Archive for the ‘Recommended Reads’ Category

2014 Michael L. Printz Award

January 27, 2014

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This morning the recipients of biggest award in YA fiction, the Michael L. Printz Award, were announced.  This year there were 4 Printz Honor books and 1 winner of the Printz Award.  And here they are!

Printz Honors:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (YAYYYYY!  Read my review here)

Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

midwinterbloodAnd the big winner of the Printz Award for 2014 is….

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

To place holds on any of the books, click the title or the cover.  So what do you think of the winners?  Are you happy or did your favorite get snubbed?  Sound off in the comments!

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

January 3, 2014

roomiesRoomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando is a really fun book about the ups and downs of having a roommate and leaving home for the first time.  Elizabeth and Lauren live 3,000 miles away from each other, but they’ve just been assigned to live together in the freshman dorms at UC Berkeley.  Elizabeth, an only child eager for a roomie to be BFFs with, emails Lauren right away to settle who is bringing what to their new home.  Lauren, big sister to five siblings and desperate for a room to herself, is less than pleased to hear that she’s been assigned a roommate.  Though their friendship gets off to a rocky start because of this, they keep emailing back-and-forth all summer and eventually help each other deal with all the things that will come along with going off to college: leaving behind your family, making new friends, and trying to have long-distance relationships.

The story is told in alternating chapters from Elizabeth and Lauren’s POVs, much like Will Grayson, Will Grayson or Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  This was a light and quick read; I think I  may have breezed through it in one sitting!  Though sometimes things get a little too soap opera-ish (especially Elizabeth’s story), I really enjoyed the format and watching Elizabeth and Lauren’s friendship evolve over time.  If you enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and are looking for more books about leaving for college, Roomies is a good pick.

Best YA of 2013, Part Two

December 19, 2013

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Our roundup of DPL staff’s favorite YA novels of the year continues!

Amber‘s favorite series of the year was The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper:  “Montmaray is a (fictional) tiny island monarchy between England and Spain whose already small population was decimated during World War I, and there are only a few village families left living in the shadow of a romantic, crumbling castle when 16 year old Sophie begins keeping her journal in 1936. Oh yes, ROMANTIC, CRUMBLING CASTLE! The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper (a series of three lovely books: A Brief History of MontmarayThe FitzOsbornes in Exileand The FitzOsbornes at War) are those kind of books where the narrator feels so natural, so familiar that I often forget that the stories in the book didn’t actually happen to me. Sadly, the memories are not all pleasant. These books are about a teenager’s family evolving and trying to survive World War II, all with the weight of a small country on their shoulders. It is no secret among people who know me that my favorite book is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and the Montmaray Journals share much in common with Dodie Smith’s fantastic novel (which is pretty much the highest praise I will give a book!). See my full review of the series on InfoCafe: http://blogs.davenportlibrary.com/reference/still-capturing-the-castle-the-montmaray-journals-by-michelle-cooper/

Sharon has two recommendations for fans of graphic novels.  Sailor Moon: “I have been devouring the re-releases of the Sailor Moon manga this year (now without the terrible Mixx character re-names!), and I love it every bit as much as I did when I first read them back at the turn of the millennium. Let’s not talk about the time I cried when I realized I was too old to be a sailor senshi.”  Her second pick is Alice in the Country of Hearts: “I read the first five volumes of this manga a couple years ago, but then the English distribution company went out of business—woe! However, another company picked it up and put its six volumes out in a in three mega-volumes—yay! The story is an Alice in Wonderland parody, where Alice basically runs around with a bunch of hot people, wondering why they love her so much. Sound shallow? It totally is—Alice even says so!—but it’s a super fun read.”

Bethany also read an excellent set of graphic novels this year, Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori: “Sometimes when you’re in between books you want something light with out comprising on story. And Bride’s Story was able to do that for me. And, as silly as it is, the cover of v.1 was very pretty so I needed to see what it was about. Simple story told in a time period and a people I never really thought about, which is another reason why I was drawn to it. I would highly recommend these graphic novels to anybody wanting something quick, light, but good to read.”

Cyndi read so many great YA books this year, she couldn’t pick just one!  “In no particular order: Eleanor & ParkIn ZanesvilleChaos Walking series, and Little Brother” were some of her favorites.  Click the titles to place holds on any or all of them!

And that’s it for our 2013 favorites!  What are yours?  Share in the comments!

Best YA of 2013, Part One

December 17, 2013

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It’s that time of year again!  “Best Of” lists are everywhere, and the staff here at DPL want to share some of our favorite YA books we read this year.

Lexie‘s choice is one of last year’s Printz Award honorees: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  “It’s best to go into this not knowing much, but here’s what I can tell you: this is the story of female pilots during World War II, one of whom has just been captured by the Nazis.  Under threat of torture, she is writing her confession of classified information to her captor.  This is an amazing story of friendship and strength, and it is so suspenseful and engaging that once I started it I couldn’t put it down even for one single second.”

Amanda has a recommendation for audio book listeners: “The Diviners by Libba Bray (audiobook) was the book that made me fall in love with audiobooks.  I was already a huge Libba Bray fan (Going Bovine and Beauty Queens are two of my favorite books), but I was blown away by what reader, January LaVoy did with this already entertaining read.  I can’t wait until the next book in the series, Lair of Dreams, comes out (next August!)”

Liza‘s pick is one that has been incredibly popular with the librarians here at DPL: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  “I liked it because it was honest and truthful and didn’t pull any punches.  The book made me want to read faster than possible to gobble up the text while also making me want to slow down and savor the book while I had the chance.  I look forward to reading many more books by Rowell.”

Ann chose one of my favorites of the year, Rainbow Rowell’s second book of 2013, Fangirl:  “It’s sweet without being saccharine, witty and felt very real.  I also thought it felt very modern yet timeless – Cath’s obsession with her fandom and connections (and fame) she makes via the internet because of it are very 2013, but the emotions created from changes like falling in love, losing your best friend and learning becoming your own person are universal.”

Check back later this week for even more of our favorite reads from this year!

The Raven Boys & The Dream Thieves

November 8, 2013

ravenboysI’ll admit it, I was skeptical when I picked up The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  There has just been so much paranormal romance in YA lately that I didn’t think I could stand another same-old-same-old story of forbidden romance amid spooky stuff.  And when I read the publisher description, that’s exactly what I thought it would be:  “Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.”  It’s true that romance comes into play since it has been prophesied that when Blue kisses her true love, he will die.  But the real story is all about friendship.  Gansey and his fellow Raven Boys Adam, Ronan, and Noah are on a quest to find the long-lost king Glendower and obtain one wish for uncovering his location.  After Blue sees Gansey’s spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, revealing to her that Gansey will die within the next year, Blue joins the quest and comes to find out that Raven Boys aren’t as bad as she thought.

dreamthieves2So no, this book isn’t really a “paranormal romance”, it’s an exciting adventure story with twists and turns that will keep you from putting the book down even for a minute.  It’s also impossible to not love the characters; each of the characters is complex and interesting all on their own, and their friendship is what really makes the story.

I’m cautious about books that are clearly meant to begin a series,  since it seems like the second book in many YA series lately is just boring filler, but I think I enjoyed The Dream Thieves, the second book in the Raven Cycle, even more than the first.  I won’t say too much since I don’t want to spoil the first book for you, but I think Ronan Lynch may have become my favorite character in the series.  I stayed up way way WAY past my bedtime to finish these books, and I guarantee that you won’t be able to put them down either.

Creepy Reads for Halloween

October 31, 2013

Looking for a spooky read to get you in the haunting mood?  Check out some of these books in the teen section!

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The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Ashes by Ilsa Bick

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

ihuntkillersThe Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

For even more, check out our list of Horror for Teens on our Recommended Reads page!

Seraphina

October 28, 2013

seraphinaSeraphina by Rachel Hartman is possibly my new all-time favorite dragon book.  It’s such a unique take on the mythical creatures; in this story, dragons can take human form.  Coexisting in the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans have had a truce for decades.  But everything changes when the Prince is found dead, apparently murdered by a dragon.  Seraphina is a young girl who is new to life as a musician at court.  She hopes to stay out of the limelight in order to hide her dark and dangerous secret: she is a half-dragon, her existence forbidden.   Despite her efforts to stay away from the investigation into the Prince’s murder, Seraphina can’t resist being pulled in by the captain of the guard, Lucian Kiggs.

If you’re tired of reading the same old fantasy novels over and over again, Seraphina is definitely for you.  It’s new and unique, and the world Rachel Hartman built is complex and filled with three-dimensional characters.  It has a little bit of something for everyone: mystery, court politics, action, and of course even a little romance.  If you’re a fan of Anne McCaffrey and Robin McKinley, or are just looking for something different than the fantasy you usually read, I highly recommend this book.