If you don’t know, Sarah Dessen’s newest book, “Saint Anything,” is due out May 5th. The library already has it on order, so put your name on that list now!
Sarah Dessen is a YA institution. She’s written 11 books, which just keep getting better and better. I am currently re-reading them all, in anticipation of “Saint Anything,” and it got me thinking about other books with strong but troubled female main characters, or a swoon-worthy romances. So, without further ado, here is a short list of books you must check out if you can’t get enough Dessen!
“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson: Emily’s best friend, Sloane, has suddenly left town, only leaving behind a strange list for Emily to complete. Things like “go apple picking at night,” and “kiss a stranger.” Emily works her way through Sloane’s list, all while dealing with the loss of her best friend and maybe even falling in love with someone totally unexpected.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han: Lara Jean has a good way of getting a crush out of her system: she writes them a letter about how she feels and then hides it away, never to be read again. Except for someone has found those letters, and sent them out to each boy. What is a girl to do when suddenly, everyone knows her secrets?
“Something Real” by Heather Demetrios: Chloe is starting over. Her family used to star in a reality show (think “Jon and Kate Plus 8”), which she hated, but now Chloe is in a new state, a new school, with a new life. Things are starting to feel good, until the family decides to start filming the show again. How can she have a normal life without tearing her family apart?
“Saving Francesca” by Melina Marchetta: St. Sebastian’s is a boy’s school pretending to be co-ed, and Francesca hates it. She also hates that the only girls that go there are the weirdos that she used to make fun of with her old friends. Also, she hates Will, the smarmy prep school boy (or does she??). Francesca must deal with all of this, and then more at home, where her mother is struggling with severe depression.
–Samantha D., WR/TF
Author Holly Black is back with another creepy tale about fairies. Enough said. Get a copy today.
St. Louis County Library is pleased to announce the 2015 winners of “The Write Stuff” writing contest. Kids and teens were asked to write a short story using the writing prompt “I peeled back the paper and there you were.” We had over 150 entries this year, so it was tough to choose a winner!
Each 1st and 2nd place winner in each age category is listed below:
1st Place: Natalie F., Age 8 “Pigs in Space”
2nd Place: Riya A., Age 10 “Fairy Tale”
1st Place: Shruthika K., Age 12 “A Special Can of Pringles”
2nd Place: Charles D., Age 13 “The Concert”
1st Place: Isabelle Z., Age 15 “Not Done Yet”
2nd Place: Abigail A., Age 17 “In the Depths of May”
Congratulations to all the winners! Click here to read the first place winners in the younger categories over on the Kids Blog. And keep scrolling to read the first place winner in the teen category.
“Not Done Yet” by Isabelle Z., age 15
I thought that I was going to die.
I thought that we were all going to die, for that matter.
I figured, if we somehow lived to see the day we reached the building that sat at the top
of this mountain, and sat inside it with our aching bodies, dry throats, and blistered feet, we
would still end up dying because someone would probably end up finding us and killing us.
There were thirteen of us, six girls and seven men, myself included. We had been hiking
up this mountain for almost two hours. On this mountain, there was a little school that had just
been built. It wasn’t supposed to be there, and it probably wouldn’t last long due to explosions
that were meant to destroy it and the people inside, but it was there all the same.
We just had to reach it.
I felt myself stumble. I fell, hitting the hard, uneven ground.
I struggled to stand again, when I felt myself being pulled to my feet. I looked over to see
who had helped me up, and I saw a tall, light-skinned man pressing on, my arm draped over his
shoulder. He turned her head to look at me with determination in his eyes.
“We are not done yet,” he said in broken Pashto. “Keep going.”
I nodded, doing my best to pull myself along. Thankfully, the man dragged me with him.
We continued to climb the mountain until we eventually saw a small building in the
distance. The other girls and I cried with joy, and ran the rest of the way, despite our aching
bodies. When we reached the door, we waited for the rest of the party to reach us. When they
did, one of the men opened the door for us, and we hurried inside.
And we stopped.
And we stood in awe.
A beautiful scene lay before us. There was a black board, a map, a large desk, and tables
and chairs that had a small box at each place. To others, it might have seemed like nothing. But
to us, on this mountain in Afghanistan, it was everything.
One of the men from our party motioned to the tables and chairs. “Sit.” he said.
We each sat in a chair, and curiously eyed our boxes.
The man went up to the front of the room. “Girls.” he said in Pashto that sounded like the
man’s who had helped me. “You may open your boxes.”
I looked down at the parcel in front of me. I carefully lifted the lid. A layer of paper lay
on top of the contents.
I peeled back the paper and there you were.
New paper and pencils.
I heard sounds of joy and delight come from the other girls. I, on the other head, sat
quietly, smiling as I took the items out of the box. I slid my hand across the smooth, lined paper,
and I picked up one of the pencils, admiring its sharp tip.
I felt someone’s presence nearby. I looked up, and saw that the man who had helped me
earlier was standing behind me.
“You know that you are still not done yet.” he said.
I nodded. “I know.” I said.
The man smiled at me, and then went to the front of the room to stand with the rest of the
As the noise ceased, the man who had spoken to us before stepped forward again, and
began to speak.
“This is the beginning of one of the most important things you will ever experience. You
are extremely brave for coming here and doing what you are about to do. The road will be rough,
but we,” the man said, “will be tougher. We’re going to work together, and we’re going to do
amazing things. I promise you that this will be the greatest endeavor of your lives.”
All of us girls applauded, crying out and hollering in agreement.
“We will do great things!’
“For girls everywhere!”
“Our minds will change the world!”
“We will fight for our rights!”
Right in the middle of one girl’s sentence, there was an explosion that threw the room
into chaos. Nothing stood still, and whoever was in the path of any moving object suffered. Glass
from the windows was everywhere, and all the girls were screaming. I felt a piercing pain come
from my leg, and my entire body felt like it was on fire.
“Get down!” someone yelled.
We all dropped to the floor, covering our heads, waiting for another explosion.
But as soon as it happened, it was over.
There were a few moments of silence, and then I started to hear people move around.
I sat up and inspected myself. I soon discovered that my leg had been shredded by glass,
and my entire body was covered in burns and blood.
I looked around, and realized, to my horror, that I had not suffered nearly as much as
some of the other girls and men had. Everyone was covered in burns and blood, bones were
broken, faces were deformed, and tears flowed.
I lie back down onto the ground, and let my own tears escape from my eyes.
I heard a moan that sounded close by.
I slowly lifted my head, and saw, a few feet away from me, the man who had helped me
up the mountain.
“Are you alright?” I asked as I pulled myself over to where he lay. When I reached him, I
saw that his face was bloody and massacred. I pulled in a sharp breath.
He looked up at me, and grabbed my arm. His grip was shaky, but strong. “I am not done
yet.” he hissed.
I took his hands firmly into mine, and I said, “Don’t Worry. Neither am I.”
In honor of National Library week, I give you “Evil Librarian.” Librarians get a bad rap sometimes with the shushing stereotype, but the librarian in this book is legit evil. Like winged-creature-that-turns-students-into-zombies evil. Get your copy today to see how evil.
Hi, I’m Sam, and I am an audiobook junkie. I listen in the car, on runs, when I am cooking, cleaning, and everywhere in between. The great thing about an audiobook is that you can read AND get something else done at the same time! But you have to be careful… you need an audiobook that will keep your attention, and good narrators are a must!
You may have heard some buzz about this “All the Bright Places” when it came out in January, especially as it has been compared to “The Fault in our Stars” and “Eleanor and Park.” This book is a story about two teens, popular Violet and outcast Finch, who meet at the top of the school bell tower. Both of them are struggling with depression and loss, and after Finch literally talks Violet off of the edge, they begin to grow closer and closer.
The friendship turned love story at the heart of this book is made so much more realistic and meaningful as both of our main characters struggle with their mental health. This is an issue that touches almost all of us, and I love how Niven does not make depression out to be “bad” or an inherent flaw in a person, but she portrays it as an honest struggle that many teens face, and in many different ways. The author’s note at the end of the book gives us some insight into what inspired Niven to write this story, which I really liked.
There are two narrators of this audiobook: Kirby Heyborne, who portrays Finch, and Ariande Meyers as Violet. I must admit, these are two of my favorite voice actors out there, and I think they do a phenomenal job here. Kirby’s voice is alternately soft, playful, desperate, and in despair, which goes right along with Finch’s manic-depressive state of being. And Ariande has such a young and vibrant voice, giving Violet so much life and expression.
I would definitely recommend this heart-breaking audiobook to fans of TFiOS, as well as those who are interested in reading more about mental health, and how it affects us all.
“All the Bright Places” is narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Ariande Meyers. It has 9 disks (11 hours). School Library Journal recommends this book for grades 10 and up.
–Samantha D., Weber Road/Tesson Ferry
Mare Barrow is a Red. She is a commoner, a servant. Silvers rule everyone. Mare begins working at a Silver palace when she is thrown into the world of the Silvers in a most unexpected way. Request your copy today to get started on this exciting new series.
Is it just me, or is Young Adult Lit the absolute best genre around right now? Each day, my holds list becomes longer and longer as I find new and upcoming releases that sound too good to be true. If you are looking forward to summer and the free time it brings, or if you need an escape as the end of the school year quickly approaches, I’ve got your back. Here are some of my picks for new and upcoming teen books that you need to get your hands on! Click on the titles and request these puppies ASAP, before the list gets too long!
Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: This one has been getting huge buzz for its heartwarming love story. Sixteen-year-old Simon has been falling for an anonymous boy through e-mails they send each other. But when those e-mails fall into the wrong hands, Simon has to take a hold of his identity before someone else does.
The Improbably Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher: First of all, this author was born in St. Louis, and he rocks. This book is about an accidental first date that takes place in the middle of a sci-fi convention. Need I say more?
Lumberjanes [Vol 1] by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis: This rad new graphic novel is about five girls at a summer camp…fighting supernatural creatures? Yes! If you are a fan of Gravity Falls, you have GOT to check this new series out!
The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith: If you have never read an Andrew Smith novel, you are in for a bizarre treat. This one is about Ariel, a refugee from the Middle East, at an American summer camp for “tech detox.” There are also some subplots about a schizophrenic bomber and a depressed bionic reincarnated crow. So there’s that.
–Samantha D., Weber Road/Tesson Ferry