Friday, May 23, 2014

Rolling Stone's 40 Best YA Novels

I've been doing some reading, but instead of talking about that (All I will say is that all the hype about E. Lockhart's WE WERE LIARS is pretty well deserved. Holy cow!) I will present one of the first best lists that didn't make me want to breathe fire. I was surprised at how many recent titles were here and how many books I actually liked. I have read most of them and I am DYING to read VIVIAN when it gets here. I may break this down later with my own blurbs, but for now I present--

Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
Speak – Laurie Halse Andersen
Naughts and Crosses = Malorie Blackman
Forever – Judy Blume
Shipbreaker – Paolo Bacigalupi
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – Ann Brashares
Beauty Queens – Libba Bray
The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Gingerbread – Rachel Cohn
The Hunger Games Series – Susan Collins
Vivian vs. the Apocalypse – Katie Coyle
(Vivian Apple at the End of the World)
Romiette and Julio – Sharon M. Draper
If You Could Be Mine – Sara Farizan
Monster – Walter Dean Myers
The House of the Scorpion- Nancy Farmer
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Born Confused – Tanuja Desai Hidier
The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
Firecracker – David Iserson
The Summer Prince – Alaya Dawn Johnson
Alice, I Think – Susan Juby
Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan
Adaptation – Malinda Lo
Legend – Marie Lu
The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen – Susin Nielsen
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix– J.K. Rowling
How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Grasshopper Jungle – Andrew Smith
The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater
(You) Set Me on Fire – Mariko Tamaki
Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
Uglies – Scott Westerfield
Miracle's Boys – Jacqueline Woodson
I am the Messenger – Marcus Zusak

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Those Blasted SATs - spring 2014 edition

Once again, eleventh graders are suffering and I am in love with a boatload of new books!

Saturday I had a group of 10 scholars and a pile of 10 books, all but 1 of which I am dying to finish. And the only reason I don't want to finish number 10 is because it was wrecking me emotionally. See if you can figure out which because, seriously, the drama!

Here is the list - I will elaborate later in the week.

The middle aged lady books:
WAKE by Anna Hope - puts you in London shortly after WWI
33 GIRLS by Susan Minot - young girls stolen by warlord in Africa

The girls in transition books:
GIRLCHILD by Tupelo Hassman - trailer park girl wants to be a girl scout
LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaria - an English assignment causes a girl to write these letters telling about the year after her older sister died (I finished this one today, I couldn't stop reading.)

The YA dystopi-ish:
RED RISING by Pierce Brown - young couple wants to overthrow oppressive government on Mars
HALF BAD by Sally Green - half white witch, half black witch - hard to tell who hates him more

The ones with sleep in the title:
WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT by Elizabeth Blackwell - retelling of Sleeping Beauty from a servant's perspective
THE INNOCENT SLEEP by Karen Perry - a little boy is killed in an earthquake in Tangier until his father sees him in Dublin 5 years later

The YA bad boys:
SEX & VIOLENCE by Carrie Mesrobian - casual sex pays off in the form of a vicious beating and a summer in the middle of nowhere might be what it takes to change his ways
THE SCAR BOYS by Len Vlahos - music saves a kid whose life has been defined by almost being hit by lightening

Oh this is a wonderful world to be so full of books!

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Well, this was a treat! I was doing summer reading talks for the 10th graders and this lovely girl came up with a look on her face like she was about to give me an amazing gift. And she did. She recommended this book!

I hung out in bookstores when I was a kid, I met my husband in a bookstore, I still love bookstores - independent, chain, online, whatever. I am not fussy.

This tale starts in an interesting vertical dust factory of a San Francisco bookstore and explodes from there. The story is one of mystery, intrigue and some other stuff.

What you need to know is this:

THE COVER GLOWS IN THE DARK! It completely freaked me out. Be prepared.

Also, the copy I borrowed from Beverly Public Library had been defaced by a ghastly little book reviewer who thought they had the right to critique a LIBRARY BOOK in pencil with snotty comments about grammar, usage and Google. How many books have you written wretched defacer? I didn't love the story from the start (it took about 30 pages for the awesome to kick in) but my ire at the befouler kept me reading. So, HA!

Basically, an underemployed San Franciscan starts work at MP24HBS and uncovers a cult of sorts with the help of a force of nature who works at google and his elementary school best friend who is now a millionaire because of his mastery of... well... he is an expert on... well... you'll find out. They go cross country, the tell some lies, they digitize some stuff and the solve a mystery that may or may not involve immortality. It's terrific.