Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pioneer Day: Books from Utah

It' Pioneer Day! On this day in 1847, Brigham Young and his band of early Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Young then said "This is the right place." Pioneer Day is a state holiday in Utah, celebrated with parades, fireworks, BBQs, and other fun activities. It's no longer just a Mormon holiday either. As the Salt Lake Tribune said, "We applaud that effort to honor pioneers of all races, religions and nations who have made Utah their home."

As a blog, I can't really give you a parade and fireworks, but we can give you a list of books written by people from the Beehive State.


Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith. Zan went to college a year early, and Joy doesn't know if she's been dumped or not. She ropes his best friend, Noah, into a road trip to see Zan and get some closure. Smith lives in Salt Lake City.

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. This retelling of the relatively unknown Grimm fairy tale "Maid Maleen" takes place in a land reminiscint of Mongolia in the middle ages. Dashti is Saren's maid. When Saren refuses to marry the man her father has picked out for her, both girls are bricked into a tour for seven years. Hale lives outside of Salt Lake City.

Matched by Ally Condie. On Matching Day, Cassia is relived to see Xander's face. The Society has determined she will marry her friend, instead of a boy from far away that she's never met. But then, for a split second, another face appears. She knows Ky as well and where she had rarely thought of him before, no she can't get him out of her mind, which leads her to question everything the Society does. The first in a trilogy, follow it with Crossed. Condie lives outside of Salt Lake City.


Everneath by Brodi Ashton. Nikki disappeared for six months, enticed to the Everneath, an underworld where immortals survive by feeding off the energy of humans. Now she's back home, but she has to go back there. This modern retelling of Persephone also includes elements of Orpheus. The first in a trilogy, follow it with Everbound. She lives in Utah.

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. When the country was at war, the Queen made bargains to ensure victory. The price was that her daughters would be forced to dance every night court of the King Under Stone, to pay off her debt. Now the wars are over, and the Queen is dead, but still the princesses dance, much to the bafflement of their father. The first in a series, follow this retelling of "Twelve Dancing Princesses" with Princess of Glass, a retelling of Cinderella. George lives in Salt Lake City.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering his name and nothing else. He ends up in the Glade, an open area inhabited by several teen boys, surrounded by a maze that may or may not be their means of escape. Every 30 days, a new boy arrives, until, one day, it's a girl. With a message. The first in trilogy, follow it with The Scorch Trials. Dashner went to BYU and lives in the mountains.


Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. Jennifer and Cameron were best friends. Outcasts and misfits, they were each other's only friends. One day, Cameron disappeared and the kids at school told Jennifer he died. Now in high school, Jennifer has changed to Jenna-- pretty, popular, and happy. But then one day Cameron reappears and they have to confront who they were and why, and where their lives have gone since then. Zarr lives in Salt Lake City.

Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristin Chandler. Wolves have recently been reintroduced to Yellowstone Park, a very controversial move in KJ's Montana town of ranchers. When KJ and Virgil, the new boy in town, write a regular column about the wolves for the school paper, tensions boil up and over. Chandler lives outside of Salt Lake City.

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby. With the country at war the King sends his three children to a distant fortress surrounded by ice. Solvieg is the middle child, caught betwen her beautiful older sister and her younger brother, the heir to the throne. They spend their days with their father's guard, the restless Berskers. Then, one day, someone in the small community tries to kill them. Solvieg has to find the traitor among them. Kirby currently lives in Idaho, but was born in Utah.

Are you celebrating Pioneer Day today? Who are your favorite Utah authors? There are so many great ones, that we'll have more tomorrow!

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