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Teenreads Monthly Update

Early November 2015
November 13, 2015
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Fictional Feasts with
The Weasleys' gathering at the Burrow. I expect Thanksgiving to be slightly less pajama-clad.
The Weasleys' gathering at the Burrow. I expect Thanksgiving to be slightly less pajama-clad.

Hi Teenreaders,

I just bought tickets home for Thanksgiving, so even though it's a couple of weeks away, my mind is filled with thoughts of turkey, sweet potatoes and apple pie.

Aside from delicious foodstuffs (and the resulting food coma), Thanksgiving is all about family. The last Thanksgiving I celebrated was particularly exciting because my family increased by a generation (i.e. we were joined by my nephew, Charlie). This year's goal is to teach him how to say “gobble, gobble” before November 26th…that’s a big step beyond “baaa baaa,” though, so we’ll see how it goes. There’s also my red-headed nana who is sure to entertain with her less-than-appropriate jokes, and I can count on the annual debate amongst my cousins about her legendary chocolate cake. (Should it be yellow cake next year? Marble? Should we not make it anymore because only Shara really eats it? The answer, my friends, is that we must make it every year and it can only ever be chocolate. Fight over.)

While I obviously love spending the holiday with my own family, I can’t help but imagine what it would be like to ring in the fourth Thursday of November with some of my favorite fictional moms, dads and siblings. You can get a glimpse of a few of my daydreams, below:

The Weasleys (from the Harry Potter series): J.K. Rowling has allowed us to join in on several feasts with the Weasleys, whether it’s summer meals out on the patio or a slightly on-edge Christmas in HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. But what if this distinctly British clan decided to go American for a day and trade meat pies for cranberry sauce? I imagine that Molly Weasley could whip up some delicious gravy with that wand of hers, and that the Weasley twins (this fantasy is taking place early in the Harry Potter universe) would have a glorious time pranking all the guests --- don’t leave your plate unattended. I can also imagine an incredibly touching scene where everyone goes around the table expressing what they’re thankful for. Percy would have an uncharacteristic moment of warmth when discussing the family that inspired him, and Ron would mention his two best friends, Harry and Hermione (both in attendance). Molly would burst into tears and hug every single person at the table.

The Penderwicks (from The Penderwicks series): We’ve seen the four lovable Penderwick sisters --- Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty --- do everything from spend a summer vacation at the beautiful Arundel Estate to watch their father get married, and we’ve loved every moment of it. What could be more fun, then, than attending a Thanksgiving meal with these lovely ladies? Rosalind would of course call a MOPS (Meeting of the Penderwick Sisters) so they could plan all of the details of the meal, and she would help with much of the dinner preparations. Sabrina Starr writer Jane would compose a toast to their father and the family as a whole, and Skye would organize a family football game. Little Batty, who wouldn’t want to leave anyone (human or otherwise) out, would let some baby bunnies and squirrels into the dining room to join the fun. Chaos would surely ensue, and it would be hilarious to witness.

The Buckets (from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY): While they might not have a lot at the beginning of the story, I can only imagine what Thanksgiving might look like for this wonderful family after Charlie inherits Willy Wonka’s factory. Three of his four grandparents would still be bedridden, so they’d have to eat on trays, and Charlie, his parents and Grandpa Joe would sit at small tables on either side of the four-posters. While the meal itself might be ho-hum, the desserts would be otherworldly. Willy Wonka and his Oompa-Loompas would have dreamt up endless heaps of sweets for this special day, including pies that make you whizz around the room and ice creams that taste like whatever you want. They’d concoct a cake as big as a small hut made of layers of chocolate, custard and blackberries, and, of course, classic Wonka Bars would be sprinkled across the blankets. Grandpa Joe, ever the entertainer, would skip and jig around the room in excitement, and everyone would take turns sharing their favorite memories.

The Fellowship of the Ring (from The Lord of the Rings series): While they’re not a family in a traditional sense, there’s no denying that the members of Frodo Baggins’ entourage --- The Fellowship of the Ring --- care for each other, protect one another and bicker the way any blood relatives would. Can you imagine feasting with these fellows? Merry and Pippin would surely eat the most, having been denied second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon and afternoon tea in preparation for the big meal, and Legolas and Gimli would get in a good-natured and ever-predictable debate about who were better cooks, elves or dwarves. Galdalf the Grey would make a surprise visit and entertain the group with some festive fireworks, and the whole group would get a much-needed break from fretting about that incredibly magical --- and dangerous --- piece of jewelry.

If you could celebrate Thanksgiving with a family from a book, who would you choose? Email and let me know!

So happy (impending) holidays, and I hope your stomach isn’t groaning too much in anticipation! In the meantime, be sure to check out our Holiday Bundle of Cheer contest (live today), our interview with WOLF BY WOLF author Ryan Graudin, and a huge slew of reviews.

--- Shara Zaval (


Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contest --- Enter to Win Today!

Here at Teenreads, we're kicking off the holiday season with our Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contest and Feature. As our gift to you, we are spotlighting some amazing books. Five lucky readers will win a copy of each featured title to curl up with this holiday season, along with some incredibly festive goodies.

This year's featured titles include:

IF YOU'RE LUCKY by Yvonne Prinz
INFINITE IN BETWEEN by Carolyn Mackler
RIDERS by Veronica Rossi
THIEF OF LIES: A Library Jumpers Novel by Brenda Drake
UNTAMED: A Splintered Companion by A.G. Howard
WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler

Fill out this form by Thursday, December 17th at noon ET to be one of five lucky winners.

Click here to enter our Holiday Bundle of Cheer contest!

Ryan Graudin Interview

You may have heard us talking up our Twitter interview with WOLF BY WOLF author Ryan Graudin in our last Teenreads newsletter, which we held along with the folks from the Miami Book Fair where Ryan will be appearing next weekend. We're excited to say that it was lots of fun, and we loved having the audience ask questions too! Since it was only half an hour, though, we didn't get to ask her all of our questions (and believe me, we had a lot to be curious about).

So what's a YA site to do? Conduct the rest of the interview via email, of course! And you, lucky readers, get to see both halves. The first includes our Tweets back and forth from the November 4th chat, and the second includes the longer questions/answers that email affords (no 140-character limit there!).

You can read both parts of the interview here, and learn all about WOLF BY WOLF, Ryan's travels around the world and what it was like to ride a motorcycle.

Which format do you like better? Twitter or the traditional interview? Drop me a line at and let me know!

Click here to read our interview with Ryan Graudin!

Mix-it-Up Bookshelf
Every fall, schools around the country participate in National Mix-it-Up Day and encourage students to connect with new people, especially in the cafeteria. "Mixing it up" doesn't just happen in the lunchroom, though --- it happens in the library, too! As it turns out, plenty of authors have been thinking outside the box (er, covers?) these days and shaking up the traditional book form.

Some infuse their stories with modern communication, whether texts or IMs, and others intersperse them with letters and diary entries. Some authors make images a central part of their novels, and still more go full "documentary style," creating books that are a collage of fake newspaper articles, interviews, drawings and more.

In this bookshelf, we rounded up 20 books that "mixed it up," from Alyson Noel's CRUEL SUMMER --- where 17-year-old Colby communicates about her summer in Greece through blog entries and emails --- to Ransom Riggs' MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, which utilizes pictures to tell the story of a forgotten time loop.

So if you're sick of that same old book format, look no further --- these books will add plenty of variety to your to-be-read list.

Click here to see our Mix-It-Up bookshelf!

Live in Miami? Make Sure to Check out the Miami Book Fair Nov 20 - 22!

Do you live in the Miami area? If so, lucky you, and not just because of the weather! On November 20 - 22, you can head to the Miami Book Fair, one of the best book fairs in the country, and see tons of YA book stars, including Melissa de la Cruz, Victoria Aveyard and Ryan Graudin.

Click here to learn more about the Miami Book Fair!

Now in Stores: THE GIRL WITH THE WRONG NAME by Barnabas Miller

THE GIRL WITH THE WRONG NAME by Barnabas Miller (Youth Fiction, Paranormal)

Ever since The Night in Question left her with a hideous scar and no memory of what happened, Theo Lane has been using a hidden button cam to keep the world at bay. She spends the entire summer in a Manhattan café, secretly documenting random “subjects.” Her most interesting subject is the Lost Boy, a stranger who comes in every day at the same time. When she finally gets up the courage to talk to him she discovers why: the Lost Boy, Andy, is waiting for someone who said she’d meet him there…four days ago. Intoxicated by Andy’s love for this mystery girl, Theo agrees to help him find her, and her unhealthy obsession pulls her into a perilous, mind-bending journey. But is it really Andy’s world she’s investigating? Or is it her own?

Click here to learn more about the book.


Now in Stores: DANGEROUS LIES by Becca Fitzpatrick

DANGEROUS LIES by Becca Fitzpatrick (Youth Fiction, Romance)

Another thrilling read from the queen of YA smoulder, Becca Fitzpatrick. If you enjoyed HUSH, HUSH, you'll love DANGEROUS LIES...Stella Gordon's life is a lie. She does not belong in Thunder Basin, Nebraska. As the key witness in a murder trial, Stella is under witness protection, living a life she doesn't want. No one can know who she really is. Not even Chet Falconer, her hot, enigmatic neighbor. But against her better judgment, Stella finds herself falling under Chet's spell...A storm is brewing. Is Stella really safe in Thunder Basin? And will Chet be her shelter, or her downfall ...?

Click here to learn more about the book.


Now in Stores: WINTER: Book Four of the Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer

WINTER: Book Four of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Youth Fiction, Fantasy)

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend --- the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as her stepmother, Queen Levana, believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.

Click here to learn more about the book.


On the Blog

Fairy Tale Adaptation Series --- This second post from Teen Board member Alison S. explores the trend of fairy tale adaptations by discussing Janette Rallison's MY FAIR GODMOTHER.

Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone --- Howard Shapiro, author of I WAS PICKED: The John Challis Story, guest posts about breaking out of his own comfort zone of graphic novels to write the biography of John Challis.

Introduction to Espionage Novels --- Teen Board member Pranshu A. talks about her favorite genre and suggests some espionage/spy/thriller authors to check out.

Day By Day, List By List --- E. Katherine Kottaras, author of HOW TO BE BRAVE, guest posts about why lists --- especially bucket lists --- are so important to her.

Until We Meet Again --- Renee Collins, author of UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, talks about who she would want to meet from the past and why.

Click here to read our blog!

Teen Board Update

Teen Board Question: Although it’s a whole year until we elect a new president, you can’t go a day in the news without hearing something about one of the candidates! In honor of Election Day, which falls on the first Tuesday of each November, we asked our Teen Board members: If you could choose any book character to be the President of the United States, who would you pick, and why? As it turns out, they think that a wide range of characters would be perfect for the top job. Harleen K. would vote for Maxon from Kiera Cass's THE SELECTION since he is an effective, experienced ruler, has a cabinet to help him and listens to others, while Maggie D. would choose Four from Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT because he has leadership experience as well as "a good amount of compassion and technological prowess." See all of their answers here!

Reviews: Chris C. said that TRAFFICK by Ellen Hopkins "taught [him] to really consider what other people have been through before judging their actions," and Juliette G. called FOR THE RECORD by Charlotte Huang "a fresh, fun look at the music industry." Be sure to check out all of the Teen Board members' reviews later in the newsletter!


Books on Screen

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 comes to theaters November 20th, and we can't wait! Here are some ways to celebrate and get excited for the final installment. May the odds be ever in your favor.

  • Bake Mockingjay-shaped cupcakes, a delicious and fun treat!
  • Follow the movie's official Twitter account to get the inside scoop on the film and the actors.
  • Watch (or re-watch) the trailer.
  • Brush up on your Hunger Games knowledge!
  • Learn how to braid your hair like Katniss' iconic style.
  • Read this hilarious interview with the cast.
  • And, of course, you can always reread The Hunger Games series!
Click here to see our full November Books on Screen feature!

November's Cool and New Roundup
This month’s cool and new roundup includes WINTER, the conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s bestselling fantasy series that adds a futuristic, robotic twist to classic fairytales; DA VINCI’S TIGER by L. M. Elliott, which follows the story of real-life Renaissance woman Ginerva de Benci, the inspiration of one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s earliest paintings; and NEED by Joelle Charbonneau, an intense thriller exploring the dark side of social media.

In paperback titles this month, we have GOING OVER by Beth Kephart, a Booklist Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth book that tells the tale of two young lovers separated by the Berlin Wall in 1983; THE RETRIBUTION OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin, the breathtaking conclusion to the always-unexpected The Martha Dyer Trilogy; and Grammy-winning, debut author Cynthia Weil’s I'M GLAD I DID, a mystery entrenched in the tunes of the 1960s.

Click here to see November's Cool and New roundup!

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

New! THE AUGUST 5 by Jenna Helland (Youth Fiction, Fantasy)

Fourteen-year-old Tommy Shore lives a life of privilege. He is the son of the chief administrator of Aeren --- the most important man on the islands. Fifteen-year-old Tamsin Henry has grown up knowing only poverty, but she is the daughter of a revolutionary who longs to give her and their people more. Ordinarily, Tommy and Tamsin would never cross paths, but on the day of a violent and deadly revolt, chance brings them together. Now the world waits to hear the fate of the August 5, five men led by, and including, Tamsin's father and captured during the uprising. As tensions between the government and the rebels escalate, Tommy uncovers a brutal truth about his father. How will he ever get Tamsin to trust that he wants to help her cause when she believes he stands for everything she's fighting against? --- Reviewed by Asia H., Teen Board member.

New! SOUNDLESS by Richelle Mead (Youth Fiction, Fantasy)

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom. When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation. But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon. --- Reviewed by Jeanna Michel.

New! FOR THE RECORD by Charlotte Huang (Youth Fiction, Performing Arts)

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like…until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything. Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level --- not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated. Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band --- and their fans --- love her. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule…Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t? --- Reviewed by Juliette G., Teen Board member.

New! ALL THE MAJOR CONSTELLATIONS by Pratima Cranse (Youth Fiction, Family Life)

Andrew is leaving high school behind and looking ahead to a fresh start at college and distance from his not-so-secret infatuation: Laura Lettel. But when a terrible accident leaves him without the companionship of his two best friends, Andrew is cast adrift and alone --- until Laura unexpectedly offers him comfort, friendship and the support of a youth group of true believers, fundamentalist Christians with problems and secrets of their own. --- Reviewed by Ariel G., Teen Board member.

New! MARKED by Sue Tingey (Youth Fiction, Paranormal Mystery)

When Lucky is called in to investigate a spectral disturbance at the all-girls school she attended as a child, she isn't surprised. She herself had had a terrifying confrontation with the troubled spirits of two girls who died in the attic room. But when Lucky goes up to the attic, she discovers that the vicious little girls are the least of the problem --- a demon has been released into this world, a creature of such malevolence that even the spirits of the two girls are afraid. When the demon demands that Kayla be handed over to him, Lucky realizes that this case will be like no other she has ever experienced. --- Reviewed by Cat S., Teen Board member.

New! HOW TO BE BRAVE by E. Katherine Kottaras (Youth Fiction, Family Issues)

Georgia has always lived life on the sidelines: uncomfortable with her weight, awkward, never been kissed, terrified of failing. Then her mom dies and her world is turned upside down. But instead of getting lost in her pain, she decides to enjoy life while she still can by truly living for the first time. She makes a list of ways to be brave --- all the things she's always wanted to do but has been too afraid to try: learn to draw, try out for cheerleading, cut class, ask him out, kiss him, see what happens from there. --- Reviewed by Hafsah K., Teen Board member.

New! NEED by Joelle Charbonneau (Youth Fiction, Social Issues)

Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need…regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature. --- Reviewed by Laura T., Teen Board member.

New! UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN by Renee Collins (Youth Fiction, Historical Fiction)

The last thing Cassandra wants is to spend the summer before her senior year marooned in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. Cass craves drama and adventure, which is hard when she just feels stuck. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on her family's private beach, claiming that it is his property --- and that the year is 1925 --- Cass is swept into a mystery 100 years in the making. --- Reviewed by Vaishnavi S., Teen Board member.

New! TRAFFICK by Ellen Hopkins (Youth Fiction, Family Life)

TRAFFICK reintroduces us to Eden, Seth, Whitney, Ginger and Cody from Ellen Hopkins' bestselling novel, TRICKS. Now, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out? How these five teenagers face the aftermath of their decisions and experiences is the soul of this story that exposes the dark, ferocious underbelly of the child trafficking trade. Heartwrenching and hopeful, TRAFFICK takes us on five separate but intertwined journeys through the painful challenges of recovery, rehabilitation and renewal to forgiveness and love. --- Reviewed by Chris C., Teen Board member.

New! A STEP TOWARD FALLING by Cammie McGovern (Youth Fiction, Friendship)

Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing --- until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all. Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they're starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most? --- Reviewed by Levi V., Teen Board member.

New! ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT by Ann Jacobus (Youth Fiction, Social Issues)

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on the right track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can't shake, leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city --- and way out of her depth. --- Reviewed by Janine C., Teen Board member.


November Poll

Halloween may be over, but Friday the 13th falls this month! Which curse from a YA novel is the worst of them all?:

  • Edward Cullen’s vampirism in TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer --- It’s hard to focus in class when you’re hearing voices in your head and can’t stop thinking about drinking your crush’s blood.
  • The “gift” of obedience from ELLA ENCHANTED --- Not being able to make your own decisions? No thanks.
  • Madame Zeroni’s curse in HOLES by Louis Sachar --- You wouldn’t be wishing for summer again if you were doomed to dig trenches in a desert all day.
  • The grey world of THE GIVER by Lois Lowry --- Say goodbye to the blue sky, green grass, red strawberries…
  • Kyle Kingsbury’s beastliness in BEASTLY by Alex Flinn --- It’s the inside that counts, but it still can’t be easy…

Last month, we asked you which bookish athletic competition would you be most interested in playing. The largest percentage (66%) wants to chase the golden snitch and play the exciting game of Quidditch from HARRY POTTER. Next up, with 15% of the votes, is the battle room from ENDER'S GAME --- turns out a lot of readers are techies too, just like Andrew Wiggin. And what came in last? That would be The Blackwater Trail bike race in STONE RIDER --- I guess you're more into reading whizzes than daredevils. To see all the results from the October poll, click here.

Click here to take our poll!

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