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staff picks

Staff Picks: “Tiger Lily” by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Perspective is everything. History is written by the victors. Eyewitness accounts of crimes are notoriously unreliable because two people who saw the exact same event may have radically different accounts. There’s no reason to believe two characters in a novel might tell the story in very different ways.

In Jodi Lynn Anderson’s newest novel, Tiger Lily, she recounts the familiar childhood tale of Peter Pan, but with a twist. The story is told from Tinkerbell’s perspective, and she begins long before Peter and the lost boys ever met Wendy Darling. Tink gives us the scoop on Peter Pan’s first love, Tiger Lily.

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Staff Picks: “The Immortal Rules” by Julie Kawaga

Every time we get a new vampire book, I’m astonished someone is still publishing them. In the young adult section here at Lawrence Public Library, we have 198 books under the the subject heading vampires–fiction. I’m a fan of vampire books, but after some disappointing selections, I’ve become wary of new additions to this bloated genre.

But I decided to take a chance on The Immortal Rules, and I’m glad I did. Julie Kawaga has made a unique and gripping contribution to young adult vampire fiction.

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Staff Picks:” Fingerprints of You” by Kristen-Paige Madonia

Admittedly, I was drawn to the book because of the gorgeous tattoo cover art (I admit that I tend to judge books by their covers). After reading, I was pleased to discover that Kristen-Paige Madonia’s debut, Fingerprints of You, is an excellent example of the rare category of YA literary fiction.

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Staff Picks: “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater

I’m a sucker for tragic love stories, whether it’s Ellen Olenska and Newland Archer from The Age of Innocence or Buffy and Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I also have a penchant for the magical way Maggie Stiefvater strings words together. So when I first read the synopsis for her new book, The Raven Boys, I was already hooked.

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Staff Picks: “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer

I’m a fan of fairy tale retellings. From classics like Robin McKinley‘s twists on folk tales, to Jackson Pearce’s updated versions of Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, or her forthcoming adaptation of The Little Mermaid, I never get tired of hearing a new spin on a fairy tale.

But nothing is cooler than Cinderella as a cyborg. In Cinder, the first in the Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer has gone beyond a simple retelling and created a fantastical new universe by transporting the classic Cinderella story to New Beijing, a futuristic world where former Earth residents have colonized the moon. Read More..

Staff Picks: “For Darkness Shows the Stars” by Diana Peterfreund

To be fair, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund seems to have been written especially for me. I didn’t read much young adult literature when I actually was a young adult, but I read all of Jane Austen during high school. Now that I read (and love) YA, my taste tends to favor science fiction and fantasy, so this hit two of my sweet spots as a reader. A post-apocalyptic and dystopian retelling of Austen’s Persuasion? Sign me up.

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Staff Picks: “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

Karou is just like any other art student living in Prague. She has blue hair (that grows out of her head that shade) and a loser of an ex-boyfriend (who dresses up as a vampire to scare tourists and models in her life drawing class just to annoy her). She hangs out with her best friend at Poison Kitchen eating goulash. She’s got a perfectly normal part-time job, traveling through doors that lead to far away corners of the earth, collecting teeth and trading in wishes. The fantastical creatures she draws in her sketchbook aren’t a product of her imagination; they’re the only family she’s ever known, including Brimstone, the otherwordly creature who raised her.

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Staff Picks: “My Life Next Door” by Huntley Fitzpatrick

When I first read advance reviews and the synopsis of My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, I immediately requested the library order it. The novel sounded perfect for summer reading. A little romance, a little mystery…what more could you want for a poolside read?

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YA Pride

June is officially (official as in declared by President Obama) Pride month, a time for America to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. As part of this celebration, Malinda Lo, who writes young adult fiction, is hosting a series featuring LGBTQ authors on her site and highlighting great young adult fiction with LGBTQ characters. I’d like to share with you my favorites.

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Staff Picks: “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

“If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”

Mia begins a normal day in the Hall household, happy that school’s been called off for snow though the weather won’t prevent them from going on a family outing–only they never make it to their intended destination. Mia’s parents and younger brother are killed in a car accident that leaves her in a coma. The story unfolds as Mia decides whether or not to stay or go.

If I Stay is a YA novel with heart. Some YA fiction can come across as condescending or trite, preachy or unrealistic, but this one is well-written but approachable and a tear-jerker without being sad simply for the sake of it. Though I was initially skeptical about a story narrated by a girl in a coma, I was completely able to suspend belief and be right there with Mia, watching her friends and family grieve.   Read More..