Archive for the ‘Novels-in-Verse’ Tag

New Books Highlight: Great New Realistic Fiction

I know there are a lot of realistic fiction fans out there. That’s me, too, so I’m always excited when there’s a fresh batch of great realistic fiction books on the new books shelves at the library! Here are a few that I think are extra-special:

Dead Ends by Erin Jade Langedead ends

Dane, a kid with a bullying problem, and Billy D, a kid with down syndrome, are an unlikely pair. When Dane reigns in his anger long enough to realize it would be very bad to hit Billy even if he finds him annoying, Billy takes it as a sign of friendship and enlists Dane to help him solve a mystery in his life. It helps that the principal tells Dane if he’ll ignore his latest offense if he agrees to look after Billy and do whatever he wants. Neither of them has ever really had a friend before. When confronted with the friendship, both are forced to realize that their actions have meaning – and consequences, sometimes devastating.

Sneak Peek! “I had a foot on some guy’s throat and a hand in my pocket the first time I saw Billy D. He was standing across the street, staring – not even trying to be sly about it – just staring without a word, without even blinking.” (Text copyright 2013 by Erin Jade Lange)

To Be Perfectly Honest: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story by Sonya Sones to be

When your narrator is a compulsive liar, you know you’re in for an interesting read. Colette has personality, but she struggles with who she is in light of the big personality of her movie star mother. So she reinvents reality by lying, because she thinks her reality sucks. When she meets Connor, that changes. But it doesn’t change how much she loves to lie – or reinvent – so we don’t know what to believe. You will want to believe everything she says, as you laugh and cry along with this unique novel-in-verse.

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis SeamonSomebody

Richard is a 17-year-old with cancer. Life pretty much stinks, Good thing he’s got spunk and a partner-in-crime, though. Richard and Sylvie stage a Halloween prank in their cancer ward in order to distract themselves from the reality that they have both been given a month to live. When his mom gets sick and can’t come see him, Richie’s wacky uncle takes him out of the hospital and the two have a wild and crazy night – eventually running into Sylvie’s horrible father. Despite the fact that her father is staunchly against it, Sylvie gets closer to Richie. This is another surprisingly hopeful and hilarious novel featuring teens dealing with a harsh reality.


New Books Highlight: Sequels

Every so often I have to highlight series books. Why? Because there are more series than stand-alone books, or so it seems! This fall, there have been and will be a lot of sequels out. It’s a great time to be a fan!

The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Ffordesong

Sequel to The Last Dragonslayer. Jennifer Strange and all of the magicians are back in this sequel that shares the funny, quirky style of the first book. When the King chooses a rival magician from the firm iMagic to be his court magician, Jennifer and the wizards at Kazam are thrown into a magic duel. They know that the King is up to no good, attempting to control magic for his own personal gain. Kazam has a problem though: some of its strongest wizards are under a spell, and the King has decided to lock up the others as criminals.  The quarkbeast might just save the day.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Weinrose

This is not so much a sequel as a companion novel to last year’s Code Name Verity. Set during the same time period as Code Name Verity, this is the story of a young American girl who, like Queenie and Maddie, finds a way to be involved in the war efforts. As a pilot, Rose’s job is to move planes, not to fight. But then Rose is captured during a routine mission and sent to a notorious concentration camps with other prisoners of war.

Smoke by Ellen Hopkinssmoke

This is a long-awaited sequel to 2006’s Burned, written in Hopkins’ signature novel-in-verse style. As in Burned, we are following the story of Pattyn. The story begins abruptly, and somewhat violently, but readers of Hopkins’ books know to expect the troubled situations she portrays. Pattyn finds her father beating her sister Jackie, and presumably kills him. But only the girls know the truth of what happened. Although Pattyn and Jackie have not had it easy, they are easy characters to root for and see ourselves in.


Other sequels out now:

United We Spy by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls #6)

Monsters by Ilsa Bick (Ashes trilogy finale)

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns trilogy finale)

New Books Highlight: Random Awesome Picks

This week, in honor of the joyous chaos that is the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR (OMG!!), I’ve got three recommendations for three brand new books that are just randomly awesome. They’re a little something different to help you kick off the summer time.

The Language Inside by Holly Thompsonlanguage inside

This novel-in-verse is completely captivating. If you’re a fan of Ellen Hopkins or Carol Lynch Williams, check this one out! 10th grader Emma was raised in Japan and feels strong ties there, even when her family is uprooted back to her “home” country, the U.S.A. Her mother is ill – hence the move across the world – and so Emma has more to deal with than the average teenager struggling to fit in in a new place. Emma can’t help but feel displaced, even though she’s supposed to feel at home in a country where her native tongue is spoken daily. Her friends back in Japan are reeling from the devastating tsunami, and Emma is torn between wanting to be with them and needing to be with her ailing mother. To take her mind off things, her grandmother helps her find a volunteer position through which she makes friends and begins to adjust to life stateside. But when she gets the chance to return to Japan, she finds she has grown roots in America – will she leave or stay?

Sneak Peek!

“Third time it happens

I’m crossing the bridge

over a brown-green race of water

that slides through town

on my way to a long-term care center

to start volunteering



to get my courage up” (Text copyright 2013 by Holly Thompson)

Winger by Andrew Smithwinger

You might remember Andrew Smith from the haunting, twisted sci-fi books The Marbury Lens and Passenger. In Winger, Smith does something completely different. This is classic realistic fiction from a male perspective, with a similar style to John Green. Ryan Dean West’s life is complicated. He’s in love with his best friend, who treats him like a little brother. His roommate is scary. And his boarding school is…well, boarding school – lots of drama and high expectations and rugby. Always, there will be rugby. Ryan Dean West makes mistakes, but who wouldn’t in a situation like that? Fortunately for us, his mistakes are honest to life and hilarious to read about.

Sneak Peek! “I said a silent prayer. Actually, silent is probably the only type of prayer a guy should attempt when his head’s in a toilet.” (Text copyright 2013 by Andrew Smith)

Rapture Practice: My One Way Ticket to Salvation by Aaron Hartzlerrapture

This is a true story. Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where every day was filled with thoughts of the imminent Rapture – Jesus’s second coming/the end of the world. But as Aaron got older, he grew more attached to his life on Earth, and less excited about the Rapture and the prospect of Heaven. In short: he has a crisis of faith during his teenage years. Aaron tells the story of his conflict and the adventures he finds himself on as he moves from merely conflicted to full-on rebel, learning lessons that aren’t found in the Bible. For anyone who has faith, questions about faith, or doesn’t practice or even believe: a true and believably funny story about finding your way.

Sneak Peek! “Something you should know up front about my family: We believe that Jesus is coming back.” (Text copyright 2013 by Aaron Hartzler)

Get your verse on for National Poetry Month!


April is National Poetry Month! If you are a poet and everyone knows it, a secret scribbler, a reader but not a writer, a bard (okay you get the point!) this month is for you. The website home of National Poetry Month, part of, shares some nifty ways to celebrate like carrying a poem in your pocket on April 18, taking place in 30 days of activities around poetry, and subscribing to an emailed poem-a-day. Here are some more fun resources to keep you immersed in verse all month long:

This website is the headquarters for the Poetry Foundation and is totally bursting with all kinds of poetic goodness. Not only is it a great place to visit if you’re a poetry fan, but if you ever find yourself needing to write about poets or poetry for an English paper, head over here to read poems, read about poets, and more.


Run by the Poetry Foundation, this app is completely awesome. You can shake your phone to find a randomly chosen poem (like a poetry Magic 8 Ball!), search for poems by memorable lines, and filter out poems about specific topics for when you need to find just the right words to express how you’re feeling.

30/30 Poetry Contest:

Whether you are just entering the poetic arena or are an old hand at writing free verse but need some new inspiration, this contest is a challenge! Sign up to receive a daily email throughout April with a one-line prompt – something like “from start to finish”, which was the very first prompt for the month – to use as inspiration, riff on, ponder, etc. Write a short poem and post it to the 30/30 website by noon the following day. You’ll sharpen your writing and have some fun!

Need to get your poetry in paper form? Check out this list of Novels-in-Verse (yep, those are poetry), or just stop into the library to explore the poetry section (811 in Dewey Decimal), biographies of poets, and more!


After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy

Becca and Camille don’t know each other…until they kiss the same boy.

Becca makes it through everyday only because she gets to be with Alec, her smart, baseball playing boyfriend, after school.  But when he cheats on her, she’s devastated, and must discover who she is without him.

Camille is the new girl, recently moved in her senior year from Chicago, she’s making friends, volunteering, and getting to know the city.  But she thinks all the time about the boy she left behind in Chicago.  Then she meets Alec…

After the Kiss is a wonderful story of losing love but finding yourself.


If you enjoy poetry that tells a great story try reading a novel written in verse. There’s a great booklist of titles on our website, here are few ideas to get you started.

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham
When Jane loses her arm to a shark attack, the aspiring artist is forced to re-evaluate her life.

Street Love by Walter Dean Myers
While dealing with poverty and gang violence, Damien finds true love.

The Surrender Tree: poems of Cuba’s struggle for freedom by Margarita Engle (X 811.54 E58)
A nonfiction book of Cuba’s struggle for independence.