Book Review//Satellite by Nick Lake

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I’ve read a lot of YA books about space, exploring the vast unknown, and astronauts recently. But none of them have been as emotional and moving as Satellite. Nick Lake created a moving portrait of what it feels like to be an outsider.

Told completely from Leo’s perspective, the reader really connects with him and falls deep into his raw emotions. Leo writes in textspeak throughout the entire novel. There are no capital letters and many abbreviated words. While this style can be clunky, in this book it reminds the reader that we’re seeing the world through Leo’s eyes. Everything we know about the space station, life as a kid who has only known zero gravity, and experiencing Earth for the first time is told by Leo. The unique writing style keeps you firmly settled in Leo’s world.

I loved that Lake created 3 characters, Leo, Libra, and Orion who all had this unconventional childhood. Though we only get Leo’s perspective in the narrative, we learn about the other space-born teens through Leo. Each of the characters had their own interests, voice, and attitude towards going to Earth. The three teens have only every known life outside of Earth. They’re surrounded by stars and seemingly never-ending blackness. Libra and Orion are more excited about going down to Earth while Leo is fairly content with this life on the space station. Libra and Orion were a perfect contrast to Leo, someone who longed for space as soon as he landed on Earth. They were friends with a shared experience that no one else could ever understand but still had their own dynamic personalities. We’re able to understand Leo better with the contrast of his friends.

Lake also writes gorgeous descriptions of the things that we consider ordinary. He writes about the first bite of ice-cold ice cream and the subsequent bizarre feeling of a getting a brain freeze. Leo steps on grass for the first time and is amazed at the unexpected cushion of the blades under his bare feet. Lake makes you think twice about the things we experience every day that is a totally new experience for Leo.

Satellite also dives into other themes of family relationships, sexuality, and the idea of home. Leo has a complicated relationship with his mother and grandfather, both astronauts. In his struggle to find comfort and belonging on Earth he must also deal with getting to know a family he’s never been around. He’s lonely and feels mostly unloved by the mother who gave birth to him in space and left him. He also tries to understand his feelings for Orion and how he can move forward in a world far away from him. He has high hopes for how his life will change on Earth and finds that he must adjust his expectations.

Readers will also be sucked in to the mystery behind The Company, who is now behind all space travel and exploration. In a near future, NASA has been disbanded and The Company has taken over. An evasive and mysterious organization, Leo starts to notice things about The Company and it’s programs that he’s never noticed before.

Interspersed with a lot of scientific information and suspense, Satellite also manages to be a poignant portrait of friendship, loss, and courage. This book is a great readalike for teens who loved The Martian and readers of science-fiction.

Satellite is out today. Add it to your Goodreads shelf and follow Nick Lake on Twitter.


Book Review//Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis

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This is a quintessential quirky, funny, thought-provoking, pleasure read! Told in emails, letters, journal entries, blog posts, and recorded conversations, Everything Must Go is a story told in ephemera that really works.

Flora is trying to hide her love and admiration for her former tutor. She follows him to Quare, the hippie school he was always talking about but he changes his plans at the last minute. She feels instantly out of place at a school for artistic, hippie types. Flora has to decide if she’ll make the most of her new school or run away.


Flora is a pretty unforgettable character with a unique voice. She loves fashion, vintage pieces, and the comforts of air conditioning. We get to know her through her emails and journal entries. Her voice reminds me of one of my favorite characters, Mia Thermopolis. Like Mia, Flora’s journal is her private place to write about her crush, the things she doesn’t want anyone else to know about, and her plans that don’t turn out quite like she hoped. It’s the only place that she writes the truth about why she went to Quare, while telling everyone else its because she’s bored with her current school and wants to challenge herself. Her journal becomes the place where she can record the truth.

Everything Must Go successfully uses the epistolary format to provide depth to Flora’s character. She writes her true feelings in her journal and writes a different version of herself in the emails to her friends and family. We even see her many failed attempts at writing emails to her tutor,  trying to capture what she’s feeling about him without sounding desperate. The letters, journal entries, and messages capture the experience of feeling out of your depth and eventually learning to swim. Flora captures her own growth and self evolution through her exchanges.

Flora goes on a self-discovery journey while at Quare and meets a lot of interesting people along the way. She records her funny first reactions to the quirky inhabitants of Quare and grows to love many of them by the end of the book. Davis provided a cast of dynamic characters for Flora to interact with and each of them helps her in her path of self-discovery. She starts the school year as the fish out of water, wearing the wrong clothes and thinking the wrong things. By the end of the book she has a whole gaggle of friends who support her. Flora goes to Quare for one purpose only and ends up finding so much more there.

This is a feminist story about expressing yourself, allowing yourself to change, and finding confidence within yourself. It’s easy to write off a girl like Flora as a vapid girl who just wants to impress an older guy, but this book invites the reader to question why a girl like that is so easy to judge.

Readers of Piper Perish, The Princess Diaries, and You’re Welcome, Universe will enjoy this book.

Add Everything Must Go to your Goodreads shelves.



Been There, Read That//September 2017


Been There, Read That is a monthly reading wrap up featuring everything I read last month.

What I read:

9 YA Books

5 Graphic Novels/Comics

2 Middle Grade Books

September was a really good reading month since so many books come out in October. I had a lot of great ARCs to read and managed to read some other books to. Here’s what I read this month:

I read three e-books throughout the month as my before bed reads. I finally read Always and Forever, Lara Jean. I absolutely love Jenny Han and I’ve been saving the final Lara Jean book for a while because I didn’t want the series to end. But I finally gave in to the pressure and I adored it. How to Make a Wish was one of my favorite books of the month. I loved Grace and Eva’s story and seeing their relationship start. Both How to Make a Wish and It’s Not Like It’s a Secret have been on my TBR list forever and I was super happy to finally read them.

I finished 6 YA ARCs in September. Each of them were so different but I ended up loving them all. The Nowhere Girls is about a group of feminist teens who come together to fight against the misogynists and rapists at their school. It’s a great readalike for teens who’ve just finished Jennifer Mathieu’s MoxieSatellite is one of many space books that I’ve read this year but it was a stand out book for me. I’m also a lifelong Katie Cotugno fan now. Top Ten was a fun contemporary romance featuring a bi character with anxiety. Starfish was my other favorite book of the month. I already want to reread it.

I read several volumes of comics and graphic novels in between the novels I read this month. Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna (a producer of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, one of my favorite tv shows) wrote a graphic novel, modern retelling of Jane Eyre. The updated story still features the woman in the attic and a dark Mr. Rochester. It’s definitely worth looking at regardless of whether you’re a Jane Eyre fan or not.

I continued my quest to read all the Baby-Sitters Club books in order and read number 32. Kristy proves to be an insufferable know it all about something she knows nothing about. But I’ll give her another chance. I also read a middle grade book about Snapchat from HMHKids. It’s one of the first novels I’ve seen feature actual photographs of the characters within the text and it was a fun read. It’s out early next year.

I’m looking forward to a new month of reading! What was your favorite read of September?

Book Review//Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Starfish is a complex and dynamic coming of age story. While reading the summary of the book it’s easy to think it’s only a contemporary romance but Kiko’s story is so much more than that. While there is a romantic storyline, the core of the book is Kiko’s discovery of her own self-worth. This book is beautifully written with expressive imagery, exceptional characterization, and a powerful message.

Kiko is an artist who has always dreamed of getting away from her abusive family and going to art school. When her dreams are squashed, she knows she has to find another way out. Kiko, a half-Japanese teen, has suffered constant emotional abuse from her mother and has internalized the racism and hate that her mother spews. Her white mother makes her feel ashamed for being biracial and participating in any kind of Japanese culture. Kiko knows her mother is abusive but she still yearns for love and affection from her. Kiko’s struggle to find peace and comfort from her mother is heartbreaking to read. Her mother habitually grinds Kiko down and rids her of self-esteem. She also defends the uncle who sexually abused Kiko. Bowman writes a realistic and cathartic story for readers who have also been hurt by their families and must come to terms with that reality.

Kiko also has severe social anxiety. Bowman addresses mental illness and the detrimental effects it can have on a family when it’s not taken seriously or treated with compassion. Kiko is constantly trying to control and defeat her anxiety though her family never gives her any means of dealing with it. Where her mother fails at understanding the limits that anxiety place on Kiko, her childhood friend Jamie finally provides her with a sympathetic place to land.

Ultimately, Bowman writes a triumphant story about putting yourself first. This book gives readers permission to make your feelings and mental health a priority. Kiko, repeatedly hurt by her mother’s behavior and defense of her sexual abuser, finds the courage to create her own family and happiness. She finds a mentor, a Japanese painter named Hiroshi, and a place to paint when she runs away to California. Her poignant art reflecting her life, often ignored by her mother, is taken seriously in Hiroshi’s studio. Hiroshi and his welcoming family help Kiko begin to accept herself and support the artist she will become. With support from Jamie, Jamie’s parents, and Hiroshi she is able to fully confront her past and find value within standing up for herself. She even finds the strength to try and mend some pieces of her past. Kiko, who never felt deserving of love, is finally able to listen to the voice in her head telling her that she is capable and important.

This book is an honest, own-voices depiction of anxiety and pain and it will ring true to readers. This book is a great readalike to Saints & Misfits, Girl in Pieces, and How to Make a Wish.

Add Starfish to your Goodreads and follow Akemi Dawn Bowman on Twitter. 

Top Ten Tuesday//Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List


hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I’m a huge fan of Fall. Crunchy leaves, sweaters, and Halloween are the best. And there’s always a ton of great books in the Fall. Here’s my Fall TBR:


  1. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (I got an ARC of this at YALLWest, which seems like forever ago now and I’m so glad it’s finally next on my TBR pile. This is a great year for strong feminist YA and I’ve heard so much good stuff about this book. ) Out 10/10


“Who are the Nowhere Girls? They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.” -Goodreads synopsis

2. Like Water by Rebecca Podos (I got this ARC at ALA this summer and I was super excited to see it there. The synopsis reminds me of a How to Make a Wish by Ashley Blake Herring, and I really loved that book. The cover is also so gorgeous.) Out 10/17

top2“In Savannah Espinoza’s small New Mexico hometown, kids either flee after graduation or they’re trapped there forever. Vanni never planned to get stuck—but that was before her father was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, leaving her and her mother to care for him. Now, she doesn’t have much of a plan at all: living at home, working as a performing mermaid at a second-rate water park, distracting herself with one boy after another.

That changes the day she meets Leigh. Disillusioned with small-town life and looking for something greater, Leigh is not a “nice girl.” She is unlike anyone Vanni has met, and a friend when Vanni desperately needs one. Soon enough, Leigh is much more than a friend. But caring about another person stirs up the moat Vanni has carefully constructed around herself, and threatens to bring to the surface the questions she’s held under for so.” -Goodreads synopsis

3. Calling My Name by Liara Tamani (This is another one that I got at ALA and I’m thinking about reading this one real quick before I get back to my pub date sequential TBR list. It just sounds that good! I’m also really loving illustrated characters on covers right now.) Out 10/24

top3.jpg“Taja Brown lives with her parents and older brother and younger sister, in Houston, Texas. Taja has always known what the expectations of her conservative and tightly-knit African American family are—do well in school, go to church every Sunday, no intimacy before marriage.

But Taja is trying to keep up with friends as they get their first kisses, first boyfriends, first everythings. And she’s tired of cheering for her athletic younger sister and an older brother who has more freedom just because he’s a boy. Taja dreams of going to college and forging her own relationship with the world and with God, but when she falls in love for the first time, those dreams are suddenly in danger of evaporating.”- Goodreads synopsis

4. I Never by Laura Hopper (I’ll read anything that’s comped as similar to Judy Blume’s Forever. I’m also really loving everything that HMH Teen is putting out recently and I’m excited to read this big title that I’ve been hearing about for almost a year now.) Out 11/7

top4.jpg“Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex.

Inspired by Judy Blume’s classic Forever, I Never features a perfect, delicious, almost-to-good-to-be-true high school relationship . . . and it doesn’t shy away from the details. Destined to be passed from teen to teen, this is a young adult debut that will get readers talking.” -Goodreads synopsis

5. Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga (Seriously though, YA covers are the best. Just look at this millennial pink one with a perfect pops of color. A member of the Balzer + Bray team found one more copy of this book tucked away in a cabinet at ALA for me.) Out 11/7

top5.jpg“Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.”-Goodreads synopsis

6. Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (Wednesday Books is a new imprint and they’re publishing some of the coolest YA books recently.) Out 11/21

top1.jpg“Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?” -Goodreads synopsis

7. Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles Edited By Natalie C. Parker (This anthology has stories by so many authors I love like Brandy Colbert, Julie Murphy, & Katie Cotugno!) Out 12/19


“These top YA authors tackle the much-debated trope of the love triangle, and the result is sixteen fresh, diverse, and romantic stories you don’t want to miss.

This collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, contains stories written by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff.

A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet.”

8. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez (I also picked this one up at ALA. It has a gorgeous cover and I know it will be really popular at my library. I love books about sisters and complex family dynamics.) Out 10/17

29010395.jpg“Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?”- Goodreads synopsis

9. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Okay, so I’ve already read this one but I’m planning on reading it again and booktalking it to all of my book clubs. Jason Reynolds is easily one of the best writers for teens and this book will stop you in your tracks.) Out 10/24

22552026.jpg“A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.” -Goodreads synopsis

10. The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves (This is the only one that I don’t have an ARC of but I am going to be number one on the hold list for the library’s copy. I know this is going to be an amazing book.) Out 11/7

33914005.jpg“Marcos Rivas wants to find love.
He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.” -Goodreads synopsis

What book are you most excited about this Fall?

I read and review most of the ARCs that I receive and donate all ARCs to teen readers and teen book clubs.

Book Review//Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu


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Reading Moxie was like a religious experience. Seeing Vivian start a high school revolution and fight the patriarchy was a YA dream come true. I was instantly transported back to my own feminist beginning in high school when my friends and I started recognizing the misogyny and patriarchal bullshit of the public school system. Vivian was the friend I needed in high school and this book is going to be a feminist instruction manual for teen readers everywhere. Jennifer Mathieu wrote the story of so many high schools and teens.

Moxie addresses everything–internalized misogyny, competition between girls, intersectional feminism, racism, and how to start a revolution. This is a perfect primer for teens who are just getting interested in feminism and learning how it can influence every aspect of your life. A few instances like dress code checks and sexist t-shirts worn by football players inspire Vivian to create a zine that gives other girls a voice in the school. Vivian’s issues of Moxie, the zine she creates, become the vehicle for the revolution at East Rockport High. Vivian’s first zine asks for supporters of Moxie to draw hearts and stars on their hands to help other like minded students find each other. Each zine that follows helps students fight back. Vivian starts a leader-less revolution that allows anyone to get involved and contribute. Moxie becomes a student led revolution that empowers anyone who stands with them. Vivian openly recognizes her own limitations as a privileged white student and leaves Moxie open for anyone to create and lead events. She discusses the way her whiteness influences her feminism and her blind spots to the way that students of color face many different discriminations.

In addition to creating a kick ass revolutionary zine and an intersectional and open feminist primer, Mathieu somehow manages to work a swoony romance, friendship trouble, and complex family relationships into Moxie. The book addresses every aspect of Vivian’s life but it doesn’t feel crowded. Each aspect of her life is perfectly intertwined with the overall story.

Vivian starts an absolutely butterfly inducing romance with the new guy, Seth, and he’s the first one to find out that she’s behind Moxie. Seth and Vivian have one of the most realistic YA romances that I’ve ever read. He’s an unapologetic feminist and Moxie supporter but Vivian does have to explain the problematic reasoning behind the “not all men” line that he tries to use. They learn and grow together and have a supportive relationship.

Vivian also deals with changes in her family and friendships. Her single mother, once a riot grrl herself, has a serious boyfriend for the first time and Vivian is anything but happy about it. She has to confront her feelings and fear about her relationship changing with her mom. Vivian also has to navigate her best friend’s jealousy when Vivian gets a new friend. Vivian deals with many levels of conflicts throughout the book and Mathieu creates such a realistic portrayal of a high school girl.

I could go on and on about the intricate sub-plots, fantastic inserted zines, and complex characters but just trust me when I say that Moxie is the book you have been waiting for. May it inspire readers to make a change and other authors to write more stories about characters who are ready to fight back. This book should have a permanent place on all bookshelves.

Add Moxie to your Goodreads shelf and follow Jennifer Mathieu on Twitter. Check out the Moxie Girls Fight Back website for more inspiring bad-ass feminists!

Library Program//Banned Books Week


Banned Books Week is coming! Need a passive program or something for your Teen Advisory Board to work on? Make display props for an eye-catching Banned Books Week Display. This program could be set up as a passive activity for patrons to do whenever they’re in the library or used as an event before or during Banned Books Week.


  • paper bags20170913_145538
  • cardstock
  • popsicle sticks
  • markers
  • glue/tape
  • images of Banned Books Week logos (if you want to decorate bags with cut outs)

Paper bags: Create an interactive Banned Books Week display using paper bags. Decorate paper bags with the opening of the bag at the bottom. People can lift up the bag to see the banned book inside. You can list reasons why a book was banned, provide information about Banned Books Week, or decorate with caution tape and messages to beware. You could easily use the paper bags to turn the display into a guessing game with hints about the books. The TAB members wrote some cheeky messages on our bags about peeking at the books beneath.


Protest signs: These books are sick of being banned and they’re going to stand up for themselves! Cut cardstock into your desired size, I cut a standard size of paper into eighths. Let participants brainstorm book slogans and protest signs. Decorate the cardstock and attach a popsicle stick in the back. The protest signs are perfect for books that won’t fit in the paper bags.

Display examples of books that have been banned to provide inspiration. I also talked with the TAB members about specific books and why libraries participate in Banned Books Week. It was a great chance to provide some background on the event and bring awareness to censorship issues.

Banned Books Week 2017 is September 24 – 30


Top 10 Tuesday//YA Books that Still Check Out


hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I love seeing well-read and worn library books on the shelves. Here’s 10 YA Books that are 10 years or older that still get checked out at my library:

  1. Does My Head Look Big in This by Randa Abdel-Fattah (This one, published in 2005, always goes out as soon as I include it in a display. I even ordered a second copy of it after noticing how much it’s checked out and how many holds it still gets. This fabulous cover is so eye-catching!)


“When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth…

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs” -Goodreads synopsis

2. TTYL by Lauren Myracle (The Internet Girls series, first published in 2005, is still one of the most popular series at my library. Each well-read paperback copy is meticulously taped back together until it can’t be taped any more. I’ve recently purchased the reissued and updated version and it’s already checked out a lot! I read this as a 13 year old and thought I was so cool. I’m happy it still finds readers.)

blog2“ttyl and its sequels follow the ups and downs of high school for the winsome threesome, three very different but very close friends: wild Maddie (mad maddie), bubbly Angela (SnowAngel), and reserved Zoe (zoegirl). Through teacher crushes, cross-country moves, bossy Queen Bees, incriminating party pics, and other bumps along the way, author Lauren Myracle explores the many potholes of teenagedom with the unflinching honesty and pitch-perfect humor that made this series a staple of young adult literature.” -Amazon synopsis

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Need I say more? The Book Thief, published in 2005, has become a YA classic. It shows up every year on student reading lists and adults still check it out too.)

blog3“It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.” -Goodreads synopsis

4. Monster by Walter Dean Myers (Another YA classic, published in 1999, continually finds readers. We have so many copies of this tattered and well-loved book at my library. I love when a teen reader mentions that they’ve read this book before so I can tell them about Myers many other books and authors like Jason Reynolds, Kwame Alexander, and Angie Thomas.)

blog4“Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. A Harlem drugstore owner was shot and killed in his store, and the word is that Steve served as the lookout.

Guilty or innocent, Steve becomes a pawn in the hands of “the system,” cluttered with cynical authority figures and unscrupulous inmates, who will turn in anyone to shorten their own sentences. For the first time, Steve is forced to think about who he is as he faces prison, where he may spend all the tomorrows of his life.

As a way of coping with the horrific events that entangle him, Steve, an amateur filmmaker, decides to transcribe his trial into a script, just like in the movies. He writes it all down, scene by scene, the story of how his whole life was turned around in an instant. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred and his vision obscured until he can no longer tell who he is or what is the truth. This compelling novel is Walter Dean Myers’s writing at its best.” -Goodreads synopis

5. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (This is one of my absolute favorite series of all time. The first book, published in 2001, remains a favorite of many readers today. It’s a really good beginning book for YA readers. Parents who loved this book request this book a lot to share with their own teen readers.)

blog5“Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.” -Goodreads synopsis

6. Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier (Published in 2002, this is another book that shows up on a lot of school reading lists. I use it in a lot of displays in the teen section and it’s always one of the first ones to check out.)

blog6“Dimple Lala doesn’t know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she’s spent her whole life resisting their traditions. Then suddenly she gets to high school and everything Indian is trendy. To make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a “suitable boy.” Of course it doesn’t go well — until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web . Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. Complications ensue. This is a funny, thoughtful story about finding your heart, finding your culture, and finding your place in America.” -Goodreads synopsis

7. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (Levithan is an always popular author at my library and this is one of our most popular titles. Just last week a Teen Book Club member called this book published in 2003 their “favorite book for forever.”)

blog7“This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.” -Goodreads synopsis

8. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (All of Dessen’s books are popular at my library but Just Listen is the most requested. Published in 2006, Just Listen is still relatable and relevant. It’s also my favorite Dessen novel.)

blog8“Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.”     -Goodreads synopsis

9. Ball Don’t Lie by Matt de la Peña (I love booktalking this one at school visits and it always grabs some reluctant readers.)

blog9“Sticky is a beat-around-the-head foster kid with nowhere to call home but the street, and an outer shell so tough that no one will take him in. He started out life so far behind the pack that the finish line seems nearly unreachable. He’s a white boy living and playing in a world where he doesn’t seem to belong.

But Sticky can ball. And basketball might just be his ticket out . . . if he can only realize that he doesn’t have to be the person everyone else expects him to be.

Matt de la Peña’s breakout urban masterpiece, Ball Don’t Lietakes place where the street and the court meet and where a boy can be anything if he puts his mind to it.” -Goodreads synopsis

10. Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (Zarr is a favorite YA author for so many readers and Story of a Girl, published in 2007, is still constantly on hold and passed between readers. I like to think that this book is passed around in friend groups before it makes its way back to the library.)

blog 10“I was thirteen when my dad caught me with Tommy Webber in the back of Tommy’s Buick, parked next to the old Chart House down in Montara at eleven o’clock on a Tuesday night. Tommy was seventeen and the supposed friend of my brother, Darren.
I didn’t love him.
I’m not sure I even liked him.

In a moment, Deanna Lambert’s teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of “school slut,” Deanna longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom, and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany, and redemption.” -Goodreads synopsis

What’s your favorite YA book that’s at least 10 years old?


Book Display//Immigration & Immigrant Experiences

American Dreamsbooks about the immigration experience (1)America is a nation made up of immigrants. Many of those immigrants are undocumented teens who feel isolated, invisible, and unimportant. I try to use my library displays to say “we see you, you are important and valuable at the library and your story deserves to be told.” Teens carry the burdens of worrying about their status, their family’s status, and their livelihood. I made this display to let readers know that we see them, we know the weight they carry, and they are not alone. I also hope these books inspire empathy in others who are not living the undocumented immigrant story.

Make your own display and download the display poster here.

This display could be used for adult, young adult, or juvenile titles. My display is in the teen section so my list is mostly YA titles but there are many adult and juvenile titles that address immigration experiences.

Recommended titles:

  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
  • The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
  • How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana and Abigail Pesta
  • A Step from Heaven by An Na
  • Something In Between by Melissa De La Cruz
  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
  • The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt
  • Vietnamerica by G. B. Tran
  • Almost a Woman by Esmeralda Santiago
  • Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • Taking Hold: From Migrant Childhood to Columbia Graduate by Francisco Jiménez
  • Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt
  • Good Enough by Paula Yoo
  • The Secret Side of Emtpy by Maria Andreu
  • Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
  • Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas


Been There, Read That//August 2017


Been There, Read That is a monthly reading wrap up featuring everything I read last month.

What I read:

6 YA books

4 graphic novels/comic books

4 middle grade books

1 adult fiction book

August means that the Summer Reading Program is finally over and I finally have a little more time to read. I tried to focus on ARCs again for #ARCAugust but I ended up reading quite already published books as well.

I finished 4 YA ARCs (and started several others that I just couldn’t get into or finish.) They Both Die at the End is classic Silvera meaning it will rip your heart out and make you feel every emotion. I really loved Long Way Down and it’s going to be an instant classic. Jason Reynolds is an absolute master storyteller. Long Way Down will be one of the biggest books of the year. Moxie blew me away and is my favorite book of the month. It’s also my current favorite book that I’ve read this year. It’s unapologetic, fierce, and exactly what so many teen readers need right now. I will reread this again and again.

I read 2 more installments in the Runaways series though I really didn’t care for the fourth volume at all. But still looking forward to reading Rainbow Rowell’s issues! I also read an ARC of Dawn and the Impossible Three and it was kind of a dream come true to read an advance copy of a BSC book. I’m a bit of a BSC fanatic.

I read one Baby-Sitters Club chapter book this month in my quest to read them all in order (did I already mention I’m a BSC fanatic?) BSC books are a perfect reset in between other books. Dawn and Mary Anne are my favorite characters so I particularly enjoyed this book where they’re finally stepsisters. Dawn and Mary Anne have trouble adjusting and for some reason their parents never made any post-wedding plans for how they would all merge together as a family. Poor Mary Anne gets called wicked just because she doesn’t want to clean up after adult humans. I’m very Team Mary Anne on this one.

I also read 3 other middle grade books that I adored! The First Rule of Punk might be my new favorite middle grade–ever! I read this right after reading Moxie and I’m so inspired to make zines now. They would be the perfect readalikes for a teen/tween book club. I also met Meg Cabot this month (a lifelong dream come true) so I had to read the first book in her Olivia Grace series.

Little Fires Everywhere was my only adult fiction selection for the month but it was a great one. Fans of Ng’s first book will not be disappointed with this family drama. I also reread P.S. I Still Love You because it’s time to finally read Always and Forever, Lara Jean. I’m a huge Jenny Han fan but I’ve been putting off reading the third Lara Jean book because I don’t want the series to end. I also finally crossed Outrun the Moon off my TBR list and I hope to use it for a future teen book club selection.

What was your favorite read of the month?