It’s that time of year again! I don’t mean the holidays (though it IS that time, too), but Winter Reading! Yes, our Winter Reading program for 2018 is now live, and lasts until February 22nd.  Make sure to sign up here for your chance to win some awesome prizes! The theme for this year is Ready Reader One, and here in the Teen Room we have a display of books all about games, gaming, and gamers. I decided to read one of those books for my “other” this month, and loved it! I also read three Hot Reads, which is one less than usual, but the holiday season can be brutal on your free time. You will notice that one of the Hot Reads is a book published in 2001, but the movie adaptation is coming out in a couple of weeks, so we always make sure to have some extra copies here in the Teen Room in case you want to read the novel before seeing the movie (something I try to always do). Come visit us downstairs and check out these books, or all the other great reading material that lives here!

HOT READS

I LOVED this book! I could not put it down once I started because the action starts right away and is unrelenting until the end. One of the main characters, Io Cocha, is the kind of tough and complicated hero I love to read about, and I want to be her when I grow up. I related to her emotional journey, as well as to the other two point-of-view characters, Knives and Brinn. I appreciated the fact that Milan wrote the book in third person, but rotated the POV between the three characters. So much of YA literature is written in the first person, so it is nice to read something that is a change of pace. And the science fiction universe she created is so different from our world but similar at the same time. This novel did end on a cliffhanger, but I don’t mind because I cannot wait to spend more time with these three characters. I highly recommend this book to everyone, even if you do not like science fiction. The characters and their struggle to figure out what is right and what is wrong will resonate with all readers.

I went into this book thinking that it was going to be a typical mystery/thriller. Which it is, but that is not the best part of this novel. I knew who the real killer was about halfway through, although that is not unusual in that I have read A LOT of mysteries and it is really hard to surprise me. The best part of Broken Things is how unlike most mysteries which are plot-driven, this book is all about the characters. The three girls are dynamic and sympathetic, even when I didn’t like them at certain points. They are broken in many ways, and the journey to discover why and if they can ever be made whole again made the whole reading experience worth it. I do not want to reveal too much about it, so I will just say that you should pick it up and read it yourself. You will not be disappointed.

I had a much harder time getting through this novel than the others this month. I had seen the trailer for the movie coming out December 14th, and it looked so unique that I had to read the first book in the series. Also, it was written and produced by Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame, so I figured it must be really good. And I am not saying that it is not—I did enjoy the world that Reeve created in these books. Steampunk-influenced cities on wheels in the distant future is something that I have never read about. However, I think that this books skews to the younger side of YA. I think it might even be considered a middle reader if not for the few instances of violence. So, I think I was just caught unawares as the movie trailer did not hint at that at all. I would recommend this book to younger teens and even mature 10 & 11-year-olds, especially if they like dystopian fiction with a lot of action.

READY READER ONE

This is the novel I chose to read that was on our Ready Reader One display. Analee is a gamer, and retreats into her online gaming world so she doesn’t have to face the real one. I could not get over how much Analee was me when I was in a high school. That was a long time ago, but it is comforting to know that these kinds of characters are now being written about in YA so that girls (and boys) who suffer from a mental illness can see themselves in the books they read. It would have been so nice to have this kind of book when I was a teenager. Milanes did a wonderful job of portraying Analee’s emotional journey, and even made the “fake” relationship romance trope seem fresh. I loved this book, and I would highly recommend it to those who love contemporary fiction, as well as those who want to see mental illness and grief written about in a sympathetic and believable way.

Shannon is a Teen and IT Librarian for the Kirkwood Public Library. She is new to St. Louis and enjoys exploring the city. Her hobbies include gaming of all kinds, reading fantasy and true crime books, and working on her novel and comic book series. Her favorite authors include Terry Brooks, Agatha Christie, Ann Rule, and Holly Black.