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July 31, 2015

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Mark Flowers

About Mark Flowers

Mark Flowers (@droogmark) is the young adult librarian at the John F. Kennedy Library in Vallejo, CA.

Six Eclectic Debut Novels | Adult Books 4 Teens

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Adult Books 4 Teens features six debut novels for adults with teen appeal—with an emphasis on “novels,” since all of these first-time novelists have already established themselves in other forms or writing. These offerings range from a “Stephanie Plum” series read-alike by a Hollywood screenwriter to literary postapocalyptic titles.

The Much-Maligned Ty Cobb: A New Biography for Sports Fans | Adult Books 4 Teens

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Adult Books for Teens columnist Mark Flowers compares two recent biographies on the notorious baseball player, one of which has lots of appeal for teen readers.

Spine-Chilling Whodunits for Summer Reading | Adult Books 4 Teens

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The “Adult Books for Teens” blog has a new home. In its latest format, the column presents four summer mysteries perfect for beach reading.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

February Fever

February Fever

Despite appearances, February Fever is not the second book in Jess Lourey’s “Murder by Month” series, but the tenth. Lourey perversely started this series in May, and now has finally rolled around to February. And despite its obvious teen appeal, this is the first time this blog has gotten around to reviewing a book in […]

Emma: A Modern Retelling

Emma: A Modern Retelling

Last Halloween, as I was trick-or-treating with my kids, I ran into one of my teen volunteers, who was dressed like this: I didn’t immediately recognize the costume and I asked her who she was dressed as. Her reply–”Um, it’s from a movie? It’s called Clueless“–caused my wife an I to gape for two reasons: […]

Unexplored History

Unexplored History

Today we look at two fabulous historical fiction works exploring historical periods unfamiliar to most Americans. First up is a starred review of Michelle Moran’s Rebel Queen, which tells the story of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Specifically, it tracks the exploits of Rani Lakshmi, the queen of a smallish kingdom in northern India called […]

Driftwood

Driftwood

Somehow we managed to let this book from November of last year make it all the way till late March without a post. But don’t let that fool you: Elizabeth Dutton’s Driftwood is a fabulous novel with tons of teen appeal: rock stars, letters from beyond the grave, a road trip–this has got all the […]

Gretel All Grown Up

Gretel All Grown Up

At the opposite end of fairy-tale retellings from the gritty 2013 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, comes this delightful cozy mystery, the first in a prospective series starring the same Gretel, grown-up and solving crimes. Regular readers know my affection for fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, and while I haven’t read this one yet, […]

The Sacrifice by Joyce Carol Oates

The Sacrifice by Joyce Carol Oates

Considering that it is based on a police case from almost 30 years ago, it is astonishing how much currency Joyce Carol Oates’s new novel has. A black teen is found beaten and apparently raped, naming only “white cops” as the perpetrators before lapsing into silence. The ensuing polarized reactions on the parts of the […]

Continuing Mystery Series

Continuing Mystery Series

Today we look at two entries in continuing mystery series – both also parts on ongoing multi-media franchises. The much older of these is, of course, Sherlock Holmes. When last we talked, I mentioned Holmes’s semi-unique place as a character who has leaped the bounds of his original stories. What I didn’t know at the […]

Alex Awards Announced!

Alex Awards Announced!

The 2015 Alex Awards were announced this morning (you can find the lists of all the Youth Media Awards winners here). Congratulations to the ten winners: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt […]

Two Takes on Environmental Destruction

Two Takes on Environmental Destruction

Today, we review two books that examine the environmental destruction of small towns, and the ensuing fallout in the community at large. In Rene Steinke’s Friendswood, the eponymous town has been the victim of chemical leaks from a nearby oil refinery. Most of the town seems ready to move on once the EPA has cleared […]

Alex Award Predictions

Alex Award Predictions

MARK: The 2015 Alex Awards–recognizing “ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults”–will be named during the Youth Media Awards on February 2. In our annual quest to pretend we know what we’re talking about, today Angela and I are going to make some guesses about what we think might have […]

The Heart Does Not Grow Back

The Heart Does Not Grow Back

The tagline plastered on the back of Fred Venturini’s debut novel–”Every superhero needs to start somewhere”–may draw in readers, but it may mislead them as well. It is true that the novel’s protagonist, Dale Sampson, has a superheroic ability to regenerate his limbs, but the novel is much less of an origin story than it […]

The Rosie Effect: A Sequel That Delivers the Goods

The Rosie Effect: A Sequel That Delivers the Goods

When I read Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project, I loved it (and reviewed positively)–funny, charming, sweet, with something real to say about humanity. But I had some doubts about it’s teen appeal, which was the only reason I didn’t give it a starred review. So I was pleasantly surprised when one of our other reviewers […]

The World of Ice and Fire

The World of Ice and Fire

As this blog’s resident Game of Thrones reviewer (again, despite having never read the novels), I took it upon myself to read the newest entry into the world of The Song of Ice and Fire, a “nonfiction” companion to George R.R. Martin’s epic world. The book has Martin’s name above the title, but the smaller […]

First Frost

First Frost

Happy New Year! Given the frost on the ground in my usually balmy California home, I thought we would ring in the New Year here with the appropriately titled First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen–our first 2015 title, to boot. This book is an example of one of my favorite parts of this blog: when […]

Lists!

Lists!

It’s mid-December and that means there are lots of lists coming out. Last year, I made an exhaustive spreadsheet of all of the major journals’ best-of lists to show you what made multiple lists and which ones we’d reviewed. This year, I’m . . . not going to do that. Instead, just a few thoughts. […]

Three Debuts

Three Debuts

One of my favorite reader’s advisory tools is Amazon’s “Customer’s Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature. I know, I know, Amazon’s a big evil company engaged in a fight against the absolutely tiny publishing firm of Hatchette (note: Hatchette is not tiny), but what can I say? The algorithm they use is great. You […]

A Debut Novel for Lovers of (or Newbies to) the Greek Classics

A Debut Novel for Lovers of (or Newbies to) the Greek Classics

Natalie Haynes’s debut novel is a fascinating mix of Haynes’s diverse interests and talents. A stand-up comedian, television panelist, journalist, and author of a nonfiction book on the Greek classics, Haynes brings all these sources to bear in creating a complex and satisfying narrative. As our reviewer notes, the novel is structured, as a traditional […]