Roundup of book-related links

*At Pub Hub, Kate Brauning “On Writing Ethical YA.” From her post:

“YA can be sweetheart HEAs. It can be destructive romance. It can be sweary or not. It can have detailed sex or no sex at all. Some choices may lose you some readers, but those choices will gain you other readers, too. YA is not a collection of limitations. As soon as we start saying what we can and can’t write in young adult fiction, we limit the kinds of stories that can be told. The YA author’s responsibility is to be authentic to teen life for the culture and character he or she chose. Nothing more or less.”


*Anne Ursu: “I See a Book and Get Angry and Write a Thing.”  From her post:

“Kids don’t need a book shaming them into dieting. They don’t need to learn that food and weight are a moral issue. They need positive images of kids of all weights in their books—from picture books on up—books that tell them that they exist and it’s okay and they can take up space. They don’t need a book like DON’T CALL ME FAT—maybe they just need people to tell them they’re okay the way they are.”


*I.W. Gregorio has a guest post at Stacked, “Let’s Move Beyond the Gender Binary.”  From her post:

“To read about others is to know them. To know them is to expand your world. Here’s to reading books that show a world beyond the gender binary. Here’s to showing our kids that girls can have masculine traits and that boys can be feminine, too.”


*From The Toast, “How To Tell If You Are in a Baby-sitters Club Book.”  From the hilarious and true post:

Your peer group has associate members.

You have something called a Kid Kit filled with toys that you present to children with regularity, but it isn’t creepy.

You hide candy in absurd places in your bedroom, but you do not have an ant problem.

Each of your adventures starts with a recap of who your friends are, what they look like, and their job in your organization.


*At Mother Reader, the always epic “150 Ways to Give a Book” post. Just a few of the ideas:

  1. Give Beauty Queens with a small makeup kit, and a healthy dose of irony.
  2. Rock out with Beige along with a mix CD of the songs in the chapter titles (or an iTunes gift card).
  3. Buy a tween Better Nate Than Ever along with tickets to a show.


*Malinda Lo is doing her awesome yearly job of looking at the breakdowns of the year’s LGBT YA books.  Posts with charts and graphs? Yes, please!


*At Pub Hub, Carrie Mesrobian: “10 Thoughts: Writing About Sex in YA Fiction & Otherwise, Part I.”  From her post:

There will be people who will certainly piss all over any sex scenes between adolescents that involve poor decision-making. They may call you names, such as “irresponsible” and “gratuitous” and “misogynous.” You have to be braver than those people and trust your readers more. They’re not reading your book as an instruction manual. Go with what you think fits your story best, not what a high school health instructor might advise.


*At The Magpie Librarian, “An Incomplete and Brief History of Protests, Riots, and Uprisings: A YA Display.”   THIS IS A PHENOMENAL POST.

This month at Teen Librarian Toolbox

I took a break from blogging here but had a few posts this month over at Teen Librarian Toolbox. 

The Sexual Violence in YA Literature Project: Help us shape upcoming posts on LGBTQIA+ books. From the post:

What do we need from you? We’d love input on titles we should consider and subtopics you’d like to see addressed. Right now,  our categories are about sexual violence in LGBTQIA+ books, depictions of consent, and portrayals of positive sexual experiences (including on-the-page sex scenes). Know of YA books that would address any of these topics? Have thoughts on what you’d love to see us write about? Know of other resources or any other places where these topics have been covered? Writers we should approach about guest posts? Share with us


Sunday Reflections: The Sanctuary of Stories. From the post:

I know I’m not the only one to have encountered plenty of people who just don’t understand why some people read so much—or, unfortunately, don’t understand why people read, period. “He always has his nose in a book,” they might complain. “She’s read Harry Potter ten times,” someone will sigh. “I don’t get why she has to always read sad books about horrible things happening,” someone will grumble. I’d like to tell those people that sometimes we read because it’s what’s keeping us going.Those stories that you dismiss so easily are what are saving us. Through stories we may find a light of hope, a much needed distraction, a laugh, a way to grieve, and so much more.


From the 12 Blogs of 2014 series: DiversifYA, Rich in Color, and YA Highway. 


What’s New in LGBTQIA+ This Winter: a roundup of new titles out in December and January.


Waiting on Wednesday: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios



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


This week my pick is I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios. I’m interested in this book because I really enjoyed Something Real by Demetrios—great characters, great dialogue. I’d likely be picking this new book up even if I didn’t know anything about the plot. But having read the summary, it’s the plot that totally has me interested. I always gravitate toward stories of unexpected events throwing your trajectory off course, and it sounds like Skylar’s plans are unraveling. Also, the Josh storyline is very appealing, because we so very infrequently see teens and young adults in the military in YA books. You’re intrigued, right?


Summary from i'llmeetyou

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.


Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Publication date: February 3, 2015

ISBN-13: 9780805097955

Best songs of the year… with a twist

Music is an essential part of my writing process, and an essential part of every aspect of my life, really.  It was truly a spectacular year for punk, indie, and alternative music. Superchunk, Built to Spill, Guided by Voices, Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, Lagwagon, and so many more of my favorite bands put out amazing albums. I jumped up and down and sang along until I lost my voice seeing nearly all of the bands in this list live.


Oh! I should probably clarify—this spectacular year I’m talking about? It’s not this year. No way. The year was 1994.


I’ve written before about how my musical taste mostly stalled out in the 90s. At 37, I still love the music I was blasting at 17, in 1994. And 1994 was just an amazing year for music.


So, because it was such a monumentally important year in my listening history, and because I have quite literally no idea what bands or songs are actually popular or came out in 2014, I present to you The Best Songs of the Year 1994. Let’s rock.


Low—“Words” from I Could Live in Hope


Sugar—“Your Favorite Thing” from File Under Easy Listening


Sebadoh—“Not Too Amused” from Bakesale



Built to Spill—“Car” from There’s Nothing Wrong with Love



Guided by Voices—“Gold Star for Robot Boy” from Bee Thousand


Superchunk—“The First Part” from Foolish



Pavement—“Cut Your Hair” from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain



Jawbreaker—“Boxcar” from 24 Hour Revenge Therapy



Sunny Day Real Estate—“Seven” from Diary


Sensefield—“Voice” from Killed for Less



Lagwagon—“Know it All” from Trashed


NOFX—“Leave it Alone” from Punk in Drublic



Down by Law—“Punk Won” from punkrockacademyfightsong


Jawbox—“Savory” from For Your Own Special Sweetheart


Fastbacks—“On the Wall” from Answer the Phone, Dummy



Ani DiFranco—“Falling is Like This” from Out of Range



Green Day—“When I Come Around” from Dookie



Nirvana—“All Apologies” from Unplugged


Weezer—“My Name is Jonas” from the Blue Album


Book review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

Top-Ten-Clues-Youre-Clueless-Liz-CzukasTitle: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

Author: Liz Czukas

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date: 12/9/2014

Format read in: ebook

Source of book: I received an advanced copy of this book via the publishers through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Summary (via

Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees— of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.



I’ve talked a lot about how much I am a character-driven reader. In a recent Top Ten Tuesday list (fitting to reference one of those when writing about this book, I think), I wrote, ” I’ve said repeatedly that I’d happily read any book where characters just sit in a room and talk, as long as that talking is full of interesting things said by interesting people. It’s why I like a good bottle episode, too. It’s why I like The Breakfast Club so much. I’ve always been this kind of a reader and can’t understand when people whine “but nothing happens.” Character-driven books have plenty of things happening!” So when I read that this book takes place all in one day at a grocery store, I was in. Better yet, it takes place on Christmas Eve and for some totally dorky reason I really like reading books that are happening near the time it is in real life. Makes it even easier to get lost in the story, maybe. ANYWAY.


Chloe loves making lists. She writes about the day’s plans and goals, details about her coworkers, songs, things that suck about being a redhead, secrets her mother can’t find out, and so much more. As a fellow list devotee, I enjoyed the many lists that popped up in the middle of the narrative. They do occasionally break up the momentum of the story, but don’t be tempted to skip over the lists—they definitely add to the story and to understanding Chloe. It seems like a regular day at work: Chloe pines for Tyson in between scanning groceries, makes some lists in her head, and tries to remember to take home the Christmas ham her mom ordered. When everyone learns that money has apparently been stolen from the charity box, Chloe kind of wants to solve the mystery, especially when Micah, her extremely smart  coworker estimates that there could have been $10,000 in that box. To her surprise, she finds herself on the other side of the mystery when she, Micah, and 4 other coworkers (known collectively as “the younglings”, due to being the youngest of the employees) are accused of having something to do with the theft.


The bulk of the story takes place with the 6 younglings (Chloe, Micah, Tyson, Gabe, Sammi, and Zaina) holed up in the break room, waiting for the police to come question them, and then later in the store itself when they are sent in to clean while they wait. An easy reference here is The Breakfast Club, particularly because of how diverse the group of teens is. Chloe is diabetic (and on her way to a low blood sugar crash the longer they wait) and the newish girl in town; Micah is homeschooled, observant, and a little awkward; Tyson is African American, from the south, and saving every penny for college; Gabe is the rich kid prankster who has the pressure of his father’s expectations weighing on him; Sammi’s abrasive and bold, but maybe not as tough as she tries to appear; and Zaina’s a Lebanese Muslim who, like Gabe, has family expectations pulling at her, but she wants to make her own path. All of the characters are well-developed and have layers to their personalities. They do the predictable thing of briefly turning on each other, but that doesn’t last for long, and before we know it they’re really getting to know each other, sharing their hopes, frustrations, and plans for their futures. The way they interact with each other, respect each other, and learn more about each other feels organic. They have deep discussions about stereotypes, racism, harassment, and more while they wait for the police to appear.


I’ve seen this book described as “cute” or “light,” and in a lot of ways, it is both of those things. Yes, there’s a small element of romance throughout the story as Chloe has a huge crush on Tyson. But those descriptors don’t do justice to this book. More than anything, this is a book about friendship and taking the time to get to know someone rather than just judging a person on their surface qualities. The heaviness of certain aspects like their serious discussion is alleviated with many moments of fun and humor. The elements of suspense and mystery are maintained nicely as the younglings wait out their time in the grocery store. This title will be an easy one to recommend to a wide audience of contemporary YA fans.


Author’s website

Author’s Twitter

In which the blog takes a vacation


The blog is going on vacation for the first few weeks of December.


The blog wishes it were going somewhere that required sunglasses, but really the blog just has other stuff to do.


The blog wishes it were able to wear sunglasses even half as well as Bilbo Baggins Dachshund-MacGregor. The blog will see you later this month!
(I’ll still be blogging for Teen Librarian Toolbox this month and chattering away on Twitter, so you can find me there while the blog rests up!)

Roundup of book related-links

*This week at Teen Librarian Toolbox, I rounded up some of the reviews I’ve posted recently on Cite Something. Find out what I thought of books by Fiona Wood, Andrea Portes, Dana Alison Levy, Vivek Shraya, and Kate Bassett. I also wrote about Sara Zarr for the final day of our #YAAtoZ project.


*In the off chance that you like having your brain explode, go ahead and read Roger Sutton‘s piece on “Being a White Guy in Children’s Books” and then read through the comments. You’ve been warned, though. Then you can read his follow-up.


*At The Guardian, “YA Fiction Treads Carefully in the Arab World.” 


*At YALSA’s The Hub, “YA Lit Symposium: Authentic Portrayals of Trans* Youth and GenreQueer: Smashing the Closet.” 


*Author Joelle Charbonneau is putting together a book drive for Ferguson called Hope Through Stories. Check it out and share it! From her post about the drive:

As a parent and a young adult author, I can’t help but think of the youngest members of the Ferguson community.  I worry that they will see the hopelessness and unrest around them and turn their back on the possibility of a better future.  I worry that they will believe they don’t matter.  I am terrified they will lose hope. They need to be reminded that they are important and that there is hope even in the darkest of times.

Fellow authors – I ask you to join with me in sending hope to Ferguson through signed books. The Ferguson Library is doing amazing work to help the young people in their community.  An interview with director Scott Bonner gives a glimpse into their efforts.  We can help them do more.  We all know that sometimes it takes just the right story to make the difference. Let’s send them as many as we can so each child can find the one that speaks to them.

Please let me know if you are sending books ( so I can add you to the list of authors on this page. Let’s show the students of Ferguson that there is hope in each and every story. They still have their story to write.


*Book Riot also has some suggestions for how to support the Ferguson library.  Library Journal has an article “Ferguson Library Provides Calm Refuge for a Torn Community.”  Head here to see the Powell’s Ferguson book wishlist. 


*At Diversity in YA, Nora Olsen has a great post up, “On Gender, Leslie Feinberg, and Liberation.”  From her post:

Leslie Feinberg said, “Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught.” When you begin to create that poem, you don’t know what you will discover about yourself. You may discover that the gender you’ve been assigned fits you like a glove, or that it does not. That knowledge will help you be the truest self you can be, which is as fulfilling as it gets. Somewhere along the way you discover that a person’s sex assigned at birth based on their anatomy does not necessarily dictate their gender. That knowledge liberates other people, and it liberates you too. If you begin to see that there are people all around you who do not fall into the gender binary and do not identify as male or female, that greater understanding of the world around you will help you make authentic connections in this life.



Waiting on Wednesday: Promposal by Rhonda Helms

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

You know what I didn’t do in high school? Well, a lot of stuff, yeah (like smile, look up from my notebook that I was constantly scribbling in, date anyone in my grade, etc). But what I’m talking about is prom. I was a conscientious objector. I found most everything about high school extremely stupid, but had a special hatred for prom. Super unique, I know. So maybe it’s because I never went to prom (and never have regretted not going, despite people repeatedly telling me “oh, you’ll regret it if you don’t go!” You know what I do regret? Ever letting anyone talk to me in high school. It’s probably why my eyes are perpetually sore–the infinite eye-rolling took its toll) that I’m somehow fated to find most YA books about prom enjoyable. This week’s WoW pick is Promposal by Rhonda Helms. 


Summary from promposal

Prom should be one of the most memorable nights of your life. But for Camilla and Joshua, some elaborate promposals are getting in the way. Will they be able to land their dream dates in time for the dance?

Promposal (n.)—an often very public proposal, in which one person asks another person to the prom, eliciting joy or mortification.

Camilla can’t help hoping her secret crush, Benjamin, might randomly surprise her out of the blue with a promposal. But when she’s asked to prom by an irritating casual acquaintance—who’s wearing a fancy tux and standing in front of a news crew—she’s forced to say yes. However, all hope is not lost, as a timely school project gives Camilla a chance to get closer to Benjamin…and it seems like the chemistry between them is crackling. Is she reading into something that isn’t there, or will she get her dream guy just in time for prom?

Joshua has been secretly in love with his best friend Ethan since middle school. Just as he decides to bite the bullet and ask Ethan if he’d go to prom with him, even if just as friends, he gets a shocking surprise: Ethan asks Joshua for help crafting the perfect promposal—for another guy. Now Joshua has to suppress his love and try to fake enthusiasm as he watches his dreams fall apart…unless he can make Ethan see that love has been right in front of his eyes the whole time.

The road to the perfect promposal isn’t easy to navigate. But one thing’s certain—prom season is going to be memorable.


Publisher:  Simon Pulse

Publication date: 2/10/2015


Why I’m excited: Like I said, I’m a sucker for a prom story. Also, the LGBTQ element makes this an automatic read for me. Hoping to review it near its publication date for Teen Librarian Toolbox. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten books on my winter TBR



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


This week: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. My TBR list, like yours, I’m sure, is approximately one million books long (give or take a few hundred). My list is a mix of books that are currently out and books that come out later this winter. (Summaries from


1.Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees— of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

Pub date: December 9, 2014


2. For Real by Alison Cherry

From Alison Cherry, author of Red, a novel PW declares “sparkles with wit,” comes a terrific new book about two sisters and one big question: how do you know who’s for real?

No parents. No limits. No clue what they’re in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister’s shadow. While Miranda’s life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality television.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just after her college graduation, it’s Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They’ll outshine Miranda’s fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life . . . or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what’s for real?

Pub date: December 9, 2014


3. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

A heartbreaking yet uplifting story of grief about a boy who has lost everything, but finds new hope drawing in the shadows of a hospital. Features a thirty-two-page graphic novel.

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night, just like the rest of his family.

Now he lives in the hospital, serving food in the cafeteria, hanging out with the nurses, sleeping in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him. His only solace is in the world of the superhero he’s created—Patient F.

Then, one night, Rusty is wheeled into the ER, half his body burned by hateful classmates. Rusty’s agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together though all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside of the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But to save Rusty, Drew will have to confront Death, and life will have to get worse before it gets better. And by telling the truth about who he really is, Drew risks destroying any chance of a future.

Pub date: January 20, 2015


4. Better than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

From the acclaimed author of Maybe One Day, Melissa Kantor, comes a poignant coming-of-age story that skillfully captures the singular experience of being a teenage girl. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.

Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.

But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

Pub date: February 17, 2015


5. Us by David Nicholls

David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his New York Times bestseller one day to a compellingly human, deftly humorous new novel about what holds marriages and families together—and what happens when everything threatens to fall apart.

Douglas Petersen may be mild mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells Douglas that she thinks she wants a divorce.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best, anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and may even help him to bond with Albie.

Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger. Us is a moving meditation on the demands of marriage and parenthood and the intricate relationship between the heart and the head. And in David Nicholls’s gifted hands, Douglas’s odyssey brings Europe—from the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from the cafés of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona—to vivid life just as he experiences a powerful awakening of his own. Will this summer be his last as a husband, or the moment when he turns his marriage, and maybe even his whole life, around?


6. The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

Meanwhile, across the enchanted forest that borders Ned’s village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King, who is haunted by her mother’s last wordsto her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” When Áine’s and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to stop the war that’s about to boil over between their two kingdoms?


7. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

In a perfect world . . .

We’d get to hang out with Amy Poehler, watching dumb movies, listening to music, and swapping tales about our coworkers and difficult childhoods. Because in a perfect world, we’d all be friends with Amy—someone who seems so fun, is full of interesting stories, tells great jokes, and offers plenty of advice and wisdom (the useful kind, not the annoying kind you didn’t ask for, anyway). Unfortunately, between her Golden Globe-winning role on Parks and Recreation, work as a producer and director, place as one of the most beloved SNL alumni and cofounder of the Upright Citizens’ Brigade, involvement with the website Smart Girls at the Party, frequent turns as acting double for Meryl Streep, and her other gig as the mom of two young sons, she’s not available for movie night.

Luckily we have the next best thing: Yes Please, Amy’s hilarious and candid book. A collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers, Yes Please offers Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz,” the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs.” Yes Please is chock-full of words and wisdom to live by.


8. No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

Abigail’s parents believed the world was going to end. And—of course—it didn’t. But they’ve lost everything anyway. And she must decide: does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail’s parents never should have made that first donation to that end-of-times preacher. Or the next, or the next. They shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there for the “end of the world.” Because now they’re living in their van. And Aaron is full of anger, disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right.

But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.

Pub date: February 24, 2015


9. Love & Profanity: A Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life edited by Nick Healy

Here are forty short, brilliant, and unforgettable true stories from writers famous and on-the-rise. Here is the intensity of daily life. Here are transformative moments arising from the mundane. Here are strange and surprising tales that tap into universal truths. Here are teenagers in full splendor and horror. Here they are, bursting with love and profanity. Featured Authors Include: Kwame Alexander, Steve Brezenoff, Joe Bruchac, Da Chen, Geoff Herbach, Pete Hautman, Alison McGhee, Carrie Mesrobian, Adam Rex, Jon Scieszka, Heather Sellers, and Will Weaver. (Info from NetGalley)

Pub date: March 2, 2015


10. Ambassador by William Alexander

Gabe Fuentes is in for the ride of his life when he becomes Earth’s ambassador to the galaxy in this otherworldly adventure from the National Book Award–winning author of Goblin Secrets.

Gabe Fuentes is reading under the covers one summer night when he is interrupted by a creature who looks like a purple sock puppet. The sock puppet introduces himself as the Envoy and asks if Gabe wants to be Earth’s ambassador to the galaxy. What sane eleven-year-old could refuse?

Some ingenious tinkering with the washing machine sends Gabe’s “entangled” self out to the center of the galaxy. There he finds that Earth is in the path of a destructive alien force—and Gabe himself is the target of an assassination plot. Exactly who wants him out of the way? And why?

Back home, Gabe discovers that his undocumented parents are in danger of being deported. Can Gabe survive long enough to solve two sets of “alien” problems? He runs for his life, through Minneapolis and outer space, in this fast-paced adventure from a National Book Award–winning author.

Top-Ten-Clues-Youre-Clueless-Liz-Czukasfor realfive stages of andrewBetter than PErfetusnichollswitch's boyyespleasenoparking at the end timeslove and profanityambassador


Roundup of book-related links

*This week at Teen Librarian Toolbox, I summarized some of the key findings in GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey looking at the experiences of LGBT students in schools.


*At Stacked, “Fabulously Diverse YA Book Covers We Should See More Often.” 


*At The Butter, “Words That Should Actually be Banned.” Check out the comments for great suggestions.


*At Bookshelves of Doom, “Booklist: Seven YA Books Featuring Graffiti Artists.” 


*At Gay YA, an interview with author Ami Polonsky. 


*At Diversity in YA, “Gay Without the Gay Angst: Ten Books About Lesbian/Bi/Queer Girls.” 


*Miss the Google hangout that Teen Librarian Toolbox hosted with authors Carrie Mesrobian, Christa Desir, and A.S. King? It’s okay–you can check it out here! 


*Last night SLJ revealed their best book picks for 2014 with a Twitter party. Check out their full list. SO MANY GOOD BOOKS!