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Late May 2016
May 26, 2016
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Get Ready for Summer Reading with Teenreads

Hi Teenreaders,

The past few weeks have gone by at lightning speed --- not only because I've been reading up a storm, but because work has just been so much fun lately! It's no secret by now how much I love attending author and publisher events, and the last weeks have been full of them!

On Tuesday night, I visited The Mysterious Bookshop to see Kimberly McCreight, author of THE OUTLIERS, discuss her writing process with a few adult thriller and suspense writers. I tried to keep my fangirling in check, but it wasn't easy when she mentioned that she'd just read our review of THE OUTLIERS earlier that day. We had a terrific chat about writing for teens and the importance of female friendships, and she was even kind enough to pose with her book (see above left). Talk about a fun night!

Last week, I got a tour of the offices of HarperCollins (the publisher), and it was this booklover's dream. While I was surprised to learn that HarperCollins is 199(!) years old, I soon realized that their storied (see what I did there?) background was literally written on the walls. Every room of their offices focuses on a different book or author, and they even have a full wall of framed contracts and letters from their most famous authors, including J.R.R. Tolkien and E. B. White! Even their bookcases were beautifully organized, which you can see above, along with a photo of their "wall of fame."

Of course, I'm not the only one having a fun, bookish month, as two of our Teen Board Members, Kate F. and Brynn S., were recently in Chicago to check out BookCon, a yearly celebration of books and pop culture. I attended BookCon last year, and I only wish I'd had these ladies as my guides, as they totally made the most of their day! You can read Kate F.'s blog about the day here and hear more from Brynn S. here.

With summer just around the corner, you're probably wondering how you can get in on the action and plan your summer reading. I am happy to share that our 10th Annual Beach Bag of Books Feature and Contest goes live on Wednesday, June 1st, and we have some amazing titles to share with you. As always, it will have great reading suggestions and your chance to win a beach bag full of books!

Our reviewers have been reading up a storm this month, so we have tons of terrific reviews to share in this newsletter. Memorial Day Weekend is rapidly approaching, making it a great time to kick back and enjoy a new read. I'll be in Boston for the weekend, and I'll be sure to share my reading adventures on our Instagram --- I look forward to seeing yours, too!

Happy reading,

--- Rebecca Munro (

Featured Review: THE LAST STAR by Rick Yancey

THE LAST STAR by Rick Yancey (Science Fiction)
In the finale of the 5th Wave series, Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves. In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves...or saving what makes us human. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review. Talks to Hannah Moscowitz and Kat Helgeson, Authors of GENA/FINN

In this technologically-ripe age, teens are finding tons of new ways to make friends, be it through online forums about shared interests or conversations with people you know IRL via text or email. Either way, it's clear that there are more ways than one to get to know a person. In GENA/FINN, authors Hannah Moscowitz and Kat Helgeson --- who met online, by the way --- team up to share the story of two girls who become fast friends through their shared love of a popular television show. In this interview with's Katherine Szabo, Hannah and Kat discuss their love of fandoms and how they feel technology has allowed people from various backgrounds to connect.

GENA/FINN by Hannah Moscowitz and Kat Helgeson (Fiction)
Gena and Finn would have never met but for their mutual love for the popular show "Up Below." Regardless of their differences --- Gena is a recent high school graduate whose social life largely takes place online, while Finn is in her early 20s, job hunting and contemplating marriage with her longtime boyfriend --- the two girls realize that the bond between them transcends fanfiction. Reviewed by Katherine Szabo.

- Click here to read a review.
- Click here to read Hannah Moscowitz's bio.
- Click here to read Kat Helgeson's bio.


Click here to read our interview.


Featured Review: THE OUTLIERS by Kimberly McCreight

THE OUTLIERS by Kimberly McCreight (Mystery)
It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself. Reviewed by Maggie L., Teen Board Member.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.


Featured Review: BEWARE THAT GIRL by Teresa Toten

BEWARE THAT GIRL by Teresa Toten (Mystery)
Kate O’Brien's whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of, but she's determined to change that. As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already befriended the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he becomes especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal --- and can’t afford to ignore. Reviewed by Laura T., Teen Board Member.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.


Featured Review: 100 DAYS OF CAKE by Shari Goldhagen

100 DAYS OF CAKE by Shari Goldhagen (Fiction)
Every other senior at Cove High School might be mapping out every facet of their future, but Molly Bryne just wants to spend the rest of the summer watching "Golden Girls" reruns and hanging out with her cute coworker at FishTopia. For the past year, Molly’s been struggling with depression, above and beyond industry-standard teen angst. Crushing on her therapist isn’t helping, and neither is her mom, who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure her. 100 DAYS OF CAKE is a quirky and poignant story of a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet world. Reviewed by Juliette G., Teen Board Member.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.


Featured Review: THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood (Fiction)
Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past. To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory. Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present and future are about to collide --- and someone's heart is about to be broken. Reviewed by Hafsah K., Teen Board Member.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.


Featured Review: THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye

THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye (Fiction)
THE CROWN'S GAME is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter --- or die in the process. Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.


Featured Review: THE SAFEST LIES by Megan Miranda

THE SAFEST LIES by Megan Miranda (Romantic Suspense)
Kelsey's mother hasn’t set foot outside their front door in 17 years, since she escaped from her kidnappers with nothing but her attacker’s baby growing inside her. Kelsey knows she’s supposed to keep a low profile and stay off the grid for their protection, but that plan is shattered when her dramatic car accident and rescue by volunteer firefighter and classmate Ryan Baker sparks media coverage. A few days later, she arrives home to find her mother missing. Now, to have a chance at a future, Kelsey will have to face her darkest fears. Because someone is coming for her. Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.


Teen Board Update

Teen Board Question: Last month, our Teen Board Members had the exciting opportunity to read and comment on copies of YOU GOT THIS!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World, an inspiring debut from 16-year-old CEO Maya Penn. Maya started her company, Maya's Ideas, when she was only eight and has continued to thrive ever since. An expert at identifying her ideas and turning them into functional plans, Maya writes in the hopes that teens will learn to identify their unique creative identities and use them to make their dreams come true. Click here to see what our Teen Board Members had to say about Maya's motivating book.

Reviews: Our Teen Board members reviewed a bunch of terrific YA books this month from various genres. Asia H. enjoyed THE NEVERLAND WARS, a fun retelling of J.M. Barrie's PETER PAN and said "Greathouse took a classic story that has been retold over and over again and added her own unique twist….Excellently written." Vaishnavi S., meanwhile, indulged her inner romantic with SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS, which she calls a "truly wonderful and whimsical experience." Leanna R. stepped outside of her comfort zone with DRAW THE LINE, an LGBQT* book with a super twist and said "DRAW THE LINE is a truly empowering story about standing up for yourself and accepting the parts of yourself that are different, even if others don’t."

Books on Screen

May is here, which means summer is just around the corner! Why not take a break in between switching out your winter wardrobe and finalizing your summer plans with an exciting new book-to-screen adaptation?

First up, we have Captain America: Civil War, the third movie about America's most patriotic superhero, which released on May 6th. For all of you ALICE IN WONDERLAND fans out there, May 24th brought Alice Through the Looking Glass, yet another version of the trippy tale starring Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway. In this follow-up to the 2010 hit, Alice in Wonderland, Alice finds herself in the chamber of the Grand Clock and is forced to return the past of her friends --- and dangerous enemies.

Out on DVD this month, we have a gory version of the classical Jane Austin text, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in which the upper and lower classes must join forces to save England from being taken over by flesh-eating monsters. Will the darling --- and daring --- Elizabeth Bennet find the strength to defeat them?

Click here to read more in May's Books on Screen feature.


May’s Cool and New Roundup

This month’s Cool and New roundup includes EXILE FOR DREAMER by Kathleen Baldwin, the second book of the Stranje House series, in which a girl's gruesome dreams become her darkest reality; QUEEN OF HEARTS, Colleen Oakes's imaginative retelling of Alice's classic fall where a princess is pulled down the rabbit hole of an Wonderland she cannot escape; and INVISIBLE FAULT LINES by Kristen-Paige Madonia, in which a teen girl investigates the mysterious disappearance of her beloved father.


Click here to see the rest of May's Cool and New roundup.


New in Paperback

Our paperback titles this month include A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas, in which a teen huntress finds herself in the midst of murder, captivity and revenge in a treacherous, magical land; WE ARE ALL MADE OF MOLECULES by Susin Nielsen, where two opposing teens are forced to risk their social statuses when they are told they must live under the same roof; and SURVIVE THE NIGHT by Danielle Vega, in which an underground New York City rave goes terribly wrong and three young girls discover the mutilated body of their best friend.

Click here to see the rest of May's New in Paperback roundup.


More New Reviews

LOVE & GELATO by Jenna Evans Welch (Fiction)
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but only because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for 16 years? All Lina wants to do is get back home. But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. Reviewed by Jeanna Michel.

WHISPER TO ME by Nick Lake (Fiction)
Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She's trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won't let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely. Desperate for his forgiveness, she's telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She's hoping that love --- love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself --- can save both of them after all. Reviewed by Maya Berman.

THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS by Sarah Jude (Thriller)
Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night. Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and 16-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care --- she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other --- or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them. Reviewed by Cat S., Teen Board Member.

THE GIRL I USED TO BE by April Henry (Mystery/Thriller)
When Olivia's mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward 14 years. New evidence now proves Olivia's father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there's a killer still at large. It's up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first? Reviewed by Isabel C., Teen Board Member.

THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson (Fiction)
From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans. Andie always has a plan. Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all --- working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Her friends Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control? Reviewed by Brynn S., Teen Board Member.

FINDING FRASER by KC Dyer (Romance)
On the cusp of 30, Emma Sheridan is desperately in need of a change. After a string of failed relationships, she can admit that no man has ever lived up to her idea of perfection. Her ideal man might be ripped from the pages of a book, but Emma hopes that by making one life-altering decision she might be able to turn fiction into fact. After selling all her worldly possessions, Emma takes off for Scotland with nothing but her burgeoning travel blog to confide in. But as she scours the country’s rolling green hills and crumbling castles, Emma discovers that in searching for her own Jamie Fraser, she just might find herself. Reviewed by Erin Siu.

THE NEVERLAND WARS by Audrey Greathouse (Science Fiction)
Magic can do a lot --- give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home. However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a 16-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though --- and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality. Reviewed by Asia H., Teen Board Member.

EVEN IF THE SKY FALLS by Mia Garcia (Romance)
In a moment of daring, Julie runs away, straight into the chaos of the Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade --- and instantly connects with Miles, an utterly irresistible musician with a complicated story of his own. Together Julie and Miles decide to forget their problems and live this one night in the here and now. Wandering the night, they dance on roofs, indulge in beignets, share secrets and ghost stories under the stars, and fall in love. But when a Category Two hurricane changes course and heads straight for NOLA, their adventure takes an unexpected turn. And, suddenly, pretending everything is fine is no longer an option. Reviewed by Natalia Olivera.

THE FALL OF BUTTERFLIES by Andrea Portes (Fiction)
Willa Parker, 646th and least-popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life. It’s her famous genius mother’s idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and Willa has no intention of fitting in. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world --- a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit in. When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. Reviewed by Alyssa L., Teen Board Member.

THE DEAD I KNOW by Scot Gardner (Fiction)
Aaron Rowe walks in his sleep and haunted by dreams he can’t explain and memories he can’t recover. Death doesn’t scare him --- his new job with a funeral director may even be his salvation. But if he doesn’t discover the truth about his hidden past soon, he may fall asleep one night and never wake up. In this dark and witty psychological drama about survival, Aaron finds that making peace with the dead may be easier than coming to terms with the living. Reviewed by Lauren H., Teen Board Member.

SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods (Fiction)
When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the astrology chart, she must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her dead mother’s legacy and the very system she’s faithfully followed through a lifetime of unfailing belief. Reviewed by Vaishnavi S., Teen Board Member.

DRAW THE LINE by Laurent Linn (Fiction)
After a hate crime occurs in his small Texas town, Adrian Piper must discover his own power, decide how to use it and know where to draw the line in this stunning debut novel exquisitely illustrated by the author. He may be a talented artist, a sci-fi geek and gay, but at his Texas high school those traits would only bring him the worst kind of attention. In fact, the only place he feels free to express himself is at his drawing table, crafting a secret world through his own Renaissance-art-inspired superhero, Graphite. But in real life, when a shocking hate crime flips his world upside down, Adrian must decide what kind of person he wants to be. Reviewed by Leanna R., Teen Board Member.

OUTRUN THE MOON by Stacey Lee (Fiction)
In 1906, San Francisco, 15-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover t hat getting in was the easiest part. On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can't sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city? Reviewed by Harleen K., Teen Board Member.

FRANNIE AND TRU by Karen Hattrup (Fiction)
Frannie has always idolized her cousin Tru. At 17, Tru is charismatic, rich, charming --- everything 15-year-old Frannie wants to be. So when Frannie overhears her parents saying that after a bad coming-out experience Tru will be staying with them in Baltimore for the summer, Frannie is excited and desperate to impress him. But as Frannie gets swept up in Tru’s worldly way of life, she starts to worry that it may all be a mask Tru wears to hide a dark secret. Reviewed by Janine C., Teen Board Member.

THE LANGUAGE OF STARS by Louise Hawes (Fiction)
Sarah’s had her happy ending: she’s at the party of the year with the most popular boy in school. But when that boy turns out to be a troublemaker who decided to throw a party at a cottage museum dedicated to renowned poet Rufus Baylor, everything changes. By the end of the party, the whole cottage is trashed --- and when the partygoers are caught, they’re all sentenced to take a summer class studying Rufus Baylor’s poetry...with Baylor as their teacher. Through his classes, Sarah starts to see her relationships and the world in a new light --- and finds that maybe her happy ending is really only part of a much more interesting beginning. Reviewed by Alyssa L., Teen Board Member.

THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson (Fiction)
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means. Reviewed by Adrian Meyers.


May Poll

Do you attend book events or celebrate any book-related holidays? (Please check as many as apply.)

  • I go to author signings when I can.
  • I attend local book festivals and fairs.
  • I attend large, book-related conventions like YALLFEST, BookCon or Book Riot Live.
  • I celebrate book holidays like National Poetry Day, 24-Hour Readathon and/or NaNoWriMo.
  • These events do not happen near my home, so I cannot participate.
  • I do not participate in any of these sorts of events and holidays, but would if I knew more about them.
  • I am not interested in these sorts of events.
  • Other (Please specify)

Last month, we asked what social media platforms you use to discuss books. A whopping 54% of you use Goodreads, with Facebook coming in second with 38%. Polling at a close third, 34% of you talk about books on Instagram --- or, as we call it, bookstagram. To see the full results, click here.

Click here to take our poll.


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