According to an article on the YALSA website, the American Library Association division for teens, recent trends in publishing fall into some interesting categories. These include road trips, mental illness, death and dying, kidnapping, ghosts, extreme violence, memoirs and memoirs written by YouTube stars, fairytale retellings, cult and religious themes, horror, dark/edgy themes, and retelling of classics.
One new title that caught my eye is Three More Words, a memoir by Ashley Rhodes, which covers her high school & college years and beyond. It is the sequel to Three Little Words, which details her early yearsin foster care, and the obstacles she overcame as she spent 9 years of her life in 14 different foster homes. It is recommended for ages 14 and up; it is being published by Atheneum Books for Young readers, and will be released on June 30.
Erik Larson’s newest blockbuster is “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.” This in-depth account of the tragic loss of this magnificent ocean liner on May 1, 1915, is filled with historically accurate details about the people who lost their lives, the survivors, the British Admiralty high command, and the captain of Unterseeboot-20.
Larson has a talent for making dry historical events come alive. Even though the reader knows the outcome of this voyage, you become so invested in the lives of the passengers that you somehow hope that events will reverse themselves.
As the author leads the reader through the decisions that led to the sinking of the ship, he lays out the errors made by those in command at the British War Office. Leading historical leaders of the time, especially Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill, are leading players in this disaster.
His accounts of the last desperate minutes of this voyage from the moment Captain Walther Schwieger fired the one torpedo that sank this enormous ship, to the efforts of the passengers and crew to survive are unbelievably dramatic. Erik Larson’s text, supported by more than fifty pages of footnotes, point to his thorough research. But his ability to take that research and humanize it makes this a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile book.
The Engage NY web site (click on image left to access) has resources for parents to support the curriculum. Included in these resources are titles of books “they” recommend for each grade to integrate the learning that occurs in school to the books parents and their children might read at home. I have borrowed many of these titles from the library system to read with my daughter. Although titles used in the classroom are up to the discretion of the teachers and curriculum directors, I have read many with my daughter in the hopes of giving her a preview of what she might be learning in the classroom. Clicking on this link/picture below should take you to the EngageNY page with the list of texts that could be used in the P-12 setting.
by Heidi Pitlor. The marriage describes Hannah and Lovell who have grown distant after a marriage of almost 20 years. After one of their worst fights, Hannah disappears the next day. Lovell expects she’ll be back in a day or so, but time stretches into weeks and then months. The 2 children, Janine (15) and Ethan (8) miss their mom. Janine finds comfort in the gay couple from next door. She is angry at her father and feels he is responsible for her mom’s disappearance. The police are investigating and do not suspect Lovell. Lovell is a distant, solitary figure/scientist. Hannah is a beautiful and from a wealthy Martha’s Vineyard family. Interspersed between Lovell’s chapters are Hannah’s thoughts. We learn she decided not to go to work that day in the flower shop and what happened. Not a very urgent, engaging novel. Expecting more to happen and nothing much did, but had to read to the end to find out Hannah’s fate. I consider this an extra read- B list.
by Anthea Fraser. This is the latest in the Rona Parish series in the ‘cozy mystery’ category. Rona is a journalist and biography writer who frequently gets propositioned to help solve mysteries. In this latest title, Rona is working on a series of articles to appear in the paper about the remarkable lives of ordinary people. One gentleman she interviews recently tried to rescue a man from a car accident. An up-and-coming designer asks her to publish an interview with him to promote his latest collection. Along with the investigating, Rona’s family is in transition: her mother is about to remarry, her father is about to remarry, and her soon-to-be stepsister is getting married. Her twin sister, Lindsey, the wild one, is breaking off an affair with a married man she works with and is seeking her next prospect. This was not Fraser’s best Parish mystery. If you’re looking to try one, begin with one of the earlier titles in the series.