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Let’s kick off the new year with resolutions. First, I highly suggest making a reading resolution, whether it is to read more books, read more of a certain kind of books, read a different way (i.e. try to finish books more quickly, make more time to read, try to savor books more, try new ways of finding good books, etc.) or whatever else you can think of. Me? I’m resolving to read fewer than two books at once. That sounds nutty, but reading more than two was a problem for me in 2013 – I felt like I didn’t care as much about each book when I was balancing three (or more – I know, insane) at once!
But of course there are the classic resolutions about health and wellness (“I will exercise”), friends and family (“I will be nicer”) or school (“I will try harder”). With that in mind, here are some books to help you kick off your resolutions. Resolve to read them.
Resolution: “I will start planning for college! EEEEEEK” This is one you juniors (or even sophomores…) might make if you are feeling anxious about the planning process. Resolve to kick it off and stop being scared.
You might know Sara Zarr from all her awesome books. In this one she teams up with fellow author Altebrando to take a much-needed look at the trials and tribulations of transitioning from high school to college. With last year’s Fangirl (by Rainbow Rowell) it seems like books about that time period are becoming popular – and with good reason because it’s definitely a unique experience. Roomies tells the story of brand new roommates EB and Lauren as they get to know each other and college. Roommates aren’t always well-matched, of course, so very-different EB and Lauren must overcome differences in order to find trust in the person they’re sharing a tight space with.
Resolution: “I will practice more so I can follow my dreams!” Whether your an artist or an athlete, you might resolve to hone your craft so you can go farther.
Beth is shy, so when she takes a chance and posts a video of herself singing on YouTube, she doesn’t expect it to garner much attention. Maybe some of her peers will see it, and she’ll feel cool for putting herself out there. Never in her wildest dreams did she think a big-shot music exec would see it and offer her a way to make her singing dreams a reality: an internship in NYC at his recording company. Soon Beth is confronted with serious choices – when a collaboration with Bonified Records’ biggest stars means both girls might get to follow their hearts, or see their dreams disappear. This is a cool story that lets you explore the industry from the inside while inspiring your own dreams of stardom.
Resolution: “I will stand up for what I believe in!” Anyone seeking to be more courageous, more confident, or more self-aware might make this resolution.
After her father dies and her grief-stricken mother immigrates to the U.S., Angel is left feeling alone and bereft in her home country, the Philippines. With her sister and grandmother left essentially in her charge, Angel doesn’t have much time for herself. Soon, though, her grandmother inspires her to get involved with the Filipina Comfort Women, an activist group that teaches Angel about the revolution going on in the Philippines. When Angel is forced to move to the U.S. to join her mother, she again feels unmoored and disconnected, and finds herself having to confront the grief and anger she has carefully hidden since her father’s death. Angel is an inspiring character, and you’ll also learn more about the rich history of the Philippines.
This will be the last New Books Highlight post for 2013!
Instead of the usual showcase of three new books on one subject or theme, I thought I’d put together a few different themes that have been popular recently and a few books from each.
The First Dragon by James Owen – book 7 in the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica
Palace of Spies: Being a True, Accurate and Complete Account of the Scandalous and Wholly Remarkable Adventures of Margaret Preston Fitzroy, Counterfeit Lady, Accused Thief, and Confidential Agent at the Court of His Majesty, King George I by Sarah Zettel
Dark Dystopian (with less romance than your average dystopian.):
The literary remix is fast becoming its own genre. Let me define: literary remix is when an author takes a work of literature or lore and reworks it as a new piece of fiction. Whether the story uses the same character names and relatively the same plot but puts it into a different time or place, or uses the plot and its symbolism as bones to build a pretty new story around – a lot of authors take inspiration from literature and lore. It’s a really fun genre because if you’re familiar with the original, the reworked piece is more vivid. It’s fun to see where the plot is similar, or how the author of the remix has transformed objects, places and people for the modern day or future. Here are a few new books that remix either fairy tales or canonical literature.
The fact that this is a remix is right in the title: twists on timeless tales. Melissa Marr works in the fairy-tale remix genre often, so it is not surprising that she co-edited this. It features new stories by authors like Neil Gaiman, Margaret Stohl, Rick Yancey and Holly Black. Each story reworks a classic piece of literature or lore, and in the remixing author identifies which story inspired them, and tells you a bit about why. This is the most fun to read if you know the stories being reworked, but if you don’t you will be inspired to find them.
This is the second volume in the Woodcutter sisters series. The author remixes not one but many fairy tales, even throwing in some Greek mythology for good measure. Most of Saturday Woodcutter’s family understands their magical gifts – everyone but her, it seems. So when the tossing away of a magic mirror puts her whole family in danger, Saturday is ready to take on the adventure in the hopes of better-understanding her gifts. She set sails on a conjured sea only to be imprisoned by a blind witch who mistakes her for her brother. But the witch has other prisoners and with their help Saturday may be able to orchestrate their escape – if she doesn’t accidentally fall in love first.
This is a dark and story paranormal romance retelling of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. In this remix, the style of writing and the structure of the story remain very close to the original work – but author Croggon sets the story in a world in which women practicing magic has been made illegal, and main character Lina may have supernatural powers. As in the original, Lina is in a star-crossed lover situation with her adopted brother, Damek, which amps up the danger Lina faces. It is as haunting and atmospheric as the original, with even more Gothic touches and a paranormal overtone.
This is not a classic remix because it is set after the events in the original story, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Author Taub imagines what comes next after Romeo and Juliet have both died (and now you’re totally saying, “I have always wondered!”). Verona has found some piece in its grief over the young lovers’ deaths. But the Montagues and the Capulets have not set aside their rivalry. Their is violence in the streets, and Prince Escalus decides he must take action: by forcing a Montague to wed a Capulet, thereby uniting the two families once and for all.
Based on the classic Gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Tess has transferred to elite boarding academy Thorn Abbey. Despite her lack of confidence – or perhaps because of it – she draws the attentions of Max de Villars. However, Tess, and everyone at the school in some way or another, seems to be haunted by the ghost of Max’s last love, Becca, who tragically drowned the previous year. Tess’s roommate was especially changed by Becca’s death, and now seems to be channeling her madness towards Tess and Max’s union.
There’s a new display in the Teen Space at the library – all about science and science fiction. If you’re into sci fi, you will know that while it is fiction and thus “made up” most of it has as its basis real science. Cold, hard science. Usually, even if the sci fi is based in a far future (which much sci fi is) and thus the author must rely on their imaginations to present the science that will be prevalent at that future time, what happens is not too different from things we see today. Climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, genetic engineering, computer hacking, cyber-terrorism, and more: sounds like sci fi. And these are things you can hear, see and read in the news every day.
Delve into the science behind science fiction with these lists of non-fiction about real science, coupled with fiction which explores that real science in a made-up world. Whether you’re a bio geek, a hacker, an engineer or just a fan of a good story, you’ll find a book on this list to suit you.
Natural Disasters & Climate Change
- Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Tornado Chasers by Lee Sandlin (Adult Non-Fiction 551.553 S217)
- We are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change by Tim Flannery (Youth Non-Fiction 363.73874 F585)
- Washed Away: How the Great Flood of 1913, America’s Most Widespread Natural Disaster, Terrorized a Nation and Changed it Forever by Geoff Williams (Adult Non-Fiction 551.589 W723)
- The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown (YA Graphic BROWN)
- The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd (YA Fiction LLOYD)
- Ashfall by Mike Mullin (YA Fiction MULLIN)
- Life As We Knew It series by Susan Beth Pfeffer (YA Fiction PFEFFER)
- Solstice by P.J. Hoover (YA Fiction HOOVER)
- The Living by Matt de la Pena (YA NEW Fiction DELAPEN)
- Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston (YA Fiction DELACRU)
- The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age by Nathan Wolfe (Adult Non-Fiction 614.4 W855)
- Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen (Adult Non-Fiction 614.43 Q1)
- The Passage by Justin Cronin (Adult Fiction CRONIN)
- A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer (YA Fiction KIZER)
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer (YA Fiction MEYER)
- Blackout by Robison Wells (YA NEW Fiction WELLS)
- The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson (YA Graphic NELSON)
- The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (YA Fiction BRACKEN)
- Orleans by Sherri L. Smith (YA Fiction SMITH)
- Sick by Tom Leveen (YA NEW Fiction LEVEEN)
- Inhuman by Kat Falls (YA NEW Fiction FALLS)
- Food: The New Gold by Kathlyn Gay (YA Non-Fiction 338.19 G285)
- Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Foods by Nina V. Fedoroff and Nancy Marie Brown (Adult Non-Fiction 363.192 F294)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Adult Non-Fiction 616.027 S628)
- The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (YA Fiction PEARSON)
- When We Wake by Karen Healy (YA Fiction HEALY)
- Matched by Allie Condie (YA Fiction CONDIE)
- Fever by Lauren DeStefano (YA Fiction DESTEFA)
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Adult Fiction HUXLEY)
- The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (YA Fiction FARMER)
- Maximum Ride series by James Patterson (YA Fiction PATTERS)
- Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum (Adult Non-Fiction 004.67 B658)
- Big Data: a Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier (Adult Non-Fiction 658.834 M468)
- You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier (Adult Non-Fiction 303.4833 L287)
- Feed by M. T. Anderson (YA Fiction ANDERSO
- Doomed by Tracy Deebs (YA Fiction DEEBS)
- Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (YA Fiction DOCTORO)
- Bubble World by Carol Snow (YA NEW Fiction SNOW)
- iBoy by Kevin Brooks (YA Fiction BROOKS)
- The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (YA NEW Fiction DASHNER)