Category Archives: second titles

YA Teen Lives & Relationships – 2nd Titles

Here are the write-ups of YA “Teen Lives & Relationships” Fiction second titles received. If you forgot to submit yours, it’s never too late!

cover image of all american boys lower-case title African-American boy playing basketballTitle: All American Boys
Author:
Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds
Main Appeal Factors:
Topical, characters
Genre:
YA Teen Lives & Relationships
Annotation/Thoughts: 
This book tells the story of Rashad (written by Jason Reynolds) and Quinn (written by Brendan Kiely) who attend the same high school. Rashad gets viciously beaten by a policeman when he is falsely accused of shoplifting. Quinn observes the beating and is horrified to recognize the policeman is a mentor of his. Both boys have to deal with what is their place in the Black Lives Matter movement. Not really deep enough to recommend for adults. Good for teens.


cover image of Boy Meets Boy candy hearts with words forming titleTitle: Boy Meets Boy

Author: David Levithan
Main Appeal Factors: Author, LGBTQ romance
Genre:
YA Teen Lives & Relationships
Annotation/Thoughts:
David Levithan writes honestly yet humorously of boy meets then loses then hopes to regain boy again. LGBTQ+ issues are especially important these days, and are often the most censored. It’s really vital that we read fiction about – and especially – BY those in the community, if we are to serve all our patrons equally.

cover image of Jumped showing almost-deserted school hallwayTitle: Jumped
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
Main Appeal Factors: Characterization, Storyline/Language, Writing Style, Frame/Setting
Genre: YA Teen Lives & Relationships
Annotation/Thoughts:
More than another cautionary account shedding light on the subject of girl-on-girl-violence, Jumped is a great book recommendation to those who want a story that deals with underlying themes of morality, choice and versions of reality, or maybe a story happening in a school location. The author is able to bring the reader into the teenage psyche with accurate, descriptive “teen speak”, and the plot resonates a situation which many teens may encounter themselves in or may witness in contemporary High School settings. The characterization is authentic, well-developed and introspective. In this fast paced novel, we meet three female teenagers belonging to a minority demographic background, with highly different personalities narrating events in the story from their perspectives. That is only right for as we well know teenagers tend to only see things their way. The authenticity in character development of these unreliable narrators is one element of Jumped which gives it more life, makes it a more relatable story to those of us who attended High School or have witnessed in some way the drama that may take place there. The conversational writing style, though most of the dialogue is internal and reflective, provides a dimension in which the reader can vividly experience our protagonists’ thoughts. Jumped is a true to life fictional piece, permitting a glimpse into the teen universe.

cover image of To All the Boys showing pretty Asian American teenage girl writing in a notebookTitle: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Main Appeal Factors: Mood is light and humorous, pacing moves along
Genre:
YA Teen Lives & Relationships
Annotation/Thoughts: 
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is an amusing, light YA read. The setting takes place in the town where Lara Jean lives with her family. They are a close family as Lara Jean’s mother died when Lara Jean was young and the oldest sister steps in to help their father with the household duties as well as meal preparation. Shortly after the start of the book, the oldest sister leaves for college and Lara Jean begins taking on all that her sister used to do for the family. At the same time, 5 letters that Lara Jean previously wrote to 5 boys that she “loved,” were mailed out to the boys, without her knowledge. The book is about her navigating her life at high school and at home while coping with her family and the boys who received the letters. This is a character-driven book that is an easy and quick read even though it tackles some teen issues.

cover image of Wintergirls showing teen girl frozen in iceTitle: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Main Appeal Factors: Raises awareness of eating disorders in teen girls, “Go Ask Alice” diary-like style, depicts teen mental health seriously and graphically.
Genre:
YA Teen Lives & Relationships
Annotation/Thoughts:
Wintergirls takes place over just two months, so pacing is slow in a way, because there is so much of the narrator/main character’s daily struggle with guilt, grief, and depression after her estranged best friend dies from bulimia. The main character, Lia, is anorectic, although her family believes her to be healed, and the novel gives a graphic picture of how it might really feel to have anorexia. The tone is serious, over all, although the voice of teenage Lia seems authentic and there are moments of humor in her thoughts about school and family life. The style is a little unusual, because as Lia’s disease progresses, she sees her dead friend and has hallucinatory (?) conversations which may be confusing to readers at first. Would recommend to adults who are looking for a book that gets inside the head of a teen who is in trouble but conceals the depth of it from her busy doctor mother, her emotionally detached father, her unused-to-teens stepmother, and all the other adults in her life.

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YA Historical Fiction – 2nd Titles

Here are the write-ups of YA Historical Fiction second titles received. If you forgot to submit yours, it’s never too late!

cover image of Eleanor and ParkTitle: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Main Appeal Factors: Suspenseful, fast paced, coming-of-age
Genre:
YA Historical Fiction
Annotation/Thoughts: 
While this is set in the 1980s, it isn’t really a historical novel. There isn’t enough of the ’80s for that to be true. The characters are wonderful — the teens and the parents — and there is a Romeo & Juliet vibe going on. Very detailed and visual settings. However, I’m not sure I would recommend it to many adults. I chose it because it was on a list.

cover image Like Water on StoneTitle: Like Water on Stone
Author: Dana Walrath
Main Appeal Factors: Armenian Genocide, written in verse
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Annotation/Thoughts:
The verse novel uses alternating characters to document three siblings fleeing from the 1915 Armenian Genocide. The book is broken down into three parts: village life, the massacre, and their future in America. An eagle acts as a narrator and protector. Beautiful language but includes graphic violence. Appropriate for ages 14 and up.

cover image of Juba by Walter Dean MyersTitle: Juba!
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Main Appeal Factors: Coming of age, dancing as theme, main character an historical person of color
Genre:
YA Historical Fiction
Annotation/Thoughts:
The audiobook edition of this posthumously published novel by bestselling YA author Walter Dean Myers was narrated very well by Brandon Gill, but the illustrations in the print edition may help establish the historical context of this story is about a free young black man whose dancing talent impresses Charles Dickens on a 1840s trip to America. Under his stage name “Juba,” William Henry Lane becomes well known in New York and London and is credited with developing what came to be known as tap dancing. Slavery and the fear that free black people lived in during the 1800s in the American Northeast are themes running throughout the story, which fleshes out the little that is actually known about the real historic person. Charles Dickens’ role as an influencer back in the day is important to the story, but is not the focus. Should appeal to readers interested in unusual perspectives on African-American history.