Teen Picks

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Nov 19, 2015 by claytonc

Yesteday, November 18, the National Book Awards were announced. Founded in 1950, these awards are intended to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.

The top winners in each category are:

This page has a complete list with short descriptions and catalog links of all of this year's winners, finalists, and close contenders in each category.

Here is a video of the award ceremony:

Nov 18, 2015 by kerrid

Teen Review: Elisa, our main character, is an extremely overweight princess and the bearer of some sort of magical gemstone. She learns how to become a more confident, better leader when she is kidnapped from her court and forced to go on dangerous missions. Elisa was married to the king (Alejandro) in this book, but they had no chemistry at all. While the young king was physically appealing, Elisa later found out she was in love with a shepherd boy named Humberto who was later killed. What I personally did not like about this book was the fact that Elisa was portrayed as an imperfect, clumsy, and unimportant person when she was overweight, but was suddenly perfect and a lot more liked when she lost all the weight. I understand that the author showed the readers that Elisa was accepted by a few people whether she was overweight or not, but I still think Rae Carson could have made the story a lot better if she properly executed the use of an overweight protagonist in this story (I hope that makes sense?). I found the first half of this book to be dull and slow. I felt as if I was being dragged through a swimming pool filled with caramel syrup. The most action you will see in this book is bottled up in the last few chapters. M. Khan (teen reviewer) Check Our Catalog

Nov 17, 2015 by eileenf

It's 1987 and 15-year-old Ari has withdrawn from his family and is getting into fights. He wants to know why his older brother was sent to prison, but his parents won't speak of it. His father is haunted from his time fighting in Vietnam and is emotionally distant. He drifts through his days until he meets Dante at his local pool. The two Mexican-American boys form a deep connection, strengthened by their mutual social isolation. As time passes, they realize their friendship could deepen into something more. This book has an intimate feel, which really draws the reader into the complexity of Ari's mind. Sáenz's simple writing style is beautiful and poetic. Their winding road to self discovery is a trip well worth taking with them. Check Our Catalog

Oct 15, 2015 by kerrid

I loved this book!!! Stephanie Perkins truly captures the feeling of being in love. It is an extraordinary story of a girl named Anna, set in the City of Lights (Paris). She at first is reluctant to do anything but Etienne St. Clair changes her mind. Etienne St. Clair is the MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD. Anna meets a lot of people at School of America in Paris. Meredith is a great girl with a great personality. She is eventually Anna's best friend. Rashmi is a bit judgmental but a well thought out character. Then there is playful Josh. He is Etienne's best friend. All of these characters change immensely throughout the book. Now I won't give out any spoilers but lets say that Anna gets her "happily ever after" after going through a ton of drama. I totally recommend this book because it makes you believe that love at first sight is real. Stephanie Perkins out did herself in this book. It is just wonderful and extraordinary. Happy Reading!!! From this fangirl to you, Silvianna (teen reviewer) Check Our Catalog

Sep 24, 2015 by eileenf

The first novel in Caine’s new series, called The Great Library, starts out with some lovely world building. Set in the not-so-distant future, the premise is that the ancient Library at Alexandria was never destroyed and grew to be the most powerful - and oppressive - force in the world. In this world, personal ownership of books is illegal. So when book smuggler Jess Brightwell becomes a Librarian, things get a bit awkward with his family. We learn how he and his fellow new recruits struggle against the library’s tough training, find romance, go to war, and, ultimately, create a machine that could destroy the center of the Library’s authority. But the Library won’t stand idly by and let that happen … Readers will find out more next year when the second book comes out. I’ll definitely be one of the ones eagerly awaiting its appearance. Check Our Catalog

Sep 22, 2015 by kerrid

The prologue, guys and gals, starts the book with a bang or in this case, a dive off a cliff. One tragic car accident takes the life of Em and Navin's father. Two years go by when their mom decides to move the family to this supposedly haunted house in the middle of nowhere that once belonged to their great-grandfather. Their first night there Em hears a noise. Scared, her mom goes to check it out. She expects to find a raccoon or some other thing. What she doesn't expect to find is this globby alien creature that swallows her and takes her away. The story tells a tale of how two siblings and their band of robotic helpers, created by their great-grandfather, use an amulet as a guide to save their mom and potentially a whole kingdom (but that doesn't get explained until the second volume). I really liked the art style of this graphic novel. As I should, considering I found the new covers of the Harry Potter books to be beautiful. Kazu Kibuishi is one talented dude. The whole plot about Em becoming a stonekeeper was pretty cool. However, I did feel as if everything went by so fast. One minute they were cleaning and the next they're trying to save their mom from a glob monster. But that just might be due to my lack of comic book/graphic novel reading in the last few months. I found Miskit and the rest of the robots to be adorable and cool (especially that vacuum cleaner one) even though the vibe of the book was mostly serious the entire time. As a whole, I enjoyed reading the novel. Not as much as others, but I still enjoyed it. The plot was okay, a bit predictable at times. But there were some really cool elements throughout the book. For instance, the house's transformation into a robot? Mind blown. *Explosion sound effects* Anywho! Until the Next (Not-So) Sporadic Review, C.T. (Teen reviewer) Check Our Catalog

Jul 24, 2015 by amandap

While post-apocalyptic books are a dime a dozen these days, mid-apocalpse books aren't quite so common. Originally published in the UK as The Rain, this book shows just how fast things can go downhill when a disaster strikes the entire planet. A deadly bacteria renders the rain itself deadly and contaminates every open water source. Even a single tiny drop spells an agonizing death. And there is no treatment or cure. Boiling doesn't kill it and neither does chlorine. People panic, traps are set, there are raids on supermarkets and the homes of those who died early. And through it all Ruby manages to survive. Ruby is selfish and spoiled and utterly unprepared for what the future holds, and who of us would be? With almost everyone around her dead and her survival skills nonexistant, Ruby is still determined to get herself to London and find her father. If he's survived, that is. Check Our Catalog

Jul 20, 2015 by claytonc

Even though this book is not being published until October 6, I got my hands on an advance copy and was so excited. First, if you haven’t read the Chaos Walking series, I strongly encurage you to find time ASAP and get on it. Ness is really good at writing characters that I can engage with. This book is very different than Chaos Walking (it takes place on this planet for starters), but that’s not a bad thing - it’s a new book after all! Every chapter starts with a paragraph about some crazy sci-fi/fantasy story that is happening with all the “indie kids”. With that out of the way the story then focuses on Mikey and his friends in their last semester in high school. Crushes, misunderstandings, sexual tension and confusion, and lots of humor. Very imaginative and still very grounded and real. You are in for a treat when you can get your hands on this one! Check Our Catalog (as of the writing of this post, the library doesn't even have a record for this book, so check back closer to October, and go read the Chaos Walking series now!)

Jun 26, 2015 by claytonc

Summer time - the perfect moment to compile an impossibly long list of books to read, right? I agreed to help read in a read-a-thon of To Kill A Mockingbird, the day before Harper Lee's new novel (Go Set a Watchman) is released (let me know if you'd like to pariticpate too, or just come to the read-a-thon). Are you looking for a good book to read? Just planning on re-reading old favorites, like Rule of the Bone, or the Chaos Walking series? Here's a list of books coming out in July that just might require immediate attention!

Jun 10, 2015 by kerrid

In this light-hearted romance, Lucy and Owen meet in an elevator that gets stuck during a city-wide blackout. Over the course of one night they form a bond that both time and distance can't break. Just days after that night, Lucy moves across the ocean to Scotland and Owen sets off on a cross-country journey with his father to recover from his mother's sudden death. Despite their distance, Lucy and Owen try to keep in touch in the form of postcards, but as time goes on they lose touch. However, both Lucy and Owen find that in spite of their separation neither can move on from the other. Deciding to try one last time to connect, both decide to meet where it all began. This touching romance shows that home isn't necessarily where you live, but rather the people you surround yourself with. Check Our Catalog

Jun 9, 2015 by claytonc

book jacketsTeens read! Just as picture books have been highlighted for young readers this year, 2015 marks the first time the Massachusetts Center for the Book has published a list of must-read "middle reader/young adult" books that were either written by a Massachusetts author or that had subject matter related to this great state. Here is the list with links so you can reserve your next favorite right now!

Apr 27, 2015 by claytonc

Papina is a young female rhesus monkey living peacefully with her family in an old cemetary in Kolkata (India) when a band of langur monkeys savagely attack. Mico is a young, priveledged male langur when his clan kicks out the rhesus, and he witnesses attrocities that give him good reason to question the authority of his clan's leaders. Full of intrigue, some light romance, betrayals, and family loyalty, this is a captivating fable. Told entirely from the monkeys' perspective it is also an interesting portrayal of modern urban India and the class tensions that continue to dominate so many lives. Check Our Catalog

Apr 8, 2015 by claytonc

Massachusetts’ own bestselling fantasy writer has brought another captivating story to life. I will not be surprised if this is made into a movie someday soon. Deep fantasy and an unconvential love trianble are the cornerstone of this tale. Hazel is the lead character, and she is a girl character who rocks! Growing up she always played the knight and I can not imagine her as a damsel in distress. Her brother Ben is blessed with a musical talent that, like all blessings, brings nearly as many problems as it solves. Ben has also been “out of the closet” for a few years, and is comfortable, albeit a little lonley with the limited dating options in their small town. They are both in love with a prince who lies in a glass casket in the woods, where teens have been going to party for generations. The prince has become a turist attraction, so the mayor is really concerned when one day the casket is shattered and the prince is missing. Guess who ends up tangled in the prince’s affairs - affairs Hazel and Ben’s family’s actions in the past basically guaranteed future complications? Love, shifting loyalties, betrayal, and plenty of well-paced action. What’s not to like? Check Out Catalog

Mar 31, 2015 by junet

It’s the end of the world on Earth, and humans toil to terraform Mars and make it their new home planet. That is, humans that are of the Red class. Life on Mars isn’t the same for everyone, and people are divided into socio-economic classes that include the ruling Gold, powerful Obsidians,  and the mining Red. Part Hunger Games and part Game of Thrones, Red Rising focuses on a young man named Darrow, a Red who strives for something more than the mining life of his people. While this dystopian sci-fi tale seems a little derivative at first, the quick read and interesting character development leave you wanting more. Check Our Catalog

Mar 25, 2015 by kerrid

This debut novel covers a host of serious topics that teens face every day in and out of school, with friends as well as bullies. The story begins with Clay Jensen returning home to find a box of 13 cassette tapes from Hannah Baker, his high school crush who had committed suicide just 2 week earlier. Clay learns that each tape is for someone who Hannah believes has played a part in her decision to commit suicide. Clay is told to listen to each tape to find out what his role was before passing them along onto the next person. Confused as to his part, Clay listens on with horror as he learns all that Hannah has experienced. Hannah herself is not without blame as she is complicit in a hit and run and  a rape of a fellow classmate but Asher shows us that how we treat others can have a lasting impact. This is a story that all teens should read, especially in light of the ongoing conversation about teen bullying. Check Our Catalog

Mar 10, 2015 by claytonc

Good books are about everything, abbreviated. Austin (but his best friend calls him Porcupine) is in love with Shann. Robbie came out of the closet in seventh grade. Austin and Robbie have been friends forever, and Austin is realizing that he also has sexual feelings for Robbie - complicated! Wait, did I mention that this is a story about the end of the world, brought by unstoppable soldiers that are over six feet tall and look a lot like praying mantises? All the soldiers want to do is kill and have sex. Lots of sex. Nearly every page has something related to sex or various related bodily fluids. This is Smith’s seventh book and while The Marbury Lens got a lot of praise (and it is good, though rather dark), I thought this was so much better. It also has won lots of awards. Check Our Catalog

Mar 2, 2015 by kerrid

In this creative follow-up to the beloved classic The Wizard of Oz, readers are introduced to a drastically different Oz. Dorothy has returned, but instead of the sweet girl who just wanted to go home to Auntie Em, she has become a ruthless dictator, set on stealing up all of Oz’s power for herself and Glinda, the not so good “Good Witch”. In comes Amy Gumm, whose life outside of Oz is very different than Dorothy’s life in Kansas when she is sucked up by her own tornado and dropped into the new Oz. When Dorothy finds out about Amy she immediately declares her a threat to the kingdom and sentences her to die. Amy is saved from her death by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, a group of witches who want to overthrow Dorothy. To return the favor and save Oz, Amy is given a very important job - Dorothy Must Die! Check Our Catalog

Jan 30, 2015 by kerrid

Sent to the therapeutic Wooden Barn school to deal with her depression, Jam Gallahue is chosen for the Selected Topics in English class. Only a select few get chosen and Jam is left wondering why she is there. All she wants is to be back home with her British boyfriend Reeve, watching old comedy sketches. However all of that changes when her teacher gives the class their own journals and with each entry Jam is transported to the Belzhar. Jam, and each of her classmates revisit the time and place they were before their tragedy struck. For Jam that means she is back with Reeve, experiencing everything they shared all over again. For each visit, 5 pages are filled in their journal and the semester is coming to an end. What happens when the journal is filled? Will Jam lose Reeve again or will she finally be able to let him go and find the happiness she has been missing? Check our catalog

Jan 21, 2015 by kerrid

After having embarrassed a prominent member of her small hometown, Evie O’Neill is sent off to New York City to live with her eccentric uncle Will, who is the head curator at a Museum for the Supernatural. With the background set in the vibrant times of the 1920’s, we learn that Evie has the ability to “see” the last thing that happened to any item she touches. When her uncle is called to a murder scene to investigate a cryptic symbol, Evie is suddenly thrown into a mysterious supernatural murder. Using her gift, Evie and a cast of interwoven characters try to track down the murderer before he finds them. The first in a trilogy, this book brings both mystery and supernatural elements with a fun and fresh style that Bray is known for. With book two coming out on April 7th, this should definitely be added to your "to-be-read" pile.  Check our catalog

Jan 6, 2015 by claytonc

Do not judge this book by its cover. Recommended by our new teen/young adult specialist, this was a fully engaging read with minimal horse action. Finn is a young man who starts the book towards of the end of his junior year in high school. He's not very sexually experienced but his best friend has a special arrangement with a German exchange student that involves money and out-of-the way places. Finn's father wrote a science fiction book that has attracted a fairly large cult following, and the protagonist of that book is also named Finn. Finn measures time in the number of miles the earth travels around the sun - approximately 20 miles every second. Thus, the title is a reference to something that happened in five seconds. This book was funny, smart, sensitive, and honest. There is drinking and sex and it's not preachy. One of the outstanding books of 2014 and a semifinalist for a National Book Award. Check our catalog

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