(Review-YA) Ms. Marvel Vol.1: No Normal

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal

Wilson, G W, and Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel: Vol.1. New York: Marvel, 2014. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0785190219 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook. Paperback $12.95.

Info 684 Genre: Graphic Novel

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Synopsis:

As a 16-year-old Muslim American girl, born in Jersey City to immigrant parents, Kamala has many concerns on her mind, most importantly her desire to “just be normal.” But after she’s gifted (or cursed?) with the powers of Ms. Marvel, will Kamala learn that beauty emerges from our differences. And that there is No Normal?


Booktalk:


Themes include: Growing up, identity, culture, family, responsibility, friendship, courage, overcoming expectations.
Awards/Honors: 2015 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, Eisner Award


My Thoughts: No Normal is a really powerful story and important graphic novel. The main character, and super-cool superhero, is a young Muslim-American girl. As she deals with the normal feelings of isolation and wishes to be “normal,” you cannot help but root for her to overcome her obstacles. Watching as Kamala tries to balance her new powers and desire to be a “normal” teenager while trying to respect her parents and her cultural heritage is a touching and powerful experience. Kamala is just the superhero many of us have been searching the skies for!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the series is Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why


Extras:

  • Locate Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Here is an interview with G. Willow Wilson done by Islam Sci-fi

About the Author: G. Willow Wilson began her writing career at 17 years old. Since then she has written several Eisner Award nominated/winning comic books. Wilson is also a novelist, though she currently writes the bestselling monthly comic book series Ms. Marvel for Marvel comics.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“G. Willow Wilson.” G. Willow Wilson. Web 13 July 2015.

(Review-YA) These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Kaufman, Amie, and Meagan Spooner. These Broken Stars. , 2013. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1423171218 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.63. Kindle $3.99.

Info 684 Genre: Sci-Fi

These Broken Stars

Synopsis:
Lilac, daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, and Tarvar, common born soldier, come from different worlds and should never have met. But, escaping a crashing space craft, they end up stranded on a deserted planet with only each other to depend on. As they learn to help each other survive, and feel the pull of attraction, they are also realizing the planet might not be as deserted as they originally thought. There is mystery and danger on this planet, and the cause of it all hits close to home for one of them. This one takes star crossed lovers to a whole new level.


Booktalk:


Themes include: Survival, death, romance, love, family, corruption, extra-terrestrial life.


My Thoughts: This is a new favorite for me. I don’t usually read space sci-fi so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I absolutely fell in love with this book, these characters, and this world. Everything is beautiful from the cover on through. Both characters are easy to adore and the story has suspense, mystery, romance, and gut-wrenching emotion. This story is told from the perspectives of the male and female lead and has a little something for everyone. I truly cannot recommend this story enough. Seriously, trust me, go read it!

This one is probably best enjoyed by slightly more mature young adult readers!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the Starbound Series is This Shattered World

If this is your kind of story, I’d personally recommend:

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Extras:

  • Locate These Broken Stars at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • These Broken Stars was optioned for television. There hasn’t been more info on this since the original press release, but you can read about it here.
  • Check out an interview with both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner at Presenting Lenore.
  • If you liked These Broken Stars, you might find something else you like here, on Goodreads.com
  • The Starbound Series also has its own dedicated website.

About the Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are the authors of the Starbound Series. Their style is a bit unique, because the books are told from the dual perspectives of both main characters. Amie writes all the chapters that are narrated by one character, while Meagan writes all the chapters narrated by the other character. Both authors have books they write individually as well.


Citation & Credits
Book cover images: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“Amie Kaufman.” Amie Kaufman. Web 13 July 2015.
“Meagan Spooner.” Meagan Spooner. Web 13 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon

Upstate

Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate. London: John Murray, 2005. Print.ISBN-13: 978-0312332693. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $12.32.

Info 684 Genre: Street-Lit

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Synopsis:

17-year-old Antonio finds himself in jail, separated by what might as well be an ocean from his family, his life, and his girlfriend Natasha. Upstate tells Antonio and Natasha’s story through the letters they write to each other while Antonio serves his time. As both their lives take them in unexpected directions, Antonio and Natasha fight for a relationship that is put through incredible tests. This is their love story.


Themes include: Love, relationships, responsibility, coming of age, prison, violence, overcoming expectations

Awards/honors American Library Association ALEX Award, Hurston-Wright Foundation Debut Fiction Award


Booktalk:


About the Author: Kalisha Buckhanon currently has two novels out, and a forthcoming 3rd in the spring of 2016. Her works have won several awards and she has taught writing, humanities, and English through PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Program, many inner-city schools, summer arts camps and library initiatives.


Extras:

  • Locate Upstate at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Here is an excerpt from the audiobook version of Upstate

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Macmillan Audio. “Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon — Audiobook Excerpt.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 12 April 2012. Web. 14 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Infinity: Chronicles of Nick 1

Kenyon, Sherrilyn. Infinity: Chronicles of Nick. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0312599072. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.99.

Info 684 Genre: Horror

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Synopsis:

Nick is a smart kid, but he’s from “the wrong side of the tracks,” and the son of an unwed (and poor) high school drop out. Nick’s life takes a drastic change when his classmates start revealing themselves as supernatural monsters (zombies, werewolves, and bears oh my!) and Nick is rescued and hired by some rich do-gooder. Nick’s life is about to get real weird…. and were those fangs he saw when his employer smiled just now?


Themes include: Identity, courage, choice, overcoming expectations, friendship, responsibility


Booktalk:


About the Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon is a New York Times and International bestselling author of both adult, and young adult books. Infinity is the first of many Chronicles of Nick books currently available, and she’s working on the next one right now.


Extras:
Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?

The next book in the series is Invincible: Chronicles of Nick 2

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Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Sherrilyn Kenyon Books. “Infinity (Part 1, The Trailer).” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 24 May 2010. Web. 14 July 2015.

(Review-YA) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Alexie, Sherman, and Ellen Forney. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0316013697 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.45.

Info 684 Genre: Multicultural

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Synopsis:

There once was a kid named Junior. He already had a hard time fitting in on the Indian Reservation because of his various medical conditions. And then he decided to go to school off of the reservation (GASP!). Which made everyone there hate him (traitor! traitor!). and then he got to his new school and didn’t fit in there either. At first.

What’s a boy to do? Junior tells his story through humor, both written and visual, through his cartoons and diary entries.


Booktalk: 


Themes include: Identity, bullying, violence, alcoholism, courage, friendship, culture, death & loss, overcoming adversity
Awards: 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book award, Fiction and Poetry.


My Thoughts: Junior documents his circumstances with such humor and honesty that you can’t help but love, sympathize with, and root for for him. This is a realistic under-dog story that gives us a somewhat rare glimpse into the lifestyles, culture, and difficulties faced by American Indians living on Reservations in the U.S. The story touches on some dark and upsetting concepts, but I’d recommend this read for anyone. Those younger than 12 may not understand or be prepared for some of the topics and situations.


Extras:

  • Locate The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian at your library through Worldcat.org
  • If you liked this book, you can see similar titles at goodreads.com
  • Here’s an interview with Sherman Alexie where he discusses, among other things, living in America as part of the non-dominant culture

About the Author: Sherman Alexie is a poet, novelist, short story writer, and performer.

  • His writings have won several awards
  • He is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian who grew up in Wellpinit, Washington on the Spokane Indian Reservation.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is based loosely on Sherman Alexie’s life growing up.
  • You can learn more about Sherman Alexie and his writings on his website
  • Follow Sherman Alexie on twitter @sherman_alexie

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Mathe Steer. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Audiobook 1.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 26 April 2015. Web. 13 July 2015.
Moyers & Company. “Sherman Alexie on living outside boarders.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 12 April 2013. Web. 13 July 2015.
“Sherman Alexie.” Sherman Alexie. Web 13 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke & Bone. New York: Little, Brown, 2011. Print. ISBN-13: 9780316134026. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $7.31. Kindle $1.99.

Info 684 Genre: Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

Karou is an art student in Prague. She’s a little bit different. Her sketchbooks are full of drawings of fantastical creatures and her hair grows out of her head blue. Karou has her feet in two different worlds; the one we know of, and the other one. Karou doesn’t know who or what she is. But she’s about to find out.


Themes include: Identity, truth and lies, the supernatural, violence, love
Honors/Awards: YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012, finalist for Andre Norton Award and Children’s Choice Book Awards Teen Book of the Year. 


Booktalk:


About the Author:  Laini Taylor is also the author of the other books in the Smoke and Bone trilogy, as well as other YA books.

  • You can learn more about her and her books at her website
  • There is also an official tumblr for Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It includes a lot of extra and interactive content.

Extras:

  • Locate Daughter of Smoke and Bone at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • If you liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone you can see similar titles at goodreads.com
  • Here’s an interview with Laini Taylor about Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Sugarscape. “Laini Taylor author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone talks to Sugarscape.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 1 October 2011. Web. 11 July 2015.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (book trailer).” Online video clip. YouTube.com 23 September 2011. Web. 11 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Brown, Jennifer. Hate List. London: Little, Brown Young Readers, 2009. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0316041454. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $8.20.

Info 684 Genre: Realistic Fiction

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Synopsis:

Val Leftman returns to school after her boyfriend, Nick, brought a gun to school, killing several students and injuring others, including Val. While Val tries to recover, emotionally and physically, dealing with her feelings of guilt and anger, her community regards her with suspicion and distrust.


Video Book Talk:


Themes include: Violence, bullying, hatred, family tension, identity, and suicide
Awards/Honors: ALA best book for YA, VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.


A personal note about bullying: Bullying is a powerful theme found in Hate List and a recurring theme in many of our lives. As someone who suffered severe bullying in school, I want to remind my readers that you aren’t alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence, some of the people you might talk to include; your parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, clergy, friends, parents of friends, law enforcement, your librarian, and me. If you talk to someone and feel you aren’t being heard, talk to someone else. Don’t give up. Ever. You are not alone.

There are also resources online that might help, heres just a couple.


About the Author: Jennifer Brown writes YA and Middle grade books.

  • In addition to Hate List she has several other books currently published.
  • You can learn more about her and her books at her website.
  • She also encourages readers with questions or comments to reach out to her at JenniferBrownYA@gmail.com.

Extras:

  • Locate Hate List at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • See what other teens thought about Hate List at Teen Ink
  • If you like Hate List, find similar books at Goodreads.com

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“Jennifer Brown.” Jennifer Brown. Web. 6 July 2015. http://www.jenniferbrownya.com
JenniferBrownYA. “Hate List Trailer.” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 9 Sept 2009. Web. 6 July 2015.

(Review – YA) Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Katcher, Brian. Almost Perfect. New York: Delacorte Press, 2009. Prin ISBN-13: 978-0385736657. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $8.60.

Info 684 Genre: LGBTQ

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.56.25 PMSynopsis:
18-year-old Logan lives in a small town. New student, the weird, loud, and beautiful Sage shows up like a whirlwind, and Logan is instantly “obsessed” with her, thinking she’s just about perfect. Until he learns that Sage wasn’t born with a girls body, and for the first time in his life Logan is confronted with the fact that the world is bigger and more diverse than his small-town life has prepared him for.


Video Book Talk:


Themes include: LGBTQ, identity, friendship, attraction, bullying
Awards/Honors: 2011 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award


About the Author: Brian Katcher is the author of Almost Perfect as well as several other novels with varying themes and subject matter.


YA LGBTQ Resources:

A personal note about bullying: Bullying is a powerful theme found in Almost Perfect and a recurring theme in many of our lives. As someone who suffered severe bullying in school, I want to remind my readers that you aren’t alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence, some of the people you might talk to include; your parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, clergy, friends, parents of friends, law enforcement, your librarian, and me. If you talk to someone and feel you aren’t being heard, talk to someone else. Don’t give up. Ever. You are not alone.

There are also resources online that might help, heres just a couple.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“Brian Katcher.” Brian KatcherWeb. 10 July 2015. http://briankatcher.com/site/
Kelsey Bogan. “Don’t Shush Me booktalking Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher.” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 10 July 2015. Web. 10 July 2015.

(Review – YA) Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal

Blumenthal, Karen. Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different : a Biography. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2012. Print. ISBN-13: 978-125001445. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $5.40.

Info 684 Genre: Nonfiction/Biography

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 2.10.26 PMReview
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs
This biography runs through all of Steve Jobs’ life, starting with his childhood and ending with his early death. See Jobs as an adopted and difficult child, a willful and quite “hippy-ish” young man, a stubborn and aggressive young businessman, and later as a family man and a more mature (but no less revolutionary or aggressive) mega-businessman. You are also taken along through the history of the computer and other modern technologies, making this a great read for anyone who loves their “tech.”

My thoughts:  Jobs starts out as a college dropout, someone with seemingly no plan or vision for his future (and largely unable to commit to any long term plan at all), and we watch as he transforms, through trial and error, into the successful technology visionary we know now. The vivid retelling of Job’s hurdles and triumphs will inspire you to never stop aiming for what you want to become. Everyone loves the underdog story and here we see how great things can come from even the humblest and most unlikely of beginnings. After all, Apple was started by two college dropouts in a parent’s garage. A great addition to any library, in either the adult and/or young adult sections!


Themes include: Education, technology, employment, underdog story, overcoming adversity, identity


About the Author: Karen Blumenthal has long worked as a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, and she also enjoys writing nonfiction for young people. She is fascinated by social change, how it happens, and why. As a child she spent a lot of time at her local library, and has long loved reading everything from humor, to sport stories, to newspapers. Attending Duke University in Durham, N.C., Karen found her future in the newspaper office when she discovered her love of journalism there.


Extras

  • Locate Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different at your local library though Worldcat.com
  • Apple.com has a memorial for Jobs which shows messages of remembrance written by friends, family, and fans.
  • You can watch Jobs, the Major Motion Picture, on Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.

Anyone can be the next big thing in the tech-world.
So, here are some sites where you can learn computer programming/coding for free!

  • At Codeschool.com you can open a free account, where you have access to their 10 introductory classes. They offer classes on a variety of topics, and the levels vary from beginner on up.
  • Code Academy lets you learn how to code interactively online for free. You can start as an absolute beginner and learn HTML, Java, Ruby, Python, PHP. Recommended for age 12 and up.
  • Khan Academy is one of the originals, and its totally free. Just sign in and get started with their easy to follow sections and step-by-step video tutorials.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Review: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“Karen Blumenthal.” Karen Blumenthal. Web. 2 July 2015. http://www.karenblumenthal.com
“Remembering Steve.” Apple.com. Web. 2 July 2015. https://www.apple.com/stevejobs/
Stanford. “Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 7 Mar 2008. Web. 1 July 2015.