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Late February, 2015
February 25, 2015

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Oscar-worthy Books on

Hi Teenreaders!

Did any of you watch the Oscars on Sunday night? I did, and though I’m admittedly always more interested in the dresses than the show itself (I thought that J. Lo and Emma Stone tied for the winners), there were definitely a few memorable moments throughout the night (namely the fact that Lady Gaga can sing…and I mean really sing).

Whatever your favorite category or moment was, see below --- we think we’ve found a book for you!

Best Original Screenplay: Birdman took this award home on the big night, but if you’re a fan of stories told in the basic, script form, look no further than HOLD ME CLOSER by David Levithan. Any of you who read the David Levithan and John Green classic WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON will remember Tiny Cooper, the uncomparably charismastic best friend to Will Grayson number one who's described as “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay.” In the book he spent much of his time writing, directing and starring in an autobiographical school musical, and with HOLD ME CLOSER, Levithan brings us the actual script of this unforgettable show. This one doesn’t come out until March 17th, but it’s sure to make for some entertaining reading (and/or performances with your friends!)

Best Original Song: On Sunday night, Selma’s “Glory” took home this Oscar, and John Legend was admired for using his acceptance speech as a platform to discuss the United States’ soaring incarceration rate (there are more people imprisoned here than anywhere else in the world). If the musical numbers throughout the night were what had you on the edge of your seat, you might want to read I’M GLAD I DID by Cynthia Weil, one of the best-loved songwriters in the United States. In the book, JJ Green interns at the legendary Brill Building (which is just a few blocks from the Teenreads office!) in 1963, determined to launch her career as a songwriter. Just when she seems to be on the path to achieving her goals, she gets ensnared in something much darker --- a murder mystery! As Teenreads reviewer Emma Kantor said, anyone who craves “a behind-the-scenes look at the music biz should tune in.”

Ansel Elgort and Chloë Grace Moretz presenting: The Oscars weren’t a huge night for YA adaptations, but young adult did have its moment in the sun when these two stars of the upcoming The 5th Wave (and The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay) presented the award for Best Visual Effects. If YA adaptations are on the brain, check out last October’s FAMOUS IN LOVE by Rebecca Serle, which follows three teens filming the adaptation of a bestselling YA series in Hawaii and undergoing a real-life love triangle eerily similar to the one they’re acting out. Talk about meta! Teen Board Member Katherina T. said it gives “insight into what goes on during the film process” and is perfect for “any teenager who loves the idea of love.” Sounds good to us!

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar took this one home for its breathtaking outer space shots. If the visual arts float your boat a bit more than the performing arts, you should check out the 2015 Printz Award winner I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson, which features two incredibly talented twin artists and an intriguing, reclusive sculptor. This was one of my very favorites of 2014, and reviewer Brianna Robinson agreed, saying, “I’m not sure I’ll ever come down from the high I got while reading this book.” Another YA novel that focuses heavily on the visual arts is last summer’s THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE, a documentary-style book that tries to uncover the mysterious death of a teenage artist in New York City. You see samples of her art and hear about her life from her parents, ex-boyfriends, friends and frenemies…it fully absorbs you and makes you wish you were part of the hip New York arts scene.

The Red Carpet: As mentioned before, the Oscars are as much about the dresses as they are about the awards themselves. If you’re a fashionista, check out WHY’D THEY WEAR THAT? by Sara Albee (you could actually win a copy in our current contest on Teenreads!). This book is packed with visuals and gives behind-the-scene info on fashion through the ages. Plus, as reviewer Christine Irvin says, “Albee writes with a wonderful, witty sense of humor,” meaning that the book is beautiful, informative and entertaining --- quite a winning combo! There’s also GEEK GIRL by Holly Smale, which was released in the United States at the end of January. First published in the UK, this gem follows Harriet --- a self-proclaimed geek --- after she is discovered by a modeling agency and tries to reinvent herself on the runway. There’s a great mix of high fashion moments and lovable, cringe-worthy scenes.

Are there any other Awards-esque books that would be perfect for Oscars fans? Let me know at And if you’d rather go for stories that have nothing to do with the big screen, be sure to check out the reviews in the rest of our newsletter. We also built a “20 Talk-worthy Books” bookshelf, featuring books that we think would be perfect for book groups, if you like a little discussion with your reading!

So happy reading, and happy almost Daylight Savings Time (coming on March 8th)…can’t wait for a little more sunshine!

Best wishes,

--- Shara Zaval (


WHY'D THEY WEAR THAT? Special Feature and Contest

In WHY’D THEY WEAR THAT?, teens can learn about different fashion trends through the centuries. Why did people ever wear hoop skirts, rams-horned headdresses and shirts made of hair? Learn more about WHY'D THEY WEAR THAT? with an author interview, except and review, and enter to win one of 10 copies of the book! This book makes us wonder which current fashion trends will be reflected upon in years to come!

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


Click here to read the special feature!

Special Feature: SEEKER by Arwen Elys Dayton --- Read Our Review and See Comments from Teenreads Early Readers!

For readers of A Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games comes an epic new series.

The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor. As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world. And she'll be with the boy she loves --- who's also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes. Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it's too late to walk away.

Click here to learn more about SEEKER.
Click here to read an excerpt from SEEKER.
Click here to read the review of SEEKER.

We also had readers give us advance comments about the book, including Ali G. from Winslow, AR, who said she was "completely engrossed in the story of Quin, Shinobu, and John as they learned that life does not always turn out the way you expect." Daiane C. from Brooklyn said that she'd recommend the book to her friends who like The Hunger Games and A Song of Ice and Fire.

Click here to see all of our Readers' Comments for SEEKER.

Click here to read our SEEKER special feature!

Bookshelf: 20 Talk-worthy Teen Books --- Time to Start a Book Club!

Sure you love reading great YA books, but how about talking about them? Whether you're a member of your school's book club, thinking about starting a group of your own or just love chatting about your favorite tomes in the cafeteria, we're curated a list of 20 that are sure to inspire some lively discussion amongst you and your book-loving friends. Including classics like THE GIVER, memoirs like I AM MALALA, literary fiction like I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN and graphic novels like BOXERS & SAINTS, we've rounded up some of the most compelling, riveting, complex, eye-opening and instigating volumes we could find. So start reading...and start talking!



Click here to see the bookshelf! "Books to Fall In Love With" Contest --- Here Are the Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered our Books to Fall in Love With contest and shared their literary loves! We've included the winners below, as well as the "Top Ten Literary Lusts and Loves).


Eileen from Evanston, IL
Janet from Afton, OK
Katharine from Piscataway, NJ
Nikki from Livonia, MI
Stephanie from Boulder, CO

The Top 10 Literary Loves and Lusts:

1. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games series
2. Rudy Steiner from THE BOOK THIEF
3. Ned Nickerson from the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series
4. Ponyboy Curtis from THE OUTSIDERS
5. Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series
6. Emma from EMMA
7. Rob Stark from the Game of Thrones series
8. Vampire Lestat from the Vampire Chronicles series
10. Four from the Divergent series


Authors Reveal Their Literary Crushes

Valentine's Day may be over, but our favorite YA authors still hold their bookish heartthrobs dear. Click here to see the literary crushes --- both authors and characters --- of everyone from Joelle Charbonneau (The Testing trilogy) to E. Lockhart (WE WERE LIARS). The range is pretty wide, and includes J.K. Rowling, Tarver from THESE BROKEN STARS, Rochester from JANE EYRE...and even someone who, despite being an animal, inspired "melodramatic drawings" from CODE NAME VERITY author Elizabeth Wein!


Click here to see your favorite authors' literary crushes!

Teen Board News

Teen Board Question: This month we asked our Teen Board, "What book characters do you think would make a great couple?," whether from the same book or across novels. We got a whole range of answers --- both Sydney L. and Mary M. wanted to see Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter take their friendship to the next level, while Christa O. thought that Nehemia from THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas and Prince Nai from CINDER by Marissa Meyer would make a good couple because they're both level-headed royals who want the best for their people. To see everyone's answers, click here!

National Readathon Day: Several of our Teen Board members participated in National Readathon Day on January 24th, reading from noon to 4pm to help celebrate literacy everywhere. Read about their experiences --- and what they read! --- here.

Reviews: As always, our Teen Board has been reviewing like mad, and many loved the books that they encountered. Aliza M. said that when she read BREAKOUT by Kevin Emerson, she "was immediately transported back to middle school." Christa O. said that when "readers reach the climactic chaos" of DOVE ARISING by Karen Bao, "they’ll be begging for a sequel!"

Click here to meet the Teen Board!

Guest Blog Post - Cori McCarthy, Author of BREAKING SKY
In BREAKING SKY, Cori McCarthy’s new action-packed novel that takes place in 2048, Chase is a teen fighter pilot at the United Star Academy --- and a good one, too. America is locked in a cold war, but as actual fighting becomes eminent, she learns a military secret that might just change everything.

While Teenreads was all for hearing more about Chase’s flying skills, Cori answered a slightly more interesting --- and unexpected --- question for us: “If Chase couldn’t be a pilot, what occupation do you think she would follow?”

Click here to read Cori’s answer, and be on the lookout for BREAKING SKY, which hits stores on March 10th!

Click here to read the Teenreads blog!

Now in Stores: UNLIKELY WARRIOR by Georg Rauch
UNLIKELY WARRIOR by Georg Rauch (Historical, Memoir)

As a young adult in wartime Vienna, Georg Rauch helped his mother hide dozens of Jews from the Gestapo behind false walls in their top-floor apartment and arrange for their safe transport out of the country. His family was among the few who worked underground to resist Nazi rule. Then came the day he was drafted into Hitler's army and shipped out to fight on the Eastern front as part of the German infantry --- in spite of his having confessed his own Jewish ancestry. Thus begins the incredible journey of a nineteen year old thrust unwillingly into an unjust war, who must use his smarts, skills, and bare-knuckled determination to stay alive in the trenches, avoid starvation and exposure during the brutal Russian winter, survive more than one Soviet labor camp, and somehow find his way back home. Unlikely Warrior is Rauch's true account of this extraordinary adventure.

Click here to learn more about the book!

Now in Stores: DREAMFIRE by Kit Alloway

DREAMFIRE: A Novel by Kit Alloway (Young Adult Paranormal )

Unlike most 17-year-olds, Joshlyn Weaver has a sacred duty. She's the celebrated daughter of the dream walkers, a secret society whose members enter the Dream universe we all share and battle nightmares. If they fail, the emotional turmoil in the Dream could boil over and release nightmares into the World.

Despite Josh's reputation as a dream walking prodigy, she's haunted by her mistakes. A lapse in judgment and the death of someone she loved have shaken her confidence. Now she's been assigned an apprentice, a boy whose steady gaze sees right through her, and she's almost as afraid of getting close to him as she is of getting him killed.

But when strangers with impossible powers begin appearing in the Dream, it isn't just Will that Josh has to protect --- it's the whole World.

Experience the dangers of the dream world in DREAMFIRE, a riveting, young adult debut novel by Kit Alloway.


Click here to learn more about the book!

Books On Screen
If you're not into romance and hearts this February, you may want to check out the action-filled antidote, Kingsman: The Secret Service instead. Based on the comic book series, this is the story of Eggsy, an edgy teenager, who gets recruited by a secret spy organization. He joins their viciously competitive training course just in time to try to save the world from an evil genius. There's also The Duff, in which high school student Bianca seeks to turn the school's social structure upside down.

Or if you don't want to brave the winter weather, check out all the great choices on TV and on DVD!

Click here to read our Books on Screen feature

February's Cool and New Roundup

In February’s Cool and New roundup, we have A STUDY IN SCARLET by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and illustrated by Gris Grimly, the first fully illustrated version of the origin story of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson since its debut; DEAREST by Alethea Kontis, the third book in The Woodcutter sisters series where Friday discovers seven sleeping brothers who are cursed to be swans by day; and THE GLASS ARROW by Kristen Simmons, a dystopian novel that takes place in a world where women are property to be sold, owned and bred.

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

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

NEW! A WICKED THING by Rhiannon Thomas (Fiction, Fairy Tale)

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale. Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run. Reviewed by Corinne Fox.

NEW! PAPER THINGS by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (Fiction)

When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So when 19-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she has to go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. Reviewed by Brianna Robinson.

NEW! SOULPRINT by Megan Miranda (Young Adult)

Seventeen-year-old Alina Chase has spent her entire life imprisoned on a secluded island --- not for a crime she committed in this lifetime, but one done by her past self. Aided by three teens with their own ulterior motives, Alina manages to escape. Although she’s not sure she can trust any of them, she soon finds herself drawn to one. But when she uncovers clues from her past life, secrets begin to unravel and Alina must figure out whether she’s more than the soul she inherited, or if she’s fated to repeat history. Reviewed by Christi Sheehan.


Sophomore Hallie Calhoun has just endured the most excruciating six months of her life. Once the rumors about her and the preacher's son, Luke, made their way around school, her friends abandoned her, and Hallie has completely withdrawn. Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member.

NEW! RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard (Young Adult Fantasy)

Mare's world is divided by blood --- those with Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his sons. As Mare is drawn into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her position to help the Scarlet Guard --- a Red rebellion --- even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal. Reviewed by Brianna Robinson.

NEW! PRINCESS DECOMPOSIA AND COUNT SPATULA by Andi Watson (Fiction, Graphic Novel)

This princess of the underworld has plenty of her own work to do, but she always seems to find herself doing her layabout father's job, as well. The king doesn't feel quite well, you see. Ever. So the princess is left scurrying through the halls, dodging her mummy, werewolf and ghost subjects, always running behind and always buried under a ton of paperwork. Oh, and her father just fired the chef, so now she has to hire a new cook as well. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

NEW! BREAKOUT by Kevin Emerson (Young Adult)

Anthony Castillo needs a new life. His teachers are clueless autocrats except for Mr. Darren, who’s in charge of the rock band program. The girls at school are either shallow cutebots or out of his league. And his parents mean well, but they just make things worse. Fed up, pissed off and feeling trapped, Anthony writes his first song for his rock band, the Rusty Soles. His only problem: Arts Night. If he exercises his right to free speech and sings his original lyrics --- where his own bombs will drop --- he and his band will be through. Reviewed by Aliza M., Teen Board Member.

NEW! DOVE ARISING (Dove Chronicles) by Karen Bao (Young Adult, Science Fiction)

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22 and stays off the government’s radar. Then her mother is arrested. The only way to save her siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider. Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble... Reviewed by Christa O., Teen Board Member.

NEW! BEASTKEEPER by Cat Hellisen (Youth Fantasy Fiction)

Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

NEW! THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury (Young Adult Fantasy/Romance)

Although 17-year-old Twylla is engaged to the prince, she isn't a member of the court. She's the executioner. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla kills anyone she touches. Although the prince's royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla's touch, he avoids her company. But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his swordsmanship. Yet Twylla's been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen, who has a plan to destroy her enemies that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Reviewed by Ashley Tran.

NEW! BONE #1 by Jeff Smith (Graphic Novel)

To celebrate ten years of publishing, Scholastic's Graphix imprint is publishing a special tribute edition to the bestselling OUT FROM BONEVILLE, which includes 32 pages of bonus artwork, including a brand-new illustrated poem by Jeff Smith. Readers old and new can join Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone at the beginning of their incredible journey filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. And as an extra treat, inside there are find minicomics and artwork inspired by BONE, created by 16 bestselling, award-winning artists. Reviewed by Matt Lazorwitz.

February Poll

What would be your ideal winter reading spot?

  • An igloo --- It would be like your own little reading cave --- just bring your fur coat!
  • By a fireplace --- Preferably with hot chocolate, in hand
  • At a coffee shop --- Where you can people-watch on your reading breaks
  • On the beach on a tropical vacation --- Who says winter reading needs snow?
  • Read more books in a different format (eBooks, on your phone, etc)
  • In bed --- Where you have plenty of blankets to keep you warm
  • At a ski resort --- Nothing like a book after a long day on the slopes

Last month, we asked about your book-themed New Year's resolutions. The number one answer (63%) was to "read more books" followed by "write a book" and "visit the library more," which were tied at 33%. To see the full results of the January poll, click here.

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 is our latest featured title:

THE WITCHES OF ECHO PARK by Amber Benson (Fiction, Urban Fantasy)

When Elyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets --- extraordinary secrets --- from her.


Click here for more adult books you want to read!

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