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Early December 2015
December 9, 2015
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Hi Teenreaders,

The holidays are about all sorts of things --- celebrating your culture and religion, getting together with family and friends, and having an excuse to eat as many latkes and gingerbread men as humanly possible. And what’s that pesky thing I forgot? Oh right --- presents!

While giving and receiving is a lovely tradition, I’m not going to pretend it’s a calm one…as the clock ticks toward December 13th (the last night of Hanukkah) and the 24th (Christmas Eve), you can find more and more harried people running through the street (or the mall), glasses askew, shopping bags waving around wildly and smacking passersby in the head.

At Teenreads, we’ll try to do our part to prevent injuries (and heart attacks): a quick gift-giving roundup! First, we direct you to some awesome “best of the year” lists to guide your book shopping. But what if you have a voracious reader in your life, someone who already has shelves and shelves filled with the latest and greatest YA? Then just look to the second part of the opener, where bookish accessories run the show (as the result of some of the most fun research I’ve conducted in quite some time)!

Books Themselves --- The Best of the Best:

Teenreads Reviewers Picks: Why not turn to our trusty reviewers (many of them teens themselves) for advice? They ranked their top five favorites of the year in our special feature.

Epic Reads Gift Guide: One of our favorite YA sites, Epic Reads, gathered books by theme in this feature. If you know a reader particularly interested in, say, “fierce females,” “alien invasions” or LGBTQ issues, they’ve got you covered.

The New York Times – It’s a brand name that never goes out of style. The children’s books editor at the Times selected her favorite picture books, middle grade novels and YA, and it’s a diverse, high-quality list.

Publishers Weekly --- One of the premier book review publications, this is another highly trustworthy source.

EarlyWord’s Roundup – The team at EarlyWord --- a website that helps librarians keep up to date on all of the hottest titles coming out --- did something slightly amazing. They compiled the books mentioned in every children's and teen best-of list they could find (everywhere from Amazon to The New York Times to the National Book Awards finalists) into one Excel sheet. It's organized according to books' list appearances --- if a book was featured on nine lists, it would be far above a book that was featured on one. Talk about comprehensive!

Literary Accessories --- For Those Whose Shelves are Already Overflowing

Bookends: The voracious readers in your life are sure to have stacks of books…stacks that are constantly threatening to topple over and break a desk lamp. Save them this drama with some adorable bookends! I love these giraffe ones from Knob Creek Metal Arts, a shop on Esty. And since the Venn diagram of book people and grammar people often overlaps quite a bit, you can’t go wrong with this pair, which is shaped like brackets.

Posters: Sure, your friend's shelves might be clear indicators that he or she is a literary lover, but what about his or her bedroom walls? There are tons of awesome book posters out there. FolioCreations makes a super cool series of library card art prints of classic books, like Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Literary quotes also make great posters, like this lovely one sharing J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous line, not all who wander are lost. A great piece of wisdom to wake up to every day, don't you think?

All Things Wearable: Why should readers limit their bookish pride to their bedrooms? Help them show off their literary leanings with some wearable gadgets. First off, cellphone cases. While ignoring everyone around them to check their text messages, your friends might as well subliminally inform the world of their book taste, right? This list features 20 great choices, some that are title-specific and some that replicate a library or even a leather book itself! Or you can go with something from Litographs, a company that makes totes, t-shirts and even temporary tattoos with nods to famous tomes from children’s titles to Shakespeare's plays. I’m a big fan of their HAMLET and SLAUGHTER-HOUSE FIVE prints myself. And then, of course, there’s jewelry! This “meet me at the library” pendant is pretty much a "meet cute" in the making, and these cuff bracelets with quotes from writers will leave your friends looking cool and feeling motivated.

Now that you’re inspired, get shopping! But first, read the rest of the newsletter, of course :) .

Drumroll...TODAY voting has kicked off for nominations in the Teen Choice Book Awards. Vote for your favorite books for the 2015 Teen Choice Book Awards.

And....enter our Holiday Cheer contest and win some presents for yourself. It closes on Thursday, the 17th, but WHY wait til the last minute? The books are terrific; you'll find some great holiday reading there!

All best, and happy holidays!

--- Shara Zaval (


Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contest --- Enter to Win Today!

Here at Teenreads, we're kicking off the holiday season with our Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contest and Feature. As our gift to you, we are spotlighting some amazing books. Five lucky readers will win a copy of each featured title to curl up with this holiday season, along with some incredibly festive goodies.

This year's featured titles include:

IF YOU'RE LUCKY by Yvonne Prinz
INFINITE IN BETWEEN by Carolyn Mackler
RIDERS by Veronica Rossi
THIEF OF LIES: A Library Jumpers Novel by Brenda Drake
UNTAMED: A Splintered Companion by A.G. Howard
WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler

Fill out this form by Thursday, December 17th at noon ET to be one of five lucky winners.

Click here to enter our Holiday Bundle of Cheer contest!

Special Feature: DARK RISING by Monica McGurk
A lot of authors will tell you that research is paramount to writing a good novel. Even if you’re working on a piece of fiction, you want it to breathe with authenticity --- the issues should be dealt with in realistic ways, events should be historically accurate and settings should look like the real thing.

Luckily, Monica McGurk, author of the Archangel Prophecies series, is an expert at this, and dug into all kinds of fascinating (and at times upsetting) research for DARK HOPE and DARK RISING (and the final book, DARK BEFORE DAWN); she studied angels, child trafficking and even took trips to Las Vegas and Istanbul!
Learn more about DARK RISING through our special feature, which includes a review, interview and excerpt.
Click here to read the review.
Click here to read the interview.
Click here to read the excerpt.
Click here to enter the contest.

Click here to read the special feature!

It's That Time Again...Vote for the Best Teen Book of 2015!

In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC) and Every Child a Reader (ECAR), is giving you a very special opportunity to let your voices be heard by telling us up to 15 of your favorite books of 2015. The five titles that receive the most votes will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2015 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Cool, no?

Once the five finalists have been determined, we will tell you where you can go vote for them! The winner will be announced in May 2016. So what are you waiting for? Get voting --- and get your friends voting too!

Click here to vote for the 2015 Teen Choice Book Awards!

Teenreads Reviewers Pick Their Favorite Books of 2015!
There's no better way to start an argument with self-proclaimed book nerds than to ask "what is the best YA book of 2015?" We decided to get our lovely reviewers and Teen Board members involved in the debate by asking them to tell us a few of their favorites. Do you agree with their choices?

Click here to see the reviewers' and Teen Board members' picks of 2015!

Down the Rabbit Hole - 15 Books to Celebrate ALICE IN WONDERLAND's 150th Anniversary

When you say "ALICE IN WONDERLAND," you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who's not familiar with the very tardy rabbit, the ferocious Queen of Hearts and the ever-so-kooky Mad Hatter, who hosts a tea party Alice will never forget.

While we don't need an excuse to celebrate one of the hallmarks of children's literature, this year, we have more reason than ever --- ALICE IN WONDERLAND turned 150 years old! That's right --- Lewis Carroll wrote this adventure back in 1865.

To honor its anniversary, we made a bookshelf of tomes that are all about Alice. The top five give us some background on the topsy-turvy tale and its idiosyncratic author; you can learn who inspired various characters in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, read Carroll's most famous poems and see art spurred by Alice and co. The bottom 10 share (mostly YA) books that are somehow based on the famous story, whether it's the origin tale of the infamous villain or a reimagining where Alice is forced to fight the undead.

So fall down the rabbit hole --- I mean, into one of these books --- and remind yourself of the one-of-a-kind wonders of this off-the-wall classic.

Click here to see the ALICE IN WONDERLAND bookshelf!

Teen Board Update

Teen Board Question: It's December, the 12th month of the year, so we have endings on the brain. Therefore, we asked our Teen Board members: Without giving specific spoilers (tricky, we know), which book had one of your all-time favorite endings, and why? We got a huge range of answers. Ariel G. loved the ending of WE ALL LOOKED UP by Tommy Wallach because, "even to this day, [it] reminds me that I can never really be too sure of how things might turn out." Megan B., meanwhile, loved the conclusion of SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo. She said, "As it's the set up for at least two books, it was extremely important to me that the ending both tied up loose strings involving the plot and characters but also created far more pressing questions for me to theorize about until next fall when book two is slated for publication. It did both, with quite possibly the most epic cliffhanger in my recent reading history." Read all of their responses here!

Reviews: Our Teen Board members were pretty enthusiastic about their books this month! Maggie D. said that debut author Tessa Elwood "did an incredible job creating the world of INHERIT THE STARS," and Brynn S. said that "Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner craft an epic finale full of romance, secrets and betrayal" in THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT, the last book in the Starbound series.

Blog: Plenty of Teen Board members have written blog posts lately. Most recently, Isabel C. wrote about her experience at the best YA festival in the country --- YALLfest in Charleston, SC. Check it out here, and check out the blog as a whole to see what other teens have been talking about!


Books on Screen

Holiday shopping can be stressful, right? Finding the perfect gift for your mom, dad, grandma, that classmate you got as your Secret Santa but you don't know at all...the list goes on. Why not give yourself a break between stores by heading to the movie theater? Whether you want to see the crew of the Essex fight to survive after a whale assault (In the Heart of the Sea) or learn more about the dark side of football (Concussion), we know you'll find the perfect distraction in December's book-based films!

Click here to see our full December Books on Screen feature!

December's Cool and New Roundup

This month’s Cool and New roundup includes THIS RAGING LIGHT by Estelle Laure, in which 17-year-old Lucille falls in love with her best friend’s older brother at the most inconvenient time; THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, the conclusion of the bestselling Starbound trilogy about teens taking on the most powerful corporation in the galaxy; and HALF IN LOVE WTH DEATH by Emily Ross, a psychological thriller set in the 1960s that follows Caroline as she runs away to California with her older sister’s boyfriend in the hopes of finding her missing sibling.

In paperback titles this month, we have the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book HOW IT WENT DOWN by Kekla Magoon, which follows multiple perspectives following the shooting of 16-year-old Tariq Johnson; THE GOOD SISTER by Jamie Kain, which follows Sarah Kinsey’s family --- and Sarah’s ghost --- as they reel from her sudden death from a mysterious accident; and Carnegie Medal nominee THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ALFRED KROPP by Rick Yancey, where the title character must retrieve King Arthur’s legendary sword from the wrong hands before it’s too late.

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

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

New! NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST by Eric Lindstrom (Youth Fiction, Romance, Family)
Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart. When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react --- shun him so hard it hurts. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible. --- Reviewed by Alyssa Luis.

New! THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Youth Fiction, Science Fiction, Romance)
A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now-infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness LaRoux Industries' corruption. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were the only survivors of the Icarus shipwreck, forced to live a double life after their rescue. Now, at the center of the galaxy on Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players in the fight against LRI. --- Reviewed by Brynn S., Teen Board member.

New! SEE NO COLOR by Shannon Gibney (Youth Fiction, Family, Sports)
Despite some teasing, 16-year-old Alex Kirtridge found that being a biracial girl in a white family didn't make much of a difference as long as she was a star on the diamond. But now, things are changing: she meets Reggie, the first black guy who's wanted to get to know her; she discovers the letters from her biological father that her adoptive parents have kept from her; and her body starts to grow into a woman's, affecting her game. Alex begins to question who she really is. She's always dreamed of playing pro baseball just like her father, but can she really do it? Does she truly fit in with her white family? What does it mean to be black? --- Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board member.

New! INHERIT THE STARS by Tessa Elwood (Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian)
As the youngest daughter of the House of Fane, Asa lives every day of her life in honor of both herself and her people. But as her kingdom’s food and energy crisis peaks, Asa must find more to fuel Fane’s survival. Taking the place of her older sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the prosperous House of Westlet, seems like a straightforward solution. Forging an unforeseen bond, however, leads to an unavoidable division of loyalties. --- Reviewed by Maggie D., Teen Board member.

New! WINTER: Book Four of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Young Adult Fiction, Fairy Tale, Fantasy)
Winter despises her stepmother, Queen Levana, and knows that she won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend, the handsome palace guard Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Queen Levana believes her to be and has been undermining her wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.
--- Reviewed by Isabel C., Teen Board member.


December Poll

The holidays are approaching fast! What fictional present would you love to add to your wishlist?

  • Lyra’s alethiometer from His Dark Materials --- Put it on a chain and you’ve got a fashionable pendant that’s better than any Magic 8 Ball.
  • A Firebolt broomstick from Harry Potter --- And you thought your friends with cars were cool!
  • A tesseract from A WRINKLE IN TIME --- Your own personal wormhole? The capacity for adventures is endless!
  • Shiloh from SHILOH – Who needs an object when you could get the world’s sweetest beagle?
  • An Infinite Improbability Drive from THE HITCHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY - Who doesn’t love a little spontaneity…right?
  • A golden ticket from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY --- Candy for breakfast! And lunch. And dinner.
  • An outfit designed by Cinna from THE HUNGER GAMES --- Whether it's a flaming dress or some impenetrable armor, this would be perfect for any fashionista.

Last month, we asked you which curse from a YA novel would be the worst of them all. Turns out that the majority (a full 56%!) thought it would be terrible to be "gifted" the curse of obedience, like Ella from ELLA ENCHANTED, and never be able to make decisions for yourself. Next on the list, with 22% of the vote, was being cursed with the grey world of Lois Lowry's THE GIVER and never seeing color again. For the full results, click here!

Click here to take our poll!

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