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Welcome PLA Attendees

Welcome PLA Attendees

Hi there and welcome to Book Blather. I know some of you may have found me via the PLA presentation BEYOND DUCT TAPE WALLETS. I just wanted to give a warm welcome! Below are links to some of the programs I talked about

And here are some of the posts that will be posting in the couple of weeks

  • Friday Night Madness: Zombies vs Humans
  • Book Club Discussions: Cruel Beauty, Eye of Minds, & Pawn.
  • Dry Erase Boards
  • Teen Librarian Survey Results
  • Teen Space Reorganization

If there is something in particular you would like me to do a post-write up, especially if I mentioned it during the presentation, just let me know and I’ll add it to my list!

YALSA Forum and ALA Midwinter

YALSA Forum and ALA Midwinter

ALA is always somewhat of a whirlwind and this Midwinter was no different. My conference actually earlier than normal due to the YALSA Symposium. I was one of the 15 stipend award winners that got to attend; something I am still thrilled I got to be a part of. It was two days of brainstorming and sharing ideas with people both inside and outside of the library world about how we could work together on creating better teen services. I won’t go into too much detail, but I thought I’d throw out some of the highlights

  • One of the presentations: Teens and Libraries Pew & Rene Hobbs
  • The teen panels was probably my favorite session. It was interesting to hear how the teens interacted with social media and their library. There was a lot of hate for Facebook, but mixed love for twitter and tumblr. It was also nice to see how excited teens get when they connect w/teen librarians/libraries. You don’t need to be “cool” you just need to care!
  • I loved the small group discussions. The themes that hit hard over the two days were creating communities for teens and breaking out the library stereotype. We need to create space where teens can learn (and fail!) without any high risks attached. I’ve been in this mindset for a while, so it was so nice to see I wasn’t alone.

There is so much I could talk about, but I would recommend checking out our twitter hashtag: yalsaforum. There are TONS of good idea and quotes from the session.  Also, check out the Day 1 Storify Slideshow by Linda Braun. There will also be three virtual town halls that I recommend everyone being a part of! They’ll be on March 19th, April 16th, & May 21st from 2:00 – 3:00pm EST. I walked away with several good ideas (which I’m hoping to start highlighting here) and I’m excited to continue the conversation during these town halls!

After YALSA Forum I literally rolled straight into Midwinter. Most of my time was spent in various meetings from leadership to committee to even a board meeting. I don’t even think I could detail a day by day rundown anymore as everything has blurred together!

However, I do want to talk about Fabulous Films for Young Adults (FFYA). Some of you may know this already, but for those you don’t I was the chair of FFYA this year. It was also my third year serving on this committee. The past 3 years have been a blast filled with movies, conversations, and new friends. This year, we created a fantastic SURVIVAL list (or aka Then Things Went Terribly Wrong!) We selected 25 of the best titles from over 60 nominations. I’ll be highlighting some of the movies this year and would love to hear what you think!

I am a little sad to be leaving FFYA, especially since the list only has one year left. It has been a great experience and I wouldn’t trade if for the world. I’m anxious to see what the new theme will be and to start adding nominations to the list! It’ll a;sp be interesting to see how FFYA transitions from being a selection list to being on The Hub and how it morphs into something new in 2014. But as sad as it is to leave, I’m excited to start my term on Great Graphic Novels! This is one of my dream committees and something I cannot wait to start.

I didn’t get to attend any buzz sessions this year, so I doubt I’ll be doing any features about what I got/what I’m excited about right now. However, I will highlight mine and my teens favorites as we read them!

Get Real: Books and Read-a-likes

Get Real: Books and Read-a-likes

I know it’s been a couple days since the Get Real Panel, but I wanted to post the books I talk about and their read-a-likes

1. Kissing the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole
Marshall Cavendish, 2012
Themes: LGBTQ, Road Trip, Grief
Read-a-likes: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Matson, In Honor by Jessica Kirbi

2. Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
Walkers Children, 2012
Themes: Cancer, Boy next door
Read-a-likes: Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Summer I Turned Pretty by Jennifer Hahn

3. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, Sourcebooks, 2011
Themes: Girl Power, Football, Love triangle
Read-a-likes: Rhymes with Cupid by Anna Humphrey,  Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

4. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
S&S, 2011
Themes: Verse, Switched at birth
Read-a-like: Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

5. Pushing the Limit by Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen, 2012
Themes: Alt POV, death, mental illness
Read-a-likes: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

6. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Penguin,2012
Themes: Boy next door, Big family, Tough decisions/right vs. wrong
Read-a-likes: LoLa and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

7. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill, Randomhouse, 2012
Themes: Breaking out of the shell, Class Trip, Love in unexpected places
Read-a-likes: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Site by Jennifer E. Smith, Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

8. Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto by Eric Luper
HaperCollins, 2010
Themes: Male POV, Podcast, Questioning Love
Read-a-likes: The Loser’s Guide to Love and Life by A.E. Cannon, Storky by D.L. Garfinkle

9. Over You by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus, HaperCollins, 2012
Themes: Getting over broken hearts
Read-a-likes: Love, Inc by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

10. Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Bloomsbury, 2012
Themes: Sailing/Family Vacation, Best friends boyfriend
Read-a-likes: Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, Something Like Fate by Susan Colasanti

YA Lit Symposium: Get Real

YA Lit Symposium: Get Real


As this posts I am currently giving a presentation on Contemporary Fiction.  If you attended, thanks for coming! We truly appreciate the support.  Regardless, I wanted to be sure to post all the resources mentioned during the presentation. I hope they help you as your explore Contemporary Fiction.

The Prezi


The BookList


The Flow Chart (click for a larger image; you may have to enter manually to get the zoom option:


If you want to check out what’s happening/happened, be sure to check out #GetReal on Twitter.

ALA Book Buzz Take 2

ALA Book Buzz Take 2

I already did a selection of books that are buzz-worthy after going to publisher talks, but now I want to buzz the books I learned about on the floor. Again, I’m going to try to keep to ones I haven’t seen getting a lot of hype, but one or two may still slide in. I don’t think I’ll add any commentary this time as I don’t know too much about them. They’re more ones that just piqued my interest.

Smart Girls Get What They Want
by Sarah Strohmeyer
June 2012

Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren’t the most popular girls in school, they aren’t too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they’re missing out on the full high school experience, it’s time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show that smart girls get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for…


Secret Letters
 by Leah Scheier
June 2012

Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin’s ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits—and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective—to save her cousin’s reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way.


Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom
 by Brendan Halpin & Emily Franklin
March 2012

 Lucas and Tessa’s friendship is the stuff of legend in their small Midwestern town. So it’s no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Humiliated and confused, Lucas also feels betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him.
What’s worse is Tessa’s decision to wear a tastefully tailored tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom.

by R.J. Palacio
February 2012

 I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Flirting in Italian
 by Lauren Henderson
June 2012

Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!

 by Jennifer Bosworth
May 2012

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

Grave Mercy
 by Robin LaFevers
April 2012


Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?


All the books I got were great, but I feel like many already have a lot of buzz around them. However, I hope several of them will make it on the blog review form. It’ll all depend on what my teens grab and cling to first!

ALA Midwinter: Beyond the Exhibit Hall

ALA Midwinter: Beyond the Exhibit Hall

When many bloggers or non-professionals hear about the American Library Association (ALA) they think about the floor. The big glitzy exhibit hall where the publishers man booths and there is swag and ARCs to be had. As a librarian, I love this part, too, because I get to take amazing books back to my teens or talk to my vendors, but it’s a very, very small part of my ALA experience. I’m talking less than 10% of what I do. You may think I’m pulling your strings, but I’m not! And I’m about to prove it.

ALA, especially Midwinter, is about meetings. I am on YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Fabulous Films for Young Adults, a list were we pick 25 titles that best fit a theme. This years was Song & Dance and we picked an amazing list. I already talked about that over here, so I won’t go on about the titles again. However, I will talk about how much time and effort goes into this list. At midwinter, my fellow committee members and myself, spent 10 hours in a room whittling down the titles. And this was almost 10 hours of pure discussion as we had completed all the viewing before ALA. That’s right, I said before ALA! We had over 100 titles nominated this year, which means I spent easily 200+ hours watching movies on my own time. I don’t watch a single title while I’m at work. This also doesn’t include the time I spend on our discussion board proclaiming why I loved or disliked a title or if it had teen appeal. It’s a lot of work, but I love it! I love knowing that our list will be used across the nation to buy materials in libraries.

In fact, I love it so much, I have accepted the position of chair (aka head) of the committee for next year! Of course, this meant I spent another 2-3 hours in leadership meetings that would make the transition between outgoing and incoming chair go smoothly. Since I’ve been on the committee for the past 2 years, I had a good grasp on things, but it was still nice to be able to talk to my chair about things I may not have know about.

Enough about the meetings you say? Okay, okay fine. Then lets talk about BFYA or Best Fiction for Young Adult. Another YALSA  selection list that looks at books published in a 16 month time period and selects the best. The best part for me (and many librarians) is the teen session that happens the Sunday of every conference. Local teens come in and share their thoughts on the books that are nominated. This year they spent 2.5 hours commenting on 10 pages worth of books. Their comments were insightful and amazing and I enjoyed every minute they spoke. If you search twitter for #BFYA you’ll see many of the teen comments. They also write reviews during the year and send it to committee members. (For those wondering, these are the teens you see wandering in YALSA t-shirts on floor Sunday morning.)

What else? Let’s talk about the awards. Midwinter is seriously the Oscars for Librarians; this is when we learn who won the Printz, Newbery, Caldecott, & much more. The excitement is hard to explain during the Youth Media Awards (YMA) unless you witness it first hand. The gasps and cheers as each award is announced fills the room. There is video of the YMA, but I doubt it can equal to the thrill of being there. Of hearing your friends scream and jump in their chairs because one of their favorites one. (Or feel the heartbreak when a favorite lost.)

The cool thing about this years awards was that Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley won both the Morris and the Printz. Honestly, I think only one other person could have done that in my mind, which would have been John Green (if the Morris has existed then). It was a special treat hearing him and the other Morris & Non-Fiction noms/winners give their speeches. If his Morris speech is any indicator, we’ll be in for a very special treat when he gives the Printz speech at Annual.

I would be remiss not to talk about the book buzzes. I was lucky enough to attend 4 this Midwinter either through special breakfasts, lunches, or buzz sessions. I love these sessions because I learn so much about what is coming out by all the publishers. I love the packet I walk away with.  It includes information such as titles, authors, pub dates, and descriptions, which is invaluable to me as I begin my ordering process when I return to work. I did a special Book Buzz post if you want to see what books I’m most excited about after sitting through the sessions.

Last, but not least, I want to touch on networking. Not only do I room with fellow librarians, but I have lunches and dinners with them as well. This is a time were we share programming ideas, rant and rave about books, and just talk about working in libraries in general. These meetings have lead to me having invaluable support groups that I reach out to all year long who encourage and help me to become a better Teen Services Librarian.

That my dear readers, is my ALA in a nutshell. I hope it was a good glimpse of what happens beyond the floor. This world is open to anyone who buys a full badge, including non-librarians! And if anyone has questions regarding ALA I am more than happy to answer them.


ALA: Book Buzz (from Publisher Events)

ALA: Book Buzz (from Publisher Events)

A big part of ALA is learning about new and upcoming books. This happens not only on the floor, but in special publisher book buzz sessions. I’m going to try to highlight some of the titles I feel may be lesser known (and maybe a few that aren’t) I have a feeling this may be a two parter as I sent most of my books to the library and haven’t been back yet! So there may be another one coming in the next couple of days as I go through the box and make a list for my teen reviewers. I do tend to gravitate to LGBTQ books so many of the ones I list will fall into this category. (Also, I should note I do not have ARCs of all of these, but books that will be on my TBR list as they come out)

Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie
September 2012

Seventeen-year-old Matt Foster thought that if he could only get his hands on his brother’s stuff from Iraq, he’d be able to make sense of T.J.’s death. He wasn’t expecting T.J.’s personal effects to raise even more questions about his brother’s life.

Now, even if it means pushing his dad over the edge … even if it means losing his best friend … even if it means getting expelled from school … Matt will do whatever it takes to find out the truth about his brother’s past

They read a passage of this one during the preview breakfast and I was instantly hooked. Matt’s brother ends up being gay and his questions lead him to his brother’s boyfriend. With all the media that has surrounded Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell I can’t wait to see what this book has to offer

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman
September 2012

I can’t find an official description of this one yet, but as you can tell it is about Matthew Shepard. Written in verse Newman tries to tell his story through the eyes of the various people Matthew encountered that evening. An interesting sidenote Newman was the keynote speaker for the Gay Awareness Week at Matthews school; she arrived shortly after his attack and was able to witness firsthand the effect it had on the community.

Same Sun Here
 by Silas House & Neela Vaswani
February 2012

Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them, and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City’s Chinatown, while River is a Kentucky coal miner’s son. As Meena’s family studies for citizenship exams and River’s town faces devastating mountaintop removal, this unlikely pair become pen pals, sharing thoughts and, as their camaraderie deepens, discovering common ground in their disparate experiences. With honesty and humor, Meena and River bridge the miles between them, creating a friendship that inspires bravery and defeats cultural misconceptions. Narrated in two voices, each voice distinctly articulated by a separate gifted author, this chronicle of two lives powerfully conveys the great value of being and having a friend and the joys of opening our lives to others who live beneath the same sun.

Both authors were present at the breakfast and it was interesting to hear how this book formed. The authors didn’t plan the book out and responded in character as they received the parts. They literally mailed each other their portions for the first six months (until Neela was overseas) to make the process a bit more authentic.


On the Day I Died  by Candance Fleming
July 2012

The phenomenally versatile, award-winning author, Candace Fleming, gives teen and older tween readers ten ghost stories sure to send chills up their spines. Set in White Cemetery, an actual graveyard outside Chicago, each story takes place during a different time period from the 1860’s to the present, and ends with the narrator’s death. Some teens die heroically, others ironically, but all due to supernatural causes. Readers will meet walking corpses and witness demonic posession, all against the backdrop of Chicago’s rich history—the Great Depression, the World’s Fair, Al Capone and his fellow gangsters.

This one landed on my radar because our patrons LOVE scary stories. Seriously, they ask for them all the time so I’m hoping it’ll be another strong recommendation I can give to them, especially since we’re so close to Chicago.

Sisters of Glass
by Stephanie Hemphill
March 2012

Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family on the island of Murano, the traditional home for Venetian glassmakers. Though she longs to be a glassblower herself, glassblowing is not for daughters—that is her brother’s work. Maria has only one duty to perform for her family: before her father died, he insisted that she be married into the nobility, even though her older sister, Giovanna, should rightfully have that role. Not only is Giovanna older, she’s prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her.

Maria would like nothing more than to allow her beautiful sister, who is far more able and willing to attract a noble husband, to take over this role for her. But they cannot circumvent their father’s wishes. And when a new young glassblower arrives to help the family business and Maria finds herself drawn to him, the web of conflicting emotions grows even more tangled

This one piqued my interest because it was in verse and in the Renaissance.

Jersey Angel
by Beth Ann Bauman
May 2012

It’s the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She’s not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn’t sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn’t start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn’t want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn’t want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself  spending more time with Inggy’s boyfriend, Cork. With its cast of vivid and memorable characters, this tale from the Jersey shore is sure to make some waves.

This one is for OLDER teens. I was told this several times, but it still drew my attention. I mean Jersey shore and a hot, sexy book? I’m willing to check it out. (Also, a good one to watch out to see if I’ll get any slack for having it in the library)

Happy Families
by Tanita S. Davis
May 2012

Teenage twins Ysabel and Justin Nicholas are lucky. Ysabel’s jewelry designs have already caught the eyes of the art world and Justin’s intelligence and drive are sure to gain him entrance into the most prestigious of colleges. They even like their parents. But their father has a secret—one that threatens to destroy the twins’ happy family and life as they know it.

Over the course of spring break, Ysabel and Justin will be forced to come to terms with their dad’s new life, but can they overcome their fears to piece together their happy family again?

Honestly, I’ve seen this one floating around, but I’ve bypassed it. The initial description didn’t catch me. However, sitting in on the buzz I’ve learned that their father is a cross dresser (perhaps trans) it spun the book into a whole new light for me. I’ll be checking this one out for sure.

 Starters by Lissa Price
March 2012

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

My teens (and I!) love dystopians. This is a different premise that I’ve yet to hear of and that sparked my interest enough to make my list.

When You Were Mine
 by Rebecca Serle
May 2012

Rosie knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. They are best friends, next door neighbors, and the soon-to-be cutest couple in their senior class. Rosie has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her–and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But just before their relationship becomes completely official, Rosie’s cousin Juliet moves back into town. Juliet, who used to be Rosie’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rosie is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rosie starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends.

A modern day retelling of Romeo and Juliet through Rosiland’s eyes. Yeah, I was hooked with that. (Hear my inner English fangirl self screaming)

The Pregnancy Project
by Gaby Rodriguez
January 2012

Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others’ expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process

I remember when this story made headlines. I’m super interested in hearing her whole story and how it unraveled.

Counting Backwards
 by Laura Lascarso
August 2012

When troubled Taylor Truwell is caught with a stolen car and lands in court for resisting arrest, her father convinces the judge of an alternative to punishment: treatment in a juvenile psychiatric correctional facility. Sunny Meadows is anything but the easy way out, and Taylor has to fight hard just to hold on to her sanity as she battles her parents, her therapist, and vicious fellow patients. But even as Taylor struggles to hold on to her stubborn former self, she finds herself relenting as she lets in two unlikely friends-Margo, a former child star and arsonist, and AJ, a mysterious boy who doesn’t speak. In this striking debut, Laura Lascarso weaves together a powerful story of anger and self-destruction, hope and love.

They hooked me when they called it  Girl, Interrupted meets Looking for Alaska. I was sold with that line alone! But the plot sounds good and one I’m looking forward to.


And that ends the books that I learned about at the buzz session. There will another post for sure highlighting the ones I saw on the floor.

Fabulous Films for Young Adults

Fabulous Films for Young Adults

As some of you may know, I spent my second year as a committee member on Fabulous Films for Young Adults. Each year we create a list surrounding a theme; this years was Song and Dance. I’m not sure what I’m all allowed to say and what I’m not so I’m going to play it on the safe side. We had 100+ nominations come in, of which we had to whittle it down to no more than 25. Let me tell you this was no small feat! It took us hours of persuading, arguing (NICELY), and pleading to get our final titles. There were hearts broken as beloved titles were given the ax, but all of us agreed we ended up with an AMAZING list. So without further ado, here is our list:

  1. 8 mile
  2. Almost Famous
  3. Bride and Prejudice
  4. Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
  5. Drumline
  6. Idlewild
  7. Newsies
  8. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  9. Once Upon A Mattress
  10. Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (the new one w/Brandy and Whitney)
  11. Save the Last Dance
  12. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  13. Selena
  14. The Sound of Music
  15. Step Up
  16. Strictly Ballroom
  17. Sweeney Todd
  18. West Side Story
  19. Chopes
  20. Every Little Step
  21. Foo Fighters: Back and Forth
  22. Mao’s Last Dancer
  23. Only When I Dance
  24. War Dance

Isn’t that a fantastic list??? We had such a great committee this year and I can’t wait to work with them again next year as I take over as chair! While our theme is not official yet, I can tell you we have a couple of really good suggestions I’m excited about. We do take field submissions, so I hope once Feb 1st rolls around all of you will nominate a title. (Check out Kelly’s post on why field nominations are so important)

ALA in a Nutshell

ALA in a Nutshell

My favorite part about ALA is that every conference is a different experience. Midwinter was about connecting with other librarians and discovering an amazing support system that I totally depend on now. This time around I would say it was more about connecting with authors and publishers. It was an amazing all around experience, my only sadness was I wasn’t able to see my girls more than I did. It will be a long six months before I get to see them all again.

There were several sessions I tried to make it to this time around. I think the most useful one for me was the Website session. While I already do a lot of the things they spoke about, I walked out with several ideas I’m hoping to add to our teen site. Although, if I had been able to stay for the full mobile service session I’m pretty sure I would have walked away with even more useful tips. I am extremely anxious to get my hand on all the resources that will be posted on the YALSA blog soon. I walked out with great information in just the first 45 minutes!

Unfortunately, the session I was looking forward to the most is the one I willingly walked out of. I didn’t need to waste an hour being told that there are challenges to serving older teens and 20-somethings. I already knew that, which is why I was at the session. I was looking for useful information to help me overcome those challenges. Yes, it is possible that that information came in after I walked out, but it shouldn’t have taken over an hour to get to it. And believe me, I was definitely not the only one who walked out of this session. It still makes me quite sad, especially since I would love to help out this age group since they don’t fully belong anywhere on the library service scale

My committee meetings went amazingly. I’m so excited about how much work Fab Films has already accomplished this year. While I can’t say how our voting went, I can say I am very happy with the results so far. It will be an interesting Midwinter though! I am still very nervous about how long it will take us to narrow it down to 25 titles. We have so many good nominations this year. AND we’re still looking for more. If you haven’t already, be sure to go to our nomination form and help us out.

My floor time was extremely limited this time around. I spent maybe 3 or 4 hours total over the 4 days. And a lot of that was spent in lines to get autographed copies as prizes. I will say the floor was extremely hectic and chaotic. I have never seen it this way, especially on Friday night. ARCs were gone before you could blink and it was just overall crazy. There were even boxes of books that came up missing, making be feel extremely sorry for the publisher reps. This does mean I missed a lot of the “hot” books, but that’s okay. My teens sent me with a wish list and I managed to get the bulk of what they wanted, which makes me feel accomplished. The only true downside is that I didn’t get to find out what the reps where most excited about beyond a few publishers. Without Tess, Variant, and You Against Me were three that stuck out in my mind as MUST READS thanks to small talks with reps. I have made a full list if anyone is interested in seeing what I was able to get.

The meat of my time was spent with publishers and, OH, how much fun did I have! I won’t bore you with all the details; instead I’ll give you some highlights of my favorite moments

  1. Sitting next to Katherine Tegen during dinner and hearing about some possible upcoming books and her view on some teen issues. It was great giving feedback on the “darker” issues for teens. (As a side note, this dinner was truly fabulous and one I’ll never forget.)
  2. Being at a dance party with Laini Taylor. And while I didn’t participate in the conga line I did tape it! Something that fun needed to be documented and I was more than happy to do it. It was also fun to give Laini one of out ILOA buttons. (Two others were given to Kirsten Hubbard and Blythe Woolston)
  3. Being about to sit down with Lerner Publisher and give them feedback on teen books and more. While I can’t talk about what happened during this focus group, I will say it was a great discussion. While there were only about 5 other teen service librarians there we were able to give a lot of insight on what our teens are looking for. It was fascinating to see the similarities and differences between our teens.
  4. Finding out that Jessica Martinez could have been an almost teacher! We were talking before the panel/speed dating began and I found out that she taught at my high school the year after I graduated. Talk about small world! Of course, finding out she’s a violinist, has a literary crush on John Green (for his intelligent writing), and knits just made me like her even more.
  5. Hearing Michelle Hodkin describe her book as Romeo & Juliet meets Alfred Hitchcock. That line alone made me want to read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer even more. Of course, learning that she was a lawyer and some of the cases she worked made her fascinating as a person. I wish we could have talked to her for hours instead of just 8 minutes.


And that my friends, is my ALA in a nutshell. Other than that I discovered how passionate I am about seeing changes happen in YALSA and hope to somehow help them come about. I know I left a lot of things out, but I feel like this post is too long as it is! If there is anything in particular you want to know about, just leave me a comment.


ALA: Five Things You Missed & Five Things You Didn’t Miss

ALA: Five Things You Missed & Five Things You Didn’t Miss

Right now I am in my hotel room after a long three days of conferencing at ALA Annual. Instead of writing a giant dialog about exactly what I did every minute of the day, I just wanted to give you a brief couple of highlights about what you’ve been missing if you’re not here and a couple of things that you certainly *aren’t* missing if you’re not here!

(Also, if you are here and haven’t met up with me, gimme a tweet and I’ll try to see you tomorrow!)

Things You Missed.
1. Networking and visiting! This is my absolute favorite part of ALA — to get to see friends that I see only a few times a year, and to be surrounded by like-minded individuals! Also, I’ve met some *amazing* new friends this year!

2. Authors. Today, I met Mo Willems! And Maureen Johnson! And Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler! A.S. King! And that’s *just* today!

3. Ridiculously good food. I just got back from an almost four hour dinner where I had a giant lasagna and these delicious blueberry ricotta frittatas and I am sad just thinking about going back home to regular food.

4. New ideas and wonderful speeches. I always feel energized with new ideas about programming, and hearing speeches from authors! But today, I attended my first Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) session and got to hear teens speak their minds about books. These were some of the most impassioned teens I have ever heard (outside of my own library, of course)! It was a pleasure to have been there.

5. Books. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing books that I’m hearing about, scheduled for publication next fall. And I can’t wait to surprise my teens with sequels to a lot of the books we’ve either read in book club or ones that I’ve booktalked to them!

Things You Don’t Miss.
1. Sore EVERYTHING. My shoulders kill, my feet have been on fire for nearly 40% of this conference, and I wake up in the morning and can barely move my back!

2. The weather. Now, I’m not a wuss by any means, but it is hot and humid here. I got some sunburn walking to the convention center today, at 7:45 this morning. And the convention center is only two blocks away!

3. Crowds. ALA is crowded this year! At one point today, I could not move because I was surrounded by other people who weren’t moving.

4. Getting lost. Whoops. I got lost this morning in the convention center because the third floor doesn’t go all the way through! I got trapped between rooms 333-357, with no way to get to 383 without going down to the 2nd floor and then to go back up.

5. Living out of a suitcase. I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted an article of clothing that’s somewhere at home!

Anyway, I have one more full day and two more sleeps until I leave for home. Tomorrow, I am working the membership booth for YALSA, attending a publisher lunch, going to the Printz reception at night, and trying to cram in a ton of time with friends!