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Reminder for Summer Reading Finishers

July 6, 2015

KindleAs part of the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, we have asked area young adults to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews and complete seven fun library-related activities. Beginning Monday, July 6, Summer Reading finishers can visit any of our three library branches or bookmobile stops and claim their free book. We will have a wide selection of juvenile and young adult titles for you to choose from.

Best of all, if you finish, your name will also be entered into a drawing for a free Kindle E-reader (black and white)! This program is ongoing through August 15, so there is still several weeks of good reading time left.

Originally published at Reminder for Summer Reading Finishers.

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Project Teen: Mask-Making

June 29, 2015

Project Teen: Mask-MakingTeen Mask
Friday, July 10 • Noon-1:30 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library

Create a mask that shows your super side (or your silly side or your creative side or whoever you have inside you). Plus, enjoy a free pizza lunch. Ages 12-18. No registration required.

Photo by Flickr User Zoe. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Project Teen: Mask-Making.

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2016 Gateway Award Nominees

June 25, 2015

2016 Gateway Award Nominees The Gateway Readers Award honors a young adult novel that is selected by Missouri high school students. Even though this award is administered by the Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL), it is the responsibility of Missouri teens to vote on the actual winner. These titles will be voted upon by students in March 2016; the recipient of the award will be announced in late April 2016 at the annual MASL Spring Conference. There is a great assortment of genres represented in this year’s list of nominees, so have fun choosing among historical fiction, realistic fiction, and, of course, dystopian literature.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds” by Cat Winters
As influenza and World War I take their toll, Mary Shelley Black watches mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort. Despite her scientific leanings, she is forced to consider if ghosts are real when her first love returns after being killed in battle.

Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson
At age eight, David watched as his father was killed by an Epic, a human with superhuman powers. Ten years later, he joins the Reckoners, a group of rebels trying to kill the Epics and end their tyranny.

The Naturals” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Seventeen-year-old Cassie, who has a natural ability to read people, joins an elite group of criminal profilers at the FBI in order to help solve cold cases.

The Rules for Disappearing” by Ashley Elston
High school student “Meg” has changed identities so often she hardly knows who she is anymore. Despite her ever-changing persona, she always remembers the two rules of witness protection: be forgettable and do not make friends. However, in her new home, a boy named Ethan is making that rather difficult.

All Our Yesterdays” by Cristin Terrill
Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain. Meanwhile, Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future.

Thousand Words” by Jennifer Brown
Talked into sending a nude picture of herself to her boyfriend while she was drunk, Ashleigh became the center of a sexting scandal. Now in court-ordered community service, she finds an unlikely ally, Mack.

I am the Weapon (Boy Nobody)” by Allen Zadoff
Boy Nobody, an assassin controlled by a shadowy government organization, considers sabotaging his latest mission because his target reminds him of the normal life he craves.

Escape from Eden” by Ellisa Nadler
Mia has long lived under the iron fist of the preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical followers. In Edenton, a supposed ‘Garden of Eden,’ everyone follows the Reverend’s strict rules – even the mandate of whom to marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out.

Proxy” by Alex London
Syd’s life is not his own. As a proxy he must pay for someone else’s crimes. When his patron Knox crashes a car and kills someone, Syd is branded and sentenced to death. The boys realize the only way to beat the system is to save each other.

Out of the Easy” by Ruta Sepetys
Josie, the 17-year-old daughter of a French Quarter prostitute, is striving to escape 1950 New Orleans and enroll at prestigious Smith College when she becomes entangled in a murder investigation.

The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey
Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her younger brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.

Winger” by Andrew Smith
Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the varsity rugby team.

Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits. They are both smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

All the Truth That’s in Me” by Julie Berry
Judith can’t speak. But when her close-knit community of Roswell Station is attacked by enemies, Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice.

The Program” by Suzanne Young
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in “The Program,” the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; she knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through “The Program” returns as a blank slate. While their depression is gone, so are their memories.

Originally published at 2016 Gateway Award Nominees.

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Next Month: Cosplay Costume Con for All Ages

June 22, 2015

Cosplay Banner 1

Cosplay Costume Con for All Ages
Come to the library dressed as your favorite character! Whether superhero, anime, sci-fi or your own original design, we want to see you as you usually aren’t! Prizes will be given for costumes in different age categories, and participants can pose for some great photo ops. This program is for all ages! No registration required.

Columbia Public Library
Wednesday, July 22
at 6:00 p.m. Callaway County
Public Library
Thursday, July 30
at 6:30 p.m. Southern Boone County
Public Library
Tuesday, August 4
at 6:30 p.m.

Photos by Flickr User Marnie Joyce. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Next Month: Cosplay Costume Con for All Ages.

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Program Preview: The Bronze Age to the Avengers

June 18, 2015

Lego Avengers

The Bronze Age to the Avengers
Wednesday, July 1 •  2-3:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library

The very first tales were hero tales. They were written in clay, on papyrus and performed before huge crowds in open theaters. These tales are still told today in many other guises. Discuss how the heroes of ancient myths are still present in the books and movies of today. Then create your own versions using ancient techniques in clay, papyrus and paper. Ages 12 and older. Registration required. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Photo by Flickr User Andrew Becraft. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Program Preview: The Bronze Age to the Avengers.

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“Every Hero Has a Story” Teen Photography Contest

June 15, 2015

Superhero Photo ContestHonor a hero in your life by submitting a portrait by August 15 with a short description of his or her inspiring deeds. Portraits may be headshots or photos that show your chosen hero in action. This contest is open to all teens in Boone and Callaway counties. Winners receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble and their entries will be posted on this site. Find contest rules and submission guidelines at teens.dbrl.org/photo-contest or at your library. Ages 12-18.

Image by Pixabay.com. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at “Every Hero Has a Story” Teen Photography Contest.

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Traveling Superheroes

June 10, 2015

Super Girl 225pxSuperheroes want to see the world, too! Download and decorate your own small traveling superhero. Then, as you are jet-setting across the globe or simply hanging out in your own backyard, snap a photo of you and your superhero having fun. You can bring a copy of the photo to the Children’s Desk at the Columbia Public Library, or email it to us at adventures@dbrl.org. Your photos will be used throughout July and August to the decorate the children’s area.

Photo by Flickr User Bart. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Traveling Superheroes.

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Program Preview: Gamer Eve

June 8, 2015

Gamer Eve Banner 2
Gamer Eve
Monday, June 22 • 6-8:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library

Gamers unite! Drop in and play table-top games like “Gloom,” “Guillotine” or “Ticket to Ride.” Bring your “Magic: The Gathering” cards to challenge other players. Maybe you’ll discover your next favorite game! Ages 10 and older.

Originally published at Program Preview: Gamer Eve.

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Books for Dudes – Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly

June 5, 2015

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to FlyWe all know video games aren’t real life. However, in “Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly” by Conrad Wesselhoeft, 17-year-old Arlo discovers that his amazing skills at playing a drone war game are being observed by the military. Does this dirt-bike daredevil from a small New Mexico town have what it takes to be a real drone pilot?

While this book has a lot of humor, the story also deals with some serious subjects. Alaro’s family is struggling due to the violent death of his mother. His sister, already suffering from a degenerative disease, blames herself for her mom’s death. His dad hits the bottle too hard because he can’t cope with the loss of his wife. Alaro’s struggles are at the root of his actions as a fearless daredevil, both on his dirt bike and when piloting drones when in the “drone zone.”

This book came recommended from a friend, and I was surprised how quickly I devoured it. The realistic language in the narration flows smoothly, the funny interactions balance nicely with the tragic struggles of these characters, and I was rooting for Alaro the whole way through. This book dealt with the realities of losing a loved one in realistic way, and I highly recommend this book to teens (and adults) looking for a good read.

Originally published at Books for Dudes – Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly.

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Project Teen: Every Hero Has a Story

June 4, 2015

Project Teen Every Hero Has a Story

Project Teen is a regular program hosted by the Daniel Boone Regional Library. We invite young adults ages 12-18 to join us for crafts and snacks. For our next session, get creative with crafts inspired by your favorite graphic novels and comic books. Enjoy a free pizza lunch.

Southern Boone County
Public Library
Tuesday, June 9
at noon.
No registration required. Columbia Public Library
Monday, June 15
at 1 p.m.
Registration required.
To sign up, call
(573) 443-3161. Callaway County
Public Library
Friday, June 19
at noon.
No registration required.

Photo by Flickr user Sam Howzit. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Project Teen: Every Hero Has a Story.

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2015 Teen Summer Reading Challenge

June 1, 2015
Comic Book Struck

Photo by Flickr user Nawal Al-Mashouq

As part of the library’s annual Summer Reading program, we are challenging young adults ages 12-18 to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews and do seven of our suggested activities. Finish by August 15, and you’ll receive a free book and be entered into a drawing for a free Kindle E-reader (black and white). Sign up online, or at any of our three library branches or bookmobile stops.

The library is also planning a wide range of free programs in line with this year’s theme, “Every Hero Has a Story.” We’ll invite teens to enjoy crafting over lunch, participate in our annual photography contest and showcase their creativity through our cosplay costume con. To receive email reminders of these and other teen programs, sign up for our blog updates!

Originally published at 2015 Teen Summer Reading Challenge.

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2015 Summer Reading Sneak Peek

May 29, 2015

2015 Teen Summer Reading Banner
Our annual teen Summer Reading program launches Monday, June 1. Young adults ages 12-18 will be challenged to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews and do seven of our suggested activities. When you finish, you’ll receive a free book and be entered in a drawing for a free black and white Kindle eReader.

In addition, the library is planning a wide range of free programs to go with this year’s theme, “Every Hero Has a Story.” We’ll invite teens to enjoy crafting over lunch, participate in our annual photography contest and showcase their creativity through our cosplay costume con. To receive email reminders of these and other teen programs, sign up for our blog updates

Where Have All the Superheroes Gone?
Thursday, June 4 • 2-4 p.m. –OR– 6-8 p.m.
Friday, June 5 • 9:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
Superheroes want to see the world, too! Drop in today to decorate your own small traveling superhero. Later, take him or her on a summer adventure, snap a photo and send it to us to display in the library throughout July and August. Send your snapshots to adventures@dbrl.org.

Your Super Immune System
Saturday, June 6 • 2-4 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
Who knew that human cells could seem so superhuman in their abilities? The immune system fights biological crime throughout the body to ensure the safety of innocent cells. Danielle Koerner, a pre-med student at MU, will lead an exploration of the immune system and help us act out a comic of the Cellular Superheroes! For those in grades 5-8. Registration begins Tuesday, May 26. To sign up, call (573) 443-3161.

Project Teen: Every Hero Has a Story
Get creative with crafts inspired by your favorite graphic novels and comic books. Enjoy a free pizza lunch. Ages 12-18.

Southern Boone County
Public Library
Tuesday, June 9
at noon.
No registration required. Columbia Public Library
Monday, June 15
at 1 p.m.
Registration begins
June 2.
To sign up, call
(573) 443-3161. Callaway County
Public Library
Friday, June 19
at noon.
No registration required.

Wii U Family Game Night
Try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 2015″ or a gold cup winner in “Mario Kart 8.” Snacks provided. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome.

Columbia Public Library
Thursday, June 11
at 6 p.m.
Registration begins
May 26.
To sign up, call
(573) 443-3161 Southern Boone County
Public Library
Thursday, August 6
at 6 p.m.
No registration required. Columbia Public Library
Thursday, August 27
at 6 p.m.
Registration begins
August 11.
To sign up, call
(573) 443-3161.

“Every Hero Has a Story” Teen Photography Contest
Begins Monday, June 15
Honor a hero in your life by submitting a portrait by August 15 with a short description of his or her inspiring deeds. Portraits may be headshots or photos that show your chosen hero in action. This contest is open to all teens in Boone and Callaway Counties. Winners receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble and their entries will be posted here. Find contest rules and submission guidelines after June 15 here or at your library. Ages 12-18.

Gamer Eve
Monday, June 22 • 6-8:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
Gamers unite! Drop in to play table-top games like “Gloom,” “Guillotine” or “Ticket to Ride.” Bring your “Magic: The Gathering” cards to challenge other players. Maybe you’ll discover your next favorite game! Ages 10 and older.

The Bronze Age to the Avengers
Wednesday, July 1 •  2-3:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
The very first tales were hero tales. They were written in clay, on papyrus and paper, as well as being performed before huge crowds in open theaters. These tales are still told today in many other guises. Discuss how the heroes of ancient myths are still present in the books and movies of today. Then, create your own versions using ancient techniques in clay, on papyrus and paper. Ages 12 and older. Registration begins Tuesday, June 16. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Project Teen: Mask-Making
Friday, July 10 • Noon-1:30 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library
Create a mask that shows your super side (or your silly side or your creative side or whoever you have inside you). Plus, enjoy a free pizza lunch!Ages 12-18.

Project Teen: Tremendous T-shirt Art
Bring some old t-shirts and redesign them into something super! We’ll work with bleach and paint, so dress accordingly! There will be free pizza. Ages 12-18.

Columbia Public Library
Monday, July 20 at 1 p.m.
Registration begins July 7.
To sign up, call (573) 443-3161. Southern Boone County Public Library
Thursday, July 23 at noon.
No registration required.

Cosplay Costume Con for All Ages
Dress up as your favorite character! Be it superhero, anime, sci-fi or your own original design — come dressed as you usually aren’t! We’ll award prizes for costumes in different age categories, and you can pose for great photos. This program is for all ages! No registration required.

Columbia Public Library
Wednesday, July 22
at 6 p.m. Callaway County
Public Library
Thursday, July 30
at 6:30 p.m. Southern Boone County
Public Library
Tuesday, August 4
at 6:30 p.m.

Project Teen: Heroic Journeys
Friday, August 7 •  Noon-1:30 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library
The very first tales were hero tales. They were written in clay, on papyrus and on paper, as well as being performed before huge crowds in open theaters. The heroes of ancient myths are still with us in today’s books and movies. Join us for activities based on heroes old and new.Free pizza lunch. ages 12-18.

Summer Reading Ends
Saturday, August 15
Your story doesn’t end on this day, but Summer Reading does. August 15 is the final day for participants of all ages to claim rewards and enter into the final drawings for Summer Reading incentives.

Originally published at 2015 Summer Reading Sneak Peek.

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Program Preview: Your Super Immune System

May 28, 2015
White Blood Cells

Courtesy of the National Institutes of Health

Your Super Immune System
Saturday, June 6 • 2-4 p.m.
Columbia Public Library

Who knew that human cells could seem so superhuman in their abilities? The immune system fights biological crime throughout the body to ensure the safety of innocent cells. Through this convention, we will explore the immune system in detail and act out a comic of the Cellular Superheroes! Led by Danielle Koerner, MU pre-med student. For students in grades 5-8. Registration required. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at Program Preview: Your Super Immune System.

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2016 Truman Award Nominees

May 25, 2015

2016 Truman Readers Award NomineesThe Truman Readers Award honors a book that is selected by Missouri junior high students. Even though this award is administered by the Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL), it is the responsibility of Missouri teens to choose the actual winner. These titles will be voted upon by students in March 2016; the recipient of the award will be announced in late April 2016 at the annual MASL Spring Conference. As summer kicks into high gear, consider bringing along one of these titles to enjoy poolside.

Rapunzel Untangled” by Cindy C. Bennett
For one thing, Rapunzel has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But, then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.

Tandem” by Anna Jarzab
Sasha lives a quiet life with her grandfather in Chicago, but dreams of adventure. When her long-time crush, Grant, asks her to prom, she is thrilled. That is, until is turns out he is abducting her to a parallel universe to impersonate a princess.

A Matter of Days” by Amber Kizer
On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, Nadia’s mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother, Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren’t as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That’s their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather’s survivalist compound in West Virginia.

Pivot Point” by Kasie West
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or, so she thought.

The Testing” by Joelle Charbonneau
The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But, to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Mila 2.0” by Debra Driza
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Rogue” by Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Kiara has Asperger’s syndrome, and it’s hard for her to make friends. So whenever her world doesn’t make sense—which is often—she relies on Mr. Internet for answers. But there are some questions he can’t answer, like why she always gets into trouble, and how do kids with Asperger’s syndrome make friends?

Marie Antoinette: Serial Killer” by Katie Alender
Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots. But, a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. As she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

SYLO” by D.J. MacHale
SYLO, a secret branch of the U.S. Navy, informs Pemberwick residents that the island has been hit by a lethal virus and must be quarantined. Tucker Pierce believes there’s more to SYLO’s story, and only he holds the clues that can solve this deadly mystery.

Inhuman” by Kat Falls
America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught and Lane agrees to complete this father’s job.

Prisoner B-3087” by Alan Gratz
Based on the life of Jack Gruener, this book relates his story of survival from the Nazi occupation of Krakow, when he was eleven, through a succession of concentration camps, to the final liberation of Dachau.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die” by April Henry
She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her. And, that she must run.

Originally published at 2016 Truman Award Nominees.

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Wii U Family Game Night

May 21, 2015

Just-Dance-200x200Wii U Family Game Night
Thursday, June 11 • 6:00 p.m.
Columbia Public Library

Try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 2015″ or a gold cup winner in “Mario Kart 8.” Snacks provided. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, May 26. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at Wii U Family Game Night.

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2015 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees

May 18, 2015

2015 Teens Top Ten Nominee Banner

The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list of recommended reading sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Sixteen young adult book clubs from libraries across the country are responsible for narrowing down a list of nominees for teens to vote on nationwide. Below is this year’s full list of Top Ten nominations. Don’t forget that the library offers print, eBook and audiobook editions of many of the these titles!

Let’s Get Lost” by Adi Alsaid
As Leila struggles to come to terms with her new life, she grasps for the only thing she knows is real, the northern lights. On her cross-country trip to see them, she meets four people that not only change her, but change because of her. She helps them in ways they didn’t know they needed, and they help her more than she realizes.

Don’t Look Back” by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Samantha’s mind is a blank slate after she disappeared with her best frienemy, Cassie. However, when Cassie’s dead body turns up, Samantha’s memories are the only clue to what happened that night. Unfortunately, Sam not having any memories may be the only thing keeping her alive.

Midnight Thief” by Livia Blackburne
Kyra is a thief. A talented one at that. When the leader of the mysterious Assassin’s Guild offers her a job, she isn’t sure. Tristam of Brancel is a Palace knight. When his best friend is murdered by the Demon Riders, a clan of fierce warriors who ride on bloodthirsty wildcats, he vows to take them down. Each time, he is thwarted by a talented thief, one who can easily slip past the Palaces defenses. When they are thrown together on a raid, they realize that their best-if only chance at survival is to join together. Loyalties are tested and a surprising secret is learned about Kyra’s past-one that threatens to reshape their lives.

Mortal Gods” by Kendare Blake
For the first time ever, Cassandra and Athena have a mutual goal: to kill the remaining gods and goddesses that have taken refuge on Mount Olympus. If they could just figure out how to work together, they might be able to accomplish it.

The Bane Chronicles” by Cassandra Clare
Magnus Bane, the mysterious High Warlock of New York, has been alive for a long time and has a mysterious past unknown to most of his companions. In this thrilling novel, secrets and stories are revealed, of lovers, of adventures, and of friendships.

The Inventor’s Secret” by Andrea Cremer
In a steampunk world, after the British Empire won the Revolutionary War, a young Patriot named Charlotte finds a boy in the woods, running from British war machines. When he claims he cannot remember anything, she and the other rebels with her decide to find his true origin by going to the heart of the Empire: New York.

Love Letters to the Dead” by Ava Dellaira
After the death of her older sister, Laurel tries to cope with her feelings of guilt and anger with what starts out as an English assignment: write a letter to a dead person. As Laurel adjusts to high school and makes new friends, she continues writing letters to her idols. They become more detailed and thoughtful as she tries to grieve over her sister and works up the courage to finally be able to talk about the secret of her death.

Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince” by Bree Despain
Haden, the disgraced son of Ren Hades, King of the Underworld, has been chosen to go to the surface and bring back Daphne Vince, his boon. Daphne’s alcoholic rock star father is giving her the chance she has dreamed of to further her music career, but in California, further away from home than she’s ever been. Their fates are entwined, and they’re about to meet for the first time.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han
Lara Jean has a teal hatbox under her bed filled with all her precious things, old feelings, and memories that should be buried forever. In that box, there are letters Lara has written to all the boys she has ever loved with no intention of ever sending them. One day, the hat box goes missing, marking the beginning of a series of confrontations she never thought she’d have to face.

Unhinged” by A.G. Howard
Finally back in the “real world” all Alyssa has left is to ignore her darker side and enjoy the normality of high school and her life with Jeb. But does Wonderland leave her alone? Can the Red Queen let Alyssa get away with what she has done? Everything would be easier if Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest.

The Young Elites” by Marie Lu
Adelina Amounteru is a survivor of the plague, a Malfetto, a freak to the rest of society. The treatment of abuse over the years has caused a darkness to brew inside her. She believes there is hope for her yet as there is a group of other Malfettos, called the Young Elites. The Young Elites have not only survived the plague, but have developed unexplainable abilities. Is refuge with these people what Adelina always wanted, or are they just going to end up using her like everyone else?

Heir of Fire” by Sarah J. Maas
Celaena, the King’s Champion, has faced many challenges throughout her life, but none compare to what she must now face. As the King of Adarlan seeks to destroy all that she cares about, Celaena must learn to control her powers while deciding who should fight back: Celaena the assassin or Aelin the Fae princess.

Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson
Emily and Sloane are the bestest friends having an amazing summer, until one day Sloane disappears. Sloane leaves behind a to-do list of 13 tasks Emily would normally never try without Sloane by her side. With the help of Frank Porter, and a few other friends, will Emily finish the list?

The Shadow Throne” by Jennifer A. Nielsen
War is on the horizon in Carthya, and Jaron needs to protect his country. However, the ruler of Avenia has also captured Jaron’s best friend and love, Imogen. Jaron needs to save both his friend and his country, but everything that possibly could go wrong, does go wrong.

My Life with the Walter Boys” by Ali Novak
As the perfect girl who had everything scheduled, always looked nice and studied hard, Jackie couldn’t predict her parents’ accident. She also didn’t see her future consisting of moving from New York to Colorado and living with twelve boys. How can she cope with her parents’ death, a dramatic change in lifestyle while still being the perfect girl she was?

The Kiss of Deception” by Mary E. Pearson
As Lia tries to run from her bounty hunters, she begins uncovering one of her kingdoms deceptive secrets, hidden by the years passed. Meanwhile, she begins falling in love with two men who are not who they seem to be…

The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski
Kestrel is a noble of the vast empire Valoria. She only has two choices for her future: to become a military officer or get married. What she really wants is to be a musician. Her choice for her future becomes more complicated when she buys a slave named Arin who is in on a plot to free his people from enslavement.

Fire & Flood” by Victoria Scott
Tella Holloway thought her life was bad. When she gets an invitation to save her brother Cody’s life, she learns what bad really is. Tella fights for not only Cody, but herself, her Pandora, and her growing love of a contender. It’s a fight for life, but will Tella die trying?

I Become Shadow” by Joe Shine
Ren Sharpe was abducted at fourteen, chosen by the mysterious F.A.T.E. Center to become a Shadow: an unstoppable guardian of a future leader/world changer. After four years of training, she is assigned to protect Gareth Young, one of these future beings, an easy assignment, until a team of trained and armed professionals attempt to abduct him in broad daylight. With nowhere else to turn, Ren breaks F.A.T.E. rules and tracks down the only person she can trust; a fellow Shadow named Junie Miller, and decides that her kidnappers may be able to see the future, but they are unprepared for the killing machines they’ve created.

Grasshopper Jungle” by Andrew Smith
Grasshopper Jungle is a coming of age story revolving around three teenagers, told in layers, exploring the pitfalls and wisdom of history, complex issues of friendship and sexual confusion, and, of course, the story of how six-foot-tall man-eating praying mantises from Iowa, brought on the end of the world.

The Geography of You and Me” by Jennifer E. Smith
Lucy and Owen get stuck in an elevator in a New York City blackout. When they finally get out of the elevator, they spend the night looking at the stars. Soon after the blackout, Lucy moves away to Scotland while Owen heads out west. With that night in-grained into their minds, they try to stay in touch with each other while trying to figure out what that night truly meant for both of them.

Boys Like You” by Juliana Stone
Monroe and Nathan are alike in so many ways. Their “one mistake” has hurt both of them and the ones they love. Can Monroe accept herself and help Nathan to do the same?

We Should Hang Out Sometime” by Josh Sundquist
Josh is a boy who’s good with math, but not with girls. He has the best pickup line- We should hang out sometime- but he never really gets a relationship out of it. Now, after many girlfriendless years, he tries to figure out why.

Lies We Tell Ourselves” by Robin Talley
As if being one of the first black students to attend Jefferson High School wasn’t enough, Sarah Dunbar has to worry about keeping her secret. Linda Hairston, is the daughter of one of Davisburg’s most vocal opponents to integration in schools. She too has a secret. When these two very different girls are forced to work together on a school project, both are forced to confront the harsh truths about race, power and love.

Originally published at 2015 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees.

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Staff Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

May 14, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria AveyardWhy I Checked It Out: Weeks before its release date, “Red Queen” was advertised as the next big YA fantasy, and considering that is my favorite genre, I eagerly put it on hold and awaited its release. Also, the cover looks awesome.

What It’s About: Mare is Red. She lives in a poverty stricken world, has to steal to help feed her family and has three brothers fighting in a war she’ll soon have to join. Her world is ruled by Silvers, the majestic, rich upper class with silver blood and deadly powers. And, Mare hates them.

The Silvers suppress the Reds, making them fight in their wars, and do all the heavy lifting with nothing to expect in return. When Mare gets a job working in the palace, she can’t say no, she needs the money, but she expects to hate every moment of it. What Mare doesn’t expect is finding out she has power, too, just like the Silvers. When a group of Reds begin to rebel against the Silvers’ way of doing things, Mare realizes if there’s one thing worth fighting for, it’s to free the Reds from Silver rule.

What I Liked About It (And, What I Didn’t): I like Mare’s sassy attitude, but other people might not find her so endearing. Also, while the story idea is cool, I wouldn’t call it unique. “Red Queen” is like a mix and match of other stories, and not in the most creative way. Imagine a story with “X-Men” like powers, the same poor versus rich setup as “The Hunger Games,” and the same royal drama of the TV show “Reign.” I don’t know yet if I feel like the mash-up in “Red Queen” is good or bad. I predict many people will love this book, though, and excitedly read the other two books coming out in the trilogy.

Similar Titles: If you read “Red Queen” and liked it, there are a lot of other amazing titles out there you should try, such as Rae Carson’s “Girl of Fire and Thorns,” Leigh Bardugo’s “Shadow and Bone,” Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” and Melina Marchetta’s “Finnikin of the Rock.” Each of these is a fantasy adventure with a touch of romance, and are easily among my favorite YA reads.

Originally published at Staff Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

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