February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Printz Contenders Written by Fan Favorites │JLG’s On the Radar Teen

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Coming-of-age stories are always popular, and when they’re written by Rainbow Rowell or Sara Zarr, librarians don’t have to bother with spine labels. The winner of the 2013 Printz Award will be announced at ALA Midwinter as part of the Youth Media Awards ceremony. Requests will be abundant for multiple-starred fiction by these young adult fan favorites, selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild.

MADISON, Bennett. September Girls. HarperTeen. 2013. ISBN 9780061255632. JLG Level: YM : Mature Young Adults (Grades 11 & Up).

September Girls coverThough every teenage boy may want to be desired by every beautiful blonde he meets, there is something decidedly suspicious about the attention Sam receives in a sleepy beach community. Even his brother’s girlfriend can’t keep her hands off him. Then there’s the fact that all the girls look alike―blonde hair, practically perfect bodies, and an un-worldly accent that he just can’t seem to place. None of them have a past, and these intriguing girls don’t want to talk about the future. Sex, magic, and mystery blend together in a coming-of-age story with Sam in the starring role as he tries to find himself, while the outside world seems to freeze in time around him.

Fangirl coverROWELL, Rainbow. Fangirl. St. Martin’s Griffin. 2013. ISBN 9781250030955. JLG Level: YM : Mature Young Adults (Grades 11 & Up).

“You don’t have any friends, your sister dumped you, you’re a freaky eater… And you’ve got some weird thing about Simon Snow…I feel sorry for you. I’m going to be your friend.” So begins Cath’s first college friendship with her roommate Reagan. A teen who writes fan fiction, she never dreamed she’d spend her college years without her twin sister Wren, who has decided it’s time to separate. College life is completely out of Cath’s comfort zone. An amazing cast of characters pulls her into the real world, allowing her to laugh, love, and grow.

STIEFVATER, Maggie. The Dream Thieves: Book II of the Raven Cycle. Scholastic. 2013. ISBN 9780545424943. JLG Level:  CTH : Current Trends High (Grades 9 & Up).

The Dream Thieves coverIn the sequel to The Raven Boys (Scholastic, 2012), Gansey continues his search on the ley line for an ancient king, fulfilling his lifelong dream of finding magic. The story darkens as the Gray Man barges into Declan’s dorm room. He promises to reveal Glendower’s location on threat of death, while the rest of the dream thieves experiment on the ley line. It seems that Ronan can call things out of his sleep―from Chainsaw, the bird that sits on his shoulder, to the plane that flies without an engine. Blue still fights fate with her feelings for the boys, knowing that her true love’s kiss will be his last. Fans of the first book will anxiously wait for the conclusion in a series that asks as many questions as it answers.

ZARR, Sara. The Lucy Variations. Little, Brown. 2013. ISBN  9780316205016. JLG Level: Y+ : Young Adults (Grades 9 & Up).

The Lucy VariationsWith her future success at her fingertips, Lucy walks away without touching the keyboard. Life back in San Francisco doesn’t quite work for her either. She doesn’t fit in, and without the piano directing her life, she needs to learn another way to live. Enter Will, her brother Gus’s piano teacher. He makes it his mission to reconnect her to the instrument. “Sometimes you should be allowed a tiny bit of joy that would stay with you for more than five minutes. That wasn’t too much to ask. To have a moment like this, and be able to hold on to it. To cross that membrane, and feel alive.” Whether or not readers play the piano, Lucy’s struggles speak to all those who fight with life’s direction, and the choices they make.

For audio/video versions of these booktalks, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com.


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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

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