And, last but not least, for those of you who prefer real-life stories and/or mysteries, here are those nominees. Voting ends October 13th, so get reading!
Here are all of the books nominated in the Teens' Top Ten for 2018 that we have available as ebooks or eaudiobooks through the Libby app. Remember, voting is happening now through October 13th, so get reading so you can cast your ballot!
Three or four weeks ago, one of the many libraryland blogs I subscribe to had an article about one YA author's quest to read one book a month throughout 2018 that focuses on an aspect of justice and/or change. The challenge grew out of the conversations Marie Maquardt has had with teens who say they "want books that give us all the feels and open our eyes, hearts, and minds to important social issues."
Maquardt observed that "so many young readers seeks novels that offer new ways of looking at the world, challenge them to ask tough questions, and motivate them to take action."
So far, she's read books about confronting racial injustice, girls fighting back, the American Dream and immigration, climate change, gentrification, and the refugee crisis. I've added additional titles that fall within those categories so that you, too, can #readforchange.
Maquardt's articles are really insightful, so I encourage you to look through those, too, especially if you are interested in more resources on the topics.
What other topic(s) do you think Maquardt should cover later this year?
THE INVISIBLE GIRLS by Sarah Thebarge
A girl scarred by her past. A refugee mother uncertain of her future. Five little girls who brought them together. After nearly dying of breast cancer in her twenties, Sarah Thebarge fled her successful career, her Ivy League education, and a failed relationship on the East Coast and started over in Portland, Oregon. She was hoping to quietly pick up the pieces of her broken life, but instead she met Hadhi and her daughters, and set out on an adventure she’d never anticipated. Hadhi was fighting battles of her own. A Somali refugee abandoned by her husband, she was struggling to raise five young daughters in a culture she didn’t understand. When their worlds collided, Hadhi and the girls were on the brink of starvation in their own home, “invisible” in a neighborhood of strangers. As Sarah helped Hadhi and the girls navigate American life, her outreach to the family became a source of courage and a lifeline for herself. Poignant, and at times shattering, Sarah Thebarge’s riveting memoir invites listeners into her story, finding connection, love, and redemption in the most unexpected places.
GIRLS LIKE US by Gail Giles
A 2015 Schneider Family Book Award Winner! With gentle humor and unflinching realism, Gail Giles tells the gritty, ultimately hopeful story of two special ed teenagers entering the adult world: "We understand stuff. We just learn it slow. And most of what we understand is that people what ain’t Speddies think we too stupid to get out our own way. And that makes me mad." Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first “real world” apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought—and more importantly, that they might be able to help each other move forward.
Umm, yeah... Real life is hard. And we see that reflected in a lot of realistic fiction books.
DOCTOR CERBERUS by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's coming-of-age, coming-out cocktail with a twist of terror. Thirteen-year-old Franklin Robertson is trying to survive adolescence. His parents don't understand him, his brother torments him, he has no friends, and he's more interested in the high school quarterback than any girl. The one bright spot in his life is the glow of the black-and-white TV in his parents' basement. Here, he worships at the altar of the Saturday Night Horror Movie, hosted by the eerie Dr. Cerberus. Before long, Franklin is convinced that only by going on the show will his life be redeemed—by Dr. Cerberus himself! An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: Simon Helberg as Franklin Robertson, Jamison Jones as Doctor Cerberus, Steven Culp as Lawrence Robertson, Pamela J. Gray as Lydia Robertson, and Jarrett Sleeper as Rodney Robertson.
OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigberg
Rafe is a normal teenager from Colorado. He's been out since 8th grade, accepted by his peers, and championed by his progressive parents. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to be a regular guy. To have his sexuality be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time. So when Rafe transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down and realizes his own labels aren't well-concealed. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben...who doesn't even know that love is possible.
Happy Pride Month to all LGBTQIA+ individuals! Because it can feel lonely, we are going to celebrate Pride Month with three books featuring bisexual characters. If you are bi, hopefully you will be able to identify with a part of one of these stories. If you're not bi, hopefully you can better understand what it's like to be bi and, as a result, be able to empathize with your bi friends and family members better.
We have a variety of LGBTQIA+ characters in books, and if you're looking for a certain identity, ask Bethany in person or leave a comment below, and we'll find something for you!
EXTRAORDINARY MEANS by Robyn Schneider
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park in this darkly funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Beginning of Everything. Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidante named Sadie - and life as Lane knows it will never be the same. Robyn Schneider's Extraordinary Means is a heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about the miracles of first love and second chances.
LOVE AND FIRST SIGHT by Josh Sundquist
After a lifetime attending a school for the blind, sixteen-year-old Will Porter's first day at a mainstream high school went about as well as he expected. He accidentally grazed a girl's boob when reaching for a handrail on the stairs, he sat on another student in the cafeteria, and he somehow drove a new classmate to tears without saying a word. His high school career can only go up from there, right? As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a charming, quiet girl name Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will could have ever imagined, and as he adjusts to his new sense, he finds the sighted world has been keeping more secrets from him than he realized. It turns out that the girl he's been falling for doesn't meet traditional definitions of beauty. In fact, everything he'd heard about her appearance now appears to be a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed? Told in Will's voice as he transitions from blind to sighted, this is a story about the nature of perception, love, trust, and romantic attraction. With moments of breathtaking poignancy, it's about how we relate to each other and the world around us, and how true friendship is one thing you don't need to be able to see to believe.
WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon
Now that Dimple Shah has graduated, she's ready for a break from her family - especially from Mamma's inexplicable obsession with her finding the "Ideal Indian Husband." Ugh. But Dimple knows that her mother must respect that she isn't interested in doing that right now - otherwise she wouldn't have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers, right? Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic, so when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him - during which he'll have to woo her - he's totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. Although their parents hadn't planned suggesting the arrangement so soon, when their kids signed up for the same summer program, they figured Why not?
BAKER'S MAGIC by Diane Zahler
Bee, a young orphan, is terribly hungry when she steals a bun from a local bakery. This desperate act sets off a series of events that takes the twelve-year-old on an incredible adventure that begins with her being hired by the baker and discovering that whatever she bakes reflects her current mood. Bee’s unusual talent comes in handy as she helps her new friend Princess Anika escape the evil mage, meets up with pirates and finds a family. A magical, meaningful story and a most magnificent heroine will delight readers of all tastes!
SAVING MONTGOMERY SOLE by Mariko Tamaki
Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, a girl with two moms forced to go to a school full of homophobes and people who don't even know what irony is. Her saving grace--her two best friends, Thomas and Naoki. Monty's obsessed with paranormal mysteries like ESP, astrology, superpowers, and the healing powers of frozen yogurt, but when strange things actually start happening to Monty, she realizes that the greatest mystery of all is herself. Thoughtful, funny, and honest, this audiobook will make you want to laugh and cry over a big cup of frozen yogurt with extra toppings and your best friends at your side.
BEING JAZZ by Jazz Jennings
Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series—I Am Jazz—making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults. In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn’t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don't understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence—particularly high school—complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy—especially when you began your life in a boy’s body.