Teen Tuesday – Poetry Meets Prose

Do something different for Poetry Month! How about reading one of these YA books where poets and poetry play a pivotal role in the story:

graffitimoonGraffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Shadow and Poet are graffiti artists whose works are scattered throughout their industrial Australian town. Lucy, feeling a profound connection to Shadow’s paintings, has been searching unsuccessfully for this elusive street artist until she’s assisted one evening by former classmate, Ed. With alternating narratives from Lucy and Ed, and interspersed with poems by Leo (aka Poet, Ed’s best friend), Graffiti Moonlures readers along—not for the mystery of Shadow’s identity, but for Lucy’s reaction when she discovers the truth.

Nobody’s Secret by Michaela MacCool

Teen Tuesday reviewed this last year and was intrigued by the portrayal of a teenaged Emily Dickinson who’s resourceful, daring and determined to uncover the identity of a murdered man. An historical fiction, a mystery and a biography rolled into one, Nobody’s Secret offers an unconventional introduction to Emily Dickinson’s work.

Another YA novel where Ms. Dickinson plays a pivotal part is Kate Burak’s Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things.Uprooted to Amherst, Massachusetts following her mother’s suicide and friend’s disappearance, Claire has more than enough to deal with as she repeats her senior year in high school.   But her life becomes even more complicated when she takes Emily Dickinson’s dress from its museum home. Claire’s first person voice is witty and reflective and readers who check out this book will find not only a story of loss and longing, but an interesting missing person’s case to boot.

Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin has spent most of his life in love with the girl next door: flamboyant, popular Margo Roth Spiegelman. But after a night spent helping Margo wreak vengeance on her frenemies, Quentin finds she’s disappeared the next morning. Following very cryptic clues, including an in depth examination of Walt Whitman’s poems, Quentin discovers that Margo might not be the girl he, or anyone else, thinks she is. As expected from a John Green novel, there is great dialogue between Quentin and his friends, a raucous road trip, and very understanding parents.

James Whitman definitely does not have understanding parents in Evan Roskos’ Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets.  In fact, his parents have thrown his older sister out of their home after she is papertownsexpelled from school. Deeply depressed, anxious and worried for his beloved sister, James is self-aware enough to know he needs help and hope, one reason he embraces Walt Whitman’s poetic exuberance. Similar to Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, both novels feature hurt and desperate young men struggling for acceptance.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Captured American pilot Rose Justice becomes a prisoner of war in Germany’s infamous Ravensbrück concentration camp during World War II . The daily horrors suffered by Rose and her fellow prisoners are graphically portrayed, as is the sliver of beauty Rose imparts to her friends through the songs and poems she’s memorized. Later, it is Rose’s own poetry that bears witness and stands as a testament to the friends she’s lost and the appalling conditions they endured. A companion novel, Rose Under Fire can be read alone but readers will lose the backstory of several characters first introduced in Code Name Verity.   Both novels are riveting reads of heartbreaking courage.

Whether to make sense of the world around us, to express what might seem inexpressible, or to simply share the wonder of words, poetry plays a definitive role in the lives of the characters mentioned above. Explore their stories and put a little poetry in your life! And do feel free to share your own book recommendations in the comments.

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Teen Tuesday – Hanging by a Thread By Sophie Littlefield

hangingbyathreadIn the small town of Winston, California summer is in full swing and the Fourth of July is right around the corner. There is one problem. The town has had two children go missing or found dead on July third the past two years in a row and they’re hoping there won’t be another this year. Desperate to find some normalcy in their lives, the town tries to forget about the deaths for the holiday, up until Clare Knight moved back in town.

Clare has always been into fashion and loves to redesign vintage clothing with her seamstress talents. What many don’t know is that she also has a special gift or curse, one that gives her the ability to see into a person’s past by touching their clothes. When Clare comes across and purchases a denim jacket that she knows must have once belonged to the last person who disappeared, she experiences a strong vision that shows what happened in their last moments. Destined by fate through her ability to see what happened to the last victim, Clare knows she must help solve the crimes that have occurred in her town, but will she solve the crime or create her own in the end?  Find out in Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield.

I have to say that this wasn’t one of the greatest novels I have read, but was a great mystery. The constant teenager party scenes made me envision a fun and favorable side to falling under the influence. I would rather have had the novel explain the consequences and teach the younger generation about the dangerous and detrimental aspects about being under the influence. Although the partying bothered me a little, I really enjoyed the qualities pertaining to creativity the main character possessed and her special ability to see a person’s past through a touch of their clothing. It was the unique ability Littlefield envisioned about the main character that I appreciated most in the novel. Go check out Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield if you like a good mystery!

Teen Tuesday – Put some mystery in your summer with The Night She Disappeared!

When Gabie agrees to switch shifts with Kayla at Pete’s Pizza, neither has any idea how that one simple decision will turn their lives upside down.  That night, Kayla leaves to make a pizza delivery and doesn’t return.  Suddenly, the whole town is shocked and enthralled by Kayla’s abduction and as the investigation continues, all Gabie can think is, “It should have been me.”

nightshedisappearedThe Night She Disappeared by April Henry is a fast-paced mystery thriller, told through several characters’ points of view, but mainly focusing on the first person narratives of coworkers and fellow students Gabie, Kayla and Drew.  The book is peppered with notes and transcripts from the investigation that add a real sense of immediacy to the plot, as do the chapter headings which keep a running tally on how long Kayla’s been missing.

Gabie’s fear that she was the intended victim is sparked by Drew, who tells Gabie that the caller had asked for her.  Guilt, and an intuitive sense that Kayla is still alive, spurs Gabie to obsession.  Guilt also haunts Drew, but it is Gabie’s fear and conviction that keep him involved in the case, along with some romantic feelings.

I found the story to be an enjoyable and thought provoking.  As a slim book with a quick moving plot, the character development is surprisingly rich, revealing more of Gabie, Kayla and Drew through their actions.  In addition, by including reactions from a wide variety of people–Kayla’s family and friends, the rescuers attempting to find her, and the strangers drawn in by the crime–the book clearly shows how a single incident can so vastly affect so many people in entirely different ways.

As a mystery thriller, The Night She Disappeared had a great sense of urgency and felt very realistically portrayed.  I especially liked the additions–the found notes, the missing girl poster, the 911 transcripts–that heightened the drama.  I also appreciated how methodically the investigation played out.  With the hook at the beginning, I was quickly drawn in by the story’s suspense and raced through this book in one night.

**SPOILER ALERT!**  My only quibble would be that Kayla and Gabie are not close friends and Gabie’s almost psychic ability to sense that Kayla is still alive was a bit of a stretch for me.

Fans of mysteries, thrillers and fast-paced action would do well to check out April Henry’s other books.  High praise was written for her last young adult novel, Girl, Stolen, a thriller involving a kidnapped blind teen.  Her latest release is The GIrl Who Was Supposed to Die, being hailed as a “Jason Bourne”-like thriller, if Jason Bourne were a 16-year old girl.  I have it on hold.  What are you reading?

Teen Tuesday – My Boyfriend is a Monster!

myboyfriendisamonsterSchool’s out and summer’s here.  Club Read has begun and we’re rewarding teens for reading anything they want!  Here’s a little brain candy to get you started.

Our library recently received the graphic novel series My Boyfriend is a Monster.  Each book revolves around a different high school girl and the “monster” she falls for, and with titles like I Date Dead People (#5) and Wrapped Up in You (#6), it’s not hard to guess what kind of monster each volume features.  Although the books are written and drawn by different author and illustrator teams, they do share a “girl meets boy, girl finds out boy’s a monster, girl loves him anyway” arc.  But that’s just the jumping off point, as each monster brings his own unique challenges to the girl’s life.

There’s peril and drama and kissing galore throughout the series.  I liked the illustrations in My Boyfriend Bites and the storyline of I Date Dead People, but volume #8, A Match Made in Heaven, is my favorite for its San Francisco setting, the manga-esque illustrations, and its main character, Glory Conroy, who yearns to become a comics creator.  When a guardian angel bonds with her instead of her best friend, Glory becomes the only person who can save her friend’s sister.  Mean girl cliques, a demon cousin and a comics festival round out the story.

Since each book can be read as a stand-alone title, readers can simply choose the books with their favorite monsters without fear of losing continuity.  But at roughly 120 pages each, most readers could probably devour the entire series in a couple days.  And those who do will spot two minor characters with recurring roles, the guidance counselor and a teacher.  Finding how these two are portrayed differently in each book is a fun Easter egg.

With sweet romance, light horror, and swoon worthy monster boys, My Boyfriend is a Monster makes for a great summer read and a fun way to fulfill your Club Read challenge.   Which monster books are your favorites to recommend?

Teen Tuesday – Slated: A Review by Taylor P.

slated“Can you know the truth if your memory has been erased?”  Kyla has had her memories erased and personality wiped blank. She has been slated.

Slating is the government’s way of dealing with teen terrorists by giving them a second chance as a new person with a fresh start. Those who become slated are given a Levo, which is a bracelet fitted to the person that monitors their mood by numbers. If the Levo detects unhappiness or anger it will stun or even kill the person if it gets too low in numbers. Kyla has been locked in the hospital for 9 months and will finally be able to live with the family the government chose for her.

As Kyla becomes settled in her new home she can’t help but notice that she is different than others who have been slated. She has vivid dreams, almost like memories, and always finds herself questioning everything. Kyla knows people are lying to her and there is more to the government slating people than meets the eye. People are disappearing after being taken by the government and Kyla seems to be the only one to notice, care, and ask questions. Kyla is different. Will her curiosity and difference lead her to finding the truth about the government and their secrets? Find out in Slated by Teri Terry.

Slated has to be one of the ultimate psychological dystopian thrillers I have read in a while! I loved the characters and found many qualities the main character had within me. I loved how the concept of slating and government fell in place with terrorists and ended up showing conspiracies within the power of government. The psychological aspects of the storyline drew me in and helped me capture the emotions I would have in this slating predicament. Slated by Teri Terry was a great read!

If you liked Slated by Teri Terry you might enjoy reading Pure by Julianna Baggott or Eve by Anna Carey! Book #2 of the Slated series is called Fractured and will be published on September 26, 2013.  Enjoy!  Check out some other great reviews on my blog at http://heartgrabbingbooks.blogspot.com/!

Teen Tuesday – Another Giveaway!

nobodyssecretTo commemorate the end of National Poetry Month, Teen Tuesday is giving away one advance reader’s copy of Nobody’s Secret.  You can get it before the library copies arrive!  Claim it for yourself by asking at the desk of the Whitney Library Children’s Department.

When the name Emily Dickinson is bandied about, what usually comes to mind?  American poet . . . recluse . . . spinster . . . .  What about plucky fifteen-year-old super sleuth?  Or daring, intellectual thinker seeking justice in a small town full of secrets?  Author Michaela MacColl presents a young Emily Dickinson who is all this and more in Nobody’s Secret, a historically rich, fictional mystery set in the poet’s hometown.

An unexpected meeting with a handsome stranger who knows nothing of her family’s local prominence sparks a romantic interest in Emily that is cut tragically short when the mysterious young man is found dead in her family’s pond.  Though the town’s officials seem content to bury the man anonymously, Emily’s sorrow and curiosity lead her to investigate the death.  Hampered by the social norms of her time, Emily determinedly uncovers a few closely guarded secrets and risks her own life to discover the identity of “Mr. Nobody.”

Nobody’s Secret is an entertaining introduction to Emily Dickinson’s life, despite its fictional plot.  Every chapter heading is a line from a Dickinson poem that foreshadows the events to follow.  Fans of historical fiction will appreciate the detailed 1845 Amherst, Massachusetts setting as well as the author’s notes.  Mystery fans will liken young Emily to a nineteenth-century Nancy Drew.

Portraying smart, willful young women in historical fiction is Michaela MacColl’s specialty and not only does she write historic fiction, she reviews it as well.  Check out her reviews for the Historical Novel Society here.

Putting famous literary figures into fictional plots is a popular concept and one Ms. MacColl will explore again in her next mystery starring Charlotte and Emily Bronte, due out next year.  In the meantime, for something similar pick up Lewis Buzbee’s The Haunting of Charles Dickens or Terry Prachett’s Dodger where, in both books, Mr. Dickens proves to be a resourceful and observant ally.

Are there other titles that you can recommend which feature a famous literary figure as a character?

Teen Tuesday – Attend Lindsey Leavitt’s Release Party for Her Latest Book!

going-vintage_lindsey-leavitt_bookAuthor visits are such a treat!  Who doesn’t love the opportunity to talk about a book you’ve enjoyed with the person who wrote it?   Or, for aspiring writers, to learn what it takes to become a published author from someone who’s already walked down that road?  Well, lucky for us, young adult author Lindsey Leavitt lives in Las Vegas and her latest book, Going Vintage, will be out March 26th.  To celebrate, there will be a launch party on Wednesday, April 3rd in the Clark County Library’s Jewel Box Theater.  So, here’s your chance to meet Lindsey Leavitt in person, learn about her new book, get her autograph and maybe, win prizes!

The event starts at 7 p.m. and attendees who come dressed from their favorite decade can enter the costume contest for fabulous prizes.  The Whitney Young People’s Desk has promotional Going Vintage bookmarks for anyone who asks, so stop by!  You can get Ms. Leavitt to autograph them at the event!  Check out the information below from the library district’s website and don’t forget to mark your calendars now for this event.

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An Evening with author Lindsey Leavittllbookmark

Wednesday, April 3rd, 7pm – 9pm, Clark County Library, Jewel Box Theater

In Going Vintage, Mallory’s boyfriend isn’t just cheating on her; he’s cheating with an online girlfriend. So she decides to swear off boys, modern technology and, inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, to “go vintage,” returning to a simpler time. Join us as Lindsey Leavitt talks about writing tween fantasies and books for young adults, creating quirky characters, and her love of little chocolate donuts.

Go vintage with us and take part in our fabulous costume contest! Dress like your favorite era – flappers, sock hoppers, Mad Men… all welcome! Have fun dressing up and win prizes!

A book signing and reception will follow the talk. Books will be available for sale at the door. For more information on the reading, call 702.507.3459.

Lindsey Leavitt is the author of Sean Griswold’s Head, the Princess for Hire series, and the forthcoming novel, Going Vintage. A former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom to three (mostly) adorable girls, Leavitt is married to her high-school lab partner and lives in Las Vegas.

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Ms. Leavitt recently participated in YAllapaloosa at the Centennial Hills Library in February where she and several other young adult authors hosted workshops, panels and book signings—so thrilling to meet authors whose books are familiar among teen readers, and who were so generous with their time and comments.  Lindsey Leavitt also took part in the Vegas Valley Book Festival last year and will participate again this November.  You can follow her at her websiteCome out on April 3rd and let’s show this local author some love!

Book Review – This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

Review by: Taylor P.

thisdarkendeavorAfter reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I became very interested in reading books that involved the dark ideas and thoughts about science and creation Shelley had. This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel showed many qualities of what life was like in the 1800’s. I absolutely enjoyed reading this novel of an adolescent Victor Frankenstein.

The story begins by shedding some light on Victor and his twin brother Konrad’s lives. Both Victor and Konrad grew up liking many of the same things and always being around each other. They also attended school together with their other friends Elizabeth and Henry. All four of them always go imaginary exploring and always get into trouble. This is how all four of them wind up finding Victor and Konrad’s father’s Dark Library and is also where they are told to never again enter the Dark Library, for some things are better left unseen. Of course Victor is the one to become deeply interested in the Dark Library and plans to further investigate the library.

Some time later, Konrad becomes deathly ill and the doctors say that they have no cure or medicines to help him because they have no idea what is wrong. After Konrad is bed stricken, Victor becomes saddened to know that he does not have his brother to be around anymore. Everyday Konrad shows no signs of getting better which takes a toll on Victor and Elizabeth causing both of them to be very emotional. Victor then gets an idea to once again return the Dark Library to see if there is anything to cure Konrad’s illness. It is here that Victor finds a potion recipe called the Elixir of Life. Together, Victor, Elizabeth, and Henry go in search of the ingredients to create the Elixir of Life to save Konrad before it is too late. What they encounter is twisted, crazy, and utterly enjoyable.

This book was fantastically amazing and gave so many details about Victor’s life as an adolescent. I continually thought of how Mary Shelley did not include much detail about Victor as a young teen. I loved how Oppel gave me an idea of what Victor might have done or gotten himself into as a teen. One thing that I found refreshing was that all of the characters Oppel included in the story were all the original characters included in the original Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I adored getting into the big twists and turns that the story included, keeping my interest peaked. From start to finish it was an interesting book. I recently found out that Kenneth Oppel has made a second book to the series with This Dark Endeavor. The next book in the series is called Such Wicked Intent which I have still been unable to read. Once I do I will let you what I thought! I can’t wait to read it!

Teen Tuesday – The New Voices of YA and Some Personal Notes on the YMA Winners

Teen readers are generous people.  They like to share.  Ask them what they’re reading now and who they like, and they’ll happily recommend a slew of titles and authors that are well known and loved among themselves, their friends and hopefully, the significant adults in their lives.  But some teen readers like to be a little ahead of the pack.  They want to find the future stars of YA literature, to be among the first to recommend an up-and-coming author with a new book.  So, where do they go for that?

seaphinaFor a fast, easy way to find new authors writing for teens, look no further than the William C. Morris awards list.  According to the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) who started the award in 2009, “The William C. Morris YA Debut Award . . . honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.”  Up to five titles are selected and announced each December and yesterday, the winner was revealed!  Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is the Morris YA Debut Award winner for 2013.

But wait, there’s more!  The other four Morris finalists are themselves worthy runners-up with “impressive new voices” of their own and certainly worth checking out.  They are:  Wonder Show written by Hannah Barnaby, Love and Other Perishable Items written by Laura Buzo, After the Snow written by S. D. Crockett, and The Miseducation of Cameron Post written by emily m. danforth.  In fact, look at past Morris finalists here and one can find, in only four short years, authors who have already become favorites among young adult audiences:  Kristin Cashore, Nina LaCour, Malinda Lo and notably, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, whose first book, Beautiful Creatures, will be opening as a film on February 14th.oneandonlyivan

I spent Monday morning glued to my computer watching the live webcast of the Youth Media Awards.    You can find an archived version of the webcast here.  (Watch for the young adult librarian, he’s great fun.)  By and large, I read young adult fiction, so I was pleasantly surprised to have actually read the 2013 Newbery winner, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  I was also surprised that I hadn’t read the Printz award winner, In Darkness by Nick Lake.  And I thought I was doing so well this year (sigh).

My personal favorite, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, was an honor book.  Huzzah!  Three other titles also received Printz honors: Dodger by Terry Pratchett, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz and The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna.  Why is The White Bicycle not highlighted?  Because our library district doesn’t have it and apparently, this is a dilemma shared by other libraries across the country and that, my friends, is why the Printz awards are so great!indarknesscodenameveritycover

Yes, it’s nice when we can say we’ve widely read the notable books of the year and there are nods of acknowledgement when the winners are named.  But isn’t it delightful when something just falls out of nowhere and now we have a new book and author to discover?  I can’t wait to track this title down!  So thank you, Printz committee members, for giving us a few surprises along the way and future favorites to recommend.

Teen Tuesday: A New Year! New Books! What’s on Your List?

After a short break, Teen Tuesday is back . . . and woefully behind in her reading!

Two weeks into 2013 and already Teen Tuesday has amassed a list of  “must reads” for the coming year that will undoubtedly crowd out the stack of 2012 books still left unread.   But never one to complain about a wealth of riches, here’s the list so far—and please, feel free to tell us what’s on your 2013 list!navigatingearly

papervalentinePaper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff  came out last week but has a waiting list at our library, so if you’re interested, reserve your copy today!  This ghost story/murder mystery sounds intriguing and just look at that cover!  In fact, all of Brenna Yovanoff’s books have been blessed with riveting covers that draw readers in before they’ve even opened the book.

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool also came out last week and is requestable on our library’s webpage.  It’s the second book written by Ms. Vanderpool, a 2011 Newbery winner for Moon over Manifest, and if it’s anything like her first effort, this will be a reading treasure.  It’s already received three starred reviews!

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, book#2 of the Lunar Chronicles.  This releases February 5th and already has over 50 holds!  This sci-fi fantasy fairytale, with a cyborg Cinderella, an Asian prince, and moon aliens ,begins book #2 by introducing new characters taken from Little Red Riding Hood.   If yoscarletu haven’t yet read book #1, Cinder, you’re in luck!  Put book #2 on request now and by the time you finish reading Cinder your wait will be much less than the rest of us who’ve had to be patient for a year!  A year!

These next titles have yet to hit our library catalog, so keep a sharp eye out as the publication dates get closer.  Select “Books, Movies and More” on the library’s home page.  There, you can select “Coming Soon” from the dropdown menu to get a preview of what’s been ordered and place those items on hold.

Prodigy by Marie Lu comes out January 29th and is the second book in her Legend trilogy.  Suffering Hunger Games withdrawal?  Legend is the perfect answer to an action-fueled dystopian craving.  Already optioned for a film, the second book begins with a Las Vegas locale!

His Fair Assassin book #2, Dark Justice by Robin LaFevers, due out April 2ndGrave Mercy, the first of this series, has appeared on many best of 2012 YA lists and received a number of starred reviews.  Don’t let the heft of this book discourage you.  The story rapidly builds in pace and action and the mystery, the political intrigue, and simmering romance will make the pages fly by.  Book #2 centers around Sybella, a secondary character from book #1.

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta.  #3 of the Lumatere Chronicles, due out April 9th.  She’s a favorite author and this is the last book of the trilogy.  Fantasy lovers who have yet to discover Finnikin of the Rock are in for a real treat!  Read the reviews!  Get it now!

Game by Barry Lyga.   I Hunt Killers was a much talked about book last year centering as it did on the son of a serial killer.  A gripping and violent mystery not for the faint of heart, book #2 will be released on April 23rd.

And lastly—for now—Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff due out September 5, 2013.  Little is know about this book at present but check out the author’s own summary here

 So, what books are you looking forward to in 2013?