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.

A new book by John Green!

John Green is probably Indiana’s most loved Young Adult author. His debut novel, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Printz Award for best teen novel. His last book, The Fault in Our Stars sold over 45 million copies and was made into a popular film.

Looking for Alaska by John Green   The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

In between, he authored An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and (with David Levithan) Will Grayson, Will Grayson. His latest book, Turtles All the Way Down was published in October of 2017.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green  Paper Towns by John Green  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Turtles All the Way Down has been receiving rave reviews from book critics. People magazine described it as “A tender story about learning to cope when the world feels out of control” and the Wall Street Journal said, “There is tenderness and wisdom here, and a high quotient of big ideas.”

In the book, sixteen-year-old Aza pursues the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, because there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. The book illustrates the difficulties of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a condition that Aza shares with author John Green.

Dealing with difficult situations is a standard of much of Green’s writing and the honesty of his work provides an opening for discussion about these topics. At the same time, he uses lots of humor to keep the plot from becoming too serious and teens are easily able to relate to his characters.

In addition to his writing, John and his brother Hank produce the Vlogbrothers videos (youtube.com/vlogbrothers) and created the online educational series CrashCourse (youtube.com/crashcourse). He also collaborated with YA authors Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle on a book of three intertwined holiday romances.

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

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!

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 Selection

Cassandra Clare is known for her series: The Mortal Instruments, but many don’t know about the series she wrote after that is supposed to be a prequel series to the Mortal Instruments: The Infernal Devices.

Clockwork AngelThe year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

Clockwork PrinceIn the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends. With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them. Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

Clockwork PrincessTHE INFERNAL DEVICES WILL NEVER STOP COMING! A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray. Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever. As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

 

“You can’t be serious —” Tessa began, but broke off as the door to the library opened, and Charlotte entered the room. She wasn’t alone. There were at least a dozen men following her, and — Tessa saw, as they filed into the room — two women.

Tessa gazed at them in fascination. So these were Shadowhunters — more Shadowhunters in one place than she’d ever seen before. She stared at the two women, remembering what Will had said about Boadicea, that women could be warriors as well. The taller of the women had powder-white hair wound in into a crown at the back of her head; she looked as if she were well into her sixties, and her presence was regal. The other of the women was younger, with dark hair and catlike eyes. The men were a mixed group, all in carefully tailored dark clothes: the eldest of them was an elegant-looking gentleman with an iron-gray beard and a steely gaze to match; the youngest was a boy probably no more than a year older than Jem or Will. He was handsome in a pretty sort of way, with delicate features, tousled brown hair and a watchful expression.

Jem made a noise of surprise and displeasure. “Gabriel Lightwood,” he muttered to Will, under his breath. “What’s he doing here?”

Will hadn’t moved. He was staring at the brown-haired boy with his eyebrows raised, a faint smile playing about his lips.

“Just don’t get into a fight with him, Will,” Jem added hastily. “Not here. That’s all I ask.”

“Rather a lot to ask, don’t you think?” Will said, without looking at Jem. He was watching Charlotte as she ushered everyone toward the large square table at the front of the room; she seemed to be urging everyone to settle themselves into seats around it. “Mr. Wayland,” she was saying, “and Mr. Harrowgate, here, by the head of the table, if you please. Aunt Callida — if you’d just sit over there by the map —”

“And where is George?” asked the gray-haired man, with an air of brusque politeness. “Your husband? As head of the Institute, he really ought to be here.”

Charlotte hesitated for only a fraction of a second before plastering a smile onto her face. “He’s on his way, Mr. Lightwood,” she said, and Tessa realized two things — one, that the gray-haired man was most likely the father of Gabriel Lightwood, and two, that Charlotte was lying.”

We Were Liars

E. Lockhart captured me from the very first sentence to the very last sentence. She enthralled me and refused to allow me to place the book down. I don’t know what grabbed me, whether it was the similes or the metaphors or Cadence and Gat, or perhaps it was Cadence herself. It was a beautiful story with beautiful characters and a beautiful ending.

Her writing made me love her as well as made me hate her. It made me cry and it made me laugh.

“A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth.” This summary of the book on Goodreads doesn’t do the book any justice.

The story focuses on “The Liars”, and is told from Cadence’s point of view. She speaks of Mirren and Johnny, Gat and herself. She tells her story and how she remembers and how she overcomes the accident. It speaks of young love and it tells us of regret and rebellion.

Reviews:


“Haunting, sophisticated . . . a novel so twisty and well-told that it will appeal to older readers as well as to adolescents
.” —Wall Street Journal

“A rich, stunning summer mystery with a sharp twist that will leave you dying to talk about the book with a pal or ten.” —Parade.com

“Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable.” —John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars

“You’re going to want to remember the title. Liars details the summers of a girl who harbors a dark secret, and delivers a satisfying, but shocking twist ending.” —Breia Brissey, Entertainment Weekly

 

E. Lockhart tells such a brilliant and tragic story with less than 300 words.

 

Located:

We Were Liars is available at both Dillsboro and Aurora as well as our digital library.

 

Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

 

LGBTQ+ Community Within Our Shelves

It’s a thing of controversy in today’s world. The LGBTQ+ community is a strong and withstanding part of our society. Authors are taking it upon themselves to intertwine this community within their own lives by writing their own stories with this community included. It’s a big jump in society for books to include this community and what they represent. Some authors get hate and some authors get love.

The point most authors see as they write their LGBTQ+ stories is to empower their readers to accept themselves for who they are and even to empower them not to be afraid to ‘come out of the closet.’

The Aurora Public Library has several fantastic LGBTQ+ stories within their shelves, one amazing book that I’ve recently read was ‘Of Fire and Stars’, by Audrey Coulthurst.

“Of Fire and Stars” is an enchanting story of a princess with a touch of fire and another princess who has a unique relationship with horses. Princess Dennaleia has been betrothed to Prince Thandi since childhood. As she arrives at his kingdom, she meets his sister, Princess Amaranthine. Princess Amaranthine isn’t your typical Princess who does princess-y things. She prefers to be called ‘Mare’, she walks around in breeches, is outspoken, and prefers to work with horses than to work with people. Princess Dennaleia is drawn to Mare, wanting…no, needing to make an ally in a different kingdom away from her family. While struggling with trying to make Mare like her, Princess Dennaleia also struggles with controlling her affinity for fire. After all, magic is outlawed in this kingdom. With turmoil threatening and mysterious deaths, Princess Dennaleia and Mare must find out who’s behind it all and not let their kingdoms’ alliance be threatened anymore than it already has. In doing so, they must fight with the feelings that are growing between them. Will they choose duty or will they choose their hearts?

 

 

 

Just a few great LGBTQ+ stories our shelves house….

 

 

Hate List

Jennifer Brown filled every single page of this 405 page novel with such a beautiful story. Never before have I read a story that made me think differently about certain people and those who loved them. Hate List is a wonderful story and in today’s world, it fits perfectly within.

Hate List tells us the story of Valerie Leftman’s recovery after her boyfriend of three years, Nick Levil, shot and killed several people in their high school, including her and himself. The beginning of the story introduces us to Valerie and her first day back to her school after the shooting occurred. It shows us her pain and confusion that Nick killed himself and others. We watch as she struggles between hating Nick and forgiving him as well as herself. This book gives us some type of inside pain to those who loved the people we call, ‘monsters’, in today’s world. Though we don’t know why the character Nick did what he did, we do know that Valerie continued to struggle with his decision and the all the pain he caused afterward.

This story captivated me and tore my heart out with every word and punctuation mark. It made my heart ache for every character within, including Nick. The sadness the author included within these pages just enveloped me and hugged me until the hope finally won over.

Let’s Take a Moment: When the Moon Was Ours

When The Moon Was Ours, is a beautiful book from the dedication page and to the Author’s note at the ending. It was a unique and enchanting read, a read that captures your soul and makes you think about who you really are.

To the boys who get called girls,
the girls who get called boys,
and those who live outside these words.
To those called names
and those searching for names of their own.
To those who live on the edges,
and in the spaces in between.
I wish for you every light in the sky.

-Dedication from When the Moon was Ours

 

Miel has roses growing out of her wrists and Sam has secrets that could ruin who he really is. The Bonner girls are four sisters that are believed to be witches. They want Miel’s roses, believing they have powers in them. Miel, cuts off her roses in remembrance of her mother who drowned trying to save her, refuses to give the Bonner sisters the roses. Sam works on the Bonner’s farm, struggling with who he is while he and Miel find that their love for each other isn’t platonic. Throughout the story, we learn more about how Miel came from the water tower that the town had gotten together to push down. We learn that Sam is from Pakistan and in order for his mother and him to have more freedom, he becomes a bascha posh, a young girl who lives as a boy until marrying age. Miel and Sam have been friends ever since Miel fell from the water tower. He paints moons for her and she lets him be him. It’s a simple enough exchange until the Bonner sisters come around wanting Miel’s roses and blackmailing her for them. They even go as far as to punish her for not giving them to her.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters. Anna kept me captivated from the dedication page all the way to the Author’s Note, and for that I give her a five out of five.

 

Reviews:

“Magical realism as its most exquisite. McLemore’s breathtaking story is the most unique and magical book I’ve read in years.”

-Laura Resau, Americas Award-winning author of Red Glass

“Lushly written and surprisingly suspenseful….a story of the courage it takes to reveal our authentic selves to each other and to the world.”

-Laura Ruby, Printz Award-wining author of Bone Gap

 

Amazing artwork by: Read at Midnight

 

Location:

This is currently one of our newer books and will be in the Young Adult section on the New Release shelves.

Once it is no longer part of our New Releases, it will be placed in alphabetical order in the Young Adult section.

 

From Fiction to Fact

Do you ever stop in the middle of reading a novel to find out more about the subject of your book? These days, it’s very quick to look something up online or on your smart phone. But sometimes a novel will interest you so much that you want to really dig into a topic. I often feel this way after reading a Young Adult novel. YA books are not just fantasy and coming of age stories. They take on all kinds of interesting social issues and historical perspectives. At the same time, teens have the intellect to springboard into most of the non-fiction we have at the library. Here are some book pairings that match a YA novel with a non-fiction book that will provide more information about the novel’s topic. I hope you have fun with these; they are great choices for teens and adults!

Author Sherri Smith paints a grim picture of New Orleans in Orleans, a futuristic look at a viral outbreak caused by climate change. Outbreak outlines some steps that scientists are taking to protect against this type of epidemic.

  

Those of us “of a certain age” have strong memories of the tragic Killing Fields of Cambodia. For teens, Never Fall Down and First They Killed My Father may provide a new awareness of this tragedy.

  

Yes, I realize that I have highlighted Tamar before! It’s just so good, I can’t stop talking about it. It’s also possible that I am obsessed with World War II Resistance movements. We rightly have lots of books about the male soldiers in the war, but Courage & Defiance highlights some of the ways men and women fought behind the scenes.

  

Code Name Verity and Women Heroes of World War II provide another look at World War II, this time through the eyes of women.

  

Walter Dean Myers tackles the U.S. role in a much more recent war in Sunrise Over Fallujah. Follow this excellent book with Heroes Among Us, first hand accounts of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  

The Russian Revolution has fascinated readers for decades. Tsarina approaches the subject from a romantic perspective with a touch of fantasy thrown in. Marcus Sedgwick uses the real life experience of children’s author Arthur Ransome to weave a story of spies and warring Russian factions in Blood Red Snow White. The Family Romanov (currently on the Eliot Rosewater reading list) is a fascinating account of the Romanovs and is also available as an audio book through the Indiana Digital Download Center.

      

Teens who have outgrown the easier environmental chapter books of Carl Hiaason will probably enjoy Anthill by E. O. Wilson. This book, written by an esteemed biologist from Harvard University, pits a teenage naturalist against land developers. To learn more about the need to preserve our forests, check out Forests Forever by John Berger.

  

Love Disguised is a light-hearted look at the beginning of William Shakespeare’s career and will appeal to fans of Shakespeare in Love. The Age of Shakespeare will answer any questions you may have about the culture in which Shakespeare wrote.

  

These are all terrific novels, and remember that enjoying non-fiction doesn’t mean you have to read the entire book. Feel free to browse through these choices and read whatever parts satisfy your curiosity.