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Late March newsletter
March 27, 2015
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Teenreads Goes Vintage --- The Value of Rereading

Hello, Teenreaders!

A couple of weekends ago, I celebrated the advent of spring by going to a semi-amazing rummage sale at a thrift store in Brooklyn. The premise was simple: pay $20 at the door and then cram a bag with whatever articles of clothing you want (which weren’t neatly hanging on racks, mind you --- they were all thrown into a giant heap on the floor). While the atmosphere was a little scary --- hordes of people clawing through heaps of dresses and wrinkled scarves of questionable quality --- the thrill was unparalleled. There’s something so much more exciting about getting something used than something new --- your outfit is layered with a sense of history and meaning. It doesn’t just feel purchased, it feels earned.

Anyway, maybe it was the sale, but this vintage sensibility has recently seeped into my literary ponderings, too. As someone who works in the book industry, I am all too aware of the enormous amount of deserving books that come out every single month. A lot goes into picking what to read because there’s no way you can read everything. And if you missed something, even something great, that came out a month or two ago? Forget it! There are 100 more good ones that come out next month, and you have to think about those. Therefore, the idea of vintage reading --- er, rereading --- seems like a luxury that I can’t afford. If I can barely read a backlist title, how could I find the time to read a book twice? And why would I?

After thinking a lot about it, though, I've decided that there are several good reasons to build this into your literary routine, at least on occasion:

1) “Comfort Food” --- Instead of getting over a bad grade by devouring a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream and binge-watching the first season of “The OC” (am I revealing too much, here?), you can achieve the same sense of comfort by scanning a few random chapters of HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. With old favorites, you don’t have to reread the whole thing to get the desired effect --- just consuming a fraction of those familiar words can capture the necessary escapist nostalgia you were looking for.

2) What happened, again? --- On the other end of the spectrum, you can reread a book you barely remember and basically get all of the positive effects of that initial exposure. If you’re anything like me, you have a tendency to remember the tone of a book and the emotion it elicits (I adored it! I cried the whole way through! I couldn't put it down until I reached the end!). But details? Plotlines? They might as well have not existed.

Just because you know you really enjoyed THE GIVER by Lois Lowry when you read it in seventh grade or were completely moved by DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank when you talked about it freshman year doesn’t mean you can actually remember either of them. Why not give yourself the treat of rediscovering exactly what made it so special the first time around?

3) Be part of the cultural conversation --- Because of current events, certain books come back into the public sphere with a vengeance. One such example is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee, a book that is not only legendary because of its quality, but also because Harper never published again. Only recently, Harper’s long-time lawyer found a manuscript for a sequel --- GO SET A WATCHMAN --- which will now be published by HarperCollins in July. The book’s impending release has sparked a lot of discussion, and every outlet from Entertainment Weekly to the New York Times has something to say on the topic, making it as good a time as any to revisit a book you may have packed in your literary archives. Current events make rereads ring with new relevance, and you'll appreciate the book from a cultural, rather than just literary, perspective.

I actually just started rereading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD a few days ago. To be honest, it was partially because I forgot a YA galley at work and this slim, light volume filled my “no large hardcovers on the subway” rule, but it was also because of “read vintage” reason #2, I hadn’t read the book since middle school and couldn’t remember the details I had once adored; and “read vintage” reason #3, I’ve been hearing about this book nonstop for the past month. There’s also something that feels incredibly special about reading the exact same copy I had as a middle school student (thanks mom and dad, for preserving my childhood bookshelves!). I was in a big highlighter phase then, so my name is artfully sprawled across the fore edge in a neon rainbow (see the image on the top right), and important words and phrases are captured in blue (which, of course, leaks onto the next page). Luckily, I learned that underlining in pen was a smarter move by the time I reached high school.

What are your thoughts on rereading books? If you consider yourself a big reader, do you ever go backwards and read “vintage,” or are you a once-in-a-lifetime reader, charging through new volumes as fast as you can get your hands on them? Let me know at

And as for the rest of the newsletter, you can find some old favorites to reread in our recently updated Ultimate Reading List, as well as hundreds that you haven’t yet experienced and are sure to entertain. We also have plenty of great reviews, as always, a bookshelf of Novels in Verse for National Poetry Month and a special feature dedicated to R.L. Stine’s new Fear Street novel DON’T STAY UP LATE.

Happy reading, old and new tomes alike!

--- Shara Zaval (


Special Feature and Contest: DON'T STAY UP LATE by R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine has been called the Stephen King of children's and young adult literature, and for good reason; he's sold 350 million copies of his horror stories, including the legendary Goosebumps series books. In other words, he's responsible for keeping a lot of kids up at night!

He's back at it with DON'T STAY UP LATE, the first book in his terrifying teen series Fear Street in nearly 20 years, and quite possibly the scariest one yet. In DON'T STAY UP LATE, Lisa takes a new babysitting job as a way to distract herself from the terrible car accident that killed her father and put her and her mother in the hospital. However, this seemingly easy gig turns eerie when Lisa begins to question who --- or what --- she is babysitting.

If you're ready for a read that's sure to get your heart racing, enter to win one of 25 ARCS of DON'T STAY UP LATE by April 20th at noon ET! But if you win, take our advice: read it with the lights on!

Click here to enter the contest.
Click here to read our interview with R.L. Stine.
Click here to read an excerpt from DON'T STAY UP LATE.
Click here to learn more about DON'T STAY UP LATE.
Click here to read a review of DON'T STAY UP LATE. Ultimate Reading List - 2015 Update!

The Ultimate Reading List is one of our favorite features on --- it's a list of more than 400 titles that we think make perfect pleasure reading for teens. Our criteria: We looked for books that were compelling, beautifully written, pure fun, thought-provoking or edge-of-your-seat gripping; books that we would hand to someone and say, “read this!” We hope that you will use the Ultimate Reading List when selecting books for independent reading, and that schools will consult it when making suggestions for their students for summer reading.

Each year, we spend hours/days/weeks going through the list with fresh eyes, culling some titles and adding others. The latest update features titles through February 2015.

Click here to see the newly updated Ultimate Reading List!


Spring Fling Contest! Enter Now to WIN BOOKS!

Spring is finally here, and with it comes warmer weather, blooming flowers...and the chance to win some great new YA books! From now through Monday, May 4th at noon ET, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Spring Fling prize packages, which includes one copy of each of our featured books and a signature tote bag.

Our featured Spring Fling titles are:

  • 99 DAYS by Katie Cotugno
  • I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman
  • LIES I TOLD by Michelle Zink
  • THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows
  • THE PROMISE OF AMAZING by Robin Constantine
  • THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION by Robin Constantine
  • VANISHING GIRLS by Lauren Oliver
Click here to enter our Spring Fling giveaway!


Bookshelf: 20 Novels in Verse to Celebrate National Poetry Month!
Poetry comes in all sorts of different forms --- there are pithy limericks, romantic Shakespearean sonnets, epics that span hundreds of pages and even slam poems, specifically designed to be spoken aloud.

At, we’re particularly partial to the verse novel, which encompasses all of the best things about standard novels --- strong characters, interesting plot-lines, beautiful description --- but does so with spare, rich verses, rather than with prose. Poetry lovers can find their niche here, as can reluctant readers, as can those who simply want a wonderful story.

We’ve rounded up 20 of our favorite young adult and middle grade "verse" novels that have been published in the past few years, those addressing a specific moment in history like SILVER PEOPLE: Verses from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle to those delving into deeply personal issues like RUMBLE by Ellen Hopkins. Whether poetry is your favorite genre or you’d rather read your parents’ tax forms, we guarantee you that you’ll find something you love in this bookshelf.

Click here to read the bookshelf!


Teen Board

Teen Board Question: In honor of World Poetry Day on March 21st, we asked our Teen Board to write limericks about one of their favorite authors or books. We had a big variety of answers --- Alonzo D. wrote about Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Kate F. penned some rhymes in honor of Holly Black and Katherina T. was inspired by WE WERE LIARS. Click here to read all of their answers here --- perhaps you'll be inspired to write one of your own!

Reviews: We had a lot of very happy Teen Board reviewers in the latter end of the month, including Alison S., who said that Sarah Tomp's "MY BEST EVERYTHING's subtle, understated prose never shoves an opinion down readers' throats" and Cheritta J., who thought that THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand was so phenomenal that it "hurt [her] to have to put it down, sometimes."

Click here to learn more about the Teen Board!


On the Blog

Class Notes: Guest Post by Elise Andrew in Sydney, Australia: A college freshman from Down Under divulges what she and her friends are reading.

At the Insurgent Advance Screening: All You Need is Love for Dystopian YA: A few members of the Book Report Network team spill their opinions on the Insurgent movie, based on the bestselling book by Veronica Roth.

Our Reviewers Pick Their Ultimate Reads: In honor of recent update of the Ultimate Reading List, we asked our reviewers and Teen Board members to tell us three titles they'd recommend in a heartbeat.

Click here to read the Teenreads blog!


Now in Stores: HALF WILD by Sally Green

HALF WILD by Sally Green (Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy)

"You will have a powerful Gift, but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad."

In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, 17-year-old Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most powerful and violent witch. Nathan is hunted from all sides: nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted. Now, Nathan has come into his own unique magical Gift, and he's on the run --- but the Hunters are close behind, and they will stop at nothing until they have captured Nathan and destroyed his father.

Click here to learn more about the book.


Now in Stores: THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL: Book One by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel

THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL: Book One by Paige McKenzie (Young Adult Fiction)

Shortly after her 16th birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just...creepy. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut and, eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening --- and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger --- Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

Click here to learn more about the book.
Click here to read the review.


Now in Stores: THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma

THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma (Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural)

On the outside, there’s Violet, an 18-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries...

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve --- in this life or in another one?

Click here to learn more about the book.


Books On Screen

This March, Tris and Four are back on the big screen! In Insurgent, the two are on the run from Jeanine and the rest of the Erudite faction. Together they learn the secrets of their world and race against time to protect its future. Based on Veronica Roth's thrilling bestseller, this is definitely a sequel YA fans are going to want to see!

Or if you're more into fairy tales, check out Disney's new live-action Cinderella. In this retelling, a poor servant stepdaughter just wants to go to the ball, but needs a little help --- and some classic glass slippers --- from an old beggar woman with a magic touch!

So get out there this March and see some of these great books on screen!


Click here to read our Books on Screen feature


March's Cool and New Roundup

In March’s Cool and New roundup, we have THE TIGHTROPE WALKERS by David Almond, which tells of the rich inner world of a British boy teetering on the edge of manhood; SHADOW SCALE by Rachel Hartman, the sequel to the much-loved SERAPHINA, where an epic battle breaks out between humans and dragons; and VANISHING GIRLS, the new novel by bestselling author Lauren Oliver about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Among the paperback titles released this month, we have THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO by Gae Polisner, the story of Francesca, whose guilt keeps her stuck in the past; BEYOND MAGENTA: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin, featuring six honest and inspiring interviews with transgender or gender-neutral young adults; and WHAT IF I’M AN ATHEIST? by David Seidman, a thoughtful, one-of-a-kind guide that offers answers to questions about atheism and nonbelief.

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


Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

New! FINDING MR. BRIGHTSIDE by Jay Clark (Young Adult Fiction, Romance)

Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other --- at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak. Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a year later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite Juliette to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins. Reviewed by Katherina T., Teen Board member.

New! WE ALL LOOKED UP by Tommy Wallach (Young Adult Fiction)

They always say that high school is the best time of your life. Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle --- and her reputation --- and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career --- the future can wait. Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors --- along with the rest of the planet --- wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present. --- Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe. --- Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe.

New! THE TIGHTROPE WALKERS by David Almond (Young Adult Fiction)

A gentle visionary coming of age in the shadow of the shipyards of northern England, Dominic Hall is torn between extremes. On the one hand, he craves the freedom he feels when he steals away with the eccentric girl artist next door, Holly Stroud --- his first and abiding love --- to balance above the earth on a makeshift tightrope. With Holly, Dom dreams of a life different in every way from his shipbuilder dad’s, a life fashioned of words and images and story. On the other hand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the brutal charms of Vincent McAlinden, a complex bully who awakens something wild and reckless and killing in Dom. --- Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

New! BREAKING SKY by Cori McCarthy (Young Adult Fiction, Action)

Showoff. Reckless. Maverick. Chase Harcourt, call sign "Nyx", isn't one to play it safe. In the year 2048, America is locked in a cold war --- and the country's best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy. Chase is one of only two daredevil pilots chosen to fly an experimental "Streaker" jet. But few know the pain and loneliness of her past. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky. --- Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board member.

New! THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand (Young Adult Fiction, Social Issues)

Since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has been trying to keep her grief locked away and to forget about what happened that night. But as she starts putting her life, her family and her friendships back together, Lex is haunted by a secret she hasn't told anyone --- a text Tyler sent that could have changed everything. --- Reviewed by Cheritta J., Teen Board member.

New! MY BEST EVERYTHING by Sarah Tomp (Young Adult Fiction, Romance)

Luisa "Lulu" Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out. Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends.--- Reviewed by Alison S., Teen Board member.

New! EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU by Moriah McStay (Young Adult Fiction)

Fiona Doyle's face was horribly scarred as a child. She writes about her frustrations and dreams in notebooks, penning song lyrics. But she'd never be brave enough to sing those songs in public. Fi Doyle never had an accident. She's the best lacrosse player in the state and can't be distracted by her friend, who wants to be more than that. But then her luck on the field goes south. Alternating chapters between Fiona and Fi tell two stories about the same girl --- hopes and dreams and crushes, fears and failures and loss. --- Sydney L., Teen Board member.


March Poll

March is a great time of year to take a vacation! Which of these fictional locations would you most like to visit?

  • Diagon Alley --- Where else can you buy a broomstick and magic wand?
  • Middle Earth --- Elves, hobbits AND dwarfs? Definitely the best "people watching."
  • Nantucket --- like the characters in NANTUCKET BLUE, you can spend all your time at a beautiful beach
  • Pemberley --- a beautiful country estate with more gardens than you can imagine? Yes please!
  • Narnia --- Perfect for anyone who's wanted to talk to animals.
  • Cruise Ship --- You can make like the characters from THE LIVING and go on a beautiful cruise --- but without the storm.
  • Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory --- This would definitely be the tastiest vacation option.

Last month, we asked about your ideal winter reading spot. This is definitely a heat-seeking bunch --- "in front of a fireplace" came in at number one, with 48% of the votes, while "in an igloo" came in last place, earning just 1% of the votes! I guess the key to winter reading is to ignore, rather than embrace, the weather, huh? To see the full results of the February poll, click here.

Click here to take our poll!


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