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  • Jenny Kawecki 7:09 pm on 2016/10/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , ryan graudin, , , stacey lee, , ,   

    8 Books to Convert a YA Naysayer into a YA Fanatic 

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    We’ve all got that friend who thinks that, just because they’re an adult, they can’t be seen cracking the cover of a young adult book. Maybe they’re snobby about it, maybe they just don’t think YA could be their thing, but either way you’ve got a mission: help that friend find the right book, thus opening their eyes to a marvelous, ever-expanding category of fabulous reads. Here are 8 YA books that will entice even the most selective reader.

    I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
    Dodie Smith’s old-school YA I Capture the Castle is a good place to start; it’s usually shelved with the adult books, so you may be able to recommend it with nary an eyebrow raised. Seventeen-year-old Cassandra lives in a broken-down castle with her crazy family and no money, waiting for the day when her famous novelist father overcomes his writer’s block. When they get a handsome new landlord—one who might actually expect them to pay rent—things around the castle start to change. Narrated in Cassandra’s clever, engaging voice, I Capture the Castle is the perfect gateway YA read.

    Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
    This book is like a sucker punch to your emotions: full of beautiful, lovable teenage moments, but heartbreaking as hell. Eleanor and Park meet on the bus. Eleanor, red-haired and strange, is the new bully magnet; Park has been always stayed successfully under the radar. Slowly they fall in love over comic books and music. As they face struggles with other kids, their families, and each other, they both know it’ll never last—the only question is what will tear them apart in the end.

    Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Graudin
    Fast-paced and wonderfully original, Wolf by Wolf will quell a lot of non-YA readers bad assumptions about YA stereotypes. Yael lives in an alternate post-WWII world in which the Axis powers won. After surviving torture and experimentation in a death camp, she’s determined to get revenge for the loved ones she lost. Her plan? Win the annual motorcycle race held to commemorate the Axis victory, gain an audience with Hitler, and kill him. Sounds foolproof, right?

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Junior has spent 14 years on the Spokane Indian Reservation, watching the people around him live hard and die young, and he wants out. So he uses his smarts to gain a transfer to the local all-white high school off the res. Building a new life for himself isn’t easy: his new classmates stereotype him, his old friends think he’s abandoned them, and on top of it all, he usually has to hitchhike to school. Funny, heart-wrenching, and beloved, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is basically irresistible.

    I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
    I’ll Give You the Sun tells the story of Jude and Noah, twins who used to be inseparable. At thirteen, they complete each other. At sixteen, they barely speak. What happened in between? Told in alternating perspectives, with Jude narrating the later years and Noah narrating the early years, the story slowly pieces itself together. Full of family, grief, first love, and what comes after, this book will make your YA-reluctant friend cry and swoon in equal measures.

    An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir
    If you know someone who thinks YA novels can’t include complex, well-built worlds, this book will prove them wrong. Laia and Elias are on opposite sides of an ancient Rome-esque world: Laia’s people have been conquered, and Elias is training to lead the conquerors. As Laia embeds herself as a slave in order to gather intel from the military academy Elias is training at, Elias enters into a deadly competition he wants nothing to do with. Dark, detailed, and action-packed, An Ember in the Ashes is a standout.

    Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee
    Looking for an excellent young adult historical fiction novel to recommend? Outrun the Moon is it. It’s 1906 in San Francisco, and Mercy Wong is determined to go to a posh private school so she can become a businesswoman. The problem? She’s Chinese, and the school is open only to white students. But Mercy is stubborn, and through a combination of bribery and blackmail, she gets in. Cue a massive earthquake that tears apart the city, leaving Mercy stranded among her less-than-friendly classmates.

    Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
    What could be better than a heist novel full of six lovably damaged characters, a gritty backstory, and a touch of magic? Kaz Brekker is notorious for his criminal skill, so when he’s offered the job of a lifetime, he can’t turn it down. But the only thing more impossible than the task ahead is getting his team of talented misfits to get along long enough to pull it off. Full of twists and distinct, well-developed characters, Six of Crows will make anyone fall in love with YA.

    The post 8 Books to Convert a YA Naysayer into a YA Fanatic appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Nicole Hill 4:00 pm on 2014/12/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , b.j. novak, , , , , edgar cantero, , , , , how to win at gifting, , one more thing, ryan graudin, , , , ,   

    9 Books to Buy Your Secret Santa 

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    Secret Santa booksBecause the holidays weren’t difficult enough, man invented the Secret Santa exchange, that age-old pastime in which you must procure gifts for good friends, curmudgeonly coworkers, and casual acquaintances alike. It can be tricky to pick up something you know will be a hit. But it can be done, with the safest bet of all: a good book. Here are a few 2014 releases that are so universally crowd-pleasing, they’ll be treasured by anyone and everyone on your Nice List.

    Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
    By now, it may actually be illegal not to adore this finalist for the National Book Award. It’s rare that apocalyptic fiction can be called “glittering,” but Station Eleven‘s story of a pandemic and the interconnected lives it touches, from a traveling Shakespeare troupe to survivors at an airport outpost, is so seamlessly spun, few other words do it justice.

    As You Wish, by Cary Elwes
    You know what else is probably illegal? Not having seen (and readThe Princess Bride. Elwes (Westley himself) takes you behind the scenes of the filming of this beloved adaptation of William Goldman’s equally beloved book. From dealing with a tardy R.O.U.S to giant-sized flatulence, here’s an account (with additional commentary from other members of the cast and crew) that every fan of twue wuv will need.

    The Walled City, by Ryan Graudin
    In The Walled City, there are three rules: run fast, trust no one, and always carry your knife. So begins one of the most refreshing takes on the YA dystopia trend. Three teens narrate the story in alternating chapters, each trying to claw their way out of this dark, damp, and dangerous ruin of a city, Hak Nam, brimming with criminals and unfortunates. What’s even more frightening? It’s based on a real place. If that doesn’t get your giftee’s heart racing, you might want to check their pulse.

    We Are All Completely Fine, by Daryl Gregory
    Ever wonder what happens to all the characters who survive horribly traumatic supernatural terrors? They end up in a support group, like any other cluster of damaged people. As Gregory unpacks each character’s backstory—from the man called the Monster Detective to the guy who’ll never take off his sunglasses—in this slim little number, he simultaneously untangles and entangles their mysteries and their troubles. It’s clear pretty early on that the monsters these people fear can’t all be referred to in the past tense.

    The Supernatural Enhancements, by Edgar Cantero
    Bringing home the trophy for the year’s book that should most quickly be made into a Wes Anderson film is Cantero’s twisted yet hysterical gothic ghost story. Few good things happen to young men who inherit estates from mysterious, distant relatives, and that’s exactly where we pick up with A. He’s just crossed the pond to take possession of Axton House with his mute (but cleverest of them all) companion, Niamh. There are secret societies and ghosts and intrigue, but what makes this story stand out is its unusual mode of storytelling: modern epistolary, with journals, notes, security footage, audio recordings, and the odd cipher or two.

    Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
    America’s best-friend-in-chief has written a book! This is one of the happiest times since Tina Fey bestowed Bossypants on the world. Poehler groupies and mere casual viewers of Parks & Recreation alike will want to read the skinny on Poehler’s life, from her childhood outside of Boston to her tenure on Saturday Night Live (including that rapping-while-pregnant Sarah Palin bit) to her lessons on motherhood.

    So, Anyway…, by John Cleese
    Now for something completely different. Well, not quite, but when your read is written by one of the founders of Monty Python, you know you’re not getting just any old memoir. This is a comedic bildungsroman, chronicling the rise of one of the finest employees of the Ministry of Silly Walks comedy has ever seen. It would be daft to give your Secret Santa anything less than this, or a shrubbery.

    How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran
    In 2011, Moran taught us How to Be a Woman. Now she’s back with her first foray into the world of YA, a coming-of-age story that tells us how to build a girl. In Joanna Morrigan lies a teenager relatable to all: so displeased with her awkward, clunky self that she reinvents herself into Dolly Wilde, a hard-charging rock journalist who takes the early 90s music scene by storm, for better or for worse. It’s frank, hilarious, and a total must-read.

    One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, by B.J. Novak
    B.J. Novak was funny on The Office, and now he’s hysterical in his debut short-story collection. The humor is offbeat and sometimes absurdist, but the tone is intensely human and warm. In bite-sized nuggets of story we meet Sophia, the sex robot with an unrequited love; Wikipedia Brown, a detective for our time; and Sisqo, attending the roast of Nelson Mandela. Bonus: If your gift recipient has little ones, be sure to consider Novak’s other 2014 offering, the riotous The Book With No Pictures.

    What’s your favorite go-to book for gift-giving?

  • BN Editors 6:00 pm on 2014/11/06 Permalink
    Tags: a passage to india, , blame michelle huneven, , half bad, human croquet, jessica martinez, , , kss kill vanish, rogue spy, ryan graudin, sally green, the new yorker stories, , , ,   

    What to Read in November 

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    novcollageEach month we ask a panel of our bloggers to suggest a book based on what they’re reading right now. Here’s what we think you should read this month!

    Nicole: The Walled City, by Ryan Graudin
    Hands down one of the most skillful thrillers of the year, The Walled City is part YA, part suspense, part mystery, part race against the clock, and a whole heaping helping of dystopia. Told from the perspective of three teenagers trapped in the aforementioned city, Hak Nam, a shady enclave of excess and iniquity, this story never stops its breakneck pace from the moment you crack the cover.

    Ginni: The New Yorker Stories, by Ann Beattie
    Leo Tolstoy wrote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” That’s never more apparent than in Ann Beattie’s spot-on short stories depicting relationships and domesticity in modern American life. For decades, Beattie has been a celebrated contributor of short stories to The New Yorker with an uncanny knack for capturing people at their most vulnerable, most narcissistic, and most unwittingly transparent moments. Beautifully and sparely written, these stories are a perfect retreat from family drama around the holidays. Beattie’s narratives remind you that people are flawed, fickle, and little in their love, but they’re all that we have.

    Ester: Half Bad, by Sally Green
    In this heady English YA thriller, Nathan’s magical community treats him like he’s an infection waiting to spread, and he begins to live up to their expectations—until he breaks free, determined to face down his own destiny, no matter the cost. The adrenaline of reading will keep you warm throughout November and the family dysfunction will prepare you well for Thanksgiving.

    Lauren: Blame, by Michelle Huneven 
    Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction of the Year, blahblahblah, this book won so many words it’s boring to talk about. And it deserved each and every accolade. Blame is the portrait of Patsy MacLemoore, a 28-year-old teacher with a wild streak who accidentally runs over two people when she’s black-out drunk. The story spans the following decades of her life as she puts together the pieces of what happened, attempts to rise above her guilt, strives to love herself and others, and deals with the final curveball life throws her at the end. It’s a portrait of one deeply flawed character, as well as the deeply flawed characters around her. It’s a roller coaster that comes around full circle, but when you return, everyone and everything is different, and you are, too.

    Dell: A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster
    Because it’s a lot like looking into Jared Leto’s eyes (or, I suppose, the sun), I’m rereading Forster’s classic novel, A Passage to India. It’s the time of year when I celebrate my 3 favorite Fs: Food, Family, and Fiction, and Forster’s complex portrait of Dr. Aziz and Adela in tense colonized India is a masterful example of the latter.

    Melissa: Human Croquet, by Kate Atkinson
    I’m powerless to resist a book with this in the description: “As Isobel investigates the strange history of her family, her neighbors, and her village, she occasionally gets caught in Shakespearean time warps.” But that doesn’t even begin to describe Atkinson’s deeply weird sophomore novel. It’s a rangy, sad, magical-realistic look at teenaged Isobel Fairfax and the enchanted pocket her house is built on, where things get lost then resurface without warning—shoes and people and whole other times. Atkinson’s character studies are astonishing, and her writing crackles with magic. If you loved her Life After Life, you must read this immediately.

    Joel: The Peripheral, by William Gibson
    Tech visionary William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer looks pretty prescient these days, having more or less accurately envisioned how this thing called the Internet would change our lives. Which makes the prospect of his first far-future novel in nearly two decades an even more tantalizing prospect: Are we looking through a window into life a few decades from now?

    Dahlia: Kiss Kill Vanish, by Jessica Martinez
    An honest-to-goodness rare YA suspense thriller, filled with twists and turns, skillful character and relationship development, and gorgeous writing. Unlike anything else from this author, or from YA this year.

    Sara: Rogue Spy, by Joanna Bourne
    I have been waiting for this book since, literally, the moment I finished Bourne’s last historical romance set during the Napoleonic wars. There are spies, romance, mortal peril, and bringing the whole series together, Bourne’s writing, which is so luscious and has such a distinct voice I just want to wrap myself in it and stay there for a month. Don’t come looking for me November 4—I ‘ve already voted and this is what I’m doing all day.

    Paul: Metrophage, by Richard Kadrey
    The first novel by Kadrey, this vastly underappreciated cyberpunk novel is being reissued after being out of print for more than two decades. Fans of cyberpunk classics like Gibson’s Neuromancer and Sterling’s Islands in the Net will find this dystopian romp through late 21st-century Los Angeles to be both visionary and visceral. A cult classic unearthed.

    What are you reading in November?

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