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Early April 2016
April 15, 2016
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Ultimate Reading for Ultimate Readers

Hi Teenreaders,

I just returned from a lovely 45-minute walk from a book preview event downtown (yes, I got lots of steps in today!). I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait until it’s warm enough to read outside again. There’s something special about finding the perfect bench or shady spot on the grass and settling down with a new book. Speaking to that, our intern, Erin, shared the photo on the above left of her sitting on a bench with her newest read, TELL ME THREE THINGS, which is one of our featured reviews. Soon....very soon....we will be doing this every day!

Last night, I heard Julie Buxbaum speak to a PACKED house at the McNally Jackson bookstore here in the city. Julie has written a few adult books, but TELL ME THREE THINGS is both her first young adult novel and her most personal book yet. I was completely blown away by her love of young adult literature and bravery in sharing such an intimate story. I'll be blogging about the event soon, but you should know that she brought several members of the audience to tears.

We have two new contests!

Now, what about those contests, you ask? First up, we have a book I’m REALLY excited about --- YOU GOT THIS! by Maya S. Penn. I first heard about Maya when I was g-chatted a video of Maya’s TEDTalk with the message “You have to watch this.” Watch it, I did, and boy, was I amazed! Maya is 16-years-old now, but she started her eco-friendly clothing and accessory company, Maya’s Ideas, when she was only eight! She did her first TedTalk at age 13. Since then, she’s been featured in countless publications for her entrepreneurial skills and vision. Not only that, Maya is devoted to giving back and donates a percentage of her profits to charities and environmental organizations. Now she’s used all of her experiences to write YOU GOT THIS!, a guide to identifying your creative personality and using it to make your wildest ideas become reality.

We know many of you have big ideas that just need the right push to come to life, so we’re giving away 10 copies of Maya’s book to those of you who would like to read the book. One copy will also come with this gorgeous Spring Garden Heart Pendant from Maya’s shop. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, May 10th, so be sure to enter here.

By the way, when you read the Prologue, you will see that Maya, like many of us, had butterflies in her stomach before she made her TEDTalk!

Our second contest celebrates the June 3rd movie release of ME BEFORE YOU, based on Jojo Moyes’ heartbreaking, tear-jerking novel about Louisa Clark, an upbeat young woman who takes a job with Will Traynor, a wheelchair-bound millionaire. When Moyes brings these completely opposite characters together, they learn huge lessons about life and sacrifice. In celebration of the movie’s release, we’re giving away 10 copies of both the movie-tie-in edition of ME BEFORE YOU and its sequel, AFTER YOU, in hardcover. I can’t recommend ME BEFORE YOU enough, so be sure to enter here before Wednesday, May 4th at noon ET so you can read along and prepare for the movie’s release. Grab tissues!

And....MORE Big News...this one gets a drumroll....we updated our Ultimate Teen Reading List! Every spring we ponder what titles we should add to this list. We look not only at award winners and popular list-makers, but books that really spoke to us personally, either because of their compelling plots or attention to important issues. While our list is mainly composed of young adult titles, there are a few adult books there, too. No matter your reading style, it’s a great place to find some inspiration for your independent reading.

With that in mind, we’d love it if you could share the list with your teachers and librarians as well. It’s our personal goal to make reading fun for everyone, and we think spreading the list around will do just that.

Sometimes, especially when your schedule has been busy with "required" reading and work, you need a little push to get back into reading for pleasure. This month’s Teen Board Question asked our members about their most recent book slumps and how they pulled themselves out of them. Their advice varies, but several of our members --- and yours truly --- recommend re-reading a favorite book to help you settle comfortably into a routine without the anxiety of trying something new. Click here to see our Teen Board’s words of wisdom and find out what books helped them beat their slumps.

As I was writing this newsletter, we received office copies of THE RAVEN KING, the final book in the Raven Cycle series, a title that staffer Emily Hoenig has been waiting for for almost two years. It will be in stores on April 26th. You can see her excitement about it in the top right photo (her scream when she saw it on her desk was great!), with some of my favorite reads of the month in the middle.

Our Spring Fling Contest is still open, and you have until April 25th to vote for the Teen Choice Book Award. Read on for more about both of these opportunities.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any comments, suggestions or reading recommendations. Getting your emails makes my day!

Happy reading,

--- Rebecca Munro (


Special Contest: YOU GOT THIS! by Maya S. Penn

We have 10 copies of YOU GOT THIS!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World by Maya S. Penn to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which is out now. One copy will come with this Spring Garden Heart Pendant from Maya's shop. To enter, please fill out this form by Tuesday, May 10th at noon ET.

YOU GOT THIS!: Unleash Your Inner Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World by Maya S. Penn (Nonfiction/Self-Help)
Maya Penn isn't like other 16-year-olds. This teen has given a TED Talk (two, in fact), has been on "The View" with Whoopi Goldberg, has launched her own business, designed her own eco-friendly clothing, and been name-checked by bestselling authors like Gabrielle Bernstein, Steve Harvey, and Eve Ensler. All while still in middle school!

But while Maya is extraordinary in so many ways, what she has accomplished isn't miraculous or unique. Instead, her success is a testament to her own creativity, passion, and fearlessness ... traits that, Maya says, can be cultivated in all of us, too. YOU GOT THIS! offers a creative blueprint for young adults (and others seeking their way in the world), showing them the tools Maya herself used to build an authentic, exciting, and connected life for herself ... and offering her readers ideas to help them do the same. Like THE ARTIST'S WAY for a teen audience, YOU GOT THIS! offers readers Maya's extraordinary life story, as well as creative prompts to get them thinking about ways to cultivate that same success in their own lives.

- Click here to read a review.
- Click here to read more about the book.
- Click here to read an excerpt.
- Click here to read Maya Penn's bio.
- Visit Maya's website and blog.
- Connect with Maya on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Watch Maya on TEDTalks and TEDxYouth.


Click here to read more in our Special Feature and to enter the contest.


Special Contest: ME BEFORE YOU and AFTER YOU
In celebration of the theatrical release of ME BEFORE YOU on June 3rd, we have a very special opportunity. We have movie tie-in editions of Jojo Moyes' ME BEFORE YOU, which comes out on April 26th, and hardcover copies of the sequel, AFTER YOU, to give away to 10 lucky readers. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, May 4th at noon ET.

More about ME BEFORE YOU:
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose.

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life --- steady boyfriend, close family --- who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life --- big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel --- and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy --- but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, ME BEFORE YOU brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common --- a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

More about AFTER YOU:
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding --- the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

AFTER YOU is quintessential Jojo Moyes --- a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do --- revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.

Click here to read more in our Special Feature and to enter the contest.'s Annual Spring Fling Contest

After a long winter, spring has finally sprung, and we're celebrating by putting away our winter coats, soaking up some sun --- and giving away some fantastic new YA books! From now through Monday, May 2nd 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:

Click here to enter our Spring Fling Contest!


Teen Choice Book Awards

The Children's Book Council Teen Choice Book Awards are officially upon us and open for voting! This is a big deal in the publishing industry, as it is the only national book awards program where kids and teens decide all of the finalists. From now until April 26th, you have the chance to choose not only your favorite book of 2016, but your favorite debut author as well.

This is your chance to make a difference, so click here to show your favorite books and authors some well-deserved love!

Now in Stores: GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT by Monica Hesse

GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT by Monica Hesse (Historical Fiction)
An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

The missing girl is Jewish. I need you to find her before the Nazis do.

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman's frantic plea to find a person --- a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

Meticulously researched, intricately plotted and beautifully written, GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT is an extraordinary, gripping novel from a bright new voice in historical fiction.

We will have our review soon!

Click here to read more about the book.


Featured Review: TELL ME THREE THINGS by Julie Buxbaum

TELL ME THREE THINGS by Julie Buxbaum (Fiction)
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Reviewed by Juliette G., Teen Board Member.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.


Featured Review: DREAMOLOGY by Lucy Keating

DREAMOLOGY by Lucy Keating (Paranormal Romance)
For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams --- because he doesn’t actually exist. But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.


Ultimate Teen Reading List

The Ultimate Reading List is one of our favorite features on --- it's a list of more than 450 titles that we think make perfect pleasure reading for teens. We spend all year thinking about which releases will make the final cut. Our criteria: We look for books that are compelling, beautifully written, pure fun, thought-provoking or edge-of-your-seat gripping; books that we would hand to someone and say, “read this!” with no hesitation. 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.

The latest update introduces 40 new books that were released between March 2015 and February 2016.

Click here to see the newly updated Ultimate Reading List!


Teen Board Update

Teen Board Question: Spring is finally here, and we at Teenreads are feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle our overwhelming TBRs. Looking at our lists and piles, however, had us thinking about every bibliophile's worst nightmare: the dreaded reading slump. We know even the most dedicated readers can fall into a rut, so we asked our Teen Board Members about their most recent reading slumps and how they pulled themselves out of them. A common bit of advice was to re-read a book you love, as it comfortably pulls you back in while opening the door for new reads. As you can probably guess, Harry Potter, aka The Boy Who Lived, is this month's reading slump hero, as he has effectively pulled Aliza M., Janine C. and Laura T. out of their worst slumps.

Reviews: Our Teen Board members reviewed a bunch of terrific YA books this month from various genres. Levi V. read DIG TOO DEEP and said, "This book draws you in with the all too real picture of life that it illustrates...managing to educate the reader without boring them." Kate F. loved TELL THE WIND AND FIRE, a revamped version of a classic favorite and said, "Sarah Rees Brennan weaves the old with the new together flawlessly, leaving little hints and lines from Charles Dickens’s novel in her own." Megan B., meanwhile, took a magical trip with A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON, and had this to say: "Debut author Samantha Mabry describes Puerto Rico with tender love and care, taking special pains to magnify each detail...[The] narrative is also aided by spot-on writing that, while beautiful, is incredibly fluent and reads like a dream."


Books on Screen
April has arrived; so while you wait for those April showers to give way to May flowers, why not grab some snacks (ice cream spooned straight out of the container if you're like me), and veg out with the latest book to screen adaptations?

In theaters this month is The Jungle Book, an all-new live-action epic adventure, based on Rudyard Kipling's classic stories. Step into the wild and follow Mowgli --- a man who's been raised by wolves --- on an enchanting journey of self-discovery.

For all the numerophiles out there, an exciting new book-to-screen adaptation you can count on is The Man Who Knew Infinity, the true story of a friendship that forever changed mathematics. Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar earns admittance to Cambridge University during WWI, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor, G.H. Hardy.

Comic book characters are dominating the small screen this month with “The Flash”, “Shadowhunters”, “Arrow” and "Legends of Tomorrow" all airing new episodes. It's an especially exciting month for DC fanatics, in particular. So it's time to brush up on your comics and gear up to watch them brought to life!

Click here to see our April Books on Screen feature.


April's Cool and New Roundup

This month’s Cool and New roundup includes THE HATERS, a book about being in a band from ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL author Jesse Andrews; THE RAVEN KING, the thundering conclusion to Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle series; and THE DARKEST CORNERS, a gripping novel about life-changing lies and horrifying truths from Kara Thomas.

Click here to see April's Cool and New roundup.


Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

DIG TOO DEEP by Amy Allgeyer (Fiction)
It's not just that Liberty Briscoe feels like an outsider in Ebbotsville, Kentucky. She expected it wouldn't be easy to move from the city to her granny's farm during her junior year of high school. Still, Liberty can't shake the feeling that something's not quite right. Everyone says the water's safe, yet nobody drinks it. When Granny becomes sick, like so many others in town, Liberty starts to wonder about the water, the people who tested it, and the coal mining company that took the top off Tanner's Peak. Now, Liberty must follow her instincts to uncover secrets, despite those who think she's crazy to ask questions, including her own boyfriend. Reviewed by Levi V., Teen Board Member.

THE APPLE TART OF HOPE by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (Fiction)
Fourteen-year-old Oscar Dunleavy is missing, presumed dead. His bike was found at sea, out past the end of the pier, and everyone in town seems to have accepted this as a teenage tragedy. But Oscar's best friend Meg knows he isn't dead. Oscar is an optimistic and kind boy who bakes the world s best apple tarts; he would never kill himself, and Meg is going to prove it. Meg must confront the painful truth of Oscar's past six months, along with the possibility that he might really be gone. Reviewed by Asia H., Teen Board Member.

DREAMERS OFTEN LIE by Jacqueline West (Fiction)
Jaye wakes up in the hospital, disoriented, and beset by a slippery morphing of reality into something else. She repeatedly sees a boy who she feels like she knows --- but that's impossible. Determined to get back to school and back to "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in which she's starring, she lies to her sister, her mom, and her doctors --- she’s fine, she says. But then on her first day back, she takes a seat in to the mysterious boy. Reviewed by Vaishnavi S., Teen Board Member.

TELL THE WIND AND FIRE by Sarah Rees Brennan (Thriller)
Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own --- one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men’s deadly connection, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth. Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member.

BOYS OF SUMMER by Jessica Brody (Fiction)
Best friends since they were kids, Grayson, Mike, and Ian were hoping for another epic summer on “The Locks”, filled with clambakes, bonfires, and late-night swims in the ocean. But that was before Ian’s dad never returned home from his last deployment. It’s clear this summer on the island is shaping up to be very different from those the boys had come to rely on. And when the sacred code of dating a friend’s sister or ex is broken, it will push their friendship to the absolute limit, testing their loyalties in a way that could either break them --- or save them. Reviewed by Chris C., Teen Board Member.

A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON by Samantha Mabry (Thriller)
Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl --- Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers. Reviewed by Megan B., Teen Board Member.

GOLDEN BOYS by Sonya Hartnett (Fiction)
Colt Jenson and his younger brother, Bastian, have moved to a new, working-class suburb. The Jensons are different. Their father, Rex, showers them with gifts --- toys, bikes, all that glitters most --- and makes them the envy of the neighborhood. To the local kids, the Jensons are a family out of a movie, and Rex a hero --- successful, attentive, attractive, always there to lend a hand. But to Colt he's an impossible figure: unbearable, suffocating. Has Colt got Rex wrong, or has he seen something in his father that will destroy their fragile new lives? Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member.

THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU by Beth Kephart (Mystery)
On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But then a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, upending all logic and stranding Mira's mother and brother on the mainland. Nothing will ever be the same. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira's home. A friend obsessed with vanishing disappears. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on --- to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future. Reviewed by Aliza M., Teen Board Member.

DESERT DARK by Sonja Stone (Thriller)
Sixteen-year-old Nadia Riley is delighted to earn a spot at an elite, government-funded boarding school. Nothing sounds better than leaving behind her fraught relationship with her ex-boyfriend and moving to faraway Arizona for a spot at Desert Mountain Academy. But the Academy is more than Nadia bargained for: it's a covert CIA program training high-achieving students for the Black-Ops. Nadia struggles to keep up in her new classes while gaining the trust of her assigned teammates. Things get worse when news leaks that there is a double agent on campus, and someone is framing Nadia. Reviewed by Hafsah K., Teen Board Member.

SCAR GIRL by Len Vlahos (Fiction)
In SCAR GIRL, Cheyenne, Harry and Richie tell their own stories as they discover the ups and downs of being rock musicians --- including meltdowns on stage, too much drinking, keeping secrets that should be shared and having fights that test the limits of their friendship. The band's reputation grows and grows, but will the kids themselves survive? Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member.

BURN BABY BURN by Meg Medina (Historical Fiction)
Nora Lopez is 17 during the infamous New York summer of 1977, when the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. Nora’s family life isn’t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, her mother is helpless and falling behind on the rent, and her father calls only on holidays. All Nora wants is to turn 18 and be on her own. And while there is a cute new guy who started working with her at the deli, is dating even worth the risk when the killer likes picking off couples who stay out too late? Reviewed by Aimee Rogers.


April Poll

We at Teenreads love talking about books on all sorts of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter (@teenreads), Instagram (@teenreadsdotcom) and tumblr (@teenreadsdotcom). Where do YOU talk about books? Check all that apply.

  • Facebook
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  • Instagram/Bookstagram
  • YouTube/BookTube
  • Tumblr
  • Goodreads
  • Other (Please specify)

Last month, we asked what formats you read books in. A whopping 91% of you read hardcovers, with paperbacks coming in at a close second with 89%. Polling third, 41% of you read on dedicated e-readers, like Kindles or Nooks. To see the full results, click here.

Click here to take our poll.


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