17 April 2012

Teen Tuesday

Many of you know that I used to be a young adult librarian before I switched to working part-time.  I love YA books, and still review for VOYA.   Thus, I've decided Tuesdays on Stuff and Nonsense will be devoted to Young Adult literature.
I just moderated a panel on children's and young adult mysteries at Left Coast Crime in Sacramento the last weekend of March.  In preparation, I read books by the four authors on the panel:  Bonnie Hearn Hill, Sophie Littlefield, Linda Joy Singleton and Penny Warner

Bonnie Hearn Hill writes a series called Starcrossed, with protagonist Logan McRae, who is a high school sophomore in the fictional town of Terra Bella Beach, California.  In the first book, Aries Rising, the aspiring writer has been working hard to convince her teachers to recommend her for a summer writing camp.  When she stumbles across a book called Fearless Astrology, she learns how to create and read astrological charts, a skill she uses on her classmates, family and teachers to try to understand them.  This is a quick, enjoyable read for grades 6 and up.

The prolific Sophie Littlefield's young adult series consists of two books, entitled Banished and Unforsaken, about sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell, who can't wait for the day she'll leave Gypsum, Missouri, far behind, taking only her four-year-old foster brother Chub. But when a freak accident in gym class leaves a girl in critical condition, Hailey feels drawn to lay her hands on the injured girl and an astonishing healing takes place. Before Hailey can understand her new powers, a beautiful stranger shows up and saves her and Chub from a group who will stop at nothing to harness her gifts to create an undefeatable army of the undead. Hailey and a small but determined family of healers are forced to face this company and stop them.

Linda Joy Singleton has been writing for young people for years.  Her most recent book is Buried, the first of The Goth Girl mysteries, spun-off from the six-book Seer series.  The first book in The Seer is Don't Die Dragonfly, which introduces us to Sabine Rose, who, after being kicked out of school and sent to live with her grandmother, is determined to become a "normal" teenage girl. She hides her psychic powers from everyone, even from her grandmother Nona, who also has "the gift." Having a job at the school newspaper and friends like Penny-Love, a popular cheerleader, have helped Sabine fit in at her new school. Yet, Sabine can't seem to get the bossy voice of Opal, her spirit guide, out of her head . . . or the disturbing images of a girl with a dragonfly tattoo. Suspected of a crime she didn't commit, Sabine must find the strength to defend herself and, later, save a friend from certain danger.

 Another prolific author who writes for both adults and young people is Penny Warner, whose most recent series is called The Code Busters Club.  The first book, The Skeleton Key, tells the story of four middle school kids.  Cody Jones, Quinn Kee, M.E. Esperanto and Luke LaVeau are four middle-school kids who, though very different from each other, have in common the love of codes and ciphers.  They even have a clubhouse, for which the entry password changes daily.  When Cody notices what appears to be a code scratched in a window of the house across the street, the conclude that the strange old man who lives there is in trouble and set out to learn what it is and what they can do to help.

It was a fantastic panel. There was a good-sized crowd, and I didn't say anything too stupid.  If, for some reason, you'd like a recording of the panel, you can order one here.

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