“Waiting On” Wednesday: Two Upcoming Releases To Be Excited About

Many book blogs do a weekly event called “Waiting on Wednesday”, where they highlight the upcoming book releases that they’re most excited about. There are a lot of excellent books being released in May that you should know about (hello, anyone, how about Insurgent, the sequel to Veronica Roth’s thrill-seeking Divergent; or how about Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore’s stunning new sequel to Graceling and its companion novel Fire?), but here I want to highlight two books being released in July that would be perfect for the freedom of summer reading. I know this because I have read them both already.

The first is a lovely, sad romance between Peter Pan and Tiger Lily, written with a lot of honesty and skill; the second is a complex, rewarding high fantasy about the war between shape-shifting dragons and humans from the point of view of a girl caught between two worlds.

Tiger Lily, by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publication date: July 3

From Goodreads: Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn’t grow up.

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman
Publication date: July 10

From Goodreads: Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

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2012 Youth Media Awards Madness

I had the fortune to actually attend the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards (where they announce such awesome book awards as the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz) in Dallas, TX, this Monday. This event is like the Super Bowl for writers, publishers, and librarians, and it was so wonderful to be in a huge room full of people totally invested in recognizing the power of stories to influence lives. Every time a book was announced, whether it be a winner or an honor book, people cheered, and clapped, and whistled, and called out stuff like “Yeah!”, and I felt like I was at a sporting event or a concert, but for BOOKS. It may make be a big book nerd, but it was super fun. The full list of awards announced are here at the ALA web site but below I want to highlight the Michael L. Printz award for best teen fiction and the William C. Morris award for best teen debut fiction.

This has never happened before, as far as I know, but the same amazing book won both of these big awards, and it’s one I recently highlighted on my Top Books for 2011. Here’s what I recently wrote about it: Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley, is a strange one, but its strangeness is why I love it so. This literary novel tells intertwining stories of people searching for meaning and redemption in a messed up world. Cullen Witter lives in a tiny Arkansas town that is experiencing a revival after a birdwatcher claims to have seen a woodpecker long thought to be extinct. But while the townspeople are obsessed with searching for this mythical bird, Cullen is desperately searching for his missing younger brother, who disappeared at the same time. Meanwhile, Benton Sage, a missionary traveling in Africa, becomes disillusioned with his calling and sets up a chain reaction of events that dovetails perfectly with Cullen’s story. This excellent debut novel is both funny and meaningful. I urge anyone looking for something different to give it a try.

Four other books were named as Printz honors:

Why We Broke Up, written by Daniel Handler
The Returning, written by Christine Hinwood
Jasper Jones, written by Craig Silvey
The Scorpio Races, written by Maggie Stiefvater

Also, four other books were Morris honors:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns, written by Rae Carson
Paper Covers Rock, written by Jenny Hubbard
Under the Mesquite, written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Between Shades of Gray, written by Ruta Sepetys

All of these books are available at our library, so read some award winners today!

Some more excellent places to look for good, new reads:

ALA’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults
ALA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten List
ALA”s Alex Awards (best adult fiction for teen readers)

More Hunger Games movie news

If you haven’t already seen the excellent picture of Jennifer Lawrence made up as Katniss from The Hunger Games, go here to the Entertainment Weekly blog to see a bigger version and read about the shoot.

More casting news here: Josh Hutcherson has been cast as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth has been cast as Gale, Paula Malcolmson has been cast as Katniss’ mother and Willow Shields as sister Primrose, Woody Harrelson cast as Haymitch, Stanley Tucci as Ceasar, Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Amandla Stenberg as Rue, and many more characters have been cast, too.

Meet the Faces Behind the Books!

On Sunday, April 17, over 70 Colorado authors will be mingling here in the library from 1-3 p.m. for our 12th annual Author Open House. Several young adult authors will be available to chat about books and their writing: Amy Efaw, author of After and Battle Dress; Julie Anne Peters, author of Rage and By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead; Denise Vega, author of Fact of Life #31 and Access Denied, and Sarah Ockler, author of Twenty Boy Summer. All of their books are also available for check out. Hope to see you there!

For a full list of all the adult, young adult, and children’s authors attending the open house, check out our page on the Englewood Public Library’s web site.

RIP Diana Wynne Jones

For those of you who haven’t heard the sad news yet, fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones, creator of one of my favorite books, Howl’s Moving Castle, passed away over the weekend. Here’s one of many well-done obituaries.

Many, many young adult and children’s authors have posted on their blogs and on Twitter honoring the memory of this amazing author, but here is one of the best, from Neil Gaiman: “Rest in Peace, Diana Wynne Jones. You shone like a star. The funniest, wisest writer & the finest friend. I miss you.”

If you haven’t discovered this author yet, I urge you to her  try. Some of her most recent and/or most well-known fantasy novels we have available in the library are Enchanted Glass, Dark Lord of Derkholm, and Howl’s Moving Castle, as well as her hilarious send-up of fantasy novel conventions, in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

Katniss has been cast in Hunger Games movie!

Jennifer Lawrence, from Winter’s Bone, has been cast as Katniss in the upcoming Hunger Games movie! Click here for an exclusive article about the decision at The Wrap. What do you think — is she who you envisioned?

Casting for other characters, including Peeta and Gale, is still undergoing.

Hunger Games movie has release date!

The highly anticipated movie version of Suzanne Collin’s blockbuster trilogy has a release date — director Gary Ross has said it will open March 23, 2012 — and now speculation abounds on who will play the two main roles: Katniss and Peeta. No casting announcements have been made yet, but possible contenders for the role of Katniss are Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit and Jennifer Lawrence from Winter’s Bone, while I’ve heard that Alex Pettyfer has been approached to play Peeta.

What do you guys think? Who would you cast in your dream version of The Hunger Games?