Tag Archives: YA Fiction

Nicola Yoon Author Event

 

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe

Carl Sagan (via The Sun is Also a Star)

Nicola Yoon visited R.J. Julia, an independent bookstore in Madison, on Thursday, December 1 to promote her latest book The Sun is Also a Star. Yoon gained notoriety when John Green re-tweeted Yoon’s #weneeddiversebooks campagin photo. This exposed her first novel, Everything, Everything, to a wider reading audience. By the time The Sun is Also a Star was named a National Book Award finalist for the Young People’s Literature category, Yoon was already a popular figure in the YA reading community.

All of this, in addition to simply loving her books, led to a very excited librarian walking into R.J. Julia a few minutes before the free event began. I was elated to find the room packed with teens, and Yoon must have felt similar excitement. Instead of a traditional reading, Yoon decided to use a Q&A format, allowing several readers to ask insightful, funny, and interesting questions. Although most audience members had clearly read The Sun is Also a Star, Yoon was careful to refrain from any plot spoilers. Instead, she discussed the inspiration for writing a book about a scientifically-minded Jamaican American girl meeting a poetry-loving Korean American boy and connecting over the course of a single day in New York City. Yoon explained why she used the specific title (Carl Sagan), what inspired the Natasha character’s worldview (Carl Sagan), and some of the “aside” chapters that delve into cultural, scientific, or moral concepts (Carl Sagan).  Finally, Yoon was more than happy to answer any questions about her previous novel, Everything, Everything.

Yoon then held a book signing for which, of course, this librarian stood in line. Overall, Yoon was funny, engaging, and open to all kinds of questions. From a timid question about the cover art to complex questions about being Jamaican-American, Yoon was a hit with all the adults and teens in the room. This librarian gives two thumbs up.

To hear and read more about Yoon and The Sun is Also a Star, watch this reading and read this interview.

Sneak Peek: YA to Watch for in 2016

Before reading this post, it is important to note two things:

  1. These books are in no particular order (other than alphabetical, by author’s last name). They are not ordered by release date OR genre. Some of them do not have a hard release date…just a guestimate (or guestiDATE).
  2. There is loads of YA bookish “coming soon” news on the interwebs. I tried to glean the best of the best, but I had no method of doing that other than using my librarian brain.

Here we go! As determined by Librarian Barrows, the most anticipated YA fiction on the 2016 horizon. All books are linked to their respective Goodreads pages.

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2), by Victoria Aveyard

Bookishly Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

The Crown (The Selection #5), by Kierra Cass

A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro

Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare

The Fever Code (The Maze Runner #0.6), by James Dashner

The Land of 10,000 Madonnas, by Kate Hattemer

The Love that Split the World, by Emily Henry

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, by Rosamund Hodge

We Are the Ants, by Shaun David Hutchinson

Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston

Rebel, Bully, Geek Pariah, by Erin Jade Lange

Untitled (Young Elites #3), by Marie Lu

Heartless, by Marissa Meyer

Stars Above, by Marissa Meyer

The Mystery of Hollow Places, by Rebecca Podos

The Shadow Queen, by CJ Redwine

Riders, by Veronica Rossi

Calamity, by Brandon Sanderson

The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, by Sarvenaz Tash

Into the Dim, by Janet B. Taylor

The Muse of Nightmares, by Laini Taylor

My Name is not Friday, by Jon Walter

P.S. I Like You, by Kasie West

The Last Star, by Rick Yancey

And finally…an anthology of YA goodness!

Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, featuring stories by:Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith

 

 

New Fiction News for November 2015

Hello readers!

We went on a bit of a tear, adding over 50 new books to our fiction collection in the past month. You can browse many of them below, or take a look through the Calarco Library Catalog. Clicking on a cover will take you to the record for that book.

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New Books News: Spring Edition

The Calarco Library has kept busy this spring finding new books for the Hopkins community. Check out the list of recent editions below or visit the library catalog to find a specific title.

*A friendly reminder: Calarco Library rents Kindles to staff, faculty and students alike with full access to our 600+ e-book collection. If you would like to check out a Kindle, stop by the library at any time!

March Bookmobile Highlights

Ms. Barrows’ Highlights

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The 5th Wave -Rick Yancey

Yancey masterfully weaves together classic elements of sci-fi, dystopia, and adventure fiction in The 5th Wave. The world of Yancey’s creation undergoes five “waves” of destruction orchestrated by an alien species, and each installment leaves his world and its main characters more destroyed and fragmented than before. The characters – Cassie, Sam, Ben and Evan – lead adult-less lives (an often employed tactic of YA literature)  and are therefore forced to struggle and survive amidst the devastating and seemingly irreversible five “waves” of annihilation. There’s nothing technically “new” in Yancey’s story, but the masterful layering of elements creates a rich, fulfilling read. Bonus points to Yancey for making the leading female character 12 and therefore that much more likeable.

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post -Emily M. Danforth

The day before her parents die in a car accident, Cameron Post is kissing her best friend Irene. In the fallout, Cameron finds herself cultivating a shoplifting habit and barely surviving the guardianship of her ultra-conservative religious Aunt Ruth. As Cameron struggles to hide something she has barely discovered, she cannot help but seek information and experience. When Cameron befriends Coley, the heterosexual picture-perfect cowgirl, it becomes a matter of time before Cameron’s sexuality is discovered. A tribute to Montana and the early 1990s, The Miseducation of Cameron Post transcends coming-out tropes and YA stereotypes.

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The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy -Kate Hattemer

A sleeper hit of 2014, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy follows Ethan and his three best friends as they react to the takeover of Selwyn by a reality TV show designed to exploit the talent of the art academy’s students. As the title suggests, the protest takes the form of poetry – specifically, guerrilla poetry inspired by Ezra Pound’s Cantos. However, Ethan and his friends soon understand the depth and detail masterminded by the creators of the reality TV show.

Mr. Gette’s Highlights

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Graceling –Kristin Cashore

People who are Graced have a special talent; dancing, painting, or – in Katsa’s case – killing. Forced to be  a thug for a tyrannical king, Katsa figures out a way to make her life – and her world – better, by setting up a secret resistance. The sequel, Bitterblue, delves into espionage. Both are a lot of fun.

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl -Jesse Andrews

I’m going to be straight with you: this is a book about cancer. It is also very, very funny. If those two facts seem irreconcilable to you, trust me – Andrews manages to pull it off. When Greg’s mother insists that he rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel (who has leukemia), the socially-awkward  Greg’s best idea is to show her the terrible movies he makes with his friend Earl. Don’t dismiss this as a John Green rip-off –  this is a very different book that stands on its own. The film is coming out in July, and got great reviews at Sundance. Read the book first!

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Seraphina –Rachel Hartman

In the kingdom of Goredd, an uneasy peace exists between humans and dragons. It’s the 40th anniversary of the peace treaty, the dragon ambassadors are coming to the human capital, and a member of the royal family has just been murdered in a very dragon-like way. In the middle is Seraphina, assistant court musician – and secret half dragon. She teams up with the brave, smart, and (unfortunately) engaged Prince Lucian to figure out whodunnit. The much-awaited sequel comes out tomorrow (March 10)!

Book Review: How to Say Goodbye in Robot, by Natalie Standiford

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*WARNING* How to Say Goodbye in Robot is not sci-fi. It is not WALL-E. Robot does not involve futuristic technologies of any kind – in fact, author Natalie Standiford embraces and utilizes the polar opposite in this completely straightforward non-genre fiction. And by polar opposite, I’m talkin’ rotary phones, old movies, and the art of the late night radio show.

Protagonist Bea (trice) is a robot, according to her slightly off-the-rails-crazy mother. Cold, removed, unfeeling – robot. Or maybe, Bea has given up on human connection by the time her serial moving family finally lands in Baltimore for her senior year of high school. As Bea is forced to navigate a tiny, exclusive private school with only a handful of students per grade, she wonders if maybe robot is the way to go. Who really wants to be friends with girls who nicknamed the grade’s second Ann AWAE (Ann-Without-An-E) because Anne-with-an-E was there first? Bea misses how her mom used to be, because currently her mom alternates between slightly manic and less-than-slightly depressive states. But really, Bea misses the late-night AM radio show she listened to in upstate New York. The Bob Decker Show: Late Night Talk – Can You Handle the Truth?

Then Jonah crash lands a paper airplane into Bea’s lunch tray, and she meets the Night Light AM radio show. Two friendless, unhappy insomniacs, one boy and one girl, who meet in real life as Bea and Jonah and on the radio as Ghost Boy and Robot Girl. Add in Jonah/Ghost Boy’s secret past, and you have a recipe for heterosexual romance, right? Wrong…kind of.

Standiford really let me down in the way of character development. Bea’s mother’s mysterious descent into house-wife crazy is intriguing, but largely unexplored by the end of Robot. Jonah’s mysterious, lying father is equal parts pitiable and evil…but why? Jonah and Bea develop a brilliant, loving relationship that is markedly unique from the boy-girl relationships that pepper Young Adult fiction, but it feels rushed. Maybe I was spoiled by the meandering fruition of Eleanor and Park and Cath and Levi, but I was almost surprised by the made-for-tv-movie suddenness of Jonah and Bea.

Despite complaints, Standiford committed to things new and/or rarely attempted in YA fiction. I highly recommend How to Say Goodbye in Robot for those who want real-world fiction with minimal focus on romance.

Read if you like: the good ol’ days, insomnia, Baltimore, old fashioned radio shows, lonely misfits

Don’t read if you like: super top-notch technology and nothing else EVER

-Signing off, Jenny Barrows (who plans to start calling her friend Ann AWAE)

Junior School Bookmobile: October Spooktacular

Photo credit: Justin Snow via Flickr

Photo credit: Justin Snow via Flickr

JB: Fall foliage → Trees → Books. Fall should make you think of books…because they are made from trees.

KG: Except for Kindle books. Those are made from Benjamin Franklin and kites.

JB: PRINTING PRESS! PRINTING PRESS! Ben Franklin can also remind you of REAL BOOKS.

KG: Everything makes you think of books. Coffee? Curling up with a book. Clouds? That one looks like a book. Taking books up to Thompson so students can check them out and read them over the weekend? Makes you think of books, for some weird reason.

JB: Mmmmmmm books. I have been gently brainwashed to think only of books, have you? You have? Excellent. Good news. We have done our jobs.

KG: And since you’re as obsessed with books as we are, you should join us this Thursday (that’s tomorrow!) at 12:10 in the Thompson South Atrium (that’s on the left).

JB: Mr. Gette and myself (Ms. Barrows) will be laden with books and Kindles, so please stop by and pick out a book (or books) to enjoy over the long weekend.

KG: If you’d like to get a preview of what will be available (and plan out what you’d like to get), check out our J School Bookmobile shelf on Goodreads.

-Signing off, Jenny Barrows and Kit Gette (who are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow)

Book Reviews: Okay for Now and The Fault in Our Stars

This is, and is not, a happy story. It definitely doesn’t start out as one. Doug’s family (abusive, dysfunctional, falling apart) moves to a new town where he is immediately marked as an outsider. His reputation is colored by the actions of others. And his gym teacher is out to get him.

But then Doug finds that shining beacon of hope: the library (I am a little biased). And one page of a certain book will change the course of his year.

I loved the framework of the book: the chapters correspond to Audubon prints, and Doug relates the various birds to his own life. My one concern is how neatly some things wrap up. It seems too easy after all the

Read if you like funny protagonists, nature paintings, horseshoes, or the New York Yankees (circa 1967). Avoid if you don’t like books with abuse, sad books, lemon ice cream, or the New York Yankees (circa 1967).

Review by former S.W.A.T Librarian, Kit Gette

Hazel Grace Lancaster is 16, already in college and doesn’t have many friends. She is also in terminal stages of cancer…kind of. After being semi-forced to attend a cancer support group regularly, she meets fellow “cancer kid” Augustus Waters. Augustus Waters smokes unlit cigarettes because “you put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing” (Green, 20). He is also in remission…minus a leg.

When Hazel gives Augustus Waters her favorite book “An Imperial Affliction” by Peter Van Houten, the two begin a journey to find the elusive and mysterious Van Houten in an attempt to get their questions answered about the cancer-afflicted main character. They go to Amsterdam in search of Van Houten, sell a swing set to a family that needs to make memories, play video games, comfort their recently blinded but cancer-free friend (who is far more upset about getting dumped by his non-cancer kid girlfriend), taste the stars (or champagne, they really aren’t sure), and definitely fall in love. What isn’t so definite is how long they will have together.

Review by current Ninja Librarian, Jenny Barrows

Welcome Kit Gette!

Kit Gette, the Calarco Library’s newest librarian, came to us after escaping from a secret librarian S.W.A.T team buried deeply in the Amazonian Jungle. His expertise: cataloging, Young Adult Fiction, Classics, and awesomeness. He plans to spend his first year reading as much YA Fiction as possible, teaching the masses how to be the MOST extreme researchers, and metamorphosing into a spectacular  high school librarian and instructor. You can often find Mr. Gette in the library (oh the irony), or walking face first into Heath. The latter is probable because Heath was not around when Mr. Gette graduated from Hopkins in 2000. An alumn, a librarian, and so much more, we are all lucky to have Mr. Gette with us.

Now maybe next time, he will let us use a picture that shows his face…

Signing off, Jenny Barrows (who has sworn an oath to the truth of this bio)