At the Seal Beach Mary Wilson branch of OC Public Libraries we recently set up a display -- creatively collaged by our Teen Advisory Board (TAB) -- at which middle schoolers and high schoolers can recommend titles to their peers. Quite a few TAB members and other teens have already added their favorite books to the display. Below I’ve included a few of their suggestions.
Read the graphic novel Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1: Cosmic Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis before the movie comes out on August 1st! This first volume in a new series begins with details about the backgrounds of the Avengers included: Star-Lord/Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Groot and Iron Man. The Guardians must defend Earth, Star Lord’s home planet, against invading Badoon forces. This adventure is a mix of humor and dramatic space battles.
Another teen recommendation is Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands (Holly Black, ed.). In this anthology both runaway human and elfin teens go to Bordertown, a place on the border between their two worlds, to find themselves and a little fun too. The first Bordertown anthology, The Essential Bordertown: A Traveller’sGuide to the Edge of Faerie (Terri Windling, ed.), was published in 1998. It is credited with being a precursor to the urban fantasy genre. In 2011 Welcome to Bordertown was published. Some of the authors of The Essential Bordertown, such as Charles de Lint and Ellen Kushner, return in this new anthology, joined by authors such as Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow and Neil Gaiman. The volume includes twenty stories (including one in graphic novel format), poems and songs.
Teens still love the classics, as evidenced by the several timeless books recommended by Seal Beach teens. One of these is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. In this early 17th century novel, Alonso Quixano, a man of modest means who lives in the Spanish countryside, becomes so enamored of the great tales of chivalry that he decides to become a knight himself, righting the wrongs that he encounters. In his travels he is accompanied by Sancho Panza, who acts as his squire. Fueled by Quixano’s/Quijote’s imagination, the two become involved in a sometimes humiliating and often humorous series of misadventures.
In Helen Eve's Stella Caitlin Clarke lives in New York City, but when her parents decide to divorce she is sent off to a strict boarding school in England. The prized position in this British school’s social hierarchy is held by the malicious Stella Hamilton, who welcomes Caitlin into her select group of “Stars”. Stella’s goal is a relationship with the most popular boy in school and election to Head Girl. And Stella is not one to cross. As Caitlin herself becomes popular, she learns that many students are not happy with Stella’s power. Caitlin must decide whether to pursue becoming Head Girl herself or return to the U.S. to see her little brother. The story is told through Caitlin and Stella’s alternating viewpoints.
Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion won the National Book Award as well as Newbery and Printz Honors. This unique novel is one of my personal favorites. In this dystopian tale, lying in between the U.S. and Aztlán (the former Mexico) is an area called Opium, ruled by a 142-year-old drug lord, El Patrón. Matteo Alacrán is a clone of El Patrón and has spent his childhood in seclusion, raised by a caregiver. At a certain point Matt begins to live at the Big House on the Alacrán estate. However, it soon becomes clear that El Patrón plans to harvest Matt’s organs. With the help of a few allies, including his bodyguard and a good friend, Matt attempts escape. And the adventure only continues from there.