Thursday, May 14, 2015

Teacher Appreciation: YA Author Edition


Teachers play a big role in our lives. They are the ones who help shape and mold us when we are away from home. They encourage us to be more than we believed we could. They open doors in our imagination by simply reading a book to us. The authors listed below are not only writers, but they have also shared their inspiration through teaching. The characters they created have been a part of our families for decades and their words have filled our hearts with a passion for reading. Let's celebrate their works and teaching!

Eoin was born in Wexford on the SE coast of Ireland. He developed a love for writing during his time in primary (elementary) school. He got his first degree from Dublin University. He returned to Wexford, upon completion of his college schooling, as a primary school teacher. In 2001 the first of the Artemis Fowl series was published. It received great reception and became an international success. To date, over half of his works have held a spot on the New York Times' Bestseller's list.

Rowling's life begins in Yate, Gloucestershire. She developed a passion for writing early in life. Her sister was her audience, as she would write and read her fantasy stories. Rowling attended St. Michael's Primary school. She was encouraged to study French at the University of Exeter, by her parents. After graduating, she began working for Amnesty International, which campaigns against human rights abuse on a global spread. In 1991 Rowling began teaching English to students in Portugal, where she met her first husband. A few years later the couple divorced and Rowling was left to raise her daughter on her own. She started working on her first book in the Harry Potter series, The Sorcerer's Stone. After being rejected by 12 publishing companies, Bloomsbury Publishing made an offer. In 1996 it was published and the world was introduced to Harry Potter. Five months later the book won the Nestle Smarties Books Prize followed by the British Book Award for Children's Book of the year. In 1998 an auction was held in the US to gain publishing rights for the novel. Scolastic
  won with $150,000. Today, the series is considered to be
the bestselling series of all time worldwide.

Philip Pullman started out in Norwich England. Pullman received his third class BA from Exeter College. He taught middle school children at Bishop Kurk Middle School in Summertown, North Oxford while taking time to pursue his passion for writing. Count Karlstein, his first children's book was published in 1982 followed by the publication of The Ruby in the Smoke in 1986. His teaching career continued at Westminster College, Oxford. His work on His Dark Materials began in 1993. He still enjoys taking time to write today. He has also been known to lecture at Oxford for various events and classes.


Laura Ingles Wilder was born in Pepin WI with 4 siblings. Most of her childhood was spent in Kansas, which would become the setting for Little House on the Prairie. Due to her family, constantly, being on the move, she and her siblings taught themselves and each other. She decided to become a teacher later on to help with her family's income. She stopped teaching when she was married and began raising a family of her own. In the 1920's, Wilder began writing about her childhood experiences and 1932 marks the publishing date of Little House in the Big Woods, the first of the autobiographical series, Little House. The books would go on to become a TV series viewed in homes across the US and still are today.

C.S.Lewis's life started in Belfast, Ireland in 1898. He received his pre-college education from boarding schools and tutors. His college education came from Oxford with a focus in literature and classic philosophy. In 1925 he was awarded a fellowship teaching position at Magdalen College. Here, he joined a group called the Inklings, whose members included J.R.R.Tolkien and his brother, Warren Lewis. Through conversations he had with his peers, he found himself re-embracing spirituality and Christianity. He would become a renowned writer for his apologists-texts and philosophy on spirituality. During WWII Lewis began a series of radio broadcasts on Christianity and (later) were collected in the work Mere Christianity. In the 50's Lewis began working on the 7 books that would become The Chronicles of Narnia beginning with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Although it received negative reviews, after first being published, it has become and international classic families have shared for decades.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Welcome to Prentisstown: Where everyone knows your secrets

The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. 


The story begins in Prentisstown where we meet Todd Hewitt and his dog, Manchee. Todd is on the brink of his 13th birthday which means he will become a man. Prentisstown is not your typical small town. There are no women. The town is full of Noise. What is Noise? Well, in this town, the men can hear each other's thoughts. There is no privacy, just Noise. Todd's world is turned upside down when he makes a discovery in the woods. A discovery that will send him and Manchee running for their lives. 
The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men

There are so many trilogies and series out in the YA genre right now but Chaos Walking is worth every word read. It's a story about flawed people, forgiveness, redemption, responsibility, revenge, and what it means to become a man/woman/enter adulthood. Every action has a reaction that leads to another reaction which leads to consequences. It is a vicious cycle that can create chaos, violence, and even war. These are real moral dilemmas and Ness tackles them with graceful writing. He takes the reader by the hand and begs them to ask, What if...? He shows us that change can be made no matter what our age, race, or sex is. We all have a voice and that voice speaks much louder than acts of violence. 

As each story progresses, the characters seek change in the world they live in. But everyone is different and so are their definitions of change. However, coming to a conclusion or compromise proves to be a more difficult task.

A warning to readers. This is a series that isn't easy to put down or forget. It sticks with you long after the last chapter has ended. The story, the characters...They become a part of you. And that, to me, is what a good story should be. Because if it's that good, you will not want to forget it. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Celebrate Teen Literature Day with These Sci-Fi Titles!

Today is Celebrate Teen Literature Day, a part of the American Library Association’s National Library Week! The following titles are also nominees for this year's Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, an award that is presented each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) alongside the Nebula Awards. Previous nominees include J K Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Terry Pratchett, Holly Black, and Scott Westerfeld.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Born with the wings of a bird, Ava Lavender desires to learn of the wider world, naive to the motives of those who live within it. This is how she meets Nathaniel Sorrows, who becomes obsessed with her, believing that she is an angel. 

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Ava is a young teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space salvage vessel Parastrata. Rather than face banishment and death, she escapes to an Earth ravaged by rising global temperatures and makes a home for herself on Gyre, a continent of scrap and trash in the Pacific Ocean.

After meeting Maia, a piano prodigy imprisoned in her own home, Cass must use her wits to help free her new friend. But even after they escape their trials are not over, as it appears Cass has mistakenly awakened an ancient evil that is threatening to take away everything. Dirty Wings follows All Our Pretty Songs in the Metamorphoses Trilogy.

The smuggler’s inn known as the Greenglass House is filled with mysterious occupants this winter, and it’s up to Milo, the innkeepers’ son, and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, to discover the secrets of the house, its visitors, and their families.

After Jared, the boy she loves, is presumed dead, Kami Glass must rely on the strength of her magical bond with her friend Ash to face the evil spreading around her and save her town and loved ones. This is the third book in Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy, a series that blends Nancy Drew-type detective tales with Gothic romance.

In merely a few days a deadly flu begins to sweep the country, forcing quarantines and martial law. Emily Bird may be the only one who knows how to stop it. Unfortunately, she has no memory of the past few days, and must team up an unlikely companion to uncover a government scandal.

Glory, a graduating high school student, has gained the power to see infinite pasts and futures. Bombarded by visions of tyranny, slavery, and civil war, it is up to her to stop this terrifying future from becoming a reality.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

YA Reads for National Women's History Month

March is National Women’s History Month, a time to explore women’s stories throughout history and to recognize their achievements.The NWHM theme for 2015 is Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives. The National Women's History Project website elaborates: "This year’s theme presents the opportunity to weave women’s stories – individually and collectively – into the essential fabric of our nation’s history."

In honor of NWHM, I've compiled this list of books about young women throughout history. Whether you want to dive into a true story or escape with historical fiction, LPLS has you covered! All of these titles are available through your local library.


A portrait of female wranglers, sharpshooters, and outlaws who helped to settle the American West.

This classic first-person account of living in hiding during the Holocaust is both an important historical document and a startlingly vivid depiction of growing up female.

Stone recounts the experiences of 13 women who underwent and excelled at rigorous NASA testing, but were denied membership in the space program because of their gender.

Colman's book is a rich depiction of what it's like to be a girl in the United States throughout the country's history. Its most remarkable feature is the wide variety of cultures, experiences, and perspectives included.

The memoir of a Pakistani teen who suffered--and survived--a horrible attack after insisting on pursuing her education. History isn't just a thing from the distant past. It's always happening, as this book demonstrates.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
During WWII, Ida Mae Jones hides her identity as a black girl and pretends to be white in order to join the WASP and become a pilot.

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
Louisa's life of scientific study is turned upside down when she is deposited at the gates of a mental asylum, called by a different name, and committed for treatment against her will. This novel has both intriguing mystery and harrowing depictions of Nineteenth Century psychiatric treatment.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein  
A British plane crashes over Nazi-occupied France, stranding its passengers:  a spy and a pilot. Captured by German forces, one of the young women is forced to write a confession that tells the story of how she met her
fellow passenger and came to be involved in the war.

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Evie is sent from her Ohio hometown to live with her occult-obsessed uncle in 1920s New York. A series of ritual murders and the hunt to catch a serial killer add even more excitement to the glitz and glamour Evie expected.

The Luxe by Anna Godberson
Five teenage girls lead lives of scandal and glamour in Manhattan, 1899. Sort of like Gossip Girl, but in fancy gowns.

It's 1918. Both Spanish influenza and spiritualist seances abound, and Mary Shelley Black does not believe in ghosts... At least until her lost first love, who died in war, comes back to her.

To escape a life of poverty on the streets of Eighteenth Century England, Mary Faber poses as a boy and becomes a crew member on the HMS Dolphin.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Isabel and her sister Ruth, slaves in Colonial America, are promised freedom when their owner dies. However, this promise is broken, and as revolution brews, Isabel takes on the dangerous role of Patriot spy.

A Bone from a Dry Sea by Peter Dickinson
A young prehistoric female and a girl on a dig with her paleontologist father are the main characters in this dual-perspective novel.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Fifteen-year-old Lina and her family endure being deported from their home in Lithuania to Siberia by Soviet forces in 1941. Although the WWII setting is a familiar one in historical fiction, Sepetys wrote this novel because its story is one that is rarely told.

Do you have a favorite female figure from history? Celebrate her in the comments!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

YA Recommendations From You!

Check out these YA suggestions from last year's Winter Reading Program at Linebaugh! Interested in winning prizes and maybe having your reviews featured on our blog? Sign up for the Winter Reading Program at the Smyrna or Linebaugh branch. The program ends on March 7, so hurry in!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
I really enjoyed this book. At first I was uncertain, because Frankie is a clever but overlooked girl who has newly acquired a popular boyfriend and is so pleased to be among him and the in crowd that she puts up with being cancelled on and being treated as little more than a charming, fluffy little "Bunny Rabbit," as her family calls her. If she had continued on with this non-reaction I was ready to give up on the book, but then I began to realize Frankie was merely waiting, observing. She was not a Bunny Rabbit--she was a mastermind. I won't go into the many and various ways that Frankie outwits and controls all the male Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, all without their knowledge, but it was immensely enjoyable. Reviews on this book seem pretty mixed, with people either loving or hating the main character, thinking her actions brilliant or obsessive. But she is definitely a unique creature among all the YA heroines. - Andrea M.

Abarat by Clive Barker
 This was my first Clive Barker book and I loved it! From the very beginning it captivated me and took me on a journey to a magical land. Through the Sea of Isabella to islands which depict certain times of the day. It was great and I loved the characters, especially John Mischief and his brothers. Can't wait to read the rest! - Lindsay B.

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
Loved it! Super easy read. A fun girl book! You get to meet Carrie and get to know her, her family, where she comes from, her original friends all before NYC. She's still in high school in this book. You get a glimpse of her wit and humor early on. You see her relationships before she moved off and is swallowed up by the big city. I love that you get to see her before she becomes a columnist. This book was so much fun to read!! Best part is at the end when a phone call leads to Samantha Jones. - Jennifer S.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
I loved this book. Previous to reading this book I didn't know much about the treatment of the Lithuanians in WWII, or much about Stalin's gulags in Siberia. I was shocked at what I was reading, wondering why we haven't heard these stories before, and unable to put the book down till I finished it. "Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch." Elizabeth W.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Where do I even begin? I only heard of this book after watching the movie trailer for it. All I can say is that I am in love with this book and the way the story is expertly told through imagery, comparisons, and pure truth. To be honest I have never cheered for a thief like I have in The Book Thief. - Andrew M.

When I Was Joe by Keren David
I loved this book. The writing was possibly a little juvenile for the audience, but it was a complex and well-organized story that experimented with ideas that haven't been extensively explored--at least not in teen fiction. The main character, Ty, is placed in the Witness Protection Program after watching a teenager die at the hands of some of his acquaintances. He must become a new person and live a new life. It was also interested to read a teenage romance through a guy's perspective and to laugh at the British slang. (The book was set in England.) - Sarah A.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
One of the best books I have ever read. Every adolescent and adult needs to read this book. I read 213 pages in one day. I couldn't put it down. - Ginger L.

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
It was a fun, easy read, but also intelligent and relatively complex. Though I think the main character Gaia acted a little immature for her age and occupation, the story played with moral dilemmas in a futuristic world where civilizations couldn't afford the luxury of equality. - Sarah A. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill (plus other books about transgender teens!)

Imagine growing up knowing that something is wrong with your body. Something far deeper than feeling insecure about your weight or disliking how you look: knowing, deep down, that your body is not the one you are supposed to have. Knowing that, although you were assigned male at birth, you are truly a girl. This is the reality Katie Rain Hill relates in her book Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition.

Even if Katie's name isn't familiar to you, there's a good chance you've heard at least part of her story before. As I began reading Rethinking Normal, I realized that I had seen Katie  in a post circulating on tumblr. In fact, Katie has received a lot of media attention, stemming from a Tulsa World article in 2011 and including her relationship with Arin Andrews, her ex-boyfriend who is also trans. But even if you're familiar with Katie's story in passing, her memoir is worth reading.

Katie was raised as Luke Hill. Although she never felt that the identity of Luke was correct, she did not have the words to articulate this knowledge. Katie endured years of depression and isolation, before discovering what transgenderism is through a Google search and coming out to her mother at age 15. Together, they took steps to help Katie transition, which included changing her name and pronouns, dressing as a girl, and having gender reassignment surgery.

In Rethinking Normal, Katie describes not only her childhood and realizing that she was transgender,
Arin and Katie
but also discusses the difficult process of beginning to live as a young woman, her first steps into LGBTQA activism, becoming the first openly trans high school graduate in Oklahoma, going to college, and the excitement and confusion of first love. Despite the fact that Katie is primarily known in the media because of her relationship with Arin, she has far more going on in her life, and her memoir allows her to show another side of her experience to the world. I really enjoyed the sections in which Katie reveals the more complicated reality behind the glossy media portrayal, which she at one point compares to the relationship between Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. Katie speaks articulately about her life, educating the reader about what it means to be transgender for her while recognizing the variety of different opinions and experiences of other trans individuals.

At the end of the book, Katie includes a helpful list of tips for cisgender people to keep in mind when interacting with transgender people and a great list of resources (books, movies and TV shows, and websites) that were helpful to her during her transition.

Other books about transgender teens available at LPLS include Some Assembly Required by Arin Andrews and Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2015 YA Releases to Put on Hold NOW!

It's time to get your library card ready, because after you read this post, you're going to want to place a lot of holds. Here's a sneak peak at 2015 YA releases that LPLS already has on order. I've included descriptions from WorldCat (or Goodreads when the books weren't on WorldCat yet) and links to the books in our catalog.

Going Rogue by Robin Benway
When sixteen-year-old Maggie Silver's parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, she must use her safecracking skills to try to clear their names, with help from the "new team" she has formed as an undercover operative in a New York City high school.

Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
Sixteen-year-old Vivian Apple returns home after the alleged "Rapture" to find her devout parents gone and two mysterious holes in the roof. Vivian never believed in the Rapture, or the uber powerful Church of America. Now that she has been left behind, Vivan's quest for the truth begins.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school--both teetering on the edge--it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana, and two teens' desperate desire to heal and save one another.

Twisted Fate by Norah Olson
Told from separate viewpoints, unfolds how sisters Sydney and Ally Tate's relationship changes as they get involved with their new neighbor, Graham, an artist with a videocamera who has a mysterious--and dangerous--past.

A Cold Legacy: A Madman's Daughter Novel by Megan Shepherd
After escaping to a remote estate on the Scottish moors, owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, Juliet Moreau, the product of her father's animal-human experiments, uncovers the truth about the manor's long history of scientific experimentation--and her own intended role in it.

There are many powerful people along Embassy Row who want Grace to block out all her unpretty thoughts. But Grace will not stop until she finds out who killed her mother and make the killer pay.

Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson
A seventeen-year-old barely escapes her abusive parents and creates a new identity that is quickly compromised when her attempt to save a young girl attracts a deadly stalker.

Queen Levana is a ruler who uses her "glamour" to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story - a story that has never been told... until now.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman
In an attempt to understand why her best friend committed suicide, eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds retraces her dead friend's footsteps and makes some startling discoveries.

Pick your path to find the perfect guy in this personalized romance set on the ski slopes. The reader's in the driver's seat-creating her own path through the narrative and ending with one of eleven different guys.

A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Seventeen-year-old Micheline Helsing is a tetrachcromat, able to see ghosts in color and capture them on film, but when a routine hunt goes awry, Micheline is infected with a curse known as a soulchain and if she is unable to exorcise the entity in seven days, she will be destroyed, body and soul. 

Teenager Viv, who is constantly escaping her "Snow White" fairy-tale curse, meets the prince who is supposed to save her, but can not fall out of love with the young man destined to kill her.

Convinced he should have died in the accident that killed his parents and sister, sixteen-year-old Drew lives in a hospital, hiding from employees and his past, until Rusty, set on fire for being gay, turns his life around. Includes excerpts from the superhero comic Drew creates.

Shelby Cooper, nearly eighteen, has been overprotected by her single mother all her life but after a car accident, Shelby's mother steals her away from the hospital, revealing that Shelby's father is not dead, but rather a violent man who promised to hunt them down.

Rory, Callum and Boo are still reeling from a series of tragic events, while new dangers lurk around the city from Jane and her nefarious organization.

The Ghosts of Heaven can tell us a secret as old as time; you can read the four quarters of award-winning Marcus Sedgwick's mesmerising and mysterious new novel in 24 different ways.

Willowgrove is Kathleen Peacock's riveting conclusion to the Hemlock trilogy, a dark, romantic, paranormal suspense series that pits friendship against survival, and trust against love.

After her younger brother, Tyler, commits suicide, Lex struggles to work through her grief in the face of a family that has fallen apart, the sudden distance between her and her friends, and memories of Tyler that still feel all too real.
Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

To the people suffering on the war-torn mainland, Bliss Island seems like an idyllic place. And it is: except for the fact that the island is a set, and the islanders’ lives are a performance. They’re the stars of a hit TV show, Blissful Days—Characters are adored by mainland viewers, yet in constant danger of being cut if their ratings dip too low. And no one really knows what happens to cut Characters.