Monday, April 11, 2016

Teen Scene: April 2016

Teen Scene
April 2016
"If you're going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things."
~ from Jeff Zentner's The Serpent King
Recent Releases
Seven Black Diamonds
by Melissa Marr

Fantasy. Lily Abernathy has a dangerous secret, and it's not the fact that her father is a crime lord. In a world where the faerie Queen of Blood and Rage seeks to destroy humanity, it's illegal for humans to have fae heritage. But with her father's protection, half-human, half-fae Lily has stayed safely hidden. That safety is shattered, however, when Lily discovers her violent birthright: she's the last of the Black Diamonds, a fae sleeper cell designed to take down the human world from the inside out. With a potent blend of timeless faerie legends and edgy modern issues, Seven Black Diamonds will captivate fans of author Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series.
Burn Baby Burn
by Meg Medina

Historical Fiction. Summer, New York City, 1977: disco music wafts from radios, arson is on the rise, and a serial killer called Son of Sam is murdering young couples. Amidst it all is 17-year-old Nora López, trying to hold on to both her family and her hopes for the future. Though money is painfully tight and her delinquent brother's abuse is becoming more frightening, Nora's summer still has potential: high school is over, opportunities for women are expanding, and her relationship with "stone-cold Latin fox" Pablo is getting hotter than the sizzling summer air. Loaded with emotion, atmosphere, and pop culture references, Burn Baby Burn is a "uniquely authentic slice-of-life" (Kirkus Reviews).
Thanks for the Trouble
by Tommy Wallach

Fiction. Five years ago, Parker Santé stopped speaking. Since then, he's also stopped caring about most things, except for skipping school and writing in his journal. One day he meets Zelda, a silver-haired girl with a stack of cash, a plan to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, and an outrageous claim that she's 246 years old. Parker's not sure if he believes Zelda's story, but he agrees to her deal: she'll spend her final days (and her final dollars) with him if he applies to college. What follows is a eccentric and bittersweet tale of firsts and lasts from the author of the popular We All Looked Up.
Bluescreen
by Dan Wells

Science Fiction. If you've ever struggled to get a phone or wi-fi signal, "djinni" implants might sound like a dream come true -- djinnis connect the Internet directly to the brain, and they're the norm in 2050 Los Angeles. Seventeen-year-old Marisa lives in L.A.'s Mirador neighborhood, but she spends most of her time gaming with her friends in virtual reality. After Mari's friend Anja has a shocking reaction to Bluescreen, a hot new digital drug, Mari throws herself into a dangerous investigation of Bluescreen's origin. High-stakes action (both online and off) drives this future-noir thriller, the 1st in a series. For a deeper dive into provocative ideas about technology, try M.T. Anderson's Feed or Alex London's Proxy.
The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner

Fiction. Dillard Early Jr. shares a name with his snake-handling preacher father, and with Early Sr. disgraced and in jail, Dill faces bullying and judgment  in his rural Tennessee hometown. Thankfully, Dill has his friends: quirky Lydia, whose popular blog might help her get to college, and kind-hearted Travis, who uses fantasy books as an escape from his father's abuse. Graduation looms for all three high school seniors, laden with the tantalizing hope of freedom…but also the heartbreak of separation. If you like this angsty, sensitive portrait of teens surviving rough circumstances, you may also enjoy The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.
Love, Pain, and Poetry
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
by Isabel Quintero

Fiction. During her tumultuous senior year, Gabi Hernandez's journal becomes her lifeline. In it, she can experiment with her blossoming poetry skills, as well as spill the details of her complicated home (where her mom nags her about her weight and her dad can't kick meth), her best friends Cindy and Sebastian (who are each dealing with their own challenges), and her confusion about love and dating. Filled with "vulgar humor and raw honesty" (Kirkus Reviews), Gabi's insights into family, culture, sexuality, and identity are messy yet utterly authentic and hopeful. For another memorable Latina character weathering a tough year, try Meg Medina's Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.
Kissing in America
by Margo Rabb

Fiction. You can blame it all on poetry and romance novels. It's from reading those (to help soothe the ache of her beloved father's death) that Eva Roth gets her ideas about love -- ideas that lead to an unchaperoned cross-country road trip. After Eva's passionate relationship with understanding Will is cut short by his sudden move from New York to California, Eva and her friend Annie Kim concoct a scheme to travel across the country for a surprise reunion. The unexpected results of their trip are funny, heart-wrenching, and sprinkled with snippets of poetry -- just right for readers who love Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen.
Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets
by Evan Roskos

Fiction. There's no denying it: talking to an imaginary pigeon therapist is weird. But James' parents (aka the Banshee and the Brute) won't let him see a real therapist, and they kicked his sister out of the house, and he's got to talk to someone about his consuming anxiety and depression, right? Barely clinging to his mental health, James takes comfort however he can, whether it's from hugging trees or imitating the "barbaric yawp" of his favorite poet, Walt Whitman. Managing to be thoughtful, poignant, and hilarious all at once, Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets will appeal to fans of John Green's Whitman-infused Paper Towns
Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia
by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Fiction. Loner artist Frenchie Garcia is confused when her secret crush Andy suddenly takes her on a strange all-night date...and that confusion escalates the following morning, when she learns that Andy has committed suicide. Now, months later, Frenchie still can't understand Andy's actions, and the only person she can confide in is an imaginary version of Emily Dickinson, whose bleak poetry echoes Frenchie's own feelings. Will retracing the events of that fateful night help Frenchie find closure? Find out in this authentic, emotionally charged story. For a darker, more lyrical look at a grieving girl finding solace in Emily Dickinson, try Jenny Hubbard's novel-in-verse And We Stay.
Belzhar
by Meg Wolitzer

Magical Realism. Struggling with the traumatic loss of her boyfriend, Jam Gallahue is in good company at the Wooden Barn, a boarding school for "highly intelligent, emotionally fragile" teens. There, she's selected for "Special Topics in English," a class dedicated to studying poet and novelist Sylvia Plath. Each student is given a journal, and Jam and her classmates soon discover that the journals have highly unusual properties which allow each student to revisit -- and maybe recover from -- their past. Readers who like a touch of fantasy with their psychological dramas will be intrigued by Belzhar

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