Skip to main content

May 9, 2014
May 9, 2014

Quick Links to Features on

Teenreads' Ode to the Memoir

Hi Teenreaders!

I hope you’re having a great May so far...maybe enjoying a book on a bench in the park, or if you’re me, while sitting on the front steps of the local Laundromat! I ripped through an advance reading copy of THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin (put this one on your “to be read” list for November), and believe me...the combination of a thrilling book and some sunshine made dealing with dirty clothes a lot more entertaining.

Aside from basking in warm weather and doing chores, I’ve been spending a lot of my time thinking about a recent trend in YA publishing that I’m excited about: memoirs! There are so many teens and 20-somethings out there that have truly amazing stories to tell --- maybe they’ve climbed the tallest mountain on each continent, like Jordan Romero, whose book NO SUMMIT OUT OF SIGHT: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits is out now and is “beautifully written” and “inspiring,” according to our Teen Board member Aliza M. Or they’ve actively promoted education for girls under Taliban rule, like Malala Yousafzai, whose memoir I AM MALALA: How One Girl Stood up for Education and Changed the World (Little Brown) comes out this August. No matter the story, these recent and upcoming memoirs have one thing in common: they remind us that young people have accomplished lots of extraordinary things, and that we can too.

One YA memoir that I’m particularly looking forward to is POSITIVE: A Memoir by Paige Rawl, which comes out in August. Paige has been HIV positive since birth, and in her book, she talks about how everything changed on the fateful day she confided her status to her best friend in middle school. She was suddenly thrust into a world of constant bullying with no one --- not even the school administration --- to help her. She withdrew from school, and eventually swallowed 15 sleeping pills in order to escape. Paige survived --- I take that back --- thrived. After spending time in a stress center, at Camp Kindle and at a supportive new high school, she has helped change the law on bullying, has spoken around the country about HIV and AIDS and is now a 19-year-old molecular biology major determined to eventually find the cure for HIV.

A couple of days ago, I was lucky enough to attend a HarperTeen lunch where Paige talked about her new book (see the above photo!), and she was every bit as bubbly and outgoing as she sounded on the pages of POSITIVE. I can tell that Paige will be a change-maker in the worlds of bullying and HIV education, and as she said at the lunch, “if my book saves just one life, it will all be worth it.” So if you’re looking for an extremely engaging, heartfelt, conversational read that is simultaneously very specific --- that of a young girl born with HIV --- and very universal --- a student who must deal with bullying for being different --- then put POSITIVE on your late summer reading list.

And a few more books, questions, features and upcoming reminders!:

1) For most of you, the school year has come to a close or is coming to a close, soon! We know this means a lot more free reading time, so remember to check back for our awesome summer features (including our Summer Beach Bag Feature and Contest and some great summer reading suggestions). We’re even considering starting a summer book club!

2) Looking to be a bit more socially savvy? Check out HOW RUDE: The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out by Alex J. Packer. This “etiquette encyclopedia” covers everything from online etiquette to first relationships to dealing with rude relatives…and it’s actually entertaining, which is more than we can say for most etiquette books.

3) Are you in a reading group with your friends, or as part of your school or local library? If so, email me at!

4) Are you a Harry Potter fan? Well, you’ll be excited to know that we have a BIG Harry Potter feature coming up on in July, and we want YOU to participate! Go to the Harry Potter section of the newsletter below to learn more.

5) Remember, voting for the Children’s Choice Book Awards ENDS on Monday, May 12th, so be sure to show your favorites some love ASAP! I’m actually attending the Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala on Wednesday and am incredibly excited about it…prepare to hear more in the late May newsletter!

Read on for much much more, including a blog post from our intern Brianna Robinson who went to an AMAZING event that is sure to make you jealous, as it included two surprise guests AND an early movie screening! Can you guess which movie she saw? Read down to find out!

Thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to reach out with questions, comments or suggestions!

--- Shara Zaval (

Special Feature: MARVELOUS by Travis Thrasher

Critically acclaimed author Travis Thrasher has made a career out of defying expectations --- he's written over 25 books that have crossed the genre spectrum, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. Now he brings us a gripping story that's a dark and delicious mixture of both: MARVELOUS, the first book in his new series The Books of Marvella. MARVELOUS follows Brandon Jeffery, a high school student whose summer plans involve working two jobs to pay off the car his friend crashed. However, he doesn't expect that one of his coworkers at the record store will be a beautiful girl named Marvel --- a girl who tells him that she's destined to die saving others, and that it's going to happen soon. Our special feature includes a review of the book, an excerpt, and an author interview (coming soon!)

Click here to read the review.

Click here to read the excerpt.



Click here to see the special feature for MARVELOUS!

Special Feature: OATH OF THE BROTHERHOOD by C. E. Laureano

What do you get when you combine one part Celtic fantasy and two parts action-oriented epics? THE OATH OF THE BROTHERHOOD by C.E. Laureano, the first installment of The Song of Seare! As C.E. tells Teenreads, she was reading (and adoring) books that fell into these two categories, and knew that combining the themes --- and adding some evil faeries, fast-paced battle scenes, ancient religion and a beautiful harp --- would make for an unforgettable series. Our special feature includes a book review, an excerpt and an interview where C.E. tells us about everything from her fascination with The Emerald Isle to the novel she wrote when she was 16 years old.

Click here to read the review.
Click here to read the interview
Click here to read the excerpt.



Click here to read the special feature for OATH OF THE BROTHERHOOD!

Apply to Be on Our July - December 2014 Teen Board, and More T-Board News!

Love books? Love Teenreads? Apply to be part of our Teen Board by Wednesday, June 4th!

You will:

- Write reviews
- Write blog posts
- Answer the monthly Teen Board questions
- Participate in special features
- Give us feedback on the site
- Come up with new ideas for the site
- Scout trends in your community

Click here to see our Teen Board FAQ.
Click here to meet the current Teen Board.
Click here to apply to the July - December 2014 Teen Board!

And of course, we can't forget to mention what our CURRENT Teen Board is up to!

In honor of Mother's Day on May 11th, we asked our Teen Board members about the most memorable moms in literature. Answers ranged from Cayman's mom in THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West for being "quiet, caring, loving, protective and overall wonderful," according to Thanh Tu N., to Lena's mom from DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver for being shockingly "unmotherly" and "distant," as Pranshu A. explains. Read all of the Teen Board's answers, here!

The Teen Board has also written a ton of new reviews. Harman K. was particularly excited about TEASE by Amanda Maciel, calling it "a story that everyone should read --- not just teens, but anyone who can get their hands on it." Jayne C. loved DON'T LOOK BACK by Jennifer L. Armentrout, which she said was a "brilliantly executed novel that rings with the chills of Pretty Little Liars and thrills all its own.

Ready, Set, Vote --- Only a Few Days Left!

Remember when you voted to select the finalists for the Teen Choice Book of the Year Awards a couple of months ago? Well guess what...the finalists have been selected, and now you can vote for the WINNER! You have until May 12th to cast your votes, but really...why wait?

Also, be sure to check out some videos by your favorite YA and children's authors that celebrate the 95th Annual Children's Book Week! The latest is from Jonathan Auxier, author of THE NIGHT GARDENER. Check out the CBC YouTube channel to see all the videos that are up so far, and make sure to keep checking back until May!

Here are the finalists:

Book of the Year (based on your votes at!)
ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth
ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell
SMOKE by Ellen Hopkins
THE 5th WAVE by Rick Yancey

Author of the Year
Veronica Roth (ALLEGIANT)
Rachel Renee Russell (DORK DIARIES 6: Tales From A Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker)
Jeff Kinney (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: Hard Luck)
Rush Limbaugh (RUSH REVERE AND THE BRAVE PILGRIMS: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans)

Illustrator of the Year
James Dean (PETE THE CAT: The Wheels on the Bus)
Grace Lee (SOFIA THE FIRST: The Floating Palace)



Click here to vote for the 2014 Teen Choice Book of the Year Awards!

Share Your Love for Harry Potter with Our Readers!

Do you Love Harry Potter?

We thought you might!

We're excited to announce that we're having a super special Harry Potter feature on in July! Unlike you, a lot of our Kidsreads readers have NOT read the series (imagine they never had a midnight party to celebrate these books), and we want to tell them why it is so special. Every day, we'll be sharing something about Harry to make them excited about reading the books --- a glossary of terms, some information on a character, a recipe for a classic Harry Potter treat, and more.

If you would like to participate and contribute to our Harry Potter calendar, email me your Harry Potter ideas at! These can be a blog post about your favorite part of the book, a breakdown of some cool spells, some cool fan art you drew, and more. Also, share your favorite memories of waiting for these books to come out, as well as fun stories about your reading them.

We need all ideas by Monday, June 2nd --- We're excited to hear what you come up with!


Real Talk Publishing: Barbara Marcus, President and Publisher of Random House's Children's Division --- Now Live!
We know you love to read, but have you ever considered working with books as a career? If so, there are tons of options to explore. With this feature, we'll introduce you to book editors, librarians, booksellers, children's literature professors, book cover designers, publicists, professional reviewers and more. Through interviews, guest posts and sometimes sneak peeks inside their offices, we'll take you into their worlds so you can learn about the book industry.

For our third REAL TALK Publishing feature, we interviewed Barbara Marcus, the President and Publisher of Random House's Children's Division. As the head of the division, Barbara handles ALL things children's books, but she has a special place in her heart for marketing. In fact, she did the marketing campaigns for the Harry Potter series and helped with R.J. Palacio's modern classic, WONDER!

In the first part of this three-part interview, Barbara talks about the start of her career, the part of her job that makes her "heart sing" and how she manages to keep track of all things Random House Children's. So read on, and keep an eye out for Part 2, which will be posted on Thursday, May 15th, where she will talk about some of her favorite marketing campaigns. Potter won't want to miss it!


Check out our REAL TALK Publishing interview with Barbara Marcus here!

Congratulations To Our Spring Fling Contest Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered our Spring Fling Contest! Here are the five winners:

Amber from Waldo, AR
Christa from Wichita, KS
Ellen from Wauwatosa, WI
Kaitlin from Willoughby, OH
Leslie from Wilson, NC

Here are the titles that our winners received:

THE KILLING WOODS by Lucy Christopher
DEATH SWORN by Leah Cypess
SALVAGE by Alexandra Duncan
PLUS ONE by Elizabeth Fama's Getting Star-Crazy, er, Stir-Crazy, for The Fault in Our Stars Movie

We're not sure about you, but here at, we're getting a little stir-crazy as June 6th --- the day that The Fault in Our Stars hits theaters --- approaches. Check out our THE FAULT IN OUR STARS-themed features on --- as well as some fun articles and activities we compiled from other sites.

On Teenreads:

- Review of the book --- Reviewer Norah Piehl said "John Green shatters expectations with this novel, turning assumptions about 'tragic' books --- perhaps even about the idea of tragedy itself --- on their heads." Read the full review, here!

- Our Monthly Poll --- We want to know: Do YOU plan on seeing The Fault in Our Stars when it hits theaters? Take our poll here!

- Our TFIOS-themed Blog Post --- Our intern Brianna Robinson went to an AMAZING event that is sure to make you jealous, as it included two surprise guests AND an early movie screening! Yes, you read right. Read her breakdown here, and we promise...she included no spoilers.

Compilation Station:

- Interview with John Green --- The Wire talked to the TFIOS author about fandom and his favorite YA romances. Read it here!

- The TFIOS Cast Gets Up Close and Personal --- On, you can see the cast's official press conference video as they talk crying, kissing and improv.

- TFIOS Cupcakes --- We don't suggest eating your copy of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, but how about some TFIOS-inspired cupcakes? You will love this video that Huffington Post and put together that breaks down this tasty treat, complete with a hazelnut spread (Get the reference?).

- The Official TFIOS Movie Website --- Get ready to be in The Fault in Our Stars overload! This is the one place on the internet that compiles everything you need to get pumped for the movie, from the soundtrack to fan art to the trailer.

- How well do YOU know THE FAULT IN OUR STARS? --- Their amazing contest might be over, but you can still take the quiz to see if you're really the superfan you claim to be.


The Teenreads Blog --- Including a Brand New Feature We Want YOU to Participate In!

In our last newsletter, we told you about our new “Class Notes” blog feature, where we highlight what everyone in one class or library group is reading.

We're SO excited that our inaugural Class Notes post went live on Thursday. It features the books from Crissy Mombela's 8th grade class at Northwood Junior High School in Highland Park, IL. In Crissy's class, each student read books and short stories that focused on rights, including civil rights, women's rights and worker's rights. Read the post to see their thoughts on each book, and maybe you'll be inspired to pick up a copy!

If you think YOUR class or library group should participate in Class Notes, email me at

Other recent blog posts:

Teen Genre Face Off - Breaking Down the Recent Books of Wonder Event --- Teenreads intern Brianna Robinson gives us the inside scoop on the Teen Genre Face Off panel in NYC.

Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Day with Miss Honey and Mrs. Granger! --- Teen Board member Rachel B. talks about some of the most memorable teachers in children’s literature.

A Post That Will Make TFIOS Fans Extremely Jealous --- Teenreads intern Brianna Robinson breaks down a super secret THE FAULT IN OUR STARS event.


Click here to read our blog!

May's Cool and New Roundup

Our May roundup includes WE WERE LIARS the much anticipated novel by Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart that follows a beautiful family, a private island and a big secret; the final installment of Cassandra Clare’s bestselling series The Mortal Instruments, CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE, in which Clary, Jace and Simon must fight the greatest evil they have ever faced; and THIS ONE SUMMER by Jillian Tamaki and illustrated by Mariko Tamaki, a graphic novel that follows Rose as she returns to the island of her childhood summer vacations but with a new, adolescent perspective.

Among the paperback titles released this month, we have THE REVOLUTION OF EVELYN SERRANO by Sonia Manzano, which follows a girl growing up in Spanish Harlem in 1969; PROXY by Alex London, an action-packed dystopian novel whose sequel, THE GUARDIAN, comes out in hardcover at the end of the month; and THE WIZARD’S PROMISE by Cassandra Rose Clarke, in which Hanna’s apprenticeship with a fisherman gets a lot more adventurous with an epic storm, a merboy and deadly secrets about her crewmates.

Click here to see May's Cool and New roundup!

Side by Side: Oracles

There are a lot of cool superpowers out there --- the ability to fly, to turn invisible and --- 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.

Check out this month's new Side-by-Side 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!



Click here to read this special feature!

Books on Screen

This month a couple of classic tales get the big screen treatment. When you were little, you probably read THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ or GRIMM’S FAIRY TALES before you went to sleep, and I’m sure you know the stories of Dorothy and Sleeping Beauty backwards and forwards. This May, both stories get a makeover with Legends of Oz, the next chapter in Dorothy’s adventures, and Maleficent, the timeless tale of Sleeping Beauty told from the villain’s perspective.


Click here to read Books on Screen!

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

NEW! PERSONAL EFFECTS by E. M. Kokie (Fiction)

Ever since his brother, T.J., was killed in Iraq, Matt feels like he’s been sleepwalking through life — failing classes, getting into fights, and avoiding his dad’s lectures about following in his brother’s footsteps. T.J.’s gone, but Matt can’t shake the feeling that if only he could get his hands on his brother’s stuff from Iraq, he’d be able to make sense of his death. But as Matt searches for answers about T.J.’s death, he faces a shocking revelation about T.J.’s life that suggests he may not have known T.J. as well as he thought. Cadyn D., Teen Board Member

NEW! THE BLACK BUTTERFLY by Shirley Reva Vernick (Fiction)

Penny is furious: she has to spend Christmas break alone at the Black Butterfly, an old inn on the coast of Maine. But then she discovers ghosts at the inn and meets George. If only Ghost Girl didn't want Penny dead. If only George were open to believing. If only she could tell her ghost-hunting mother. Then maybe this could still be a vacation. But it's not. It's a race for her life, her first love, and her sanity. Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe

NEW! FOOL ME TWICE: An If Only Novel by Mandy Hubbard (Fiction)

Mackenzie and Landon were the perfect couple . . . until he dumped her and broke her heart. Fast-forward a year and they're back where they first met—Serenity Ranch and Spa, where they are once again working together for the summer. Talk about awkward. Then, Landon takes a nasty fall and gets amnesia. Suddenly, he’s stuck in the past—literally. His most recent memory is of last summer, when he and Mack were still together, so now he’s calling her pet names and hanging all over her. It's the perfect chance for revenge. Lynn W., Teen Board Member

NEW! THE SUMMER I SAVED THE WORLD...IN 65 DAYS by Michele Weber Hurwitz (Young Adult/Youth Fiction)

This summer, Nina decides to change things. She hatches a plan. There are sixty-five days of summer. Every day, she'll anonymously do one small but remarkable good thing for someone in her neighborhood, and find out: does doing good actually make a difference? Along the way, she discovers that her neighborhood, and her family, are full of surprises and secrets. Alison S., Teen Board Member

NEW! GIRL IN REVERSE by Barbara Stuber (Fiction)

When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and the fear of “Commies” everywhere, Lily’s Asian heritage makes her a target. She is sick of the racism she faces, a fact her adoptive parents won’t take seriously. For Lily, war is everywhere—the dinner table, the halls at school, and especially within her own skin. Reviewed by Rachel B., Teen Board Member

NEW! THE TREATMENT (Program) by Suzanne Young (Young Adult Fiction)

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go. Aliza M., Teen Board member

NEW! THE ART OF SECRETS by James Klise (Fiction)

When Saba Khan’s apartment burns in a mysterious fire, her Chicago high school rallies around her. Greed, jealousy, and suspicion create a tangled web as students and teachers begin to point fingers and make accusations. The true story of the fire and what happens afterward comes together in journal entries, interviews, articles, letters, text messages and other documents. Reviewed by Quinn Colter

NEW! SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE by Marcus Sedgwick (Fiction)

Laureth Peak's father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns and numbers --- a skill at which she's remarkably talented. Her secret? She's blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. Reviewed by Emily P., Teen Board Member

NEW! NO SUMMIT OUT OF SIGHT: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits by Jordan Romero (Young Adult Memoir)

On May 22, 2010, at the age of 13, American teenager Jordan Romero became the youngest person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. At 15, he became the youngest person to reach the summits of the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents. In this energizing memoir for young adults, Jordan, now 17, recounts his experience. Reviewed by Aliza M., Teen Board Member

NEW! PARCHED by Georgia Clark (Fiction)

Robots, renewable resources, and romance get tangled together in this thrilling futuristic novel about a utopian city and the 16-year-old girl who challenges its peace. Reviewed by Ashley Tran

NEW! ANDRE THE GIANT: Life and Legend by Box Brown (Nonfiction)

Andre Roussimoff is known as both the lovable giant in The Princess Bride and a heroic pro-wrestling figure. He was a normal guy who'd been dealt an extraordinary hand in life. At his peak, he weighed 500 pounds and stood nearly seven-and-a-half feet tall. But the huge stature that made his fame also signed his death warrant. Reviewed by Aimee Rogers

NEW! BUZZ KILL by Beth Fantaskey (Fiction)

To Bee or not to Bee? When the widely disliked Honeywell Stingers football coach is found murdered, 17-year-old Millie is determined to investigate. She is chasing a lead for the school newspaper --- and looking to clear her father, the assistant coach --- and prime suspect. Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski

NEW! THE TAKING by Kimberly Derting (Young Adult Suspense Fiction)

Kyra Agnew vanished five years ago. When she wakes up, everyone in her life has moved on, but Kyra's still the 16-year-old she was when she vanished. She discovers that others have been "taken" --- but Kyra is the first to have been returned after 48 hours. With a secret government agency after her, Kyra desperately tries to reclaim the life she once had...but what if the life she wants back is not her own? Reviewed by Amy Alessio

NEW! THIS ONE SUMMER by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Graphic novel)

Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. Reviewed by Norah Piehl

NEW! PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG by Anne Blankman (Fiction)

Gretchen Müller grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her uncle Dolf --- who has kept her family cherished and protected from the darker side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's. But Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command. Reviewed by Brianna Robinson

NEW! TEASE by Amanda Maciel (Fiction)

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara has been criminally charged for the bullying that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment --- and consider her own role in the tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over. Reviewed by Harman K., Teen Board Member

NEW! MOON AT NINE by Deborah Ellis (Fiction)

Fifteen-year-old Farrin has many secrets. It is 1988; ever since the Shah was overthrown, the deeply conservative and religious government controls every facet of life in Iran. The day she meets Sadira, Farrin’s life changes forever. But as their friendship deepens into romance, the relationship takes a dangerous turn. It is against the law to be a homosexual in Iran; the punishment is death. The girls are discovered and arrested. Will her family find a way to save them both? Reviewed by Anita Lock

Vote in Our THE FAULT IN OUR STARS-themed Poll!

In case you missed it in our special THE FAULT IN OUR STARS-themed newsletter section, here is our May poll! We think all of you nerdfighters (AKA, John Green fans) will be pretty pleased.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS movie is coming out next month! Do you plan to see it?

  • Absolutely! I loved the book and I can't wait.
  • Yes. I loved the book, but I'm a little nervous about how the movie will be.
  • Yes. I haven't read the book but the movie looks great.
  • No. I liked the book but don't want to see it on the big screen.
  • No. I didn't read the book and have no interest in seeing the movie.

Earlier this month, we asked you when you got out for school for the summer. 23% said they got out between May 26-30, 22% said they got out between June 2-6, and we can't forget the 1% of our respondents who don't get out at all --- they go to year-round schools!

We also asked you about your favorite poet, in honor of National Poetry Month. Shel Silverstein took first place, with 30% of the votes, beating out Edgar Allan Poe (26%) and even William Shakespeare (21%)!



Click here to take our TFIOS poll!

connect with us twitterfacebook