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Early August 2016
August 15, 2016
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Squeezing in Some Last-Minute Summer Reading

Hi Teenreaders,

Can you believe it's already August? While kids and teens in the New York City area are still hitting the beach and back-to-school sales, many of you across the country already have settled into your desks and lockers. I can't say I miss the tests and quizzes, but I always enjoyed color-coding my new folders and notebooks with my textbooks, #nerdalert.

With summer wrapping up, I've been thinking a lot about summer reading and how freeing it is to really go all out and read whatever you'd like in between those assigned books you read during the school year. With that in mind, I decided to make a list of my top summer reads:

  • FOR THIS LIFE ONLY by Stacey Kade --- I loved everything about this book, from the gorgeous cover (see above left) to the premise and the really well-developed characters. In this book, a teen wakes up from a horrific accident to discover that his twin brother is dead, and begins to grapple with his own faith as a result. It sounds like a total bummer, I know, but I loved the exploration of different belief systems and realistic portrayal of grief.
  • LAST SEEN LEAVING by Caleb Roehrig --- Although this book won't hit shelves until October, I immediately requested an advance copy after reading the description and I was not disappointed. In this book, a teen's ex-girlfriend mysteriously disappears, leaving scores of confused friends in her wake. Roehrig handles his twists and turns with careful pacing and plenty of suspense --- you'll be totally riveted until the very last page.
  • GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Jaye Robin Brown --- This is another book with a gorgeous cover (that provided me with the perfect excuse to order my favorite peach iced tea, see photo above in the middle), but it actually tells a really important story about faith, love and identity. In this book, teen Joanna is forced to hide a major detail about herself when her family moves to a conservative town. Although she begins to make friends and enjoy herself, she eventually has to choose whether or not to go after what she wants, even if it means risking her family's reputation.

Naturally, I also asked our Teen Board Members about some of their favorite summer reads, which was the perfect way to wrap up the present term of our Teen Board. I was excited to see that several of them discovered their selections right here on Teenreads, including LUCKY STRIKES, THE WAY TO GAME THE WALK OF SHAME and THIS SAVAGE SONG, a personal favorite of mine. You can see the rest of their answers below --- and get ready for our next newsletter, where we'll be debuting the September 2016-August 2017 Teen Board.

What would this newsletter be without coverage of the Harry Potter book release? Below, you can find write-ups of four different midnight celebration events in our "On the Blog" section, as well as our featured review of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD. I'm keeping my opinions about the book to myself, but I can definitely say that the midnight release was a blast, and I've made lots of acquaintances with my Harry Potter-themed nails (see above right) over the last two weeks. It's so much fun to see how easily fans can pick up on even the tiniest references to their favorite books!

As promised, we've also created our third Guy-Brary bookshelf to get you ready for your dude-friendly fall reads for September and October. There are some really great selections on this list, so be sure to check it out regardless of your reading style! I also want to say thanks to Mary C. from Fruita, CO, who wrote us a lovely note about the Guy-Brary feature. Mary says, "Just wanted to say THANK YOU for posting the Books to Add to Your Guy-brary, Parts 1 & 2! I am a junior high school librarian and often visit Teenreads for collection development ideas, and lately I have been struggling with finding good suggestions for the dudes at school! It is an excellent post, and very helpful in getting more books in the hands of young male readers." If you've been using Teenreads for book suggestions, let me know!

With that, I'm off to take in some of the last of the summer sun --- I hope you're all doing the same!

Happy reading,

--- Rebecca Munro (

Featured Review: HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD: Parts One & Two (Special Rehearsal Edition Script) by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany (Fantasy)
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first to be presented on stage. It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review

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. Enter the strong, capable Sam Fielding—a paramedic and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks 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.


Click here to read more about the book.

Featured Review: THE ASSASSIN GAME by Kirsty McKay

THE ASSASSIN GAME by Kirsty McKay (Mystery)
Who will be left after lights out? At Cate's isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game --- it's an elite secret society. Members must avoid being "Killed" during a series of thrilling pranks and only the Game Master knows who the "Killer" is. When Cate's finally invited to join the Assassins' Guild, she know it's her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs. But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she's the next target? Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.

Featured Review: THE BAD DECISION PLAYLIST by Michael Rubens

THE BAD DECISION PLAYLIST by Michael Rubens (Fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Austin is always messing up and then joking his way out of tough spots. The sudden appearance of his allegedly dead father, who happens to be the very-much-alive rock star Shane Tyler, stops him cold. Austin --- a talented musician himself --- is sucked into his newfound father’s alluring music-biz orbit, pulling his true love, Josephine, along with him. None of Austin’s previous bad decisions, resulting in broken instruments, broken hearts and broken dreams, can top this one. Witty, audacious and taking adolescence to the max, Austin is dragged kicking and screaming toward adulthood in this hilarious, heart-wrenching YA novel. Reviewed by Alyssa Cami.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.

Featured Review: YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE by Julie Cross and Mark Perini (Fiction)
Finley is used to being the glue that holds everyone together but that isn't landing her the high paying modeling jobs, which are what Finley needs if she is going to reopen her mother's dance studio. Enter Eddie. He's intense, driven and he completely charms Finley. The last thing she wants is another commitment, but when she's with Eddie, their chemistry takes over and she can let go of her responsibilities and just be. Except Eddie is hiding a secret. And when it surfaces, he and Finley are going to have to choose between their love for each other and everything else... Reviewed by Vaishnavi S., Teen Board Member

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.

Featured Review: THREE TRUTHS AND A LIE by Brent Hartinger

THREE TRUTHS AND A LIE by Brent Hartinger (Thriller)
Deep in the forest, four friends gather for a weekend of fun. Truth #1: Rob is thrilled about the weekend trip. It’s the perfect time for him to break out of his shell…to be the person he really, really wants to be. Truth #2: Liam, Rob’s boyfriend, is nothing short of perfect. He’s everything Rob could have wanted. They’re perfect together. Perfect. Truth #3: Mia has been Liam’s best friend for years…long before Rob came along. They get each other in a way Rob could never, will never, understand. Truth #4: Galen, Mia’s boyfriend, is sweet, handsome and incredibly charming. He’s the definition of a Golden Boy…even with the secrets up his sleeve. One of these truths is a lie…and not everyone will live to find out which one it is. Reviewed by Chris C., Teen Board Member.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.

On the Blog
METALTOWN Pre-Order Prizes --- Find out about a giveaway hosted by author Kristen Simmons for her newest novel, METALTOWN.

Harry Potter Midnight Release Parties --- Several readers shared their experience of attending midnight release parties for HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.

How I Learned to Love to Read - Guest Post by Michael Seidlinger --- The author of FALTER KINGDOM shares how books changed his life and how reluctant readers can learn to really love books.

Click here to visit the Teenreads blog.

Books to Add to Your Guy-Brary Bookshelf - Part 3

Here at Teenreads, we want to encourage everyone to enjoy reading just as much as we do. Lately, however, it seems as though many of our readers are having trouble finding books that speak to them as guys. Back in June, we decided to curate a collection of books coming out in May-June that featured male protagonists, male narrators, or just plain great storylines that all genders can relate to.

Then in July, we followed up with a second bookshelf featuring all your favorite guy-friendly themes and characters, but with books releasing in July-August.

Now we're back with Part 3, which focuses only on boy-friendly books releasing in September-October. Whether you're looking for a fun beach read, a hard-hitting story full of drama, or yes, even a romance, you're sure to find something great on our Books to Add to Your Guy-brary, Part 3 Bookshelf.

Check out Part 1 featuring books releasing in May and June here!

Check our Part 2 featuring books releasing in July and August here!


Click here to see our "Books to Add to Your Guy-Brary Bookshelf - Part 3.

Teen Board Update

Teen Board Question: Although it seems like summer only just began, our balmy, carefree days are numbered and many kids and teens are heading back to school. With that in mind, we decided to ask our Teen Board Members about the best book they read this summer. Since we're always trying to learn more about how our readers find books, we also asked how they discovered their new favorite summer read. Click here to see their answers!

Reviews: Our Teen Board members reviewed a bunch of terrific YA books this month from various genres. Juliette G. was swept up in a heist with SMASH & GRAB by Amy Christine Parker, and said "SMASH & GRAB cleverly combines humor, romance, and a cunning caper....Author Amy Parker thoughtfully exposes the violence and despair that exist in many urban areas." A WORLD WITHOUT YOU by Beth Revis made Brynn S. question what was real and what wasn't, and said “A WORLD WITHOUT YOU is an powerful and heartbreaking story that is unlike anything I have ever read previously.” Kate F. was trying to solve a murder in THE ASSASSIN GAME by Kristy McKay, and said "Perfect for readers looking for a good “scary” novel...THE ASSASSIN GAME has the perfect amount of romance, suspense, and action to make for a wonderful read."

Blogs: Gender Equality in YA Novels - Guest Post by Kate F., Teen Board Member --- Kate F. has written a post about the tropes of female characters in YA, which was inspired by one of the panels she went to while at Book Con.

The Tweeted 20: Short Story Reviews - Guest Post by Alison S., Teen Board Member --- Alison S. read 20 short stories and reviewed them on Teenreads --- but what is unique about them is the size of each review, all of which were written in 140 characters, the length of a tweet.

HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD Midnight Release - Guest Post by Cat S., Teen Board Member --- Cat S. attended a midnight release party for HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD and shared her fun experience with Teenreads.


August's Books on Screen
August is here, and the end of summer is drawing nigh! But although summer might be ending, that doesn’t mean it’s any less hot --- in fact, these past few weeks have been sweatier than ever. With that in mind, closing off your summer with a fun trip to the cool movie theater might be the best way to go! And with school starting up again, either now or in a few weeks, there’s less and less time to go and see these fun, book-based flicks.

In theaters this August we have The Little Prince, based off of the iconic children’s book that many of us read in school. This touching animated film is sure to be a great way to wrap up your summer fun. Another recently released movie, perfect for comic book fans, is Suicide Squad. This one is sure to be a fun ride all the way through and provide you superhero --- or supervillain --- fans with a way to relieve the stress that always comes with the beginning of school. On TV, meanwhile, if you don’t feel like getting off the couch, Netflix will be debuting the series "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events."
Click here to read more in August's Books on Screen feature.

August’s Cool and New Roundup
This month’s Cool & New roundup includes THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS by Mary E. Pearson, the finale to her Remnant Chronicles series that provides readers with a dark and intriguing conclusion, and GHOSTLY ECHOES, the third installment in William Ritter's Jackaby series, which combines fantasy, folklore and mystery alongside good, hard detective work. Also included is SCAVENGER OF SOULS: Survival Colony 9, Book 2 by Joshua David Bellin, wherein the fight to save humanity continues as the colonists find another human compound that is less than welcoming.
Click here to see the rest of August's Cool and New roundup.

August's New in Paperback
This month’s New in Paperback roundup includes THE ACCIDENT SEASON by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, in which a girl and her family become unavoidably accident-prone every October. Also featured are WE ALL LOOKED UP by Tommy Wallach, which follows four high schoolers reflecting on their lives and futures as an asteroid hurtles towards Earth, and SHADOWSHAPER by Daniel José Older, wherein a girl named Sierra Santiago discovers "shadowshaping," a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into different forms of art.
Click here to see the rest of August's New in Paperback roundup.

More New Reviews

HOW TO KEEP ROLLING AFTER A FALL by Karole Cozzo (Fiction)
The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That's all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl's suicide. Now Nikki's been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can't look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates --- almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it's like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member.

WHATEVER by S. J. Goslee (Fiction)
Junior year is about to start. Here's what Mike Tate knows: His friends are awesome and their crappy garage band is a great excuse to drink cheap beer. Rook Wallace is the devil. The Lemonheads rock. And his girlfriend Lisa is the coolest. Then Lisa breaks up with him, which makes Mike only a little sad, because they'll stay friends and he never knew what to do with her boobs anyway. But when Mike finds out why Lisa dumped him, it blows his mind. And worse --- he gets elected to homecoming court. Reviewed by Chris C., Teen Board Member.

THE SHADOW HOUR: The Girl at Midnight, Book 2 by Melissa Grey (Fantasy)
Everything in Echo's life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace. The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart. Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Reviewed by Katherine Szabo.

LEVEL UP by Gene Luen Yang (Graphic Novel)
Dennis Ouyang lives in the shadow of his parents' high expectations. They want him to go to med school and become a doctor. Dennis just wants to play video games --- and he might actually be good enough to do it professionally. But four adorable, bossy, and occasionally terrifying angels arrive just in time to lead Dennis back onto the straight and narrow: the path to gastroenterology. It's all part of the plan, they tell him. But is it? This powerful piece of magical realism brings into sharp relief the conflict many teens face between pursuing their dreams and living their parents'. Reviewed by Michael Lee Harris.

WAX by Gina Damico (Paranormal)
Paraffin, Vermont, is home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. There, seventeen-year-old Poppy finds something dark and unsettling: a room filled with dozens of startlingly lifelike wax sculptures. Later, she’s shocked when one of the figures --- a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is --- jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. Poppy wants to return him to the factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop. With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy tries to find out who was behind the fire. Along the way, she discovers that some of the townspeople are starting to look a little...waxy. Can they extinguish the evil plot? Reviewed by Adrian Meyers.

CHILDREN OF ICARUS by Caighlan Smith (Dystopian)
It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter. Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end. Reviewed by Adrian Meyers.

THE TELLING by Alexandra Sirowy (Thriller)
Lana used to know what was real. That was before, when her life was small and quiet. Her golden stepbrother, Ben was alive. She could only dream about bonfiring with the populars. Their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell truth from lies and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination. Then came after. After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten. Reviewed by Alison S., Teen Board Member.

ALL WE HAVE LEFT by Wendy Mills (Fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Jesse is used to living with the echoes of the past. Her older brother died in the September 11th attacks, and her dad since has filled their home with anger and grief. When Jesse gets caught up with the wrong crowd, one momentary hate-fueled decision turns her life upside down. The only way to make amends is to face the past, starting Jesse on a journey that will reveal the truth about how her brother died. In 2001, 16-year-old Alia is proud to be Muslim. After being grounded for a stupid mistake, Alia decides to confront her father at his Manhattan office. When the planes collide into the Twin Towers, Alia is trapped inside one of the buildings. In the final hours, she meets a boy who will change everything for her as the flames rage around them... Reviewed by Asia H., Teen Board Member.

POISONED BLADE by Kate Elliott (Fantasy)
In this thrilling sequel to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating young adult debut, a girl immersed in high-stakes competition holds the fate of a kingdom in her hands. Now a Challenger, Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives --- the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons alike. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes's only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on her traveling party puts Jes at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos --- the prince she still loves --- is fighting against their country's enemies. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

August Poll

Did you (or will you) successfully meet your summer reading goal this summer?

  • Yes, I am proud to say that I met my goal.
  • Not only did I meet my goal, I surpassed it.
  • I have not met my goal yet, but I will before summer ends.
  • I did not meet my original goal, but I am happy with how far I got.
  • No, I did not meet my goal --- but there's always next year!
  • I did not have a summer reading goal.

Last month, we asked how you were celebrating and preparing for the release of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD. I was delighted to see that 71% of you had pre-ordered the books. In order to prepare yourselves, 61% of you rewatched the films while 59% were re-reading the books. To see the full results, click here.

Click here to take our poll.

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