Tag Archives: Teen Books

From the Teen Room!

Join our Teen Room staff as they explore the perfect picks for readers who love Valentine’s Day….and for those who don’t!

Pro-Valentine’s Day – Do you love Love? Melt over all things cute and fluffy? Well grab one of these great reads and get ready to gush!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – First loves and firsts of pretty much everything for Maddie who has been coaxed out of her bubble by the boy next door!

 

Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Your quintessential overseas teen romance with a foreign boy in the romantic city of Paris.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – A sweet story about how two eccentric teens fall in love over the course of the year.

Simon Vs. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Simon is looking for the perfect boy while also trying to discover who he is inside.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – Probably his only book that won’t make you cry and it’s super duper cute!


Anti-Valentine’s Day – Don’t have a date? Recently ended a relationship? Pick a book, buy some ice cream, and do that self-love thing for yourself!

They Both Die At The End by Adam Riveras – I mean … you can guess what happens at the end. The lead up is a great LGBT romance between two Latino boys who really just need a friend for their last day on earth.

Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare – Spoiler alert, it doesn’t end well.

Looking For Alaska by John Green – In his first heart wrenching novel you’ll find that the guy does not, in fact, get the girl and the manic pixie dream girl trope gets squashed into the dust.

The Breakup Bible by Melissa Kantor – For the recently single Valentine’s Day woes this book is a great and hilarious “how-to” to get over that ex!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Heathcliff: The benchmark for all revenge-obsessed lovers in literature

From the Teen Room!

Reviews From The Fiction Shelf

Release by Patrick Ness

Ness returns with another intriguing novel inspired by Mrs. Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, as we follow Adam Thorne on what seems to be an ordinary day…that is until a prick from a rose changes everything. While I would love to write an in depth synopsis of this novel I’m unable to find the right way to walk through it for new readers. Why? The story has a sense of the bizarre and mystical while also being a slice of life story. The beginning took me a while to get through, but significantly picked up halfway through. The romance scenes between Adam and his boyfriend Linus are beautifully tender and realistic, which some YA novels don’t always get right, and the “Queens” scenes are mystifying and exciting. So should you read it? Yes. Absolutely! If you’re looking for something a little different and love YA then you are going to be in for a treat. Happy reading!

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

As I’m sure everyone has heard, Clines 1980’s, pop-culture, gamer, nerdtopia novel is coming to life in theaters and the responses seem to have a huge divide. When I first saw the trailer I was bombarded by an oversaturation of nerd gamer culture and CGI, so naturally, I was a little overwhelmed. After my second viewing I figured reading it was worth a shot to see what all the hype is about. My ruling? It’s mostly just hype. While the premise of the story was impressive and exciting, the world-building and storytelling just wasn’t there. Throughout the story of Wade Watts journey to uncover the biggest easter egg in the online world of OASIS, we get glimpses of interesting backstory that boasts promises of exciting story arc… and then you get an enormous info dump of old school 80’s nerd trivia that really takes you out of the enchantment of this really cool virtual world. A lot of this extra “info fluff” is unnecessary to the story and the novel could have easily cut about 100 pages to create a less long-winded adventure. Throughout the rest of Cline’s novel the story just pats itself on the back for nerd elitism against “noobs” and “fake gamers” which is the exact opposite of what we need in today’s culture towards female/younger/new gamers. All in all, I was unfortunately not impressed. My opinion, however, is if you are into all things geek (especially that old school 80’s nostalgia) then give this story a go! Maybe it will resonate differently with you! Happy reading!

“Grown-Ups” Can Read YA Books, Too!

This week, our friends at the Swampscott Library announced that they are launching a book group for adults fans of YA books.  This is such exciting news, not only because it’s always fun to meet other reads who share your bookish passions.  It’s also important to help remind readers that anyone can read any books that they enjoy, regardless of where they are shelved in the Library.  Here’s the announcement from Swampscott (click on the announcement to read a larger version):

 

Looking for some books to suggest at the meeting?  Or looking to start exploring YA books for yourself?  You can start by checking out the stellar suggestions from the devoted staff of our Teen Room, as well as some the sensational books below:

The Death and Life of Zebulon FinchZombies?  Check.  Historical fiction? Check. Rollicking adventure? Check.  Thoughtful consideration about what actually makes us human?  Surprisingly enough…check.  Daniel Kraus’ 2-part saga stars Zebulon Finch, who is gunned down by the shores of Lake Michigan–and suddenly reanimated into his wild and raucous second life. Zebulon’s new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.  This is a phenomenally ambitious novel that takes all the elements of the “great American saga”, and injects them with…well….zombies…as well as humor, heart, and plenty of kick-ass action.

The Odds of Loving Grover ClevelandIt’s hard to explain how a novel about grief, mental illness, psychological conditions, and acute loneliness can be both funny and charming, but Rebekah Crane pulls it off beautifully in this one.  Sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne has been sent against her will to Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.  Zander is convinced that she doesn’t, and will never, fit in here; not with her cabin mate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Not with Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, and not with Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.  But slowly, as the summer wears on, Zander finds herself at home within this group, and falling just a little bit for Grover.  Is it possible she could actually be happy?  What does happy even look like?  And what will it require of her?  If you’re looking for a book that tackles the tough stuff with humor, and has the courage to make the most difficult characters lovable, then this is a read you shouldn’t overlook.

Dreamland BurningOne part murder mystery, one part social commentary, and all together compelling, Jennifer Latham pulls off a dual-narrative book that is well-balanced and truly powerful.  When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the present and the past.  Almost a century before, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.  Latham brings the horror, the hatred, and the inescapable reality of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot to vibrant and violent life in this book, making a commentary that is as timely as her book is spellbinding.  Readers who enjoyed the historic elements of Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day will love this story, which partly set during the same time period.

Summer Reading: Thinking Outside the Covers

I think we’ve made the analogy here at some point before, but books are a lot like food.  Some formats, genres, styles, etc., are like candy, that you can just keep consuming with nary a thought.  Some are like really expensive, decadent cakes that you bring out for special occasions, and some are like bananas, that, frankly, make you gag just thinking about them (I’m using a personal example here.  If bananas are your thing, then more power to you.  You can have All My Bananas, too).

food-in-fiction

Furthermore, the way that we ingest stories is as varied and as particular as the way we ingest food.  Some people gobble, some people nibble…you get the idea.  The point I am trying to make here (other than the fact that I wish it were lunchtime) is that there is no right way or wrong way to get your daily dose of reading.

downloadIn the case of younger readers (and anyone who has Summer Reading to accomplish).  Time was when ‘Summer Reading’ was akin to force-feeding, especially for those students who weren’t visual learners, or who read more slowly, or in a way that wasn’t strictly standard.  And that experience turned a lot of people off of reading for a very long time, which is truly heartbreaking.  Thankfully, now, summer reading lists tend to be much more flexible in terms of students’ choices, as well as much more inclusive of popular titles and more modern themes (incidentally, if you want to see some of these lists, for you or a student near you, you can see them here).  And, even better, is that, as we learn more and more about the wonders of the human brain, we are beginning to appreciate more that not everyone absorbs books in the same way.

AudiobooksFor example, despite the fact that we live in a world that is increasingly based on visual learning in the form of computers, tablets, and screens, there are still any number of people who are auditory learners, meaning that they remember better after hearing directions or a story or a lecture than they do after reading or watching one.  Often, auditory learners have a tough time with summer reading because it is supposed to be an individual, and highly visual exercise that often feels at once very challenging and very boring.  For these readers, audiobooks have been a saving grace.  Not only to they present books in a way that auditory learners can absorb much better, they offer any number of benefits for all.  For example, audiobooks can help readers access stories about their reading level, or in an unfamiliar vernacular–for example, books like Wuthering Heights or Return of the Native that are denser, and tend to feature very rural language and slang that isn’t always easy to comprehend if not spoken out loud.  Additionally, I often find that audiobooks allow me to see the humor or subtext in stories that aren’t always readily obvious from the text.

Fortunately, the Library not only has plenty of audiobooks on our shelves, we also have access to digital audiobooks via Overdrive (which you can download) and Hoopla (which allows you to stream content).  You can chose to read along with the audiobooks, or listen exclusively.  Additionally, a number of e-books offer audio narration along with the text (which Amazon has named WhisperSync) so that you can listen and read at the same time.

graphic-novels-melbourne-482x298For Peabody middle school readers, praise the Heavens, the only requirement for the summer is to read a book.  Any book, whatever book makes you happy.  And this opens up a whole world of potential for readers.  For those who aren’t huge fans of traditional books, the Library has a sizable collection of Graphic Novels.  These books are just as valid, just as emotionally and intellectually engaging as straightforward novels, and feature a range of plots, genres, and reading levels.  It’s also worth noting that, as graphic novels become an increasingly popular genre, we are seeing the rise of picture books for adults, that feature beautiful, vivid, and imaginative illustrations for those of us who might not be graphic novel readers.  These books are a great way to start a conversation about visuals in books, and to help readers of different mediums find some common ground.

Finally, reading never has to be a solitary pursuit.  Check out our great Teen and Children Events calendars to see some of the great programs we have lined up to help you meet your reading goals, whatever those might be.