Oh, the Horror! GREAT YA books for October

What, exactly is horror?  To me, monsters come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be real or unreal.  They can be your next door neighbor or in the your closet when the lights go out.  For some reason, I can read horror, but I CANNOT watch it (Paranormal Activity scarred me for LIFE!)  Teens love terror, so here’s a great booklist with a little blurb on several books to share with them, including some throwbacks you should dig back up and some humorous horror too, for those who don’t want to truly terrifying.

38116996The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by David Hutchinson.  2019, Simon Pulse.  Dino keeps it together when he begins the task of preparing his best friend, July, for her funeral.  But then he REALLY needs to keep it together when she sits up and asks what’s going on!  Nothing can be more confusing (and smelly!) hanging out with your dead best friend and trying to figure out what’s going on.  You’ll laugh your way through this one!

 

 

 

35068432I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara.  2018, Harper.  This non-fiction adult book is a first hand look of the author’s life as she grew up in California in the hunting grounds during the 70’s when the Golden State Killer was loose.  She details her experience and those of the victims through primary source documents.  Not for the faint at heart.

 

 

 

34324484._SY475_Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer.  2018, Houghton Mifflin.  Helping your mom with her job can be satisfying, especially if you’re the one that gets to dissect them.  But when you don’t do something correctly and it’s you getting parts cut off, that’s a whole other thing, especially when your parts bring the most money in on the paranormal black market.

 

 

 

37506333._SY475_The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart.  2018, Viking Books.  Word of caution, do NOT mess with ancient boxes in the middle of the forest.  And whatever you do, do NOT put sacrifices in the box, make a pact and then break it!!  If you do, the evil undead will come back, not only for you, but for your town!

 

 

 

 

35926234._SY475_S.T.A.G.S by M.A Bennett.  2018, Delacorte Press.  There is nothing more scary than a group of teens who have dark and evil intents.  And what’s even scarier, is that adults ALLOW them to continue some dark family traditions to ensure they stay in control.  Nothing better than a psychological thriller with beautiful monsters!

 

 

 

 

33385217Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill.  2017, Greenwillow  Books.  Willow Jane doesn’t understand the dark power behind a old family heirloom her mother has.  She also doesn’t know the Shadowless have come back to not only retrieve the heirloom, but also to use Willow Jane to become even more powerful.  Set in modern day Boston, book captures new and old horror that only Boston can.

 

 

 

 

 

28367592Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics.  2016, Harlequin Teen.  Lucy’s mother has passed away, and she lives in an isolated mansion with her father, who makes himself quite absent.  But spending time in the attic has become a catalyst to dark, evil things and soon Lucy can hear scratches and voices in the wall…right behind her bed… Amy is making a name for herself in the realm of YA horror, so you MUST check out all of her books!  Daughters Unto Devils was HORRIFYING!

 

 

28962906._SY475_Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo.  2016, Jimmy Patterson Books.  There can be no truer monster than Jack the Ripper, and in this book (the first of a stand-alone series), one very headstrong girl finds herself in the same circle as the mysterious murderer…Maniscalo’s other books have her chasing the Devil in the White City and Dracula, among others (2017-2019)!

 

 

 

13530957THROWBACK!  The Infects by Sean Beaudoin. 2012, Candlewick.  Nothing can be more scary or hilarious than bad fried chicken, a field trip into the wilderness, and your friends turning into zombies!

 

 

 

 

Narrative Non Fiction/Fiction book pairs

Last week, I was fortunate to attend and present at a library conference in North Texas, #ntxlibcamp (check out the hashtag and see all the great stuff/presentations that happened by amazing librarians!) One of the sessions I did was great narrative non-fiction for young adults 6-12.  And when I had more time, I also presented and shared a fiction/non-fiction booklist with everyone too!  So, if you’re looking for great non-fiction, try out these titles!!  And if you want to display them with fiction, here are some great pairs!
Here are some great non-fiction titles:

Here are some great fiction/non-fiction pairs:

Get Your Summer Booklist (and sketchnotes!) On!

Bitmoji ImageAs the school year ends, it’s time to kick back a little and enjoy the summer!  If there is one thing librarians and educators have too little time of, it’s reading during the school year.  The same can be said about students as well.  Most of the school year, they are required to read textual information, for the most part, instead of having time to read what they want do without any following assignments…pure bliss!  SO…what better way to start the summer than by creating booklists!  The beauty of creating a list is that they can be HOWEVER 👏 YOU 👏 WANT 👏 TO👏.  You want it by genre? Go for it!  How about alphabetically, by popularity, by recommendation…hey even by color if you want to!  If you meet with a book club or a group of bibliophiles,  share them (as they also make for great TBR lists too!)

I’ve uploaded a new Youtube vlog post with FIVE different sketchnoting themes you can draw to put a creative spin on your lists.  They come with instructions for both paper AND digital, using the Adobe Draw App. I’ve also included some tools to make it easy 😊  BONUS: they are EASY sketchnotes too, so you won’t feel overwhelmed.  So, be a little creative with your booklists, learn something new (if you’ve never sketchnoted/bujo’ed) and enjoy yourself!

Continue reading “Get Your Summer Booklist (and sketchnotes!) On!”

Add these to your TBR list NOW!

First of all, I remember the first time I saw those three letters in email conversations and always wondered, “What does TBR mean?”  So I asked 🙂  And if you, like me, don’t know what it is, here’s the answer –  “To Be Read.”  We ALL have that list, be it by our bedside, our coffee table, or our desk (hey, even the dining room table or your device!)  and I wanted to share a few titles I’ve recently read that should be on that list!

grim loveliesGrim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd.  2018, HMH Books for Young Readers

Modern day Paris is filled with witches, goblins, Pretties, and beasties.  But these witches wear Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Prada.  Ruled by the Royal Court, they have been given designated parts of Paris, including the humans (Pretties) living in them.  Mada Vittora is the most powerful and influential of the witches and she has made beasties to serve her, including Anouk her servant, Cricket the thief, Luc the apothecary, Beau the chauffeur and  Hunter Black, the mercenary.

But after one evening spent with the royals, Mada Vittora is found dead, and the beasties only have 48 hours until they turn back to their original forms.  But news of the death gets out through scryboards, crows, and the Haute (magical community), and Viggo, Mada Vittora’s boy, is set on revenge.  The only thing left for the beasties to do is seek asylum and help from Vittora’s enemy, Mada Zola.  But can she be trusted?  She is a witch…

This is a beautiful, dark, and fantastical book that creates a Paris that is dangerous, alluring, and grim.  The main character, Anouk, juxtaposes the setting with her purity and naivete, which the reader sees slowly dissolves as reality sets in.  The author left nothing and everything to the imagination from the spells cast to the tongues the witches use to cast the spells, to the history of the Haute and more.  Read this NOW, or at least put it at the top of your TBR pile!  Highly recommended for JH/HS


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New Kid by Jerry Craft. 2019, Harper Collins

There is nothing Jordan loves more than drawing.  What he wants is to go to an art school, but his parents decide he needs to go to an Riverdale Academy Day School, which is a far cry from his Washington Heights neighborhood.  His first day there as a sixth grader, Jordan sees that he’s one of very few students of color and feels more out of place that ever.  He wants out.

But his parents tell him that time and patience can change things and so he must stick out the bus rides that have five stops before he gets to school, the bully who won’t stop bothering him, the teacher who seems biased, and trying to understand why pink shorts are so cool.

Eventually,  Jordan finds himself enjoying his new school and friends, but now doesn’t know where he fits in – is he Washington Heights Jordan or Riverdale Day School Jordan?

Jerry Craft does an amazing job presenting, in graphic novel format, a struggle that many kids find themselves in.  This is such a perfect book for junior high (and high school!) not only for its content and graphic novel popularity, but also in the characters, which are highly relatable.  Highly recommended for JH/HS.

 

 

 

shadow stateShadow State by Elyse Brayden.  2018, MacMillan.  

Brynn Caldwell is  an excellent student.  She excels in academics, paticularly science, which isn’t so unusual because her mother is a top science in a major pharmaceutical company and her father sits on the National Symphony Orchestra, a genius in his own right. But all it took was one bad semester….

Brynn suffered from acute depression and her grades, and friends, and her boyfriend abandoned her.  She is also having unusual flashbacks of being tied up in a room, a man’s voice…something she swears she’s never experienced before.

And now, her mother is being feted at a gala for creating a breakthrough medication, Cortexia, that allows soldiers coming back  from war with PTSD, to deal with their symptoms better through altering memories, feelings and emotions in a suggestive state.  But someone is out to sabotage the company and the drug, and it all involves Brynn…

Fast-paced YA action thriller at its best!  The premise for the novel lends itself to a mystery, although readers may be able to piece together the clues, but it still has an explosive ending.  Highly recommended for HS.

 

soul keepersThe Soul Keepers by Devon Taylor.  2018, Swoon Reads.

Rhett just watched himself die.  At first he was in a state of shock and confusion, but then Basil Winthrop shows up and tells him the Harbinger is about to pick them up and not to dawdle.

And what is the Harbinger?  It is a massive sea vessel that contains the souls of the dead that need to be ferried as well as place to protect them.  The crew members, known as syllektors, are VERY aware of psychons, who eat souls to stay alive.  The most dangerous missions are when Rhett and his small group of crewmates must collect souls, and possibly run into these monsters.

But Rhett is different, he was told by Urcena, the most dangerous leader of the psychons, that he is the Twice-Born Son.  And she wants him to find his power.  Once he does, she will come for it and him.  And the battle for the protection of souls begins.

This fantasy relies heavily on good vs. evil, but the best thing about it are that these aren’t angels and demons.  There is no heaven or hell.  There is the Harbinger and there is nothing.  The author did an amazing job of creating a world based on age old theme of good v. evil in such a fantastic, phantasmagoric way.  Recommended for HS.

Can You Handle this 2019 YA Book Challenge?

(Okay…it’s two months late, but that only adds to the challenge) Here’s my 2019 YA book challenge (but you can definitely adapt it to ANY reader!) There are twenty-five challenges that’ll make any booklover more well-rounded. An additional challenge? Create a unique hashtag for your library and get those who do this challenge (or any challenge for that matter!) to post selfies of them with the number they’re on and the bookcover to prove it. Challenge accepted?

Top Middle Grade Books for 2018

As a librarian, I wear many hats. Not only am I simply the librarian at a junior high campus with 500 seventh and eighth graders, but I am also the iPad guru, the keeper of the 3D printer, the administrator of the district’s Accelerated Reader, the Canvas chaos coordinator, and I still find time to teach research and conduct daily book talks! On top of my campus duties, I also present at Region XI and TLA annual conference; and I’m a member of the Texas Library Associations Lone Star Reading Committee.

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For those of you not from Texas, the Lone Star list is a list of twenty books chosen by librarians for students in grades 6-8. I have been reading the books on the Lone  Star list for over ten years, as long as I have taught in a middle school setting. I think the best way to get students to read is to talk about books that they would read. So in this post, I’m going to give a quick rundown/my personal opinion of my Top Ten from this year’s list. Because even if you don’t live in Texas, or promote the Lone Star list, it is still a good place to get ideas for good books to purchase for your school library!

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City of Ghosts
by Victoria Schwab

Scary story about a girl who had a near-death experience and can now cross the “veil” between the living and the dead.

This book is perfect for guys and girls and I read an article that says the CW is planning a new series based on the book (loosely based, they’ve made Cassidy a college graduate). Book two is called Tunnel of Bones and will be released September 2019.

 

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Letters to the Lost
by Brigid Kemmerer
Romance that takes place through letters between strangers that are left at a grave.

It is a really great romance  that will have you falling in love with the characters and shedding tears over them as well. There is a sequel called More Than We Can Tell about Declan’s best friend, Rev.

 

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Not if I Save You First
by Ally Carter

An action adventure that will have you on the edge of your seat. The story involves the president’s son, Russian kidnappers, a snowstorm, and a kick-butt heroine to save the day!

I might be a little biased because I received a signed copy and personal note from the author, but my students absolutely love this book!

 

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In the Shadow of the Sun
by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Adventure story that takes place in North Korea, where an American brother and sister must escape after their father, an aid-worker, is arrested.

This book is so eye-opening to the real life oppression that is currently taking place in North Korea. Just Book Talking this title in my library led to so many great discussions!

 

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Ghost Boys
by Jewell Rhodes Parker

When twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer while playing with a toy gun, he comes back as a ghost and the only person who can see him is the daughter of the officer that killed him.

This book is a great middle-grade substitution for fans of The Hate U Give or All-American Boys. It also brings in a historical element because the ghost of Emmett Till helps Jerome cope with the afterlife.

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Nevermoor: Trials of Morrigan Crow 
by Jessica Townsend
Morrigan Crowe is doomed to die on her eleventh birthday. That is until a stranger rescues her from the hell hounds and whisks her off to the strange world of Nevermoor, where Morrigan will endure trials to be allowed into the prestigious Wundrous Society.

Have that student who loves Harry Potter and thinks no other book will ever compare? Give them the Nevermoor series! There are a lot of parallels, but I will admit, I love them both. Book two: Wundersmith is already out!

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Time Bomb
by Joelle Charbonneau

A bomb has gone off in the high school and the six students trapped inside need to survive long enough to figure out which one of them is the bomber.

Even though this book is about high school students, it is appropriate for middle school. It is a fast-paced thriller, but also delves into real-life drama like prejudice, stereotypes, suicide, and LGBT.

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Restart
by Gordon Korman

Chase falls off his roof and loses his memory. When he returns to school, he doesn’t exactly like the person he used to be, and tries to make up for it by joining the AV Club.

A great book for middle grade about bullying and it never being too late for a restart.

 

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After Zero
by Christina Collins

Elise has always been homeschooled and sheltered, but now that she is starting public school, she can’t seem to do anything right. It gets tot he point where maybe it’s better to not to speak at all. But when her silence begins to affect her friendships, can she really go back?

Mental illness is an important topic for students to be exposed to, but hardly ever is there a book written at a middle grade level on the topic. Christina Collins does an amazing job of showing how bullying and social awkwardness can lead to more serious problems.

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Everless
by Sara Holland

In a world where time is currency and your blood is taken straight for your veins to pay the kingdom’s taxes, the rich can live for centuries, while the poor can drain their lives just making rent.

Great fantasy novel for fans of Red Queen and it also reminds me a little bit of that Justin Timberlake movie, In Time . Book two: Evermore was just released!

There are so many amazing books on this list, that I could Book Talk every single one of them, but I really made myself stick with my Top Ten only. If you would like to see the entire list, and all of the resources that the committee has to offer, visit TLA’s Lone Star website.

Want to see more of my book recommendations? Follow me on Goodreads and Happy Reading!
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