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Early July
July 11, 2014

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Summer, Listening...with Teenreads

Hi Teenreaders,

I hope you all had excellent Fourth of July weekends! I visited family and friends in Massachusetts and reveled in all of the traditional celebratory activities. And by all I suppose I mean most --- because of the hurricane on the East Coast, fireworks got pushed to July 3rd and I missed them. Still though, it was an excellent trip and I even learned a few things:

1) What’s better than salt and butter on corn on the cob? Cilantro lime butter! It’s easy to make and adds the perfect kick.

2) Fricket --- a blend of Frisbee and cricket --- might just be the best lawn game of all time (although Wiffle balll is a close second).

3) When canoeing, make sure to factor in more time when you’re going against the current --- and prepare for more acute arm soreness.

4) Audiobooks are pretty awesome!

I know…that fourth one came out of nowhere, a bit. But the truth is, audiobooks have been a big topic of conversation in The Book Report Network office lately, and I’d never actually listened to one (I suppose I listened to PETER PAN on repeat when I was three, but I don’t think it counts). Since I had a very long bus ride between New York and Boston --- thanks, holiday traffic! --- and tend to feel sick when I read in moving vehicles, it seemed like the perfect time to try one out.

I went with a nonfiction book that is distinctly not YA --- THE PSYCHOPATH TEST: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson --- but the experience itself was pretty fascinating. A few things I noticed:

1) Time goes by much faster when you’re listening to an audiobook --- Ordinarily on bus trips, I take constant breaks from reading, perusing the web or listening to music to check the time on my phone --- the more modern version of “are we there yet?”. This time, though, I found myself totally absorbed in the creepy psychopath underworld, and far less frustrated by the traffic and my growling stomach than I ordinarily would be.

2) Voice matters! --- Admittedly, I’ve listened to just one audiobook, but I’ve got to say that Jon Ronson did a fantastic job narrating his own book. He read slowly and clearly, infused his words with expression and emotion, and that British accent definitely didn’t hurt. After listening to him, I can tell that it’s really important for a narrator to sound human and emotionally invested in the story. I think if Ron had sounded dry and less personable, I would have lost interest quickly.

3) It’s a great way to experience a genre you’re not used to --- Even though I’ve always been interested in psychology, I generally gravitate towards fiction --- especially YA fiction --- when reading. I found that listening was a great way to experience a genre that I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up. If I had been listening to a YA book, I might have been comparing the experience to reading a print novel the entire time, and not gotten as much out of the actual story. Since I don’t often read nonfiction, the entire experience felt fresh. Audiobooks could also make a genre you’re “intimidated by” a little more accessible.

4) You pay more attention when listening --- If you read a book while you have something else on your mind, it’s so easy to realize you’ve “read” three pages while absorbing nothing at all. With an audiobook, you’re forced to pay a bit more attention. Partially, it’s because it’s more annoying to rewind than it is to flip back a few pages…you don’t want to keep losing your place. I think it’s also because for very visual people like myself, it takes more concentration to follow along. This was a good thing though --- it makes you totally absorbed in the story instead of your surroundings.

So if you plan any long car trips, bus trips, plane trips, train trips --- really any kind of travel at all --- this summer, it might be worth it to try one yourself and see what you think.

And with that, onto the rest of the newsletter! We still have two awesome contests running --- The Teenreads Beach Bag of Books and MY LAST KISS contests --- and we give you some inside info on our awesome Harry Potter contest and feature on (be sure to share this with kids you know! And speaking of Harry Potter, did you read J.K. Rowling's new story, featuring the gang as adults?). We also introduce you to our new Teen Board (hooray!), remember the literary great Walter Dean Myers and share our latest REAL TALK Publishing interview, this time with Annie Philbrick, owner of Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut.

So read on (and no, you can’t listen…we don’t have an “audio-newsletter” yet), enjoy, and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! And if you're curious about the photo in the middle, that's my friends and I on the Fourth...when sizes range from 6'6" to 4'11", it's only natural to line up by height!

--- Shara Zaval ('s Eighth Annual Beach Bag Giveaway --- Have YOU Entered Yet?

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!

Giveaway: MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal

There are tons of books about first kisses, but MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal explores the opposite --- the last kiss of Cassidy's life, which happened at her 17th birthday party --- and with someone other than her amazing boyfriend. To be one of 15 lucky readers to win a copy of MY LAST KISS, enter the contest by Tuesday, August 5th at noon ET.

More about MY LAST KISS:

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss --- the one she shared with someone at her 17th birthday party the night she died --- is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made --- good and bad --- that led to her last kiss.

Click here to read the excerpt.


Click here to enter the contest!

REAL TALK Publishing with Annie Philbrick, Part 1
When Annie Philbrick was telling the story of Bank Square Books at a panel on store succession, a fellow panelist exclaimed, "To buy a bookstore never having owned one before --- and never having worked in one before! That’s crazy!” Her response? "Yeah!"

Crazy or not, Annie has owned the legendary Mystic, Connecticut bookstore since 2006, and since then has made it even more of a community institution: she's expanded the space, hosted some unforgettable events and made sure her Cocker Spaniel makes customers feel at home.

In the first part of her interview, Annie talks about the initial challenges of buying the store, a memorable customer interaction and how she chooses which books to sell! Make sure to check back next Wednesday, July 16th for Part 2!

More about REAL TALK Publishing:

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.


Click here to read Part 1 of the interview!

Remembering Walter Dean Myers

Through the years, we at have been honored to share Walter Dean Myers' work with our readers. Author of numerous award-winning books --- including MONSTER, AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY DEAD BROTHER and LOCKDOWN --- the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and a leading voice in the campaign for diverse books and protagonists, Walter Dean Myers was one of the most influential authors of his time.

Myers passed away on July 1, 2014, and we honor him here with a tribute from our reviewer Alexis Burling. Please read it here, and continue to celebrate this prolific writer by reading his books and sharing his message.


Click here to read our tribute to Walter Dean Myers.

Who Here Likes Harry Potter?

If you're yelling "yes!" or raising your hand while standing on your chair (in true Hermione Granger style), then check out our "31 Days of Harry Potter" calendar on!

Every day, we have a new blog post dedicated to some element of the Harry Potter universe, be it a glossary of terms, some information on a beloved character, a recipe for a classic Harry Potter treat or a guest post from a famous children's author about why he or she loves the series.

Plus, we'll be giving away FIVE complete sets of the books --- along with posters and bookmarks --- in our Harry Potter contest, and we know they'll look great on your bookshelf.

Click here to see our Harry Potter feature, updated every day this July!
Click here to enter the Harry Potter contest.


Get Ready for If I Stay on the Big Screen

Here at we're pretty excited for August 22, when we'll finally get to see Gayle Forman's IF I STAY hit the big screens! To hold you over until then, check out some fun articles and websites we compiled all about If I Stay.

The Official If I Stay Website --- If you missed any of the trailers, find them over on the official If I Stay website, plus learn more about the film.

The Official If I Stay Tumblr --- If Tumblr's your thing, check out the official tumblr featuring awesome graphics, gifsets, videos and more.

The Official If I Stay Twitter --- If Twitter's more your style, check out the official twitter for movie updates and tweets from the cast and crew.

EW's First Look --- Chloë Grace Moretz gives Entertainment Weekly a first look at If I Stay, reassuring fans that everyone involved in the film "tried to stay incredibly faithful to the story."

New Paperback Cover --- The Wall Street Journal reveals the new paperback cover for IF I STAY, plus interviews with Gayle Forman, Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley!


Click here to read our review of IF I STAY!

Meet the July - December 2014 Teen Board! is pleased to announce our fourth Teen Board! In their applications for a position on the Teen Board, these 31 teens have demonstrated their passion for reading and their readiness to share their opinions about books and authors. During their six-month term from July - December 2014, they will write blog posts, contribute book reviews, answer poll questions and share feedback on

Click on each Teen Board member's name to visit their Contributor Page where you can read a longer profile and get to know a bit more about them.

Click here to meet the New Teen Board!

On the Teenreads Blog!


Why I Write Peripheral Narrators --- Jodi Lynn Anderson, author of THE VANISHING SEASON, explains why it's the most fun to write novels from the perspectives of fringe characters, looking in.

Harry Potter Made Me Love to Read Again ---YA librarian Katie Boyer tells Teenreads how this beloved series reminded her how to read for pleasure after years of being stuck in an "assigned book" drought.

A Tale of Two Sleuths --- Diana Renn imagined TWO protagonists for her new book LATITUDE ZERO, and she explains how choosing between them was not easy.

Acute Anita Proteus Syndrome --- Teen Board member Alison S. explains how too many teens are behaving like Anita Proteus, a character in Kurt Vonnegut's debut novel PLAYER PIANO.

Click here to read our blog!

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 our feature 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.


Click here to read the Side by Side feature!

Follow us on Tumblr!
Teenreads is excited to announce that we recently joined the Tumblrverse! Our Tumblr handle is TeenreadsDotCom and you can follow us for posts on all things YA, like interviews, quotes, and YA news. Here are some recent posts and reblogs:
  • We found this awesome infographic of 50 Books That Will Change Your Life
  • The chilling second teaser for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
  • Our most recent Real Talk Publishing featuring Annie Philbrick, bookstore owner

And of course, we want to follow YOU, too! Send us your Tumblr handle here and we'll follow you back. We can't wait to see what you post!

Click here to check out TeenreadsDotCom on Tumblr!

July's Cool and New Roundup

Our July roundup includes CONVERSION by Katherine Howe, about a modern day witch-hunt at a New England boarding school; LET'S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid, which follows Leila and four other teens on an epic soul-searching road trip; and SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater, the highly anticipated third book in the Shiver trilogy.

Among the paperback titles released this month, we have THE SHADOW HERO by Gene Luen Yang, illus. by Sonny Liew, about the origin story of a comic legend The Green Turtle; the boxed set of the bestselling The Maze Runner series by James Dashner, just before its movie release this September; and FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick, a riveting and emotional story about a boy planning to kill his former best friend and himself.


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

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

NEW! ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT by Rachel Toor (Fiction)

On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what she doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges. Reviewed by Katherina T., Teen Board Member.

NEW! THE HALF LIFE OF MOLLY PIERCE by Katrina Leno (Fiction)

For all of her 17 years, Molly feels like she's missed bits and pieces of her life. Now she's figuring out why. Now she's remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led . . . and the love that she can't let go. Reviewed by Harman K., Teen Board member.

NEW! IDA M. TARBELL: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business--and Won! by Emily Arnold McCully (Nonfiction)

Born in 1857 and raised in oil country, Ida M. Tarbell was one of the first investigative journalists and probably the most influential in her time. Her series of articles on the Standard Oil Trust, a complicated business empire run by John D. Rockefeller, revealed to readers the underhanded, even illegal practices that had led to Rockefeller's success. Reviewed by Anita Lock.


Bethany Stern's mother and sister want her to go to "fat camp," and she's convinced it will be the worst summer ever and she'll lose no weight. Even worse, her best friend is auditioning for a national talent show, so she feels more alone than ever. Will she survive the summer?

NEW! WOMEN HEROES OF WORLD WAR I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics by Kathryn J. Atwood (Nonfiction)

In time for the 2014 centennial of the start of the Great War, this book brings to life the brave and often surprising exploits of 16 fascinating women from around the world who served their countries at a time when most of them didn’t even have the right to vote. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

NEW! CONVERSION by Katherine Howe (Fiction)

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian and deciphering boys’ texts. Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t. Reviewed by Corinne Fox.

NEW! BARBARIAN LORD by Matt Smith (Graphic Novel)

"A sword untried is a sword untested," says one raven to another as they set out to witness the fate of the finest farm in Garmrland and its owner, Barbarian Lord. When he is cheated out of his lands and banished, Barbarian Lord begins a quest for allies and for justice, encountering monsters, ghouls, gods and mediocre poets along the way. Reviewed by Charles Payseur.

NEW! RECKONING by Kerry Wilkinson (Fiction)

In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, 16-year-old Silver Blackthorne takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society --- Elite, Member, Inter or Trog --- but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

NEW! REPORTING UNDER FIRE: 16 Daring Women War Correspondents and Photojournalists (Women of Action) by Kerrie Logan Hollihan (Nonfiction)

A profile of 16 courageous women, REPORTING UNDER FIRE tells the story of journalists who risked their lives to bring back scoops from the front lines, including Sigrid Schultz, who broadcast news via radio from Berlin on the eve of the Second World War, and Margaret Bourke-White, who rode with General George Patton’s Third Army and brought back the first horrific photos of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Without exception, these war correspondents share a singular ambition: to answer an inner call driving them to witness war firsthand, and to share what they learn via words or images. Reviewed by Emily P., Teen Board Member.

NEW! THE VANISHING SEASON by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Fiction)

For Maggie Larsen, the town of Gill Creek is only a stopgap before college and freedom. Until she meets Pauline and Liam. What starts as an uneventful year suddenly changes. Someone is killing teenaged girls, and the town reels from the tragedy. As Maggie's and Pauline's worlds collide and change around them, they will both experience love and loss. And by the end of the book, only one of them will survive. Reviewed by Corinne Fox.

NEW! THE THINGS YOU KISS GOODBYE by Leslie Connor (Fiction)

Bettina Vasilis falls in love with Brady Cullen one summer. But when school starts, Brady changes for the worse, and she finds herself trapped in an abusive relationship. Then she meets "Cowboy," a smoldering older guy who is gentle, caring and interested in the real Bettina. When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth --- and kiss goodbye what she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life. Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe.

NEW! CINDERELLA'S DRESS by Shonna Slayton (Fiction)

Kate, a 17-year-old during World War II, simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she works. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella's dress, things get complicated. Reviewed by Katie N., Teen Board Member.


Vote in Our Poll!

This is the 10th anniversary of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film! If you could go anywhere in the Harry Potter universe, where would you go?

  • Hogwarts --- Honestly, who wouldn’t want to learn magic in a castle? The Quidditch Field --- If you think the FIFA World Cup is exciting, imagine if broomsticks were involved
  • The Burrow --- I’d love to pop in on the Weasley family
  • Zonko’s Joke Shop— What better place to buy some Dungbombs and Sugar Quills?
  • Honeydukes --- Just give me all the Chocolate Frogs you have.
  • Hagrid’s Hut --- Fancy a cup of a tea, a rock cake and some illegal magical creatures?

Last month, we asked where you planned to read in June, July and August. It looks like you're a bit of an indoorsy group --- 68% said they'd read in their favorite part of the house. However, 22% of you plan on getting some sun, and devouring your favorite novels by the beach or pool!


Click here to take our poll!

Adult Books You Want to Read

Throughout the year, we feature books from, our site for adult readers, that we think will have appeal to teen audiences.

Here are our latest featured titles:

BRUTAL YOUTH by Anthony Breznican (Fiction)

To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year at Saint Michael’s, Peter Davidek, Noah Stein and Lorelei Paskal must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once-popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances.

CLOSE YOUR EYES, HOLD HANDS by Chris Bohjalian (Fiction)

When Emily Shepard’s parents are killed in a nuclear plant meltdown that may have been her father’s fault, she leaves her home in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom rather than face the danger of being the daughter of the most hated man in America. She takes off for Burlington, where she creates an identity inspired by Emily Dickinson. When she befriends a homeless boy named Cameron, she protects him with a ferocity she didn’t know she had. But she still can’t outrun her past or escape her grief forever.

THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens (Fiction, Psychological Thriller)

Toni Murphy was 18 when she and her boyfriend, Ryan, were wrongly convicted of the murder of her younger sister. Now she is 34 and back in her hometown, working every day to forge and adjust to a new life on the outside. She's doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back to prison. But nothing is making that easy. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out the truth and clear her name.

Click here to see adult books you want to read!

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