Thursday, February 22, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

Have you HEARD about the Throne of Glass book series by Sarah J. Maas?

When I first started reading it, I was skeptical: how can one book about an assassin competing with other assassins be so long? Why are there so many books? Why are they so popular?

...and then I tried reading one. And then the second. And the third. I'm currently on the fourth book (Queen of Shadows). There are set to be seven books in the series, not counting the prequels.

The series starts out with a simple enough premise: Celaena is an expert assassin who is freed from a harsh desert prison in order to be trained as the prince's champion in an Hunger Games-style competition that could win her her freedom. Then, suddenly, what seems simple becomes complex: someone is sabotaging the competition. Meanwhile, Celaena is falling in love, the kingdom is in turmoil, and suddenly a rebellion is afoot.

Celaena is a really likeable (and imperfect) heroine, in addition to being a total badass. The world starts out fairly small, and opens up with each book until suddenly you get witches and wyverns and fae in ADDITION to excellent battle scenes and kingdom intrigue.

If you liked the Hunger Games series or the Red Queen series or Game of Thrones, Throne of Glass will be the perfect series for you! Don't let the size of the books scare you: even though they're big, they're a fast and fun read.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

YA Picks of the Week: Youth Media Awards 2018!

As you may or may not know, the Youth Media Awards were this week!

The Youth Media Awards are a GIANT award festival at the American Library Association's Midwinter conference. They can dramatically impact the lives of the writers (and illustrators) who win! They're also a lot of fun.

Here are some of the winners:

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
We Are Okay is the story of Marin, a college freshman dealing with loss and her first love. It's a really quiet and beautiful story that is also a pretty quick read. 
William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give just keeps winning awards! It's Angie Thomas's debut: the story of a girl who witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend and comes forward about it. It's written in a way that's never boring and that really helps to put a face to the #blacklivesmatter movement and police brutality. We keep ordering more copies and they're always checked out, but it's worth placing a hold for it!

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young AdultsVincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Vincent and Theo is a fascinating take on Vincent Van Gogh's relationship with his brother. It reads like a novel!
Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience: Little & Lion, written by Brandy Colbert, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc. and The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater, published by Farrar Straus Giroux for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group.
Little and Lion is the story of Suzette's relationship with her stepbrother Lionel, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder just before she went away to boarding school. Its also the story of Suzette coming to terms with having fallen in love with her roommate at boarding school and the aftermath. It's also at least five different stories in one wonderfully complex novel. The book has great representation: Suzette is black and identifies as Jewish, and the supporting cast is really diverse. 

The 57 Bus is a true story: on a bus ride home in 2013, a young man sets a classmate on fire. The book gets more complex than that: the young man setting the fire is black, and the classmate--who identifies as agender--is white. Not only is this a book about a crime, but it also gets into the complexities of gender and identity. It's a hard read but a really interesting one. 

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences:
Teen: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House.
Julia gets expelled from her school for the deaf because she spray paints a graffiti mural on the school and has to go to normal school as the only deaf student--how does she cope? More graffiti! I haven't read this one, but it sounds really wonderful, and critics have compared it to Simon Vs. The Homosapien Agenda and More Happy Than Not--so I can only imagine that it'll be a good read!

We either have or soon will have all of the winners! This list doesn't even begin to cover the Honor Books--a post for another day. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

YA Pick of the Week:Hawkeye: Kate Bishop: Vol. 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Leonardo Romero

Kate Bishop moves to LA to try to find her father, and ends up investigating a lot more than she bargained for.

I recently read this comic and LOVED it. Even though it references the Young Avengers and Jessica Jones, you don't need to really know much about either to jump right in. Kate's an incredibly likeable heroine, and her friends are weird and cool and totally devoted to her. Without giving too much away, the villain plot is surprising and felt unique, even as it ended with a cliffhanger.

We just ordered Volumes 2 & 3, so read this one to get a headstart!