Teens

  • fanfiction

    “It was the muffled groan that woke him, in the thin light before dawn.

    Enemies? Surrounded? Ambush?

    Zuko breathed in silently, deeply, ready to unleash a deadly surprise on anyone who might have succeeded in sneaking up on them-

    No one. The Earth Kingdom night was quiet. Just their bare camp out of sight of the road, the annoyingly cheerful chirps of birds, the odd grassy smell of air with no coal smoke or salt in it…

    And another sleepy grumble of complaint from Uncle’s bedroll.”

    So begins Embers, the insanely popular Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfiction by Vathara. The completed work is the length of the entire Harry Potter series put together, and it has more than 8,000 reviews on fanfiction.net. That’s more reviews than some published books have on Goodreads. Clearly, fanfiction is out there. People are writing it, people are reading it. But what is fanfiction, and why is it so popular?

    We all love our favorite books, TV shows, and movies. Sometimes you finish the season or turn the final page, and it just isn’t enough. You want more. You want to know if the main character and the leading lady ever get together. You want more deets on that side character who seemed pretty cool. You want to hear what happened before or after the main action of the story. Or you wonder what it would have been like if things had turned out differently. What if John and Sherlock met during the zombie apocalypse? What if the Avengers went to high school together? What if, like in Embers, Iroh talked Zuko out of stealing that ostrich horse and the two never split up?

    The desire to continue or change our favorite stories is not a new thing, nor is it exclusive to writers on the internet. Since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, dozens of writers have tried their hand at writing new Sherlock Holmes stories. Wide Sargasso Sea, a critically acclaimed piece of post-colonial literature, is a direct spin-off of Jane Eyre. James Joyce’s Ulysses was intended as a modern, Dublin-based retelling of The Odyssey. I mean, even The Lion King is just Hamlet with animals. Writers have always referenced, reinterpreted, and recycled stories from the past, adding their own bit to something that came before. What makes fanfiction any different?

    Well, the only issue I know of is copyright. Many of the writers I mentioned above wrote before the modern conception of copyright law, and those who wrote later changed names or settings to avoid infringement. Fanfiction writers keep names, places, and whatever else they want from their source material. Because of that, fanfiction can’t be published or sold in any way. Remember how Fifty Shades of Gray started out as a Twilight fanfiction? Well, E.L. James had to do some significant reworking (including changing Bella and Edward’s names) before that could happen. Instead, writers post to free sites like fanfiction.net and include disclaimers stating that they do not own the characters.

    Because fanfiction cannot be published for copyright reasons, it sometimes gets the stigma of being just plain unpublishable. Many people view fanfiction as complete trash, filled with bad writing and excessive eroticism. While that stuff certainly does exist, it's important not to assume that the genre itself requires those things. By far the majority of fanfiction would be considered PG-13 or less; E.L. James actually removed Fifty Shades of Grey because it was too erotic for most fanfiction sites. The writing quality on most sites varies wildly, from young beginners to experts at the craft and everything in between. The key is just to sift for exactly what you’re looking for, because I promise it’s out there.

    Reading fanfiction can scratch an itch to spend time with your favorite characters for sure, but so can writing it. Writing fanfiction can be a healthy way to interact with your passions and become a creator, not just a consumer. Not only can it be a great creative outlet, fanfiction also provides a supportive community of people who will read what you write and give you feedback. Many writers like Marissa Meyer have said it helped them hone their craft.

    So go! Give it a try! Write something. Read something. This month at the library we are hosting a Teen Fanfiction Contest, so maybe that will be your excuse to put pen to paper. If you’re ready to read some fics, here’s a handy guide to get you started. Remember that some sites are moderated for quality and some are not. Ask your friends for recommendations and get familiar with the search filters on whatever site you use. Either way, good luck!

    Popular Sites:

    A brief glossary of fanfiction terms and acronyms:

    Fic/fanfic = fanfiction

    One-shot = a story with only one installment

    “x” as in “HarryxHermione” = A romantic pairing included in the fanfiction

    “/” or “slash” = A homosexual pairing

    AU = Alternate Universe, aka settings or events that vary quite a bit from canon

    Mary Sue = An author self-insert, aka a character obviously added to represent the author

    OOC = Out of character

    OTP = One True Pairing, aka a romantic couple that the author feels strongly about

    Ship = Can be used for “relationship” or as a verb, “To support a relationship,” aka “I ship Bella and Jacob”

    Cross-over = A fanfiction that includes characters or settings from multiple different sources

    Canon = The original source material that a fanfiction is drawing from

  •  Book giving

    Young Adult novels are some of my favorites, from the ones that are old friends to new ones that I can hardly put down. The following are some of my favorites from this year that you could give to anyone without worry or concern. I've made sure to only include books which are at the beginning of the series or standalones so you don’t have to worry about giving someone an entire series.

    12.22 Traitors GameTHE TRAITOR’S GAME
    By Jennifer Nielsen
    (2018)

    After three years in exile, Kestra Dallisor has been summoned back to Antora by her father, right-hand man of the seemingly immortal king, Lord Endrick. She is intercepted and kidnapped by the Coracks who want to use her to get the Olden Blade, which they believe can be used to kill the despot. Simon, one of the rebels with his own grudge against the Dallisors, is assigned to accompany her, but Kestra has her own plans and does not intend to let anyone get in her way.

     

    12.22 Children of Blood and BoneCHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE
    By Tomi Adeymi
    (2018)

    Zelie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orisha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. Ever since the reaping, which killed her mother and many of the sorcerers, Zelie and her people have been living on the outskirts of society, praying for survival. That is until Zelie, her brother, and a runaway princess get the opportunity to change the fate of the world.

     

    12.22 Cruel PrinceTHE CRUEL PRINCE
    by Holly Black
    (2018)

    Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans, especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

     

    12.22 The Wicked DeepTHE WICKED DEEP
    by Shea Ernshaw
    (2018)

    Three sisters, drowned as witches in Sparrow, Oregon, in the 1800s, return each summer for revenge, but Penny, seventeen, is determined to stop them to save the boy she loves.

     

    12.22 Sea WitchSEA WITCH
    by Sarah Hennings
    (2018)

    Rendered an outcast in town after her friend Anna's death, Evie befriends a newcomer with an uncanny likeness to Anna. When the girls pursue romances with two charming princes, Evie has a chance at happiness until her new friend reveals a secret.

     

    12.22 SkywardSKYWARD
    by Brandon Sanderson
    (2018)

    When a long-term attack against her world by the alien Krell escalates, Spensa's dream of becoming a pilot may come true, despite her deceased father being labeled a deserter.

     

    12.22 To Kill a KingdomTO KILL A KINGDOM
    by Alexandra Christo
    (2018)

    Lira, a famous siren, must prove herself by stealing the heart of the man, a prince, threatening her race. Will she be able to overcome the obstacles placed before her?

     
    Looking for other holiday giving ideas? Check out our recommendations for adult fiction, more adult fiction, nonfiction, more nonfiction, and picture books.
  •  anne fashion

    One of literature’s most beloved heroines, Anne Shirley, can be an inspiration to all of us. Although she’s far from perfect, she can teach us a lot about wanting adventure, having a huge imagination, and loving with your whole heart.

    But wanting to emulate a character sometimes means we want to do more than act like her—we also want to dress like her. Or at the very least, dress in an aesthetic inspired by her stories. Since L.M. Montgomery’s classic tale is set in the late 1800s in Canada, it might be a bit difficult to cull inspiration directly from the books. Instead of wearing the classic 1880s fashion statement—the bustle—you can take inspiration from the style of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES that fits better with modern styles.

    Anne is both strong and romantic. While she loves to be in charge, and see the world, she is prone to loving the girlish and fanciful. Below are three outfits that I think encompass the romantic but adventurous spirit of Anne.

    Some starting points: Anne loves to go out and adventure, so she probably wouldn’t wear heels unless it was a special occasion, since we have so many other options that are better for having fun, but are just as cute. She loves to be girly, and she isn’t afraid to be a little (a lot) dramatic. She loves romance, especially flowers, so she’d probably wear florals even when it isn’t springtime. And never forget Anne’s classic wide-brimmed hat and braids—the girl loves accessories.

    Outfit 1Outfit #1:

    “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”

    Anne’s world always makes me excited for fall—the crunchy leaves, the cups of tea, the curling up with a good book—so I thought Anne herself might wear an outfit that lets her enjoy the crisp air and the promise of a little autumn magic. While the outfit is practical enough to wear out and about, Anne’s romantic side is preserved through the addition of a scarf and a brooch. The field notes are so that Anne can write down all of her wild imaginings.

     
     

    Outfit 2Outfit #2:

    “Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.”

    Anne is a classic daydreamer—she sometimes lets her imagination run away with her a little bit too much. She sees the romantic everywhere, and conjures up names to match the passion in her heart for all the things around her. An outfit like this will let you curl up with a good book—or a blank notebook—and imagine all the worlds you want to. The comfy sweater and socks allow you to relax, while the locket and embroidered collar infuse it with a little of Anne’s classic romanticism.

     
     

    outfit 3Outfit #3:

    “It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”

    The reason Anne wants her name to be spelled with an E and not just plain ANN is that she longs for the fancy and fashionable. Plain Ann isn’t romantic enough—Anne dreams of a world where she has the most beautiful clothes and wishes to surround herself with lovely things. This outfit will let you traipse off to a museum, school, or a bookstore, so you can meet minds with all the best people—while looking your very best. Although this outfit doesn’t have puffed sleeves, a pinafore dress paired with a quirky printed button-down is sort of the modern equivalent.

     

    When trying to dress like Anne, the most important thing to remember is that you can make your life as romantic as you choose—so throw on your fancy hat, wear your grandma’s brooch, and carry a book with you everywhere you go.  

     

  • 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. 

     
  • text friendly

    Epistolary novels are stories written as a series of documents like journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings. It’s an interesting feature that can lend a sense of intimacy between the reader and the characters. But with our world going increasingly “online,” we’ve begun to see emails, text messages, and blog posts shaping communication and expression – even in books! When I came across my first text-message-heavy novel, I was dubious: is this going to cheapen the story? I was surprised to find that the author was able to take something so mundane and tell a compelling story with it. Below are five young adult novels that incorporate electronic messaging into the story. They might surprise you! 

    8.18 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, Tinder, emails, and more, this translates smartly into modern culture.  Mr. Collins finishing his line with a #humblebrag or Mary's esoteric status updates fit perfectly in with my ideas of the characters from this classic novel. 

     

    8.18 TTYLTTYL
    By Lauren Myracle
    (2014) 

    Zoe, Maddie, and Angela are starting their sophomore year, and use instant messaging to keep each other updated as they start dating, sort out other friendships, and cope with disasters.  Each character has a distinct voice and the story deals with genuine issues even though it is told completely through texts. 

     

     

    8.18 Bad KittyBAD KITTY
    By Michele Jaffe
    (2007) 

    Seventeen year old Jasmine “Calamity” Callihan is spending the summer in Las Vegas with her father, stepmother, and snotty cousin Alyson.  Thank goodness she can keep her friends updated via text when she gets tangled up in an outrageous adventure and has to outwit a crazed killer before he takes more lives.

       

     

    8.18 The Future of UsTHE FUTURE OF US
    By Jay Asher
    (2011) 

    It's 1996, and Emma Nelson has just gotten the internet. Her former best friend Josh gives her an AOL CD, which she installs, but when she logs on, she finds a weird site called Facebook. She can see herself in the future - and she doesn't really like what she sees. Josh, on the other hand, has a future that looks pretty ideal. Emma tries to find ways to change her future, while Josh tries to keep his the same. 

     

    8.18 Little Blog on the PrairieLITTLE BLOG ON THE PRAIRIE
    By Cathleen Bell
    (2010) 

    Gen Welsh does not want to spend her summer living as if it's 1890, but since her mother signed the family up for a summer "historical reenactment" camp, Gen finds herself milking cows, churning butter, and using an outhouse. Desperate for some normalcy, Gen uses her totally-against-camp-rules hidden cell phone to text her friends about camp life, but when her friends secretly post her messages to a blog, it goes viral.

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • favoritefavorite 1

     Anyone who reads a lot can empathize with the pressure I feel, as a librarian, to pick a favorite book. It’s often the first question people ask me when I tell them that reading is my favorite hobby. The problem, of course, is that I don’t have a favorite book.  

    Or rather, I have way too many! I could easily come up with a categorized list of about 400 favorite books separated into genre, age group, guilty pleasure books, etc. But, if I had to pick, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is my favorite book on my long list of favorite books. The story is fun and classic and well-known enough that you don’t seem pretentious when you say that you love it. And, like many childhood classics, there are always new interpretations to explore.  

    Here are a few favorite books based on my official favorite book:  

    Alices Adventures in WonderlandAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
    By Lewis Carroll
    Illustrated by Anna Rifle Bond
    (2015)   

    The illustrations in Alice have always been one of the best parts for me, and while hundreds of artists have taken the time to illustrate Wonderland, this edition offers a unique interpretation of a magical and fantastic world. Every page in this book is pretty and cartoonish, offering a fun new journey to Wonderland alongside Lewis Carroll’s original and unabridged text.  

     

    HeartlessHeartless
    By Marissa Meyer
    (2016)   

    In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Lady Catherine is reluctant to marry the King of Hearts, especially once she finds love with the king’s mysterious new jester. Marissa Meyer crafts her own beautiful version of Wonderland filled with romance and a little bit of darkness. I love this new look at Wonderland.  

     

     

     

    Queen of HeartsQueen of Hearts  
    By Colleen Oakes
    (2016)   

    This book offers another exploration into Wonderland before Alice, but here the future Queen of Hearts is called Princess Dinah, and she has yet to learn about the darkness that fills her future kingdom. I was not expecting to enjoy two new Queen of Hearts origin stories in the same year, but this book – the first in a new series – convinced me that there should be even more.  

     

     

    There are so many Fractured Wonderland stories that it was hard to pick out a few favorites (obviously). Are there other favorites that we missed? 

     

  •  Learning to Love Fantasy Again 2

    Growing up, I loved fantasy. Authors like Robin McKinley, Gail Carson Levine, Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis, and, of course, J.K. Rowling captured my imagination and carried me off to magical worlds. I reread their books again and again, loving the immersion and escapism they offered.

    As an adult, I’ve found a few new favorites (Jessica Day George, Shannon Hale, and Cassie Beasley come to mind), but for the most part I’ve moved away from fantasy in favor of other genres. So many of the novels I’ve tried recently have disappointed me due to shallow world-building or a focus on romance at the expense of plot. I was beginning to wonder if, at the ripe old age of 29, I’m just too old and crotchety for fantasy.

    Fortunately, 2017 is changing my mind. This year, three novels in particular have blown me away with their beautiful writing, imaginative and vivid world building, and three-dimensional characters.

    9.7 The Bear and the NightingaleTHE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE
    By Katherine Arden
    (2017)

    This book, the first by author Katherine Arden, draws on Russian folklore to create an utterly engrossing story of a young girl who embraces magic at a time when it is being suppressed. I read THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE early in the year, but I can still picture the characters and setting with perfect clarity because the book is so beautifully written. Although this is a coming of age story, it is marketed to adults rather than teens, largely because the novel has its dark and creepy aspects. At turns playful, heartbreaking, comforting, scary, and suspenseful, THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE really is a wonderful book.

     

    9.7 The Black WitchTHE BLACK WITCH
    By Laurie Forest
    (2017)

    This Y.A. fantasy novel is CONTROVERSIAL. Though it received starred reviews from several review journals, it has also been excoriated by a few prominent book bloggers for being racist, homophobic, ableist, sexist, and more. So why is THE BLACK WITCH one of my favorite fantasy reads in years?

    As the book begins, its protagonist, Elloren Gardner undeniable exhibits all of the characteristics listed above, as do her family and the society in which she lives. As the book progresses, however, Elloren gradually comes to recognize that the history and prejudices she’s been raised with are inaccurate and cruel. This may be a book about a racist, but I don't feel like it's a racist book. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    This book may not be for everyone. Particularly for individuals who have been on the receiving end of prejudice, it's perfectly valid to not want to live in the mind of a prejudiced character for hundreds of pages. I believe, however, that THE BLACK WITCH has a valuable message about both how a racist (or homophobe, sexist, ableist, etc.) is made and how they can be unmade. Education and relationships with people who are different from herself are the keys to Elloren’s awakening (which isn’t perfectly complete at the end of the book – this is the first of a series, after all), and maybe through her story readers will confront their own unacknowledged prejudice and privilege. It certainly left me thinking deeply about difficult issues, something that you don’t always expect from Y.A. fantasy.

    On top of that, Laurie Forest is an excellent writer, creating a world with a complex history, fascinating cultures, and a vivid cast of characters. The complexity of the magical society she developed even reminds me of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world. I was riveted from the first page and finished this 600 page book within 48 hours.

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

    STRANGE THE DREAMER may just have the most unique, vivid, and gorgeous world-building I’ve ever encountered in a fantasy novel.  Lazlo Strange, a poor, orphaned young man, has fixated on the lost city of Weep since childhood. Though others say Weep is simply a myth, Lazlo pours his heart into researching the mysterious city, desperate to uncover its secrets. The story is difficult to do justice to in a synopsis, but count on this novel for dreams, nightmares, adventure, romance, mystery, and plenty of plot twists.

    Plus, the main character is a librarian, which is certainly a point in his favor. I <3 Lazlo Strange.

     

     

  • Escape Room FB

    As a librarian, there are few things that get me as excited as planning a teen activity that I think they will love. I’d been toying with the idea of an escape room for a while, and when it was first presented to the Teen Volunteer Board, their enthusiastic response confirmed that I had to do it.

    When ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY came out in theaters, I thought it would be a good idea to piggy-backoff the movie hype and use that as the theme to our room. So, on February 23rd, we hosted a Rogue One themed escape room for teens. It was a hit!

    We had 48 teens (split into nine separate groups) work through our small study rooms solving puzzles, then use what they’d learned in each room to figure out where in our Data Vault the Death Star plans were located. The puzzles were fairly difficult, and several groups correctly solved one room, while only two groups solved both rooms and found the Death Star plans. 

    Here’s a quick run through of what the teens experienced:

    20170310 Waiting to go in

    Briefing

    Our Smart Room (#155) became a briefing room where teens watched a video that set the scene and explained what they were about to encounter. The video was about five minutes long and could be watched several times.

    Solve The Puzzle

    As soon as the first room (#154) was ready, a group of four to six teens headed in. In this room, they had to complete a number puzzle. The catch? There were no numbers on the puzzle, only Aurebesh Letters, and they had to solve it within ten minutes or the Empire would discover their location.

    Thankfully, the Rebel Alliance had already seen this room and left a Rebel symbol on a hidden box that contained the needed key. If the teens looked hard, they also found a file folder with an old Galactic Empire memo that served as a hint for the puzzle. The Aurebesh Letter that completed the puzzle would be needed at the Data Vault.

    Complete The Equation

    Once the first room was complete, they moved on to the second room (#153). In this room, teens had to find hidden Kyber crystals and a mold that they fit into. When the Kyber crystals were placed correctly, they created a simple math equation that needed to be solved. Again, they only had ten minutes to do this. The solution to this equation would be needed at the Data Vault.

    The Data Vault

    When the teens left the second room, they headed back to the Teen Corner where the Data Vault awaited them. It was a simple grid with the rows represented by Aurebesh Letters, and the columns represented by numbers. If both rooms were correctly solved, the teens could easily pinpoint the Death Star plans. If not, they got a Star Wars joke instead.

    Final Thoughts

    Having two mini rooms that only took about ten minutes each, instead of a single full-size room that took longer, worked well for this particular event, but I don’t know if I'd purposefully design it that way in the future. Resetting each room did take a little time, and even though we’d scheduled the event to last until 8:00 pm, our last group finished at 8:57 pm. Because we went over our scheduled time, we thankfully didn’t have to turn anyone away. Every teen that came and wanted to participate was able to do so.

    Overall, this program was a lot of fun to both plan and execute. I have a feeling there will be more escape rooms in the Library’s future.

    What themes would you be interested in seeing? 

  • laser tag

    I can’t be the only one who’s had the thought, wouldn’t laser tag be fun to play in the library? Sneaking through the stacks, hiding behind chairs, avoiding the enemy, all while trying to tag as many people as you can. How have we not already done this?!

    Let’s do it now!

    On Saturday, September 9th, we’re partnering with Frontline Tactical Action Games for this exciting teen event. At 6:00 pm when the library closes, teens will enter the North Courtyard (from the north parking lot) where they will have some pre-game activities and snacks. Then, when the equipment is setup and ready, teens will be ushered into the first floor of the library for battle.

    Tickets for this free teen event will be distributed online starting August 26th and are limited to 40 players. Should tickets run out, there will be an online waitlist. Those on the waitlist are encouraged to come and participate in Courtyard activities and standby for an open game spot. All participants (with tickets or on the wait list) will also need to bring a completed permission slip.

    Teens, sign up with your friends and come hang out as we turn the library into a laser tag battle ground! We’re looking forward to this exciting event, and hope to see you then! 

    Reserve Your Tickets Here

    Get Your Permission Slip Here 

  • Teen OVP 2018 FB event

    It’s no secret that I think Korean culture is awesome. I’ve mentioned it in past blog posts (Friday Faves: K-Pop, Global Road Warrior, Friday Faves: Books for K-Pop Lovers), and just yesterday I was caught up talking to my dental hygienist about my favorite Korean dramas while she cleaned my husband’s teeth … but that’s beside the point.

    Korea is awesome! And my love for it was bound to influence a Library program eventually.

    Since the Olympics are in Pyeongchang, South Korea this year, we’re celebrating with a Teen Olympic Viewing Party, complete with Korean food! My mouth is watering…

    As we watch the Olympics we’ll be serving kimbap (김밥) which consists of various fillings wrapped in rice and seaweed, similar to Japanese sushi, and tteokbokki (떡볶이), rice cakes stir-fried in a spicy sauce. Both of these are delicious in their own way, and are common street foods in Korea.

    If you are a teen, or know of a teen that…

    • is interested in watching the Olympics,
    • likes trying international cuisine,
    • is riding the Korean wave,
    • wants to just hang out for a little while, or might be hungry (this is the part that’s meant to refer to all teens)

    then make sure they hear about our Olympic Viewing Party on Thursday, February 22 at 7:00 pm in the Shaw Programming Room (#260).

    We’ll see you there, ready to cheer on the athletes! Hwaiting!*  

    *Hwaiting: In Korean (화이팅, or 파이팅), a commonly used word of support, encouragement, and/or a cheer. Originating from the English word, “fighting.”

  • Teen Self Help

    The start of school is a new beginning, a great time to evaluate goals and start good habits. Maybe you want to be better at planning homework time, or are interested in building your resume. Maybe you just want to feel more comfortable in your own skin. A new school year is a great time to work on yourself and your future. If you are looking for some great ways to improve your school year, our nonfiction collection is a great place to start. 

    10.10 Seven HabitsSEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEENS
    by Sean Covey
    (2014)

    This is a classic when it comes to setting goals and making decisions. Covey builds off the original 7 Habits to help you work on different aspects of your life, from friendships to school, to getting along with your parents to dating. It also has great sections on how to create good social media habits, resist negative peer pressure, and find direction in life and school.  

     

    10.10 Ignite Your SparkIGNITE YOUR SPARK: DISCOVERING WHO YOU ARE FROM THE INSIDE OUT
    by Patricia Wooster
    (2017)

    What do you love? What makes you excited about life? These are some of the key questions asked by this book. Through interactive quizzes and activities it will help you find things that motivate you to be your best and most creative self. Learn how to make failure into success, build your determination, and build the future that you really want.   

     

    10.10 The Self Esteem HabitTHE SELF-ESTEEM HABIT FOR TEENS: 50 SIMPLE WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE EVERY DAY  
    by Lisa Schab
    (2017)

    It’s hard not compare yourself to others, especially in high school. With social media creating unattainable standards, it is difficult not to be hard on ourselves. What happens when these feelings of comparison become insecurities? Using these simple habits of mind, you can build your confidence and self-esteem.

     

    10.10 Getting Stuff DoneA TEEN’S GUIDE TO GETTING STUFF DONE
    by Jennifer Shannon
    (2017)

    Do you struggle with procrastination? There are actually different types of procrastinators. Are you a warrior? A pleaser? A perfectionist? Or are you a rebel? Each type has different strengths and weaknesses and different reasons for procrastinating. Learn to understand your motivation or lack of motivation with this interesting and insightful discussion of why you may be leaving things until the last minute.   

     
  • bsc fashion header 

    The 80s and 90s have been making a major comeback in fashion. Not so coincidentally, the same can be said for media and entertainment. With the new Babysitters Club TV show headed our way, and the resurgence of the book series with updated covers and in graphic novel form, the nostalgia for everybody’s favorite girl gang has been real. Each of the original five taught young girls so much about how to deal with everyday problems and how to be true to themselves—lessons which are still applicable today. They’re excellent role models, and each was unique in both style and personality.

    Below, I’ll give examples of how these five amazing babysitters might dress today, if one wanted to emulate their favorite babysitter.

    KristyKRISTY

    Kristy would take full advantage of the growing athleisure trend. Our fearless leader is all about true comfort, and not budging even an inch in the interest of fashion. Luckily for her, she can look put-together but still laidback in modern styles so as not to draw the critical eyes of her best friends, Stacey and Claudia.

    Kristy is far too athletic to care if everything matches perfectly, or fits quite right. She’d stick to neutrals to keep it simple, and she’s not into matching sets—that’s a little too cute for her. Starting with a simple pair of actual athletic leggings, in black, Kristy would wear a plain tee on top, but it would be a true basic with a simple fit. Functional tennis shoes in a fun color on bottom, and a denim jacket tied around her waist for when she’s out late playing games keep her ready to get active at any time. And of course, her signature baseball cap over her ponytail so she doesn’t have to do her hair.

     

    ClaudiaCLAUDIA

    Claudia will forever be that cool artsy girl whose style we didn’t dare copy, even though we all wished we could. She’s sophisticated, but not as sleek as her best friend Stacey. Her style tends more towards funky, stylish, trendy, and colorful. She’s known for little pieces that pull her look together, like a scarf that has all the colors of her outfit, or earrings that match a bracelet, or something else that gives her look, which might be a little crazy, a nice touch.

    Claudia would embrace every inch of the latest cool, trendy styles, but with her ever-present flair for vintage and thrifted goods. The current overalls obsession would entice her instantly. But she wouldn’t just wear the most basic of denim overalls. No, she’d find the ones with the funky print or the pinstripes. And of course, she wouldn’t wear them with anything neutral. She’d pick a brightly colored blouse with a menswear touch, via a necktie. The mules trend would work really well with her style, so she’d find a funky pair of velvet embroidered ones. To top off her look she’d match her earrings to her shoes and call it a good day.

     

    DawnDAWN

    Dawn has always been our laid-back California girl. While she exudes casual cool, she’s never been one to work too hard on her outfits. She likes it simple and comfy, but she’s far less into athletics than Kristy. If it’s too tight, or too girly, or too sporty, it won’t do. She likes to be able to run to the beach at any time, and not have to worry too much about her clothes.

    Dawn would be all over the boyfriend jeans trend. They’re loose and comfy, but she looks cool in them. Despite her rejection of trendy clothes, she likes looking cool. She’d pair her loose jeans with an equally loose shirt, preferably a relaxed button down in some color reminiscent of her pastel-studded childhood. On her feet would be some sort of sporty sandal in a fun color that she can look nice in on the boardwalk, but also won’t be ruined if she just can’t resist getting her feet wet. On both her wrist and in her long, blonde hair, we can assume she’d have a velvet scrunchie, as they’re the easiest and coolest way to remind us of the original BSC.

     

    StaceySTACEY

    Stacey has always been the more sophisticated companion to Claudia’s wild style. She wears a lot of black, she always looks put-together and a little older than her friends, and she is perfectly in style at all times. Stacey would never leave the house looking anything less than flawless.

    Starting with her signature color, black, Stacey would wear a sleek midi pencil skirt. On top, she’d wear a black slouchy turtleneck, which is a nice update to the turtlenecks of her childhood. She’d wear it in a half tuck so that she keeps the lines of her skirt, while maintaining her casually sophisticated style. For accessories she’d keep it simple with a simple gold pendant necklace with an S on it. On her feet, nude slides would keep with her sleek theme and will be comfy enough to keep up with her likely busy life.

     

    Mary AnneMARY ANNE

    Mary Anne is our resident sweetheart. She’s kind and loving, and very responsible. And it shows in her clothing. Mary Anne would love touches of the twee styles that have become mainstream in the last few years, although she’ll never be truly converted. She’s far too sensible to lean too far into fashion. She might be convinced to wear a sweet Peter Pan collar dress or shirt, but she’ll always return to the fashion basics that keep her looking preppy, girly, and professional.

    Mary Anne would rock a simple sweater in a neutral color with a collar underneath. The simplicity of it keeps her looking grounded and not too fashionable, but looks nice and classic with the addition of a collar. Mary Anne loves a good pair of basic, dark wash jeans, with zero holes, and a sleek cut. A pair of classic brown ankle boots round out her look and provide her with a pop of color and the ability to jet around and get things done. And of course, she must wear a watch.

     

    The BSC helped inspire young girls to make their mark on the world. And we love them so much, we still want to be like them today. If you choose to dress like your favorite babysitter, don’t forget to emulate her best qualities too!

  • third party

    We all know the two big names in comic books: Marvel and DC. We read their comics, watch their movies, and pick sides over which one is our favorite. However, there’s no monopoly on superheroes, and these two powerhouses aren’t the end of the story. Since the 80s, dozens of smaller publishers have cropped up, each with their own unique heroes, stories, and flavors. Our library collects highly reviewed comics regardless of publisher, so it can be a good place to get your toes wet and try a universe you haven’t read or watched before. Here are just a few of the third-party comics publishers that we house:

    Image Comics

    Founded in 1992, Image Comics provides a place where comics creators can publish their stories without giving up the rights to their characters. This is a huge departure from Marvel and DC’s way of doing things, and means that almost any comic you pick up from them will have an all-new cast. This has led to hundreds of separate storylines rather than a coherent universe. Because of their relative independence (and since you don’t need to know 60 years of history for each character), Image comic books are easy to jump into.

    8.22 DescenderDESCENDER
    By Jeff Lemire
    (2015)

     

     

     

     

     

    CHEW
    Bby John Layman
    (2012)

    REED GUNTHER
    By Shane & Chris Houghton
    (2011)

    INVINCIBLE
    By Robert Kirkman
    (2011)

    Dark Horse

    Founded in 1986, Dark Horse has its fingers in all the pies. It does licensed material like the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER comics, creator-owned material like Mike Mignola’s HELLBOY, and even some manga.

    8.22 BuffyBUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
    By Joss Whedon
    (2007)

     

     

     

     

     

    HELLBOY
    By Michael Mignola
    (2003)

    THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA
    Edited by Patrick Thorpe
    (2013)

    TRIGUN MAXIMUM
    By Yasuhiro Nightow
    (2003)

    VIZ

    Founded the same year as Dark Horse, VIZ is a far more focused publisher. They do manga, manga, and more manga. Because they’re also heavily involved in anime licensing and the television side of things, their manga is frequently adapted into popular shows. Fans of the manga want to watch the shows, and new fans of the shows want to read the manga, so it’s a circular system where both the print and the screen versions of a story benefit.

    8.22 NarutoNARUTO
    By Masashi Kishimoto
    (2003)

     

     

     

     

     

    OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB
    By Bisco Hatori
    (2005)

    FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST
    By Hiromu Arakawa
    (2005)

    TOKYO GHOUL
    By Sui Ashida

    IDW

    Last but not least we have Idea and Design Works, or IDW for short. Recognized as the fifth largest comic publisher in the United States, IDW focuses largely on graphic novel adaptations of popular TV shows and films. Though it has adapted several series for adults, the bulk of the company’s titles are intended for children, including their line of Cartoon Network-based comics.

    8.22 Doctor WhoDOCTOR WHO: PRISONERS OF TIME
    By Scott & David Tipton
    (2013)

     

     

     

     

     

    THE POWERPUFF GIRLS
    By Troy Little
    (2014)

    TMNT ADVENTURES
    By Justin Eisinger
    (2012)

    MY LITTLE PONY: THE MAGIC BEGINS
    By Lauren Faust
    (2013)

     

  • millenial pink

    If you don’t know what Millennial Pink is, don’t feel bad. As a millennial—and being self-described “basic”—I make sure that I keep up to date on all of the latest trends. And since I love pink, I’m obviously all about this fad.

    For the un-initiated, Millennial Pink is that one shade of pink that seems to be popping up everywhere these days – hipster restaurants, indie album covers, food (Starbucks’ pink drink anyone?), crushed velvet ballet flats, etc. It’s that not quite peach, not quite coral, not quite Pepto Bismal hue that you’ve seen all over the place whether you realize it or not. If you google “Millennial Pink” you’ll find dozens of articles trying to over-explain its appeal to youths – and they will confirm one thing: it is in.

    Millennial Pink has even crept its ways into publishing houses and libraries – there are a ton of Millennial Pink covered books that have been published recently. I can’t say for sure whether or not you’ll understand young people better by reading a book with a visually appealing cover, but I can say that your Instagram will look a lot better.

    Here’s a list of books in our collection – some old, some new – to help you achieve that Millennial ~aesthetic~

    8.10 Alex and ElizaALEX & ELIZA: A LOVE STORY
    By Melissa De La Cruz
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Dear Fang With LoveDEAR FANG, WITH LOVE
    By Rufi Thorpe
    (2016) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Tell Me How This Ends WellTELL ME HOW THIS ENDS WELL: A NOVEL

    David Levinson
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 White FurWHITE FUR: A NOVEL
    By Jardine Libaire
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The Rules Do Not ApplyTHE RULES DO NOT APPLY: A MEMOIR
    By Ariel Levy
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Girl In PiecesGIRL IN PIECES
    By Kathleen Glasgow
    (2016) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The Husbands SecretTHE HUSBAND’S SECRET
    By Liane Moriarty
    (2013) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Rebel BelleREBEL BELLE
    By Rachel Hawkins
    (2014) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Broken Hearts Fences and Other Things to MendBROKEN HEARTS, FENCES AND OTHER THINGS TO MEND
    By Katie Finn
    (2014)

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The LuxeTHE LUXE
    By Anna Godbersen
    (2007) 

     

     

     

     

    8.10 PrettyPRETTY
    By Justin Sayre
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    Hopefully these recommendations will make your #bookstagram a little more pink and a little more basic. Be sure to tag the Provo City Library in any of your #booksofinstagram finds!

  • Shoes

    One of the things I love about reading is the ability to gain new perspectives and empathize with others, even when they’re fictional. I especially love books that let me safely experience things outside of my comfort zone. As a public librarian my path crosses with a wide variety of people, and while it can be easy to make assumptions, I read a few books this year that I felt gave me a new understanding of the people around me.

    NONFICTION 

    3.27 EducatedEDUCATED
    By Tara Westover
    (2018)

    People come to the Library for a variety of reasons and with a variety of backgrounds. This book reminds me that, what at first glance can appear to be rudeness, laziness, or a lack of cleanliness, can be due to a variety of legitimate reasons I know nothing about. Tara Westover was born in the mountains of Idaho to survivalist parents and didn’t set foot in a classroom until she was 17-years-old. Attending college was different from any experience she’d ever had, and her unique past and limited understanding of the world, history, and social norms made her experiences and accomplishments all the more extraordinary. Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction, and this powerful memoir is just that.

     

    3.27 The 57 BusTHE 57 BUS 
    By Dashka Slater
    (2017)

    I’ve had the opportunity to take books to teens in juvenile detention, meeting several who dreamed of a life better than the one they were living. I’ve also met people with a variety of gender identities, struggling to figure out who they are. This book follows the lives of two teens in with similar struggles, something I’ve never dealt with, and found very eye opening. One day on the 57 bus, for no particular reason aside from thinking it could be funny, Richard set Sasha’s skirt on fire. He thought it would smolder a bit and surprise Sasha, like a practical joke, but instead it erupted in a ball of flames, severely burning Sasha’s body. It was treated as a hate crime since Sasha is agender, and Richard was facing life imprisonment. Using her background in journalism, Slater covers the lives and decisions of both teens leading up to the incident, and how both lives were heartbreakingly altered.

     

    FICTION 

    3.27 An Absolutely Remarkable ThingAN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING
    By Hank Green
    (2018)

    I met one of my favorite YouTubers this year and was amazed at how normal she was without a camera in hand. In an age of social media influencers it can be easy to idolize people and feel like you know them without actually meeting them. In this contemporary sci-fi novel, mysterious giant statues appear overnight around the world, and April May goes viral for being in a YouTube video about the first one. What does becoming an overnight celebrity do to a person? How does social media change our perception of reality? This book explores those questions in a way that feels genuine and personal, probably because the author is a social media influencer himself. If you follow someone who makes their living on social media, this book can be eye opening. 

     

    3.27 Sea WitchSEA WITCH 
    By Sarah Henning
    (2018)

    If you’ve seen the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, odds are you have a pretty negative opinion of the Sea Witch. Henning spins the original Hans Christian Andersen tale a little differently, focusing on the origin of the Sea Witch, and only introducing the Little Mermaid at the very end where the original tale begins. It’s hard to not feel compassion for the Sea Witch when you understand her background and why she made the decision to take the Little Mermaids voice in exchange for legs. While Disney’s Sea Witch is an archetypal villain, Henning humanizes her and turns her into a sympathetic and multifaceted character that feels more realistic. If you want your perception of a fictional character to take a 180° turn, this is the book to do it. 

     

    3.27 Warm BodiesWARM BODIES 
    By Isaac Marion
    (2011)

    Okay, I can’t say I’ve ever met a zombie, but if a zombie apocalypse were to ever happen, I want the zombies to be like the ones in WARM BODIES. The vast majority of the book is spent inside R’s head, listening to his internal dialogue and seeing the changed world through his eyes. It’s quite philosophical for a zombie book, which is why it’s on my list. R has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listing to Frank Sinatra. When he decides to let one girl live and keep her safe from the undead, his life death will change forever. This is a funny, scary, and moving take on the classic Romeo and Juliet story.

     

    So, if you want to expand your horizons this year, exercise your empathy, and perhaps get out of your comfort zone through the safety of a book, I would highly recommend any of these titles.

     
  • Witchy Reads

    My fascination with all things witchy dates back to September 27th, 1996 - more than 20 years! Any guesses what inspired it?

    Ever since then, I've loved the idea of witchcraft, though not in a serious way. There's just something appealing about potions, spells, animal familiars, and covens of powerful women. Thanks to this fascination, fiction books with witchy protagonists inevitably catch my eye. In honor of the season, I thought I'd share a few exciting titles that feature wonderful witches.

    10.12 The Witches of New YorkTHE WITCHES OF NEW YORK
    By Ami McKay
    (2017)

    After reading several starred reviews of Ami McKay's new book, I knew I had to read it. It did not disappoint. THE WITCHES OF NEW YORK tells the story of Adelaide and Eleanor, two magical women who run Tea and Sympathy, a shop that offers tarot readings and herbal remedies in addition to tea and biscuits. When a naive young woman named Beatrice joins them as an assistant, mundane and magical forces combine to endanger the shop and the women who run it. A warning for cautious readers that this novel does include occasional sex and violence.

     

    10.12 The Girl Who Drank the MoonTHE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON
    By Kelly Barnhill
    (2016)

    This Newbery winner is an absolute delight. In this children's novel, the people of the Protectorate abandon a baby in sacrifice to the witch who lives outside their village. Little do they know that Xan is a kindly witch who is baffled by their offerings. Each year she takes the babies to a loving family across the forest, until one night she accidentally enmagics one of her charges. She then raises Luna alongside a swamp monster and a perfectly lovable, perfectly tiny dragon.

    THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON tells a lovely story and features the most charming and playful writing I've encountered aside from J.K. Rowling's. Even better, the audiobook reader gives what may just be my favorite narration of all time.

    10.12 The Black WitchTHE BLACK WITCH
    By Laurie Forest
    (2017)

    I've written about my love for this book before, but I had to include it again here. In THE BLACK WITCH, teenager Elloren Gardner leaves her small village to attend an international boarding school. She's the daughter of the Black Witch, Gardneria's rescuer and one of the most powerful mages of all time. When Elloren arrives at school, however, she discovers that the history she's been taught may not be accurate, and that the prejudices she's been raised with are undeserved and even cruel. THE BLACK WITCH deals with difficult topics in a complex but relatable way and in my opinion deserves every starred review it received.

     

    10.12 The Rules of MagicTHE RULES OF MAGIC
    By Alice Hoffman
    (2017)

    Full disclosure here: I haven't actually read this yet. After all, it only came out two days ago! Fans of Hoffman's 1995 book PRACTICAL MAGIC will be thrilled to know that she has returned to the story of the Owens family. For the members of this magical clan, love is a curse that inevitably results in death and heartache. THE RULES OF MAGIC follows an earlier generation of Owens siblings - Franny, Jet, and Vincent - as they navigate the heady days of the 1960s. I've read a few of Hoffman's other works, and her three-dimensional characters, detailed plots, and lush, lyrical writing never disappoint. And based on early reviews, this prequel is every bit as magical as its predecessor.

    Bonus: If you can't get enough fictional witchcraft, check out basically anything by Sarah Addison Allen. Within the pages of her sweet books, you're sure to find romance and magic in a small southern town.