Sunday, December 3, 2017

Book Recommendations

We're approaching that time of year where teens come in for book recommendations for a myriad of assignments! We're here to help in that process. Whether you look for recommendations at the Reference Desk or the Children's Desk, we're here to help you find the book you're not only required to read, but also looking forward to reading! There's nothing worse than forcing yourself to read something you're not actively interested in reading.

Here are a few things you may want to consider before you visit:
  1. What is the assignment? (feel free to show us) 
  2. What do you enjoy reading about? (genres? authors? format - listening, graphics?) 
  3. What was the last book you couldn't put down?
  4. What keeps you intrigued by a book? (characters? world-building and setting? plot twists?) 
  5. Are there requirements for the assignment? (genre? topic? subjects? number of pages?) 
  6. When is the assignment due? (we're with you on managing your time!) 
  7. Any other personal requests you'd like to make us aware of! 
You may not even know what you're looking for when you get here, but we're here to help you change that forced reading into fun reading! Let us know what you need, and we'll focus on combing our shelves for options that fit you! 

Here's an example: 
  1. The assignment: 
    • I need read 600 pages that revolve around historical fiction and mystery, not on World War II.  
  2. What do you enjoy reading about? 
    • I enjoy reading about realistic situations that are relatable.
  3. What was the last book you couldn't put down? Why? 
    • All Rights Reserved (2017) by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. The author's presentation on how the government copyrighted and censored speech seemed super possible in today's world. 
  4. What keeps you intrigued in a book? 
    • I enjoy resolution. I want a fixable moment, and I know that doesn't always happen, but it's nice when something in the book works out. It can be a series of books, but I enjoy conflict resolution.
  5. Are there requirements for the Assignment? 
    • 600 total pages for potentially two books
    • Genre: Historical Fiction and/or Mystery 
    • No Historical Fiction Books on World War II 
  6. When is the assignment due? 
    • It's due in 3 weeks, and I'd like to find both books today! 
Recommendation time!

Mystery Fiction with contemporary situations:
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo (2017) - 281 pages 
When Chinese American teenager Jess Wong's best friend Angie falls in love with a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess expects heartbreak. But when everybody's secrets start to be revealed, the stakes quickly elevate from love or loneliness to life or death. 

Boarding school drama with psychological undercurrents that lead to a definite whodunit conclusion. 

Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork (2017)  - 326 pages 
Four months ago Sara Zapata's best friend, Linda, disappeared from the streets of Juarez, and ever since Sara has been using her job as a reporter to draw attention to the girls who have been kidnapped by the criminals who control the city, but now she and her family are being threatened--meanwhile her younger brother, Emiliano, is being lured into the narcotics business by the promise of big money, and soon the only way for both of them to escape is to risk the dangerous trek across the desert to the United States border. 

Relevant current political issues in a true crime format that pull on family heartstrings.

Warcross by Marie Lu (2017)  - 353 pages
When teenage coder Emika Chen hacks her way into the opening tournament of the Warcross Championships, she glitches herself into the game as well as a sinister plot with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. 

Think Mr. Robot with a tenacious female main character that secretly fights computer crime for the owner of a massive tech company.


Historical Fiction with the exception of World War II:
Dodger by Terry Pratchett (2012) - 360 pages
In an alternative version of Victorian London, a seventeen-year-old Dodger, a cunning and cheeky street urchin, unexpectedly rises in life when he saves a mysterious girl, meets Charles Dickens, and unintentionally puts a stop to the murders of Sweeny Todd.

A Victorian adventure that will satisfy any anglophile leanings with special guest stars and Terry Pratchett's dry humor.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (2017)  - 371 pages
When Rowan finds a skeleton on her family's property, investigating the brutal, century-old murder leads to painful discoveries about the past. Alternating chapters tell the story of William, another teen grappling with the racial firestorm leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race riot, providing some clues to the mystery.

Follow the horrific events of the race riot in Tulsa 1921 written parallel to a story of the discovery of human bones beneath the floorboards of a house in present-day Tulsa.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (2015) - 374 pages
In 1845, Sammy, a Chinese American girl, and Annamae, an African American slave girl, disguise themselves as boys and travel on the Oregon Trail to California from Missouri.

The book not only demonstrates pioneer hardships but also delves into what it means to be a nonwhite person in the U.S. in 1849, including insights on Chinese culture and slavery.

While this is just an example, we can also find what's right for you and your assignment! Truth be told, this example is very similar to an Ottoson Middle School assignment...

Don't have the time to stop by the library? 
Send me, Megan, Teen Services Librarian, an email at

We look forward to making your assignments less arduous and more fun! Happy reading, and best of luck!

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