Skip to main content

Late May
May 27, 2014

Quick Links to Features on

Behind the Scenes at the Teen Choice Book Awards

Hi Teenreaders!

I have to tell you something that might make you a little bit jealous --- earlier this month, I found myself simultaneously wearing a flowy blue dress, eating mac & cheese and crab cakes, and talking to Lauren Myracle (THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US) about buffet lines and traveling across the United States. Where was I, you ask? At the 2014 Children's Choice Book Awards Gala!

You've probably heard me talking about these awards for awhile, now. Back in the winter, you voted and picked the five finalists out of literally hundreds of books. If you can't remember, they were:

ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth
ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell
SMOKE by Ellen Hopkins
THE 5th WAVE by Rick Yancey

Then, you voted again in the spring, and they announced the winner at the awards ceremony! And the winner was (insert anticipatory drum roll here)...ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth! Unfortunately Veronica wasn't there to accept the award as she was at a reader event in New Orleans, but it's OK...there were plenty of other cool things going on at the gala. See below for a list of my personal favorites:

  • Being serenaded by LaGuardia Arts' show choir: Reading is great, but it's just as fun to hear incredibly talented teens sing about reading! The show choir from New York City's premiere arts high school kicked off the show by singing a medley of bookish songs, including "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles and "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield.
  • Plenty of jokes: Who knew authors could be so funny? Ok, I guess we all did...there are countless laugh-out-loud hysterical books out there. But anyway, there were jokes abound at the Children's Choice Book Awards ---Bad Kitty author Nick Bruel had the whole audience vote on who was tougher --- Kate DiCamillo or Walter Dean Myers. Also, the night was ablaze with fire jokes (get it?), because earlier that evening, we all had to evacuate the building because of a small fire! No one was hurt and we were all back to eating within 30 minutes, but it definitely provided for plenty of humor, later.
  • Tables and tables of desserts: I know, this night is about reading, but who says you can't enjoy a tiny milkshake with an edible straw...or two? Or a chocolate peanut butter brownie, a chocolate mousse-filled cake pop, an itty bitty ice cream cone, a miniature cookie-ice cream sandwich. The list goes on, but let's just say this night was perfect for a girl with a sweet tooth.
  • A bespectacled child reading aloud: After Brian Floca read the nominees for Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year, a very small boy came on stage and read a couple of sentences from each nominated book. I've loved THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers since I first laid eyes on it, but nothing brings the red crayon's strife to life like the expressive voice of an adorable kid in glasses.

And in case you're wondering about the photos above, you can see Becca Worthington from the American Publishers Association, Ayanna Coleman from the CBC and me on the right, and the set for the awards on the left! It makes you consider giving your bedroom a quick makeover, doesn't it?

And for things that are going on here at Teenreads, see below! First, we have a contest we think you'll be PSYCHED about --- our annual summer Beach Bag of Books contest! You can win 11 amazing books plus a beach tote... we know everyone lying next to you on their beach towels will be jealous. We also have a really fun interview with Kerri Majors, author of THIS IS NOT A WRITING MANUAL, that we think you aspiring writers will find inspiring, and an awesome special feature on THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst. THE LOST is "technically" an adult book, but it's written by a YA author and we really think you'll love it...especially those of you who have a penchant for fantasy, are trying to figure out where you fit in in the world or tend to misplace your cell phone or glasses.

There's also the final installment of our FINAL REAL TALK interview with Barbara Marcus --- Publisher and President of the children's division at Random House.

And if that was not enough we have a "Side by Side" on serial killers! Eep...better not read that one at night.

As always, contact me with any questions or comments, and happy reading!

--- Shara Zaval ('s Eighth Annual Beach Bag Giveaway

It's time to think about summer reading --- and we're not talking about the list of books you'll be receiving for Required Summer Reading from school. We're talking about the kinds of books that you're glad you now have time to kick back with and enjoy. The way we see it, it wouldn't be summer without sun, surf and great reading. You supply the beach chair, and we'll provide the fantastic reads in our Eighth Annual Beach Bag of Books Feature and Contest. From now through Friday, July 25th at noon ET, five lucky readers will win a selection of the featured books.

This year's featured Beach Bag of Books titles include (scroll down to read more about each book):

AMITY by Micol Ostow
BRUTAL YOUTH by Anthony Breznican
CATCH A FALLING STAR by Kim Culbertson
THE FASHION BOOK by various editors
THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst
ON THE FENCE by Kasie West
QUARANTINE #1: The Loners by Lex Thomas
SINNER (Companion book to the Shiver Trilogy series) by Maggie Stiefvater
TABULA RASA by Kristen Lippert-Martin




Click here to enter our Beach Bag of Books Contest!

Special Feature: THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst

Have you ever wondered what happened to that lost pearl earring, or your other sock? What about those play tickets that you know you had in your back pocket? According to award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst, they’re all floating around in Lost, a mysterious desert town that is filled with lost glasses, keys and people --- people who can’t escape until they’ve figured out what they’re missing.

Sarah Beth’s new book, THE LOST, follows a young woman named Lauren who ends up in this dusty place and needs to figure out how to get back home. In our special feature, we have a review of THE LOST, an excerpt from the book and an interview with Sarah Beth, where she talks about the inspiration for the book, something she's lost and the next book in the series.

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



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!

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? 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!

--- Our May Teen Board Question: 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!

--- Teen Board Blog posts: Kate F paired up books and TV shows with similar themes in a must-read post for media junkies.

--- Reviews: We have lots of Teen Board reviews this month! Emily called THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE " a poignant book that is both easy to read and engaging to the mind ," and Sydney L. liked V IS FOR VILLAIN because "it's not very often that you get a story from the villain's point of view."


REAL TALK Publishing with Barbara Marcus, President and Publisher of Random House's Children's Division --- Part 3!
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!

We just posted the final part of our interview, where Barbara talks about marketing, gives some overall career advice and discusses the best adult books she's recently read. If you missed Part 1 --- where Barbara reveals the part of her job that makes her "heart sing" and how she manages to keep track of all things Random House Children's --- or Part 2, where Barbara talks about working on HARRY POTTER and WONDER, make sure to check those out, too!
Check out our REAL TALK Publishing interview with Barbara Marcus here!

Special Feature: DON'T CALL ME BABY

Blogs are fantastic --- anyone can write one, and they can take readers into the worlds of fashion, cooking, music, middle grade novels... pretty much anything a person could ever want to know. But what if there was a blog about you that spared no details --- a blog that shared everything from your first words to your school troubles, and, if you're a girl, even talked about your first period?!

That's what Imogene, the protagonist in DON'T CALL ME BABY by Gwendolyn Heasley, has to contend with every day --- her mom is a famous blogger, and Imogene is her favorite, er, only, subject. When Imogene is forced to start her own blog as part of a school project, she is reluctant to put even more of her life in cyberspace. However, she realizes that this might be the chance she's been waiting for --- the chance to define herself for the first time.

Look out for an author interview, which will be posted in the next couple of weeks! In the meantime:

Click here to read the excerpt.
Click here to read the review.
Click here to watch the book trailer.

Click here to see the special feature!

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!
Interview with Kerri Majors, Author of THIS IS NOT A WRITING MANUAL

Kerri Majors knows a thing or two about writing --- she has an MFA from Columbia and is the founder and editor of the Young Adult Review Network, an online literary journal that focuses on all things YA. We asked her to give aspiring teen writers some advice. Read our interview for some "rapid fire" words of wisdom, some more in-depth knowledge, and if you're interested in knowing what Kerri thinks are the top 5 classics every young writer must read!

Click here to read more about author Kerri Majors.
Click here to read more about THIS IS NOT A WRITING MANUAL.



Click here to read our interview with Kerri Majors!

Now in Stores: WE WERE LIARS

WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart (Fiction)

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends --- the Liars --- whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

WE WERE LIARS is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Click here to read the review!

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. Greens 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.
Click here to read our Side by Side feature!

The Teenreads Blog

See below for our newest blog posts! And remember, if you want to participate in our Class Notes section, email me here! It may be summer, but we know that tons of libraries keep their book groups going strong throughout the warmer months. Here is our first Class Notes post, which we posted earlier this month.

Matches Made in Heaven --- Books and TV Shows --- Teen Board member Kate F. matches books with TV shows with similar themes. Want a book similar to "The Bachelor" or a show with the same fairy tale themes as BEASTLY? This is is the place to look!

Guest post by Legs McNeil --- The True History of DEAR NOBODY --- The former editor of Spin magazine explains how he discovered Mary Rose's journal --- and why he knew it had to be published.

Five Ways to Survive a YA Dystopia --- Georgia Clark knows a thing or two about YA dystopias --- her novel PARCHED takes place in one. Therefore she offers you some key pieces of advice in case you ever find yourself in the middle of a not-so-perfect society!

Top Five Classic Novels Every Young Writer Must Read --- Kerri Majors has a lot of great advice for aspiring authors --- she wrote THIS IS NOT A WRITING MANUAL, gave some tips in an interview on Teenreads and, in this blog post, recommends some classics that all writers would benefit from reading.

The Same River Twice: Writing the Sequel to PROXY --- You think writing a book is hard? Well, writing a sequel adds a whole new set of complications. Alex London takes us inside the process with his new book, GUARDIAN.

Click here to read our blog!

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

NEW! A TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman (Fiction)

Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance --- until an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again. Then she meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with her world, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her. Reviewed by Quinn Colter.

NEW! NANTUCKET RED by Leila Howland (Fiction)

Cricket Thompson is headed to Brown University in the fall. When she is offered the chance to earn money for college, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated. It's hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways. After a critical mistake, Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future. Reviewed by Thanh Tu N., Teen Board Member.

NEW! HOW THEY CHOKED: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg (Young Adult Nonfiction)

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes, epic failures even lead to super successes . . . sometimes they become deep dark secrets. But remember --- to fail is human, to laugh about our shortcomings divine. From Montezuma II’s mistaking a conqueror for a god to Isaac Newton turning from science to alchemy to J. Bruce Ismay’s jumping the lifeboat line on the Titanic, HOW THEY CHOKED knocks 14 famous achievers off their pedestals to reveal the human side of history. Reviewed by Corinne Fox.

NEW! NORTHWOOD by Brian Falkner and illustrated by Donovan Bixley (Youth Fiction)

This is an illustrated modern fairy-tale from award-winning author Brian Falkner. Cecilia Undergarment likes a challenge. So when she discovers a sad and neglected dog, she is determined to rescue him. But her daring dog rescue lands her lost and alone in the dark forest of Northwood. A forest where ferocious black lions roam. A forest where those who enter never return. But then Northwood has never seen the likes of Cecilia Undergarment before. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


Emmy’s best friend Kim had promised to visit from the afterlife after she died. But so far Kim hasn’t shown up once. Finally, as the one-year anniversary of Kim's death approaches, a ghost appears --- but it’s Emmy’s awful dead science teacher. Emmy can’t help but think that she's failed at being a true friend. But Kim would have wanted her to move forward --- and to do that, Emmy needs to start letting go. Reviewed by Brianna Robinson.

NEW! FAT BOY VS. THE CHEERLEADERS by Geoff Herbach (Fiction)

When news breaks that his beloved marching band camp has been cancelled due to lack of funding, Gabe's furious. What makes him even madder? The school's vending machine money --- which had previously been collected by the band --- is now sponsoring the new cheer squad. The war is ON. And Gabe is leading the charge. No one will be safe from the Geekers' odd brand of wrath: not the principal, the band teacher, the local newspaper and certainly not the cheerleaders and their jock boyfriends. Like the saying goes, it isn't over until the fat boy sings. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

NEW! TALKER 25 by Joshua McCune (Fiction)

This debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called "Kissing Dragons" unites the population. After a high-school prank goes horribly wrong, Melissa Callahan becomes an unsuspecting pawn in a war between man and monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.


Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence. Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years ago --- including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh --- to believe she’s someone else. Can Gemma keep up the charade? Or will she be found out by the very people she’s been hiding from? Reviewed by Lexibex V., Teen Board Member.

NEW! FREE TO FALL by Lauren Miller (Fiction)

Sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision-making, recommends. Then she meets North, who doesn't use Lux, and soon, Rory is going against Lux's recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore --- a choice that leads her to uncover a truth she never saw coming. Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member.

NEW! THE A-WORD: A Sweet Dead Life Novel by Joy Preble (Fiction)

It's been almost a year since Jenna Samuel’s stoner brother, Casey, bit the dust and returned as her guardian angel. A year since Casey and his “angel boss,” Amber Velasco, saved Jenna’s life and helped her foil the bad guys --- more or less. A year in which Jenna has solved the true mystery of the universe: how to get one Ryan Sloboda to ask her out. Jenna’s feeling mighty cheery about life and love. But Casey, whose doomed relationship with Lanie Phelps (who has no idea her boyfriend is, well, dead) isn’t doing much to distract him, has his own big question: Why is he still hanging around? Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

NEW! MILA 2.0: Renegade by Debra Driza (Fiction)

There is no one left for Mila to trust. Except for a boy she barely knows. But he has no idea who --- and what --- Mila really is. She can't bear to reveal her secret, even though he's unwittingly joined her search for Richard Grady, a man who may know more details of Mila's complicated past. Losing the last tie to her normal life just isn't an option. Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board Member.

NEW! V IS FOR VILLAIN by Peter Moore (Fiction)

Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Brad doesn't measure up at his high school, either, where superpowers are the norm. But when Brad makes new friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he's pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he's on. And once he does, there's no turning back. Reviewed by Sydney L., Teen Board Member.

NEW! TORN AWAY by Jennifer Brown (Fiction)

When a tornado devastates her Midwestern town, Jersey Cameron survives --- but loses her mother, her sister and her home. As she struggles with grief, she's sent to live with her estranged grandparents. There, Jersey faces a new reality: that her mother wasn't perfect, and neither were her grandparents. But they all loved her, and can create a new definition of family. And that's something no tornado can touch. Reviewed by Molly Horan.

NEW! DEAR KILLER by Katherine Ewell (Young Adult Mystery/Thriller)

Rule One: Nothing is right, nothing is wrong. Kit looks like your average 17-year-old high school student, but she has a secret: she's London's notorious "Perfect Killer." She chooses who to murder based on letters left in a secret mailbox, and she's good --- no, perfect --- at what she does. Her moral nihilism --- the fact that she doesn't believe in right and wrong --- makes being a serial killer a whole lot easier . . . until she breaks her own rules by befriending someone she's supposed to murder as well as the detective in charge of the Perfect Killer case. Reviewed by Molly Horan.

NEW! THE BATTLE OF DARCY LANE by Tara Altebrando (Youth Fiction)

It is summertime, and 12-year-old Julia Richards cannot stand the anticipation. Everyone on Darcy Lane seems to be holding their breath waiting for the cicadas to emerge, but what Julia and her best friend, Taylor, want is some real excitement. Which arrives in the form of a new neighbor named Alyssa, who introduces a ball game called Russia . . . and an unwelcome level of BFF rivalry. Suddenly nothing stands unchallenged --- not Julia's friendships, her crush or her independence. But while Julia realizes that she cannot control all the changes in her life, she hangs onto the hope that everything will go in her favor if she can just win one magnificent showdown. Reviewed by Harman K., Teen Board Member.

NEW! THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: On The Evolution and the Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond (Young Adult Nonfiction)

At some point during the last 100,000 years, humans began exhibiting traits and behavior that distinguished us from other animals, eventually creating language, art, religion, bicycles, spacecraft and nuclear weapons --- all within a heartbeat of evolutionary time. Now, faced with the threat of nuclear weapons and the effects of climate change, it seems our innate tendencies for violence and invention have led us to a crucial tipping point. Where did these traits come from? Are they part of our species immutable destiny? Or is there hope for our species’ future if we change? Reviewed by Emily P., Teen Board Member.

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