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Teen Blog

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Tag: Classic novels Page 1 of 2

8 reasons why you should check out our updated Teen book lists! (Number 3 will shock you)

Hopefully the excitingly click-bait-y title has managed to grab your attention. Let’s get into it!

We are always in the process of updating our Teen book lists. You can find them by clicking that link I just gave you, or by clicking on the “Book lists” tab under the “Teen Blog” header. And I am here to tell you about all the exciting reasons you should go read them!

1. New booklists = new books
When we update our book lists, we make sure we include recently released titles to give you something fresh and exciting to read. Maybe you’re a romance reader who’s read their way through every YA romance published before 2018 and desperately needs to find something new. Well never fear, because in our new-and-improved Romantic fiction book list you will find titles such as The Henna Wars (published in 2020), and Love in English (published in 2021)!

2. We’ve got your genre

Whatever genre you’re into, we’ll have something for you. We have many different lists of individual titles for you, as well as a list of the all the languages other than English we have books in and which libraries you can find them at.

Whether you’re into Horror, Dystopia, or Manga, we’ve got you covered!

3. They can help with your NCEA independent reading

If you’re looking for things to read for school, we can help! Our lists will definitely have something new to you, and you’ve got a lot to choose from. Choosing a book award winner or classic novel will almost certainly impress your teacher, or you could read a Māori author or a book from around the world.

We’ve also got a list specially tailored to those of you who are new to high school which covers many different genres

4. We pay attention to what you’re looking at

Over here on the Teen Blog, we pay attention to what you’re reading (as part of our mission to overtake the Kids Blog readership numbers!). And we noticed that quite a few of you have been browsing the “New Zealand Books” tag. So you didn’t ask, but we have listened and we have created a brand new New Zealand fiction book list just for you!

Yes, you.

5. Get recommendations from the best

While it may be a little proudful to claim that we are the best, this is our job and I think we’re doing pretty well. We work with books, we read a lot of books, and we know books. If there’s a book on one of our lists there’s a high chance it has been read and loved by one of your librarians (like The long way to a small, angry planet. Ugh, so good). So you can trust us! Or at least know that we’re doing our best.

And that leads me towards the next reason which is…

6. We’ve put a lot of work into these

As I’ve said, we try our best to make these lists the best they can be. The best example here is the Books from around the world list. This list features authors who write works set in their own countries, and it is one of our longest lists because our goal is to have at least one book for every country in the world! And what’s more, we’re not just picking books willy-nilly, no, we’re making sure that each book on this list (even if it’s not in the Young Adult collection) features kids or teens in prominent places in the story!

So it’s not that I’m begging you to look at our lists, but we did a useful thing – look at it please?

7. We’re always waiting for your recommendations

While we do rely on our own knowledge and reading preferences, we love hearing from you about what you’re reading and what you think. Whether you’re chatting with the librarian at your local branch or submitting a book review for the Teen Blog, we do want to hear what you think! And maybe your recommendations will make their way onto a list…

And that’s the end of my list of reasons why you should check out our Teen book lists. Like every clickbait article, I have made sure to promise more reasons than I have actually delivered, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not number 3 shocked you.

So go forth! Investigate, issue, reserve, and read!

Some new stuff

We have ordered some new books!

A Book of Spirits and Thieves, Morgan Rhodes. The first book in a spin-off series from Falling Kingdoms. “Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language. Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home. Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself… Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.” (goodreads.com)

The Stars Never Rise, Rachel Vincent. “Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she’s too busy trying to actually survive. Her town’s population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago. When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she’ll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie’s sin has put her in serious trouble. To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie? Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can’t survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.” (goodreads.com)

We have also recently ordered some new classic (and “modern classic” and “classic sci fi”) novels for the Young Adult collection. This was an educational experience: I didn’t know Algernon was a mouse! Some of the new titles are:

Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes (obvs.)

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

Dune, Frank Herbert

An assortment of upcoming fiction

This week, TV, dance, and a literary legend.

Homecoming, Kass Morgan. This is the final in the 100 trilogy, which the TV series The 100 is based on, so cover your eyes maybe because there might be spoilers! “Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space. These new arrivals are the lucky ones – back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone – but after making it safely to Earth, Glass’s luck seems to be running out. Clarke leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, Wells struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and Bellamy must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind. It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything – and everyone – they love.” (goodreads.com)

Dance of Fire, Yelena Black. The sequel to Dance of Shadows. “All dancers dream of the chance to try out for the Royal Court Ballet Company. Only two dancers from the elite New York Ballet Academy will have this honour. Vanessa is one of them. She dances with grace and elegance, and a fury that is unmatched. Justin – strong, sexy and caring – will be her partner. But the thrill of travelling to London for this once-in-a-lifetime competition is shrouded by their past and the demands of an ancient organisation. The Lyric Elite needs them to win the contest and to infiltrate the Royal Court Ballet in order to seek out a dark society of Necrodancers. Vanessa will dance like she has never danced before, but not for them. Vanessa is there to find her missing sister, Margaret, and she won’t let anything get in the way of that … Fierce rivals, dark forces and hidden motives weave together in a gripping thriller for fans of Black Swan and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments.” (goodreads.com)

A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle. This is the first Sherlock Holmes mystery, first published in 1887. This edition is unabridged. “See how Holmes and Watson met for the first time. A baffling murder with puzzling clues and evil villains takes place and the … cold and quirky detective, with his razor-sharp deductive mind and obsessive attention to detail, is on the case. Told from the journals of his faithful companion, Dr. John Watson, join us for a trip to 221B Baker Street and the beginning of the legend of Sherlock Holmes.” (goodreads.com)

Write to me, won’t you?

Following on from my last post, you may remember that I mentioned Jaclyn Moriarty often writes in an epistolary style, meaning the narrative is constructed of letters, emails, memos, newspaper clippings, blogs, text messages… You get the idea. Books written in this style can be very quick reads because they can be very casual and conversational, particularly with diary entries. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite epistolary novels (I read quite a lot of them…)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSloppy Firsts, Megan McCafferty

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated when her best friend Hope leaves their hometown of Pineville, New Jersey. Jessica is hyper-observant and without Hope to communicate with, Jessica feels more out of her depth than ever. Now she has to work out how to deal with the craziness of her classmates, her dad’s obsession with Jessica’s track meets and her mother’s obsession with Jessica’s sister Bethany’s lavish wedding – all without any help from Hope, bar the occasional email. And then Jessica begins to strike up an unlikely friendship with the biggest rebel in school Marcus Flutie… Jessica’s diary entries are hilarious, but balance out the humour well by dealing with serious issues, such as death and family drama. And it’s the first in a series of 5!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAngus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison

Georgia Nicholson is vain, a bit hysterical and boy-crazy. She has a lot of wild tales to tell about her mad little sister Libby, her feral cat Angus and the time she shaved her eyebrows and dressed up as a stuffed olive. Georgia’s just trying to be a regular 14-year-old girl but it’s not so easy. Set in England, this book (the first in a series) is fabbity fab fab and you’ll be speaking in Georgia’s completely made up slang and bent over in stitches by the time you’re finished with it! We also have this as an Overdrive eBook.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior has never felt like the rez life fitted him, so he takes matters into his own hands and leaves the rez school in order to go to the all-white local high school. Being Indian makes him stand out enough in the school, but he also has “an enormous head, gigantic feet, crazy eyes, ten more teeth than normal, a stutter, and a lisp” but Junior is not a complainer! He just wants to get through school and break away from the life he has been destined to live. The novel is interspersed with drawings and is based partly on the author’s own experiences. It’s a must read!

Letters From The Inside, John Marsden

“Mandy wants a pen-pal. Tracey answers the ad. The two girls write to each other about their families, their lives, their ambitions and their fears. But there are dark secrets surrounding Mandy and Tracey – secrets they can hardly bear to confront, let alone share.” Goodreads

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra lives with her family in a ramshackle castle in England. Over a turbulent six months, Cassandra attempts to hone her writing skills by chronicling in her diary the changes within the castle and her own first experience in love. I Capture the Castle is a “classic” novel that is timeless and the humour stands up today just as it did when it was first published.

Upcoming (Classic) Fiction

We’ve recently splashed out on new copies of 20th century classics for the Young Adult fiction collection, including a couple of new additions:

The Princess Bride, William Goldman. I always get William Goldman and William Golding confused and wonder how the person who wrote Lord of the Flies could have also written The Princess Bride (and how cool if he did), but he didn’t! Details are important! The Princess Bride is a modern classic. It also has the best movie adaptation ever, which you must also watch (possibly after reading the book). Summary from catalogue: “A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts.” What’s not to love?

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath. Not sure if there’s a book more different to The Princess Bride than The Bell Jar? This is Sylvia Plath’s lone novel, first published in 1963 just before she died, and tells the story of Esther and her struggle with depression. “When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control…” (Catalogue summary).

We’ve also got more of To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Outsiders (S E Hinton), Lord of the Flies (William Golding), and The Catcher in the Rye (J D Salinger) coming. Look out for them at a library near you very soon!

For more on classic novels visit our Classic Novels (in Haiku) page here.

Additionally, on the subject, we’ve recently ordered:

I Kill the Mockingbird, Paul Acampora. “When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic. They plan controversial ways to get people to read the book, including re-shelving copies of the book in bookstores so that people think they are missing and starting a website committed to ‘destroying the mockingbird.’ Their efforts are successful when all of the hullabaloo starts to direct more people to the book. But soon, their exploits start to spin out of control and they unwittingly start a mini revolution in the name of books.” (goodreads.com)

Banned Books Week starts 30 September

It’s almost that time again, when the freedom to read is celebrated, and when the Banned Books Week people highlight frequently-challenged books (mostly in the United States, not so much here in New Zealand). The list includes some interesting repeat-offenders, including a couple of old-timers:

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. First published in 1960 and first challenged in 1966, To Kill a Mockingbird has got staying power, and was number 10 on the list in 2011. Not bad for a 51 year old.

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley. This was first published in 1931, and first banned in Ireland in 1932. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s on the 2011 list (number 7), and is also regarded as a 20th Century classic.

Even classic novels court controversy!

(The Top 10 list of challenged books in 2011 is here. The list of most frequently challenged authors is here.)

Fashion Friday

1920s style is a recurring trend in fashion. It was a very stylish decade after all, one that gave birth to Coco Chanel and modern fashion as we know it.  Literature from that period has always helped set the scene for designers and none more so than the classic novel by F. Scott. Fitzgerald, ‘The Great Gatsby’

Gatsby08
(Elle France – Fashion gone Rogue)

The Great Gatsby is about to enjoy yet another resurgence with the release (much) later ths year of Baz Luhman’s 3D-movie-extravaganza interpretation of the book.  The anticipation of the movie has already inspired the latest rounds of 1920s trends – you have been warned.  Here’s the trailer below to get you hooked.

Trailer Tuesday

Jane Eyre is on at the movies at the moment (good news!). So we thought we would spotlight another classic 19th Century adaptation, this time Wuthering Heights:

This one is directed by Andrea Arnold (notice she likes a square screen), and stars Kaya Scodelario who was in Skins. There have been lots of adaptations of Wuthering Heights, there’s a couple in the young adult collection here.

On a completely different subject, we have: whales. More to the point, whales caught under Arctic ice (true story):

And finally, because it’s topical (or it was a few weeks ago) and also polar, here’s Happy Feet 2!

Trailer Tuesday

It’s Tuesday, here’s some trailers.

First, there’s the new The Three Musketeers film (shot in 3D, the trailer points out).

This one stars Orlando the Bloom, and Matthew McFaddyen (from Spooks, and also a former Mr Darcy). There have been other musketeer movies; from 1933 there’s a black and white version with Lana Turner and Gene Kelly (for all you students of film history – costs $4 for one week on a young adult card). Students of classic literature will want to read the book, The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas. He also wrote The Count of Monte Cristo, which has also been adapted to film. There you go. Even further sidetracking: this (Monte Cristo) film version features Henry Cavill, who is the new Superman.

The non-superbowl, long trailer of Captain America: The First Avenger:

For people needing to do some Captain America revision, we have lots of comics.

Where She Went, the sequel to the bestselling If I Stay by Gayle Forman (available next month – reserve it now!) has a pretty arty trailer:

And finally, and on a very very different note: the sequel to the mashup Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After:

New Books

Here are last week’s new books, this week! This week’s new books may be announced this week, or next week. Who can say.

Elixir : A Novel, by Hilary Duff (with Elise Allen) (330 pages) – You may have heard of Hilary Duff – she’s been on the telly and recorded some albums I think – and she now turns her hands to writing a novel. Elixir is about Clea, whose photographs begin to show a ghostly/gorgeous man at about the same time her father, a renowned surgeon, disappears.

First lines: ‘I couldn’t breathe. Wedged in the middle of an ocean of people, I gasped for air, but nothing came.

Bamboo People : A Novel, by Mitali Perkins (272 pages) – Chiko is forced into the Burmese army; Tu Reh is a refugee, a member of an oppressed Burmese minority, and he’s keen to join the resistance. The two boys’ stories come to a ‘violent intersection’ and an unlikely friendship forms.

First lines: ‘Teachers wanted. Applicants must take examination in person. Salaries start at –

Sugar and Spice : An L. A. Candy Novel, by Lauren Conrad (279 pages) – This is the last book in this series about some TV reality show (much like The Hills which made Conrad famous in the first place). 

First line: ‘“Over here!” “Let’s get a shot of the two of you!” “Smile, girls!” Jane Roberts felt hands on her shoulders – her publicist? random PopTV assistants? – maneuver her into place as several paprazzi shouted out to her and Scarlett Harp.

The Daughters, by Joanna Philbin (297 pages) – A supermodel’s unconventional-looking daughter becomes “the new face of beauty”. Everyone is surprised but they roll with it. The first in a series.

First line: ‘“Katia!” “Katia!” “Over here!” “Over here!”

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly (471 pages) – Andi is about to be expelled from her swanky Brooklyn school, so goes to Paris with her father as some sort of punishment. She finds a diary writen two centuries previously by a girl, Alexandrine, who became involved with a French prince just as the French Revolution begins. Andi finds comfort and distraction in the journal, until the past ‘becomes terrifyingly real’.

First line: ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, deejay.’

Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld (Illustrations by Keith Thompson) (485 pages) – This is the second book in the Leviathan Trilogy. We wrote about the first book here. This a great read – it has steam-powered mechs, genetically-engineered flying ships, and a Tesla cannon. That’s right – a freaking TESLA CANNON.

First line: ‘Alek raised his sword. “On guard, sir!”

Duff : The Designated Ugly Fat Friend, by Kody Keplinger (280 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Bianca detests Wesley, who calls her “the Duff”. Not Hilary Duff! But family troubles and other circumstantial occurences result in the pair becoming more than enemies. Less than enemies? They fall in love, in any case.

First line: ‘This was getting old.’

Scandal, by Kate Brian (228 pages) – The lastest in the Private series. ‘After her terrifying Carribean vacation,’ says the back cover, ‘Reed can’t wait to get back to Easton and resume her normal life of classes, shopping trips and late-night gossip sessions.’ Reed’s in for a shock, however, as Billings house has been demolished and the Billings girls have been separated by the admin.

First line: ‘We came from all corners of campus.

Boost, by Kathy Mackel (248 pages) – Savvy is over six feet tall, and only thirteen. When you’re tall everyone asks you if you play basketball over and over, let me tell you, but Savvy actually does play and loves it. But she’s too light! So she turns to steroids.

First line: ‘I stood at the free throw line, all eyes on me.

Jane, by April Lindner (373 pages) – This is a modern re-telling of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë’s cheery classic novel. This is set in the present, so Rochester becomes Nico Rathburn, world-famous rockstar, and Jane Moore, an orphaned student-turned-nanny is the protaganist. Sticks to the original story while being ‘something totally new and captivating,’ according to Cecily von Ziegesar.

First line: ‘The chairs in the lobby of Discriminating Nannues, Inc., were less comfortable that they looked.’

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (260 pages) – From the authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which is also a movie! Will this be a movie also? Yes, apparently.

First line: ‘Imagine this: you’re in your favourite bookstore, scanning the shelves.

The Three Loves of Persimmon, by Cassandra Golds (211 pages) – Persimmon Polidori owns a florist shop in an underground train station. She meets up with a brave little mouse named Epiphany, and undergoes ‘the trials of love, heartbreak, doubt and the discovery of her own true nature.’

First line: ‘In a tiny hole under the train tracks on the deepest level of a vast underground railway station, lived a mouse called Epiphany.

The Blue-Eyed Aborigine, by Rosemary Hayes (247 pages) – This historical novel is based on fact; in 1629, the crew of a Dutch ship mutinied and the boat wrecked near Australia. Two of the crew, a cabin boy and a young soldier, survive and their fates are linked with ‘discoveries that intrigue Australians  to this day.’

First lines: ‘Jan Pelgrom was miserable. He’d been a cabin boy for more than five years.

The Jumbee, by Pamela Keyes (385 pages) – Esti Legard moves to a Caribbean island for her senior year in high school. There she ‘finds herself torn between a mysterious, masked mentor and a seductive island boy’, in a scenario borrowed from the classic novel, The Phantom of the Opera.

First line: ‘“Paul is dead!”

The Ghosts of Ashbury High, by Jaclyn Moriarty (480 pages) – The catalogue has this to say: ‘Student essays, scholarship committee members’ notes, and other writings reveal interactions between a group of modern-day students at an exclusive New South Wales high school and their strange connection to a young Irishman transported to Australia in the early 1800s.’

Raised by Wolves, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (418 pages) – At the age of four, Bryn’s parents were killed by bad werewolves. She was taken and raised by good werewolves! Years later she discovers that her pack are keeping secrets. Dark werewolf secrets about her family, that she’s determined to uncover (the secrets, not her family).

First line: ‘“Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare!”

100% Justin Bieber : First Step 2 Forever : My Story, by Justin Bieber (236 pages) – This is the tween pop star’s official autobiography, discussing his rapid rise to power. Where to next for Bieber? It has loads of photos and a reasonable amount of text.

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