On Saturday, October 15 the polls closed for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Teen’s Top Ten books of 2016. This top ten list is chosen from teens all around the country who nominate and then vote for their favorite books of the previous year. A big YA reader myself but unable to vote, each year I review the books nominated and choose my own top ten. Then, when the list comes out, I like to compare my choices with the ones the teens have chosen. Last year, I only got four correct. Let’s see how I did this year.
I was a junior in college when the first Harry Potter book was released. Needless to say, the series was not on my radar then, and it remained stealthily outside those bounds until I began substitute teaching after college. That’s when I first saw 12 and 13-year old children toting around the same book.
I finally asked, “What are you all reading?”
I got the definitive answer, “Oh! YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THESE BOOKS!”
The bell just rang to dismiss your final class for the year and you’re ALREADY looking for something to do? The Feed Your Brain HIGH SCHOOL Summer Reading Program is for you!
Why?… Because reading CAN ACTUALLY BE FUN! I bet most of you know this already, though, right?
All you have to do to get some Bookworm Bucks (a $5 coupon) is read a couple of titles just for fun, let us know about them and use your reading rewards at any Half Price Books location before the end of the summer.
We have a great list of recommendations, both new and classics for you this year. Pick one up at your favorite Half Price Books local store and GET READING now!
Doodle Adventures: The Search For The Slimy Space Slugs!
Author: Mike Lowery
Recommended for readers: 8-12 years
Published by Workman Publishing
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses sequel)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Recommended for readers: 14 years and up
Published by Bloomsbury USA
Queen of Hearts
Author: Colleen Oakes
Recommended for readers: 14 years and up
Published by HarperTeen
Theodore Boone: The Scandal
Author: John Grisham
Recommended for readers: 8-12 years
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers
*CLASSIC* TEEN READING:
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Author: Anne Frank
Author: Paulo Coelho
There’s just something about coming of age stories that I’ve always loved. They tend to be raw and honest, funny yet heartbreaking books. Everyone only “comes of age” once in their lifetime, so it’s fun to read others’ stories again and again. A couple of my personal favorites are Skippy Dies by Paul Murray and Winger by Andrew Smith.
We polled our booksellers across the country and below is a list of some of their favorites. What book would you add to this list?
- The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
- The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
- Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
- Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
- Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green
- The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card Continue reading
As with any year, putting together a list of the best new releases is challenging because there is so much great work to recognize. This collection of HPB Staff Picks are the books, music and movies which inspired and entertained us in 2015. If you haven’t discovered these yet, we hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we did. Here they are, in no particular order:
BOOKS // 1. Best Coloring Book (for Adults): Secret Garden Artist’s Edition by Johanna Basford / 2. Best LOL Biography: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling / 3. Best Literary Fiction to Cry Your Eyes Out Over: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara / 4. Best Edge-of-Your-Seat Mystery: Memory Man by David Baldacci / 5. Best Unexpected, Recently-Published 1950s Novel: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee / 6. Best Finale to a Series: Winter by Marissa Meyer / 7. Best Finger-Licking Good Recipes: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime by Ree Drummond / 8. Best Controversy-Stirring Nonfiction: Missoula by Jon Krakauer / 9. Best Euphorically-Geeky, Shout-Out-to-the-80s Science Fiction: Armada by Ernest Cline / 10. Best Historical Novel: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah / 11. Best Children’s Picture Book Grown-Ups Will Enjoy Reading Again & Again: The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin / 12. Best Impactful Middle Grade Novel: Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan / 13. Best Brush-Up-On-Your-Manners Children’s Book: Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony (which technically was released on December 30, 2014 but we’re going to count it as a 2015 release) / 14. Best Pass-on-Your-Passion for Star Wars Graphic Novel: Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown / 15. Best Ghost Story: Slade House by David Mitchell / 16. Best Inspirational, Red-White-and-Blue American History Biography: Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship and Sacrifice by Adam Makos / 17. Best Continuation of a Series by a New Author: The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz / 18. Best Revelatory and Culture-Questioning Memoir: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates / 19. Best Start of a New Series: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard / 20. Best Infectiously Happy Bio: Wildflower by Drew Barrymore / 22. Best Impassioned and Thought-Provoking Memoir: Spinster by Kate Bolick / 22. Best Movie Tie-in Edition: The Martian by Andy Weir / 23. Best Dystopian Fantasy: The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi / 24. Best Steamy Romance Fiction: Country by Danielle Steel / 25. Best Adventure-of-a-Lifetime Story: The Explorer’s Guild by Kevin Costner and Jon Baird // MOVIES // 26. Best Based-on-Real-Events Film: Selma, starring David Oyelowo / 27. Best Music-Rich, Unorthodox Biographical Film: Love & Mercy, starring John Cusack / 28. Best Feel-All-the-Feels Animated Movie for All Ages: Inside Out by Disney Pixar / 29. Best Weirdly-Wonderful Dark Comedy: Birdman, starring Michael Keaton / 30. Best Action-Packed-Dialogue Movie: Steve Jobs, written by Aaron Sorkin // MUSIC // 31. Best Playful-Surprise Alternative Rock Album: Star Wars by Wilco / 32. Best Throwback-to-Soul Album: Coming Home by Leon Bridges / 33. Best New Album of Old Standards: Shadows in the Night by Bob Dylan / 34. Best Powerhouse Vocalist Album: 25 by Adele / 35. Best Hauntingly-Beautiful Indie Folk Album: Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens.
What are your favorites from 2015? Did we overlook the best new book you read in 2015? We’d love to hear about your Best List in the comments below. Here’s to another fantastic year of literature, music and films in 2016! Happy New Year, booklovers!
We’re just over halfway through our Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program! This year, we also encouraged high school students to read one book each month and fill out an online review. We received almost 1,500 reviews for the month of June alone! With your help, we hope to beat this number in July. There’s still plenty of time for students to read a book and submit a review. We’ll even send you a coupon!
Here is what some of our High School reviewers are saying.
“The Blood of Olympus is so good, I don’t even know where to begin. Everything was resolved beautifully, and it was full of action and laughter for me. I just wish I could follow the Seven for the rest of their lives. (Including Nico and Leo. Especially Nico and Leo.) If you haven’t read this already because you’re afraid of finishing the series and having nothing meaningful in your life anymore, I suggest you read this, finish the series, and start the whole series all over again. Unless you need a break from Rick Riordan and his awesome demigods, but I doubt it.”
“The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken was an amazing book filled with tons of action and romance along with some of the best character development I have seen in a while! This book had me hooked from page one and kept me hooked throughout the whole book! The story of how Ruby embraces who she is and what she can do is inspiring and so much fun to read!”
“The [Divergent] series was riveting and definitely a page-turner! I loved being able to cheer on the main character, Beatrice, one second, and cry with her the next. You can immerse yourself into the novels and forget about the world around you. The series takes you on an adventure and you’ll love every second of it!”
We made several reading suggestions for readers at the start of the summer, and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series has far and away been the most popular choice of those books featured. Here are some of the other books students are reading.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Thanks again to everyone who have participated in our Summer Reading program. There’s still time to read in July. High school students, visit HPB.com/FYB to submit your own review. You might make it into next month’s blog!
Jeremy is Customer Service Specialist at HPB Corporate
Every year the American Booksellers Association puts on a conference in February called Winter Institute. This year, it was my complete pleasure to be able to attend. Many different things happen at these conference, like seminars and advanced learning sessions, but one of my favorite parts was meeting authors! The second night we were there, Scholastic put on a reception for some of its authors, including Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of my favorite book of this year and in my top 10 list of favorite books of all time, Echo. I was able to give her a giant hug and thank her for signing over a thousand bookplates for Echo which will be for sale in our stores – get yours at your local Half Price Books today before they run out! Seriously, Echo is one of the best books I have ever read. And I read a lot of books!
John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, made a surprise appearance at the reception. I had met John at a previous event for The Fault in Our Stars movie in Dallas, but it was a crazy night and I never thought he would remember me. To my complete and utter surprise, he did! He even went so far as to recall the night we met in great detail! We reminisced for a few minutes and then he had to be on his way.
A little while later, I was back at the hotel bar, and I heard someone say, “Kristen, I’d like to introduce you to Erik.” I turned around and to my second great surprise of the night, it was Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City, In the Garden of Beasts, and the upcoming Dead Wake. We sat for a while in the bar and talked about his books and some of his most memorable signing tours.
It was definitely a remarkable night for me – one that I’ll never forget!
Yeah, I have the best job in the world.
Read more about the highlights from Winter Institute 10 in the Publisher’s Weekly article.
Young Adult author Ryan Graudin visited with her fans at the Dallas Flagship Half Price Books back in July as part of the Mighty Mississippi Book Blast tour. In honor of her brand new book, The Walled City, we thought this would be a great time to hear about some of Ryan’s favorite books. Take it away, Ryan!
1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor.
As a former English major and a writer, I’ve read a lot of books. Books, books, books and more books. And while I love reading, the unfortunate side effect is that it becomes harder and harder for me to find a story I can get completely lost in. As soon as I picked up DoSaB I was swept away by Taylor’s beautiful language (to call it poetic hardly does her writing justice), her phenomenal worldbuilding and her hilarious, endearing characters. There’s magic and romance, angels and teeth, feisty best friends, tragedy on the most heartbreaking of scales. The overall series itself is a feat in character and plot arcs that I can only hope to come close to one day.
2. T.S. Eliot Collected Poems 1909-1962 by T.S. Eliot.
Eliot is one of my all time favorite poets. The way he evokes emotion with just a few images and lines has always floored me. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Hollow Men and Journey of the Magi are good (shorter) poems to introduce you to his style. Reading this volume is always such a cathartic experience. And shows me (again and again) how to make a reader feel an emotion without expressly defining it.
3. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
This is a hefty, yet masterful volume. It is an alternative history set in 1808 about a British society where magicians and fairies are commonplace. The book is a feat of seamless research and flawless worldbuilding on an epic scale. Clarke also employs the use of footnotes quite heavily, which lends to the scholarly feel of the novel.
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Do you want your heart torn out of your chest and stomped to bloody bits? This is the book for you. Just kidding. Kind of. (Not really.) This book is about WW2 Germany and the Holocaust told from Death’s point of view, so it really doesn’t hold back any punches. It is meaningful and heartbreaking. It will change the way you look at life and the relationships around you.
5. I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
Sloan was a screenwriter before she ever wrote her debut novel, and her command of story structure shines through in I’ll Be There. The novel follows Sam and his younger brother Riddle as they struggle to survive life with their criminally insane on-the-run father. The story is masterfully braided and shows how each character’s decision impacts the other. Read it. You won’t be sorry.
Hey TEENS! These final days of summer mean one of two things: either you are soaking up the sun and enjoying those last moments of being carefree, or you’ve procrastinated and are now furiously cramming your summer reading and projects into the wee hours before you have to head back to____… I promise not to say the “s” word! Whether you’re reading for enjoyment or obligation, we’d love to hear from you! Check out #HPBteensREAD and tweet us your review. (Plus, learn about how you can win a Teen Reading Prize Pack.) Also, follow the #HPBteensREAD hashtag to get some great recommendations!
Our good friend and librarian Kristen at the Irving Public Library, (organizers of the first-ever North Texas Teen Book Festival, coming in March 2015), gave us a quick list of the best teen reads this summer. Have you had the chance to pick these up? –Becky
Hey HPB Booklovers!
Here’s a list of authors and books we can’t keep on the shelves!
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
- The Living by Matt de la Peña
- Noggin by John Corey Whaley
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner (movie coming out September 19!)
- Unwind series by Neal Shusterman
- The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
- Divergent series by Veronica Roth
- Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- If I Stay by Gayle Forman (this title has been super hot, especially with the movie coming out on August 22!)
- Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer
- The Selection series by Kiera Cass
- The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han – perpetual teen summer reading fave!
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- another teen summer reading fave!
- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin (the final installment comes out in November and interest for this series has seriously rekindled lately)
I could go on and on with teen books, but I should probably keep the list short and sweet. 😉 Take care and happy reading!
–Kristen, Teen Services, Irving Public Library-Central Library
If you ask me how I feel about the final books of the Divergent and Legend trilogies coming out this fall, I will jump up and down with excitement and then break down into tears. Since 2011, young adult booklovers have been following the adventures of Tris and June as they fight battles, fall in love, and struggle to make their respective worlds better places. Now their journeys are coming to an end as the final books in each trilogy are released, and though I desperately want to read the books, I know I will miss the characters when the journey is over.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Release date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Main Characters: Tris & Four
Set within a dystopian version of Chicago, the Divergent Trilogy follows sixteen-year-old Tris Prior, who struggles to find herself within the accepted walls of the factions. But when traitors from two factions work together to seize control of their divided society, Tris discovers the world of the factionless and the reasons the factions were created. This third book promises to answer all of the questions left unanswered in its predecessors. A movie based on her first book, Divergent, is scheduled to be released March 2014.
Champion by Marie Lu
Release date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Main Characters: June & Day
This dystopian trilogy begins on the flooded coast of the former city of Los Angeles, where the Republic and the Colonies are at war. The Legend Trilogy follows two fifteen-year-olds, June and Day, who are pitted against each other by the Republic, and are used as pawns by the Patriots. In an interview with USA Today, Lu said that she hopes people will still like her after the ending, which makes me nervous about saying good-bye to these characters. Although there is talk about a movie version of Legend, production has not yet begun on the project.
(Sigh) Well, I guess there is nothing we can do after the last books come out but read each trilogy all over again.
You will be able to find Allegiant and Champion on their release dates at your local Half Price Books as part of our New Bestsellers Program.