April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

18 YA Titles To Inspire Budding Authors for #NaNoWriMo

A great way to encourage teens to meet their word count for National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWrMmo) in November is to display books with young adult protagonists who are writers themselves. Whether it’s classics like S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon or recent staples like Nikki Grimes’s Bronx Masquerade and Walter Dean Myers’s Monster, the following works might be just what aspiring authors need to kickstart their first novels.

AbsolutelyTrueDiary_coverredstarALEXIE,Sherman. Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Little, Brown. $20. ISBN 9780316013680.
Gr 7–10—Exploring Indian identity, both self and tribal, Alexie’s first young adult novel is a semiautobiographical chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. The bright 14-year-old was born with water on the brain, is regularly the target of bullies, and loves to draw. He says, “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.” He expects disaster when he transfers from the reservation school to the rich, white school in Reardan, but soon finds himself making friends with both geeky and popular students and starting on the basketball team. Meeting his old classmates on the court, Junior grapples with questions about what constitutes one’s community, identity, and tribe. The daily struggles of reservation life and the tragic deaths of the protagonist’s grandmother, dog, and older sister would be all but unbearable without the humor and resilience of spirit with which Junior faces the world. The many characters, on and off the rez, with whom he has dealings are portrayed with compassion and verve, particularly the adults in his extended family. Forney’s simple pencil cartoons fit perfectly within the story and reflect the burgeoning artist within Junior. Reluctant readers can even skim the pictures and construct their own story based exclusively on Forney’s illustrations. The teen’s determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie’s tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library

Barrows, Annie. Nothing. 224p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062668233.

Gr 8 Up –Frankie and Charlotte, 15-year-old best friends, are average girls, in an average town, with average families. In a moment of reflection, contemplation, and conversation, the two decide to write a novel about how uneventful and unlike YA novels their lives are. They soon discover a world in which they are the center of every drama. This is a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek novel about two girls navigating life, family dynamics, romance, and their friendship. Readers will find the irony funny and either empathize or become annoyed (sometimes both) with Charlotte’s angst-ridden thought processes. VERDICT Recommended for fans of contemporary, realistic, and coming-of-age YA fiction.–Tamela Chambers, Chicago Public Schools, IL

redstarBassett, Kate. Words and Their Meanings. 360p. Flux. Sept. 2014. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9780738740294.

Gr 9 Up–When 17-year-old Anna O’Malley’s “bruncle” (uncle raised as her brother) Joe dies, she suppresses her grief and refuses to open up about him. She embodies Patti Smith circa 1973, writing daily Patti verses on her forearm and conducts morning corpse yoga where she lays absolutely still in her bed. Anna also gives up her promising talent for writing. Throughout the year following Joe’s passing, Anna blames herself for tragic family events including his death and her parents’ divorce. Her family and best friend are at a loss as to how to help her move on and are afraid of awakening past destructive and suicidal grief responses. While seeing her ninth psychologist in under a year, Anna strikes a “deadaversary” bargain with her family to return to normalcy to avoid “crazy Bible camp” in Hell, Michigan. As she starts to comply with the bargain, the teen’s life begins to move on with a new job, a love interest, and a glimmers of happiness. But more family secrets and tragedies unfold. Eventually, the protagonist’s attempts at suppression lead to an increase in self-destructive tendencies that spiral out of control until she can no longer hold back. Bassett’s debut novel scores a hat-trick of literary merit in a strongly crafted and complex plot, deeply drawn characters with palpable grief, and beautifully woven and rich prose. This title will appeal most to readers of realistic fiction, especially those looking for a deeply engaging, emotional story.–Adrienne L. Strock, Teen Library Manager, Nashville Public Library

BRESLAW, Anna. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here. Penguin/Razorbill. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781595148353.
Gr 9 Up-High school junior Scarlett is heavily involved with the Lycanthrope High TV show’s online fandom, writing fan fiction and live tweeting the show. In real life, she is mostly invisible, hanging out with her supersmart best friend, Avery, and her elderly neighbor Ruth. When her favorite show is canceled, Scarlett and her online friends are devastated. And then her real life starts falling apart. The teen begins writing new fanfic, set in the Lycanthrope High world but based on events and people in the real world. She does not paint the most flattering portraits of them, so when her writing is discovered by people in her school, there are serious consequences. The initial impression of the book is of a quippy, good-time read. But as Scarlett’s life takes a dive, the tone darkens. Breslaw includes Scarlett’s fanfic, which is engaging to read, especially when she is stymied and writing in terrible clichés. Unfortunately, while the inclusion of the protagonist’s work and Tumblr-speak feels fresh, many of the main ideas do not: a smart, pretty girl hiding her light; a rough-around-the-edges single mom with a heart of gold; an absent dad with a perfect new family; and a mean girl who is not so mean. The book feels uneven and loses steam toward the end, but it is a quick read that is still enjoyable. An abundance of scenes with teens drinking casually make this title more appropriate for high schoolers. VERDICT A fine additional purchase.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT

BICK, Ilsa J. White Space. Egmont USA. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781606844199.
Gr 9 Up—One of the marks of a classic horror story is the slow and insidious shifting of the rules within the tale’s universe. Bick understands the power of this trope and uses it relentlessly in this sophisticated horror novel for older teens. A brilliant five-year-old watches her novelist father call horrors from a powerful mirror. A high school junior with static-filled gaps in her memory pens a horror tale, one that had already been written decades ago. A psychically gifted girl accepts a ride from a troubled but sweet boy. A marine and his younger brother head out on snowmobiles after accidentally killing their abusive father. Fleeing their separate nightmares, the cast assembles in a fog-bound, snow-filled valley from which there seems to be no escape. Lovecraft-inspired monsters inflict gruesome deaths and time and space are unreliable in this mind-bending narrative. Slowly, it’s revealed that no one is quite who they thought they were, and the boundaries of this universe are definitely falling apart. Continuous references to fictional time and space travelers (The Matrix’s Neo, A Wrinkle in Time’s Meg Murray) add intricacy, leading characters to wonder if they themselves are made up. Bick is a master of the genre, balancing tension, terror, and tedium through repetition and fractured storytelling. White Space is filled with echoes of other horror stories, but the author manages to hold on to her own narrative voice, playing on readers’ expectations through a series of reveals, some just predictable enough to inspire a false sense of security. The first of a series, it also can stand alone.–Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library

redstarFederle, Tim. The Great American Whatever. 288p. ebook available. S. & S. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481404099.The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Gr 10 Up –In the six months since his sister was killed in a car accident, Quinn has hardly left his bedroom. He hasn’t gone to school or talked to his best friend and has barely interacted with his heartbroken mother. He hasn’t turned on his phone, either, knowing the last text his sister sent before running a red light was to him. Urged on by his best friend, Geoff, Quinn reluctantly emerges from his isolation just in time to meet a cute boy, turn 17, rediscover his passion for writing screenplays, and uncover some big secrets about the people he thought he knew best. He also gets some advice from a former idol, a neighbor turned Hollywood screenwriter: forget the rules of what’s expected in a script and just write the truth. For Quinn, who seeks solace in his daydreamy scripts with imagined conversations and outcomes that he can control, this is a hard pill to swallow, especially as he’s learning some truths he’s not really sure he likes. Even under the weight of grief, Quinn’s conversational and charming narrative voice effervesces, mixing humor and vulnerability in typical Federle style. Quinn’s story is at turns sad, funny, awkward, and endearing as he figures out friendship, romance, coming out, and moving on. VERDICT Federle’s YA debut about life’s unscripted moments has wide appeal and is an essential purchase for all collections. Readers will be instant fans of the funny and honest Quinn.–Amanda MacGregor, Great River Regional Library, St. Cloud, MN

redstarGARVIN, Jeff. Symptoms of Being Human. ­­7 CDs. 7:47 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2016. $21.99. ISBN 9780062447258. digital download. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Gr 9 Up –“The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?” Keep wondering: Riley Cavanaugh isn’t answering. Riley is gender-fluid, information only Riley’s psychiatrist is privy to while Riley’s conservative congressman father and teacher mother remain clueless. Between medications and therapy, Riley is struggling to just live life. When Doctor Ann suggests Riley might choose an activity “to stop thinking about you so much,” Riley reluctantly tries blogging—as Alix. A life-or-death incident involving a desperate teen takes the blog viral, drawing both support and attacks. Among the trolls is a possible schoolmate determined to viciously expose Riley. Debut author Garvin blends snark and poignancy, anguish and hope, deception and authenticity, in a timely narrative about contemporary teen life beyond binary norms. Casting a distinctly male voice, Tom Phelan, is not an obvious choice: Riley was designated female at birth and is not taking hormones and is therefore unlikely to sound like Phelan. How differently Riley presents on the silent page vs. audibly is intriguing to ponder. VERDICT A rule-breaking, gender-illuminating, pioneering audiobook every library should acquire. [“Recommended for any library that serves a teen population”: SLJ 12/15 review of the Balzer + Bray book.]–Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

redstarLubar, David. Character, Driven. 304p. ebook available. Tor Teen. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765316332. Character, Driven

Gr 10 Up –At the center of this hilarious offering is an adorably awkward protagonist. Cliff’s first-person and sometimes second-person narration, rendered in an affable, funny, and talkative tone, will suck readers into his life story immediately. He is a 17-year-old boy with a crush on a girl, Jillian, but he has no idea how to talk to her. He also has a difficult home life, partly because of his unemployed and angry, often cruel father and his overworked mother. Cliff works two jobs, and his father doesn’t want him to go to college. The book is light on plot in the beginning, and the pacing is measured. The tone and the writing, which will appeal to fans of Jesse Andrews’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, are what shine here. Cliff breaks the fourth wall often, adding rich layers to this creative work of metafiction. Lubar plays with tropes expertly, crafting a deeply relatable young man whom readers won’t soon forget. While some of the material is more appropriate for older teenagers, it’s always authentic (for instance, Cliff describes an idealized version of a sexual encounter and then presents the much more awkward but realistic version). VERDICT A fascinating and inspired novel for sophisticated readers.–Shalini Miskelly, St. Benedict Catholic School, Seattle, WA

redstarPriest, Cherie. I Am Princess X. illus. by Kali Ciesemier. 240p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Jun. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545620857; ebk. $18.99. ISBN 9780545642743.
Gr 7 Up—May and Libby created Princess X on the day they met in fifth grade. That was before Libby and her mother died in a car crash. Now May is 16 and looking at another long, lonely summer in Seattle when she spots a Princess X sticker on the corner of a store window. Suddenly she starts seeing Princess X everywhere, including in a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com, where the princess story is eerily similar to Libby’s. This means that the only person who could have created the comic is May’s best friend—Libby—who must still be alive. In her YA debut, Priest offers a tantalizing, page-turner of a mystery that spans real locations in Seattle and dark pockets of the Internet. May is an assertive, capable heroine who finds help from likable and well-realized characters along the way in this fresh and authentic story. Even when the action moves online, Priest keeps the story exciting and approachable without ever resorting to technical jargon. Accompanying illustrations by Ciesemier bring the story found in the webcomic to life and integrate beautifully with May’s search for Libby in this utterly satisfying read. VERDICT An excellent book with loads of cross-genre and cross-format appeal. Highly recommended.–Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library

 redstarMcCALL, Guadalupe Garcia. Under the Mesquite. Lee & Low/Tu Bks. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781600604294.
Image result for 9781600604294Gr 7 Up-This stunning debut novel in verse chronicles the teenage years of Lupita, a character drawn largely from the author’s own childhood. Poised to enter her freshman year in high school, Lupita comfortably straddles the country of her birth, Mexico, and that of her family’s adoptive country, the United States. She and her seven siblings live with their Mami, a gifted gardener and tender of her brood, and Papi, a hardworking construction worker. When her mother is diagnosed with cancer, the disease begins to sap the family’s lives both emotionally and financially. The simplicity of the story line belies the deep richness of McCall’s writing. Lupita, a budding actress and poet, describes the new English words she learned as a child to be “like lemon drops, tart and sweet at the same time” and ears of corn as “sweating butter and painted with chili-powdered lime juice.” Each phrase captures the essence of a moment or the depth of her pain. The power of Lupita’s story lies also in the authenticity of her struggles both large and small, from dealing with her mother’s illness to arguments with friends about acculturation. This book will appeal to many teens for different reasons, whether they have dealt with the loss of a loved one, aspire to write and act, are growing up Mexican American, or seeking their own identity amid a large family. Bravo to McCall for a beautiful first effort.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

redstarMATHIEU, Jennifer. Moxie. 336p. Roaring Brook. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626726352.

Gr 8 Up –This novel is full of wit, insight, and moxie. Vivian is the dutiful daughter of a former 1990s Riot Grrl. While her mom raged against the machine and published feminist zines in her youth, Viv prefers getting good grades and keeping a low profile. That is, until things at her small town’s high school go too far. There are double standards for football players and everyone else, arbitrary dress code crackdowns that apply only to girls, and covered-up assaults happening right in the hallways. Vivian and her friends band together and decide they’ve had enough, but how can they push back without risking expulsion by a corrupt school administration? This is a fun, fresh, and inspiring read for anyone looking for a teenage take on modern feminism. Vivian gradually, and realistically, realizes how troubling sexism is, showing a great deal of introspection, which will likely appeal to readers who might not identify as feminists and those who already do. The author also takes care to include girls of color and boys in the novel’s many conversations around the topic, emphasizing the importance of intersectional feminism. VERDICT Highly recommended for all teens, but especially those who would enjoy realistic coming-of-age fiction with female empowerment.–Emily Grace Le May, Providence Community Library

redstarORMSBEE, Kathryn. Tash Hearts Tolstoy. 384p. S. & S. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481489331.

Gr 9 Up –Seventeen-year-old Kentucky filmmaker and Tolstoy superfan Tash Zelenka’s summer takes an unexpected turn when her web series, Unhappy Families (a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina) goes viral. The newfound fame causes tension between Tash and her best friend Jack, who also works on the series. Tash is easily caught up in the increased social media attention, her fans’ expectations, and the criticisms. She is also grappling with her complicated relationship with her sister, Klaudie, who drops out of acting in the series to more fully enjoy her last summer before college. Plus, Tash must deal with her flirtation with vlogger Thom, her confusing feelings for Paul (Jack’s brother and Tash’s other best friend), and her worries about the end of the series and her impending college applications. Tash is also beginning to come out to people as romantic asexual and needs to figure out how to share her identity with Thom, whom she will be meeting soon at the Golden Tuba independent web awards. Tash and her group of artsy theater friends are vibrant, creative, and thoughtful. They may not always totally understand one another, but their admirable and complicated friendships have so much heart. The much-needed asexual representation plays a significant role in the story, with readers privy to Tash’s thoughts on identity and conversations with friends about what the term means. VERDICT Funny, well written, and compulsively readable, this will especially appeal to readers with an interest in web series. A strong choice for YA shelves.–Amanda MacGregor, formerly at Great River Regional Library, Saint Cloud, MN

redstarQuintero, Isabel. Gabi: A Girl in Pieces. 378p. Cinco Puntos. Sept. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781935955948; pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781935955955; ebk. $11.95. ISBN 9781935955962. LC 2014007658.
Gr 9 Up–Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez has a lot to deal with during her senior year. Her best friend Cindy is pregnant; her other best friend Sebastian just got kicked out of his house for coming out to his strict parents; her meth addict dad is trying to quit, again; and her super religious Tía Bertha is constantly putting a damper on Gabi’s love life. In lyrical diary entries peppered with the burgeoning poet’s writing, Spanglish, and phone conversations, Quintero gives voice to a complex, not always likable but totally believable teen who struggles to figure out her own place in the world. Believing she’s not Mexican enough for her family and not white enough for Berkeley, Gabi still meets every challenge head-on with vulgar humor and raw honesty. In moments, the diary format may come across as clunky, but the choppy delivery feels purposeful. While the narrative is chock-full of issues, they never bog down the story, interwoven with the usual teen trials, from underwhelming first dates to an unabashed treatment of sex, religion, and family strife. The teen isn’t all snark; there’s still a naiveté about whether her father will ever kick his addiction to meth, especially evident in her heartfelt letters to him. When tragedy strikes, readers will mourn with Gabi and connect with her fears about college acceptance and her first sexual experience. A refreshing take on slut- and fat-shaming, Quintero’s work ranks with Meg Medina’s Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Candlewick, 2013) and Junot Diaz’s Drown (Riverhead, 1996) as a coming-of-age novel with Latino protagonists.–Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal

redstarROWELL, Rainbow. Carry On. 528p. St. Martin’s Griffin. Oct. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250049551.rowell

Gr 7 Up-Readers of Rowell’s Fangirl (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013) have already had a glimpse at the world of Simon Snow, but now Rowell turns the full force of her imagination on the Watford School of Magic and those connected to it. Magic is disappearing all over England, leaving pockets of dead air that disable any magician in the vicinity. Somehow, everyone knows that the Insidious Humdrum is responsible, but who—or what?—is the Humdrum, and why does he look exactly like 11-year-old Simon? That’s not the only mystery at hand, however. Simon’s roommate and nemesis, the vampire Baz, disappears for weeks, and while he’s gone, the Veil opens and Baz’s late mother shows up at their room with a message for her son: her killer, Nicodemus, is still out there. When Baz returns, he’s barely more than skin and bones. What has he been doing? And why can’t Simon stop thinking about him? Simon and Baz reluctantly declare a truce and join forces, along with the intrepid Penelope Bunce, to find the mysterious Nicodemus. With rock-solid worldbuilding, a sweet and believable romance subplot, and satisfying ending, Carry On is a monumentally enjoyable reading experience. VERDICT Hand this to fans of Rowell, Harry Potter, love stories, and magic.–Stephanie Klose, Library Journal

redstarWOODSON, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399252518.

Gr 4–7—“I am born in Ohio but the stories of South Carolina already run like rivers through my veins” writes Woodson as she begins her mesmerizing journey through her early years. She was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1963, “as the South explodes” into a war for civil rights and was raised in South Carolina and then New York. Her perspective on the volatile era in which she grew up is thoughtfully expressed in powerfully effective verse, (Martin Luther King is ready to march on Washington; Malcom X speaks about revolution; Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat only seven years earlier and three years have passed since Ruby Bridges walks into an all-white school). She experienced firsthand the acute differences in how the “colored” were treated in the North and South. “After the night falls and it is safe for brown people to leave the South without getting stopped and sometimes beaten and always questioned; We board the Greyhound bus bound for Ohio.” She related her difficulties with reading as a child and living in the shadow of her brilliant older sister, she never abandoned her dream of becoming a writer. With exquisite metaphorical verse Woodson weaves a patchwork of her life experience, from her supportive, loving maternal grandparents, her mother’s insistence on good grammar, to the lifetime friend she meets in New York, that covers readers with a warmth and sensitivity no child should miss. This should be on every library shelf.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH

redstarWESTERFELD, Scott. Afterworlds. 608p. Simon Pulse. Sept. 2014. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781481422345; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481422369.

Gr 8 Up –Darcy Patel, just graduating from high school and accepted to the college of her choice, has a written a book that has been picked up by a major publisher. She decides that instead of going directly to college, she will move to New York City, live on her advance, and edit Afterworlds and write the sequel. She heads to the city with no friends, no place to live, and a sense of adventure and excitement. Lizzie, traveling home from a visit with her father, changes planes at the Dallas airport where terrorists attack and she is almost killed. During those moments when she hovers between life and death and plays dead so that she will not be shot, she travels to the afterworld where she meets Yamaraj, who guides her back to life. As a result of this near-death experience, she can now see ghosts and travel back and forth between the real world and the afterworld; she has become a “pschopomp.” And yes, Lizzie and her story are actually Darcy’s book. Westerfeld has once again written a story with characters so compelling and a plot so intriguing that despite the book’s length, readers still want more. With the interweaving of Darcy’s rewrite of Lizzie’s story, the background of Hindu legend and death gods, and the allusions to the YA literary world, including mentions of the Printz award and BookExpo America, this is a book that can be enjoyed on multiple levels. The blend of realism and supernatural is especially strong. Recommend this book as a “what to read next” for teens who enjoyed Libba Bray’s The Diviners (Little, Brown, 2012), Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star (Putnam, 2011) and Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead (Little, Brown, 2010). A riveting and unique read.–Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas

redstarWOLITZER, Meg. Belzhar. 352p. Dutton. Sept. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525423058; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781101600276.

Gr 9 Up –Devastated by the death of her first love, 15-year-old Jam Gallahue is having difficulty moving on with her life. After nearly a year of being mired in grief, her parents send her to a boarding school in rural Vermont that specializes in “emotionally fragile” teens. Once there, she is surprised to have been one of five students selected by the legendary Mrs. Quenell for a class called Special Topics in English. It seems that the entire semester—Mrs. Q’s swan song before retirement—will be devoted to the works of Sylvia Plath, and the students are given special red leather journals in which to record their reactions to the assigned readings. Jam is unenthusiastic at first until she realizes that these are no ordinary journals. When she and her classmates, all of whom have endured debilitating losses, begin to writing in their pages, they are transported to their former lives, at least for a while. The teens bond over their experiences in what they call Belzhar, and are able to share their stories and look out for and protect one another. As the semester progresses and the notebooks begin to fill up, they must each confront some inner demons and make some tough choices about their future paths. Wolitzer spins a smart and engrossing tale of trauma, trust, and triumph. She is respectful of the intelligence and sophistication of the teens while acknowledging their vulnerability and lack of life experience. Their voices ring true and the emotional truths are authentic—even for those readers unwilling or unable to embrace the magical realism. Exploring the themes of self-reflection and the recurring notion that “words matter” make this title a perfect choice for book groups and discussions.–Luann Toth, School Library Journal

redstarZAPPIA, Francesca. Eliza and Her Monsters. 400p. HarperCollins/­Greenwillow. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062290137.

Gr 9 Up –Eliza’s parents have no understanding of her online life, from her friendships to the scope of the world she created. As a result, Eliza feels like an outsider, unless she’s talking with her cyberfriends or working on her popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Wallace, a new boy at school, has been the first person to bring her out of her shell in ages. As their friendship grows, he confides his chilling secret, but Eliza still can’t bring herself to share her web identity with him. When the truth comes out, will this secret shatter their relationship? Told in a series of letters, instant messages, comics, and prose, this book focuses on relationships and identity. It tackles social anxiety and asks serious questions: What makes a relationship valid in this era of social media? Are online interactions as meaningful as those in real life? Zappia’s work will resonate with teens who write, create art, and love fandoms. Introverted readers will connect with the protagonist. VERDICT A must-have for all YA collections, especially where geek culture is celebrated.–Jennifer Rummel, Cragin Library, Colchester, CT

See also:

SLJ‘s May 2016 Writing-themed issue

SLJ‘s Resources for #NaNoWriMo Pinterest Board



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Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz (sdiaz@mediasourceinc.com) is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.

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