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Category: Book Talks

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.

Book Spotlight: Skeleton Creek

Book Spotlight: Skeleton Creek

Book Spotlight: Skeleton Creek
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
Series: Skeleton Creek #1
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: Feb 2009
Pages: 240

Skeleton Creek has a secret. Perhaps even more than one...something Sarah and Ryan are trying to find out. The mystery leads them to an old, abandon dredge; a place full of danger that neither should have entered into. Of course, nothing can stop them from finding out the truth. Not an accident that leaves Ryan housebound or their parents forbidding them to talk to each other. And especially not the ghost of Old Joe Bush.

After 6 days of school visits with 800 teens this was hands down the favorite. As a non-traditional book I don’t think this book gets a lot of push among libraries, which is a shame. Carman has created a fun interactive book that is sure to get even the most reluctant readers excited. Part journal (Ryan) and part videos (Sarah) this book has that spooky element that my kids love.

I did show one of Sarah’s videos (password: theraven, jump about half way through) during the visits, which was truly sold the book. The room erupted in talk once it was finished and they begged me to show it again, especially the boys. It was fun to see the teens get so excited and walk out talking about it as they headed back to classes(even when it was the first book talked about). In fact, they were so excited about this book that both school librarians had to go and buy it afterwards for their library so the teens could check it out next year. (End of the year = school library closed) I’ve even been told that several have already come into the public library asking to check it out.

While Skeleton Creek was the top favorite, there were several other that stood out among the 20 different books I book talked. They were: Divergent, Blood Red Road, I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets, Meanwhile, and True Meaning of Smekday. If anyone would like to know more about those books, just leave a comment and I’ll cover them on Thursday!

Middle School Book Talks

Middle School Book Talks

In Public Library Land, we are entering full speed ahead for Summer Reading. Honestly, it’ll be what a lot of my posts focus on the next couple of months. Being the only teen librarian means all my energy goes into making sure we have a good SRP! Plus, I love sharing my successes (or failures) with fellow teen advocates.

I know you’re probably thinking, But wait! Summer Reading isn’t for another month! True, but a lot of the month of May is going to be spent promoting our SRP and that means school visits! (In my case middle schools.) It also means book talks. So, I thought I would share, over the month of May, the books I will be talking about.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
: 487

Welcome to a futuristic Chicago. Society has been divided into five factions based on a virtue — Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Tris, at 16, has decided which faction she will belong. She’ll say good-bye to family and all that she knew of life as an Abnegation and begin anew as a Dauntless. The only catch? Only 10 initiates will move on to become full fledged members. Tris’ courage will be challenged every step of the way as she proves she has what it takes to be Dauntless.

What grades: 6th, 7th, and 8th. While it may not work for all 6th graders, I think most will be able to handle it, especially since they’ll technically be 7th graders a few weeks after I visit.

Why I picked it: Beyond that fact that it’s amazing?! (Because it is!) Full of action it’s a book that will appeal to both girls and boys. It is a great read-a-like for Hunger Games, which my kids adore. A HUGE bonus factor for my area is that Roth is local; it was fun to read a book where I knew exactly where they were.

Teaser: Reading pg 53 (“They’re jumping off”) to pg 58 (I don’t think. I just bend my knees and jump)

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Saba’s world has just shattered by a killer sandstorm and four mysterious horseman. They killed her pa and captured her twin brother, Lugh. Now she must leave Silverlake, the only home she has ever known, and brave a world that is unknown to her. A world that full of  lawless people that will manipulate her to earn gold. Saba soon discovers that saving her brother will be much harder than it seems.  Rescuing Lugh will mean defeating a corrupt society from the inside. And with the help from her friends, Jack and the Free Hawks, they may just have what it takes.

What grades: 6th, 7th, and 8th. Again, may not be suitable for all 6th grades, but the violence is no worse than Hunger Games, which I know they’ve read.

Why I picked it: Another solid read-a-like for Hunger Games and good for girls and boys. Plus, Saba kicks butt and takes names. I love, love, LOVE when new strong females appear on the scene.  The stylization is a little wonky (thinking old southern talk & odd spellings) that takes a bit to get used to, but once you do it flows nicely. Also, I wanted to highlight our reviewer program and this was the biggest buzz of my June ARCs.

Teaser: I haven’t been able to find a good read-aloud passage for this one, especially with the style/language, but if anyone has a good suggestion please leave it in the comments! I’m leaning towards skipping the normal teaser and do more a pre-pub/reviewer hype instead.