older readers. Hollow Ridge High can't afford both new cheerleading uniforms and a robotics club, so the two groups face off in a fierce (and dirty) fight for funding -- a fight that might destroy the friendship between star athlete Charlie and robotics club president Nate. But when all of their plans go south, the two cliques join forces in a wild attempt to win the prize money at a robot rumble. Stylish, expressive illustrations add both heart and humor to this "silly, earnest, and delightfully stirring" (Booklist) graphic novel.
by Doug TenNapel

Graphic Fantasy. As birthday presents go, an empty cardboard box is pretty terrible, but it's all Cam's dad can afford. Deciding to make the best of it, Cam and his dad use it to build a cardboard man, and it becomes clear that this isn't normal cardboard -- their creation, Boxer Bill, comes to life. But so do the monsters that mean kid Marcus makes from stolen cardboard scraps. Can Cam and Bill defeat the homemade army terrorizing their neighborhood? Find out in this inventive, fast-moving graphic novel packed with striking illustrations and "heaps of bizarre fun" (Booklist).

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Teen Scene: November 2015

Teen Scene
November 2015
"Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life."
~ from Patrick Ness' The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Recent Releases
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
by M.T. Anderson

Nonfiction. In 1941, as Nazi troops surrounded the starving city of Leningrad, Russia, composer Dmitri Shostakovich was writing his soul-stirring seventh symphony. Already suffering under Stalin's relentless brutality, the people of Leningrad now faced a three-year siege that would kill millions, and cause others to resort to cannibalism. Even in the midst of this horror, Shostakovich's symphony struck a powerful note of defiance. Through the lens of Shostakovich's life, author M.T. Anderson reveals a tale that is sure to grab readers who are into true stories about music, war, and the power of art to inspire survival. For another page-turning take on Russian history, pick up Candace Fleming's The Family Romanov.
The Scorpion Rules
by Erin Bow

Science Fiction. In the far future, an artificial intelligence called Talis has achieved world holding hostage the children of world leaders. Princess Greta has grown up as one of these "Children of Peace," but now her country is on the brink of war and her life could be forfeit. Enter Elián, a new, rebellious hostage who inspires Greta to question who she loves and where her duty truly lies. With an international cast of characters, Canadian author Erin Bow crafts an intricate world filled with impossible decisions and shocking twists. If you love dystopian fiction but are tired of the same old, same old, don't miss The Scorpion Rules
by Edwidge Danticat

Fiction. At first, they think that Giselle is her twin, Isabelle. In the chaos after the car crash that injured their parents and put Giselle in a coma, the doctors confuse the identical 16-year-old sisters -- only later do they realize that it is Isabelle who has died, not Giselle. Drifting in semi-consciousness, Giselle grapples with this unthinkable loss -- remembering her sister's musical talent, the joyful warmth of their visits with family in Haiti, and the dread of their parents' separation -- while trying to figure out who she is without her twin. Similar to Gayle Forman's If I Stay, you should pick up Untwine if you love stories that are both lyrical and heart-wrenching. 
The Rest of Us Just Live Here
by Patrick Ness

Fantasy. If you've ever imagined what it's like to be a bystander at Forks High School or Hogwarts, you know what Mikey's life is like. His small town has been plagued by vampires, ghosts, and zombie deer, but the paranormal drama seems to target only the "indie kids," those special snowflakes with "unusual names and capital-D Destinies." But Mikey and his friends? They just want to survive their messed-up families and graduate high school without becoming collateral damage in yet another looming apocalypse. Combining emotional depth with wry in-jokes, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a great pick for seen-it-all fantasy fans who want something fresh, witty, and moving. 
Carry On
by Rainbow Rowell

Fantasy. It's his final year at the Watford School of Magicks, but reluctant "Chosen One" Simon Snow just can't get it together. He should be worrying about his destiny to defeat the magic-devouring Humdrum, stressing about monster attacks, or pining for his suddenly-ex-girlfriend. Yet all he can do is obsess about why Baz -- his posh, sneering roommate/nemesis -- hasn't shown up for school. Inspired by the story-within-a-story from Fangirl (which was in turn inspired by a certain other series about a young wizard), Carry On goes beyond meta, fulfilling the wishes of fanfic readers with a deliciously thorny romance while building an intriguing fantasy world.
Legendary Reads
 Some stories never get old – check out these novels inspired by ancient myths and legends. 
The Lost Sun
by Tessa Gratton

Fantasy. In an alternate United States, the gods of Norse legend still wield enormous power -- some of them even appear on reality TV. So when the sun god Baldur the Beautiful disappears, everyone notices, and his father Odin offers a reward to whoever finds him. Desperate to earn the reward, Soren (who's afraid of his berserker heritage) and Astrid (a seer who just lost her mother) team up for a cross-country search that yields unexpected results. Readers who grew up with Percy Jackson will appreciate The Lost Sun's imaginative blend of modern American culture and manipulative ancient gods. 
Guardian of the Dead
by Karen Healey

Fantasy. A production of A Midsummer Night's Dream turns into a nightmare for 17-year-old Ellie when she discovers that some of the actors playing fairies in the play actually are fairies -- specifically, menacing creatures known as patupaiarehe -- and that they're determined to become immortal, at the cost of countless human lives. Set in New Zealand against a backdrop of Maori mythology, this intriguing debut features thrilling twists, star-crossed romance, and a smart, tenacious heroine. If you're looking for a fresh take on supernatural adventure, Guardian of the Dead is for you.
Dirty Wings
by Sarah McCarry

Urban Fantasy. The Greek myth of Persephone, queen of the underworld, is the inspiration for this darkly beautiful tale of friendship. When sheltered piano prodigy Maia meets wild, witchy street girl Cass, their connection is both unexpected and electric. But even as they throw themselves headlong into a road trip filled with punk shows, guys, and other intoxicants, Cass can't shake the threatening figure who haunts her dreams. If you want further sophisticated mythological fiction from Sarah McCarry, check out All Our Pretty Songs and About a Girl; if you can't get enough of Persephone, try Bree Despain's The Shadow Prince or Laura Ruby's Bone Gap.
by Ellen Oh

Fantasy. Due to her yellow eyes, demon-slaying powers, and unconventional job (she's the only female warrior in Hansong) Kira is shunned by most people in her medieval-esque society. Yet when a betrayal allows demonic Yamato soldiers to invade, Kira may be the only one who can get the young prince to safety and lead the quest to take back their kingdom. Grounded in Korean folklore and overflowing with fierce, fast-paced fight scenes, Prophecy is a breathless ride, so be careful: once you read it, you'll want to have Warrior (the 2nd book in the Dragon King Chronicles) ready to go. 
The Chaos of Stars
by Kiersten White

Fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Isadora's relationship with her parents is more strained than most, which is understandable, given that she's the human child of Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Still, at least they let their daughter leave their desert stronghold for modern day California, where Isadora works on a museum exhibit, hones her interior design skills, resists the charms of Greek poet Ry, and is targeted by dangerous mystical forces. Romantic and angsty but not too heavy, The Chaos of Stars "brings an irreverent sense of humor to Egyptian myth" (Publishers Weekly). 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 YA Horror Books for Halloween

13 YA Horror Books for Halloween

1.       Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
2.       The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
3.        The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
4.        The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
5.        Rotters by Daniel Kraus
6.        Possess by Gretchen McNeil
7.       Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
8.        The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
9.        The Madmans Daughter by Megan Shepherd
10.    Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
11.     Asylum by Madeleine Roux
12.    Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
13.    The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco