Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Dystopian teen fiction

Since I’m currently obsessed with anything Hunger Games and Mockingjay-related*, I came across this article from The New Yorker about dystopian fiction for teens.

* (Mockinjay was a huge topic of conversation at a wedding this past weekend, we sat with one of the editors who had some great stories to tell about working with Suzanne Collins. My favorite was how the book was pitched at a lunch meeting as a futuristic dystopian story and they all just trusted that she would tell a great story.)


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Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (June 22, 2010). Review copy provided by publisher.

Holly and Lizzie are sisters. Only a year separates them and they have always been best friends. They take care of each other.

One morning Hope finds Lizzie with a gun pointed at her head. Lizzie is taken to the hospital. Hope must deal with her sister’s attempted suicide and uncover the terrible secrets that made her sister wanted to take her own life. Set in the rural South the girls isolation that is a reality for many rural children and their mother’s chosen profession makes the girls bond stronger and the story more powerful.

A gripping and heart-wrenching book written in verse. I couldn’t put this book down. Carol Lynch Williams amazed me with The Chosen One and her fans will be equally amazed with this book. Fans of Ellen Hopkins’ books will also love this book.

(cover image from Goodreads)

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Who’s excited??

I am!!  Will Grayson, Will Grayson came into my library today and I snatched it up since there were no holds.  Can’t wait to get reading and let you all know what I think.  I have high hopes.  Although I never did finish An Abundance of Katherines, I *LOVED* Green’s other books and have enjoyed all that I’ve read by Levithan.  Off to do some reading!  🙂

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For the Twilighters who can’t get enough. Little, Brown and Company announced The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, a new novella from Stephenie Meyer is due out June 5, 2010.  I’ve already added it to my May order for the library.

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For the love of authors

Today was such a wonderful day. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the DNA Children’s Literature Festival hosted by our wonderful local children’s bookstore, the Reading Reptile. Seeing and meeting authors is always an amazing experience as Anna mentioned a few weeks ago in her post.

What struck me at the end of the day was how inspiring, different and similar each author and illustrator is. They each have their own style and their own way of putting books together, all with amazingly wonderful results. I was so touched by Patricia Polacco’s family and personal stories that have become her books The Keeping Quilt and Thank You, Mr. Falker.

After meeting Adam Rex, who illustrated one of my recent faves Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, I’m definitely going to have to sink my teeth into the ARC of Fat Vampire that I have in our book basket. I just loved his odd and strange sense of humor.

March 29 – Sorry, I just realized I forgot to mention the other authors – Kate Klise, who I realized after I got home that I own her book Shall I Knit You a Hat?; Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret; Judy Sierra, author of Wild About Books and The Sleepy Little Alphabet; and Uri Shulevitz, author How I Learned Geography. Being fairly new to the children’s lit world, I came home with some new favorite authors and more to check out!

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Two blog posts got me thinking this week. I read alot of YA and middle grade novels and typically one of the primary differences I use to choose what age I might recommend the book to is how morally/ethically challenging it is… in others words, how depressing is it and does it have a happy or complicated ending? I’m assuming you can guess what traits land in which age category.

Naomi over at YA Books and More posts about recent books that have had an impact on her, namely Living Dead Girl and Julius Lester’s Gaurdian – both books that definitely meet Farmer’s definition of depressing in the suffering of their characters. So does a book with an impact necessarily indicate a book with a sad story? I’ll be honest when I first read this post, I thought yes, because the books I immediately thought of were Anderson’s Wintergirls and Jessica Warman’s Breathless, both novels that tackle some pretty somber issues and have endings that would not by any definition be considered happy.

Then, however, Liz over at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy (which is the best name for a blog ever) was discussing the recent round of  SLJ’s Battle of the Books tournament. Nancy Farmer ( whom I love) chose The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate over Fire by Kristin Cashore mainly because she found Fire to be just too damn gloomy.

(via A Chair) Farmer on Fire and why it lost: “It reads like a science fiction book, and that is a genre that depends on ideas rather than character. Even for a YA, though, Fire contained a great deal of violence, torture, mutilation and rape. I found the story depressing. If there had been one good friendship or love affair I could have forgiven it, but everyone seemed to suffer all the time. Fire should probably have been paired with another YA novel.”

I agree with Farmer that Fire was indeed far more dreary than its predecessor Graceling, and that Calpurnia Tate on the other hand was definitely far more uplifting. Part of me wonders if I liked it so much because I was expecting something tragic and when it didn’t occur, I was just so pleased that everything was alright, that is won me over immediately. Nonetheless, if I had to pick which book between just those two left me thinking for a few days, it would be Calpurnia, which surprised me because that sort of bucks my impactful = depressing theory.

So my question is this, what books have made an impact on you in the last year or so and would you consider them depressing or perhaps just complicated? If I had to choose 3 books from the last year that I know I thought of for days afterward, they would include:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Wintergirls by Laurie Hale Anderson
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine

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Excited about books

I saw this article in my weekly Publisher’s Weekly email. I think it’s something we all think about as librarians. How do we get kids excited about reading and books?

On a completely different note, I was listening to a local show on our local NPR station and they were talking about psychoanalysis & film. One of the guests mentioned that what makes us like a film or not like a film many times is heavily influenced by our personal experiences. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately as I read reviews of books from friends on Goodreads and compare them to reviews I’ve read in review journals. It’s something that I definitely need to take into consideration when booktalking books to teens. What may appeal to me may not appeal to them because they are all half my age and have very different personal experiences than myself.

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