The Kids are Alright: Teen Picks for Teen Read Week

As part of our Feed Your Brain summer reading program this year, a group of book loving teens read books, wrote a short review and earned a reward to use at their local Half Price Books! Are you looking for a new read? Check out what our teen booklovers nationwide had to say about the best books they read this summer!

Harry Potter

This book is a must read for all teens. It was so whimsical and adventurous. I could not put it down. J.K Rowling is a literary genius. – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Riley H.) Continue reading

Teen Read Week: Final Chapters of Divergent and Legend trilogies

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, Divergentis 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.


Julie is Production Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You may follow her on Twitter at @auntjewey.

40 Books for Teens to Read Outside of School

This week is Teen Read Week, which is a week set aside to encourage teens to read for pleasure, not just for school.  Did you know that nearly two-thirds of employers consider reading comprehension a very important skill for high school graduates? Yet 38% of employers consider most high school graduates deficient in this basic skill. Why? Reading scores for 12th-graders have fallen significantly in the past decade, and while teens spend on average 2 or more hours a day watching television, they only spend seven minutes of their daily leisure time reading.  The declining reading comprehension skills will not only effect their ability to get a good job, but reading comprehension has also been tied with the willingness to participate in civic and cultural events.  But, what books will engage their minds outside of school and make them want to read?

Well, I polled our 3,000 bibliomaniacs and asked them, “What books did you like as a teen, and what books would you want to read if you were a teenager now?” So without further ado, here are 40 Books for Teens to Read Outside of School.

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, 2) Divergent by Veronica Roth, 3) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, 4) Uglies by Scott Westerfield, 5) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, 6) Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce, 7) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, 8) The Fault in our Stars by John Green, 9) The Crazy Horse Electric Game by Chris Crutcher, 10) Shade’s Children by Garth Nix, 11) Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen, 12) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, 13) Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 14) Knee Deep in Thunder by Shelia Moon, 15) The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, 16) Unwind by Neal Shusterman, 17) I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, 18) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, 19) Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King, 20) Pure by Julianna Baggott, 21) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, 22) Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, 23) Mister Monday by Garth Nix, 24) Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, 25) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, 26) Going Bovine by Libba Bray, 27) Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, 28) Battle Royale: The Novel by Koushun Takami, 29) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, 30) Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, 31) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, 32) The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, 33) Book Thief by Markus Zusak, 34) The Diviners by Libba Bray, 35) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, 36) Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, 37) The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein, 38) City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, 39) Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, 40) Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black.

You know, several of these books have been nominated for the Young Adult Library Service Association, or YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten list at one time or another.  For more books for teens to read outside of school, check out the winners of this year’s YALSA’S Teens’ Top Ten, not to mention all the nominees.  And don’t forget to celebrate Teen Read Week by looking for these books and more at your local HPB.

Julie is Production Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You may follow her on Twitter at @auntjewey.

Young Adult Library Services Association 2012 Teen Choice Nominees

It’s that time again! Time to vote for the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Teen’s Top Ten list, nominated by teen book discussion groups in libraries and schools across the country. Last year’s winners included Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and one of my favorites, Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver. Here are a few of the nominees for this year.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
This book has been getting a lot of attention this year and has even been reviewed by our own Kristen B. in her “Countdown to Summer: 4 Dystopian Young Adult Series” blog post.  This book is one of my top picks for the YALSA Teen’s Top Ten list.  In a world where you are forced to make a choice between five factions that will end up determining your friends, your family, and your beliefs for the rest of your life, sixteen-year-old Tris discovers that she is divergent, a word that is spoken in hushed tones, if it is spoken at all.  But what does it mean to be divergent?  Are there others like her? Will being divergent help her save her family and friends when the unity between factions is broken?  A definite must read for teens and adults alike. The movie rights to Divergent have been picked up by Summit Studios and Evan Daughtery will be writing the screenplay. Currently, the movie is scheduled to come out in 2015.
Scarlett by A.C. Gaughen
If you love the story of Robin Hood, you will love A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlett.  Will Scarlett is one of the most well known of Robin Hood’s legendary merry men. However, what most people don’t know, is that Will Scarlett is actually a girl disguised as a boy in order to escape the guilt of her past, and the man who gave her the scar that mars her face.  But when her past catches up with her, will she face what she has dreaded for so long, or will she run, leaving Robin to pay for her past with his life?  This book is nonstop action, moving from one fight to the next in true Robin Hood fashion.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This book is a trip!  Interspersed with very peculiar (for lack of a better word) photographs, this book tells the story of sixteen-year-old Jacob who embarks on a journey to a remote island off of Wales, after witnessing his grandfather being murdered by a strange creature who seemed to step right out of Jacob’s nightmares. Once on the island, Jacob steps through a time loop to find a home of children who can fly, turn invisible, and make fire in the palms of their hands, At this home, Jacob finds out that not only was his grandfather “peculiar,” but he is as well, and that the “peculiars” are being hunted by the same creatures he has been seeing in his nightmares.  What Jacob doesn’t know is that those creatures have followed him to Wales and in his dogged pursuit of the truth about his grandfather, he may have just put them all in grave danger.
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
For all of you who have been dying for a prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the wait is over. Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Fankenstein follows sixteen-year-old Victor as he searches for a way to save his brother’s life.  Though there is a lot of sibling rivalry between Victor and his twin brother, Konrad, the two boys love each other very much. So, when Konrad becomes ill and the doctors don’t seem to be helping, Victor turns to alchemy, a mysterious science whose practice has been outlawed.  As Victor secretly searches for the elixir of life, he discovers secrets that his family has been hiding from him, and a passion that may put his brother’s life at greater risk.  Though an interesting premise and a good read, I didn’t find anything in Victor that made me want to cheer for him.  Then again, maybe that was the point.

Check out the complete list of the 25 nominees for YALSA Teen’s Top Ten list (PDF) and let me know which books you think will make it. Voting open for readers ages 12-18 now through September 15, 2012. Winners to be announced during Teen Read Week, October 14-20.

— Julie

“Read the Movie” during Teen Read Week

October 16-22 is Teen Read Week, which is a literacy initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)  and the American Library Association (ALA). To help celebrate this week, I want to encourage teens to “Read the Movie.”  Below are my recommendations of great books that have been turned into entertaining movies (which you’ve probably already seen).

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Made into the wonderful Dreamworks movie, this book is a wonder in itself, and besides the names, and Hiccup’s facetious attitude about the place he lives, the stories are completely different.  In this book, everyone has a dragon, and Hiccup’s first task, in order to make him a man in the eyes of his village, is to catch a dragon. His second task is to train it.  However, dragons are not so easy to train, and the only training manual that his village has consists of only one page that says “Yell at them, the louder, the better.”  Not being much of a yeller, Hiccup has to figure out a different way to train his dragon, pass his manhood test and save the day.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Though I never miss a Brendan Fraser movie, I’m glad I did not miss this book either, for the movie did use a lot of creative license in the screenplay. The book is told through the eyes of Meggie, whose father, a bookbinder, goes on the run from an evil man named Capricorn for reasons he will not explain. When her father gets kidnapped, Meggie must learn to trust an aunt she doesn’t like and a strange man named Dustfinger who betrayed her father, in order to save her father and save the book that Capricorn wants so desperately to get his hands on. She soon learns that her father has the ability to literally bring the story to life whenever he reads out loud. This adventure story is as much about the love of books as it is the actual adventure, with quotes from different books to begin each chapter and quaint illustrations to end it.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
While the movie is good, the book holds so much more and is an epic tale reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien. While Eragon is out hunting one day, a great explosion scares away his prey, but leaves a smooth blue and white stone, which he tries to sell a couple of times with no luck. Finally one night, the stone hatches, and out pops a dragon.  Suddenly, Eragon finds himself being chased across the empire with a magic-wielding, sword-fighting storyteller, who knows more about what’s going on than he is willing to tell. This book caused me to cry at least twice and the dialogue (especially where Brom was concerned) had me laughing numerous times.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I know. I know. Who hasn’t read Twilight? Well, it’s time to pull it out and read it again. It’s October. Halloween is getting close. What a perfect time to read a love story about a “vegetarian” vampire (or so the other vampires call the Cullens) who can read minds, and the new girl in town who doesn’t know how good she smells. Though at times Meyers sentence structure can have you reading a sentence more than once to make sure you understand what she’s saying, the story sucks you in until you wonder things like, “How normal is my mind?” and “That guy over there is pretty pale.  I wonder if he’s a vampire.”  This was a book I could not put down. And though I haven’t watched any of the Twilight movies yet (Vampire movies have always freaked me out a bit), I may have to rent them this Halloween, provided I don’t have to watch them alone.

My point is don’t be content to just watch the movie. You never know what you might be missing. Read the book. Don’t forget to check out the winners of the YALSA Top Ten: Inkheark, Eragon and Twilight have all been on this list at one time. So, what is your favorite book that has been made into a movie?

— Julie