Friday, December 9, 2011

Princess Academy

Image credit:

Hale, Shannon. Princess Academy. New York: Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2005.

Annotation: Miri goes to a princess academy with other girls from her village after the prince announces he will marry someone from that region.

Book talk:
I don’t want to go. All the teenage girls have to go to a princess academy. The prince said he will choose someone to marry from our region, but we are considered too uncultured and uneducated, so this academy is supposed to make us better. But I don’t even know if I want to be royalty. The academy is so far away from our home. Although I sometimes feel like an outsider in the community because I do not work in the quarry, I love our mountain home, my family and friends. I dream of staying here. What should I do?

Teen Recommended:
  Megan, 16, recommended this book: "[I like] fantasy. I like the magic."

  • Newbery Honor Book
  • New York Times, Book Sense, and PW Best Seller
  • A Book Sense Pick for Fall 2005
  • An ALA Notable Children's Book
  • 2007 Beehive Award winner
  • A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • A New England Booksellers Association Top 10 Titles for Fall
  • A Book for the Teen Age by The New York Public Library
  • Honorable Mention for "Favorite Novel of the Year," PW's 2005 Cuffie Awards
  • Winner of the 2006 Utah Children's Book Award
  • A Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year, starred entry
  • Nominated for the 2008 Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Award
  • Nominated for the 2008 Colorado Children's Book Award
  • Nominated for the 2008 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award
  • Nominated for the 2008 Young Reader's Choice Award, sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Library Association
  • Nominated for the Illinois 2008 Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award
  • Nominated for the 2010 Maud Hart Lovelace award (Minnesota)
  • A 2007 DCF Voting Top Ten (Vermont)
  • A Salt Lake Tribune Best Book of 2005
  • Recommended Reads for Kids 2005 (Dover Community News)
Awards source:


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Simpsons spoofs YA fantasy novels

The episode "The Book Job" has fun with young adult fantasy series, and it stars the writer Neil Gaiman and plays off of the movie "Ocean's Eleven"!

Check out "The Simpsons" episode at Hulu:

Read an article about the episode:

The Lighting Thief

Image credit:
Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. New York: Disney-Hyperion, 2005.

Annotation: Percy discovers he is a child of a mortal woman and the Greek god Poseidon, and then he and his friends go on an adventure to prevent a war between Greek gods.

Book talk:
You probably thought that Greek myths were just that – myths. That is what Percy thought, too. But while on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a school he is trying not to get kicked out of, he find finds out the myths are real because he has to fight a winged hag, who also was his teacher. However, Percy founds out not only that the myths real, but he is a demigod, a child of a mortal woman and the god Poseidon. On top of that, he finds out that Zeus thinks that Percy has stolen his master lightning bolt and will start a war if it is not returned. So Percy starts a journey to find who stole the real bolt, fighting with Medusa and going to Hades along the way, but also discovering that he has special abilities. All of this just to prove he is not a lightning thief.

Book Trailer posted by highcrazyloony on You Tube:


Teen Recommended:
Hunter, 12, recommends books about Percy Jackson in his favorite genre of fantasy.
  • A Best Book of 2005, School Library Journal
  • A New York Times Notable Book of 2005
  • A Best Book of 2005, Child Magazine
  • Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2006, Texas Library Association
  • Askews Torchlight Award (UK) Winner, 2006
  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book List, 2005
  • VOYA Top Shelf Fiction List for 2005
  • ALA Notable Book for 2005
  • YALSA Best Book for Young Adults 2005
  • Red House Children’s Book Award Winner (UK), 2006
  • CCBC choice award 2006, Cooperative Children’s Book Center
  • A 2006 Notable Children’s Book, National Council for Teachers of English
  • A Publishers Weekly National Children’s Bestseller
  • Warwickshire Book Award Winner (UK), 2007


Image credit:
Shusterman, Neil. Everlost. New York: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2006.

Annotation: Two children end up in Everlost after a car accident, a world between life and death, and they explore it.

Book talk:
Do you know what happens when you die? What would you do in the afterlife if you had all eternity to do it? Well, Nick and Allie find out that death is not what they expected. They are in a car accident, but they don’t make it to their final destination after they die. Instead, they are bumped out of the tunnel of light early and end up in Everlost, a place on Earth between the dead and the living that resembles Earth but has magical qualities. It is full of ghost children who run wild and is a place where they can’t stay still too long or they will sink to the center of the Earth. In Everlost, they want explore and to find out what happened to them and their families and maybe even find a way back to the living. And they do just that while discovering, and sometimes breaking, the strange world’s rules and avoiding the monster. Find out if Nick and Allie will reach their final destination or if they are Everlost.

Audio of the beginning of Everlost from bluehound6 at YouTube:

Teen Recommended:
"The story pulls me into [Everlost]. I get pulled into the plot. Everlost and Everwild have interesting stories about what people do after they die and finding a way back."
-- Kyle, 16

  • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee (NJ),
  • Isinglass Teen Read List Selection,
  • PEN USA Literary Award Finalist

Fantasy genre

Fantasy works for some teens but not for others. Check out what these teens had to say about their favorite genres:

"[I like] fantasy because they are interesting."
-- Ambrea, 13

"I love adventure with heroes of all kinds."
-- Christine, 13

"[I like] fantasy. It explains me."
-- Cory, 14

"I read fantasy because I'm interested in learning about life."
-- Kelsey, 12

"[I like] fiction because it's made up but still feels real."
-- Nicole, 14

"My favorite genre is survival because it is normally very suspenseful and involves a character being put in life-or-death situations."
-- Haley, 12

"I read young adult fantasy and fairy tales. I love to read so I'll read just about anything."
-- Ashley, 15


Image credit:

Dixon, Heather. Entwined. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2011.

Annotation: After Azalea’s mother dies, her father, the King, wants his daughters to go into mourning. Refusing to give up dancing, the sisters enter the enchanted path to dance the night away, but there is a cost.

Book talk:
Will they become Entwined? After her mother died, the King forbade Azalea and her eleven sisters to dance anymore. But how can they do that? Not only did they lose a mother, but now they have lost what they have enjoyed the most. However, the sisters found a way. Similar to The Twelve Dancing Princesses, the sisters sneak off in an enchanted passage to dance the night away with the Keeper. All seems great at first, but the Keeper might not be what he seems. Will they be able to protect their kingdom, or will they become Entwined?

Enjoy the book trailer from Harper Collins:

Awards: None.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making

Image credit:
Valente, Catherynne M. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. New York: Feiwell and Friends, 2011.

Annotation: After her father goes to war and her mother goes to work, September is taken by the Green Wind and a leopard to Fairyland, where Earth’s rules don’t apply and her adventure begins.

Book talk:
Which would you choose -- "To Lose your Way, To Lose your Life, To Lose your Mind or To Lose your Heart? Tough decision? Well, these are the choices September had to decide which path to take in Fairyland.She ended up in Fairyland by invitation of the Green Wind and the Leopard. But getting into Fairyland was the easy part. Once there, she has to decide what path to take and meets a variety of creatures, including a boy named Saturday and a dragon who loves books. And she has to remember she shouldn't eat fairy food! So which path does September choose? Find out and the rest of her adventures in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making.

Check out the book trailer on YouTube!

  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Maser List
  • Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Awards source:



Image credit:

Gaiman, Neil. Stardust. New York: Avon Books, 1999.

Annotation: Tristran Thorn crosses a wall into the magical world of Faerie to find a fallen star to present to his love, Victoria. However, in Faerie, adventure awaits because some things are not how a person would imagine them to be. 

Book talk:
In our town – the town of Wall – there is a wall that separates our town from Faerie. We are not allowed to cross the wall; there’s even guards there to prevent us from crossing the wall. We are only allowed to cross every nine years during a fair. And boy do they sell the strangest things, like storm-filled eggshells and glass flowers. If the fair is any indication, Faerie must be a magical place indeed. Well, I’m about to find out because I have to cross the wall. I’m in love with Victoria, you see, and she promised to marry me if I bring her back a fallen star that just fell on the other side of the wall. What is Faerie like? Are the people as strange as they are during the fair? I’ve overheard talk of unicorns, witches and flying pirates. What does a fallen star look like? Well I’m going to find out because I need to bring it back to Victoria. So how do I get past the guard and cross the wall into Faerie?   

Awards source:


Friday, December 2, 2011

Geek Fantasy Novel

Image credit:
Archer, E. Geek Fantasy Novel. New York: Scholastic Press, 2011.

Annotation: Ralph goes to England to set up his cousin’s wireless network but ends up in a magical journey based on his cousins’ wishes.

Book talk:
Wishes can be dangerous if they ever came true, which is why Ralph’s parents are adamant against making wishes. Other than that, Ralph leads a pretty average geeky life where he is good at computers and gaming. Then one summer, extended family invite him to England to set up their wireless network, and Ralph finds out why his parents are against wishes. His cousins’ wishes send him on a magical journey of a lifetime full of exploding rabbits, enslaved fairies, murdering unicorns, evil aunts and a snow queen that come to life in this unusual fantasy tale that breaks the rules and has a narrator who can’t keep his opinions to himself. Being a geek isn't always geeky.

Teen Recommended:
“A funny book with a twist. Never-ending mystery until the end.”
-- Christine, 13

Awards: None

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ella Enchanted

Image credit:
Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1997.

Annotation: Ella has been given the “gift” of obedience where she has no choice but to obey any command, which might put herself and others in danger, especially if enemies find out.

Book talk:
Many parents probably want their child to be obedient. But is full obedience truly a good thing? That is what Lucinda the fairy godmother seems to think because she gave Ella the gift of obedience. The trouble is Ella has to do anything that is a direct command, even if it means putting herself or others in danger. What is Ella to do? Can she live with her “gift” of obedience? In order for Ella to find out, she goes on many adventures, dealing with stepsisters, fairy godmothers, ogres and a prince in the process. 

  • Newbery Honor Book
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award (Vermont)
  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award
  • California Young Reader Medal
  • Iowa Teen Award
  • Arizona Young Readers’ Award


    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Fairy Tale TV shows

    I'm going to start a series of booktalks about fairy tales/fantasy YA novels. Retold fairy tales have been a little bit more popular recently with new TV shows this fall. The main ones are "Once Upon a Time" at ABC and "Grimm" on Fox. And these shows cannot be any different.
    • "Once Upon a Time" is more of a drama about fairy tale characters who are trapped in our world, and the daughter of Snow White is supposed to be the savior.  From the creators of "Lost,"  the story weaves the stories of many different fairy tale characters, including Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin.
    • "Grimm" involves a little more horror mixed in with its drama. It is about a cop who realizes he is the descendent of someone who can see fairy tale/fantasy characters in the real world. It kind of retells fairy tales in a more dramatic way.
    Check out their websites for episodes from the show. Note that episodes are only on the sites for a limited time.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Mind of My Mind

    Image credit:
    Butler, Octavia E. Mind of My Mind. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1977.

    Annotation: A woman telepath who was created to be a part of a new human race realizes she is able to control people’s minds more than was excepted by her father, who has been controlling others for 4,000 years.

    Book talk:
    Doro, my father, has been in charge for 4,000 years. He created a breeding program to create a new race. People always have done what he wanted them to do. Hell, even me. Well not anymore. He told me I was special, but I guess he didn’t know how special I was going to be. After my transition when I learned to control my talent, I became powerful in a new way. Now I’m able to control others with my mind. Doro had better watch out. He no longer is in complete control with all of the power.

    Awards: None

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    The House on Mango Street

    Image credit:
    Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.

    Annotation: A young girl grows up in the Latino section of Chicago who works to reinvent her self as she interacts with people from her neighborhood.

    Book talk:
    The House on Mango Street is not the perfect house. Esperanza is a dreamer, so when her family finally decided to get a house instead of renting, she expected one more like what she saw on TV. But alas, the House on Mango Street wasn’t that. “It’s small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you’d think they were holding their breath.” But this is where her family is moving so this is where she has to stay. The book's series of stories shares many perspectives of Esperanza’s new neighborhood. At that house, there were some good times full of beauty, but there also were some bad times that breaks the heart. So now she has turned to writing and dreams of getting a new home, one where she can be herself. So what happens to Esperanza? How does Mango Street affect her? Does she ever leave The House on Mango Street?

    Award: Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award

    A Contract with God

    Image credit:
    Eisner, Will. "Part I: A Contract With God." The Contract with God Trilogy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006. 3-180.

    Annotation: Eisner’s graphic novel shares short stories of Jewish life in the Bronx in the 1930s.

    Book talk:
    I thought we had a bargain, God. Then why did you let my daughter die? I upheld my end of the bargain. Why didn’t you uphold yours? 

    "A Contract with God" is the first story of this collection of short stories. Considered to be one of the first graphic novels, find out what happens in the stories that started the form – when a man thinks God broke his contract, when a diva says she’ll nurture a drunk’s career, when the tenants fear the super and when families and gold diggers visit the country for a vacation. Eisner tells the tales like it was and  doesn’t hold anything back.

    Award: Inspired the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

    Image credit:
    Brashares, Ann. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. New York: Delacorte Press, 2001.

    Annotation: A pair of pants magically fits four best friends well, so they decide to send the pants around to each other while they spend the summer apart for the first time.

    Book talk:
    It’s our first summer apart. Bridget the athlete is headed for a soccer camp in Mexico. Lena the beauty is visiting her grandparents in Greece. Tibby the rebel is working at a job here. And I, the one with the bad temper, is visiting my dad in South Carolina. Will we have fun and forget each other? It’s not possible because we formed a pact. We each are going to take turns wearing this pair of jeans that miraculously fits all of us and then send it on to the next Sister. This summer is going to be full of adventure, love, friendship and good times, though there might be some lessons learned and some disappointments, too. But the pants are going to witness it all and keep us connected. We made a pact and formed a sisterhood. It’s going to be an incredible summer for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

    • ALA Best Books for Young Adults
    • Indiana Young Hoosier Award
    • Iowa Teen Book Award
    • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award
    • New Jersey Garden State Teen Book Award
    • Rhode Island Children's Book Award
    • Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
    • Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List
    • Washington Evergreen Young Adult Book Award
    • Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice Award
    • Missouri Gateway Readers Award
    • Book Sense Book of the Year
    • Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List


    Image credit:
    Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005.

    Annotation: A boyfriend and girlfriend from Harlem correspond about their life challenges through letters after the guy is sent to jail for killing his father. 

    Book talk:
    Antonio writes, “Baby, the first thing I need to know from you is do you believe I killed my father? I need to know if you believe what everybody saying about me because I need to know if you go my back.” Natasha responds, “I got your back baby, cause I know you would do the same for me.” [Pass books around to show the format.] And so starts the letters of 17-year-old Antonio and 16-year-old Natasha when Antonio is sent to prison for killing his father. They exchange letters, vowing to stay together. But each have their own problems and start leading separate lives – Antonia with jail and Natasha with facing tough decisions on the outside. Will their relationship stay strong? Will the letters be enough to keep them together? Follow the course of their lives while Antonio is Upstate.

    • ALA Alex Awards Winner (Adult for Young Adults)
    • Audie Award Winner, Literary Fiction

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    The Silver Kiss

    Image credit:
    Klause, Annette Curtis. The Silver Kiss. New York: Delacorte Press, 1990.

    Annotation: A mysterious young man with a dark secret shows up and helps a teenage girl dealing with a dying mother and an emotionally absent father in a town that recently had a string of strange murders.

    Book talk:
    Should I let him in? He had blood on his face the other day. He was eating something. A bird? But he seems lonely and full of despair. Like me and how my father is always with my mother at the hospital. It’s just me at this house alone all the time because they won’t let me see her. And now my best friend is moving away. Maybe he’ll understand about loneliness and the pain of death. But what about the blood? And the murders here recently? What if he is the killer? I believe he’s been watching me. But again his voice sounds like he’ll understand. Should I let him in?

    • 1991 Locus Award for first novel
    • Oklahoma Sequoyah Young Adult Book Award
    • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award
    • South Carolina Children's Book Award
    • California Young Reader Medal

    The Giver

    Image credit:
    Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.

    Annotation: Sometime in the future, a 12-year-old boy is assigned the profession of receiving all of humanity’s memories. As he receives more memories, he realizes his world isn’t as perfect as it is intended to be.

    Book talk:
    What do you want to do when you are older? Well, Jonas has no choice. The elders of his community pick out everyone’s professions and assign them to the children at a Ceremony of Twelve. In fact, his community doesn’t have much choice at all or knowledge of anywhere else. It is a perfect world. There is no fear or pain. Children do not grow up with their birth mothers, but with assigned families. People who break rules and older adults are “released.” But Jonas is given a special profession – the receiver of memory. Now he is assigned to remember all the memories the Giver will pass on – all the memories for the entire community. He alone will now bear the burden of all the people’s memories so that the others won’t have to, including war and disease, but also freedom and love. What does Jonas do with his new knowledge? What should he do?

    • Newbery Medal Book
    • ALA Notable Children’s Book
    • ALA Best Book for Young Adults

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    The First Part Last

    Image credit:
    Johnson, Angela. The First Part Last. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003.

    Annotation: Sixteen-year-old Bobby finds outs his girlfriend is pregnant and learns to balance being a teenager and a new parent.

    Book talk:
    What’s the right thing?
    This is what 16-year-old Bobby asks himself in The First Part Last after he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. Told in Bobby’s voice using poetic language, the chapters alternate between him asking this question in the past and him living with his decisions in the present.  But don’t get the idea that the author glosses over the subject. Instead, Angela Johnson faces the topic head on, capturing Bobby’s emotional ups and downs as he balances his love for his daughter with his own insecurities with his situation. “This little thing with the perfect face and hands doing nothing but counting on me. And me wanting nothing else but to run crying into my own mom’s room and have her do the whole thing.” So what does Bobby do?
    What’s the right thing?

    • ALA Michael L. Printz Award,
    • Abraham Lincoln Book Award Master List (IL),
    • ALA Best Books For Young Adults
    • ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
    • Alabama Author's Award
    • Booklist Editors' Choice
    • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
    • Charlotte Award Suggested Reading List (NY)
    • Coretta Scott King Award (ALA)
    • Florida Teens Read Master List
    • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee (NJ)
    • Gateway Readers Award Nominee (MO)
    • Georgia Peach Book Award Master List
    • Green Mountain Book Award Master List (VT)
    • Gryphon Award for Children's Literature
    • Iowa Teen Award Master List
    • IRA Young Adults' Choices
    • Rosie Award Nominee (IN)
    • Sequoyah Young Adult Master List (OK)
    • South Carolina Book Award Nominee
    • Volunteer State Book Award Master List (TN)
    • YARP Award Master List (SD)

      Am I Blue?

      Image credit:
      Bauer, Marion Dane, ed. Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence. New York: Harper Trophy, 1994.

      Annotation: A collection of short stories ranging in different genres and from different young adult authors give a voice to young adults who are gay or a lesbian or who have a homosexual parent.

      Book talk:
      “A myth is yours only if you choose to own it.”
      Although we live in a country that claims it is a melting pot, not all of its residents have had a voice in literature. Two boys – one Puerto Rican, Polish and Irish and one half-black half-Chinese – attempt to take one of the oldest stories in the world and give a voice to everyone – including all sexual preferences. Told in a film treatment style, the story shares the journey of their love and how they share it with the rest of the world. But “The Honorary Shepherds” isn’t the only tale. Am I Blue? has something for everyone – fantasy and realism, sad stories and funny stories, and stories about first love and death. What holds this collection of short stories together is a thread of giving the voiceless a voice. Of owning myths or changing the myth that homosexual people aren’t among us. Because they are, and each story gives an honest account of how it feels to grow up being gay or a lesbian or with a homosexual parent. 

      • ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
      • Horn Book Fanfare
      • ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults
      • New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
      • ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Book Award
      • Minnesota Book Award
      • ALA Best Book for Young Adults
      Awards source:

      Sunday, October 9, 2011

      Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

      Image credit:
      Frank, Anne. Anne Frank: The diary of a young girl. (B.M. Mooyaart-Doubleday, Trans.). New York: Doubleday & Company Inc., 1967.

      Annotation: A Jewish teen details her life in a diary while in hiding from Nazi Germany during World War II.

      Anne Frank is the story that has captured the world’s heart since its publication in 1947. It is the true account of a Jewish teen girl living in Amsterdam during World War II. For her thirteenth birthday in 1942, Anne is given a diary, which she treasures and confides her most personal thoughts. Shortly after that, her family – mother, father and older sister – goes into hiding with another family and an older gentleman. Anne’s family and the others hide in the “secret annex” for a little more than two years, with Anne sharing her thoughts and observations in the diary all the while. 

      She documents the fears and the claustrophobic conditions of her life in hiding along with the things many teenagers experience when growing up – defining oneself, laughter, quarrels, jealousy and even first love. Because the diary shares Anne’s raw feeling, it gives readers a rare glimpse into what it was like to be a Jewish teen during World War II and to live with a fear of being discovered yet still hoping for deliverance. The book also provides the tragic ending to Anne after her diary expectantly ends Aug. 1, 1944, and how her diary is published.

      Award: YALSA Best Books for Young Adults

      Sunday, October 2, 2011

      The Braid

      Image credit:
      Frost, Helen. The Braid. New York: Frances Foster Books, 2006.

      Annotation: During the Highland Clearances in Scotland, two sisters weave braids and tales of their experiences with alternating narrative poems.

      Two sisters – Sarah and Jeannie – braid their hair together and cut it in the middle so that each sister has one half. Then they both go on separate journeys during the Highland Clearances in Scotland. Sarah moves with her grandma to another place in Scotland while Jeanie travels with the rest of the family to Canada. With their braids, the sisters remember each other and share their experiences with loss, love and perseverance.

      What makes The Braid so unique is that Helen Frost uses a formal structure based on Celtic knots, which includes narrative poems in the alternating voices of the two sisters and praise poems about something in the narrative poem. The poems are “braided” together by including similar lines. Although the reader can tell it is a poem, the story still is easy to read. The narrative comes off so naturally the reader doesn’t realize how formal the structure is until the notes at the end of the book.

      The structure makes The Braid a great book for teens to get rid of any preconceived notions about poetry and realize how accessible it can be. The sisters also are young adults who go through difficult experiences the teen could relate to, including the loss of family members and teen pregnancy, in addition to the historic elements, such as boat crossings. The story does a beautiful job weaving the sisters’ experiences together and would bring in the average teen reader.

      • YALSA "Best Books for Young Adults, 2007"
      • 2007 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book
      • 2007 honor book: "Lion and the Unicorn" Award for Excellence in North American Poetry
      • School Library Journal "Best Books of the Year, 2006"
      • Kirkus Reviews "Editor's Choice, 2006"
      • NCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
      • Notable Book in Historical Fiction, 2007, for the Children's Literature Assembly (CLA) an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
      • Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee "Best Children's Books of the Year, 2007"
      • Cooperative Children's Book Center "CCBC Choices 2007"
      • Special Recognition: 2007 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
      • Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Master List
      • Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List


      Image credit:
      Blume, J. (1975). Forever. New York: Pocket Books.

      Annotation: Two high school seniors experience the highs and lows of love they are convinced will last forever.

      Katherine and Michael are convinced their love will last forever. They meet on New Year’s Eve and fall into a journey full of the joy and curiosity of a first love. Who wants to think about the end for the relationship? They are prepared to be together for the rest of their lives, but then they are separated for a summer.

      The story captures what falling in love for the first time is like, with all the ups and downs of saying “I love you” and fights. Although Forever has explicit scenes of teen sex, they are honest, realistic accounts that show the first time isn’t always a sweeping epic but can be awkward. Those scenes sometimes have influenced people to want to ban Forever from teens, but because of the book’s honesty, it can be a good starting point for discussion of teen pregnancy, using protection and love lasting forever. Judy Blume also includes a note about safe sex at the beginning of the book. Teens going through similar experiences could find the book relatable. Although the book was written in the 1970s, few of the references are dated (mostly that Robert Redford was the teen heartthrob and the kids can drink at age 18).

      Forever also includes references to other stressful topics teens deal with, such as suicide and a grandparent’s death. However, these topics could have been given more description to capture the depth of emotions felt because it seemed they were backdrops to the main emotional struggle: first love. Some of the relationship situations also could have used more emotional depth. For example, when Katherine is dealing with a new attraction, there could have been more emotional descriptions to prepare the reader for the way she reacted. In general, the story is a quick read, but the main focus of first love still is relatable for teens, capturing how one can react to the first time.

      Award: 1996 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner
      Award source:

      Thursday, September 22, 2011

      Coming soon

      Hi. Reviews and booktalks of young adult books are coming soon.