And the Winners Are: Teen Lit Award Contenders │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go
With the American Library Association Midwinter meeting just weeks away, all eyes turn to lists of the best releases of 2014. Water cooler conversations and social media heat up with passionate discussion of fan favorites. Who will be the winners of the coveted prizes? A debut novelist? A past winner? A three-time nominee? Journals, blogs, and associations are already giving readers food for thought. The following selections for teens chosen by the editors at Junior Library Guild are well on their way to fueling the rumor mill.
ANDERSON, Laurie Halse. The Impossible Knife of Memory. 304p. Viking. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780670012091. JLG Level: Y+ : Young Adults (Grades 9 & Up).
Being a teen is hard enough. Hayley has the extra burden of dealing with her father’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Constantly worried that his depression will have fatal effects, she struggles through her classes at school and avoids real relationships. When she reconnects with her childhood friend Gracie, Hayley wrestles with her memories. Then she meets Finn. Though their romance can’t cure everything, it may give her the support she needs to help her dad battle his demons.
Readers can discover more about Anderson by visiting her website. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. She also has a YouTube channel. Her publisher posted a preview of the novel on their website. For further reading about PTSD, send your teens to TeensHealth.
Current recognitions include: SLJ Best Books 2014, Young Adult; 2014 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature; Amazon.com Top 20 Editors’ picks 2014, Teen & Young Adult; PW’s Best Books of 2014, Young Adult
FLEMING, Candace. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia. 304p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780375967825. JLG Level: HH : History – High School (Grades 10 & Up).
Many are familiar with the story of the Romanov family’s assassination, but it makes one wonder—how did the situation in Russia get that far? How was the royal family spirited away to the desolation of Siberia unnoticed until it was too late? Fleming set out to find the answers to these and other questions. The results are presented in chapters alternating between two worlds—the glittering, lush life in the palace and the harsh, never-enough-struggle outside the gates.
Don’t miss sharing the book trailer from Fleming’s website or YouTube. From book design to Fleming’s unusual style of research, more information is available to readers directly from the author on her blog. Follow her on Twitter. The Classroom Bookshelf featured the selection, providing teaching ideas and numerous websites for research.
Current recognitions include: SLJ Best Books 2014, Nonfiction; PW’s Best Books of 2014, Young Adult;Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2014; Finalist 2015 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Awards
QUINTERO, Isabel. Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. 208p. Cinco Puntos. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781935955948. JLG Level: CH : City High School (Grades 10 & Up).
Gabi’s senior year is complicated by friends and family who make life anything but stress-free. Her mom harps on her weight. Her girlfriend gets pregnant. Her other best friend comes out and is thrown out of his house. She lives in constant fear that her meth-addicted father will kill himself. Then an English class gives her an opportunity to express herself. Poetry changes her life, giving her the courage she needs to survive the challenges and learn to love herself.
What’s the backstory of Gabi? Listen to Quintero talk about its origin atTeachingBooks.net. SLJ interviewed the author, revealing her personal connection to the characters. Readers can follow Quintero on Twitter andFacebook.
VAN WAGENEN, Maya. Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek. 272p. Dutton. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525426813. JLG Level: C+ : Advanced Readers (Grades 6–9).
Armed with the advice of a 60-year-old book on teenage popularity, 15-year-old Maya is determined to follow the instructions to move up the social ladder. Using guidance on hair, makeup, clothing, posture, and personality, Maya’s social experiment forces her to stop being an oyster and come out of her shell. Van Wagenen’s memoir shines with honesty, amazing readers at her courage on a dangerous playing field—middle school.
Amazingly, Van Wagenen’s social experiment has shot her straight to stardom. She’s appeared on The Today Show and has been interviewed by USA Today. Dreamworks has optioned the film rights. Her website is full of the charming admonitions gleaned from the 1950s book that changed her life. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Penguin has also reissued Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide. Read it while wearing your pearls.
Current awards include: Finalist, YALSA’s 2015 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Awards
WESTERFELD, Scott. Afterworlds. 608p. S. & S./Pulse. 2014. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781481422345. JLG Level: Y+ : Young Adults (Grades 9 & Up).
Darcy wrote her first novel in one month. She was 17 years old. Now she’s put off college to begin a career as a writer in Manhattan. Though her novel is a fantasy about a girl who survives a terrorist attack, it’s strangely woven from the pieces her own life. Fact and fiction blend in an alternating chapter format that keeps readers glued to the pages.
Show the book trailer and you’ll never have to shelve the book again. Fans can read more about Westerfeld on his blog, in this SLJ interview, and follow him on Twitter. Read and hear an excerpt on at Simon Pulse.
Current awards include: SLJ Best Books 2014, Young Adult.
The resources for the above titles have been organized in a new JLG Booktalks to Go: Fall 2014 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. Check out our award-winning Spring 2014 LiveBinder which organizes resources for spring releases. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.
For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.
Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com. (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)