Young Adult Blog

Calling All High Schoolers!

Are you (or will you be) in high school? Are you looking for a group of like-minded people who love books as much as you do? Do you have a lot to say about every book you read? Or do you just want to make new friends and eat snacks? Well, you’re in luck! Stuck Between the Pages is the perfect group for you!

Stuck Between the Pages is a book club for those in high school that meets the second Tuesday of the month upstairs in the teen area at the Aurora Public Library at 6 p.m. Come and discuss books with a group of people who love books as much as you do. Plus, there are always snacks!

Stop in anytime to pick up your book and register at the upper level desk. We’ll see you at the next meeting!

New Young Adult Book Series Starters

We’ve gotten so many new young adult books that the shelves are overflowing! Most of the books that we’ve gotten over these past two months are new series starters and ready to draw you in! Below are the two that has drawn my eye!

 

Song of Blood and Stone is the first book in L. Penelope’s Earthsinger Chronicles.

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart. Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps. Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.


The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

 

Furyborn, the first book in Claire Legrand’s new series, Empirium.

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first. A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

 

The Queen’s Rising, the first book in Rebecca Ross’ debut series, The Queen’s Rising.

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron. Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes. With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

 

Isle of Blood and Stone, first book in Makiia Lucier’s the Isle of Blood and Stone Series. 

Ulises asked, “How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers.”
Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. “It’s bound to be a goose chase. You know that?”
“Or a treasure hunt,” Ulises countered, “and you’ve always been good at those.”

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear. The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

The books currently are being held in the teen area on the New Books Display and will later be added to the shelves.

 

Summaries provided by:

Why You Should Join Our New YA Book Club.

 

The Aurora Public Library District wants to encourage you to join out new High School Book Club! Below are some reasons why you should join.

1.Book clubs introduce you to books you wouldn’t normally read.

2. You’ll meet people who enjoy the same books as you.

3. You get to freely give your opinion without being judged for it.

4. It’s Free!

5. Everyone is welcome!

6. You’ll become more confident in yourself.

7. You have a legitimate excuse to read all the time.

8. Every book has the power to change you.

9. It cuts out that dilemma of what book to read next.

10. It gives you a chance to visit your local library once a month!

 

 

 

The registration deadline for May’s meeting is on April 24th! If you are wanting to join or have any questions about joining, call us or come in and ask! Be sure to register and pick up our May Selection: The Night CircusIf you have already read the book, great! You’re still able to join!

 

If you still are questioning about joining this amazing group, follow the links below to be persuaded:

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-reasons-to-join-book-club

https://www.denverlibrary.org/blog/10-reasons-why-you-should-join-book-club

 

#NoMoreFantasy

I love Young Adult Fantasy – I really do! But, sometimes it seems that those are the only Teen books we hear about. This blog is dedicated to all our YA readers who are longing for something different, maybe even something realistic.  The good news is that John Green is not the only YA author who is writing excellent contemporary fiction. Whether you like survival stories, mysteries, romances, or issue-driven novels, we have something for you! At the bottom of this post, you’ll also find some great historical fiction written for the Young Adult market. So dive in, and let us know what you enjoy.

Survival stories are a great choice for teens who are adventurous or love the outdoors! Bad Call and When I am Through With You are both books about camping trips gone bad and have been described as part survival story and part psychological thriller. Feral Youth was inspired by the format of Canterbury Tales and is written by multiple YA authors.

Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels When I am Through with You by Staphanie Kuehn   Feral Youth by multiple authors

The Amateurs is the beginning of a new mystery series by teen favorite Sara Shepard. The Amateurs and Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson both feature teenage detectives attempting to solve cold cases.  Corruption, a hunting accident and lots of teenage secrets turn This is Our Story into a suspenseful story with a “ripped from the headlines” feel.

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard   Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson   This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

How could we look at Teen books without adding a little romance? Sarah Dessen has a very loyal fan base and her newest, Once and For All, will not disappoint! Ronit & Jamil is a clever retelling of Romeo and Juliet that has been transported to modern day Israel. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, you’re sure to love Alex, Approximately!

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen   Ronit & Jamil by Pamela Laskin   Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Life is complicated for teenagers, and books can be a safe haven where problems are acknowledged and feelings are validated. If you’re not sure if the content of a book is appropriate for your teen, try clicking on the Review link on the catalog page for the book. Professional reviews will typically give information about difficult content along with a suggested age range.

Release: a novel by Patrick Ness   The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner   Everything All At Once by Katrina Leno

Finally, for all our lovers of historical fiction, we have a great selection! Crossing Ebenezer Creek is by Tonya Bolden, better known for her non-fiction and is described as perfect for fans of Ruth Septys. If you love Hamilton the musical, you will certainly enjoy Melissa de la Cruz’s book about Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza. The final two books take widely different looks at World War II history.

Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden   Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Night Witches by Kathryn Lasky   Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

For more suggestions, just ask at the circulation desk! We have several staff members who love to read from our Teen collections.

 

 

Looking at Race in Teen Books

There is probably no more polarizing issue today than that of race. Teens are right in the middle of this issue as they engage with different forms of media and they interact with their family and their peers. This topic is also getting more attention in the world of Young Adult Literature. The teenage years are when young adults struggle to make sense of the events taking place around them and also to construct their own world view based on the various viewpoints they hear. Books can help with that process by offering different perspectives!

How It Went Down and All American Boys both point to the difficulty of understanding an event due to the varying viewpoints of the observers. All American Boys is also on this year’s Eliot Rosewater book list for high school students.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon   All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

The following two books address conflicts that arise when an African American teen attends a mostly white prep school. The Hate U Give is one of the most highly praised Young Adult novels to be published in 2017.

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasBlack Boy, White School by Brian Walker

The last four books are classified as historical fiction, but range in time period from the 1960s back to the 1920s.

X by Ilyasah Shabazz   Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley

Out of Darknes by Ashley Hope Perez   Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Race is a complicated issue and reading from different perspectives can be enormously helpful for us all! Why not check out a copy to read with your teens? I’m sure that each of these books will provide lots of thought-provoking discussion.

As always, if you’d like more suggestions, just ask!

 

 

 

A Fresh Look at Arabian Nights

Although using traditional fairy tales as the basis for teen books has been popular for a while, most of these books have used European tales as a starting point. For example, Alex Flinn has written lots of fairy tale versions, including Beastly (Beauty and the Beast), A Kiss in Time (Sleeping Beauty), and Towering (Rapunzel). That’s why I was delighted to find these two books based on the stories of One Thousand and One Nights.

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh   The Rose & the Dagger b y Renn Ahdieh

One Thousand and One Nights (often known in English as The Arabian Nights) is a collection of stories by many authors and can be traced back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian and Jewish folklore.  Although collections of these stories can vary in content, the tales are told within the framework of Scheherazade who soothes her evil husband with her storytelling skills.

Marie Lu, author of Legend, described The Wrath & the Dawn as “an intoxicating gem of a story,” and added, “Don’t be surprised if the pages melt away and you find yourself racing through warm, golden sands or drinking spiced wine in cool marble courtyards,”  so buckle up for an exciting journey through Middle Eastern culture.

If your only connection to Arabian Nights comes from Disney’s Aladdin and the Prince of Persia movie or video game, you may want to brush up on some of the original stories. The Thousand Nights and One Night by Jan Pienkowski is a beautiful introduction to the most well-known stories. You might be surprised to learn that the stories of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor were not initially included in collections of One Thousand and One Nights. Although they are from the same geographical area, these were added later by European translators.

The Thousand Nights and One Night by Jan Pienkowski

Why not begin a reading Grand Tour, traveling the globe in search of stories from other cultures? The Wrath & the Dawn can be your first stop along the way.

How The Bomb Got Me Thinking About Books

I recently listened to Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. It was fascinating and made me realize all over again how much I love reading (or listening to) non-fiction books. Bomb is part scientific discovery and part espionage thriller. It’s written to entertain as well as educate; it can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys a good story, with the added benefit of being 100% true.

Because I work with library patrons of all ages, I made a point of reading books from all areas of our library. That, unfortunately, does not leave me as much time for non-fiction as I would like. That’s one reason I love to reach for books like Bomb that are marketed for a Young Adult audience. School Library Journal recommended this book for grades 5 and up, and at 272 pages, it’s perfect for readers of any age who don’t want to get too bogged down by every tiny detail.

Steve Sheinkin is really making a name for himself in the world of Young Adult non-fiction. This was my second Sheinkin book; I also really enjoyed The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the Fight for Civil Rights. We also have books by Sheinkin about Benedict Arnold, Jim Thorpe and Daniel Ellsberg.

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin   The Notorius Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin

Other authors that are writing truly excellent non-fiction for middle school kids and up include:

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose   Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming   March: Book One by John Lewis

Because we do not have a separate collection for Young Adult non-fiction, please ask for help if you need suggestions or have trouble locating a particular book. There are some books in the Adult Biography area that are of definite interest to teens.

  

You might also look for recommendations on the Robert Siebert Book Award website. The annual Eliot Rosewater Book List always includes some non-fiction suggestions as well. This year’s Rosie list has The Boys Who Challenged Hitler (Hoose) and Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown.

Have you read a great non-fiction book recently? Post the title in the comments so we can help share the word!

Series Starters: The Selection

If you’re looking for an easy series read with elements of a dystopian, futuristic society with a competition to win the prince’s heart, then The Selection series by Kiera Cass is perfect for you! This series is what I like to call a fluff read, with an easy romance and just enough bad guys in the story to keep the plot moving right along. There are five books total in the series that you will be able to devour one after the other, whether you check them out from the Indiana Digital Download Center or from the Aurora or Dillsboro branches.

Teenager America Singer has gone through her entire life as a Five, which means she is on the lower end of the caste system with little to no prospects of ever moving up into the world. Her  family– and other Fives — work as musicians, entertainers, and artists to make ends meet. The only prospects America, and other girls like her, have of a better life is to enter into The Selection, which is the competition that only comes around when the heir to the crown and dystopian country comes of age. America is coerced into entering the competition by her mother and is shocked to find out that she is chosen to be one of only thirty-five girls, who come from all different backgrounds and castes all over the country, to compete for Prince Maxon’s affections. America now has to leave her boyfriend Aspen, a Six, behind at home while she goes off to the palace to try to make it long enough for her family to survive on the payout without falling in love with the prince or letting him fall for her. As the lowest number in the caste to compete, America quickly makes many enemies, even the king himself.

I enjoyed this series immensely, with all the twists and turns it took and the portrait it drew of a futuristic United States ruled entirely by a king and queen, and mostly separated from the rest of the world. It’s easy to see America’s growth throughout the series as well as empathize with her various internal conflicts. I definitely recommend!

The first three books follow America’s competition and the final two books are the aftermath. You can check out all five of the books as digital copies from the Indiana Digital Download Center, or as physical copies from the Aurora Public Library District branches. You can also check out the novella collection that takes place during the series in these formats.

Happy Reading!

Short Story Collections for Teens

Do you ever feel like you don’t have the time or desire to plunge into a hefty novel? Try reaching for a short story collection instead. We have a growing number of short story collections available in the Teen area of our libraries. You can also check on the Indiana Digital Download Center (IDDC) to find many of these titles available as an e-book. Just go to the Digital Downloads link on our web page.

Some of these story collections are used by the authors to fill in gaps between books in a series or to tell a story from a different character’s perspective.

The Bane Chronicles  Delirium Stories by Lauren Oliver  Blue Bloods: Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs was written after the completion of the Miss Peregrine’s Home series and is written as the fantastical book which plays such an important role in the series.

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs

Others of these anthologies are created around a common theme such as steampunk, dystopian literature, or paranormal tales.

Steampunk: an Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories  Shards & Ashes  The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories

Titles like Black Juice by Margo Lanagan feature stories all written by one author. Other titles may include stories by multiple authors and are a great way to find a new favorite writer. Zombies vs. Unicorns includes stories by Garth Nix, Maureen Johnson, Cassandra Clare and others.

Black Juice by Margo Lanagan  Zombies vs. Unicorns

We even have 2 collections of holiday stories for teens!

Let It Snow: 3 Holiday Romances  My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Give a short story collection a try, and let us know which books you enjoy!

Series Starters: A Court of Thorns and Roses

I’ll admit it; I was leery to start Sarah J. Maas’s other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. But I’m glad I stuck with it! As always, Maas did not disappoint!

A Court of Thorns and Roses is recommended for young adults and older; in fact, it is often categorized under New Adult, which is a fairly recent subgenre in which characters are between the ages of eighteen and thirty or so. There are strong themes of growing up and coming to terms with oneself, as well as some content that might not be suitable for younger or immature readers.

The series starts with nineteen-year-old Feyre hunting in the woods, trying to keep the promise she made to her mother on her deathbed to always take care of her father and two sisters. She spots a deer but as she’s going in for the kill, a wolf comes along and threatens to steal it away. She takes a chance and kills both the deer and the wolf, thinking her family can keep the meat and she’ll be able to sell the pelts in the village for money. A few days later, it turns out that the wolf was actually a faerie in animal form, and another faerie has come to collect the debt on his sentinel’s life. What Feyre finds is a magical land cursed by a mysterious blight, a beast and his court who cannot take off their masks, and freedom.

After a slow start that seemed nothing more than yet another take on Beauty and the Beast, the action picks up about halfway through and doesn’t stop until the very last page. I’ve found this to be typical of Maas’s books, but it’s definitely worth sticking out. After several twists and turns that you won’t see coming, you won’t be able to wait for the next book in the series. Fortunately, the Aurora Public Library District has the first three novels in the series available for you to check out as physical or digital copies!

Happy Reading!