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Side by Side

We know that every book is original, but one thing we love at Teenreads is trends! It's fascinating to see how two books might tackle the same topic (reality television, PTSD, soccer) but approach it in completely different ways. In this feature, we'll ask authors whose books cover similar themes to answer the same set of questions, and list the results side by side. Sometimes the authors might even interview one another about their books, and we'll print their conversation.

Side by Side: Dangerous Waters

Reading in the sand, splashing your siblings in the ocean, devouring an ice cream cone before it melts…the beach can be so pleasant! But as authors Kat Rosenfield, Michael Northrop and Nichola Reilly know, it can also be a dangerous, dark and terrifying place.

For this month’s side-by-side, we wanted to add some scare to your summer by focusing on books with a “dangerous waters” theme. In Kat Rosenfield’s thriller INLAND, Callie’s mother drowned in the ocean, and now she’s feeling the magnetic pull towards Florida’s chilly waters, too. In SURROUNDED BY SHARKS by Michael Northrop, Davey gets caught in a rip tide while on vacation and ends up surrounded by water…and something even more terrifying. And in DROWNED by Nichola Reilly, Coe lives on the Island of Tides, where the land all but disappears during high tide, and there’s an ever-growing danger that it will get swallowed by the ocean for good.

Read below to hear Kat, Michael and Nichola talk about the coolest underwater creatures, their favorite ocean memories and how they’d spend a beach day with the protagonists of their books.

Side by Side: Serial Killers


There are lots of things that give us nightmares --- vampires creeping in the middle of the night to suck our blood, an ocean full of sharks with no boats in sight or forgetting to set the alarm and missing AP exams or a flight to Tahiti. What’s really scary, though? Killers. Serial killers, to be exact.

That’s why we talked to S.E. Green and Kim Derting --- two serial killer experts --- for our latest side by side. In S.E. Green’s book KILLER INSTINCT, Lane works at a local animal hospital, practices martial arts…and is obsessed with tracking down serial killers and delivering justice when the law fails. When one comes to her home town, though, can she catch him before he hurts someone she loves…and make sure she doesn’t cross the line from vigilantism to crime? In Kim Derting’s Body Finder series, Violet can sense people who have been murdered, and the imprints they leave on their killers. She had to use her power to track down a local serial killer in THE BODY FINDER, and in the newest book in the series --- DEAD SILENCE --- one of the people closest to Violet is a suspect in a horrific murder, and she has to find out who really did it.

Read below to find out the scariest things S.E. Green and Kim Derting learned in their research, the inspiration for their stories, and the alternate identities they would have chosen in high school. 

Side by Side: Oracles

There are a lot of cool superpowers out there --- the ability to fly, to turn invisible, or --- my personal favorite --- to control time. This month, authors Kimberly Pauley and Aprilynne Pike each decided to focus on another fascinating skill --- the ability to see the future. In Kimberly’s ASK ME, Aria Morse is an oracle who must answer every question honestly, but her answers sound like nonsense, even to her. So when a close friend disappears, everyone has questions for Aria, and interpreting her “babble” becomes a matter of life or death. In Aprilynne’s SLEEP NO MORE, modern-day Oracles are forced to fight their visions and refrain from interfering. But when Charlotte Westing senses that one of her classmates is going to be killed, she has to decide whether to follow the rules or risk everything to stop the murderer.

Read below to learn about the inspiration behind Kimberly’s and Aprilynne’s books, what they learned about oracles in their research and, if their high school selves were oracles, what they would be most surprised by when looking at their current selves!    

Side by Side: Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is one of America’s most famous poets --- everyone knows her for the nearly 2,000 poems she composed, for rarely leaving her house in Amherst, Massachusetts and for all of those dashes, dashes and more dashes! But this year she’s getting even MORE famous --- three contemporary authors have written books where she makes a major appearance!

      In Jenny Hubbard’s AND WE STAY (January, 2014), boarding school student Emily Beam uses Emily Dickinson’s poetry to help her overcome a tragic event in her recent past. In Robin Herrera’s HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL (March 2014), Star starts a poetry club at her new school and learns some important life lessons from Emily’s words. In Michaela MacColl’s NOBODY’S SECRET (paperback, March 2014), 15-year-old Emily Dickinson tries to uncover the identity of a man who turned up dead in her family’s pond.

     Read on to hear Jenny, Robin and Michaela talk about the inspiration for their books, their own feelings on Emily’s poetry and what they’d talk about if they went out to dinner with the famous poet…and to read their own haikus!

Side by Side: Reality TV

Whether you love it or hate it, reality TV is everywhere these days. You can find hoards of people attempting to be the next pop star, model hopefuls, teen moms, Louisiana families who make duck hunter products…pretty much everything you can imagine. And not only is reality TV on the small screen, but it’s making its way into some great books, too…including SOMETHING REAL by Heather Demetrios and THE REAL PROM QUEENS OF WESTFIELD HIGH by Laurie Boyle Crompton. Read on to hear Heather and Laurie talk about the premises of their books, which reality shows they’d like to be on and what reality shows about their high school selves would have looked like!