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Early August
August 8, 2014

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Books are the Best Travel Buddies

Hey Teenreaders,

I hope that your August thus far has been packed with beach trips, barbeques and sunshine. I’m sorry to report that mine hasn’t been filled with such typical summer fare --- instead, I’ve spent most of my evenings on the subway, going from one neighborhood to the next in the horror that is known as “apartment searching in New York.” While this has mostly been, to put it lightly, the opposite of fun, there are a couple of positives.

First, I’ve gotten to see tons of areas that I never spent time in before. Everyone says that New York City is big, but you don’t realize it until you step out of your bubble. Going from Manhattan to Brooklyn…to another neighborhood in Brooklyn…to another neighborhood in Brooklyn…to a neighborhood in Queens…to home is like a people-watching tour-de-force, plus an opportunity to test out a fair amount of the “dollar pizza” joints dotting this city’s many corners.

Second, I’ve had so much reading time --- I’m definitely that person awkwardly balancing a book as I’m squished between four people, one suitcase, and a giant tote bag with a questionable smell on the subway. And so, here is a homage to the books that have kept me company on the MTA this month:

- THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE by Adele Griffin --- I could not put this down. This novel is a faux literary documentary of a teenage artist who tragically died at 18 --- she fell off of a bridge while creating some installation art. You learn about Addy’s life through interviews with her parents, art teachers, best friend and ex-boyfriends, as well as an eclectic mix of newspaper articles, photographs and examples of her paintings. I got such a complete picture of Addison that I found myself questioning whether or not this book was actually fiction --- I even did some internet research to confirm! Although this isn’t told in a traditional narrative style, it’s not confusing at all. I got a thorough, multi-faceted picture of this one-of-a-kind girl, who was simultaneously sensitive and wild, selfish and loving, eclectic and vulnerable. I’d recommend it, wholly.

- BEETLE BOY by Margaret Willey --- BEETLE BOY follows Charlie, an 18-year-old with a broken leg and difficult past, including a mother who abandoned him, a father who made him write children’s stories and dress up like a beetle, and an intense amount of guilt about leaving his brother behind when he found a better living situation. As Charlie’s girlfriend tries to learn more about his childhood, Charlie must begrudgingly face the feelings he’s pushed under the surface for so long. There is no large scale world-building or epic first love story here --- BEETLE BOY is very small scale, but oddly captivating. I found it endearing and quirky, tough and off-the-beaten path in a way that I tend to enjoy. It feels more adult than YA, and I would recommend it to older teens looking for a thoroughly different voice.

- I LOVE I HATE I MISS MY SISTER by Amelie Sarn, translated by Y. Maudet --- I heard about this book at a Random House meeting and it sounded amazing, so the editor sent me a copy (thanks, Rebecca!). It’s about two Muslim sisters growing up in France --- Sohane, who is deeply religious, and Djelila, who is secular…and was brutally murdered a year ago by a group of Muslim extremist boys in her housing project. Now, Sohane is left without her best friend (and worst enemy), and must reflect on their complicated relationship, their varying beliefs, and the prejudice that they both faced for opposite reasons. This book is lyrical and deeply emotional. At times I thought the language was a bit awkward (it might have been a translation issue), but overall this slim volume is packed with feeling and important questions that will stick with readers long after they put it down.

- INSIDE CHARLIE’S CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Lucy Mangan --- You know how every little kid has a handful of movies that they watch over and over and over again? Along with An American Tale and The Chipmunk Adventure, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was one of mine. I can remember the opening credits perfectly (and couldn’t watch them without eating part of a Hershey’s bar), and if I could be transplanted into any movie scene ever made, I might just go to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Room and scoop some marshmallow out of a giant mushroom. Anyway, let’s just say that I had high expectations for this book, and it didn’t disappoint! Roald Dahl fans will love the sneak peek at his writing hut and insight into the story’s early drafts, and fans of both films will drastically increase their trivia knowledge. Who knew that it was Gene Wilder’s idea to do a somersault while greeting the Golden Ticket winners, and that he suggested they sew pockets into his coat? Maybe they’ll make one about MATILDA, next!

- 100 SIDEWAYS MILES by Andrew Smith --- I’m in the middle of this one now, and I have a confession: it’s my first Andrew Smith novel. I’m thoroughly impressed with his quirky style and offbeat characters --- a boy who survived a dead horse falling on him as a child, and now has epilepsy and an intriguing scar on his back, thinks in distance instead of time and is mildly obsessed with atoms? A best friend who is the school’s baseball star, class clown and Argentine beauty (a high school trifecta if there ever was one), chews tobacco almost constantly and has the world’s luckiest “relationship” with the foreign exchange student? How does Andrew come up with this…and make it come off as totally ordinary? Despite my appreciation for the voice and quirkiness, I have to admit that it feels a bit too stylized for me. We are bombarded with references to miles and atoms, and while I realize that that’s how the protagonist (Finn) thinks, I’m finding it distracting. It’s still interesting, though, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

So that’s that! Are you reading anything interesting on the subway…or train, car, plane, bus or boat? Let me know at, on Teenreads’ page on Facebook or on Twitter!

And lastly, a quick congratulations to our Summer Beach Bag winners: Amanda from Fordyce, AR; Anna from Bath, PA; Jessica from Lawrenceburg, KY; Noelia from Gresham, OR; and Taylor from Little Cedar, IA.

If you didn’t win, don’t worry --- as you’ll see below, there are contests aplenty to enter, including a huge back-to-school giveaway and a chance to win a signed copy of CONTAMINATED by Em Garner. And you can also win a bestselling YA book by sharing your opinion in our survey and helping to name a real YA website! What's cooler than being an influencer?


--- Shara (

Back to School Book Bag Contest
Even though summer is winding down and a deep-seated dread may be beginning to settle in your stomach, has something for you to celebrate the back-to-school season. In our second Back to School Book Bag Giveaway, we're giving five winners a copy of each of the featured titles below and a bag! Enter between now and Monday, September 22nd at noon ET for your chance to win.

This year's featured Back to School Book Bag Giveaway titles include:

A DIFFERENT ME by Deborah Blumenthal
THE FASHION BOOK by various editors
GHOST HOUSE by Alexandra Adornetto
LET'S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid
THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE by Sarah Lynn Scheerger
THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater
YOLO (The Internet Girls) by Lauren Myracle

Click here to enter!
Giveaway and Special Feature: CONTAMINATED by Em Garner

In anticipation of the release of CONTAMINATED 2: Mercy Mode --- the second in Em Garner's series that follows 17-year-old Velvet after a contaminated diet drink makes consumers act like zombies --- we have a special contest. One hundred readers will win paperback copies of CONTAMINATED --- signed by the author! The deadline for entries is Tuesday, September 30th at noon EST.

Velvet Ellis has struggles to care for her 10-year-old sister and maintain a sense of normalcy, despite brutal government rations and curfews. She goes to the "Kennels" every day searching for her parents, and when she finds her mother, she's eager to bring her home. Sacrificing everything--her boyfriend, her home, and her job--Velvet will do anything to protect her mother.

More about CONTAMINATED 2: Mercy Mode:
Velvet, her little sister, their mom, and Velvet's sweet boyfriend, Dillon, are attempting to build a new life amid the rationing and regulations of the post-outbreak nation. But the outbreak isn't over: more people turning into "Connies," more madness erupting, more killings occurring. And what they are being told is not the truth; the truth is far darker and more threatening.

Click here to read the excerpt of CONTAMINATED
Click here to read the review of CONTAMINATED
Click here to read the review of CONTAMINATED 2: Mercy Mode
Click here to read the interview with Em Garner

Click here to enter the CONTAMINATED contest!

Help Name a YA Website and Win a Prize!
Want to be an influencer, and have the chance to help name a YA book website?

Want to be one of 25 people to win a copy of a bestselling YA novel?

If either or both of those sound appealing to you, and you are over the age of 13, take our latest five-minute survey! You'll get to ponder five possible names, give valuable feedback and be eligible to win a fabulous book.

The deadline to take the survey is Monday, August 18th. We look forward to hearing what you have to say!
Click here to take the "Name a YA Website" Survey!

REAL TALK Publishing with Annie Philbrick

When Annie Philbrick was telling the story of Bank Square Books at a panel on store succession, a fellow panelist exclaimed, "To buy a bookstore never having owned one before --- and never having worked in one before! That’s crazy!” Her response? "Yeah!"

Crazy or not, Annie has owned the legendary Mystic, Connecticut bookstore since 2006, and since then has made it even more of a community institution: she's expanded the space, hosted some unforgettable events and made sure her Cocker Spaniel makes customers feel at home.

Click here to read Parts 1, 2 and 3, where she talks about everything from her early challenges to the importance of independent bookstores to her favorite books --- and even how her community helped Bank Square bounce back after severe damage from Hurricane Sandy. We're also excited that this interview is going to be featured in Bookselling This Week on the 14th.

More about REAL TALK Publishing:

We know you love to read, but have you ever considered working with books as a career? If so, there are tons of options to explore. With this feature, we'll introduce you to book editors, librarians, booksellers, children's literature professors, book cover designers, publicists, professional reviewers and more. Through interviews, guest posts and sometimes sneak peeks inside their offices, we'll take you into their worlds so you can learn about the book industry.

Make sure to keep an eye out for our interview with audiobook producer and director May Wuthrich, which we'll post later this month!


Click here to read Part 3 of the interview!

Side by Side: Genies/Jinn

A lot of people have a very specific image when they think of “genie” --- the loveably goofy, blue one from Aladdin who is forever bursting into song and imitating various accents. However, authors Amber Lough and Lindsay Ribar have a very different take on these mysterious creatures in their new books.

In Amber’s THE FIRE WISH, Zayele, a girl who is engaged to the Prince of Baghdad against her will, trades places with Najwa, a jinni training to be a spy in the war against the humans. In Lindsay’s THE FOURTH WISH, the second book in The Art of Wishing series, high school student Margo finds out she’s a genie and has to reconcile doing whatever her master wants with coming into powers she never imagined having.

For this side-by-side, we asked Amber and Lindsay to tell us a writing-related wish, what they would have wished for in high school, what magical creature they would like to be, and more.


Click here to read the Side by Side feature!

Teen Board

--- Our August Teen Board Question: We asked our Teen Board members to tell us what book they definitely plan on reading before they're barraged by assigned books in September. Alison S. plans to dig into THIS SIDE OF PARADISE by F. Scott Fitzgerald because it's "basically Fitzgerald's foray into YA, which, frankly, sounds like 305 pages of awesome." Katherina T. will discover THE MAZE RUNNER because she loves comparing books to movies, and Aliza M. will peruse INFINITE JEST because it was one of the inspirations for THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

--- Reviews: We had lots of teen reviews this month! Lexibex V. said that INTO THE GREY by Celine Kiernan "is a must-read for anyone looking for a chilling story to finish off this summer," and Cheyenne C. said that "Erin Johnson certainly achieved her goal of creating an exciting Western novel for young adults " with GRACE AND THE GUILTLESS.


Click here to meet the New Teen Board!

On the Teenreads Blog!

Character interview with Okiko from THE GIRL FROM THE WELL --- Author Rin Chupeco asks her protagonist, a vengeful ghost, some hard-hitting questions

Happy Birthday Harry Potter! --- I reflect on my top five memories of The Chosen One, in honor of his birthday on July 31st!

I Wish I Were - Guest post by Patty Blount --- The author of SOME BOYS tells us the inspiration behind her protagonist's strong personality


Click here to read our blog!

Books on Screen

Even with summer drawing to a close there's still time to check out the latest book adaptations hitting the big screen. August is a big month for YA adaptations with two beloved titles hitting the screens mid-month. First is the long-awaited The Giver, based on Lois Lowry's dystopian classic of the same name. Then comes If I Stay, inspired by Gayle Forman's moving novel about a young girl's choice between life and death --- you'll definitely want to bring a pack of tissues to this one!

If you'd rather spend a night at home after a long day of summer fun, there are a few DVDs coming to stores this month that you'll definitely want to check out. Whether you pick up Divergent or The Amazing Spiderman 2, you won't be lacking for excitement. Don't forget the popcorn!



Click here to read Books on Screen!

Now in Stores: OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine

OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine (Fiction)

This love story for the ages, set in a reimagined industrial Asia, is a little dark, a bit breathless, and completely compelling.

Sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic, housed in a slaughterhouse staffed by the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor. Wen often hears the whisper of a ghost in the slaughterhouse, a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. And after one of the Noor humiliates Wen, the ghost grants an impulsive wish of hers --- brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including the outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the ghost. As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen is torn between her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat --- real or imagined. Will she determine whom to trust before the factory explodes, taking her down with it?

August's Cool and New Roundup

Our August roundup includes I AM MALALA by Malala Yousafzai and co-written by Patricia McCormick, the memoir of a Pakistani girl who stood up for education and became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize nominee; THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE by Adele Griffin, a faux multi-media biography of a brilliant young artist who died a mysterious death; and I LOVE I HATE I MISS MY SISTER by Amelie Sarn and translated by Y. Maudet, the gut-wrenching story of two Muslim sisters raised in Paris, and the very different paths they take.

Among the paperback titles released this month, we have the realistic teen romance THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US by bestselling author Lauren Myracle; ANTIGODDESS by Kendare Blake, the first installment of The Goddess War series featuring the slowly perishing Greek Gods; and THE TEEN MONEY MANUAL by Kara McGuire, which teaches high school students the ins and outs of managing their finances.


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

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

NEW! THE FAMILY ROMANOV: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (History)

Here is the riveting story of the Russian Revolution as it unfolded. When Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, inherited the throne in 1894, he was unprepared to do so. With their four daughters (including Anastasia) and only son, a hemophiliac, Nicholas and his reclusive wife, Alexandra, buried their heads in the sand, living a life of opulence as World War I raged outside their door and political unrest grew. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

NEW! THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU by Lisa Schroeder (Contemporary Romance)

Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place. In alternating chapters of verse and prose, new girl Lauren and football hero Colby come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible --- something to truly believe in. Reviewed by Thanh Tu N., Teen Board Member.

NEW! CONTAMINATED 2: Mercy Mode by Em Garner (Post-Apocalyptic Fiction)

In this sequel to CONTAMINATED, 17-year-old Velvet, her little sister, Opal, their mom --- who is recovering from the Contamination --- and Velvet's sweet boyfriend, Dillon, are attempting to build a new life amid the rationing and regulations of the post-outbreak nation. But the outbreak isn't over: more people are turning into "Connies," more madness is erupting, and more killings occurring. And what they are being told is not the truth; the truth is far darker and more threatening. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

NEW! GRACE AND THE GUILTLESS by Erin Johnson (Western)

Grace Milton's peaceful life with her family on a horse ranch outside Tombstone, Arizona is shattered in one devastating night. Her family is brutally murdered by the notorious Guiltless Gang, leaving Grace the only survivor. A young man named Joe saves her life by taking her to an Apache camp, where she learns about the Apache way of life and begins to fall for Joe. When Grace encounters one of the Guiltless Gang, her strength will be tested. Can she survive as a bounty hunter, or will she fall into darkness again? Reviewed by Cheyenne C., Teen Board Member.

NEW! DIRTY WINGS by Sarah McCarry (Fantasy)

Maia is a teenage piano prodigy and dutiful daughter, imprisoned in the oppressive silence of her adoptive parents' house. Cass is a street rat, witch and runaway. When a chance encounter brings the two girls together, an unlikely friendship blossoms that will soon change the course of both their lives. But Cass didn't reckon on Jason, the hypnotic blue-eyed rocker who'd capture Maia's heart as soon as Cass set her free --- and Cass isn't the only one who's noticed Maia's extraordinary gifts. Reviewed by Cheritta J., Teen Board Member.

NEW! THE YOUNG WORLD by Chris Weitz (Fiction)

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind. Reviewed by Robert Doyle.

NEW! LET'S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid (Romance)

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named Leila. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth --- sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way. Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe.

NEW! EXTRACTION by Stephanie Diaz (Science Fiction)

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing to be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface --- it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials and the moon's lethal acid. But Clementine learns that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers --- and that means Logan, too. Reviewed by Sydney L., Teen Board Member.

NEW! FROSTBORN by Lou Anders (Fantasy)

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

NEW! THE GIRL FROM THE WELL by Rin Chupeco (Paranormal)

A dead girl walks the streets. She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well 300 years ago. And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan. Because the boy has a terrifying secret --- one that would just kill to get out. Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member.

NEW! I LOVE I HATE I MISS MY SISTER by Amelie Sarn, translated by Y. Maudet (Fiction)

Eighteen-year-old Sohane loves no one more than her sister, Djelila. But now, Djelila is embracing her life as a secular teen, and Sohane is becoming more religious. Djelila is repeatedly harassed for not following Muslim customs. Sohane can’t help thinking that Djelila deserves what she gets. She never could have imagined just how far things would go. In the year following Djelila’s tragic death, Sohane struggles with her feelings of loss and guilt, revealing a complex relationship between two sisters, each girl’s path to self-discovery and the consequences they face for being true to themselves. Reviewed by Maya B., Teen Board Member.

NEW! JUST LIKE THE MOVIES by Kelly Fiore (Fiction)

Pretty, popular Marijke Monti and over-achieving nerd-girl Lily Spencer have little in common --- except that neither feels successful when it comes to love. Marijke can’t get her boyfriend to say “I love you” and Lily can’t get a boyfriend at all. When the girls end up at a late night showing of Titanic, sniffling along with the sinking ship, they realize that their love lives could --- and should --- be better. Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member.

NEW! BLIND by Rachel DeWoskin (Fiction)

Imagine this: You are 14, watching the fireworks at a 4th of July party, when a rocket backfires into the crowd and strikes your eyes, leaving you blind. In that instant, your life is changes forever. How do you face a future in which all your expectations must be different? This is Emma’s story. The drama is in her many small victories as she returns to high school in her home town and struggles to define herself and make sense of her life, determined not to be dismissed as a PBK – Poor Blind Kid. Reviewed by Thanh Tu N., Teen Board Member.

NEW! THE ISOBEL JOURNAL: Just a Northern Girl from Where Nothing Really Happens by Isobel Harrop (Graphic Novel)

THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the 18-year-old author's sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: 'Love', 'Friends, Art and Otters' and 'Me.' Reviewed by Alison S., Teen Board Member.

NEW! WILD THINGS! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird and Julie Danielson (Nonfiction)

Told in lively and affectionate prose, this treasure trove of information for a student, librarian, parent or anyone wondering about the post–Harry Potter children’s book biz brings contemporary illumination to the warm-and-fuzzy bunny world we think we know. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

NEW! INTO THE GREY by Celine Kiernan (Paranormal)

I think the fire changed us --- me and Dom. I think that’s how the boy was able to see us. Though he’d been there for every summer of our childhood, we’d only been stupid boys until then. Stupid, happy, ignorant boys. And what in hell would he have had in common with two stupid boys? But after the fire we were different. We were maybe a little bit like him. And so he saw us, at last, and he thought he’d found a home.... Reviewed by Lexibex V., Teen Board Member.


Vote in Our Poll!

We're in the last stretches of summer, which means school is around the corner! What are you looking forward to?

  • Seeing my friends on a daily basis --- hope we’re in the same classes!
  • Cheering on my school at a football or basketball game
  • Perusing new books at my school library
  • Seeing my favorite teachers again
  • Exploring one or more of the electives I signed up for
  • Participating in my favorite clubs --- or possibly joining some new ones!

Last month, we asked you where you would go in the Harry Potter universe, if you had a choice. An overwhelming majority of you (70%!) said that you'd want to visit Howarts, and who could blame you? Discovering secret staircases, visiting house-elves in the kitchens and sitting in on a transfiguration class sounds like the best day, ever. Honeydukes came in second place with 12% of the votes (chocolate frogs or cockroach clusters?) and The Burrow came in third with 7%, because really, who can resist the Weasley family? Click here to view the full results.


Click here to take our poll!

Adult Books You Want to Read

Throughout the year, we feature books from, our site for adult readers, that we think will have appeal to teen audiences.

Here is our latest featured title:

PAW AND ORDER: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn (Fiction, Mystery)

In the seventh book of Spencer Quinn’s mystery series, canine narrator Chet and P.I. Bernie journey to Washington, DC, and the dog-eat-dog world of our nation’s capital. Soon Chet and Bernie are sucked into an international conspiracy, battling unfamiliar forces under the blinking red eyes of a strange bird and the menacing Barnum, a guinea pig with the fate of the nation in his tiny paws.

Click here to read Adult Books You Want to Read!

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