Weekly round-up of book-related links

*When I’m reviewing things for School Library Journal, or the Horn Book Guide, or Voice of Youth Advocates, I stay quiet about them on social media. However, when I notice those reviews are published, I like to share them here because a lot of the books are great. Check out what I thought about Double Exposure by Bridget Birdsall, a book with an intersex main character. 


*At Teen Librarian Toolbox this past weekend, I wrote about “Why I’m a GLBTQ Ally.”  I also have a post rounding up new GLBTQ YA books this fall. 


*In further self-promotion, Refinery29 picked up a piece I wrote that originally appeared on Modern Loss earlier this year. I wrote about my father’s death and grief in the age of social media.


*One of my extremely smart and talented teen book club members, Abby, was a guest blogger this week at YALSA’s The Hub. Check out her post about censorship. So proud of that girl!


*Kelly Jensen at Book Riot rounds up lots of new and forthcoming titles in “45 YA Titles for Your October -December Radar.” 


*Build your 2015 reading list with this “Official Summer 2015 HarperTeen Cover Roundup.” 


*At The Guardian, Corinne Duyvis on the decline of “issue” books.


*At Edge on the Net, “LGBT Comic Book Characters Going Mainstream.”


*At Epic Reads, you HAVE to check out this infographic “The Age of YA: A Timeline of Historical Fiction.” 


*At Bookshelves of Doom, “Morning Links: The Author-as-Stalker Edition.” Good roundup of last weekend’s drama. Also check out Carrie Mesrobian’s “An Open Letter to Online Book Reviewers & Bloggers.”  And Liz B’s “Yes, I am Afraid.”  And at Stacked, “7 Steps to Protecting Your Privacy as a Blogger (Or as a Person on the Internet, Period.)”


*At The New Yorker, “The Endangered Bookstores of New York.”  Just lovely.


*At Bookish, Christine Heppermann writes about “Once Upon a Time: Modern YA Books and Their Fairy Tale Counterparts.” 


*Robin Talley has a guest post up at Books, Biscuits, and Tea, “Top 7 LGBTQ Characters of Color from YA.” 



This week at Teen Librarian Toolbox


This week at Teen Librarian Toolbox, I have two posts.


In the first one, I talk about why being a GLBTQ ally is important to me. 


In the second post, I’ve rounded up a bunch of GLBTQ YA books that are out this fall.


Someone’s working on finding more hours in the day that we can use just for reading, right?

Waiting on Wednesday: Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff



Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.


This week I’m once again looking ahead to a January release. Remember that show Out of This World where Evie could stop time? No? Okay, remember how Zack Morris could stop time on Saved by the Bell? That’s right–yeah, you do. I want that. I want to be able to stop time for a few weeks, just so I can catch up on my endless TBR list. One of the books on that list is Playlist for the Dead by Michell Falkoff.


Summary from bn.com:playlist

Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now.

There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam’s best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you’ll understand. To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn’t as reliable as he thought. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he’ll finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that’s always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it’s about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.


Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date: 1/27/2015


Why I’m excited: Suicide book + music = guaranteed I’ll pick this up without any more information than that. Add an eye-catching cover and an interesting-sounding plot (plus some positive buzz around it), and I’m in for sure.


What school can be like for LGBTQ teens

GLSENThis post originally appeared on my blog on October 2, 2013. The 2013 survey results are supposed to come out at some point this fall. Reposting this entry because it’s so important to know what’s really going on in schools. 



National School Climate Survey results about LGBTQ students’ experiences in high school

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, released itsNational School Climate Survey, which documents the experiences of LGBT students from across the country.  If these numbers shock you, you clearly haven’t spent much time talking to gay students or hanging out in a high school.  It’s still ugly out there.

Findings of the 2011 National School Climate Survey include:

Biased Remarks at School

• 84.9% of students heard “gay” used in a negative way (e.g., “that’s so gay”) frequently or often at school, and 91.4% reported that they felt distressed because of this language.

• 71.3% heard other homophobic remarks (e.g., “dyke” or “faggot”) frequently or often.

• 61.4% heard negative remarks about gender expression (not acting “masculine enough” or “feminine enough”) frequently or often.

• 56.9% of students reported hearing homophobic remarks from their teachers or other school staff, and 56.9% of students reported hearing negative remarks about gender expression from teachers or other school staff.

Safety and Victimization at School

• 63.5% felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation, and 43.9% because of their gender expression.

• 81.9% were verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation, and 63.9% because of their gender expression.

• 38.3% were physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation, and 27.1% because of their gender expression.

• 18.3% were physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked, injured with a weapon) in the past year because of their sexual orientation, and 12.4% because of their gender expression.

• 55.2% of LGBT students experienced electronic harassment in the past year (via text messages or postings on Facebook), often known as cyberbullying.

The high incidence of harassment and assault is exacerbated by school staff who rarely, if ever, intervene on behalf of LGBT students.

• 60.4% of students who were harassed or assaulted in school did not report the incident to school staff, most often believing little to no action would be taken or the situation could become worse if reported.

• 36.7% of the students who did report an incident said that school staff did nothing in response.

The report goes on to discuss:

*absenteeism (“Many LGBT students avoid classes or miss entire days of school rather than face a hostile school climate. An unsafe school environment denies these students their right to an education.”)

*academic achievement (“School safety affects student success. Experiencing victimization in school hinders LGBT students’ academic success and educational aspirations.”)

*psychological well-being (“Experiences of harassment and assault in school are related to poorer psychological well-being for LGBT students.”).

The report also looks at solutions, including GSA groups, inclusive curriculum, supportive educations, bullying policies, and more.

The report is long (160 pages), but filled with statistics, charts, and graphs that drive home the point that LGBTQ students face a lot of opposition at school and frequently don’t feel safe or supported.  Being knowledgeable of their potential struggles and understanding where they (and you!) can go to find useful resources (books, websites, helplines, etc) is a major step in the right direction.

LGBTQ resources:

The Trevor Project—A 24-hour toll free confidential hotline for gay and questioning youth.   844-4-U-TREVOR

The It Gets Better Project—Suicide prevention video project and website to give hope to LGBTQ teens that high school and its bullies will not last forever, that it DOES get better.

GLSEN—Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network

HRC—Human Rights Campaign


GSA Network

Book review: The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy


About the book: 
Title: The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

Author: Dana Alison Levy

Age level: Middle grade

Genre: Realistic

Subjects: Schools, families, LGBTQ, adoption, siblings

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Publication date: 7/22/2014

Format read in: Hardcover

Source of book: my friendly neighborhood library

Pages: 272

Series: Yes! Sequel coming spring 2016

Cover: I love it. So much going on! Who are all these kids and creatures? Also, I love the style of the artwork.

Why review this book?: I am a sucker for a good family story.


Summary (via Goodreads):

Meet the Fletchers. Their year will be filled with new schools, old friends, a grouchy neighbor, hungry skunks, leaking ice rinks, school plays, wet cats, and scary tales told in the dark!

There’s Sam, age twelve, who’s mostly interested in soccer, food, and his phone; Jax, age ten, who’s psyched for fourth grade and thinks the new neighbor stinks, and not just because of the skunk; Eli, age ten (but younger than Jax), who’s thrilled to be starting this year at the Pinnacle School, where everyone’s the smart kid; and Frog (not his real name), age six, who wants everyone in kindergarten to save a seat for his invisible cheetah. Also Dad and Papa.

WARNING: This book contains cat barf, turtle pee, and some really annoying homework assignments.


The details:

Characters: Mr. Nelson, the crotchety neighbor, can’t stand the Fletchers. They’re always kicking balls into his yard or being too loud. Me? I’d LOVE to live next to the family Fletcher. One of the common problems with a large cast of characters, particularly in a family, is that often they blend together. You don’t need to worry about that here. Sam, Jax, Eli, and Frog are distinctive and memorable characters. Their interests are wide-ranging, helping them stand out even further. The best thing about the characters is the diversity. The boys are white, African-American, and Indian. They are Jewish, Christian, and Hindu. They celebrate a variety of religious holidays. The boys have two dads and it is never once a “thing,” as in there isn’t any weirdness or judging going on. The dads are great, too–supportive but with different strengths, and they play strong roles in the book (not just fading into the background). I pretty much wanted to be able to jump into the pages of this book and find myself at the Fletchers’ busy house.


Writing: Levy has an ear for dialogue and clever banter. There is a lot going on in this story (with so many main characters and a large, well-developed cast of secondary characters, too), but Levy easily juggles all of the pieces of the story, keeping things moving at a good pace without ever overwhelming the plot. This is an easy one to read in one sitting because it chugs along so nicely.


Plot: So much happens! The book never lags, and how could it? Each of the boys always have something going on, whether that’s an activity (like soccer, play practice, a school report, etc), or an issue with a friend (old friends making fun of new interests, new friends coming into their lives, the family thinking a new friend is imaginary, etc). The plot could probably be summed up as “here is a family doing all the things a family of 6 would do.” And all of their “things” are so interesting. I want to go to their Halloween party, or visit Frog’s kindergarten open house, or sit at the table with all of them and Mr. Nelson. A packed plot, but in the best way.


Ending: The major pieces of the story tie up nicely (and believably). I’m left wanting to read more.


Liked: The diversity, the love and support the family shows, the standout characters, the problems that felt real and meaningful (without being too big or horrible).
Disliked: That the book ended. Is that an acceptable answer?




In summary: 

Verdict: I’ll be rereading this one out loud to my son. This is an absolute must for anyone who enjoys family stories (think The Penderwicks). The large cast of characters ensures that there will be something or someone that will draw in a reader. Just a thoroughly enjoyable look at one family’s busy and happy life.



Author’s website

Author’s Twitter

Weekly round-up of book-related links

*This week at Teen Librarian Toolbox, I did a roundup of some books I’ve reviewed here. Check out what I thought about the latest books by Carrie Mesrobian, A.S. King, Stephanie Kuehn, Adam Selzer, Nina LaCour, and Simmone Howell.

*At Wrapped up in Books, “If You Like Ellen Hopkins.” Great suggestions of what to read if you’re a fan of Hopkins.

*At Diversity in YA, an interview with Sarah Farizan.

*At Gay YA, “Are Coming Out Stories Still Relevant in 2014?” by Amy Dunne.

*At Stacked, “The Death Business in YA Fiction: A (Short) Reading List.” 

*At The Hub, “5 YA Books to Read During Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.” 

*At Publishers Weekly, “Writing Native Lives in YA: A NYPL Panel Discussion.” 

*At the Lee & Low blog, “Thirteen Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition.” 

*At Forever Young Adult, “A.S. King’s History of Badassery.”  Also at Book Riot, “A.S. King’s Story of the Future: An Interview about Feminism, Books, and Hope.” 

This week at Teen Librarian Toolbox



How’s this for a loop of blogging links: at Teen Librarian Toolbox this week, I’ve got a post with snippets of some of the books I’ve reviewed in the past few weeks here at Cite Something. So you can leave this blog, check out the TLT post, and then follow the links to read more of the reviews back at this blog. Got that? And….go!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Prey by Tom Isbell



Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.


Maybe it’s because the middle of October starts to feel pretty wintery around here in Minnesota, but lately I’ve been adding a bunch of titles to my list that don’t come out until winter. One book that I’m really looking forward to reading is Tom Isbell’s The Prey.


Summary from bn.com:

The Maze Runner meets The Hunger Games in this heart-pounding trilogy. Orphaned teens, Prey_EpicReadssoon to be hunted for sport, must flee their resettlement camps in their fight for survival and a better life. For in the Republic of the True America, it’s always hunting season. Riveting action, intense romance, and gripping emotion make this fast-paced adventure a standout debut.

After a radiation blast burned most of the Earth to a crisp, the new government established settlement camps for the survivors. At one such camp, the sixteen-year-old “LTs” are eager to graduate as part of the Rite. Until they learn the dark truth: “LTs” doesn’t stand for lieutenant but for Less Thans, feared by society and raised to be hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with the Sisters, twin girls who’ve suffered their own haunting fate. Together they seek the fabled New Territory, with sadistic hunters hot on their trail. Secrets are revealed, allegiances are made, and lives are at stake. As unlikely Book and fearless Hope lead their quest for freedom, these teens must find the best in themselves to fight the worst in their enemies.


Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date: 1/20/2015


Why I’m excited: When it was announced  that Isbell had landed a seven-figure book deal at HarperCollins  for his young adult fantasy trilogy, I did a double take. Isbell is a professor at UMD, where I went to undergrad. Not a theater-type, I never had him, but my boyBFF Seth had done some screenwriting classes with him. Pretty cool. I can’t wait to check out his new series. It’s loaded onto my Kindle already, thanks to Edelweiss, but I just need to find the time to read it!

Top Ten Tuesday: Places books have made me want to visit

toptentuesdayIt’s time for Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. 

This week: Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (fictional and real).


1. I can’t start a list like this without picking Deep Valley, Minnesota, home of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy, Tacy, and Tib as the first place books made me want to visit. If you know me, you might be thinking, wait, didn’t you grow up in Mankato, the actual Deep Valley? I did (moving 10 miles away to St. Peter when I was an older child). But here’s the thing: these books were my favorite ever as a kid. I still reread them all the time. I wrote about them in graduate school. I love them. Every few years, I drive around the area the books actually took place. When I was younger I could never get over that Deep Valley was Mankato. Fun fact: my grandpa lived in the house that is fictionally Betsy’s house and was Lovelace’s childhood home in real life.


2. Hogwarts. Diagon Alley. The Burrow. Hogsmeade.  Do I even need to elaborate? I want to go to there.


3. How about an actual place from a book that I’ve visited? Well, it’s a place from a movie, but it’s believed that Jane Austen based Pride and Prejudice‘s Pemberley on Chatsworth anyway. After I graduated college, I spent the summer (2000) traveling around England (and a bit of Sweden), mostly with the family for whom I babysat (who were living abroad that year). One of our stops was Chatsworth. Follow the link and look at some of it. It’s stunning. Chatsworth was used in 2005 in the movie version of Pride and Prejudice.


4. Given that I live with two complete Tolkien fanboys, it’s not too far fetched to think that at some point in our futures, we may take a family pilgrimage to the Shire. You can visit the movie set near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand.


5. Stoneybrook, Connecticut, home of the gang from Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-sitters Club. I spent SOOOO much time lost in that fictional world as a little kid. And when I say “little kid,” I mean “little and probably a bit too big of a kid for still reading that series.” Like, it’s entirely possible that I still read those books into junior high (even though they took about 20 minutes and I would then set them down and pick up a Stephen King book or something). It’s possible my bestie Christina and I called each other Mary Anne and Mallory. It’s possible we maybe played the BSC board game at some point near the end of high school. It’s also possible that she wrote me a letter on BSC stationery when she was in law school and I was in grad school.


6. While I’m talking childhood favorites, could I please go to Klickitat Street in Portland and actually be dropped into Beverly Cleary‘s world of Ramona and friends?


7. Sarah Dessen’s Lakeview/Colby. So many excellently interesting characters from all those great books would be waiting. Aaaaand now I want to go reread all of her books.

8. You know where I always liked visiting when we lived in Massachusetts? Orchard House, home of Louisa May Alcott. We probably visited it at least 6 times. We’re big fans here of both Louisa and her exceedingly interesting father, Amos Bronson Alcott.


9. Another series I was obsessed with as a nerdy little kid was L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I wouldn’t mind checking out Green Gables. Do I get a discount for having red hair and almost constantly wanting to smash a chalkboard over someone’s head?


10. It’s the actual books here that make me want to visit the Central Library in Kansas City, MissouriHow gorgeous is this place?!


How about you? Where have books made you visit or want to visit? Find me on Twitter and share with me!

LGBTQ review round-up

LGBT HIstoryAs it’s LGBT History Month, I thought I’d do a round-up of some of the books I’ve reviewed that fall under the LGBTQ umbrella. (image from LGBT History Month)


Head on over to Teen Librarian Toolbox, too, for reviews of new trans teen memoirs, a review of Robin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves, and a list of GLBTQ YA resources for building a collection and for supporting teens. 

October Mourning: A  Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz


The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George


Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg


Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin


Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills


The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth


Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour


Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin


Transgender Lives by Kirstin Cronn-Mills


Better Nate Than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate by Tim Federle


Something Real by Heather Demetrios


Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith


Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole


 LGBTQ YA book review flashback