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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trailer Tuesday

In honor of Friday's movie release of Ender's Game, I thought that today's Trailer Tuesday should be the movie trailer. Just to make sure you are excited to see the movie.

I really enjoy this book, and loved when our 8th graders read it as a classroom novel. It has been awhile since that has happened, but there are some classes that will be studying it once again this fall, so that is good news. I can't wait to see how the movie compares with the book...should be entertaining!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday 5/15: Scary Stories

Last year, I posted my Top 15 Scary Stories just in time for the spooky Halloween, dark-and-scary-night season. You can find that post here.

Since I am still in love with those titles, I thought that I would add my Top 5 creepy stories from 2013. And then I realized that there are a few more than 5...but not quite 15. 

So, here you go...just in time to get your scare on! (In no particular order...)

Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! I love this author, I love his dark and creepy writing, I love this collection of 7 intertwined atmospheric stories. I can't even explain this book to do it justice, because I will honestly make it sound really lame, and it's NOT. By far, one of the best books that I've read in 2013. Did I mention that I love it? I will say, that I love it as an adult. Looking at it through a teen's lens, I'm honestly not sure who the best audience for this is, but I hope that it will find it's way into the hands of sophisticated high school (and adult) readers looking for something amazing to read. Grades 9-12.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Yeah, this is NOT for the faint of heart (nor is the sequel, which is actually the book that came out in 2013). I am a giant fan of Bones, CSI, The Following, and any sort of crime-solving drama on TV, so I was naturally drawn to a murder mystery story for teens surrounding the son of the nation's most infamous serial killer. VERY dark. VERY graphic. But very good if you are the reader that can handle it. Grades 10-12.

Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman. This is being touted as Stephen King for teens. Not being a huge fan of the master of the horror genre myself, I can't actually attest to that. But I did completely enjoy the author's "The Book of Blood & Shadow" so I gave this one a shot. SO GOOD! Again, not really for the faint of heart because it lives up to it's horror billing, but an excellent read. Grades 10-12.

Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo. I'm not sure that this is the "scary" story you might be looking for, but this book (and it's sequel, which is the book that came out in 2013), is very dark and atmospheric and has incredible world-building and writing. It feels like the perfect book to read on a dark and stormy night. Grades 7-12.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. This edge-of-your-seat mystery will keep your heart racing right from page one. Best opening pages of a book that I've read in a long time! (I actually liked the author's Girl, Stolen just a bit better, but this one did not disappoint). Grades 8-11.

If You find Me by Emily Murdoch. I don't actually think this is a "scary" story, except for the fact that it could so easily be true and as a parent that is what is so disturbing about it. This book made me never want to camp in the woods again. Grades 9-12.

Doll Bones by Holly Black. The master of creepy tales and ghost stories, this is a terrific ghost story/road trip/adventure for the middle school set. And a great cover! Grades 5-8.

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. This is book one in the new "Lockwood & Co." series by the author famous for the incredible "Bartimaeus" trilogy. Teen ghost hunters in London? Do I even need to say anything more? Fantastic! Cannot wait for the next book! Grades 6-9.

Happy reading! Don't forget to leave the lights on...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Best Books 2013

Every October, my librarian "partner-in-crime" and I do a conference presentation on the best books for the year (for grades 6-12) at our state association for school librarians (WLMA). We have three HOURS to do nothing but talk about our favorite books, and which tweens/teens would like them.

So many titles, so little time. Three hours may seem like a long time to you, but it's really not for two people who can talk for DAYS about good books. But we do our best, and always have a great time, and I hope that the people that attend enjoy it as well.

Over the next several weeks, I'll be highlighting some of my favorite titles of the year, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, here's our picture so you can see just how crazy we are. Our theme this year was "3 Hours to a Firmer, Leaner YA Body...of Literature." Hee, hee...we're so funny...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Books I've Been Recommending This Week

I've seen many of my 7th grade classes in the library this week, simply to be able to say "hi" and give them a good starting list of books they should be reading this fall.

Here are some of the titles I've been recommending that are getting the most "buzz" from the students:

A trio of sports titles, two of them by BIG. NAME. SPORTSWRITERS.

A new book by the writer/director by some big-time classics such as "The Goonies" and "Gremlins" teams up with another wild and crazy writer for this new series starter.

 I really like this new survival/post-apocalyptic/road trip story. I hope that it is the beginning of a series.

And for a much more light-hearted road trip story, this is a quick one about a father and son on a quest to rescue a dog.

Two series that I love...and love to promote.

And two books that are "quiet gems" looking for just the right reader. I loved them both, and hope just the right student finds them and adores them also.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Funny, Funny, Funny, Funny...Funny!

This week in the library, I've been talking about HUMOR books with the 8th graders. Their first quarter Independent Reading Project is all about all things Funny.

Looking back through this blog, I cannot believe that I have never done a Friday 5/15 about my top Funny books for teens. We will have to remedy that in a future post!

My goal today was to mention some of the newer Humor books published this year that I was highlighting to students, as well as some quietly funny gems that often get overlooked. Looking back over the 2013 publishing cycle, I have to say, humor has not been at the top of the trend list. I always pride myself on finding great funny books each year, but this year, there really haven't been too many that "tickled my funny bone."

Again, that could be just me. Humor is subjective after all. And the two things that I love most in a humor book are either (1) snarky, sarcastic, witty narrator, often a girl; or (2) dumb boy humor. Love both styles...can't get enough!

In no particular order, here are my funny favs of 2013:

Also Known As by Robin Benway. LOVE Robin Benway, and this book is no exception. I have highlighted the book already this summer as one of our Trailer Tuesdays here. This book has it all, and has also received starred reviews from various publications (which did not influence how much I loved it, but thought I'd throw it out there if it might influence you). Spies, high school drama, a witty and relatable narrator, a little romance, action and suspense...this book has it all and is so much fun. Even if you aren't a fan of the typical "spy" novel, there is a lot to like here. And I'm very excited that it is a series starter. Grades 7-10.

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg. Again, another good author. A high school girl who's little sister is on the Toddlers & Tiaras pageant circle? Yep, lots of witty asides here. But also a real story. And a character to root for that many girls can relate to. Grades 7-10.

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle. Yes, I've already gushed over this book here so probably not a surprise. A kid who runs away to audition for the musical based on E.T.? The images I have in my head are just funny. I love Nate. And I don't care if maybe everything works out a little too easily for him in the end. Every now and then, that's just a good thing to have happen in a book. Grades 6-8 (ignore the cover!).

Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin. This book is not on my middle school shelves, but it has some of the funniest writing I've read in a long time. I just loved everything about this book, and it's main character Ritchie Sudden. When a teenager in juvie makes references to jumping the shark, you know you're going to like this book. Definitely grades 9-12, but so good!

Some quietly funny gems that I hope each year finds their way into the hands of just the right student:

Misfits by James Howe.

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick.

Warp Speed by Lisa Yee.

Two books that have some of the funniest opening scenes I've ever read, but might not necessarily be "funny" books:

The Schwa was Here by Neil Schusterman.

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger.


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