Category: Teen


prairie fire

Prairie Fire by E.K. Johnston

Released March 1, 2015.

This sequel to The Story of Owen continues the dragon-slaying adventures of Siobhan and Owen.  Upon graduating from high school, Owen joins the Oil Watch, the international organization that trains dragon slayers and their support teams to fight a variety of different dragons. Despite the damage to her hands, Siobhan manages to qualify to join the Oil Watch too, the first bard in a long time to do so. They must first survive basic training, designed to get them working as a team and Siobhan has the added problem of figuring out a role for a bard in a situation where it is about killing dragons, putting out fires, and tending medical emergencies. As their basic training ends, the dragon slayers are sent all over the world to where they are needed most. But the Canadian government has not forgiven Owen for what happened and their posting is not one that will forge a new dragon slaying hero. That is unless Siobhan can create the songs and stories that tell a different story.

With writing just as fresh and engaging as the first book, this new novel is superb. It builds upon the first novel, returning us to that wonderful world of alternate history with a modern Canada and North America awash in dragon fire. Johnston continues to show her prowess is rewriting history and filling it with dragons as well as creating a new Canada and United States with boundaries that shift and politics that are complexly drawn.

At its heart always though is the intense friendship of Siobhan and Owen, a bard and her dragon slayer, a musician and her muse. Johnston continues as she did in the first book to create a story that is not about romance but instead two complicated people who care deeply for one another as friends. Again, there is no kissing between the two and no longing glances either. It makes for a refreshing change.

A riveting read with a powerful ending that I am working hard not to spoil in the least. This novel is beautifully written, bravely done and purely epic. Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Netgalley and Carolrhoda Books.

YALSA has selected the 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens.  The list includes 79 titles that are recommended for ages 12-18 and that are both high quality and appealing to a teen audience.  They also select a Top Ten which you see below:

47 Ronin Afterlife with Archie #5: Escape From Riverdale

47 Ronin. By Mike Richardson.  Illus. by Stan Sakai

Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale. By Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Illus. by Francesco Francavilla

22807866 In Real Life

Bad Machinery V.3: The Case of the Simple Soul. By John Allison

In Real Life. By Cory Doctorow, illus.by Jen Wang

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal Seconds: A Graphic Novel

Ms. Marvel: V.1. No Normal.  By G. Willow Wison. Illus. by Adrian Alphona

Seconds: a Graphic Novel. By Bryan Lee O’Malley

The Shadow Hero Through the Woods

The Shadow Hero. By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by Sonny Liew

Through The Woods. By Emily Carroll

Trillium Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki

Trillium. By Jeff Lemire

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki. By Mamoru Hosoda

The shortlist has been announced for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.  There are 18 books on the shortlist for this British children’s book prize and refreshingly 15 of them are by women.  The winner in each category as well as the overall winner will be announced on March 26.

BEST ILLUSTRATED BOOK

Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe. Blown Away

Atlas of Adventures by Lucy Letherland, words by Rachel Williams

Blown Away by Rob Biddulph

The Dawn Chorus The Queen's Hat

The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton

The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony

The Sea Tiger Where Bear?

The Sea Tiger by Victoria Turnbull

Where Bear? by Sophy Henn

 

BEST FICTION FOR 5-12s

A Boy Called Hope Boy In The Tower

A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

Cowgirl Girl With a White Dog

Cowgirl by G. Gemin

Girl with a White Dog by Anne Booth

Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong, #1) Violet and the Pearl of the Orient

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn, illustrated by Becka Moor

 

BEST BOOK FOR TEENS

The Apple Tart of Hope Dead Ends

The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange

Half Bad (Half Bad, #1) Only Ever Yours

Half Bad by Sally Green

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Smart The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Smart by Kim Slater

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

2015 Rainbow List

The Rainbow Project is a joint project of the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table and Social Responsibilities Round Table.  Each year they select The Rainbow List, books with “significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender content, and which are aimed at youth, birth through age 18.” 

Here is their Top Ten list:

Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World Far From You

Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World by Janet E. Cameron

Far from You by Tess Sharpe

Grasshopper Jungle I'll Give You the Sun

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Not Every Princess Secret City

Not Every Princess by Jeffrey Bone and Lisa Bone

Secret City by Julia Watts

Sweet Tooth Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

Sweet Tooth by Tim Anderson

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

This Day in June We Are The Youth

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

We Are the Youth: Sharing the Stories of LGBT Youth in the United States by Laurel Golio and Diana Scholl

Here are the 20 books on the longlist for The Carnegie Medal, a British award for exceptional writing for youth.  The shortlist will be announced on March 17.Apple and Rain Buffalo Soldier

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman

Close Your Pretty Eyes The Company of Ghosts

Close Your Pretty Eyes by Sally Nicholls

The Company of Ghosts by Berlie Doherty

Cuckoo Song The Fastest Boy in the World

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird

Grasshopper Jungle Hello Darkness

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Hello Darkness by Anthony McGowan

The Middle of Nowhere Monkey and Me

The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean

Monkey and Me by David Gilman

More Than This My Brother's Shadow

More Than This by Patrick Ness

My Brother’s Shadow by Tom Avery

Picture Me Gone Scarlet Ibis

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis

Smart Tinder

Smart by Kim Slater

Tinder by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts

Trouble Us Minus Mum

Trouble by Non Pratt

Us Minus Mum by Heather Butler

When Mr. Dog Bites The Year of the Rat

When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss

The 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project List has been announced.  It is part of the Feminist Task Force of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibility Round Table.  There are over 40 titles on the main list and then the list also has a Top Ten.  Here are the titles in the Top Ten:

Because I Am a Girl 18854750

Because I Am a Girl: I Can Change the World by Rosemary McCarney

Every Day Is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney

Hidden I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Hidden by Donna Jo Napoli

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal My Notorious Life

Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning

A Pair of Twins Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space

A Pair of Twins by Kavitha Mandana, illustrated by Nayantara Surendranath

Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince

A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country by Ilene Cooper, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

beastkeeper

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

Sarah’s family moves all of the time, away from the cold that her mother despises.  But when her mother walks out one day, Sarah’s father falls apart.  He barely eats and never grocery shops.  It all falls to Sarah to keep them both alive.  Her father seems to be becoming less human by the day, descending into an animal with scruffy hair and yellowed teeth.  Unable to care for Sarah, he takes her to her grandparents’ home, grandparents she had been told were dead.  Left in a moldering castle in a deep woods, Sarah begins to figure out the deep curse that keeps her entire family prisoner.  Her grandmother treats her coldly, putting her to work in the gardens.  Her grandfather is trapped in a cage, fully transformed into a beast yet still able to speak to Sarah at times.  Sarah doesn’t believe in the magic at work at first but soon is forced to admit that something is happening as she witnesses it for herself.  Yet there are twists to the curse that bind her to witches, boys in the wood, and the beasts of her family, including the beast inside herself.

Hellisen beautifully converts the story of Beauty and the Beast into something quite different and extraordinary.  Her writing is as lush as the forest itself and she weaves amazing descriptions onto the pages that bring the entire book to life.  She uses this technique for both characters and the setting.  Here is her description of the castle when Sarah first sees it on page 48:

It was a single squat turret, like a jabbing finger or a lone tooth, made of mottled stone, dribbled and spattered with lichen in yellows and reds.  Furry clumps of moss clung velvety and green at the base.  Ivy grew wild, so thick in some places it distorted the shape of the tower, and sprays of leaves crowned with little blue-black berries rose over the low walls around the outskirts.  Tumbled boulders marked the faint outlines of rooms that had long since fallen.

Talk about showing and not telling!  She is a master at that, creating mood with details that linger in your mind.  This castle is no fairy tale one, or is it?

Hellisen does not set her protagonist on a simple quest either.  Sarah slowly reveals the twists and turns of the curse, binding herself closer and closer to disaster with each revelation.  Disaster waits on the other side of each breath and at times it seems to have already won.  Sarah though is up to the challenge, willing to sacrifice herself to try to prevent the curse from continuing onward in her family. 

This is a gorgeously written tale of love, betrayal, revenge and family.  Fans of retellings of classic fairy tales will find so much to adore in this fantasy novel.  Appropriate for ages 12-15.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt & Co.

2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults

The 2015 list of Best Fiction for Young Adults has been announced by YALSA.  From the larger list, they select a Top Ten:

The Carnival at Bray The Crossover The Gospel of Winter

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely

I'll Give You the Sun Jackaby Noggin

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jackaby by William Ritter

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

The Story of Owen (Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, #1) Vango: Between Sky and Earth

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston

Vango by Timothee de Fombelle

We Were Liars The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

YALSA has released their 2015 list of popular paperbacks for teens.  This year the list includes 97 books in four topics: Book to Movie: Ripped from the Pages, Mysteries: Murder, Mayhem and Other Adventures, Lock Up: Teens behind Bars, and Narrative Non-fiction: Inspired by Actual Events.  Here are the books in the Top Ten list:

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) The Fault in Our Stars Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen S. Levine

Hole in My Life I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1) Lockdown

Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1) Maus, I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus, #1)

Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman

My Friend Dahmer The Rithmatist (The Rithmatist #1)

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The Quick Picks list is presented annually by YALSA and lists books that teens (12-18) will “pick up on their own and read for pleasure.”  It is specifically designed for teens who do not like to read.  The full 2015 list features 68 titles and 1 series.  The committee also selects a Top Ten List:

Batman Science (Capstone Young Readers) The Crossover Famous Last Words

Batman Science: The Real-World Science Behind Batman’s Gear by Tammy Enz and Agnieszka Biskup

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender

Find Momo: A Photography Book Gabi, a Girl in Pieces

Find Momo: A Photography Book by Andrew Knapp

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

I Am Pusheen the Cat Juvie Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal

I Am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton

Juvie by Steve Watkins

Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Through the Woods Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince

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