#YearofYA February ’16 Theme: Social Justice

February 2016 #YearofYA theme

February is well-known as Black History Month and in our current social climate, there’s no question why it’s important to keep the conversation going about civil rights, boundary-pushers, and other heroes. This month, we’d like to go beyond the surface level and delve into deeper issues. While we will celebrate African American literature, we will also use this month’s theme to bring awareness to a range of social issues including race, religion, sexual orientation, and more.  Think #WeNeedDiverseBooks.

Plan to join us & chat on Leap Day Monday 2/29 at 8pm.

Thanks to Tracy, @twoodward65, who suggested this theme!

Resources for books to read:







Save the Dates: #YearofYA Q1 ’16

We’ve decided to set the themes and discussion dates for January, February and March 2016 so you can plan ahead to join us.

The beauty of #YearofYA is that you can drop in anytime a theme appeals to you! Please invite other YA readers to join us.

As usual, we will post the theme at the beginning of each month, along with resources to help you discover related books.

For January, check here: The Book Was Better

YearofYA Flyer

2015 Review through Reads

With the awesome response we’ve had to #YearofYA, I’ve really dropped the ball on my personal blog where I used to post things I do in my school library! But one tradition has held true – posting my year in review through my favorite books I read. Below is a version I thought I’d share on here since many readers have found our YearofYA blog 🙂

from Mollee:

Mosquitoland – props to my friend Jodi for putting this in my hands. She gave me no option but to skip to the top of my TBR and it’s clear why. I truly think this novel, a broken girl’s journey to self-discovery, will be picking up more steam in 2016. Get ahead of the game and start reading NOW.
Every Last Word – wow this one blew me away. Was a fan of Tamara’s earlier series about time travel, and this one is so different. An intimate look at mental health and the way teens cope with every day life. While the topic is serious,  there’s a lot of hope and great focus on how friendship makes a huge impact on dealing with challenges & recovery from trauma.
Finding Audrey – I’ve written about this book here, so all I’ll say is: authentic & humor-touched look at anxiety disorder.
1 (2)
P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han has always been one of my faves with straight-forward storytelling that still pulls you in. In this sequel to “To All the Boys I Loved Before,” Lara Jean faces some very authentic 2015 high school issues. I really loved how the impact of social media on teens’ reputations was addressed. Definitely read “to all the boys” first, or check out my blog about both here.
Crenshaw– Katherine Applegate did it again! The one and only Ivan can hardly be beat, but Crenshaw is a great story about the challenges the children sometimes face, the adult stresses they’re forced to carry, and how to overcome them.
Echo – this book looks beasty but once you start reading, you can’t put it down!  The sweet sound of a harmonica is what binds 3 kids during 3 periods of WWII, in 3 places around the world. Highly recommend for advanced 5th readers and up. Loved our chat w/ #2JennsBookClub about it. There’s a storify in their season 1 schedule here.
The Marvels– another WHOA read. I’ve loved Selzink’s ability to tell a story using words and illustrations, and The Marvels doesn’t disappoint. He throws a wrench or 2 in your expectations, and by the end, you’ll wish you could naively  start all over.
Yes Please – I love Amy Poehler so this should surprise no one. What I loved about this book is that she’s what my friend Jennifer LaGarde calls “an unapologetically smart girl.” Let Amy tell you what I mean:
Untitled presentation
I Am Malala – this is such an important read. Not only do you get a sense of the traumatic event that brought Malala international attention, there’s much to be learned about Pakistan, her views on religion, and just how much we take education for granted. I wrote about it here.
Marrakech Morroco PTPI October 9-12. 2009
Marrakech Morroco PTPI October 9-12. 2009
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry – this was a “you have to read” book from my bookseller friend, Jamie at Downtown Books. A very touching story about how life doesn’t always make sense, until you look at it retrospectively.
The Martian – there’s a reason this novel  was a total hit in 2015! I’m not a scifi girl, but Weir includes enough explanations, humor, and “real world problems” that anyone can relate. Definitely recommend the audio version – even my hubby listened to it! Seeing as he doesn’t read much, this is very note-worthy 🙂
Bossypants – I’ve read this before, but listening to Tina read her own memoir is like having her tell you these funny stories and perspectives over a glass of wine. It’s still on my phone for when I need a good laugh on my commute!
Harry Potter – I’m 4 books in to rereading my fave series. Yes I know them by heart, but the story is brought to life through Jim Dale’s character voices. Even if you’ve heard them, I’d tell you to pick just 1 to listen to so you can experience the magic.



from Tavia:
My list will be considerably shorter than Mollee’s – she is an overachiever (seriously, 109 books)! Spoiler alert…there might be some similarities among our lists!

Red Queen (audio book) – Loved this one and can’t wait for the sequel. It’s an awesome story of a strong female heroine who, upon discovering her true power, is forced into the world of the elites. There’s blackmail, suspense, and lots of twists and turns. Anyone can betray anyone.

How It Went Down – This books is powerful and heartbreaking in the way that only a story that is so realistic and timely can be. Everyone should read this book.

Through the Woods (graphic novel) – The illustrations in this book are amazing. It’s very creepy horror, so read it with the light on!

Crenshaw – I simply adore this book! The only way I can sum it up…”Try to enjoy the magic while you can.”

The Martian (audio book) – Listen to this book!! The science is totally accessible and not at all daunting. There is tons of humor, sarcasm and the suspense is just right. It’s different from the movie, so read the book first!

You – Caroline Kepnes has managed to write the creepiest book I’ve read since the I Hunt Killers series. This book isn’t for everyone. It’s horrific and creepy because it’s so completely realistic. I couldn’t stop thinking about how our digital footprints impact our lives while I was reading.

Furiously Happy (audio book) – I am in love with this book. It’s honest, heartbreaking, hilarious and literally, furiously happy.


Mollee’s honorable mentions…because it’s hard to pick favorites among 109 books!

  • Carry On – Rainbow Rowell’s fantasy companion to FanGirl. So good
  • Extraordinary Means – wrote about this great read here.
  • All Fall Down – my 1st Ally Carter mystery & I loved it! Read more here.
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door – I LOVE Stephanie Perkins and these quirky characters were perfect. If you’ve read Anna and the French Kiss, you’ll recognize some characters 🙂
  • Vanishing Girls – if you liked We Were Liars, you’ll love Lauren Oliver’s dark, contemporary novel.
  • Penny from Heaven – another Jennifer L. Holm homerun. This is not her newest, but I loved the themes of Italian family, the 1950’s, and the stories that define our family histories.
  • Princess Academy series (great 4th-5th through HS) – wrote a short summary here.
  • The Terrible Two – very funny, easy high interest, low level read about  2 boys trying to out prank each other.
  • Under the Egg – loved this MG novel about a girl trying to uncover an art mystery