Diana is desperate to prove herself. Surrounded by warriors who make every feat of strength and agility look like a cake walk, she does her best to stand out.
When her big chance comes, however, she throws it all away to rescue a teenager drowning off the coast of her island home.
Interacting with a human is strictly forbidden in Diana's culture, let alone saving one and hiding them in a cave.
This, however is no ordinary human. Her name is Alia and unbeknownst to her she is a Warbringer, someone who may be responsible for the greatest war ever to befall the human race.
Using a controversial myth as a guide, Alia and Diana set off to end the curse that Alia has become convinced she carries.
Full of action, sarcastic wit and strong female characters, Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a great teen read for anyone who loves superhero backstories. Bardugo has created a character with real depth that flies off the page, highly recommend this!
Every teen should read this book.
A superb anthology of stories and poems by diverse authors that touches upon issues like terrorism, OCD, depression, loss, cultural appropriation and simply trying to survive being a teen in the modern world.
"Marionette Girl" dives deep into the suffocating bubble that teens with severe OCD experience on a daily basis. It looks at how people without OCD can often brush it aside as "acting up" or "taking things too far" when in reality it's an all encompassing nightmare.
"We, Who?" is a brilliant peek at having someone you consider a good friend suddenly post racist garbage on their Facebook page. It's startling, blunt and very real. How do you cope when you realise you don't really know someone at all?
"Hackney Moon" examines teens finding out who they really are, the pressures to conform and how it feels to experience real love for the first time.
There are many more stories, each like a jolt of electricity to the spine. We need more books like this, more of these stories for teens to connect with. I'm going to champion this book for a long time in the library.
It's the early 1900's in the UK and women still can't vote.
That's the reality that I hope teens take away from this novel right away. It's something I constantly stress in the library when I teach responsible researching skills to students using WWI as a backdrop.
Speaking of research, Nicholls has done hers and in the process created a thrilling and engaging tale about a topic I've never before come across in a YA novel: the plight of the Suffragettes and women's rights in general during World War One in the UK.
Seventeen year old Evelyn comes from a wealthy family but is filled with frustration at the fact that she can't go to university. Women were expected to stay at home and raise families, and although she could apply to go to Oxford, her father forbids it. Evelyn decides to join the Suffragettes and is immediately plunged into a dangerous and exciting world filled with police brutality, hunger strikes, protests and serious jail time.
Fifteen year old May comes from a Quaker background, already part of the Suffragette cause, she rallies against violent protests that some parts of the movement get involved in. When May meets Nell, a girl who has known nothing but hardship her entire life, something awakens in May that she never knew was there before.
Nell has always known she was different, she dressed, looked and acted unlike any of the other girls she grew up with. Her life is taking care of her siblings in their tiny flat in London. Starvation and extreme poverty is always on the horizon. With May, Nell finds a temporary release from the misery.
Set against real-life events that changed the lives of women everywhere, Things a Bright Girl Can Do will anger you, bring you to tears and enlighten you to the extreme hardship brought to the UK because of the foolhardy decision to engage in a ridiculous war that nobody won.
Nicholls also brings to life the effects of PTSD on soldiers that returned home and the pain, confusion and frustration felt by those left at home to pick up the pieces.
I can't wait to talk about this book to teens at the library, it's an important topic that has been handled with grace, wit and a razor sharp insight into history.
Lucy Hannsson life is falling apart.
Her mother's cancer reappears, forcing her to question her faith and her relationship with her long-time boyfriend.
Usually, Lucy works at the Christian children's camp every summer. Her dad is a pastor and Lucy has been heavily involved in the church ever since she was born.
However, at the insistence of her mother, Lucy takes a job at the summer camp a mile away called Daybreak.
Daybreak is a camp for children who have had hard times in their lives. While there, Lucy's eyes are opened to the brutal reality of some people's existence.
At first terrified, Lucy starts to get to know her co-workers, who are open and frank and real and everything that Lucy isn't.
It isn't long before Lucy falls in love with Daybreak, the children there and her newfound friends.
However, Daybreak holds secrets that will directly affect Lucy's relationship with her family and her faith.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book,, Lord has created a realistic summer camp atmosphere (having spent time in some in Canada myself) and the situations and experiences fly off the page as genuine. I was interested in Lucy's in and out relationship with her faith as it is not something that is often tackled in YA fiction in my opinion. The writing is sweet yet realistic and frank at times.
I know the teens at my library will really eat this one up as they will be fascinated with the summer camp setting and the twist at the end, great stuff!
When I was a kid I was obsessed with UFOs.
My dad witnessed the unexplained object streak across the sky at his home in Clark's Harbour Nova Scotia in 1967. It would be known as the Shag Harbour UFO incident because many locals claimed to have seen a craft crash into the ocean. Some told stories of thick orange foam covering the top of the water and Russian ships suddenly converging on the area.
Whatever it was, it was an experience shared by others and the stories remain to this day.
Encounters is all about a shared experience. Based on the Ruwa, Zimbabwe UFO incident when dozens of school children claimed to have seen silver discs land behind their school, Encounters follows the journey of six children that have their lives changed forever because of the alleged alien encounter.
The most fascinating UFO experiences that I have read about are the ones where the witnesses share some kind of collective unconscious aftermath - they have recurring nightmares that are eerily similar to each other, they daydream about the same thing and they often have an almost indescribable feeling of never being alone.
Wallace captures this experience perfectly. In Ruwa, the school children drew pictures of what they saw. The pictures that were drawn were almost identical to each other. In Encounters, The school children draw the same images and each have the itchy feeling that the creatures that they saw emerge from the ships were warning them about something.
For each of the six children, all suffering from turbulent home lives in some for or another, the warnings mean different things.
If you're fascinated with stories about people who've claimed to see UFOs, you simply can't ignore this book. Its tone is pitch perfect, a dream-like haze mingles with the boiling heat of the African sun, creating an eerie atmosphere that will stick in your guts for a long, long time.
Marin is New York and feels completely alone.
After fleeing her life in California, not even her best friends or her roommate know exactly why she decided to travel east to attend university.
Now, with the Christmas holidays approaching, Marin decides to stay in the university dorm rather than return home. As the snow piles up, so does the grief, regret and anger.
Raised by her grandfather, Marin has a past that clouds her every waking second, and when she discovers that her best friend Mabel is going to visit with her for a few days, she tries valiantly to put on her "normal" face so Mabel doesn't suspect that she's still grieving.
Trapped together in a blinding east coast blizzard, it doesn't take long for Marin and Mabel to dig down to the vein and confront what is really going on with Marin.
This is a simple yet powerful novel. Marin's feelings of angst and jittery anxiousness about her impending visitor drip off of every page. She is a real and vibrant character with grit in her belly that has had to deal with way too much for someone her age.
As a school librarian I'm always looking for the kinds of books that don't pull punches and don't BS teens into subscribing to a particular point of view. We Are Okay transcends all of that because it rides a delicate balance of pain and hope, grief and overwhelming joy. I think this is the book that many students I interact with have been seeking for a long time.
I recommend We Are Okay to ages 15 and up!
Griffin has just lost the love of his life.
HIs best friend and soul-mate, Theo, has drowned in a horrible accident. Now Griffin is left to pick up the pieces, starting with the realisation that one of the only people that can help him cope with this tragedy is Jackson, the boy Theo grew to love after he left Griffin and moved to California for school.
Griffin's suffering doesn't end there, his OCD has gone into warp speed since Theo's death, and he can feel himself quickly unravelling. In order to survive his grief, Griffin has to be honest with himself, and unleash the secrets that are tearing him apart.
Written from the perspective of Griffin when Theo was alive and after he died, we slowly learn the things that Griffin has kept hidden from everyone he loves. I've never read Adam Silvera before and his writing is truly unique.
Griffin is consumed with grief the entire novel, fading in and out between hopelessness and not-quite hopelessness as he retraces his time with Theo, remember the things that made them special as a couple. When his OCD rears its ugly head it's easy to imagine Griffin's world crumbling around him as he tries desperately to make the pieces fit in his mind.
It's a brutally honest look at dealing with grief, teen angst, teen love and loss of all kinds. I recommend this book to ages 16 and up!
Stewart is thirteen but has a brain that can rival most adults that I know. - academically at least. Socially he's a nightmare and unable to connect on a meaningful basis with most people.
After his mother dies from cancer, he and his father move in with his father's new girlfriend and her fourteen year old daughter, Ashley.
Ashley is popular, trendy, has a gaggle of frenemies and doesn't care for school. Her father has recently come out as gay and moved out - to the guest house next door. She's ashamed at her father's identity and reeling from having a new family arrive.
Needless to say her and Stewart don't get along at all, making for some very uncomfortable nights at the dinner tables.
Even worse for her, because of Stewart's academic prowess. he's put in Ashley's classes. Stewart on the other hand, just wants to survive gym class, where he's tormented by the school jock, Jared. It doesn't help that Ashley has a massive crush on Jared and will do almost anything to get his attention.
I read this book in one setting, it's an easy, fun read with lots of humour and pleasant situations. That said, there are some very dark moments in the book as well which I won't spoil but would, in my opinion, make it a very interesting point of discussion for ages 14 and up.
There's a lot of life in this book, and I know a lot of students that will really enjoy reading it.
I recommend this book to ages 14 and up!
George knows she's a girl.
An elementary student, she was born a boy but can feel every fibre in her being that she was meant to be a girl.
Nobody knows this, not her mother, her brother or her best friend Kelly.
Then the school announces that they're going to be auditioning students for Charlotte's Web.
George knows that if she can get the part of Charlotte, the kind spider, people will finally see her for who she really is.
Before that can happen, though, she has to contend with bullies, her mum and a school administration that doesn't appear overly sympathetic.
This is a short but powerful read about standing up for who you are. It's also about the power of friendship and understanding. George is a tenacious character that will stick with you for a long time. Fans of Wonder will really love this!
I recommend George to Years 7 and up!
Just before Pink Floyd move into "Comfortably Numb" on The Wall, Roger Waters' voice comes barreling through a filter asking, "Is there anybody out there?"
That sound, that droning melancholy flowing out of his voice followed me around as I read Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.
It's a great book.
There has always been two sides to Frances. There's school Frances who studies like a machine in order to take English lit at the best universities in the country. Then there's private Frances who loves to make art and listen to her favourite podcast Universe City.
When she meets the shy, stylish and mysterious Aled, both of those worlds start to overlap. Then she finds out that Aled is the creator of Universe City and her life changes forever.
For the first time she can be herself and has seemingly found true friendship. When Universe City becomes internet famous, and France's role in it gets exposed by those around her. The bond she had with Aled becomes fragile.
Throw in a friend who goes missing, a control freak mother and a couple of road trips and you have a great read about young people facing the pressures of success and the black void that is the question: "What do I want to do with my life?"
I really loved this book. Although my school / university experience was way, way different in Canada, anyone not sure what they want to do with themselves after high school will relate. The writing is honest and sharp, the characters speak like real teenagers which is a refreshing change in a world of YA literature where fifteen year olds sometimes talk like university professors.
Anyone that's ever felt like an outsider, that has felt the urge to create something while maintaining their integrity and not succumbing to the whims of public demand will feel something for this book and these characters. Don't miss it.
I recommend Radio Silence to Years 10 and up.