Free books? Did someone say "Free books?"


West Ottawa Public School's BBYA Teen Group, Holland, Mich.

Cindy: At the end of each publishing year and after the announcement of YALSA’s BBYA list and the Printz, Newbery and other awards, we purge our temporary BBYA collection and give the advanced reader copies away to our hard working teen BBYA book club members as a reward for sharing their opinions and their enthusiasm with us. Last year, they rushed the cart and we were afraid someone would be hurt: the all-in-good-fun carnage can be seen here. This year, we spread things out across a large area of tables but there was still chance of injury as the favorite books were dove on and fought over. Before we left for Boston we asked the teens which book was their favorite of the year, not necessarily what they thought would win a big award, but which book they enjoyed the most. We have a lot of members, but here are some of the responses (if more than one teen listed the book, the number of votes is in parentheses):

Catching Fire (9) by Suzanne Collins, The Last Olympian (6) by Rick Riordan, Fire (4) by Kristin Cashore, Swim the Fly (3) by Don Calame, Marcelo in the Real World (2) by Francisco X. Stork, The Silver Phoenix (2) by Cindy Pon, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Charles & Emma by Deborah Heiligman, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede, The Giant Slayer by Iain Lawrence, The Silver Blade by Sally Gardner, and Stitches by David Small.

There is one other favorite and a threat from a teen: The Likely Story series by David VanEtten. Quoting Amanda, the high school senior who won’t accept my news that Random House does not plan to continue the series, she selected as her favorite read of the year “all three Likely Stories books smooshed together in one fantastic read. I want book 4 and will kill to get it.” Random House, you’ve been warned. She had back-up from other girls.

Lynn: Our teens aren’t the only ones who get excited about free books. Cindy and I dragged home some wonderful arcs from Midwinter and we are already nose deep in some of these great books. Here are just a few of what we have added to our to-read stacks. We hope to blog about most of these soon. Stay tuned for some wonderful new picture books too. The titles are in no particular order.

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Agency: Book One: A Spy in the House

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

My Life with the Lincolns by Gayle Brandeis

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World by Sid Fleischman

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

97806184403371 I can’t close without mentioning a nonfiction book that the whole conference was buzzing about. Take a look at the cover of Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s upcoming book, They Called Themselves the KKK, and tell me you don’t want to read it instantly!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "Free books? Did someone say "Free books?""

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  1.' Angela says:

    The BBYA kids have good taste 🙂

    I jut got Incarceron from the library…but I picked up 10 other books at the same time, bringing my currently checked out total to over 20 books, so I’m not sure when I’m going to get to it!

    Also, that is one of the creepiest covers I’ve ever seen. Sign me up to read it!

  2.' Scope Notes says:

    I’m always interested to hear about the books your BBYA students are fighting over! And also fun to see the books on your to-be-read shelf. Like you guys, I’m looking forward to getting into “Sir Charlie” and (of course) “My Life with the Lincolns”. Thanks for sharing!

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