Thursday, January 2, 2014


YA Reading List lasted the full year!!! I managed a post every single day, even when I was in Thailand! The only time a post didn't go up on the day was the 4 days in December where I lost home internet. But, there are still posts for that day.

But, now that it's been a year, I need to rethink it a bit.

One, I can't come up with a new reading list on topical themes every day. I used up all my themes and all my books. Second, despite my use of the Royal We, it's really just me doing this and it's a big commitment, and my other blog, Biblio File, has very much suffered because of it.

So, there are some changes afoot.

YA Reading List is NOT going away, but it will look different.

It will no longer be daily. I will post 2-3 times a week, but not seven. Many posts will just be updates of old lists. Also expect to see a lot more lists of what's being published in a given month and a lot fewer original annotations.

With the exception of this post, I am taking an entire week off.

Until then, I have 365 booklists for you to look through and discover!

Thank you for all of your support this past year. It's been amazing.

Love, Jennie

PS-- One of my goals for the year is to index my lists by subject, which will hopefully make it easier to use.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve: Favorite Books Read in 2013

Well, it's New Year's Eve, and the end of 2013. Today I thought I'd look at a few of our favorite YA Reads from the past year. Many came out in 2013, but not all. These are books that I READ this year.


Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel. I love setting a book about faeries in the American Dust Bowl and using American racial issues and music mirror the splits and politics in the faerie courts. It's a really well-done twist. The first in a trilogy, follow it with Golden Girl.

The Queen Is Dead by Kate Locke. I went back and forth between this one and Long Live the Queen. I love this book about the paranormal steampunk present. This is an adult series, but I think it has a lot of teen appeal. Start with God Save the Queen

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta. This was a most perfect and devastating conclusion to a most perfect and devastating trilogy. Words can never express how much I love Lumatere. Start with Finnikin of the Rock.


Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. Well, the fact that it's historical fiction about court intrigue and politics in Brittany featuring assassin nuns should be enough to make you love this book. But, beyond the awesome plot elements, I like how dark and twisted LaFevers is willing to make her world, and how realistic her characters are while still kicking ass, and how she weaves in faith and changing traditions. Start with Grave Mercy.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Don't let the paperback cover fool you--this is another dark and heavy read (the bulk of the narration takes place under Gestapo torture. And then, once you think you know what's going on, everything changes.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. This is a great graphic novel memoir that looks at the central role food has played in Knisley's life. I like that different aspects of food are presented--growing, cooking, selling, and eating. Plus! Illustrated recipes! I want Knisley to do an entire graphic novel cookbook.


October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman. I was hesitant to pick up a verse novel about such a horrific and sensational crime, written by someone close to the situation. The whole thing screamed trainwreck. But, it is expertly done. Newman matches form to poem in a way that shows a very high level of craft. The overall effect is devastating--as any well-done book about Shepard should be.

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson. The final book of a favorite trilogy, I like how this one really expands the world that Carson has built and shows how much Elisa has grown as a character. Start with The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins. I loved this companion novel to the Hex Hal series. I wish this were the first in a series, but Hawkins tells me its not.

What were your favorite books of 2013?

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Texas Statehood Part 2

Yesterday we started our coverage of Texas statehood, something we're continuing today. Whether you're a longhorn or an Aggie, you'll find something here.


Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale. In 1900, Seth's family has just moved to Galveston so Seth can go to a good school. Life in the new town is going well, until one day the sea comes in from all sides and it's total destruction. Hale grew up on, and still lives, on the Texas coast.

Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel by Diana Lopez. Chia likes her friends, is jealous of her brainy sister, and has several crushes, but everything changes when her mom gets cancer. She now has to juggle new responsibilities, her old life, and a very big promise she made to God in exchange for her mother's health. Lopez lives in San Antonio.

Gamma Glamma by Kim Flores. Normally, being asked to enter the science fair would be an honor, but it's the same day as Homecoming--something Luz does not want to miss. Her solution? Come up with a project so outrageous, there's no way it will win and she won't have to go! So, she's using science to make people popular. Her lab cooks it all up--jelly beans that make you tan, bubble gum that helps your conversational skills, and specially formulated perfume. Sadly, it turns out when you made all your friends super-popular, there's no one left to eat lunch with. And her success means she still has to go to Science Fair. Flores was born in Corpus Christi and grew up in Dallas.


The Cardturner by Louis Sachar. Alton's parents want him to get in his Uncle Lester's good graces, so the family can get Lester's money when he dies. Uncle Lester is blind, but a very good bridge player, and Alton has found himself as Lester's cardturner (basically, telling him what cards he's holding.) Along the way he learns a lot of family secrets (and a lot about bridge). Sachar lives in Austin.

What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles. Popular girl Cass is a bully. After his brother commits suicide because of her cruelty, Kyle kidnaps her, and buries her alive. Cass is now trapped in a coffin, but Kyle wants to see her suffer, so there's a camera and a microphone. Can Cass talk her way out of this one? Giles lives in Woodlands.

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander. Austin is sick of the town bully and sick of her over-protective member. This year is going to be different. She joins the Future Farmers of America to meet new friends, starts raising a chicken, and has her sights set on being Prosper County's next sweetheart. Alexander is from Tyler.

Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson. Josh has always been the perfect preacher's kid and followed his family's rules. But then Maddie comes back to town. Josh's father wants his help in saving her, but as Josh gets to know her, Maddie needs no saving at all. Johnson lives in Austin.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. After getting attacked by his math teacher, Percy Jackson discovers he's actually a demigod-- the son of his mortal mother and Poseidon. Percy starts off at Camp Half-Blood, with the other demigods, but he's been blamed for stealing Zeus's lightning bolt and he and his new friends are on a cross-country quest to get it back. The first in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, follow it with The Sea of Monsters. Riordan lives in San Antonio.

Border Crossing by Jessica Lee Anderson. When Manz hears about Operation Wetback, an extreme deportation program in the 1950s, he's convinced the government is starting it up again. The voices telling him so keep getting louder and louder, but Manz doesn't realize only he can hear them. Anderson lives north of Austin.

What authors do you want to waltz across Texas with?

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Texas Statehood Part 1

On this day in 1845, Texas became the 28th state. To celebrate, we're looking at our favorite authors from, and books that take place in, the Lone Star State.


Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith. After her parents die, Quincie rebrands their struggling Italian resteraunt with a vampire theme. But when the head chef is mauled to death in what looks like a werewolf attack, the new chef is a little too good at the vampire impressions. The first in a series, follow it with Blessed. Leitich Smith lives in Austin.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Amy has tried to stay out of the family business (witchcraft) and is excited to spend a summer at her aunt's ranch instead. But once there, ghosts are on the prowl and bodies are turning up--something Amy's going to have to deal with. There's a companion novel Spirit and Dust, about Amy's cousin, Daisy. Clement-Moore lives in Arlington.

Whip It by Shauna Cross. Stifled by life in Bodeen, TX, Bliss is forced to enter beauty pageants by her obsessed mom, even though she hates them. To find a release, she secretly joins a roller derby league and tries to balance her two lives. Originally published with the title Derby Girl. Cross grew up in Austin.


Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves. When Hanna's father dies, she moves to Portero, TX to be with a mother she's never met. Hanna's heavily medicated for her hallucinations, but in Portero, she finds doors to other dimensions and teams up with a demon hunter to try to save the town. Reeves grew up in East Texas and currently lives outside of Dallas.

How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler. Seventeen-year-old Sugar Magnolia Dempsey is tired of leaving friends behind every time her hippie parents decide to move, but her plan to be unpopular at her new Austin, Texas, school backfires when other students join her on the path to "supreme dorkdom." Ziegler lives in Austin.

The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell. In the aftermath of a protest gone wrong in Houston in the late 60s, a white reporter and his family befriend a black activist family. Breaking the unwritten code of conduct in both communities, they have to decide to do what is easy, or what is right. This is a fictionalized account of Long's adolescence.


Illegal by Bettina Restrepo. Nora's father left Mexico to find work in the US. He promised he'd be back for her quinceanera. But her birthday is nearing and the letters and money have stopped coming. Nora and her mother decide to cross the border in order to find him. Restrepo lives near Dallas.

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Freshman year, Lupita's mother gets uterine cancer. Despite the fact that she's the oldest of eight, Lupita and her mother have a close relationship and it grieves her to see her vibrant and wonderful mother struggle with the disease. This verse novel follows Lupita through high school in Eagle Pass, TX, and beyond, and we see her and her family deal with her mother's illness. Garcia McCall lives near San Antonio.

Getting It by Alex Sanchez. Inspired by an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Carlos decides to ask Sal, a gay senior, to give him a makeover to help him attract girls. Sal agrees, but only if Carlos helps start a Gay-Straight Alliance club at their Texas high school. Sanchez lived in Austin when he was a kid.

Stay tuned-- Texas is the second largest state in the union, so it gets two days-- there will be more tomorrow.

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support YA Reading List by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Iowa Statehood

On this day in 1846, Iowa became the 29th state. To celebrate, here are some books that take place in, or were written by people from America's Heartland.


The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes. After the accident, Paige was shipped off to France so her mother could do damage control. Paige is expected to step back into her picture-perfect life when she returns to Willow Grove, Iowa, but she finds it has shifted and moved on without her. From her new prospective, she's not entirely sure she wants to step back into it, anyway. Backes went to college in Grinnell.

I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer. Living in Des Moines in the post-human era when the undead are part of everyday life, high schooler Alley breaks her no-dating rule when Doug catches her eye, but classmate Will demands to turn her into a vampire and her zombie boyfriend may be unable to stop him. Selzer grew up in the Des Moines area.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin. In Yellowstone, there is a caldera, a supervolcano. It has erupted before. It will again. Mullin imagines what will happen when it erupts, as Alex is home alone in Iowa and must try to find his family in a devastated landscape populated by desperate people. The first in a trilogy, follow it with Ashen Winter.


Rotters by Daniel Kraus. After his mother dies, Joey is sent to live with a father he doesn't know. Rural Iowa is far away from his friends and the life he's known. It gets harder when he discovers his father is a grave-robber. Kraus grew up in Iowa.

Hunger: A Novella and Stories by Lan Samantha Chang. All of these short stories focus on immigrant families (mostly Chinese) and lost love. Published for adults, many feature teenagers and they will enjoy the book. Chang lives in Iowa City.

The Fall of Alice K. by Jim Heynen. Alice is a star student and athlete, but her world is crumbling. The farm is failing and her staunchly Dutch Calvinist town of Dutch Center is not happy about an influx of Hmong farm-worker immigrants. Things get shaken up even more when Alice starts dating Nickson--the son of some of the immigrants.


The Project by Brian Falkner. With flood waters rising in their Iowa town, Luke and Tommy are helping the library move books to higher ground. It's how they discover the most boring book in the world-- which is the perfect place to hide secrets. Soon, they're on a thrilling adventure involing time travel, Nazis, and a nefarious plot to rewrite history.

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd. It's the summer after high school and Dade's realizing that his secret boyfriend isn't a very good boyfriend. It might be time to come out and experience real love. Burd went to the University of Iowa.

A & L Do Summer by Jan Blazanin. Laurel and Aspen are best friends and sick of being single. They decide to do summer right in order to get the guys to notice them in Cottonwood Creek, but everything seems to go wrong-- in the most hilarious ways possible. Blazanin grew up in, and still lives in, Iowa.

What are your favorite Hawkeye reads?

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Best of the Year!

Karyn Silverman at Someday My Printz Will Come has taken a look at many of the "Best Books of the Year" lists to see which ones are getting the most critical love.

Here are some of them!


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor is large and wears weird clothes--one of many red-headed step-children of a man no one in the neighborhood likes. Park reads comics and is half-Korean--he should be a weirdo, but the popular kids mostly leave him alone, because he's known them forever. But in each other, they find love--but can it last?

Boxers and Saints. by Gene Luen Yang. This double-book set looks at both sides of China's Boxer Rebellion. Little Bao leads a band of peasants who use kung-fu to fight off the foreign missionaries and soldiers. Four-Girl has found a name and family in her Christian faith. But is she willing to die for it?

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Rose is an American pilot who ferries planes from England to France, until she's captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck, a horrific women's concentration camp.


Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. Jeremy hears the voice of Jacob Grimm. When a disgruntled baker makes a cake that causes Ginger to fall in love with Jeremy, things get very darkly twisted, just like the best fairy tales.

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty. On the day Elliot's uncle died, his father ran away (rumor has it, with the physics teacher) but Elliot fears the he was murdered by the same purple that got his uncle. Then he discovers a gap between worlds and gets to know Madeleine, who lives in our world and has issues of her own.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown y Holly Black. After a party, Tana wakes up, surrounded by corpses. Her boyfriend is a newly infected vampire and there's only one solution-- to take him to a Coldtown-- a place where monsters are quarantined. But if she takes him there, she can never return.


The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson. In a post-nuclear Brazil, they elect a king every five years. He rules for a year, and is then sacrificed. When June gets to know Enki-- a candidate for king-- he opens her eyes to the inequalities and corruption of her world.

Reality Boy by A. S. King. When Gerald was 5, his mother brought in a reality-show nanny to help solve her problem child. What his mother, and the TV viewers failed to see was that Gerald was acting out to the torment and abuse of his eldest sister. Now in high school, everyone expects to see the child they saw on TV, not the reality of Gerald today.

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff. Mila and her father travel from England to New York to find his missing best friend. Mila can read clues in a room and other people's emotions and she's trying to solve the mystery of what happened.

What are your best books of 2013?

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day, when those in service have the day off and get presents from their bosses. Or, in modern times, when the really good post-holiday clearance sales begin.

Anyway, to celebrate, here's a list of books that have people in service.


Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed. It's 1910. After many years in India, the Averlys are back at Somerton, but whispers of the scandal that caused Lord Westlake his job have followed them. Ada needs to marry well to save the family, but she wants to study at Oxford and the boy who's caught her eye is most unsuitable. Many secrets surround the housekeeper's daughter, Rose, who is also Ada's new lady's maid. A large cast of characters and super gossipy, follow it with Diamonds & Deceit-- it comes out next month.

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. Anna's a Russian Countess who's fled communist Russia and landed penniless in London. She's had to take a job as a housemaid in a manor house. Rupert, Earl of Westerholme, was never supposed to be Earl, but his older brother died in the war. Mersham is out of money, and Rupert has to marry for money.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. Henry and Elizabeth are about to be married, even though Elizabeth is in love with the stable boy, Elizabeth's little sister is in love with Henry, and Henry keep sleeping with Elizabeth's best frenemy. Her maid, Lina also has big plans of her own. Plus, it's 1899, so the dresses are amazing. Follow it with Rumors.


Black Butler by Yana Toboso. Sebastian is the Butler to Earl Ciel Phantomhive-- a 12-year-old boy who oversees a major toy and candy company. Sebastian seems like the best in his profession, but there are darker secrets at play here that come to light during the long-running manga series.

Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Trudy is a maid who's in love with her childhood friend, Tips. Tips is secretly a knight, and he's in love with Dizzy, who's a very bored princess. Told in letters, memoirs, diary entries, and encyclopedia entries, the three must work together in order to save the kingdom.

The Traitor in the Tunnel by YS Lee. As part of her work for The Agency--Victorian London's all female spy agency-- Mary Quinn is going undercover as a maid at Buckingham Palace. She's supposed to be investigating a rash of petty thefts, but when the Prince of Wales witnesses a murder in less-than-savory circumstances, she knows there's more to this mystery than originally thought. The third in a series, start with A Spy in the House.


The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats. In 1293, the king offers a good deal to any English who will move to Wales to help keep the land conquered. Cecily's father takes him up on the offer and she's stuck in a strange and backwards land with Gwenhwyfar, an bitter servant who, like most Welsh, is struggling to survive.

A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury. Set against the backdrop of partition, Tariq (a Muslim) wants to study at Oxford and is employed as a translator for a British cartographer. His heart is torn between two forbidden loves-- Margaret (the cartographer's daughter) and Anupreet, a Sikh.

What are your must reads about life in service?

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support YA Reading List by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links.