Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Exceptional Teen Novel

Marcelo in the Real World
by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo is a teen who hears music that no one else can, sleeps in a tree house, has an obsession with religion, and prefers things to have an order to them. One might say he exhibits behaviors similar to individuals with Asberger's syndrome, although he's never been officially diagnosed. He attends a "special" school called the Paterson school where he takes care of the ponies in the therapeutic riding stables. His father, a high-powered lawyer, insists that he work in the mail room of his law firm for the summer. If Marcelo is able to succeed, he will be given the choice of staying in his special school for his senior year, or being mainstreamed into the "normal" high school.

While he is there, he happens across evidence which indicates the corruption in his father's practice. Once confronted with this, Marcelo must face his reservations about the real world and decide how to handle an ethical dilemma.

This is a powerful and moving novel that teens and adults will enjoy, even more than Mark Haddon's similar title The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. The writing is beautiful. Readers of all personalities will be moved by Marcelo's struggle to relate to "normal".

Monday, May 18, 2009

Notable Teen Fantasy of the Summer

Place your hold now on these new and notable Teen Fantasy titles!

Strange Angels
Lili St. Crow
Dru Anderson has "the touch". She travels with her father from town to town hunting zombies, vampires, werewolves, you know, bad guys that haunt the earth. When her father turns into a zombie himself, she figures it's only a matter of time before she is hunted down too. But, she isn't about to let that stop her.

The Forests of Hands and Teeth
Carrie Ryan
Seven generations after The Return, and Mary lives in a city behind a chain link fence. Zombies haunt her village which is controlled by a religious order called The Sisterhood. The villagers are beginning to forget that there ever was a world before The Return. Mary and her mother believe in a world beyond the forest, where a vast body of water stretches beyond the reach of the undead.

Aprilynne Pike
Laurel is different. Very different. She realizes this when she sprouts blossom like wings on her back. And her science-minded friend David discovers that her cells are more plant than animal when he examines them under a microscope. It takes an encounter at her old home to lead her to realize who she truly is.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Finished with the Twilight Series?
There may be only one Edward, but we have more than 50 vampire tales for you to sink your teeth into!

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Night Roads by A.M. Jenkins

Night World, No.1 and No. 2 by L.J. Smith

The Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine
Glass Houses
Dead Girls’ Dance
Midnight Alley
Feast of Fools

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

The Parliament of Blood by Justin Richards

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater Rhodes
Midnight Predator
Shattered Mirror
Demon in My View

Blue Bloods
Series by Melissa de la Cruz
Blue Bloods

House of Night Series by PC Cast

Sucks to Be Me: the All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (Maybe) by Kimberly Pauley

Vampire Kisses Series by Ellen Schreiber
Vampire Kisses
Kissing Coffins
Dance with a Vampire
Coffin Club

Suck it Up by Brian Meehl

Evernight by Claudia Gray

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer
Eight Grade Bites
Ninth Grade Slays

Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith
The Awakening and the Struggle
The Fury and Dark Reunion

My Sword is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick

Vampire Academy by Richille Mead
Vampire Academy
Shadow Kiss

Series by Kate Cary

Vampire Beach Series by Alex Duval

Circus of the Darned
by Katie Maxwell

Got Fangs? by Katie Maxwell

Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan
Cirque du Freak
Tunnels of Blood
Vampire’s Assistant

by Pete Hautman

Boys that Bite by Marianne Mancusi

Vampire High by Douglas Rees

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

Vampires: A Collection of Original Stories by Jane Yolen

--List courtesy of Megan Alabaugh

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Neil Gaiman wins the Newbery!

Neil Gaiman, who is best known for his dark and hypnotic Sandman series, is having a great year. Not only is Coraline, one of his novels, debuting on the big screen on Feb. 6th, but his most recent novel, The Graveyard Book has just won the Newbery Award, and will also soon be made into a motion picture.

The Graveyard Book is the story of a young boy who winds up being raised by a group of ghosts after his parents are murdered. Gaiman has claimed that his inspiration for his novel was Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. It can be found in Teen Fiction.

Coraline is the story of a young girl who finds a secret door in her house that leads her into an altered universe. It has been compared to Alice in Wonderland, and can be found in Children's Fiction.

Both novels are sure to delight lovers of dark, mysterious, fantastical fiction. Get your copies now and beat the rush!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Titles that celebrate a time of change

This week the first African-American will take the oath to serve at the President of the United States. This is surely a time of change when the entire country will be reflecting on decades of sacrifice and civil rights struggles that led up to this moment. Here are some well-written teen novels that celebrate African-American identity and history.

The Glory Field
Walter Dean Myers
This moving story follows one African-American family as they struggle through 241 years, from the Sierra Leone to South Carolina. Teen Historical Fiction

Day of Tears
Julius Lester
On one day in 1859, the largest slave auction took place on a plantation in Georgia. Emma is a house slave who, although promised otherwise, is sold impulsively to a woman in Kentucky, and must then deal with the resentment and betrayal that follows. Teen Historical Fiction

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Pox Party
M. T. Anderson
Sixteen-year-old Octavian is the son of an African princess who is now living with a group of philosophers in pre-Revolutionary Boston. He is treated to a life of privilege and education, but eventually realizes that he is the subject of their scientific experiments to study the nature of Africans. Realizing the hypocrisy of his benefactors, he uses his education to his advantage, and joins the Patriots to fight the British army. Teen Fiction

Fire From the Rock
Sharon Draper
Sylvia Patterson is a typical teenager who finds herself in the eye of a storm when she is selected as the first African-American student to attend Little Rock Central High. Teen Historical Fiction

Trouble Don't Last
Shelley Pearsall
An eleven-year-old Kentucky slave attempts to escape to Canada with the elderly slave who raised him through the Underground Railroad. J Paperback Fiction

Bud, Not Buddy
Christopher Paul Curtis
Ten-year-old Bud leaves his foster family in 1936 Flint, Michigan and sets out on his own to find his father who he believes to be the famous jazz composer H. E. Calloway.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Tribute to Madeleine L'Engle

2009 has been designated The International Year of Astronomy by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO. You can read all about it here.


This got me to remembering the very first YA novel I ever loved, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle.

Published in 1962, this science-fiction masterpiece tells the story of Meg and Charles Wallace Murry who travel with their friend Calvin through a wormhole in order to find their missing physicist father. It is truly an intriguing story, and one that is difficult to put down. For those who have not read it, I strongly recommend it. It is the first in a series of Time Quartet novels by L'Engle. The rest are A Wind in the Door, Many Waters, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

Read it on a cold winter's night when you don't have a ton of homework. You're sure to love it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gift suggestions for that book loving teen

Looking for the perfect gift for a teen who has everything, and has read everything? Well, here are a few suggestions for the gift book that keeps on giving.


Sir Ernest Drake

This interesting pictorial book is a lovely compendium of monsters and beings of all kinds. It contains samples of their hair, pictures, and suggestions for how to act if confronted. Fantasy lovers will delight in the life like illustrations

The Twilight Saga: Slipcased

Stephenie Meyer

Yes, they may have already torn through this popular series, but who couldn't resist having all four books in one attractive case? It also contains four collectible prints to add to its appeal. If the 83 dollar price tag seems a bit steep, try The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide by Stephenie Meyer. It reads like an encyclopedia to all things Twilight.


Christina Meldrum

This mesmerizing first title from this author tells the story of a young girl names Aslaug who was raised pretty much in a cult. She has spent her whole life living off the land in rural Maine, not knowing who her father is, and never experiencing the outside world. Suddenly her mother dies mysteriously and Aslaug is a suspect. Her spirituality is questioned, and Aslaung must grapple with the role of God in everyday life. This one makes a great gift for that teen who likes to question all things supernatural. It also makes a great gift for any teen interested in all things botanical, given its detailed discussion of the nourishing properties of certain plants.

Ghost Girl

Tonya Hurley

Charlotte Usher has spent her life utterly invisible to the teens at her high school. When she dies in a freak accident, she refuses to accept an eternity of invisibility and vows to go to the Fall Ball with the boy of her dreams. She soon finds out that there are other dead teens who have mastered death among the living. This one is cute, but not too cute. It contains just enough death and drama for that emo teen in your life. Check out the book's web site for a selection of eccentric animated illustrations to go along with the novel.

City of Bones

Cassandra Clare

This is the first title in the Mortal Instruments trilogy. This urban fantasy is filled with demons, murder, and all sorts of fantastical creatures. Clary realizes that she can see the world of the Shadowhunters, teens who hunt demons and supernatural creatures, and realizes that her mother is somehow connected to this world. Give this one to that emo teen who is into gothic fantasy and likes blood and gore.

Holiday Princess

Meg Cabot

Sugary sweet and perfect for the holidays. This special holiday issue of the Princess Diaries will delight that tween fan.

Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances

John Green/Lauren Myracle/Maureen Johnson

Three well acclaimed YA authors have written the best holiday-themed short stories you've ever read.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal

Jeff Kinney

Greg Heffley is an undersized sixth grader trying to cope with a friend who is becoming more popular than him. Older teens might have a nostalgic appreciation for this graphic novel.