Just for a hoot, we’ve got a bunch of books featuring birds! Sort of. Somehow, they are consistently all very, very good, too. In fact, they almost come out as a ‘best of’ librarian’s choice, since almost all of us here at the teen blog have enjoyed almost all of them. Tweet tweet!
Where Things Come Back, John Corey Whaley
In a small and dull town in Arkansas, Cullen Witter thinks he knows everything there is to know about the town. But he’s wrong. The summer before Cullen’s senior year, a depressed birdwatcher claims he has spotted a rare Lazarus woodpecker, native to the area but supposedly extinct since the 1940s. The stir this claim raises in the town triggers a series of events, beginning with the disappearance of Cullen’s sensitive younger brother Gabriel. Simultaneously, the story of a young missionary in Africa is revealed, interwoven with Cullen’s story and seemingly unrelated at first, but the moment of connection between the stories is breathtaking. What follows is a tale of melancholy, regret, comedy and absurdity, and it is unforgettable.
Blood Red Road, Moira Young
Saba lives in Silverlake in a dystopian future, where she and her family must scavenge to survive. Saba’s twin brother Lugh is kidnapped by four men on horseback, so Saba joins Jack and the Free Hawks, a revolutionary girl gang, in an attempt to get him back. Saba soon discovers her true strength as a fighter, opponent and survivor. In a unique showdown, Saba discovers she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside, once and for all.
The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale
Based on the Grimm brothers fairy tale of the same name, The Goose Girl is the story of Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, also known as Ani. Raised by her aunt, she spent all her early life learning to communicate with animals. However, this left her ill-prepared for speaking to humans, which she never quite mastered. In a mutiny by her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting, Ani has no way to reach out for help. She steals away in disguise, and becomes the goose girl for the king, tending to the animals of the capital. Ani eventually learns to use her special gift to reveal her true destiny.
The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater
Every year, Blue watches the parade of the dead with her clairvoyant mother, watching for those who will die in the following year. Usually Blue is invisible to these spirits, but a boy emerges and speaks directly to her. She is startled but intrigued, and soon discovers his name is Gansey, a rich boy attending Aglionby academy. Aglionby students are known as the Raven boys, and they mean trouble, and Blue does her best to stay away from trouble. But Blue is inexplicably drawn to Gansey, and is lured into a mystery of of ley lines, ancient kings and momentous promises.
We expect you know these by now. But if not, here’s the lowdown. Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12 in Panem. Every year there is a ‘reaping’ where a boy and a girl aged 12-18 are selected from each of the twelve districts to compete in the Hunger Games. At the games, the children must fight to the death until there is a sole victor. In the first book, Katniss’s sister is chosen to compete, but Katniss offers herself up for the games instead. Throughout the series, the mockingjay bird is a symbol of hope. In Mockingjay, the final book in the trilogy, a revolution is in full swing and Katniss must both fight for freedom for Panem, and fight for her own life.
To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
A classic novel which has a powerful message still relevant today. In Maycomb, Alabama, 6-year-old Scout Finch, her brother Jem and a neighborhood boy are fascinated by and terrified of their reclusive neighbour, Boo Radley. Scout’s lawyer father Atticus has been appointed the defense of a black man in a court case, to much disapproval in the racially charged town. Scout and Jem are tormented for their father’s actions, but Atticus taught his children to always stand up for what’s right. Despite the town’s convictions, Scout stands by her father but experiences some horrific happenings in 1930s America.
Flipped, Wendelin van Draanen
The first time Juli saw Bryce, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. This was pretty much the pattern of their tenuous relationship until eighth grade. When Juli starts to see that maybe Bryce is not so brilliant after all, Bryce is finally opening his eyes to Juli’s greatness. Told in a he-said she-said alternating viewpoint style, Flipped is a comic story of young romance. You can also rent the movie for $4!
Cat Among the Pigeons, Julia Golding (Cat Royal #2)
In the follow up to The Diamond of Drury Lane, Cat Royal, a teen girl who has grown up backstage of the Drury Lane theater is entrenched in yet another mystery of intrigue in the underbelly of London. Disguised as a boy, she infiltrates an aristocratic boys’ boarding school and joins a street gang, all on a mission for justice for her friend Pedro. Pedro’s old slave-master wants him back, but Cat is not going to let that happen. Cat Among the Pigeons is a gripping and extravagant tale of suspense set in 18th century England.
Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, Evan Roskos
*A note from R ‘n’ R: this title featured in yesterday’s New Books post but it’s brilliant enough to get another mention. From the opening page when James introduced us to YAWPing, we were hooked and we promise you will be to so please forgive the repetition.
James Whitman hugs trees and tries to save animals. He talks to an imaginary pigeon therapist named Dr. Bird. He often hates himself, but loves to recite Walt Whitman because it can be recited with exclamation points! His parents believe that life is better since they kicked his sister, Jorie, out of the house but James feels her absence deeply. How can James continue to wake up with a celebratory YAWP like his namesake poet-hero? James tries to connect the dots around his sister’s mysterious expulsion, but his mission falters as he discovers that some of her secrets are not that different from his own. Secrets that not even Dr. Bird can help with. It’s going to take some radical intervention for James to help his sister and truly celebrate himself.
Speaking of birds, did you know Wellington City Libraries has a Twitter? You can find us @wcl_library