Recently in Young Adult books Category

Teen panel picks its own Orange Prize winner

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blonde roots

Bernardine Evaristo's novel Blonde Roots did not make the short list for this year's Orange Prize, but The Guardian reports today that a panel of teenagers has selected it as an alternative winner.

Six teens, age 16-19 chose their own short list from the 20 titles on the long list, and then selected their own winner. Other titles on the teens' short list included: Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold; The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser; Mercy by Toni Morrison; The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight by Gina Oscher, and The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews.

The Orange Prize is one of the UK's most presigious literary prizes, awarded to the best full-length novel by a female author of any nationality. The prize is 30,000 pounds (about $50,000). The prize will be awarded tonight.

Read the Sun-Times' review of Blonde Roots, which reimagines the slave trade when a white European girl is kidnapped and forced into slavery by her "Aphrikan" masters.

ALA launches award for YA novels

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Five novels for teens are finalists for the American Library Association's first-ever William C. Morris YA Debut Award.

The prize is given for books that "illuminate the teen experience and enrich the lives of its readers through its excellence."

The nominees are:

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne
Madapple by Christina Meldrum
Me, the Missing and the Dead by Jenny Valentine

The winner will be announced Jan. 26.

AP

'Breaking Dawn' with Stephenie Meyer

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I may not get the appeal of the whole vampire lit thing -- much like I don't get NASCAR or the movie "Borat," the 84 most unfunny minutes in the history of cinema -- but I do recognize its wild popularity. Ever since Anne Rice came on the scene with Interview With the Vampire and "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" became must-see TV for teens everywhere, beautiful bloodsuckers have filled many a pocket paperback.

Author Stephenie Meyer seems to have tapped into an even greater audience with her young adult "Twilight" series, which features beautiful teenagers -- some vampires, some not -- who share all the angst of high school, along with a few more otherworldly pressures.

In grand Harry Potter fashion, bookstores nationwide stayed open late last Friday night to host "Twilight" parties in anticipation of the release of Breaking Dawn (Little, Brown, $22.99), Meyer's fourth and final installment in her vampire romance series. (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse are the first three.)

Breaking Dawn

And today the Associated Press reports that the book sold a whopping 1.3 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release -- not nearly as much as the final Harry Potter book (8.3 million), but huge nonetheless.

If you missed CBS's "Sunday Morning" yesterday, here's the show's segment on the Mormon housewife and her rise to literary stardom:


Dear Private Diary...

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The Associated Press reports that Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries series) has teamed up with the American Library Association to encourage young people to start writing in personal journals — with a pen — rather than online, where there is no privacy.

Cabot, whose latest book, Princess Mia, came out last month, will host Teen Journal Writing Workshops across the country, where teenagers will be able to decorate their own journals and learn about writing from a best-selling author, who has used her own teenage diaries as fodder for her own books.

Princess Mia

Here are Cabot’s five tips for teens starting offline diaries...

Move over, Buffy

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I figure since stores are already selling Halloween candy, it's not too early to pick a book titled Good Ghouls Do (Berkley Books, 231 pages, $9.99) — a teenage vampire tale by Julie Kenner, the author of The Good Ghoul's Guide to Getting Even, where we first met our heroine, Beth Frasier.

Good Ghouls

Beth is your normal, everyday high school girl — except that she drinks blood and she's out to kill the freak who made her a freak. You see, if you kill your master — the vampire who "made" you — you can be restored to human ...

High School 101

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Ah, to be young and back in high school again... ahem ... I mean, man oh man, I'd rather walk barefoot over hot coals than have to relive the high school years. The awkward freshman year, trying to figure out where you fit in, the crush on the cool guy who likely doesn't know you exist, the dorky clothes you wear because you have no idea they're not in fashion ... oh, the agony of it all. If only there had been a handbook filled with the do's and don'ts of freshmen year.

Marissa Walsh has tapped into this teenage angst with A Field Guide to High School (Delacorte Press, 133 pages, $15.99), which actually is a novel but could certainly be read as a handbook for navigating the pressure-cooker world of high school...

A Field Guide to High School

Mothers and daughters

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"Life is short, so make time for your loved ones" is the big message in today's selection, Life on the Refrigerator Door: Notes Between a Mother and Daughter (Harper, 220 pages $15.95) by Alice Kuipers.

Life on the Refrigerator Door

The book covers about a year in the lives of teenage Claire and her divorced obstetrician mother. The two never see each other, and apparently do not have cell phones, so they communicate via written notes. Here are a couple examples ...

Road trip

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In today's Sun-Times Books section, my colleague Dave Hoekstra writes about Jack Kerouac's On the Road, published 50 years ago this week.

So today I chose the young adult book Zane's Trace (Candlewick Press, 177 pages, $16.99), a swift read of a road book by Allan Wolf that details a teenager's day trip to visit his mother's grave, where he intends to join her in eternity ...

Zane's Trace

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