YA

Recommendation Tuesday: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @SarahSMoon or tag me on Instagram @sarahbethmoon and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here.

I always feel weird recommending a "big" book that's gotten a lot of attention, because it feels like those books don't need me, but the heart likes what the heart likes, you know? In this case, I just finished reading and enjoyed the hell out of Alexandra Bracken's new epic time travel novel, Passenger. 

Recommendation Tuesday: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Subtraction: A "Family Poem" by Cordelia Jensen

As a companion to her marvelous guest post earlier this month, Cordelia Jensen sent me a selection of what she calls her "family poems" that inspired her debut novel, Skyscraping (which I loved). This one really struck a chord with me as capturing the essence of her novel. 

(My apologies for the delay in posting this--it's been a tough couple of weeks around these parts and I haven't been on top of anything.)

Subtraction: A "Family Poem" by Cordelia Jensen

Recommendation Tuesday: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @SarahSMoon or tag me on Instagram @sarahbethmoon and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Stephanie Tromly’s first novel, Trouble is a Friend of Mine, packs clever dialog, great characters and a complex mystery into a quick paced and excellent read.

Recommendation Tuesday: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Giveaway & Mini Review: The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young's The Program and The Treatment duology is one of the most underrated series I've read. It's just so smart and insightful and just plain fascinating. And while that series closed with a very satisfying ending, I was thrilled when I learned that Suzanne was revisiting the world of the series with a prequel, The Remedy. 

(Hint: Read this entire post--there's an awesome giveaway sponsored by Simon & Schuster happening too!)

Giveaway & Mini Review: The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Friendship, Diversity and Adventure in Stacey Lee's Under a Painted Sky

A fantastic historical novel is a special thing--and I sometimes feel like it's a unicorn situation. The last historical novel I loved (that wasn't a verse novel) was Jennifer Donnelly's luminous A Northern Light and that was quite awhile ago. 

Fortunately, Stacey Lee's debut young adult historical novel about two girls on the Oregon Trail in the early 1800s, Under a Painted Sky, landed in my mailbox at just the right time, as it was the historical novel I've been looking for for ages and ages. 

Father always said, If you cannot be brave, then imagine you are someone else who who is. So I imagine myself as him, my optimistic father, whose steps never wavered, whose face never hid in shadows. Lifting my chin, I march after Andy as if my cares were few and my outlook, golden.

Under a Painted Sky starts off with a bang, with narrator Samantha--a skilled violinist of Chinese descent--being left with no choice but to flee her Missouri town. Dashed are her dreams of moving back to New York and pursuing a music career.

Friendship, Diversity and Adventure in Stacey Lee's Under a Painted Sky

Recommendation Tuesday: The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Quiet books aren't the trend right now, but they're still my favorites.

One of the real masters of quiet YA novels is C.K. Kelly Martin, who's been writing for a long time, but is deserving of far more acclaim and attention than she receives. So, it's no surprise that her latest, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, is another excellent, subtle novel that fans of contemporary YA shouldn't miss. 

Recommendation Tuesday: The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin

Guest Post: Author Melanie Crowder on Writing History in Verse

You know we love verse novels here at Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, so it's no wonder that Melanie Crowder's historical novel in verse is one we're all looking forward to.

Here's the summary:

The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history.

A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000. 

Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.

I'm happy to welcome Melanie to the blog--she's going to share a bit about the unique opportunity to translate history through verse novels. 

Guest Post: Author Melanie Crowder on Writing History in Verse

Recommendation Tuesday: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

Today, Sandra is recommending a book that's straight-up fun, the always-entertaining Jennifer Armentrout's Don't Look Back. 

On its surface, Don't Look Back shouldn't be that gripping. The plot is not unique: murder, amnesia, uncertainty, danger and a dark shadow haunts the main character, Samantha Franco. But Jennifer Armentrout’s  addictive plotting make this mystery deepens into an unforeseen  denouement, an unravelling of a long-held secret.

Recommendation Tuesday: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Stream-It Saturday: Now Is Good

It's always interesting to find a surprise book-to-movie adaptation. Damn studios and their name-changing ways. I added British flick Now Is Good to my Netflix queue after watching How I Live Now, because I was looking for more YA-ish movies from the UK. I thought that film took some risks you would be unlikely to see in American films.

When I finally got around to streaming Now Is Good, the story and characters' names seemed immediately familiar. A quick Google told me that I wasn't nuts, that Now Is Good is an adaptation of a book I'd forgotten I'd read, Before I Die by Jenny Downham. (I didn't forget I'd read it because it wasn't good, because it was. Rather, it was a long time ago.)

Stream-It Saturday: Now Is Good

Recommendation Tuesday: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

The uncertainty of my own experience is crushing. I am drowning in an infinite sea. Sinking slowly, the weight of the lightless depths forcing me down, forcing the air from my lungs, squeezing the blood from my heart.

I feel kind of ridiculous recommending a big book with a big publicity push behind it, but it's a rare sequel that enthralls me as much as the original. 

The Fifth Wave was one of my favorite books last year, thanks to its editor literally shoving it in my hands and I clicked preorder on the follow up, The Infinite Sea, before it even had a title. The sophisticated plot, overwhelmingly ominous tone and captivatingly complex characters stood out in the sea of lookalike post-apocalyptic novels

Recommendation Tuesday: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Recommendation Tuesday: Dust Chronicles Series by Maureen McGowan

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

If I were to make a list of novels for people who really love the X-Men movies, but are fed the hell up with the ridiculously thin characterization of the women, Maureen McGowan's Dust Chronicles trilogy would be high on that list. 

Recommendation Tuesday: Dust Chronicles Series by Maureen McGowan

Recommendation Tuesday: Page by Paige Laura Lee Gulledge

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

I have been on a graphic novel and comics binge of epic proportions lately, burning up my Multnomah County Library card at a furious rate with all checkouts. I've read a ton of good ones, but one that sticks out and I'm going to have to pick up for my forever and always shelf is Laura Lee Gulledge's Page by Paige. 

Recommendation Tuesday: Page by Paige Laura Lee Gulledge

A Twisted, Gripping, Disturbing Thriller: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Our lives are made up of choices. Big ones, small ones, strung together by the thin air of good intentions; a line of dominos, ready to fall.

I don't think a book has left me feeling so intensely uneasy as Abigail Haas' newest, Dangerous Boys, did. 

Like in Dangerous Girls, Haas takes readers on a time-shifting journey, shifting between the present and the events leading up to a tragedy. In this case, three teenagers--narrator Chloe, her boyfriend Ethan and his brother Oliver--enter an empty home but only two emerge from that house as it burns to the ground. 

The reader is left wondering which brother survived the fire? Whose at fault? Was it self-defense? An accident? Or something more insidious? 

A Twisted, Gripping, Disturbing Thriller: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Recommendation Roundup: June 2014

I don't know about you, but reading has been weird for me lately. Between summer and a stressful couple of work projects, I'm finding myself in a bit of a funk. 

I keep starting books and then they lose my attention. However, Nafiza's wonderful graphic novel recommendation list came to my rescue and it's been just what the doctor ordered. I've gone way down the Saga rabbit hole and am official obsessed. 

I also picked up a couple of fabulous middle grade verse novels I'd been meaning to read and that was a pretty solid life decision. I got Kwame Alexander's beautiful and moving The Crossover from the library and I'll definitely be buying a copy for my own shelves. It's one of my favorite reads of 2014 for sure. I want everyone to read it so that I can nerd out about it with other people!

Onward to the recommendations!

Recommendation Roundup: June 2014

Guest Post: Pema Donyo on YA & Happy Ever Afters

Note: This is a guest post from author & college student Pema Donyo. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to learn more about her. Also, there are spoilers for the happy endings of several books in this post--you've been warned. Another CEFS post dealing with similar concepts was written by Laura a couple years ago--check it out over here. 

Are you interested in writing a guest post for CEFS? Send us your idea via our contact page

Ruth Graham's "Against YA" op-ed in Slate caused many eyes to roll and many heads to nod. But a particular passage from the article has stayed with me:

These (Young Adult novel) endings are emblematic of the fact that the emotional and moral ambiguity of adult fiction—of the real world—is nowhere in evidence in YA fiction. These endings are for readers who prefer things to be wrapped up neatly, our heroes married or dead or happily grasping hands, looking to the future.
Guest Post: Pema Donyo on YA & Happy Ever Afters

A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka: Uneven, But Relevant & Gripping

I don't know if I suffered as severe of dystopian burnout as a lot of readers, largely because I'm self-aware enough to know that any faction-based world irritates the crap out of me, so I managed to avoid a lot of the popular dystopian-ish novels that hit the shelves in the wake of The Hunger Games' popularity.

(Seriously, what is with all the factions, dystopian authors? I just don't get it.)

I've picked up a few recently that I've enjoyed at varying degrees. I enthusiastically enjoyed Maureen McGowan's corporate conspiracy-meets-X-Men Dust Chronicles action-adventure series; I was profoundly let down by the promising water-contamination novel The Ward by Jordana Frankel (that book had so much promise!).

Catherine Linka's debut, A Girl Called Fearless, likely sits somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, yet it manages to shine a bit more brightly than many others because it's both thought-provoking and gripping.

A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka: Uneven, But Relevant & Gripping

Recommendation Tuesday: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

I want to reach back into my history with a grade-school pink eraser, scrubbing away my decisions like mistakes on a math test. Too bad I drew my mistakes in ink.

This week I'm happy to recommend a debut contemporary YA novel, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. If you're looking for a a summer-themed read that offers a bit more than you're expected, this is a great choice.

There are oodles of summer road trip stories and I've gotten pretty particular about them, as much as I enjoy road trip narratives as concept. Open Road Summer is a bit different, however. Instead of a quest sort of story, the narrator, Reagan, is tagging along with her best friend, Dee, on a very structured sort of road trip--Dee's first major tour as emerging country artist Lilah Montgomery. 

Reagan is not only grabbing the opportunity to spend time with her close friend who is rocketing to stardom, but to run away from a bad breakup and make changes in her life: No more partying, drinking or boys that are bad for her. She's a bit surly, and definitely not very forgiving of other people--I found Reagan infinitely relatable. 

Recommendation Tuesday: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Recommendation Tuesday: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Jennifer Echols is another relatively well-known author with a book I'm happy to include in my Recommendation Tuesday series. While Jennifer is well-loved by readers, she's generally under-recognized by gatekeeper types, despite having embraced positive depictions of teen girl sexuality and identity in her novels for many years.

Her latest, Biggest Flirts--the first in a new series of connected novels, is no different. 

Tia, the first person narrator of Biggest Flirts, is a senior at her Florida high school, drummer in the marching band and notorious flirt. She unashamedly prefers casual hookups, eschewing boyfriends, and even has a regular hookup buddy (Sawyer, who's going to be a main character in the third book in the Superlatives series).

Recommendation Tuesday: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Recommendation Tuesday: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Wouldn't we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?

Have you ever read a book that you wanted everyone you know to read so you can talk about it with them? 

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, which Racquel over at The Book Barbies has recommended rather aggressively for some time now, is one of those books.

Dangerous Girls opens with a 911 call on Aruba. A group of privileged teenagers on spring break report that they've found their friend stabbed to death, blood covering her room and the glass door broken. Elise, the dead girl, is the best friend of narrator Anna, a relative newcomer to this ultra-wealthy crowd, with her "new money" contrasting with the old New England wealth of many of her friends, including Elise. Before she knows it, Anna is arrested and awaiting trial for her best friend's murder. 

As Anna's fighting the charges, the non-linear narrative explores the complicated nature of friendship, the very idea of truth, and how easy it is for court of public opinion to depict anyone as a monster.

Recommendation Tuesday: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Quick(ish) Thoughts on Four Recent(ish) YA Novels

I've been disinclined to write extensively about young adult titles lately, despite that I've been reading quite a few recent releases. I do have a few I want to be sure to write about more extensively (particularly the final novel in Gabrielle Zevin's spectacular Birthright series), but I wanted to share my thoughts on a few I've read recently.

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Admittedly, I was nervous about reading Lauren Morrill's new novel, Being Sloane Jacobs. Lauren is one of the few authors I follow on my personal Twitter account and I enjoy her thoughts on publishing and tweets about being an extra on The Originals but I haven't read her debut, Meant to Be, and was worried that I wouldn't like her book. (I've had this happen before, enjoyed someone's online persona and their book didn't work for me--and I always fell badly about it.) 

Fortunately, my worries were completely needless, as I enjoyed Being Sloane Jacobs a bunch. The premise is essentially The Cutting Edge meets The Parent Trap, except without twins. Instead, we have two points-of-view, both girls named Sloane Jacobs. One is a stressed former competitive figure skater from a high-powered Washington, DC political family. The other Sloane Jacobs is a tough hockey player from Philadelphia with a bit of an anger problem.

 

Quick(ish) Thoughts on Four Recent(ish) YA Novels

The YA Crime Thriller I've Hoped For: Fake ID by Lamar Giles

You don’t have to know someone your whole life to know them. Not really. Lonely is the same everywhere.”

I've read a lot--and I mean a lot--of crime fiction, and until I picked up Lamar Giles' Fake ID, I'm certain I haven't encountered a young adult novel that really hit the notes of adult crime fiction. 

Lamar Giles' Fake ID is told from the first-person point-of-view of of Nick Pearson--and yes, that is a fake name. He's been in the federal Witness Protection Program with his parents since his father agreed to testify against the crime boss he worked for. Nick's father is terrible at being in Witness Protection and they're on their last placement--the family has to make this work or else they're out of the program, on their own and in serious danger.

Nick's starting at a new high school in Stepton, Virginia, with yet another new identity, studying his personal "legend" (the fake backstory developed by the U.S. Marshall Service for each family) and trying to stay under the radar. He's quickly befriended by Eli, rabble-rousing editor of the school paper, who's eager to recruit the new kid to his one-man journalism operation. 

The YA Crime Thriller I've Hoped For: Fake ID by Lamar Giles

Storify: My Under the Radar YA Recommendations

A couple nights ago Dahlia of The Daily Dahlia tweeted asking for recommendations for good "under the radar" young adult novels. Being one who cannot ever resist the opportunity to book push, I jumped in with some of my favorite recommendations (Racquel beat me to the punch with one, Burning by Elana Arnold). 

Be sure to visit Dahlia's post on her blog with a roundup of the the most commonly recommended books and also visit the hashtag on Twitter--you know, in case your to-read pile isn't enormous enough. 

Here are my picks in Storify form, including links to blog posts on CEFS (or an Amazon page for more information). Thanks to Dahlia for prompting this fantastic whirl of enthusiasm for lesser-known novels.

Storify: My Under the Radar YA Recommendations

Podcast 18: Author Elizabeth Scott on Heartbeat, Writing Angry Girls, Reader Response & the Awesomeness of Courtney Summers

I could not be more excited to have one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Scott, as a guest on our latest podcast episode!

Elizabeth's most recent novel is Heartbeat, which all three of us at CEFS have read and loved. It's a unique, emotionally intense, authentic examination of grief and anger that's unlike anything I've read. It's out tomorrow from Harlequin Teen and I really hope you'll check it out because it's one of my favorites of the year already. (While you're at it, you should read Miracle, which came out in 2012 and didn't get nearly the love and attention it deserved--here's my review.)

Podcast 18: Author Elizabeth Scott on Heartbeat, Writing Angry Girls, Reader Response & the Awesomeness of Courtney Summers

Podcast #16 - Amy Spalding on Fictional Families, Writing & Her New Book

This is the second time we've had author Amy Spalding on as a podcast guest--she's so much fun to talk to and has a lot of wonderful insight into writing for teens. Two books in and she's already known for writing nuanced, realistic families, so we thought we'd make that the focus of our conversation in this episode of the podcast. 

Be sure to stay with the podcast until the end for some astute advice for writers from Amy. 

Podcast #16 - Amy Spalding on Fictional Families, Writing & Her New Book