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Early January 2016
January 7, 2015
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Bookish Resolutions with

Hi Teenreaders,

Happy 2016! Whether you were cuddled up in your pajamas watching the ball drop when the clock struck midnight or ringing in the New Year with sparkling 2016-shaped glasses, sequined pants and confetti, I’m guessing that you all had the same general thoughts: I’m going to do everything I can to make this a great year.

While I fully support your ambitions to eat healthier, learn a new skill and be kinder to your siblings, I can’t do much to help you with that. For all of your bookish resolutions, though? You came to the right place!

I consulted with our Teen Board members this month to figure out some of the best goals for the literary-minded and included a few of their ideas below:

Genre Exploration
You may read more than 100 books a year, but if they’re all fantasy and sci-fi, or 95% contemporary, then why not make “diversifying your reading list” your 2016 resolution? As Teen Board member Janine C., explained, there’s nothing wrong with reading books in a similar genre if you enjoy it, but it’s “not helpful in exposing [you] to diverse viewpoints.” The greater variety of genres you read, the more ideas, perspectives and information you contemplate. If you’re a big romance fan, you should absolutely continue to delve into the lives of starry-eyed high school students, but why not read them in an “every other book” pattern? You read a romance and then a graphic novel, a romance and then a classic, a romance and then a dystopian…baby steps!

Build Your Social Media Game
You know that feeling when you finish a book you love and you’re just dying to tell everyone you know to read this NOW and don’t do anything until you finish it because omigod?! Well, why not take those opinions to the streets…er, internet? There are so many great bookish places online these days (besides Teenreads, of course). You can engage with other readers on online fandoms, like Maggie D. wants to do, or write your own book reviews to post on a site like Goodreads or even a personal blog! And then you can’t forget the booktubers…YouTube channels dedicated to reviewing books in a video format. Brynn S.’s 2016 goal is to post at least once a month on her booktube channel brynnsbookshelf --- why not put your thoughts out there in a similar way? Not only will you get better at expressing your own opinions, but you’ll connect with (and influence) countless readers across the globe.

Emulate a Favorite Character
This resolution is bookish with a twist. Rather than adjust your actual reading habits, how about taking inspiration from a fictional favorite and adjusting your behavior or outlook accordingly? Hafsah K. wants to mimic Georgia Askeridis, the main character from E. Katherine Kottaras’s November 2015 novel, HOW TO BE BRAVE. Georgia has lived her whole life on the sidelines, but after her mother died, she made a list of things she always wanted to do but was afraid to try, threw caution to the wind and just went for them. Hafsah wants to follow suit, to “build from who [she] was [and] do things [she] have never thought of doing --- a bucket list of some sorts.” Vaishnavi S., meanwhile, wants to be more optimistic and less stressed in 2016, much like the carefree, exuberant Phineas from A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles. Which characters do you admire, and how can you incorporate their actions or personality traits into your day-to-day life?

Up the Quantity
Just because you love books doesn’t mean that you have time to read as much as you’d like; there’s school, homework, extracurricular activities, that addictive new TV show…the list goes on and on. Therefore, why not take active steps to increase the number of books you read for pleasure in 2016?

As Laura T. explains, "it’s so easy to sit down after a long day of school and zone out in front of the TV or computer, but it’s so much more rewarding to immerse yourself in a good book...” That’s why in the new year, Laura’s going to “do [her] best to trash the easy out of binge-watching and hit a new record of books read!” Levi V. has a similar goal but it’s coming from a different place --- he wants to finish his to-be-read (TBR) list because it “has reached well over double digits and [he’s] not even close to finishing them all.” When the list of books you want to read becomes overwhelming, you know it’s time to take action, pronto.

So there you have it! Good luck incorporating these ideas into the New Year, and if you have any more bookish resolutions we didn’t think of, be sure to contact me at!

Now, click here to see if you won last month’s Holiday Bundle of Cheer contest. Then read on to learn about the newest National Ambassador for Young Adult Literature, vote in the Teen Choice Book Awards, discover the latest books coming out, and more.

Happy reading, and good luck with all of your resolutions, bookish and otherwise!

--- Shara Zaval (


Keep an Eye Out - ALA Award Winners!

This weekend, I am pretty excited to be attending the American Library Association's Midwinter Conference in Boston. I get to meet amazing authors, learn about all of the best books coming out in the spring and summer, and get to know more librarians and readers up close and personal. There is even a program on Saturday where Boston-area teens will be sharing their feedback on books that were published in 2015 --- it's always great to hear teen thoughts on teen lit.

However, the coolest part of the the ALA Midwinter conference comes on Monday at 8AM when they announce all of the biggest awards of the year (the Caldecott, the Newbery, the Printz)! It's "the Oscars for books," if you will. I will be there, and next week, we'll be sending a special newsletter sharing all of the winners as well as posting them on the site. Be sure to keep an eye out for it --- these are books that you'll definitely want to consider for your to-be-read list.


Congratulations to Gene Luen Yang - The Fifth National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

We are thrilled that Gene Luen Yang --- award-winning author of graphic novels AMERICAN BORN CHINESE and BOXERS & SAINTS and the new Secret Coders series --- was named the fifth National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. In our interview, Gene talks about his platform "Reading Without Walls," how his experience teaching has influenced his writing and why he thinks graphic novels --- and reading as a whole --- is so important.

Read our interview with Gene Luen Yang here.

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!

Now in Stores: TRUTHWITCH: A Witchlands Novel, by Susan Dennard

TRUTHWITCH: A Witchlands Novel by Susan Dennard (Youth Fiction, Fantasy, Romance)

Safiya, a Truthwitch, and Iseult, a Threadwitch, just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and privateer) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Click here to learn more about the book.
Click here to read two reviews of the book.


Now in Stores: MY NAME IS NOT FRIDAY by Jon Walter

MY NAME IS NOT FRIDAY by Jon Walter (Youth Fiction, Historical Fiction)

Well-mannered Samuel and his mischievous younger brother Joshua are free black boys living in an orphanage during the end of the Civil War. Samuel takes the blame for Joshua's latest prank, and the consequence is worse than he could ever imagine. He's taken from the orphanage to the South, given a new name --- Friday --- and sold into slavery. What follows is a heartbreaking but hopeful account of Samuel's journey from freedom, to captivity and back again.

Click here to learn more about the book.


Now in Stores: THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN by Sarah Fine

THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN by Sarah Fine (Youth Fiction, Magic, Fantasy)

Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule. But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found. Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals --- some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it and the prophecy that foretold her destiny.

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


On the Teenreads Blog

What's The Point - Guest Post by Estelle Laure - The author of THIS RAGING LIGHT shares the true importance of kindness, in her book and in real life.

Making Paranormal "Normal" - Brigid Kemmerer --- author of THICKER THAN WATER and the Elemental series --- explains that even the best paranormal can't work without realistic characters.

Click here to visit the Teenreads blog!

Teen Board Update

Teen Board Question: You already got a sneak peek in the opener above, but for January's Teen Board Question, we asked our Teen Board members to tell us if they had any bookish New Year's resolutions. Turned out they've had plenty of literary goals swimming around their minds. Juliette G. wants to be more like Amber from NO PLACE TO FALL by Jaye Robin Brown and pursue her passions, even if it involves stepping outside her comfort zone, and Chris C. wants to "venture into the unknown," reading authors he's never heard of and genres he's unfamiliar with. Click here to see all of their book-themed ideas --- maybe you'll be inspired to make some belated resolutions of your own!

Reviews: Our Teen Board members have been super excited about their books recently. Yasemin B. appreciated that Marieke Niijkamp "was able to write an excellent, realistic novel on such a serious and sensitive topic" in her school shooting novel, THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS. Dally M. said that while she initially decided to read RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES by Kate McGovern because the cover was intriguing, she "didn’t expect to relate to it as personally as [she] did." She said, "this story of family and love is overarching and will easily become everyone’s new favorite book." Read all of their reviews later in the newsletter!

Click here to meet the September 2015 - August 2016 Teen Board!

Books on Screen
We're glad it's not summer because this month's Books on Screen options are going to leave you wanting to stay as far from the waves as possible. First there's The Finest Hours, the remake of the book of the same name by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman, which follows members of the Coast Guard attempting to save 30 sailors in one of the worst storms in New England's history. Turns out waves aren't just in the ocean, though --- they come in the form of alien invasions, too, at least in Rick Yancey's bestselling book THE 5TH WAVE, which is hitting theaters towards the end of the month. Read on to learn more about January's books on screen, including some great TV offerings (like one based on Cassandra Clare's THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: City of Bones!)
Click here to see our full January Books on Screen feature!

January's Cool and New Roundup

This month’s Cool and New roundup includes PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken, the first book in a series of the same name that follows Etta, a talented violinist, and Nicholas, a sea captain, on a time-traveling trip in search of a precious object; FRONT LINES by Michael Grant, which explores an alternate World War II in which women were eligible for the draft; and THE MEMORY OF LIGHT by Francisco X. Stork, a poignant tale that follows a teen’s recovery from a suicide attempt, based on the author’s own struggles with depression.

In paperback titles this month, we have dancer Michaela DePrince’s awe-inspiring memoir TAKING FLIGHT: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina; THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black, a modern fairytale featuring siblings who have always dreamt of being knights, a prince sleeping in glass coffin and a world that’s turning upside down; and A LIST OF THINGS THAT DIDN’T KILL ME: A Memoir, where Jason Schmidt details his difficult childhood with his father.

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

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

New! RADIOACTIVE!: How Irene Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World by Winifred Conkling (Youth Nonfiction, Biography, Science)

In 1934, Irène Curie, working with her husband and fellow scientist, Frederic Joliot, made a discovery that would change the world: artificial radioactivity. This breakthrough allowed scientists to modify elements and create new ones by altering the structure of atoms. Curie shared a Nobel Prize with her husband for their work. But when she was nominated to the French Academy of Sciences, the academy denied her admission and voted to disqualify all women from membership. Four years later, Curie’s breakthrough led physicist Lise Meitner to a brilliant leap of understanding that unlocked the secret of nuclear fission. Meitner’s unique insight was critical to the revolution in science that led to nuclear energy and the race to build the atom bomb, yet her achievement was left unrecognized by the Nobel committee in favor of that of her male colleague. --- Reviewed by Linnea P., Teen Board member.

New! THIS RAGING LIGHT by Estelle Laure (Youth Fiction, Friendship, Family Issues)
Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed 17-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love --- messy, inconvenient love --- is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. --- Reviewed by Leanna R., Teen Board member.

New! HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH by Emily Ross (Youth Fiction, Suspense, Thriller)
It’s the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in 15-year-old Caroline’s life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, Caroline might as well have disappeared too. The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister’s older boyfriend, who is convinced that the answer to Jess’s disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we’ll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again. --- Reviewed by Maggie L., Teen Board member.

New! THE GIRL WITH THE WRONG NAME by Barnabas Miller (Young Adult Fiction, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy)
Ever since The Night in Question left her with a hideous scar and no memory of what happened, Theo Lane has been using a hidden button cam to keep the world at bay. She spends the entire summer in a Manhattan café, secretly documenting random “subjects.” Her most interesting subject is the Lost Boy, a stranger who comes in every day at the same time. When she finally gets up the courage to talk to him she discovers why: the Lost Boy, Andy, is waiting for someone who said she’d meet him there…four days ago. Intoxicated by Andy’s love for this mystery girl, Theo agrees to help him find her, and her unhealthy obsession pulls her into a perilous, mind-bending journey. --- Reviewed by Alyssa L., Teen Board member.

New! WHAT'S BROKEN BETWEEN US by Alexis Bass (Young Adult Fiction, Family)
A year and a half ago, Amanda Tart’s brother got behind the wheel drunk, killed his best friend and paralyzed his girlfriend. Today, he’s coming home from prison. Amanda’s been the one living with the fallout, made worse by her brother’s recent unapologetic TV interview. Still, she loves him. It’s her dark secret, until she starts getting close to Henry again --- whose sister is paralyzed from the accident. --- Reviewed by Harleen K., Teen Board member.

New! HEAR by Robin Epstein (Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Paranormal)
Kassandra Black's future depends on behaving herself for the summer at Henley University under the watchful eye of her great-uncle Brian. If she successfully assists him in his HEAR program (Henley Engineering Anomalies Research), she can at least go to college somewhere.
As Kass gets to know the four other HEAR students, she realizes that she overlooked the “Anomalies” part of their acronym. They’ve all been recruited to help Brian run experiments that gauge Extrasensory Perception --- including, to her astonishment, Kass herself. But Kass would know if she were psychic; right? - Reviewed by Hasnah Farraj.

New! THE HEIR AND THE SPARE by Emily Albright (Young Adult Fiction, Family Life, Romance)
Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart, the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress. --- Reviewed by Jeanna Michel.

New! WORLDS OF INK AND SHADOW: A Novel of the Brontës by Lena Coakley (Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction)
Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne Brontë find escape from their constrained lives via their rich imaginations. The glittering world of Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy world of Gondal literally come to life under their pens, offering the sort of romance and intrigue missing from their isolated parsonage home. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as the characters they have created --- the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna --- refuse to let them go. --- Reviewed by Bryn D., Teen Board member.

New! RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES by Kate McGovern (Young Adult Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she's going to die? Because when Rose turns 18, she can take the test that tells her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington's disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a 50-50 shot at inheriting her family's genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she'll live to be a healthy adult --- including her dream career in ballet and the possibility of falling in love. --- reviewed by Dally M., Teen Board member.

New! THE NIGHT PARADE by Kathryn Tanquary (Youth Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale)
The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Then the local kids take interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare. But when she invokes a death curse, she has only three nights to prove her worth --- or say goodbye to the world of the living forever... --- Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

New! THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN by Sarah Fine (Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy)
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule. But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found. --- Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board member.

New! THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp (Young Adult Fiction, Suspense, Friendship)
10:00 a.m: The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:03: The auditorium doors won’t open. 10:05: Someone starts shooting. Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. --- Reviewed by Asia H., Teen Board member.


January Poll

Since it’s the new year, we have beginnings on the brain! In that spirit, below, we share some opening lines from books coming out this month. Which one(s) makes you want to read the book? (Check as many as apply.)

  • I’m not going to tell you my name, not right away.– FRONT LINES by Michael Grant
  • “You’re doing WHAT?” Nick exploded. --- UNDER THEIR SKIN by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • You want to know how I got famous? – CONCENTR8 by William Sutcliffe
  • MY TOWN – Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it – it was just where I lived. --- UP FROM THE SEA by Leza Lowitz
    I am a good Christian girl and I am so ashamed. – IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT by Paul Rudnick
    In losing, Hillary Rodham Clinton gave perhaps the best speech of her life. – HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: A Woman Living History by Karen Blumenthal

Last month, we asked which fictional present you would like to receive this holiday season, and it turned out that there were TWO shiny gifts that stood out the most, each coming in at 26%: an Infinite Improbability Drive from THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY and an outfit designed by Cinna from THE HUNGER GAMES. Looks like we have equal parts interstellar travelers and fashionistas on our hands! To see the full results, 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:

BRADY VS. MANNING: The Untold Story of the Rivalry That Transformed the NFL by Gary Myers (Nonfiction, Sports)

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are perhaps the two greatest quarterbacks of all time. But what do they actually think of each other? What are they like behind closed doors and in the locker room, and how does that influence their careers? Veteran NFL correspondent Gary Myers tackles this subject from every angle and with unprecedented access and insight, drawing on a huge number of never-before-heard interviews with Brady and Manning, their coaches, their families, and those who have played with them and against them.

Click here to see all the Adult Books You Want to Read!

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