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Young Adult

  • superheroes 01

     

    It seems like superheros have taken the world by storm!  These larger-than-life characters fight crime, save lives, and somehow we still relate to them at the end of the day.  If you're a superhero fan, I have a list that will satisfy your need for justice in between movie and comic book releases:

    heroHERO
    by Mike Lupica
    (2010)

    Zach's father was a confidante of the president until he was killed by "the bads."  Now Zach is starting to feel changes: sharpening of his senses, incredible strength and speed, and he's beginning to realize his father was no ordinary man. 

     

    steelheartSTEELHEART
    by Brandon Sanderson
    (2013)

    This inventive book by rockstar Brandon Sanderson turns the notion of Superheroes on its head, asking the question, "What if people got superhero powers and didn't do good with them?"  David Charleston watched his father die when he was young, all at the hands of a heartless but incredibly powerful "epic."  David wants nothing more than to stop Steelheart, but what chance does he stand? 

     

    sooniwillbeSOON I WILL BE INVICIBLE
    by Austin Grossman
    (2007)

    Experience the superhero story from the side of the villain this time!  Doctor Impossible is the world's smartest man with deep thoughts and observations on the world and the people around him, but he won't hesitate to shout, "You'll never take me alive, fools!" when the situation calls for it. 

      

    falsememoryFALSE MEMORY
    by Dan Krokos
    (2012)

    Miranda wakes up on a park bench with no memory, and in her panic she releases an energy that incites terror in everyone around her.  Except one boy who doesn't look surprised at all by her ability.  She must trust him in order to find out what has happened to her.

     

    legendLEGEND
    by Marie Lu
    (2011)

    June is a prodigy who has been groomed for success in the highest military circles.  Day is the country's most wanted criminal.  When their paths cross and they are forced to work together, they realize they have more in common than meets the eye.

  • If you're like me you're still riding on a high from last month's Star Wars release.  The new film brought back all the old feelings I got when I watched Episode 4 for the first time: laughing with beloved characters, believing in the Force, and wanting my own light saber. The only way this feeling can be diminished is realizing it will be 2017 before we get a new Star Wars movie!!  So if you need something to help you pass the time, here's a list of awesome books that will fill the gaping hole in your life left by Star Wars Episode VII.  Each one is an excellent book with an epic tale of good versus evil!

    mistbornMISTBORN
    By Brandon Sanderson

    (2006)

    This book is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES, and even if it's not technically a "teen" book, it has a teen protagonist and is perfectly suitable for Young Adult readers.  It also is a perfect choice for Star Wars fans!  It has interesting, likable characters who discover that they have mythical kick-butt powers, and a truly epic fight between good and evil.   

     

    insigniaINSIGNIA 
    By S. J. Kincaid

    (2012)

    This is a great one for Sci-Fi geeks like me who can't wait to own their own virtual reality unit and start exploring the galaxy.  The main character, Tom, is a sort of VR prodigy who gets noticed by the government for his gaming prowess and is offered a place with the Intrasolar Forces: an elite fighting force controlling the drones out there battling in WWIII. 

     

    gracelingGRACELING
    By Kristin Cashore
    (2008)

    A young protagonist who has special abilities she is just beginning to understand goes on a journey of self discovery.  Sound familiar?  Warning: this one will be hard to put down so make sure to clear some time in your schedule.

      

    readyplayeroneREADY PLAYER ONE 
    By Ernest Cline

    (2011)

    Another technically non-"teen" book that features a teen protagonist and that content-wise I think is suitable for young adults, READY PLAYER ONE is a book I can't recommend enough to fans of sci fi adventures.  Part puzzle solving mystery (think Indiana Jones), part virtual reality reality romp (think The Matrix), and part homage to 1980's nerd culture, this book fits in perfectly with any Star Wars fan. 

     

    icemarkTHE CRY OF THE ICEMARK
    By Stuart Hill

    (2005)

    Thirrin is a beautiful princess but also an intrepid warrior, and she must find a way to protect her land from a terrible invasion.  She'll need to ally with strange creatures and cultures in order to lead her people to victory.  Fans of Leia will follow Thirrin with interest to see if she can rise above all of her challenges.

      

     

    Hopefully a few of these will scratch that Star Wars itch we'll all be plagued with until next year!!  Until then... may the force be with you.

  • cats and kissing 01

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you. Today's iteration takes a romp through young adult fiction, adult nonfiction, and romance to bring you some of our favorite things: cats and kissing. 

    THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH
    by Ali Benjamin

    (2015)

    Suzy Swanson is a teenage girl trying to make sense of a new school and new peers, but that's been hard to do ever since the death of her best friend, Franny. Suzy is also a budding scientist, and when she learns about the Irukandji Jellyfish she develops a new hypothesis about what really happened to her friend.

    CAT SENSE: HOW THE NEW FELINE SCIENCE CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER FRIEND TO YOUR PET
    by John Bradshaw 
    (2013)

    Scientist John Bradshaw explains how cats evolved from lone predators to domestic companions with the hope that people will understand their cats better and provide a more harmonious environment for them. 

    DEWEY: THE SMALL-TOWN LIBRARY CAT WHO TOUCHED THE WORLD
    by Vicki Myron
    (2008)

    Dewey Readmore Books, a cat, was found one morning in the Spencer, Iowa library. Dewey was adopted by librarian, Vicki Myron who was his caring owner for the next 19 years. Dewey changed Vicki's life and touched the lives of many more. 

    TROUBLE WHEN YOU WALKED IN
    by Kieran Kramer
    (2015) 

    Cissie Rogers is a librarian in a small town in North Carolina. When Mayor, Boone Braddock puts the library's future in peril, Cissie decides to take matters into her own hands by running for mayor herself. What Cissie doesn't count on is a developing relationship with her opponent. 

    THE PORTABLE VEBLEN
    by Elizabeth McKenzie
    (2016)

    A young couple in a developing relationship discover how complex love can be as they encounter everything from dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive heiress, to an encounter with a very charismatic squirrel.   

    KISSING IN AMERICA
    by Margo Rabb
    (2015)

    Two teenage girls, Eva and Annie, discover how complex love can be as they journey across the country to find Will— the boy Ava thinks is her soul mate.

     

     

  • 6 degrees header 01 

     

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you.

    This week: Chaos and Comedy! 

     chaos and comedy 01

    THE DISASTER DIARIES
    by Sam Sheridan
    (2013)

    There are a variety of ways that the world could be thrown into chaos and Sheridan has researched and acquired a variety of skills to help him survive almost any potential apocalypse. His lively and hilarious style while still presenting disastrous scenarios is a wonderful mix.

    LIFE AS WE KNEW IT
    by Susan Beth Pfeffer
    (2006)

    A young woman takes charge of her life and her family’s lives as survival becomes increasingly difficult after the world is thrown into chaos when the moon is knocked out of its orbit.

    LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK, AND THE WILL TO LEAD
    by Sheryl Sandberg
    (2013)

    Sandberg is a woman who has taken charge of her life and encourages others to do so by following their ambitions. She tells it like it is and strives to be an inspiration to women everywhere.

    BOSSYPANTS
    by Tina Fey
    (2011)

    Best known for her work on 30 Rock and SNL, Fey relates her life story in her own comedic way. She tries to emphasize that she’s just like the rest of us, while being a role model and an inspiration to all women.

    IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME
    by Mindy Kaling
    (2011)

    Mindy is an Emmy-nominated, comedy writer and actress, and uses this book to relate her life story in her own comedic way.

    SERIOUSLY, I'M KIDDING
    by Ellen DeGeneres
    (2011)

    Ellen has become one of the most popular daytime TV hosts, having won 31 Emmys. Her lively, hilarious, and upbeat style is engaging and enjoyable.

  • spies and secrets 01

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you. Today's iteration features young adult fiction titles and some of our favorite things: finishing school, spies, servants, and secrets. 

    ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE
    by Gail Carriger
    (2013)

    In an alternate England of 1851, spirited and clever fourteen-year-old Sophronia is enrolled in a finishing school where lessons include dance, dress, and etiquette alongside espionage, poisoning, hand-to-hand fighting, and deceit. Not only does Sophronia excel at her lessons, but she also manages to solve a mystery—and fall in love—during her first year.

    LEVIATHAN
    by Scott Westerfeld
    (2009)

    In an alternate 1914 WWI Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, fleeing the Russian Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn, who disguised herself as a boy to join the British Air Service and is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

    A COUNTESS BELOW STAIRS
    by Eva Ibbotson
    (1981) 

    Young Russian countess Anna must flee to England after the Russian Revolution. She hides her identity and becomes a servant for an important family. But will she be able to suppress her attraction to Rupert, the dashing Earl of Westerholme?

    MAID OF SECRETS
    by Jennifer McGowan
    (2013)

    In 1559 England, Meg, an orphaned thief, is pressed to become a servant for the Maids of Honor, Queen Elizabeth I's secret all-female guard, but her loyalty is tested when she falls in love with a Spanish courtier who may be a threat.

    PALACE OF SPIES
    by Sarah Zettel          
    (2013)

    In 1716 London, an orphaned sixteen-year-old girl from a good family impersonates a lady-in-waiting only to discover that the real girl was murdered, the court harbors a nest of spies, and the handsome young artist who is helping her solve the mystery might be a spy himself.

    GRAVE MERCY
    by R.L. LaFevers
    (2012)

    In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where lessons include espionage, poisoning, hand-to-hand fighting, and deceit. When the convent sends her to Brittany’s court to protect its young princess, Ismae discovers the court harbors a nest of murderers and spies. It will take all of Ismae’s skills and charms to keep the young princess—and herself—alive.

  • YA sequels

     

    The pain is familiar to you: you pick up that book you've been hearing so much about, devour its contents, and then get to the last page only to discover that there is a SEQUEL planned, which means that instead of wrapping everything up nicely there are cliffhangers that will just leave you dangling, waiting and waiting and WAITING until the next book is published (a year later?! What makes publishers think we have this kind of patience?). For these 9 series, 2016 means that your wait is (at least temporarily) over!

    GLASS SWORD
    by Victoria Aveyard
    Release date: February 9th, 2016

    This is the second book in the RED QUEEN trilogy, which opened up at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2015. Universal Pictures has already acquired the film rights so you know this one will be a popular read. It continues with the heroine Mare Barrow running for her life as she deals with her own personal darkness and the growing rebel uprising. A captivating fantasy full of action packed drama, romance, and all the fun of dystopian fiction.     

    THE LAST STAR
    by Rick Yancey
    Release date: May 24th, 2016

    The third and final book in the sci-fi apocalyptic 5TH WAVE series is finally here. This epic conclusion will determine the fate of planet Earth in a wildly entertaining page turner. This too has a film planned starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson.      

    THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER
    by Renee Ahdieh
    Release date: May 3rd, 2016

    Inspired by the classic Arabian Nights this is the followup to THE WRATH AND THE DAWN (2015).  Protagonist Shahrzad is torn between loyalties to those she loves but she determines to not be a pawn in the schemes and takes matters into her own hands as she learns to harness her powers. This lush and fast-paced novel keeps you intrigued with curses, subplots, romance and a culturally diverse setting.    

    A COURT OF MIST AND FURY
    by Sarah J Maas
    Release date: May 3rd, 2016

    This sequel to A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, tells of Fayre as the High Fae in the Night Court and the twisted politics, power and passions between good and evil therein. This seductive, action packed fantasy is sure to please fans.    

    A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT
    by Sabaa Tahir
    Release date: August 30th, 2016

    Number two of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, picks up where the previous ended with adventures and journeys fighting against the evil in the empire. Laia and Elias struggle to free her brother from prison in the north; meanwhile in the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla must juggle loyalty, love and power around the twisted leader Marcus.  

    THE CROWN
    by Kiera Cass
    Release date: May 3rd, 2016

    Cass’s fifth and the SELECTION series finale picks up with Eadlyn and her 35 suitors-dilemma as she realizes that she won’t be happy to remain alone. Eadlyn doesn’t believe that she can have the happily ever after fairytale that her parents were blessed with but the heart has a way of surprising you and Eadlyn is forced to make an important choice. Romantic, fast paced and engaging, this novel will wrap up the series in a satisfying way.  

    THE SHADOW HOUR
    by Melissa Grey
    Release date: July 12th, 2016

    Book number two of the GIRL AT MIDNIGHT series, Grey writes a world-building, urban fantasy continuing the story of Echo, the firebird--a creature of light that is said to bring peace. Echo has already overcome many losses but must struggle with dangers near and far, as well as learn to use her own powers.   

    YELLOW BRICK WAR
    by Danielle Paige
    Release date: March 15th, 2016

    Number three of the best-selling DOROTHY MUST DIE series tells of Amy Gumm’s mission to take down the evil dictator of Oz and Kansas--the not-so-sweet Dorothy Gale. Amy joins forces with the Revolutionary order of the Wicked to finally defeat her in this dark and gruesome tale full of magic, suspense and action.    

    THE WINNER’S KISS
    by Marie Rutkoski
    Release date: March 29th, 2016

    This final book in THE WINNER’S trilogy is complex and suspenseful as Arin believes the worst in Kestrel’s past behavior while she is in fact prisoner in a war camp. The war between East and West escalates as this fantasy tale unfolds, revealing the true nature of the characters and their love.   

     

  •  Judging a Book By Its Cover 628

    A while back, I shared one of my favorite librarian hobbies – spotting copycat book covers. Since then, I’ve kept an eagle eye out for more, and I’ve discovered a surprising and strangely specific trend in 2017 and 2018 cover art: the shiny bug.

    This past publishing year has produced a handful of gorgeous covers featuring intricate, stylized, metallic insects. It’s an unlikely trend, but a beautiful one.

    10.12 Dreadful Young LadiesDREADFUL YOUNG LADIES: AND OTHER STORIES
    By Kelly Barnhill
    (2018)

     

    10.12 Strange the DreamerSTRANGE THE DREAMER
    By Laini Taylor
    (2017) 

     

    10.12 Bruja BornBRUJA BORN
    By Zoraida Cordova
    (2018)

     

    10.12 The Moth PresentsTHE MOTH PRESENTS ALL THESE WONDERS
    By Catherine Burns
    (2017)

     

    Like just about everything, book cover art follows trends (we’re capitalists, y’all). In the 80s and 90s, chick lit, with its pastel illustrations, dominated YA.  During my teen years in the early 2000s, it was all about bright, solid colors, à la THE PRINCESS DIARIES and SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS (tangent, but Rachel Hawkins recent book ROYALS seems to harken back to that style). More recently, books like THE LUXE and THE SELECTION spawned a seemingly endless parade of ball gown-centric cover art.

    So where’d all these glittery bugs come from? I see it as part of a larger trend that I’m pretty jazzed about:  a move away from depicting characters and towards gorgeous lettering. I’ve written about a few of my favorite covers in this style before, and I plan to share more soon.

    So, what are some of your favorite book covers? Have you noticed any recent trends in cover art?

  • magical circuses

     

    Read-alikes: library jargon for “If you like this, you’ll probably also like this other thing!” Those of us who work at libraries are constantly on the hunt for read-alikes both as a professional courtesy to our patrons and as a way to satisfy our own voracious reading appetites. 

    (We have a variety of resources to find great read-alikes; the easiest way to find them is to click on the “Reading Suggestions” tab of our website). 

    One read-alike game I like to play is to find similar books across audiences. Can I find the writing qualities and characteristics of adult fiction authors I love in a middle-grade book? What about a book for teens? It’s a little bit like watching fiction grow up. So today I have for you three books that I feel like share some striking similarities even though they’re written for vastly different audiences. Three books; three audiences; three magical settings rich with detail and complex characters. Magical realism for all ages. 

    MIDDLE-GRADE 

    11.2.17 Circus MirandusCIRCUS MIRANDUS
    By Cassie Beasley
    (2015)

    Micah Tuttle has grown up hearing stories of a magical circus his grandpa visited as a boy. Now that his grandpa is dying, he sets off to find the mysterious circus in order to save his grandpa’s life. The narrative jumps back and forth between present day Micah and his new friend/school project partner Jenny on their quest to save his grandpa and his grandpa’s experiences as a boy at the circus. Kids with vivid imaginations will love the lush description of Circus Mirandus. 

     

     

    YOUNG ADULT

    11.2 CaravalCARAVAL
    By Stephanie Garber
    (2017)

    Okay, this one isn’t exactly a circus, but it is a magical, carnival-like setting. With an arranged marriage on the horizon, Scarlett figures this is her only chance to realize her dream of seeing Caraval, a legendary audience-participation event. When she and her sister arrive, things get much more complicated than they imagined, and the consequences turn dire fairly quickly.

    As is the case for most young adult books, we trade the innocent guy/girl helpful friendship of the middle-grade years for a fast-paced, “I hate you/I love you” storyline.There is banter; there is kissing; there is action, and adventure, and magic, and a carousel that my imagination loves to ride again and again. 

    ADULT FICTION 

    11.2.2017 The Night CircusTHE NIGHT CIRCUS
    By Erin Morgenstern 
    (2011) 

    I could go on and on about THE NIGHT CIRCUS; I read it about a year after its release, and I’ve honestly been looking for adequate read-alikes ever since. It wasn’t until this year that I’ve actually felt like I found them (hence this post!). Reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a sensory experience; not many novels can hold up to occasional second-person narration, but it’s perfect here. When I read it, I crave caramel popcorn and hot chocolate. The descriptions of the circus are rich and vivid and I’m always sad it doesn’t exist for real. 

    THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a long, magical game, pitting two champions, Celia and Marco, against one another in a magical battle to the death (though it takes years of competing to realize this). In THE NIGHT CIRCUS, we trade that fierce, instant love of teenage years (CARAVAL takes place over just three days!) for a nuanced relationship born in intrigue and cultivated through hearty and beautiful and, ultimately, deadly competition.

    I should also mention that I’ve listened to all three of these as audiobooks, and I actually recommend that if you’ve got the time and resources (which you do, thanks to the library!). This is especially the case with THE NIGHT CIRCUS, which is read by Jim Dale and is just delightful.

  • BB 2016 FB

    Each of us has read dozens of teen books in the last year in preparation to share the Best Young Adult Books of 2016. Not everything we read was a contender L. In the end, we along with two other colleagues have compiled our 50 favorite teen reads. Here are five books that ALMOST made the cut, but not quite.

    Darcy Swipes LeftDARCY SWIPES LEFT
    by Courtney Carbone
    (2016)

    Jane Austen meets the smart phone in this fun, modern telling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Told via text messages, emoticons, emails, and more; I really enjoyed this version of the classic. The book was fast paced and less detailed than the original, but the story line was still true to the characters that generations have come to love. In the end, I found that there were just a few other books that I wanted to talk about more than this one.

     

     

    TruthwitchTRUTHWITCH
    by Susan Dennard
    (2016)

    This book is loaded with political intrigue, magic, thrilling fight scenes, mythical creatures, and romance.   Two best friends, both gifted with special magical abilities, are faced with a world on the verge of war.  TRUTHWITCH just barely missed our top 50 list.  The political intrigue and complicated plot (that many people will love) didn’t work for me quite as much as I wanted and other standout novels were able to slide this exciting adventure out of my ‘best of the best’ list.

     

     

     

    Tell Me Something RealTELL ME SOMETHING REAL 
    by Calla Devlin
    (2016)

    When the three Babcock sisters learn something that makes them question everything their tight-knit family is founded on, they all have to come to terms with things in their own way. To be honest, I liked this book better than some of the other books I’m going to talk about at Best Books. It kept me guessing all the way through, the writing was beautiful, and I thought it was really well done.  The thing that held me back from showcasing this one is the setting.  Set in 1976, this book is a little too contemporary for me to classify as historical fiction, but the world has changed a lot since then.  Although I think teens will enjoy this book, it feels more like a book written to appeal to adults who read YA, rather than to teens themselves.

     

    This Adventure EndsTHIS ADVENTURE ENDS 
    by Emma Mills
    (2016)

    Emma Mills got a lot of praise for her 2015 book, FIRST & THEN, which I haven’t read.  I need to fix this problem immediately, however, because I read THIS ADVENTURE ENDS in almost one sitting.  This book, about a group of friends all dealing with the changes that being a senior in high school brings, was so fun!  I loved how real the characters felt, but they didn’t take themselves too seriously.  It even has a Nicholas Sparks-like character that loses his motivation to write, and finds it again by writing what is basically Vampire Academy fanfiction.  At the end of the day, I had to choose, and I felt like some of the award winners I’d read should be showcased more than this one despite my love for it.

     

    Holding Up the Universe   Blog SizeHOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE 
    by Jennifer Niven
    (2016)

    Jennifer Niven’s books are always well written with great characters and emotional complexity. She doesn’t shy away from harsh topics and this book is no exception. Libby Strout is overweight, but that seems to be the only thing people know or want to know about her. Jack Masselin is a confident boy despite the fact that he is unable to recognize faces. Jack and Libby are not in the same social class at school, yet the more they get to know each other the more they recognize their similarities rather than their differences. Since we recommended Niven’s ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES last year, we decided to give another author some recognition this year.

     

     To see what we did make the cut, join us for The Best Books of 2016 on February 22nd!

     

     

  • best love stories

     

    So, after Christmas, the next holiday stores go gaga for is Valentine’s Day. Patrons start seeing everything from chocolate to obnoxiously stuffed teddy bears with satin hearts attached to them. Sadly none of this ties back to the myth behind one of the original St. Valentines; it is not well documented which St. Valentines was the original. But one of the myths behind this holiday according to history.com is that during the third century, the Roman emperor Claudius II decided that unmarried men made better soldiers than men with wives and children. So he banned all marriages for young men.  The story goes that even though it was illegal and eventually cost Valentine his life he continued after the edict to marry the young couples in love. Read story here

    In honor of all those lovers who got to be united in matrimony all those centuries ago, I and some of my co-workers have compiled a list of some of our favorite love stories captured by books. This is by no means a complete list but hopefully it gives some amazing stories for you to consider reading this upcoming Valentines season.

    Benedict & Beatrice
    MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
    by William Shakespeare
    1600

    I love the relationship between these two. Confirmed bachelor and bachelorette who hate each other end up finding something to love about the other after their friends set them up. This is my favorite Shakespearian comedy.

    Anne & Gilbert
    ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
    by L.M. Montgomery
    1908

    Proof relationships aren’t always about first impressions. My favorite memory will always be Anne smashing her tablet over Gilbert’s head. As time passes she eventually forgives him for humiliating her in class. I love watching the dynamic develop between these two as they grow up and mature into adults. This is an amazing series with beautiful scenes all throughout the books.

    Wesley & Buttercup
    PRINCESS BRIDE
    by William Goldman
    1973

    Relationships start with someone being kind. I love how they show that it takes work to not only begin a relationship but it takes fighting for what you want and sacrifice, to keep a relationship going. Not to mention this book is dripping with humor and hilarious situations, which makes it an all-around amazing read.

    Hazel & Gus
    FAULT IN OUR STARS
    by John Green
    2012

    Love can make a difference even if only around for a short time.  I like this love story because it is so much more real than the immature Romeo and Juliet where they promise to commit suicide together and then never get to actually know what love is like because they are dead. There are so many things wrong with Romeo and Juliet I won’t get started. What I love about Gus and Hazel is that they do make a difference in each other’s lives. They are there for each other even when life is knocking them upside the head and they don’t feel like being strong anymore. 

    Jane & Mr. Rochester
    JANE EYRE
    by Charlotte Bronte
    1847

    Everyone deserves a chance at true love even if you didn’t know what you were doing the first time around. I have heard a lot of people give Mr. Rochester grief because he was hiding his first wife in his attic. Which okay, taken in or out of context is not an honest thing to do.  But I love how this story allows for second chances and for there to be growth and a happy ending even if things go terribly the first time around.

     

     

  • BB 2017 FB

    2017 was a great year for YA books, as will be evident on February 20th, when we present our fifty favorite Young Adult books of 2017 in the Brimhall room, #302 at 7:00 pm.  As book lovers, we’ve been agonizing over which books published in 2017 really are the best.  To whet your appetites for February 20th, and as an excuse to sneak in a few more book recommendations, here are a few (almost equally amazing) books that didn’t make the cut.

    2.13 Batman I Am GothamBATMAN: I AM GOTHAM
    By Tom King

    This graphic novel, and the subsequent series, serves as an excellent examination of the Batman character and his motivations and flaws. The novel introduces new characters who help Batman save Gotham and may allow him to give up crime fighting for good! The artwork is fantastic, the new characters are deep and sympathetic, and the action is exciting, which makes it a great addition to the Batman mythos.  We’re reviewing a few other superhero graphic novels at Best Books, so unfortunately Batman won’t get his well-deserved shout-out.

     

    2.13 The Names They Give UsTHE NAMES THEY GAVE US
    By Emery Lord

    When her perfectly planned summer of quality time with her parents, her serious boyfriend, and her Bible camp unravels and long-hidden family secrets emerge, Lucy must figure out what she is made of and what grace really means.  I really liked the way this book touched on issues like questioning faith and having a great support system when tough times come.  In the end, I liked a few other books a little bit more, so this one didn’t make the cut.

     

    12.13 Song of the CurrentSONG OF THE CURRENT
    By Sarah Tolcser

    Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. Her father is a wherryman, as was her grandmother. All Caro needs is for the river god to whisper her name, and her fate is sealed. When her father is arrested, Caro volunteers to transport mysterious cargo in exchange for his release. Secretly, Caro hopes that by piloting her own wherry, the river god will finally speak her name. This book has a great story, interesting characters who learn and grow, and a dash of magic.  The only thing keeping me from recommending this book is that I felt like I needed to highlight books from other genres a little bit more.

     

    2.13 The WoodTHE WOOD
    By Chelsea Bobulski

    Winter has grown up with her father, who is the guardian of a magical wood where thresholds to other places and times open, and occasionally people wander through. Then Winter’s father disappears, and a boy from the 1700s refuses to return to his time. He claims to have information that could help Winter find her father, but how can anyone from hundreds of years earlier know about her father? I got this recommendation from a co-worker who reads a lot of YA, but who wasn’t part of the Best Books team.  Since no one on the team read the book, it won’t be spotlighted at the event, but I thought everyone should know about it just the same. 

     
  • best books 15 ya

    2015 was a banner year for young adult fiction! Not only did we see an exciting surge in titles featuring diverse protagonists or titles penned by people of color, thanks to the awareness raised by the We Need Diverse Books campaign; but if 2015’s any indication, YA has entered its “Golden Age” and the market continues to mature as an art form.

    In 2015, titles like BONE GAP by Laura Ruby challenged the way we view our place in reality; Jennifer Niven’s ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES reaffirmed the importance of each human life; we saw art explode into being in Daniel Jose Older’s SHADOWSHAPER, and history transform in Laura Amy Schlitz’s THE HIRED GIRL. Finally, Sarah Crossan’s novel ONE made us do a double-take at the lives of conjoined twins.

    Here are the YA novels published in 2015 you should absolutely not miss:

    BoneBONE GAP
    By Laura Ruby
    A favorite of: Courtney Alameda  

    Quite possibly one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, Laura Ruby’s BONE GAP won the 2016 Printz Award and was nominated for the National Book Award with good reason. In a story that blends magical realism with dreamlike imagery, readers meet Finn, a denizen of the rural town called Bone Gap, who witnesses the supposed kidnapping of his older brother’s girlfriend, Roza. Unfortunately, Finn’s own vague descriptions of the man who kidnapped Roza—and his own slowly-emerging disabilities—make it difficult for the police to find her. And Roza herself seems lost in a dream world, one in which a nightmare preys off the very essence of beauty itself.    

     

    hiredgirlTHE HIRED GIRL
    By Laura Amy Schlitz
    A favorite of: Anjanette Jones  

    If you attend the event on February 3rd, you’ll get to hear Anjie speak as passionately about this book as I have! (And yes, you most certainly want to hear Anjie talk about this book!)   Growing up on a hardscrabble farm, Joan avoided her cruel father but adored her mother, who encouraged her to work hard, study her lessons, and earn her own way in the world. After Ma’s death, 14-year-old Joan clashes with her father and flees to Baltimore. Claiming to be 18, she’s taken into the household of a wealthy Jewish family as a hired girl. Joan works hard to please the Rosenbachs and their beloved, aging housekeeper, the testy Malka. Over the next few months, the girl makes her share of mistakes . . . and her overactive imagination, passions, and disregard for propriety often get her into trouble. Still, these qualities endear her to the Rosenbachs (and likely to readers everywhere, too!)        

    ShadowSHADOWSHAPER  
    By Daniel José Older
    A favorite of: Courtney Alameda  

    What else can I say about SHADOWSHAPER but this: READ IT. This book is unlike anything else I’ve read in YA, blending genres, cultures, and languages seamlessly and beautifully.   When Sierra Santiago’s grandfather warns her that the paintings in their Brooklyn neighborhood are “fading,” Sierra’s puzzled. Through her own wit and determination, Sierra discovers she’s descended from a long line of shadowshapers, men and women able to animate art with the spirit of a departed soul.   But now, Sierra’s community is under attack from an anthropologist seeking to appropriate Sierra’s family’s traditions and culture. In order to save it, Sierra must draw upon and amplify her ancestors’ spirits, before their art fades away for good.    

    brightplacesALL THE BRIGHT PLACES
    By Jennifer Niven
    A favorite of: Anjanette Jones  

    From what I’ve heard from readers, this is a beautiful book, a sad book, but a life-affirming book. When Theodore “the Freak” Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—both considering suicide—it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, and a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana. Violet’s running from her sister’s death nine months earlier. Finch’s trying to deal with an undiagnosed case of manic depression. And as they fall into an oddball sort of love, both teens become desperate to save one another from the demons that plague them.  

     

    oneONE
    By Sarah Crossan
    A favorite of: Breanne Gilroy  

    Last but not least, we have one of Breanne’s favorite books of the last year: A novel-in-verse about two sisters suffering from one unique problem.   Attached at the hip—literally—conjoined 16-year-old twins Tippi and Grace have outlived every prognosis for their life span. Their younger, ballet-dancing sister, earnest Mom, drunk Dad, and free-spirited Grammie comprise their whole world until homeschooling funds run out, and Tippi and Grace enter a local New Jersey private school as scholarship students. Their first friends ever, the pink-haired, HIV-positive Yasmeen and sweet, humble Jon, dutifully introduce them to raucous teen fun while serving as vigilantes against bullying and ignorance. When separation surgery becomes a potential reality, crucial questions of how bodies shape identity, friendship, love, and commitment are explored. The pacing’s gentle here, but this isn’t a novel readers will soon forget.

     

    Make sure to join Anjie, Breanne, and I on Tuesday, February 3rd for the YA portion of the Library’s Best Books of 2015 presentation! 

  • fall into a good book 1

    There is a place between awake and asleep that is so blissful and wonderful that to be wrenched from it incurs my wrath and leaves me in a stupor for some time afterwards. There is also a beautiful place like this that you can find while reading: when the author has woven the tale so perfectly that the story, characters, and imaginary world come to life. And you can’t help but get dumped in head first—swallowed whole. 

    Off the top of my head, there are three books I can think of which so engulfed me in a story that pulling me out of it left me in a daze. I can remember distinct moments when, after someone interrupted my reverie, I was unsure of my surroundings or even what the person was saying—because it didn’t sound like English. At those times I was perturbed to be taken from that fictional place because I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sink so deeply again. 

    If you want to fall into some really good books, these are those stories: 

    11.27 BeautyBEAUTY
    By Robin McKinley
    (1978)

    The story of a wealthy merchant who, after learning he has lost everything, comes across a magical and beautiful estate. When he picks a rose for his daughter Beauty, a beast appears—angry that his hospitality would be thanked with thievery. The beast lets the merchant go only because he promises that his daughter will return and live in the castle. Beauty is a formidable character for the Beast: She’s intelligent and has a loving family that she would do anything for. In this beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Robin McKinley spins a tale so magical that I can’t help but be drawn in.  


    11.27 Harry PotterHARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
    By J.K. Rowling
    (1998)

    Boy wizard. Dastardly villain. True friends. Ultimate war between good and evil.  

     

     

     

    11.27 Daughter of the ForestDAUGHTER OF THE FOREST 
    By Juliet Marillier 
    (2000)

    A retelling loosely based on a Celtic Myth called “The Children of Lir” combined with “The Six Swans” by the Brothers Grimm. A girl must sew six shirts from a painful nettle plant in order to save her six brothers from a witch’s enchantment, remaining completely mute until the task is finished. This task becomes especially difficult when she is taken from her homeland by a British lord who is sure she has information about his missing brother. Marillier creates some fantastic characters, beautiful worlds, and an interesting crossover into the land of faerie. 

     

     

  • adult kid books 

    There are plenty of books in the children’s department here at the Provo City Library that adults love to read. The same is true in reverse. We often send our smaller patrons over to the adult’s department to find a specific title they are interested in. Here are 5 of my favorite titles that kids can enjoy, but which can’t be found in our Juvenile Fiction collection.   

    10.05.2018 SweetnessTHE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE
    by Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    A new favorite character among readers, Flavia de Luce is a witty 11-yr-old sleuth and an aspiring chemist. Previously, Flavia’s time has been spent trying to make her sisters’ lives miserable and being made miserable in return. That’s until she finds a dead man in the garden and realizes she’s finally found something to truly put her mind to. This is the perfect book for young mystery-lovers that need to be challenged just a bit.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: While only 11, Flavia often speaks, thinks, and acts like an adult. There is also a smattering of swearing and the occasional Agatha-Christie-esque murder.   

     

    01.05.2018 Book ThiefTHE BOOK THIEF
    by Markus Zusak
    (2005)

    As soon as it was published, The Book Thief became an instant classic. The tale of young Liesel Meminger and her hodge-podge family is narrated by Death. He is a thoughtful and beautiful storyteller, following the little “book thief” during the first half of WWII in Nazi Germany. This is a great read for anyone, but especially for the many kids who love WWII historical fiction.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: The Book Thief can at times be both a little slow and very sad. It touches on themes of wartime violence and Nazi philosophy. It also has quite a bit of language in it both in English and German. I enjoyed listening to this book because the reader gave those words the appropriate color.   

     

    01.05.2018 To Kill a MockingbirdTO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    by Harper Lee
    (1960)

    With over 3 million reviews on Goodreads, most people are familiar with Lee’s tale of childhood antics and the cancer of racism. Scout is an adventurous but naive character who only experiences racism from a distance until it’s thrust violently into her life. Seeing the small southern town through Scout’s eyes can be a wonderful, if gradual, first step into an eye-opening recognition of injustice.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: The main conflict of this book is the accused rape of a white girl by a black man. Both the racism and the believability or un-believability of the girl are sensitive topics. There are also the obvious racial slurs, other language, and violent scenes.   

     

    01.05.2018 Hitchhikers GuideTHE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
    by Douglas Adams
    (1979)

    Arthur Dent discovers his good friend is actually an intergalactic hitchhiker when he’s plucked from earth just moments before it’s destroyed. Hilarious and very British, chaos ensues as a ragtag group travels the universe. While this one may be a bit of a stretch for some kids, many enjoy both its hilarity and thoughtfulness. 

    Why it’s on the adult side: To be fair, this is an adult book. It’s both witty and, at times, philosophical. Be prepared for a smattering of language and sexual innuendos of varying degrees.   

     

    01.05.2018 Michael VeyMICHAEL VEY: THE PRISONER OF CELL 25
    by Richard Paul Evans
    (2011)

    At our library, this book is cataloged as “young adult,” but it’s enjoyed by all ages. 14-yr-old Michael Vey has Tourette's syndrome, but he also has incredible electrical powers. After discovering that one of the most popular girls in school (and his crush) has similar abilities, the two embark on a quest to discover the origin of their mutation. This story is action-packed and a lot of fun.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: Although plenty of kids love this series, I was surprised at the amount of violence. There is also moments of psychological torture that, if really considered, can be quite emotional.   

     
  • fandom 1

     Fandom. Nearly all of us belong to at least one. Think about that one TV show, band, book series, or game that you connected with so deeply, that at times, it’s all you could think or talk about. It’s feeling connected to a community of people who have all experienced the same thrill and passion as you. And waiting for the next release...AGONY!

    Here are five Young Adult novels that celebrate what it’s like to be part of a fandom. The ultimate ode to all things geek.

    FangirlFANGIRL 
    Rainbow Rowell
    (2013)

    This charming novel tells the story of  painfully shy Cath, who prefers the fantasy world of fanfiction to reality. Cath has been writing fanfiction about Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-like wizard who battles vampires and the Humdrum, a creature determined to rid the world of magic. She has thousands of online followers, but as Cath begins her first year of college, expecting to survive by rooming with her outgoing twin sister, Wren, everything starts to fall apart.

     

     

    The Geeks Guide to Unrequited LoveTHE GEEK’S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE 
    Sarvenaz Tash
    (2016)

    Graham and Roxana have been friends for eight years, growing closer through their mutual love of comic books and all things geek. But what Roxy doesn’t know is that Graham has had a hopeless crush on her for years. So when he learns that the creator of their favorite comic will be at this year’s New York Comic Con, Graham knows they have to go, and that it’s the perfect opportunity to confess his unrequited love. But once Comic Con actually starts, nothing goes according to plan, and Graham is left struggling to make the epic moment happen.

     

    GeekerellaGEEKERELLA 
    Ashley Poston
    (2017)

    In this fandom version of the fairy tale Cinderella, Elle Wittimer is a devoted fan of the classic sci-fi TV series Starfield. When Elle finds out that ExcelsiCon is hosting a Starfield cosplay contest in honor of the new movie adaptation, she jumps at the chance, but knows her evil step-family will try to prevent her from attending the ball. When Darien Freeman is cast as the new Prince of Carmindor, Elle thinks it’s a terrible choice. She vents her frustration with the casting on her fan blog and receives unprecedented readership. So when Elle and Darien’s paths cross at the ExcelsiCon ball, it’s not so clear if Elle will get her happily ever after.

     

    The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is YouTHE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU
    Lily Anderson
    (2016)

    In this nerdy take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, Trixie Watson has considered Ben West her arch-nemesis since first grade at Messina Academy for the Gifted, a school for geniuses. In their senior year, Trixie is determined to finally surpass Ben in the class standings. But Trixie and Ben’s respective best friends are exhausted with the verbal sparring and plot to help them form a friendship or maybe more based on their mutual love of comics and science fiction. So when Trixie’s friend gets expelled for cheating, they each have to choose who to believe.

     

    All The FeelsALL THE FEELS 
    Danika Stone
    (2016)

    Ultimate fan Liv has been obsessed with the sci-fi movie Starveil, for years. So, when the main character, Spartan, is unexpectedly killed off in the final movie, Liv and the rest of the fandom can’t accept it. After trying to get over it and failing, she decides that Spartan’s death should be struck from the official canon of the films. With help from her best friend, Xander, a Steampunk-loving aspiring actor, they begin a campaign called #SpartanSurvived.

     

     

  • k pop books

    In a previous Friday Faves, I listed my favorite K-pop CDs, but this time I want to highlight some of the books that I picked up simply because of my love for K-pop and Korean culture. I’m not saying these are the best out there (there’s a LOT I haven’t read yet), but these are ones that I enjoyed simply because… well… Korea! If you’ve got some favorite books that are about Korea or take place there, leave a comment so that I know what to read next! 

    8.4 The Birth of Korean CoolTHE BIRTH OF KOREAN COOL
    By Euny Hong
    (2014)

    Going from a third-world to first-world country in a matter of a few short decades is no simple task, but South Korea managed it, and is now becoming one of the world’s top exporters of pop culture. Euny Hong describes her experience of moving to Korea when she was twelve in the 1980s and how she’s seen the country go from very un-cool, to ultra-cool in that time. This was a fascinating read to see how the country essentially rebranded itself. 

     

     

    8.4 K Pop NowK-POP NOW!
    By Mark James Russell
    (2014)

    There are a wide variety of factors that have contributed to the development and growing popularity of K-pop. Russell provides a broad overview that includes historical and cultural influences, as well as describing what makes the industry unique and different from Western music. From there, Russell provides overviews of some of the current hottest artists in boy groups, girl groups, and solo acts, then briefly ventures onto the future of k-pop and what to expect when traveling to South Korea. 

    8.4 Bride of the Water GodBRIDE OF THE WATER GOD
    by Mi-Kyung Yun
    (2007)

    In this manhwa, Soah’s village is suffering from a long drought. To appease Habaek, the water god, they must sacrifice a girl to be his bride. When Soah is chosen, she understands she will likely die. However, there is something unique about her, and Habaek decides to rescue her. As she adjusts to live in Habaek’s kingdom, she discovers that there are a lot of mysterious things going on, including some that surround her new husband. This is a beautifully drawn manhwa that will be made into a K-drama later this year. 

     

    8.4 RE JaneRE JANE
    By Patricia Park
    (2015)

    In this modern retelling of Jane Eyre, Jane Re is a half-Korean, half-American orphan who grew up in New York. She doesn’t quite fit in and becomes desperate to get away from her Uncle’s strict rules. Jane finds a job working as an au pair for two Brooklyn academics and their daughter, which presents its own unique problems and opportunities. When her grandfather passes away, a quick trip to Seoul for the funeral turns into an extended stay as she reconnects with family and discovers a modern Korea, completely different from the one her uncle left decades earlier.  

     

    8.4 Stars of K Pop GirlsSTARS OF K-POP: GIRLS
    By StarNews
    (2014)

    Through photographs, interviews, and statistics, this book highlights some of the biggest girl groups in the k-pop industry. Girls’ Generation, 2NE1, Kara, f(x), Secret, Sistar, 4minute, T-ara, Miss A, Brown Eyed Girls, Afterschool, Girl’s Day, A Pink, Rainbow, and Crayon Pop are all highlighted with individual member information and tons of pictures. This book is a visual feast for the k-pop fan.

     

     

    8.4 Stars of K Pop BoysSTARS OF K-POP: BOYS
    By StarNews
    (2014)

    Very similar to its above counterpart, this edition of STARS OF K-POP focuses on male idols and groups including Psy, TVXQ, Big Bang, Super Junior, Beast, SHINee, Infinite, 2PM, 2AM, CNBLUE, ZE:A, F.T. Island, MBLAQ, EXO, and Supernova.

     

     

  • fairtyaleretellings

    I love fairy tales. I especially love the quote by G.K. Chesterton, “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.” I personally think that this applies to everyone. We all have our dragons in our lives from paying bills to family drama, and sometimes it is overwhelming facing our personal dragons. Even though real life is not a fairy tale it is nice to have the hope that our own personal dragons can be conquered, and the belief that we can be the hero of our own story.

    EntwinedENTWINED
    by Heather Dixon Entwined
    (2011)

    ENTWINED is a retelling of the “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”. Left alone in mourning after their mother’s death, and their father gone off to war, Princess Azalea and her eleven sisters spend night after night dancing with Keeper, someone trapped in a magic passageway in the walls of the castle. The dances start out fun enough but soon become a nightmare.

    Golden BraidTHE GOLDEN BRAID
    by Melanie Dickerson
    (2015)

    The Golden Braid is a fun retelling of “Rapunzel”. In this story as Rapunzel and her mother are moving once again they are set upon by bandits, and are saved by a passing knight. Later down the road, Rapunzel get the opportunity to save the very knight who previously saved them. In exchange for saving his life Rapunzel makes him promise to teach her how to read. As the story goes on a lifetime of secrets are revealed. Will Rapunzel be able to free herself from a lifetime of lies and help save her kingdom?

    BeautyBEAUTY
    by Robin McKinley
    (1978)

    Beauty is a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”. In this particular retelling of the fairy tale Beauty’s father is a merchant who has recently lost everything in a storm at sea and they go west to make a new future for themselves. One day her father receives word that one of his ships survived the storm and he travels back to the city to discover what is to be recovered. On his way back to his family he gets caught in a blizzard and stays in a mysterious castle in the woods near his home. As he leaves his refuge once the storm has stopped he picks a rose from the garden of the mysterious castle igniting the Beasts anger.  For picking the rose the merchant must give up one of his daughters to live with the Beast forever. Beauty volunteers.  What will happen while Beauty is living with a mythical beast, and what will become of her?

    Saphyre SnowSAPHYRE SNOW 
    by Marci Lynn McClure
    (2009)

    Saphyre Snow is a retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”. Princess Saphyre is running for her life when her stepmother’s huntsman is ordered to kill Saphyre and rip out her heart. When she gets lost in the woods she comes across a band of seven misfits. Will they give her refuge or send her back to be subject to her stepmother’s cruelty?

    Princess of the Silver WoodPRINCESS OF THE SILVER WOOD
    by Jessica Day George
    (2012)

    Princess of the Silver Wood is a fun retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Robin Hood”. Petunia, the youngest of the dancing princesses, gets ambushed by bandits in wolves’ costume on her way to visit an elderly neighbor. Will she and her sisters finally get the chance to break the curse over their family?

  • Woman Reading

    In the process of figuring out what to write about for this post, I made a list of some of my top favorite books—the ones that are always on the tip of my tongue when someone asks me for a recommendation. As I looked at these varied books from different genres, I realized that while the stories are fantastic and beautifully done, each one of these books have some of my favorite female leads. They are strong, clever, and courageous. They make mistakes and come back stronger for it.

    Here are 4 pretty amazing books with top-notch female characters: 

    1.19 Code Name VerityCODE NAME VERITY
    by Elizabeth Wein
    (2012)

    In 1943, a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. On board are two best friends, Maddie (pilot) and Julie (spy). Julie is captured and is forced to detail the British war effort or face execution. She chooses to write her confession in the form of a novel, telling a story of friendship between her and Maddie and about how she ended up in her current predicament. The second half of the book is from Maddie’s point of view and everything that happens after her plane went down. This book does so well showing strong women in the WWII war effort. There is layered storytelling, clever intertextual devices, and unreliable narrators. There is also a prequel about Julie called THE PEARL THIEF that came out in 2017.  

     

    1.19 The Book ThiefTHE BOOK THEIF 
    by Markus Zusak
    (2005)

    This book is set in WWII and told from the point of view of Death. It’s about a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and a whole lot of thievery. Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich, scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist—books. She is taught to read by her accordion-playing foster father and the Jewish man hidden in her basement. This book is so beautifully written and told in such a way that you know what’s going to happen. Death’s point of view is a circular one, so he’s not concerned about spoilers, but that doesn’t matter because I’ve read this book at least 3 times and know what’s coming… each time is beautifully devastating.  

     

    1.19 The Eyre AffairTHE EYRE AFFAIR 
    Jasper Fforde
    (2002)

    Set in an alternative universe of Great Britain 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality and literature is taken very, very seriously. So much so that there is a special division of Literary Detectives in the police force to protect it. Enter Thursday Next (that’s our protagonist not me talking about next Thursday). While trying to capture Acheron Hades, the third most wanted man in the world, her uncle Mycroft is kidnapped for his invention that can let you enter books. Acheron Hades doesn’t use this invention to go into his favorite book but to go into the original manuscript of Jane Eyre and kidnap her half way through the book. As the book is first person, there is an uproar around the world because half of Jane Eyre is now just blank pages. Thursday has to save her uncle, save Jane, and try not to mess with the continuity of the book. This is a book (series) for people who love books. If you haven’t read Jane Eyre, that’s fine, neither has Thursday’s partner, so they will catch you up on the finer details. The writing is clever, the story is silly, and the humor is dry.  

     

    1.19 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieTHE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE 
    Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    11-year-old Flavia de Luce loves chemistry and poisons. During the summer of 1950, in the sleepy English village of Bishop’s Lacey, a dead bird is found on Flavia’s doorstep with a postage stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and sees him take his last dying breath. Flavia is appalled and delighted and decides she’s going to follow the clues to solve the crime herself… to help the police of course. This is a brilliant series with a clever protagonist that uses the fact that she’s 11 to sneak her way through her village to solve the murders.  For people already familiar with the series, the 9th book “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” is out end of this month. 

     
  • CBF 2018 FB event

    I Love Jessica Day George! I credit her with being the one who helped my daughter discover that books could be fun and exciting to read. ( Which is one of the reasons I love her so much.) We read her book DRAGON SLIPPERS together and for the first time ever my daughter didn’t want to stop reading. What more could a parent ask for from an author?

    Her books were not only what got my daughter started reading, but they have kept her reading. She has become one of my personal favorites and many of her books sit on our bookshelves at home. Her books are perfect for anyone who enjoys reading fairytales with a twist, which I love, or stories with dragons and enchanting tales with a sprinkle of magic.  This year in celebration of  Children’s Book Festival, Jessica Day George will be coming to the Provo City Library. I am very excited to hear her talk about her new book THE ROSE LEGACY which is the perfect book for anyone who loves fantasy books about magical gifts and horses. I would recommend any of her books, but here is a list of my favorites:  

    4.30 Dragon SlippersDRAGON SLIPPERS
    (2007)

    Creel is an orphan living with her aunt and uncle, and she has no prospects for marriage. As a solution to what she sees as a big problem her aunt tells Creel to go to the dragon, who has a cave not far from their town, and sacrifice herself in hopes that a knight will come to rescue and marry her. But Creel isn’t a girl who will wait to be rescued.  She decides to conquer the dragon herself and goes into his cave to face her future.  She finds a friend in the dragon, and with a dragon's treasure in hand she begins a path which will change the course of her life. 

     

    4.30 Sun and Moon Ice and SnowSUN AND MOON, ICE AND SNOW
    (2008)

    Based on one of my favorite Nordic legends, EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON, this is the story of an impoverished girl who is offered riches for herself and her family if she will follow a polar bear to his home and remain there for a year. She agrees and begins a journey that she could never have imagined. During the year she spends in the castle of the bear she begins to unravel a mystery with a curse and finds a love she never imagined for herself.   

     

    4.30 Princess of the Midnight BallPRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL
    (2009)

    One of my daughter's favorite fairytales was The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL, Jessica Day George has taken the traditional telling of the story and spun a new tale with delightful characters. She draws you into the royal family, where you begin to feel a connection with the twelve sisters and their struggles to undo a curse that was placed on their family many years ago. The perspective you gain from the oldest daughter makes you want to cheer them on as they dance their way to freedom. 

     

    4.30 Silver in the BloodSILVER IN THE BLOOD
    (2015)

    Do you know all of your family secrets? In the telling of this book you meet twin sisters, Dacia and Lou, who on their 17th birthday are told they must travel to Romania to meet their mother's relatives as well as their tyrant of a grandmother. They leave behind their life in 1890 New York society to embark on a treacherous journey.  While in Romania they discover dark family secrets and find that they are to take their place as one of the loyal servants of the Draculas. They must then decide if they have the courage to change their destiny. 

     

    4.30 Princess of GlassPRINCESS OF GLASS
    (2010)

    Poppy, one of the twelve sisters from PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL, hopes to escape the problems developing in her kingdom by offering to go on a royal exchange program. Poppy, who is one of my favorite fictional characters, has no idea what events are about to unfold for her. She finds herself involved in a plot laid out by a wicked fairy. Poppy is a beautiful dancer, but she despises dancing and has no happy memories of dancing at a ball. So when she is invited to a royal ball she reluctantly agrees to go but has no intention of dancing. However things may not go her way. This is an enchanting retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella and it will “Knit” you tightly into its clutches.

     
  •  Journals

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love to read journals and diaries. I grew up reading every single Dear America book I could get my hands on as well as any of the Royal Diaries books. I learned the other day what the difference is between a diary and a journal - technically a diary is simply a record of events as they happen in someone’s life, where a journal is a book that is a bit more personal and goes through a person’s thoughts and feelings and the evolution thereof. Super cool! Who knew? 

    I personally love the perspective a journal gives about a person’s life and what they were going through.The following are a few books which are written in a journal or diary format. What are some of your favorite journals and diaries to read?

    7.6 Book of a Thousand DaysBOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS
    by Shannon Hale
    (2007)

    Dashti is a fifteen year old who is sworn to obey her sixteen year old mistress, the Lady Saren. This story records the years of Saren’s punishment locked in a tower, then records her going to another's lands and posing as a kitchen maid in order to stay alive.

     

    7.6 Diary of a Young GirlTHE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL
    by Anne Frank
    (1947)

    This is the record of a wonderful young Jewish girl, who was triumphantly human and herself through the ordeal of life before her family was taken to a concentration camp.

     

    7.6 The Perks of Being a WallflowerTHE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
    by Stephen Chbosky
    (1999)

    This book follows the life of Charlie, who is a freshman in High School. Though he is not the weirdest kid in town, he is not popular. This book discusses the unique perspective of a life lived on the fringes, but then learning to step away from the wall and live on the dance floor.

     

    7.6 These is My WordsTHESE IS MY WORDS
    by Nancy Turner
    (1998)

    This story follows Sarah Agnes Prine, beginning in 1881, when her father decides the family needs to move their horse ranch from Arizona to Texas. Sara is 17 and is a tomboy, though she would love nothing more than to be gracious and beautiful like other women. Follow the story of Sarah’s family as Sarah is the one person that often saves them from certain death.

     

    7.6 Go Ask AliceGO ASK ALICE
    by Anonymous
    (1971)

    This book follows the story of a 15 year old girl who develops a drug habit and runs away from home.