Category: Teen

2016 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

The Quick Picks list is always my favorite list of the year. I find titles on it every year that I’ve never heard of and that are amazing and even better will be popular with teen readers! YALSA picks the Quick Picks list every year and it includes both fiction and nonfiction. Here are the top ten titles for 2016, but the big list is worth looking at for great additions to your library collections:

Dumplin' Everything, Everything

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Nimona Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future!

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History… and Our Future! by Kate Schatz

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1) Shadowshaper

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Shadowshapers by Daniel Jose Older

The Silence of Six (SOS, #1) Zeroboxer

The Silence of Six by E. C. Myers

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee

2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults

YALSA has selected a list of the Best Fiction for Young Adults. They also choose a Top Ten which happens to have many of my personal favorites of the year:

Audacity Bone Gap

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

The Boy in the Black Suit The Bunker Diary

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

Challenger Deep More Happy Than Not

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Shadowshaper Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) X

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

2016 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Every year YALSA creates a list of amazing graphic novels for teens. They also pick a Top Ten Great Graphic Novels list. Here is this year’s top ten:

Awkward Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushed

Lumberjanes (Volumes 1 & 2)by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Shannon Watters, illustrated by Brooke Allen

Ms. Marvel (Volumes 2 & 3) by G. Willow Wilson

Nimona Roller Girl

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Sacred Heart A Silent Voice, Vol. 1 (A Silent Voice, #1)

Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia

A Silent Voice (Volumes 1-3) by Yoshitoki Oima

Trashed The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1: Squirrel Power

Trashed by Derf Backderf

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Volumes 1 &2) by Ryan North, illustrated by Erica Henderson

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

Released January 26, 2016.

From the outside, Vicky’s life looks perfect. Her father is wealthy, her step mother loves to take her shopping, and her sister is a high achiever. But Vicky can’t get over the loss of her beloved mother, whom she cared for during her last months. So Vicky turns to the only solution she can see and tries to commit suicide. When she wakes up in a mental disorders ward, she starts the process of putting her life back together. She meets three other teens who have lived very different lives from her and yet they all are part of each others recovery. Slowly Vicky starts to see that she suffers from depression and what it will mean to return to her life after her time in the hospital.

Stork has once again created a book for teens that will speak directly to them. He takes on mental illness here in a forthright way, showing the way that depression can creep up on a person and change the way they perceive things. He also shows how a person’s life can be glamorous and yet stifling and not fulfilling. It is a book that speaks to the importance of support from a therapist, of medication and of creating a group of people who understand you in your life. It’s a brilliant novel that is complex and deep with plenty to explore and feel.

Vicky could have been a very different character in a lesser writer’s hands. With Stork’s skill, he hints at a superficial look at Vicky’s wealthy life and then goes much more deeply into why she is experiencing life in the way she is. She is a poetic soul caught in a capitalistic family, driven by high achievement but in ways that she cannot relate to. With the loss of her mother, her father changed, her sister distanced herself, and Vicky had no one to turn to for support any more.

Organic and real, this novel has a diverse heroine and cast of characters that will appeal to a wide range of readers and deals with a serious subject in an uplifting way. Appropriate for ages 13-17.

Reviewed from ARC received from Arthur A. Levine Books.

 

My Top Picks for Teen Books in 2015

All American Boys All the Bright Places

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Rage Audacity

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

Bone Gap Challenger Deep

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Delicate Monsters Dumplin'

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Fell of Dark Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

Fell of Dark by Patrick Downes

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The Last Leaves Falling More Happy Than Not

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Mosquitoland One

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

One by Sarah Crossan

The Porcupine of Truth The Rest of Us Just Live Here

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace, #1) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) A Song for Ella Grey

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

There Will Be Lies The Truth Commission

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B Untwine

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

Untwine by Edwidge Danticat

X

X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Review: Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu (InfoSoup)

Silly is the youngest of four sisters and the older sisters tend to leave her out of a lot, like the secret boyfriend one of the twins has and what they are doing for hours in their bedroom so quietly. Their family has moved to New Hampshire to a home that used to be used just in the summer, the house where their mother grew up. But the move is not helping their mother who is quickly declining into alcoholism and abusive behavior. It isn’t until their mother turns on Silly too that the sisters bring Silly into their secret: their closet can take them to a different world. The sisters are shocked when Silly joins them and the magic becomes much stronger. As the sisters turn more and more to the closet for relief from their lives, they have to face the darkness they discover there as well. It may just be the answer for them all.

Haydu has created a lush book based loosely on The Twelve Dancing Princesses. She embraces the darkness of family life, offering a family dancing on the edge of something terrible, avoiding the truth about what is happening to their mother and what happened in her past, a father unable to cope with reality, and children trying to hold them all together. It is against that dark backdrop that the closets glimmer and glitter, beckoning the sisters and the reader to a different place where there is wonder and magic. But escaping into that place is not reality and Haydu shows this with a daring climax that speaks volumes about facing truth and being a family.

A book filled with four sisters can be challenging. Haydu pulls it off with grace and style, offering each of the girls a distinct personality but keeping them from being stereotypical. Silly is the main character, a girl who has been left out of much that the sisters have done and feels that she has no special sister to pair with the way the twins do. Silly feels alone even in a bustling houseful of people, which speaks volumes about her family. Silly is also the one protected from much of the abuse, but she witnesses more than the others do.

This brilliant starry novel takes a dark reality and a dazzling magic and creates wonder all its own. Appropriate for ages 11-14.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (InfoSoup)

Willowdean doesn’t spend her days worrying about how fat she is, though her mother’s nickname of “Dumplin'” can be a problem, especially when used in public. Her mother is in charge of the local beauty pageant and has never encouraged Will to enter, though she has told Will’s best friend Ellen that she could win. When a boy at her work at a local fast food joint starts to flirt with Will, she is shocked. Bo is a gorgeous guy and someone that moves in a different social level than Will. When the two of them start to make out after work in their own secret place, Will begins to question her comfort with her body. As Will’s confidence plummets, she makes a big decision. She’s going to enter the Miss Clover City pageant. As she reclaims her self-image, she ends up helping other girls do the same.

Murphy’s novel is simply brilliant. Willowdean is a wonderful protagonist and the claustrophobic setting of a small southern town is also perfection. It’s that setting that lets Will really shine, since it wears on her and the reader. Add in the Dolly Parton songs, the loss of a beloved aunt who served as a second parent, and a handful of red suckers, and this novel will have you head-over-heels in love with Will and everything that she stands for.

Murphy gets the fat-girl personality just right. The feeling of complete self-acceptance that you can have and then the way it can disappear as if it never existed. Murphy though does not accept that. Instead Will fights back, recovers from her funk about herself, insists on relationships on her own terms, and heck even falls in love for good measure.

A book that will have you turning on Dolly yourself, this novel for teens shines and dazzles. It’s for girls of every size, because none of us feel worthy enough. Appropriate for ages 13-17.

Reviewed from library copy.