aka YA Literature

Saturday, October 31, 2009

That Time Already?

It's not even November yet, and already we're seeing "Best Books of 2009" lists. Amazon's includes a few YA so far:

64. Lowboy by John Wray (I have this in the library but I haven't read it yet. It's going on my TBR pile on Monday.)
. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (which I also quite liked)
42. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (loved it)

PW's list (which notably has no female Top 10 authors) includes David Small's Stitches. I haven't read it, but only one of my students has checked it out, and she said it was "good but sad." There just hasn't been much interest in this book, although I might be able to drum up a little more if I let them know it's a true story.

Friday, October 30, 2009


You could win a Kindle or gift cards in the Fangs, Fur, and Fey Three Year Anniversary Contest! Click here for details.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crash Into Me

I haven't received my library's copy of this yet, but it's definitely going on the "road trip" bulletin board I'm doing next week when Halloween is over.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Books I Cannot Wait to Read:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by Green & Levithan
Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Captivate by Carrie Jones
I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco Stork

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why I Will Be Buying A Lot of Simon & Schuster Books

Simon & Schuster has a great website that I'm loving. It has book trailers and videos of authors talking about their work. I love it because (1) the videos are not on YouTube, which means the students can actually watch them at school, and (2) the book trailer videos are really well done. I've put some of these on my library blog, and the students and teachers are loving them. I've created so much interest in these books that I'm having to order extras. The students especially like the Leviathan and The Monstrumologist videos. I have noticed that the author interviews aren't all that popular. I posted the Ellen Hopkins one, and students who already like her books are sometimes interested, but not a single person has asked about her books based on that video. The trailer-like videos are much more effective at getting readers interested in the books. (But I do have to say that the books I booktalk myself, even when I don't do a great job at it, seem to be more popular than most of the videos.)

I have been especially interested in this whole enterprise because of the really interesting research by Vivan Howard in this month's issue of VOYA. The article is entitled "Most of the Books I've Read, I've Found on the Floor: Teens and Pleasure Reading," which is a great title because it alludes to the biggest cause students reported in why they start reading less in middle school: they have a hard time choosing a book they think they'd like. The whole study fascinated me, but I was surprised by this as the biggest barrier. I was also heartened because if this is one of (or THE) biggest obstacle to adolescent reading for pleasure, it's something librarians can do something about. Anyway, if "difficulties selecting good reading material" is their biggest obstacle, these video trailers seem to be helping at least some of my students. When they were watching the videos, they were not only asking for the books, but I heard them saying things like, "This book looks cool."

So I foresee myself buying lots of Simon & Schuster books for the simple fact that these videos are getting students interested in the books and creating a big demand for them. Here's a trailer for The Hollow by Jessica Verday:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

When Grace was a child, she was attacked by a pack of wolves while she was playing in her backyard. She thought she was going to die, but one wolf saved her. Ever since then, she has had a fascination with the wolves. Every winter, Grace goes outside in her backyard and watches the wolf that watches her. The beginning of the current narrative is prompted by the death of one of Grace's classmates who was mauled by wolves. Now, several members of the community seem bent on shooting the wolves to make the Minnesota town a safe place, free of wolves. Grace tries to stop them, but before she can, "her" wolf is shot. She comes home to find him in his human form, lying bleeding on her porch. By this time the reader has already figured out that the wolves are actually werewolves. Thus begins her actual meeting and relationship with the wolf, Sam. Sam struggles not to change back into a wolf so that he can stay with Grace, knowing it is ultimately futile. Meanwhile, Grace's classmate who was assumed dead appears to have changed into a physically and mentally unstable werewolf. The chapters alternate first-person perspectives from Sam and Grace.

While I love the cover of this book in that it fits the story very well (I love the red blood spot over the I in the midst of the cold white), I know it likely won't grab the attention of readers. Same thing for the title, which goes great with the story but doesn't really give a good clue to a casual browser as to the plot. This is a shame since the book is excellent and there are a ton of students who I know will like this. Just means a lot of promotion and hand-selling on my part. But I think it will pick up momentum once a few people start reading it. I have some big werewolf fans, and it's a great Twilight read-alike without being derivative or replicating the same stories. The characters are very well-done and complex. Sam might be a little too-perfect if you think about it, but he makes for a great literary crush. Guess that's just one reason why it's been picked up for movie rights and will likely be very popular in that medium. That's a primo role for some hot young actor. I'm very excited to promote this to readers and to other librarians in my district. Excepting the cover and title issues mentioned above, I'm surprised I haven't been asked about this book by any of the students yet.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Mistake

I posted the Leviathan trailer on my library blog, and I've gotten so many students excited about the book and wanting to check it out, but now I don't have it ready to checkout yet and I only have a couple of copies right now. I created more demand than I have supply!

I was really happy that Simon & Schuster had the trailer available in some way other than YouTube because the students can't access YouTube at school, so I never put anything from YouTube on the blog.