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Late January 2016
January 29, 2015
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Bookish Resolutions with
The line to get into the YMAs about's already snaking around the lobby!
The line to get into the YMAs at approximately's already snaking around the lobby!

Hi Teenreaders,

I hope you’re having a great start to 2016; it's hard to believe January is just about over! At Teenreads, I certainly have. Why, you ask? Because I got to go to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter Conference!

I realize that it might not have the most enticing name in the world, but believe me --- this conference is YA heaven. The best books of 2015 get recognized at the Youth Media Awards (YMAs), authors speak on panels about everything from diversity to fantasy, and, at every turn, you run into librarians, publishers and authors who are dying to tell you about the best book they just finished or compare notes on which upcoming novels they should read on the way home. Since it’s impossible to talk about everything I encountered that weekend, I decided to share a few of my favorite quotes below:

Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) Feedback Session: During this event, local teens, this time from the Boston area, give their opinions on the books that are nominated for the BFYA list. While I love hearing what librarians think about 2015’s most memorable reads, listening to teens speak with passion (and, oftentimes, unintentional humor) is way better. Here were some of the gems:

- PAPER HEARTS by Meg Wiviott: “Verse and WWII are two things I like the least, but I really enjoyed this book.”

- ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven: So many teens raved about this book. One said, “sometimes you become part of a book, you start living it…my god does this book leave a beautiful scar.” Another teen told a moving story about how, after a girl at her school swallowed a bottle of pills, she shared ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES with the girl’s friends and it helped them understand what she was going through. If there’s any anecdote that proves the power books can have, I think we just found it.

- PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD by Michelle Falkoff: “All books should have playlists. I listened while I read, and it fit the mood so much.” Hmm, something for future authors to consider?

Author Quotes: At ALA Midwinter, authors were left, right and center --- wherever you turned, there was another one! I’ve compiled the most eye-opening facts they shared and their most quote-worthy (and hilarious) statements, here:

- At Scholastic's Reader's Theater event, Francisco X. Stork shared that when he wrote THE MEMORY OF LIGHT, which follows a girl working through depression and a suicide attempt, he thought about his 16-year-old self --- a smiley kid who had just won a scholarship but had lost the will to live. He asked that teen, “would this [book] interest you?” You can see the picture of him winning the scholarship on the above right. Carol read this book and found it to be so powerful, and you can find Teen Board member Maggie L.'s review towards the bottom of the newsletter!

- When accepting the 2016 William C. Morris Award, Becky Alertalli (SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA) said she told her three-year-old son she won and that her book would have a sticker on it. His response? “Ooh, a train sticker?” Should YALSA trade in their gold and silver medallion stickers with images of Thomas the Tank Engine or the Amtrak logo? It might be something to consider.

- “You know there were mad gay Hufflepuffs [in Harry Potter]!” Adam Silvera (MORE HAPPY THAN NOT) proclaimed at the We Need Diverse Books Panel. The only thing better was Maireke Nijkamp’s (THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS) response: “Queer Slytherins represent!” Harry Potter references --- they get me every time. You can see a picture of the We Need Diverse Books Panel on the above left.

- A lot of librarians feel like they have to convince kids and teens to be interested in nonfiction books, but as M.T. Anderson explained when accepting YALSA’s nonfiction Honor for SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD, “Kids are naturally interested in nonfiction. No three year old says ‘it’s boring to ask questions.’” The room burst into applause at this, and for good reason. Humans are naturally curious, and if facts become "boring" because of tests and rote learning, we’re doing something seriously wrong.

- At the Meet the Class of 2K16 Debuts panel, Dana Elmendorf explained that she was worried about writing a book that would portray her home region, the south, in a negative light. However, at the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators (SCWBI) conference, Ellen Hopkins told her, “write what scares you.” After hearing that, Elmendorf wrote SOUTH OF SUNSHINE --- in which a Tennessee teen struggles with whether or not to come out to her family and friends -- in 45 days. I loved hearing how authors not only move their readers, but also inspire others to write their own stories.

- “Before librarians put books in my hand with Latina girls, I began to wonder if I existed” --- Anna-Marie McLemore (THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS), William C. Morris Honor Book acceptance speech

- “Diversity is awesome and tasty! Not like eating your veggies (unless they’re Brussels sprouts with pancetta and balsamic vinegar),” Malinda Lo (ASH, INHERITANCE) said when moderating the We Need Diverse Books Panel. I loved this quote because Lo expresses that we shouldn’t talk about diversity like it’s something we should endure because it's good for us. Instead, we should promote diversity like it’s a wonderful thing teens will want and love, because it is!

Alright, that’s it! There are so many things I didn’t write about (Candlewick’s awesome party at Fenway Park, Steve Sheinkin’s nuggets about interviewing Daniel Ellsberg for his book MOST DANGEROUS, listening to librarians debate about which books should make the BFYA list…), but you have to stop somewhere, right?

So with that, enjoy the rest of the newsletter! We have tons of new reviews, and you have until Tuesday to vote for the Teen Choice Book Awards. Time is running out though --- make sure to do it NOW!

Happy reading,

Shara Zaval (

The ALA Youth Media Awards --- Congratulations to the Winners!
As mentioned above, the Youth Media Awards are one of the biggest annual events in publishing, as they honor the best and the brightest books across age groups, genres and topics. Click below to read our special newsletter outlining all of the young adult winners --- these gems have beautiful language, compelling storylines and thought-provoking themes, and they're absolutely not to be missed

Click here to learn more about the winners of the 2016 ALA Youth Media Awards!

You ONLY Have Til Tuesday February 2nd....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, right?

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! You ONLY have until Tuesday, February 2nd to vote!

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

Now in Stores: ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit

ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit (Youth Fiction, Historical Fiction, Family)

Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone. And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness. Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.

Click here to read the (two!) reviews.
Click here to learn more about the book.


Now in Stores: THE SIREN by Kiera Cass
THE SIREN by Kiera Cass (Youth Fiction, Dystopian, Romance Science Fiction)

From Kiera Cass, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series, comes a captivating stand-alone fantasy romance.

Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human --- a kind, handsome boy who's everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger...but Kahlen can't bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?

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


Now in Stores: WE ARE THE ANTS by Shaun David Hutchinson
WE ARE THE ANTS by Shaun David Hutchinson (Youth Fiction, Magic, Fantasy)

Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button. Only he isn’t sure he wants to. After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons. He's left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it...or let the world --- and his pain --- be destroyed forever.

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


On the Teenreads Blog

A Super Afternoon with Gene Luen Yang --- Dore’ Ripley, a lecturer at California State University, breaks down National Ambassador of Children's Literature, Gene Luen Yang's recent talk on Asian representation in comics, both today and throughout history.

Interview with Rajdeep Paulus, author of SOARING THROUGH STARS --- The author of the award-winning Swimming Through Clouds trilogy talks about what makes her tick as an author, her social media obsessions and her advice to budding writers.

Click here to visit the Teenreads blog!

Teen Board Update

Teen Board Question: 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 were really excited about their books this month. Aliza M. read CONCENTR8 by William Sutcliffe, and said that "by rotating between a variety of perspectives and locations, Sutcliffe created a strong, rich and visual storyline that is guaranteed to entertain readers." Lauren H. read the short story collection I SEE REALITY and said that "these 12 stories manage to capture all of the laughter, tears, struggles, horrors and highlights of being a teenager and I loved every minute of it!" See all of their reviews at the bottom of this 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! TEEN FRANKENSTEIN by Chandler Baker (Youth Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction)
It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hits someone with her car. And kills him. But, all is not lost --- Tor, being the scientific genius she is, brings him back to life. Thus begins a twisty, turn-y take on a familiar tale, set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying. --- Reviewed by Vaishnavi S., Teen Board member.

New! UNDERWATER: A Novel by Marisa Reichardt (Youth Fiction, Family Life, Romance)
Morgan didn't mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive --- first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself. But Morgan feels like she's underwater, and can't even move beyond the front door of her apartment. When Morgan can't hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door, reminding her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside. --- Reviewed by Laura T., Teen Board member.

New! PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken (Youth Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction)
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer is thrust not just miles, but years from home. And she's inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she's never heard of. Until now. Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods --- a powerful family in the Colonies --- and the servitude he's known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can't escape and the family that won't let him go so easily. --- Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board member.

New! WINTER'S BULLET by William Osborne (Youth Fiction, Historical Fiction, Military, Mystery)
Tygo, a locksmith's son, is forced by the Nazis to loot abandoned Dutch homes for valuables. Known as "The Ferret," everyone despises him, but helping the Germans is the only way he can stay alive. When he discovers a girl with a diamond in a chimney, he refuses to give her up. Instead, he turns spy and uses the jewel to find out information about Hitler's ultimate weapon. He has one shot to stop the war. Can a ferret become a hero? --- Reviewed by Pranshu A.

New! UP FROM THE SEA by Leza Lowitz (Youth Fiction, Free Verse, Family)
On the fateful day in March 2011 that a tsunami devastates Kai's coastal Japanese village, Kai
loses nearly everyone and everything he cares about. When he’s offered a trip to New York to meet kids whose lives were changed by 9/11, Kai realizes he also has a chance to look for his estranged American father. Visiting Ground Zero on its 10th anniversary, Kai learns that the only way to make something good come out of the disaster back home is to return there and help rebuild his town. --- Reviewed by Janine C., Teen Board member.

New! SANCTUARY BAY by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz (Youth Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller)
When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country --- Sanctuary Bay Academy --- it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn't sound more appealing. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay's glossy reputation. --- Reviewed by Hafsah K., Teen Board member.

New! UP TO THIS POINTE by Jennifer Longo (Youth Fiction, Family, Performing Arts)
Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing Amundsen and Shackleton to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting --- apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart. --- Reviewed by Cat S., Teen Board member.

New! CONCENTR8 by William Sutcliffe (Youth Fiction, Mystery, Thriller)
In a not-so-distant future London, riots have become the norm. But when the government suddenly stops distributing Concentr8 --- a behavioral modification "miracle" drug akin to Ritalin --- the city's residents rise up fiercer than they ever have before. Amidst the chaos, five teens pick a man seemingly at random and chain him up as a hostage in a warehouse. Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet sidekick --- the only person he has ever trusted. But even Troy didn't see this coming, and as their story unfolds over six tense days, one thing is clear --- none of them will ever be the same again. --- Reviewed by Aliza M., Teen Board member.

New! MY SECOND LIFE by Faye Bird (Youth Fiction, Family Life)
Ana struggles to live a normal life, bombarded by memories of her previous life as Emma. The worst memories are of a little girl who drowned: was Emma responsible? Consumed by guilt, Ana will do anything to uncover the past. --- Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board member.

New! MY NAME IS NOT FRIDAY by Jon Walter
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. --- Reviewed by Aimee Rogers.

Natalie’s not an alcoholic. She doesn’t have a problem. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over. When recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life and things start looking up. Joe is funny, he’s smart and he calls her out in a way no one ever has. He’s also older. A lot older. Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming, but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she’s been desperate to forget. --- Reviewed by Leanna R., Teen Board member.

New! I'M FROM NOWHERE by Suzanne Myers (Youth Fiction, Family Life, Romance)
When Wren's mother, Hannah, receives a reporting assignment in Greenland for six months, Wren is shipped off to Hardwick Hall: Hannah’s alma mater back East. Wren tries to befriend her suitemate, Honor, but Honor looks right through her as if she isn’t there. At least Wren finds an escape in hanging out with cute rowers, like the adorably crinkly eyed Nick, or in riding horses, which she discovers she loves. She finds her niche in the campus’s underground music scene with Chazzy, a darkly hilarious fellow musician. But soon clues begin appearing about the darkest secret her mother ever kept. --- Reviewed by Chris C., Teen Board member.

New! FRONT LINES by Michael Grant (Youth Fiction, Historical Fiction, Military, Friendship)
World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany. Three girls sign up to fight. Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families --- to go to war. --- Reviewed by Harleen K., Teen Board member.

New! I SEE REALITY: Twelve Short Stories About Real Life by Kristin Elizabeth Clark, Heather Demetrios (Youth Fiction, Short Stories, Contemporary)
Through prose and comics alike, these heart-pounding short stories for young adults ask hard questions about a range of topics from sexuality and addiction to violence and immigration. Here is the perfect tool for starting tough discussions or simply as an introduction to realistic literary fiction. In turns funny, thought-provoking and heartbreaking, I SEE REALITY will resonate with today's teens long after the last page has been turned. --- Reviewed by Lauren H., Teen Board Member.

New! THE MEMORY OF LIGHT by Francisco X. Stork (Youth Fiction, Mental Health, Family)
When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: She can't even commit suicide right. But for once, a mistake works out well for her, as she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she's never had. --- Reviewed by Maggie L., Teen Board member.

New! IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT by Paul Rudnick (Youth Fiction, Humor, Family)
Up until 48 hours ago, 17-year-old Caitlin Singleberry had never: Tasted alcohol, kissed a boy, sang in public at the top of her lungs, kidnapped anyone or --- what? Stolen a convertible? She blames one person for the entire insane weekend: Her famous cousin. --- Reviewed by Hasnah Farraj.

New! THE FIRE HORSE GIRL by Kay Honeyman
Jade Moon is a Fire Horse, the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, willful and far too imaginative. But while her family despairs of marrying her off, she has a passionate heart and powerful dreams and wants only to find a way to make them come true. Then a young man named Sterling Promise comes to their village to offer Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. But America in 1923 doesn't want to admit many Chinese, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. --- Reviewed by Alyssa L., 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:

NFL CONFIDENTIAL: True Confessions from the Gutter of Football by Johnny Anonymous (Nonfiction, Sports, Memoir)

In NFL CONFIDENTIAL, a current pro player takes fans on a pseudonymous trip through one of the most infamous years of football --- the very long, sometimes funny, often controversial 2013-2014 season --- sharing raucous, behind-the-scenes, on-the-field and in-the-locker-room truth about life in the National Football League.

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

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