School YeAr in Review: #YearofYA June 2016

The school year is ending and summer vacation is within reach! It’s time to relax and catch up on all of the awesome titles that are still on our to be read lists!

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AND it’s officially 1 year since we launched #YearofYA! It’s been a fun ride so far running a book club that’s all about choice, so we’re celebrating by giving you even MORE choice!

Did you hear about awesome YA Lit during our monthly chats that you are dying to read? Maybe a colleague or student gave you a suggestion that you wrote down, but haven’t had a chance to pick up yet. Make time now! This month, you may choose to read more YA Lit – or branch out and read children’s lit, middle grades lit, or maybe even try out an audiobook (or two).

No matter what titles you choose, we’re discussing them all on Monday, June 27th at 8pm EST during our #YearofYA Twitter chat!

Not sure where to start? Mollee (@MolleeBranden) and Tavia (@Tavia_Clark) share our TBR lists below, as well as our favorite reads that #YearofYA led us to. The best things so far about this Twitter Book Club has been 1) connecting with YA readers from the USA & Canada and 2) finding new reads outside our comfort zones. Please comment below, or share on Twitter using #YearofYA if you want to let other readers know what your TBR titles are for June!

Tavia’s TBR plans for June:

  • Hopefully I’ll be reading Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (if Mollee lets me borrow her ARC [wink, wink].
  • My students have given me many, many suggestions this year of thing I HAVE to read.
    • I’m hoping to get started on Sarah Maas’ Throne of Glass series since this one has been recommended by multiple students.
    • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir has been super popular in the library, so that one is definitely on my list.
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord has been on my mind for some time now, so I hope to read that one before our chat.
  • I’m not much for westerns, but I want to try out Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman. I mean the cover is just awesome!
  • I hope to listen to The Selection by Kiera Cass and In the Woods by Tana French (adult lit).

Mollee’s TBR plans for June:

  • Some Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) I received from attending “Book Expo America” conference in May! So excited to get an early read on: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything) and Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (All The Bright Places)
  • Summer Days and Summer Nights: 12 Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins; the summertime companion to the December #YearofYA read My True Love Gave to Me
  • Lily & Dunkin by Donna Gephart which was given to me by Mr. Schu (librarian extraordinaire) when I told him how much I loved George and how important student-transgender stories are in today’s climate
  • Audiobook version of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is one I wanted to read/listen to during our Hispanic Heritage Month but ran out of time
  • OK now that I’ve read Tavia’s TBR… I also want to read An Ember in the Ashes because I saw the following she had at BEA and listened to her speak and think it’s time to finally dive in!!

Mollee’s Top #YearofYA Reads from Year 1

  • Graphic Novels month led me to not only learning to appreciate the unique way of storytelling, but also the fabulous work of Gene Luen Yang. I hope you’ve heard of him, but if not, learn about the current Library of Congress’ Ambassador for Young People’s Literature then go read one of his books. He’s fun, quirky, brilliant, talented, and most importantly, a gifted storyteller. I learned a great deal from Boxers & Saints (2 companion novels)
  • Way back during Survival month, I read a couple books by favorite authors that were different – stronger – than I had expected. Sophie Kinsella writes the adult Shopaholic series which is light, and features an airy 20-something that always irritated me (yet, kept me reading). Her first foray in YA is Finding Audrey, which was endearing, but also an important take on mental health in teens. I also have been a fan of Jenny Han for years, and was excited about her sequel to To All the Boys I Loved Before, but I was surprised by the modern problems that plague the protagonist Lara Jean in PS I Still Love You. Highly recommend both Kinsella’s YA novel & this Jenny Han series.
  • Most recently, thanks to the May theme of “Instability in the Near Future,” our frequent book club-ber @bjneary posted about a MG novel, Paper Things, that I’ve fallen in love with. Should be required reading for educators to better understand and help students who come from poverty or homelessness. It’s amazing how many times I sound like Ari’s teachers; neglectful of the fact that a student may not have any control over time for homework, where she left her library books, or why she skips lunch every day.

Tavia’s Top #YearofYA Reads from Year 1

  • Hands down, my favorite read from year 1 of #YearofYA is All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This book is beautiful through and through. I have recommended it to so many of my students and colleagues, and they love it, every single time.
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was phenomenal. Even though I didn’t enjoy the sequel as much, I’d highly recommend this series.
  • Even though it’s not YA, one of my favorite audiobooks of the past year is Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. It’s honest, heartbreaking, hilarious and literally furiously happy!
  • I LOVED All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. As I wrote in an Instagram post right after I finished it:

“I could never do this book justice with a review. It was heartbreaking, important and so powerful. There are lives we can never imagine living, but lives we have a human duty to understand. I would put this book in the hands of every young person if I could.”