Archives for YA Fiction

Summer Reading Highlights: YA Fiction

This summer, there is no single required title on the middle and high school reading lists. Instead, teachers and school librarians have collaborated to come up with several great book recommendations for each grade level. It’s clear that they prioritized titles written by a diverse group of authors and featuring a wide range of characters. With such a variety of titles, everyone will be able to find a book they’ll like. Below, I’ve highlighted my favorite book from the recommendations for each grade level. In addition to being available through the school system’s Sora app, these titles are also available
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Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

International Day of Friendship: YA Fiction

In honor of the International Day of Friendship on July 30, I read When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk, a new release that I’d been looking for an excuse to read. Somewhat ironically, the friendship at the heart of this book actually goes up in flames… but its true value becomes painfully clear through its absence. High school sophomores Cleo and Layla have been best friends for years. But when Layla realizes her dream of joining the school choir and gains a new group of friends, Cleo’s left behind. Flashbacks reveal the initially subtle rift in the girls’ friendship
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Juneteenth: YA Fiction

I didn’t expect to have much trouble gathering some historical fiction titles telling celebratory stories about emancipation. I found one promising book that turned out to be narrated by the daughter of a Texas plantation owner complicit in concealing the news of emancipation—not at all what I was looking for. I continued searching. I found books about slavery during the Revolutionary War, time travel mysteries, and one alternate history featuring Civil War zombies, but I had a hard time finding a perfect fit for Juneteenth. I ended up reading Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. It’s told over the span
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

July & August Teen Book Clubs

Virtual book club sessions have been the highlight of spring for librarians Lauren and Kat. We are looking forward to four more sessions this summer, this time with the theme of summer reading. Each month, one book club meeting will feature one title from a Highlands Middle School recommended reading list, and the other will feature a title from the White Plains High School recommended reading list. All four books are available with unlimited copies on Hoopla, and multiple copies on OverDrive. While these books are on recommended reading lists for various grade levels, the book clubs are open to
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Categories: Authors & Books and Library News.

Antiracism YA Fiction

Typically, when choosing books for my Dive into Diversity posts, I mostly try to avoid titles that focus on racism, police or gun violence, or other trauma. Instead, I prefer to highlight books that show a diverse range of teens dealing with everyday life. In this moment, though, it's time to feature books that demonstrate the impact of violence and oppression on teens. These stories are heavy, but they are important. Especially if you don’t identify with the protagonist, I challenge you to read and consider the character’s situation with an open mind. Let these stories be windows into another
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Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Family Month: YA Fiction

In addition to being Pride Month, June is also Family Month. I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase YA fiction that celebrates families in their many wonderful forms. I’m happy to share one of my favorite YA books, The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend: the story of four teens who share the same sperm donor. Milo Robinson-Clark has serious food allergies; after yet another doctor visit, he makes the decision to track down his sperm donor in hopes of finding medical information. Along with his one known half-sibling, Hollis Darby-Barnes, he embarks on a quest to find genetic relatives.
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

Pride Month: YA

The last couple years have seen an avalanche of excellent YA fiction featuring a broad range of LGBTQIA+ characters. This made it difficult to pick one to review for Pride Month, which is a very good problem to have. I ultimately chose We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra, and absolutely loved it. The story is told entirely through the letters of two high school students randomly paired up for an English assignment. At first, dedicated Walt Whitman cosplayer Jonathan Hopkins and football star Adam Kurlansky seem totally incompatible. But as the weeks pass, their lives slowly intertwine. Jo and Kurl
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month: YA Fiction

Having missed out on Star Trek as a child, I first heard of George Takei about ten years ago when he began posting hilarious memes on Facebook. More recently, he’s been known for his political activism and for sharing his childhood experience in an internment camp during WWII. This is the topic of his 2019 graphic novel They Called Us Enemy. Takei relates the circumstances of his family’s forced removal from their Los Angeles home and the four years they spent behind bars. He tells the story as he experienced it as a child, layered with facts he learned from
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

Jewish American Heritage Month: YA

While making a list of potential titles for this month, I was drawn to In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton. It’s historical fiction, set in Atlanta in 1959 (rather than WWII, as many other YA historical fiction titles are). I just had to see what the author would do with this setting and time period. When Ruth’s father suddenly dies, her mother resettles the family in a guest house belonging to her own wealthy parents. Ruth’s grandmother is heavily invested in the local debutante scene and encourages Ruth not to mention her Jewish faith around her new
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

Star Wars YA Fiction

I am something of a latecomer to the Star Wars universe. In fact, a couple of years ago I assembled a Halloween costume from a Stormtrooper helmet and a lightsaber, blissfully unaware of my error. But recently my preschooler has begun reading Star Wars graphic novels, helping me become more familiar with the setting and characters. For example, he now refers to his baby sister as “a Sand People from Tatooine”—that’s a good thing, right? He adores Kylo Ren and celebrates the accomplishments of “Separatist Leader General Grievous.” Actually, I’m afraid my child might be turning to the Dark Side.
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.