Author Archive

The Next “Big Thing” in Teen Books

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Everyone always wants to know what the “next big thing” is in books, including me.  We are way over the paranormal books, with vampires and werewolves and now dystopian books are old hat, despite The Hunger Games and Divergent movies still to come. So what is next?

I think Realistic Fiction is gaining ground, partly thanks to John Green’s books and movies.  (Not that it ever truly went away.) I recently read two illgiveyouthesungreat teen realistic fiction books.  And yes, the covers are quite similar but that is just a coincidence!

The first book, which was the Printz Award winner, is by Jandy Nelson, “I’ll Give You The Sun.” This book is told through two voices, twins Jude and Noah. The interesting part is that Noah’s portion is told from when they were 13 years old and Jude’s voice is from when they are 16.  This gives the reader the perspective of what is to come but not how it came about. I really enjoyed the zacandmiacharacters of both twins and how the story came together in the end.

The other book is “Zac and Mia” by A.J. Betts. At first this book might seem to be an “A Fault In Our Stars” ripoff, but the story evolves beyond that. Zac and Mia have their own unique story to tell. Zac “meets” Mia because they are sharing a hospital wall while he is in isolation for his leukemia treatment. Mia is a popular girl, but is hiding her sickness from all her friends and is unable to come to terms with her illness. The friendship develops after the hospital but each are not always honest and upfront with each other. But in the end, they each need something for the other person and the ending leaves the fate of the characters up to the reader.


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Author Mal Peet Dies at Age 67

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

malpeetAward-winning British author Mal Peet died Monday at the age of 67. Peet won the Guardian children’s fiction prize for his 2009 book Exposure. He also won the Carnegie medal in 2005 for his second book, Tamar, which is a fabulous fiction story set between modern day and World War II-occupied Netherlands.

 


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Teen Mysteries

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

allfalldownSometimes it can be harder to find teen mysteries, so I was pleased when Ally Carter released the start of a new mystery series, All Fall Down.  Her Gallagher Girls series kept on getting better with each book and All Fall Down was a great start.

Grace is an army brat and also the granddaughter of a very powerful ambassador, where she spent summers running around the embassy. But now that Grace’s mother has died, her father sends her to live with her grandfather, and Grace isn’t willing to let the mystery of her mother’s death be classified as a tragic accident.

ghostflowerMichele Jaffe has written a number of mysteries as well, but I recently read Ghost Flower and really enjoyed it!

Runaway Eve likes to keep a low profile, but she gets drawn into a scheme to impersonate an heiress that had gone missing so the cousins can split the inheritance.  But not everything is as it seems at first, and Eve is starting to to question everything about herself and the family she is drawn into.

 

 


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Author Colleen McCullough Dies at Age 77

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Author Colleen McCullough, well-known author of The Thorn Birds, died Thursday. She was 77. The Thorn Birds, an Australian saga published in 1977, went on to sell 30 million copies worldwide and inspired a popular 1983 mini-series.

Colleen McCullough published 25 books, including a fictional series set in Ancient Rome that drew some well-known readers. Her final book, Bittersweet, was about four sisters and set in the 1920s. She was dictating a sequel, which isn’t complete, when she died.

 


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ALA 2015 Youth Media Award Winners

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

This is my favorite time of the year, at least for book award announcements!  The ALA Youth Media Award Winners were announced on Monday during the ALA conference in Chicago.  So crossoverwithout further ado, here are the winners:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:giveyouthesun

For a complete listing of all the current and past award winners visit ALA.org.

 


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Illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham Has Died at 94

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Margaret-Bloy-Graham-300x225Margaret Bloy Graham, the illustrator of Harry the Dirty Dog (written by her ex-husband Gene Zion) and many other books, died last week at the age of 94.

Harry the Dirty Dog was first published in 1956 and is still popular today.  Harry is considered the “canine Dennis the Menace.”  Although best known as an illustrator, Margaret Bloy Graham also wrote and illustrated her own books, including Be Nice to Spiders and Benjy, another dog series.

 

 

 

 


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Teen Science Fiction Books

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

In solidarity of my son’s semester long course on science fiction cinderbooks, here are some of my favorite, recent (besides Firefight) science fiction books.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer:  What I really love about this series is that the author takes Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel and totally gives them a science fiction make-over!  And yes, these would be great books for guys too (ignore the shoe) because there is no simpering princess.  Cinder is actually part alien, part cyborg and is in way over her head.  Scarlet just wants to find out what happened to her grandmother but runs into a whole organization of wolves.  And Cress is just a lost girl who happens to be a genius hacker.  I’m excited to see where the next book takes the characters!

stupidperfectworldStupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfeld is actually a short story eBook, but I am hoping it might expand to more.  In this future world, kids are required to take a Scarcity class that teaches them about how things use to be.  For a final project, everyone in the class most pick an ancient hardship that is no longer in existence, like getting a cold or not using advanced transportation.  Maria decides to experience hormones as a teenager by stopping her hormone treatment and Kieran picks sleeping 8 hours a night, because really, it couldn’t be that bad, right?

 

 

 


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New Year, New Teen Books

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

firefightAfter a lack of really super great teen reads last year, I am looking forward to 2015 books!  My favorite book of 2013 was Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson so I am THRILLED that the sequel, Firefight, is out!  I actually re-read Steelheart so I am really excited to see where the next book takes us.  I feel like it might be a different type of book since there were some great reveals at the end of the first book which should change the way the main character, David, and the Reckoners function as a team.darkestpart

Another book that should be on everyone’s reading list is Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of The Forest.  This beautifully crafted book just came out and really showcases how great Holly Black is at world building.  Siblings Hazel and Ben are just so different and how they interact with each and the boy who sleeps in the glass coffin feels so real.  The book reads like a fairy tale but features a strong female, Hazel, as a knight.  Plus the cover is gorgeous!

 

 


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Children’s Author Norman Bridwell Died Last Friday

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

normanbridwell

The well-loved children’s author and illustrator, Norman Bridwell, has died at the age of 86. Of course, Norman Bridwell’s most memorable character is Clifford the Big Red Dog. Clifford was introduced in 1963 and has over 150 titles as well as an animated television series.

There will be two new titles released in 2015, Clifford Goes to Kindergarten and Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah.

 


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Author Kent Haruf Died Over The Weekend

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

kent-haruf

Author Kent Haruf died Sunday at the age of 71.  His last novel, “Our Souls at Night,” will be published next year.  Kent Haruf wrote novels set in the quiet fictional town of Holt, Colorado. This includes Plainsong, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

 


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