Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Lucy and her friends have decided to spend graduation night searching for Shadow, the elusive but talented graffiti artist.  Ed and his friends just want to kill time until they can carry out their real plans for the evening.  In the meantime, Ed joins Lucy in her quest, racing to all of Shadow’s artwork while thawing their prickly relationship through their stories and hopes.  Lucy shares her obsession with Shadow and his art, unaware of how close he really is.  Graffiti Moon is a fun young adult novel with great characters and an artistic twist.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

What would you take?  When the Soviet police come to take her family away, fifteen year old Lina has 20 minutes to pack to leave her home in Lithuania.  She chooses a few clothes, a family photograph, and drawing paper and pencils, leaving the loaf of bread cooling on the counter.  She cherishes her treasures, but can’t help wishing she had also brought the bread.  She and her mother and little brother are shipped to Siberia packed in train cars, always worrying about and missing her father.  Through the book more and more of their dignity is stripped away as they experience horrible hunger, cold, and back-breaking work under the watchful eye of the completely unpredictable Soviet police force.  But in the midst of this extremely grim story, we also get glimpses of the humanity that Lina and her fellow prisoners cling to; moments of sharing, kindness, and celebration together.  And through it all, Lina draws with whatever she can get ahold of including dirt and ashes.  The other prisoners smuggle bits of paper for her to use, having seen her special gift for expressing the truth of their experiences.

Between Shades of Gray brings to light a part of history that is often neglected.  Powell’s story examines the basis of what it means to be human, expressing the best and worst of those in difficult situations, equally present in the police as in the prisoners.  The subject matter is somewhat grim, but Lina’s determination to live and draw and the moments of kindness add enough light to make it a truly rewarding read.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows


For the past 5000 years, one million souls have inhabited Range, reincarnated in a new body each time they die. Ana is the first newsoul in all that time, and her existence raises questions others don’t want to think about. Her own mother calls her a nosoul and removed her from civilization to raise her in the woods away from people. After years of abuse from a woman who denies her ability to experience emotions, she sets off for the city to search for answers.

Ana is not necessarily welcome in the capital, Heart, either. Her curiosity and impulsive nature don’t endear her to the many people who have lived thousands of years and are unsettled by the change she represents.

One man who finds her fascinating and welcomes change is Sam, the most well-known musician on Range. Her own love of music draws the two of them together, and she enlists him in her mission to find out why she suddenly appeared and what happened to the soul her’s replaced. Others are not as pleased about her rejoining civilization and her search for answers. When she was out of sight, those who were disturbed by her existence could forget about her.

In a hard world filled with dragons, sylph, trolls, centaurs and other dangerous creatures, Ana must also worry about humans who see her as a threat to be eliminated.

Incarnate is Jodi Meadows’ debut novel and the first book in a planned trilogy.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

> The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is not a book I would have picked up on my own, but once I started reading I couldn’t put it down till the very end.

Arnold Spirit, 14 year old Native American, has grown up on the Spokane reservation in Washington.  Born with water on the brain and sporting thick and unfashionable glasses, he has learned to cope with the challenges of his life by allying himself with one of the toughest kids around and by drawing.  “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.”  Then one day the injustice around him becomes a bit too clear and he is inspired to transfer to a nearby all-white and better funded school, which of course presents new challenges.  His friends from the reservation see his school change as a betrayal and the white kids in his new school don’t know what to do with him. 

This book made me laugh out loud.  Arthur is a keen observer of the world and survives his situation with a keen wit.  At the same time his life and his awareness of the unfairness of it all are heart-breaking.  Alexie has shared that the book is semi-autobiographical, and that knowledge does give the novel an extra element of hopefulness.  This book challenged my perceptions of Native Americans and growing up, as well as provided inspiration to face the challenges in my own life.

Paper Covers Rock


Paper Covers Rock is a new Young Adult novel by Jenny Hubbard. It has recently been named a finalist for the William C. Morris Award which honors first-time authors that write for teens. The setting of the book is an all boys’ boarding school on the east coast in 1982. It is narrated by Alex, a 17 year old boy who has just witnessed the drowning of one of his friends, Thomas. The reader is privy to all of Alex’s thoughts which he records in his journal that he keeps hidden behind a copy of Moby Dick in the school’s library. It is obvious from the first couple of pages that there is more to the drowning than meets the eye. Although the drowning has been ruled accidental, there is way more to the story than Alex and his friend Glenn are telling. The reader watches as Alex struggles with guilt and must decide whether to keep secrets and protect himself and Glenn or to confide in his teacher, Miss Dovecott who recognizes that Alex is withholding the truth. The secrets that Alex is keeping are gradually revealed in his journal over the course of the book. However, the reader is kept guessing up until the very end which direction Alex will choose to take. As an added bonus, the book is filled with original poetry that Alex writes in his journal which is quite good even aside from the rest of the book. If you enjoyed A Separate Peace by John Knowles give this book a try.

Legend by Marie Lu


The United States of America no longer exists. The western states are now known as the Republic and the east is known as the Colonies. The two have been fighting for as long as anyone in the Republic can remember and all resources are devoted to the war effort. June was born into privilege and had all possible advantages growing up. She is a military prodigy and will likely achieve a high military post when her training is completed. Day was born into the slums of Los Angeles and is now a wanted criminal for his activities hindering the military.

June and Day are thrown together when June’s first assignment is tracking and catching Day. June may be certain she wants to catch Day in the beginning, but as time goes on, it becomes less and less clear to her that the Republic is always right and Day is the one committing the most serious crimes.

Legend is Lu’s debut and is a taut dystopian thriller, the first in a planned trilogy. The book has received positive reviews from The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. This one will appeal to readers who liked the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. Definitely a series to watch. Fast-paced, exciting, and has the potential to make a great trilogy.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler


It’s 1996 and Emma Nelson is the proud new owner of a personal computer. Her neighbor and one-time best friend, Josh, brings over an AOL CD-ROM so Emma can use the internet on her computer. When Emma connects she is redirected to a website called Facebook, where she finds the profile of a woman who looks remarkably like an older version of herself, who has the same birth date and graduated from her high school. At first thinking this is a virus or prank loaded on the CD-ROM, Josh and Emma are skeptical, but as their actions change what is happening to the pages of their future selves, they come to realize that it’s not a prank. Emma becomes obsessed with changing her future so she’ll be happier and Josh wants her to stop changing things because he likes what he sees.

As their actions change things for both better and worse for their future selves, Josh and Emma become more aware of the choices they are making in their present.

This original new novel is an interesting look at how a teenager in 1996 would react to seeing something like Facebook years before its time. It also explores how decisions made on a daily basis can change an entire life and how a person might react if they could know what actions would change their future for the better (or the worse). If you liked Before I Fall or Gimme a Call, you’ll probably like this one.

The Future of Us is the collaborative effort of bestselling author Jay Asher and Printz Honor winning author Carolyn Mackler.


Sixteen-year-old Cat’s best childhood friend, openly gay Patrick, is in a coma, a victim of a brutal hate crime. The local sheriff is ready to pin the crime on out-of-towners, but Cat’ssuspicions lie elsewhere. For the past three years, Cat has retreated from most of her friends after being sexually abused by one of her brother’s friends.   Cat slowly learns about her old friends in the meth-addled underbelly of her hill-country Southern town. Despite ominous warnings to leave it be, Catfinds the will to expose the homegrown hatred that gave rise to Patrick’sattack. Shine is a bleak story leavened by the things Cat learns about herself (and the attack) in the course of her investigation.

If you’re waiting for Inheritance…

>If you’re waiting for Inheritance, the newest Christopher Paolini featuring Eragon and Saphira, you have some choices of other books to read while you wait.

One wonderful series that has been overlooked by many is the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. Sabriel, the first book in the series, was published in 1996, two years before the first Harry Potter and before children’s/young adult literature captured popular attention. Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, a necromancer who puts the dead to rest and prevents the restless Dead from returning to Life. When Sabriel receives a message from him while she is away at school in Ancelstierre (where magic does not work), she must return to the Old Kingdom (where magic works) to take up his duties and try to free him from where he is trapped in Death. Sabriel is followed by Lirael and Abhorsen.

In an Asian-inspired fantasy realm, young Eon is in a fierce competition to apprentice to the Rat Dragon, one of twelve dragons who guard the realm. Twelve-year-old Eon is actually 16-year-old Eona in disguise. Hiding her sex is the only way for Eona to study Dragon magic, a pursuit forbidden to girls. If she is caught, she will face disembowelment. Eona is not chosen by the Rat Dragon, but that is, of course, not the end of the story.  Eon is a fast-paced novel that will have you racing to pick up Eona, the conclusion to this complex and well-crafted story.

Princess Raisa is on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday, when she will be of age to make a politically advantageous arranged marriage. Han is a young man living in poverty and supporting his family through odd jobs after leaving his street gang. The two meet when Raisa is out in disguise investigating discontent in her kingdom and Han is fleeing from the authorities who believe he is guilty of a crime he didn’t commit. Chima weaves together a number of complex story lines in this tale of intrigue and politics. The Demon King is followed by The Exiled Queen and The Gray Wolf Throne. The fourth book in the series, The Crimson Crown, will be released in fall of 2012, according to the author’s website.

And if none of these books look to be to your taste, stop by the young adult section of the library and pick up one of the handouts of suggestions for those who liked Eragon, created by our talented YA librarian.

Teens choose their top YA books By Janene Hill, Young Adult Librarian, Manhattan Public Library

Teens across thecountry have spoken.

On October 17 the2011 Teens’ Top Ten list was revealed by the Young Adult Library ServicesAssociation.
With more than9,000 votes cast, teens across the U.S. expressed their opinions forthe best books from the past year. Online voting took place in August andSeptember.
Cassandra Clareand Suzanne Collins exchanged spots from 2010 to take the first and second placeson this year’s list. This is Clare’s fourth straight year on the list, butfirst in the #1 position.
Collins is on thelist for the third straight year while James Patterson returns for a third appearanceafter a two-year absence. Becca Fitzpatrick is back for the second straight year,with six first-timers rounding out the Teens’ Top Ten.
The novels cover awide range of subject matter including aliens, fairies, dystopian societies, secondchances, and the supernatural. These stories take place in settings from afuture United Statesto Victorian England.
2011 Teens’ TopTen
1. The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Tessa Gray’s search for hermissing brother leads her into Victorian London’s supernatural underworld,where she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters in order tocontrol her powers and find her brother. Prequel to the Mortal Instruments series.
2. Mockingjay by SuzanneCollins
After surviving her second time in the arena, Katniss has been propelled intoleading a revolution. Residents of District 13 have been preparing for war foryears, and are at the front of the fight. It seems the world is on Katniss’sshoulders as she struggles with being the face of the rebellion and target ofthe Capitol’s vengeance. Final book in the HungerGames trilogy.
3. Crescendo byBecca Fitzpatrick
Nora’s life has never been ordinary, but now that she has learnedabout her true Nephilim bloodline and her guardian angel, she wants to knowmore. What really happened to her father? Does Patch really love her? Is hehiding something? Sequel to the best-selling Hush, Hush.
4. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Nineescaped from the planet Lorien just before it was destroyed by the Mogadorians.Hidden amongst the Earth-beings, the nine wait for the time they can regroup tofight their would-be destoyers. But Number One was caught in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. Theykilled them all. Number Four is next.
5. TheIron King by Julie Kagawa
As Meghan approaches her 16th birthday she discovers she is thedaughter of a faery king, a princess. A changeling has taken the place of herkidnapped brother. Meghan will leave behind everything she knows and travel tothe fae world to find the truth, face unknown enemies, save those she caresabout, and maybe even fall in love.
6. Matched by Ally Condie
Cassia is happily surprised when at the Matching Ceremony, her lifelong bestfriend Xander’s face appears on the screen. Then something startling happens –Ky’s face appears on the screen briefly before fading to black. Cassia beginsquestioning everything. What if all the choices that have been made her wholelife aren’t the only choice and she could make her own? Should she follow the lifeset forth for her by the Society, or travel down an unknown and defiant path.
7. Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel byJames Patterson
Max is starting to believe the scientists saying she needs to save theworld. Fang has left, and the flock’s new member, Dylan, may be her perfectmate. Meanwhile, Max needs to help lead her flock to defeat a doomsday cult outto kill all the humans. Seventh book in the bestselling Maximum Ride series.
8. Paranormalcy by KierstenWhite
mployed by theInternational Paranormal Containment Agency, a fairy ex-boyfriend, a mermaidbest friend, and current boyfriend who is a shape-shifter. No, Evie’s lifeisn’t exactly as a “normal” teenager. Seeing paranormals for what they areisn’t exactly something all teenagers can do. Actually, pretty much no one elsecan.
9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Friday, February 12 started just like any other day for Sam Kingston –atleast the first time. The car crash that night should have taken her life.Somehow though, she is not dead, but reliving the day – seven times. With eachreincarnation, Sam learns more about how her actions effect others and the truevalue of the people, things, and events in her life.
10.  Nightshade by AndreaCremer
When Calla saves a humanboy on her mountain from a bear attack, the consequences are farther reachingthan could be imagined, especially when that boy shows up at her school andappears to be a favored companion of her masters.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


I almost didn’t read this one because I didn’t like the cover (and yes, I know, I shouldn’t be judging books by their covers). I’m glad I picked it up, though, since I’m a sucker for the crop of young adult fantasy books with strong, interesting heroines that have been published in the past few years. If you liked The Hunger Games, Matched, Graceling, or Sabriel for the strong female main character, you’ll want to pick up Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Karou is a young woman living in Prague who is leading a double life. In one life she is an art student with a boyfriend who cheated on her, in the other, she runs errands picking up teeth for the wishmonger, Brimstone, the chimaera who raised her. She collects languages, has blue hair that grows in that way, three bullet scars on her abdomen and eye tattoos on the palms of her hands that have been there for as long as she can remember.

Karou is drawn into a centuries old conflict between angels and the chimaera when she runs into Akiva, an angel soldier trying to cut Brimstone off from the world. Karou and Akiva are drawn to one another, but there are secrets kept and hidden between them, and a startling revelation will drive them apart.

The Legend of Lady Ilena by Patricia Malone


In sixth century Great Britain, fifteen-year-oldIlena feels set adrift after the death of her mother and father.  Since they had no family nearby and herfather trained her to be a warrior, she has always known that she was destinedfor something different than the other girls of their small village, but neverknew what.  Her father’s dying wordsdirect her east to Dun Alyn.  Her journeytakes her across the mountains and through many trials, making friends and enemiesalong the way.  Upon her arrival, she isgreeted as an evil spirit and thrown into a cage, but with the help of ahealing woman, a dwarf, and one of King Arthur’s knights she is able to findthe truth and save the day.  The Legend of Lady Ilena by Patricia Malone is an exciting story about a girl finding her strength and herdestiny in a world of upheaval.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier


Gwyneth is sixteen, relatively normal, and lives with her extended family in a huge house in London. She does a lot of pretty normal teenage girl things: hanging out with her best friend, Lesley, chatting about boys and clothes, and dealing with her weird family members. She can also talk to ghosts, but she tries to keep that from becoming general knowledge. Things take an unexpected turn when Gwyneth starts making uncontrolled jumps into the past. That particular gift was supposed to be inherited by her cousin Charlotte. Charlotte has therefore been trained in self-defense, multiple foreign languages, proper etiquette and any number of other skills Gwyneth has not been taught.

This turn of events not only complicates things for Gwyneth, it complicates them for the secret society that guards and studies time travelers. The Lodge of Count Saint-Germain, also known as The Guardians, are trying to keep Gwyneth in the dark about many of their secrets while also using her to accomplish their ends. She is left trying to figure out the intricacies of time travel and its rules while also trying to figure out how she feels about her fellow time-traveler, Gideon de Villiers and the members of The Guardians.

Ruby Red is the first book in a series translated from the original German. The second book, Sapphire Blue, will be out in spring of 2012.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

>Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a rather odd book about a young man whose grandfather is killed in a violent manner, but it’s also much more than that. Sixteen-year-old Jacob has always worshiped his grandfather and loved the stories his grandfather told about his life at a home for children in Wales when he was a young orphan. At some point the stories lost their luster and Jacob asked his grandfather to stop telling him fairy stories. After his grandfather is killed, Jacob decides he must go to the island where his grandfather lived in order to find some closure.

What he finds there makes him question his knowledge of his grandfather and his entire view of how the world works.

The story of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wonderful work of fiction enhanced by the addition of authentic (mostly unaltered) old photographs from private collections.

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

>Dream a little with James Patterson as his imagination allows children to flap their wings and fly. In The Angel Experiment children have been taken from their parents and injected with avian DNA by evil scientists. They may be 98 percent human, but the 2 percent avian DNA creates wings that allow them to soar. They are on the run from their captors and must use other special abilities to protect themselves from the Erasers, wolf-like, extremely strong, genetically-modified creatures who want them back in order to do further experiments. This group of kids looks out for each other and have compassion for each other’s failings and abilities.
After freeing Angel, the youngest of their adopted family, the setting varies from Death Valley to the subway of New York City as the kids flee from the Erasers.
More books follow to continue the story of Maximum Ride, the leader of the bird family and narrator of The Angel Experiment.