This week’s book trailer of the week is for Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King. Vera’s trying not to let the death of her ex-best friend Charlie change her life. After all, they weren’t best friends when he died. However, Vera is practically haunted by Charlie and the need to clear his name and the rumors surrounding his death. It doesn’t help that Vera was also falling in love with Charlie before their friendship fell apart. Along with the details of Charlie and Vera’s friendship and the breakup leading up to his death, readers also gain insight to Vera’s current life and the other stuff she has to deal with while at the same time trying to clear Charlie’s name. A great work of realistic fiction that will definitely make you think. Click here to find Please Ignore Vera Dietz in the Library!
I love the Olympics! I don’t know what it is, but I love watching top athletes compete in various sports that you usually can’t see on TV. Another thing I like about the Olympics is that it usually introduces me to new information about the culture and customs of the host country. While watching the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I have really enjoyed learning more about modern-day Russia. Though there is a checkered past to the country, the special looks by NBC have been pretty awesome. (One of my favorites was the look at Siberia today.)
All of this got me thinking: there have to be some pretty good books for teens about Russia or that are set in Russia. Check out the list I came up with below. Some are fiction and some are nonfiction. Some are set in modern day and some are set in what was considered the darker times of Russia’s history. Just click on the covers to find them in the Library!
YA STANDIFORD, N.
It is 1982 and nineteen-year-old Laura Reid is spending a semester in Leningrad studying Russian, but when she meets Alyosha she discovers the dissident Russia–a world of wild parties, underground books and music, love, and constant danger.
YA 947.0842 LUG
Recently unearthed in the archives of Stalin’s secret police, this diary offers rare insight into the life of a teenage girl in Stalin’s Russia, when fear of arrest was a fact of life. Nina’s diary offers today’s reader a fascinating perspective on the era in which she lived.
YA WHITCOMB, L.
After 350 years as a Fetch, or death escort, Calder breaks his vows and enters the body of Rasputin, whose spirit causes rebellion in the Land of Lost Souls while Calder struggles to convey Ana and Alexis, orphaned in the Russian Revolution, to Heaven.
YA GRAPH ABADZIS, N.
This is the journey of Laika, the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth’s first space traveler. With the blending of fact and fiction, this story intertwines three compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika’s health and life.
YA BARDUGO, L.
Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.
YA 947.7708 GRI
Although the Iron Curtain is gone, the memory of the high drama, tragedy, and comedy that was life in the Soviet Union remains. Tina Grimberg brings color and perception to a life we think of as gray, impersonal, and foreboding.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
YA SEPETYS, R.
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.
YA DUNLAP, S.
As world war and the looming Russian Revolution threaten all they hold dear, Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II, and her family are being held in captivity, where she falls in love with one of their captors, a young man who has espoused the ideals of Lenin.
This week’s book trailer of the week is for Fat Angie by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo. Angie’s life sucks. Her sister, the only person who seems to understand her, has been captured as a soldier in Iraq. Then there is the family that she has left, after a father that abandoned her family, there is her mother who is too busy to care and her adopted brother who is always getting into trouble. At school Angie is subject to relentless bullying, especially from the mean girls, and has even attempted (but failed) suicide. Things begin to change for Angie, however, when new girl KC Romance shows up at school. KC takes an interest in Angie and what begins as a good friendship blossoms into more as Angie finds the confidence she needs to start turning her life around. Click here to find Fat Angie in the Library!
February is African American History Month. There are a ton of books, movies, and music that you can easily find to celebrate this month. However, to help you with your search, here is a great list we put together of some teen titles that are perfect to read to celebrate African American History month. They center on the African American experience both past and present and include books that are dramatic, sports-themed, realistic, have a touch of fantasy, and even moving nonfiction titles or memoirs.
YA GRIMES, N.
While studying the Harlem Renaissance, students at a Bronx high school read aloud poems they’ve written, revealing their innermost thoughts and fears to their formerly clueless classmates.
YA MOSLEY, W.
Number 47, a fourteen-year-old slave boy growing up under the watchful eye of a brutal master in 1832, meets the mysterious Tall John, who introduces him to a magical science and also teaches him the meaning of freedom.
YA SITOMER, A.
Andre Anderson, an African-American teenager who loves to play basketball, is happy about his summer internship at a magazine, but his life is unexpectedly changed by a random act of violence.
YA WOLFF, V.
In order to earn money for college, fourteen-year-old LaVaughn babysits for a teenage mother of two. Written in 66 chapters, with text lines that break at natural speaking phrases.
YA 811.54 SHA
A collection of verse by the late hip-hop star Tupac Shakur includes more than one hundred poems confronting such wide-ranging topics as poverty, motherhood, Van Gogh, and Mandela.
YA REYNOLDS, J.
Ali lives in Bed-Stuy, a Brooklyn neighborhood known for guns and drugs, but he and his sister, Jazz, and their neighbors, Needles and Noodles, stay out of trouble until they go to the wrong party, where one gets badly hurt and another leaves with a target on his back.
YA ALEXANDER, K.
When a popular football ‘playa’ and ladies man and the smartest girl in school lead a school protest, sparks fly as their social media-aided revolution grows.
YA HALSE, L.
After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.
YA 305.8092 MCBRIDE
A young African American man describes growing up as one of twelve children of a white mother and Black father, and discusses his mother’s contributions to his life and his confusion over his own identity.
YA DAVIS, T.
Teens Octavia and Tali learn about strength, independence, and courage when they are forced to take a car trip with their grandmother, who tells about growing up Black in 1940s Alabama and serving in Europe during World War II as a member of the Women’s Army Corps.
YA DAVIS, T.
With such a shortage of cooking shows hosted by African-American female chefs, seventeen-year-old Lainey has high hopes that her dream will be fulfilled through her hard work and unique creations, but when her best friend and secret crush suddenly moves away, Lainey must find a way to deal with the painful loss in order to keep her focus.
YA SMITH, C.
The summer before starting high school in inner-city Los Angeles, fourteen-year-old Shawn grapples with his first experience of love, the complicated bonds of friends and family, and the reality of street gang violence.
YA CARTER, N.
Brutally kidnapped from her African village and shipped to America, a young girl struggles to come to terms with her new life as a slave, gradually rising from working in the fields to the master’s house, secretly learning to read and write, until, risking everything, she escapes to seek freedom in the North.
YA MAGOON, K.
In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father’s nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.
YA JONES, T.
As she tries to escape her poor Chicago neighborhood by winning a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, shy and studious eighth-grader Patrice discovers that she has more options in life than she previously realized.
YA WOODSON, J.
In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur’s music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.
Were you as impressed as we were by the release of the first movie trailer for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? Are you looking for something to read that is similar to TFIOS? Of course, you can go on and read Green’s other fabulous works–and you should–but if you want to read a novel similar to TFIOS that deals themes like young people struggling with terminal illness, check out these titles:
You may also want to check out Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Both were published this year and John Green had a lot of great things to say about both her novels.
This week’s book trailer of the week is for Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher. Originally published in the UK, this novel centers on 15-year-old Zoe. She writes to a Death Row inmate in Texas, because she believes she is also a murderer and wants to tell someone about it. Her letters chronicle her relationships with two brothers, Max and Aaron, and how the romances she developed with each brother ended in tragedy. It isn’t until the end of the novel that you find out what happened, which brother dies, and if Zoe is really a murderer. Click here to find Ketchup Clouds in the Library!
This week’s book trailer of the week is for Paper Towns by John Green. Paper Towns is not a new novel by John Green, it was published in 2008, but Bloomsbury Publishing just released a pretty cool trailer for the novel. So, if you really liked The Fault in Our Stars, then you should definitely check out Paper Towns. It centers on Quinten or Q, who has been in love with his next store neighbor, Margo, since they were kids. So when she disappears, Q is determined to follow the clues she has left to find out whether or not she has just run away or if she has actually committed suicide. Click here to find Paper Towns in the Library!
This week’s book trailer of the week is for The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth. Set in the early 90’s, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, tells the emotionally packed coming of age story of Cam. The day before Cam’s parents died in a car accident, Cam shared a life change kiss with her best friend Irene. Cam’s conservative aunt moves her to Minnesota and chooses to raise Cam in a very strict and structured way. As Cam grows up she definitely identifies herself as a lesbian and eventually falls in love with a bisexual girl named Corey. When Cam’s aunt discovers their relationship she sends Cam to a religious conversion school. Ironically, it is through the friendships she makes there, and not the teachings, that allow Cam to come to terms with her true identity and feel comfortable in her own skin. Click here to find The Miseducation of Cameron Post in the Library!
|We’ll Always Have Summer
by Jenny Han
Belly has always loved Conrad, but dated his brother Jeremiah. When Jeremiah proposes she expects although she doesn’t love him like she should. The wedding gets closer and Belly keeps waiting for Conrad’s love. Will she ever be loved by him?
Review submitted by Paige.
|A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole
This book is hilarious, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. The characters are so well developed.
Review submitted by Jake.
|The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
I thought this book was amazing! I’ve read it many times before and I just couldn’t put it down!
Review submitted by Josephine.
by Dan Brown
This book follows NSA employee Susan Fletcher and fiancé David Becher as the agency struggles to crack a seemingly unbreakable code. I enjoyed this book because it has plenty of twists and action and makes you keep reading.
Review submitted by Ellen.
|Crossing the Wire
by Will Hobbs
This book is packed with adventure as a boy tries to cross the border into the U.S. to work and support his family in his hometown in Mexico. I would highly recommend this book for anyone entering 8th grade or higher.
Review submitted by Michael.
|The Running Dream
by Wendelin Van Draanen
A book that proves you can do what others think impossible. 5 stars!
Review submitted by Sydney.
|I, Emma Freke
by Elizabeth Atkinson
This book was about a girl named Emma. She never really fit in and only had one friend. She doesn’t know who her dad is or that side of the family. She was invited to a reunion from her dad’s side. When Emma comes back she is a new person. I thought this was a great book.
Review submitted by Kendall.
|The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
This book is amazing! It’s romantic, gross, a cliff hanger, adventurous, and more! I loved it!
Review submitted by Julia.
|It Happened to Nancy
When Nancy is raped, her attacker leaves something behind that Nancy will never be able to forget, the HIV virus. As the virus rages through her body, Nancy must come to terms with herself before it is too late.
Review submitted by Paige.
|Flowers for Algernon
by Daniel Keyes
Imagine a dream of yours. Imagine that you have it but then it is taken away from you. This is what happened to the main character in Flowers for Algernon. His dream was to be smart, and he was smart until it was taken away from him. This book would be best for 8th graders and older.
Review submitted by Michael
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