Friday, September 30, 2016

Five Books for Coffee Lovers on (the day after) National Coffee Day

We are a little late for the actual holiday, but it's always a good day to celebrate the hot drink that fuels many a YA character. Here are five books with baristas, cool coffee shops and characters who just really love their lattes. A little something to give your rainy weekend a pick-me-up.

Descriptions from the catalog unless otherwise noted

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

At college, Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world. . . For Cath, the question is: Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? Open her heart to someone? Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction? (read our posts on this title here).

Bonus: If you want to really experience Levi's Pumpkin mocha Breve, here's a barista's tips on what to do.

Georgia Peaches and other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

 The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine

Madison, whose life is turned upside down by a family friend's visit, and heartbroken barista and guitarist Jesse, who is trying to find the inspiration to write music again, form a friendship that soon grows into romance.

Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

Each book in this exciting series could pretty much stand alone, there's a different set of narrators and a different quest in each. Though if you have read all three, in Infinityglass, they come together into one very satisfying conclusion. It's Southern, full of super powers, kissing and good coffee (from this review).

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Elizabeth Gehrman

While working at the Triple Shot Betty during summer break, Geena's great plans are ruined when her best friend and cousin meet and instantly hate one another, but as the weeks go on and endless dramas unfold, the three finally put their silly differences aside in order to have great group adventures that no one will ever forget!

More to read:

Radio Week: You Belong With Me-- Taylor Swift

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Spotlight on Summer Reading: The Winner's Circle

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Monday, September 26, 2016

New E-Only Novellas from Danielle Paige

Whenever we get new E-Only Novellas from authors you love, we want to tell you about them. Here are a few ones to check out:

All descriptions are from our catalog.

Before the Snow: a Stealing Snow novella by Danielle Paige

Young Nepenthe is half-princess, half-mermaid. Though she longs for the sea, her father wants her to stay on land. But only love can make a mermaid give up the water, and Nepenthe doesn't love anyone the way her mother loves her human father. She wants to live as a mermaid and become the River Witch, like her mother.

Then Nepenthe meets Prince Lazar, the son of the all-powerful Snow King of Algid, and she can't help but fall for him. After a horrible tragedy strikes, Nepenthe joins forces with a young fire witch named Ora to save Lazar and protect the kingdom. But it soon becomes clear that Ora loves Lazar just as much as Nepenthe does... And now Nepenthe must decide: inherit the power of the River Witch, or betray her friend to be with the boy she loves.

And Nepenthe's role in the prophecy is only just beginning. . . In the future, she is destined to cross paths with a girl named Snow, who will have the power to change Algid forever-for better, or for worse.

Queen Rising: a Stealing Snow novella by Danielle Paige

Margot grew up as an apprentice to the witches Nepenthe and Ora, but she doesn't possess the incredible magic that they have. So when the old Snow King asked her to kidnap Ora, she obeyed his command, hiding her true motives from the witches. Though the witches could kill Margot for her betrayal, they showed her mercy--and without her old friends at her side, she must find her own way.

Leaving the world she knows behind, Margot decides to put her affinity for thieving to use by embracing the Robber trade. But she is set for a much greater fate. . . and more of the prophecy foretelling Algid's future will be revealed. Along the way, Margot must find her way from being a magic-less apprentice to be becoming a queen in her own right.

And Margot's role in the prophecy is only just beginning. . . In the future, she is destined to cross paths with a girl named Snow, who will have the power to change Algid forever-for better, or for worse.

More to read:

New E-Only Novella: Order of the Wicked by Danielle Paige

New E-Only Novella: The Straw King by Danielle Paige

More New E-Only Novellas

Y'all Fest Recaps: Gender Studies 101 Panel

Friday, September 23, 2016

Brand New Titles for Checkout on E-Audio

Did you know that with your Arlington Public Library card, you have access to lots of cool new audiobooks that you can play from your computer or your mobile device? We have them from several vendors, but today we're going to highlight a few that are brand new on Overdrive!

Grab a pair of headphones and download one!

All descriptions from the catalog:

As I Descended by Robin Talley
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn’t know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to unseat Delilah for the scholarship.

Together, Maria and Lily harness the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school. But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they’ve accidentally set in motion.

Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—which would ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper realizes that access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish Ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Except Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it will destroy the boy she just might love?

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs
A beloved part of the Miss Peregrine series mythology, Tales of the Peculiar is a deluxe illustrated collection of the fairy tales introduced in Riggs’s #1 bestselling series. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Things in Hope Walton's life have never gone particularly easily. Her photographic memory and crippling claustrophobia make her feel alone in a crowd of her peers. Now her mother, the person who knew her best in this world, is missing and presumed dead after a massive earthquake.

To make matters worse, her father is sending Hope off to spend the summer with her Aunt Lucy, whom she has never met. Lucy says that it's important that she visits in order to learn more about her mother and their youth. It sounds like a nightmare, especially when it includes a ten-hour plane ride to get to Scotland.

But, as soon as Hope sets foot in the manor where her mother's family has lived for generations, she starts to think that there's more going on than meets the eye. For starters, she stumbles upon a basement filled with pristine historical costumes. Does her aunt have a strange and serious hobby? She does, but it is time traveling, not collecting costumes. Hope is not going to have the relaxing summer in Scotland she was expecting.

Instead, this is going to be a summer of training with her aunt’s time traveling team so that she can fulfill her destiny. Into the Dim is the first book in this adventure series, perfect for anyone who imagines what it would be like to walk around in history and rub elbows with someone like Eleanore of Aquitaine

More to read:

Middle School Monday: The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

Top 5 Powerfully Scary Girls (of 2011)

Katie's Time Travel Reads for 2011

Post Card Fridays: England and the UK


Monday, September 19, 2016

Middle School Monday: Ghost by Jason Reynolds


Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Nobody needed to tell Castle Crenshaw that he could run. He walked up and pretty much smoked one of the newbie sprinters on the Defenders track team without anyone even telling him he could try out. They call him, "Ghost." Sound like the beginning of a sports legend?

More like it's the shiny parts of Castle's life. There's also the part where he and his mom have hospital cafeteria food for dinner every night because she gets to take it home for free. And the fact that Brendon Simmons, seventh grade bully, seems to have an unending supply of things to make fun of Ghost about: his neighborhood, the fact that Ghost's dad is in jail.

But all of those things might be exactly the fuel that Ghost needs to light up the track. Every legend has to start somewhere and Ghost is where Castle's begins.

This is the first book in a new series from Jason Reynolds who is one of TATAL's favorite authors. One of the reason we like him so much is that he know that just because a person is in seventh grade doesn't mean they haven't had to deal with hard things that would be difficult for a grownup to handle. But being in seventh grade also means that your comebacks better be set at 100%.

Get your copy of Ghost and run a few laps with Castle Crenshaw. You'll be very happy you did.

More to read:

Middle School Monday: As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds

Middle School Monday: The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

The Olympics Unshelved: Track and Field

Middle School Monday: Soar by Joan Bauer

Friday, September 16, 2016

Jessica Spotswood Talks to us about Poetry, Tattoos, and Strong Women

This week we're focusing on one of the founders of our YA author panel, "Shut Up and Write," the fabulous, Jessica Spotswood. Today we are lucky enough to feature an interview with her! 

1.    Can you tell us a little bit about your most recent book, Wild Swans?
Wild Swans is a contemporary YA novel about a complicated family, fierce female friendships, and first love, set on the Chesapeake Bay. It follows Ivy, whose mother abandoned her when she was two years old and has returned home the summer before Ivy's senior year, with the two half-sisters Ivy's never met.

2.    Both Wild Swans and the Cahill Witch Chronicles have amazing senses of place, despite being set in very different worlds. At what point in your process do you tackle world building?
Thank you! My editor on the Cahill Witch Chronicles encouraged me to think more about setting and layer in more description, so I feel like I learned a lot about world-building from her. With Wild Swans I set out to write a book where the setting functioned almost as another character. It's set in Cecil, a small college town on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay where everyone knows everyone else's business and has expectations based on your last name. I based Cecil off two real towns in Maryland: Chestertown, where I went to college, and Saint Michaels, where I've vacationed a few times. But I always find that my first drafts are mostly dialogue and internal narration, and then I layer in more description - richer, more specific details - in later drafts.

3.    One of my favorite things about your books is that they feature amazing women who may be flawed but also are fiercely trying to find their place in the world. Do you ever draw from the women in your life when you’re writing these nuanced and awesome women?
Thank you again! None of my characters are based on real people, exactly, but I am definitely inspired by the clever, talented, generous, amazing women in my life - my family and my friends and now the girls at the library where I work. Truly, I would be lost without my female friendships, so it's important to me to make sure that Cate - and then Ivy - had those too. In my opinion, female friendships are just as important as romance, and the family you choose and create through friendships is just as important, if not more so, than the one you're born into.

4.    In Wild Swans you’re also looking at the different ways women relate to each other (mothers to daughters, sisters, friends, granddaughters). How different was it to portray these varied kinds of relationships and the feelings that go along with them?
Cate's mom was dead in the Cahill Witch Chronicles , so it was especially different - and fun, and challenging - to explore a mother-daughter relationship. Mother-daughter relationships are so fraught! What does it mean to be a good daughter? Or a good mother? How much do we - should we - sacrifice to make someone else happy? I think we often define ourselves in relation to or in opposition to other women, comparing ourselves to our sisters or mothers or friends. It's really easy to either judge other women for making different choices or to get caught up in comparisons and feel insecure. Ivy compares herself to the brilliant, but troubled, women in her family and feels lacking. There are so, so many expectations put on girls and on women to be perfect. I struggle with that, too, to be honest. That's why it's so important to have amazing best friends who will support you in your choices and celebrate your successes and pick you up when you make mistakes.

5.    How different was it to approach writing a standalone like Wild Swans versus writing the Cahill Witch Chronicles  series?
It was sort of exciting, actually! Writing a trilogy is HARD. That second book, oh my gosh...middle books in trilogies are the WORST. They have to have their own complete character and story arc, but they also have to be a bridge between books one and three. Also, everything has to be more exciting, more heartbreaking, more romantic, bigger than book one -- but not as big as book three. It's a lot to balance! And for many authors, it's also the first book we're writing under a deadline. The first draft of Star Cursed was actually sort of terrible; it didn't work at all; I had to throw out 75% of it and just start over.

6.    Ivy’s coworker for the summer, the very smart and charming Connor has tattoos that feature selections from poetry. Is there a piece of poetry that you love enough to get made into a tattoo?
My favorite poem right now is Mary Oliver's "When Death Comes." I especially love these lines: When it's over, I want to say all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. I don't think I'd get it as a tattoo - never say never, but I have a different theme, which is that I've gotten a flower tattoo for every book I publish. I have three pink peonies for the three Cahill books, lavender for A Tyranny of Petticoats, and two orange Gerber daisies for Wild Swans and its companion. I'd love to eventually have a garden of wildflowers on both of my forearms.

7.    Who has been the most fun character to write? In Wild Swans? Probably Ivy's best friend Claire, because she's so funny and forthright. She threatened to steal every scene she was in. I am tentatively working on a companion book for Wild Swans, from Claire's point of view. I hope my publisher will like it and want it to be my next book!

8.    One of the themes of Wild Swans is finding your passion. When you were a teen did you know that writing was yours?
I've been writing since I was in fourth grade, and then I started writing these big sprawling historical novels when I was twelve. Writing was definitely my passion as a teen and I was very centered in my identity as The Writer in my high school class. Then in college, surrounded by lots of writers - my undergrad school has the largest undergraduate literary prize in the country - I sort of lost my confidence. Or maybe I just discovered another passion - theatre, specifically dramaturgy - which I studied in graduate school. After grad school, I realized that as much as I loved helping playwrights develop their work, I really missed creating stories of my own. I started writing again and I'm so glad. I think it is absolutely my calling. But that dramaturgy training was invaluable in my editorial work. I really love editing, too, and feel very lucky that I've gotten to edit two anthologies now - A Tyranny of Petticoats and TheRadical Element.

9.    Are there any YA books you would recommend for fans of your books to also try?
Of course! If you like books about sisters and witches, you might like Libba Bray's A Great & Terrible Beauty or Franny Billingsley's Chime or Zoraida Cordova's Labryinth Lost. If you like books about families and first love that take place at the beach, you might like Leila Howland's Nantucket Blue or Huntley Fitzpatrick's What I Thought Was True or - for a supernatural twist - April Tucholke's Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

10. Do you have a favorite place to write?
 Lately, I've been writing at the new Starbucks in my neighborhood because it always has tables and I love their venti unsweetened black iced tea. I write in various coffee shops around DC. Really, all I need is tea and my trusty laptop, which I bought five years ago when I got my first book deal.

11. You and Jon Skovron are the fabulous YA team behind our “Shut Upand Write” author series (whose next panel discussion will be September 22). What’s been your favorite thing about hosting this series? Are there any authors on your dream interview list?
I love that I've gotten to know so many more local writers, published and aspiring, in DC and MD and VA. We have such a wonderful, talented community to draw from! As for who would be on my dream interview list...some of my own favorite authors: Kristin Cashore and Marie Rutkoski. E. Lockhart and Libba Bray. I know Jon is good friends with Holly Black; I'd love to hear her talk about fantasy world-building!

12. What advice would you give a teen writer?
Read lots. Think about what works for you, what makes you want to keep reading, and what makes you put a book down, what makes you love a character, what makes you tell your best friends about a book. Write lots. Find a trusted friend or two to share your stories with and ask them what they love, what makes them want to keep reading, what questions they have or things that don't quite make sense for them. It's really good to get in the habit of getting feedback early on, because it's so important as a writer to be able to take constructive criticism.
Thanks so much to Jessica for talking to us today! You can find out even more about her by visiting her website:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jessica Spotswood: Radio Post: "Heart of My Own" by Basia Bulat

This week we're focusing on one of the founders of our YA author panel, "Shut Up and Write," the fabulous, Jessica Spotswood. On Friday we'll feature an interview with her and be sure to come and join us on September 22 for our next panel

Radio Post: Heart of My Own - Basia Bulat

Basia is the perfect thing to listen to if you're looking for dreamy guitar based tunes. Plus this song is all about figuring out who you are and what you want from life. We happen to think it would be exactly what Ivy, the main character in Wild Swans is looking for.

Ivy has a true poet's heart. She loves Edna St. Vincent Millay and this leads me to think that the hauntingly cool vocals from Ms. Bulat would be totally up her alley.

If you're looking for the perfect thing to listen to while you read Ivy's story in Jessica Spotswood's Wild Swans, look no further than any of Ms. Bulat’s catalog!