We Are Liars by E. Lockhart

51rofznopjl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Information: We Are Liars by E. Lockhart was published in 2014 by Delacorte Press. ISBN: 038574126

Plot Summary: Something happened on Cadence Sinclair’s fifteenth trip to her family’s island. She knows it was bad and it involved her four friends, “The Liars”, but she cannot remember what happened. She knows it was an accident of some kind where she got hurt, but nothing else. Two years later, her friends return to the island of the awful mystery to urge Cadence to remember what had happened. But even after she is reunited with her friends, who hadn’t spoken to her since the accident, Cadence cannot remember what happened. But as their typical summer continues, pieces of that fifteenth summer start to emerge from Cadence’s broken memory. As she begins to put the pieces together, Cadence can’t tell who to trust, not even herself.

Critical Evaluation: We Are Liars is a thought-provoking mystery, where even the protagonist can’t be trusted. The story shows how precious memories are, but also how easily manipulated they are, even by our own selves. It leaves the reader with the question, who can we trust, if we cannot trust ourselves? Cadence’s inability to recall the events from two years ago leaves her vulnerable to those around her and to the reader who perceives her. The reader, who is lost like Cadence, is pushing through the mystery along with the characters, making her weaknesses and emotions all the more relatable.

Reader’s Annotation: Cadence hasn’t heard from her close group of friends in nearly two years. But, now that they are all reunited, Cadence tries to recall the terrible events that broke them apart in the first place.

Author’s Information: Jenkins writes as E. Lockhart for the young adult market; “Lockhart” was the family name of her mother’s mother. Her first book by Lockhart was a novel, The Boyfriend List, published by Random House Dell Delacorte Press in 2005. There are three sequels, The Boy Book (2006), The Treasure Map of Boys (2009), and Real Live Boyfriends (2010), and the four are also known collectively as the Ruby Oliver novels after their central protagonist. Another novel for teens, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (2008), was a finalist for both the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Michael L. Printz Award. We Were Liars made the shortlist of four books for the 2014 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The annual prize judged by British children’s writers recognizes the year’s best U.K.-published book by a writer who has not previously won it.

Under her real name Jenkins has collaborated with illustrators to produce children’s picture books. They have received honors including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Book Award (the original Toys Go Out, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky) and two runners-up for Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (Five Creatures, illus. Tomek Bogacki, and That New Animal, illus. Pierre Pratt) (ELockhart).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Were Cady and the Liars justified to commit any crime?
  • What were some of the insights learned at the end of the novel?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 and Ages 14-18

Challenge Issues: Violence, Language, Drinking, Sexual References

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Lochart, E. (2014). We Are Liars. New York, New York: Delacorte Press.

We Are Liars is part of the collection because of its in depth mystery. The novel shows how fragile memories can be when we want to remember something a certain way or if we want to forget something entirely. Other recommendations like this book include:

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction (2014)
  • Georgia Peach Book Award (2015)
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee for Young Adults (2016)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book: I chose this book because of its clever mystery that leaves readers shocked and feeling deeply for many of the characters.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

thirteenreasonswhyInformation: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher was published in 2007 by Razorbill. ISBN: 1595147888

Plot Summary: Thirteen Reasons Why is about the day when Clay Jensen comes home from school to find a mysterious package at the front door. When he opens it, he finds thirteen cassette tapes from his classmate, Hannah Baker. She is the girl he’s had a crush on for a long time, but sadly, she had committed suicide two weeks ago. Hannah’s voice comes across the cassette tapes, telling Clay how there were thirteen reasons she committed suicide and that Clay was one of them. As Clay spends the night, listening to Hannah’s thirteen reasons why, he is introduced to parts of Hannah’s life that he never knew existed. But now he has to decide if he wants to keep listening, to know what reason he played in her death.

Critical Evaluation: Thirteen Reasons Why is a compelling novel that takes the reader deep into the mind of someone who has been bullied, isolated, and suffering from depression. Not only does the novel present a form of understanding of why someone make that choice, but also a way to move forward after someone is gone. The novel encourages the reader to think of others in a new way, hopefully preventing some situations of bullying and isolation.

Reader’s Annotation: After Clay’s crush, Hannah, commits suicide, Clay receives thirteen cassette tapes, explaining all the reasons she chose to take her own life. Now Clay must decide if he wants to move forward, knowing how and why he played a role in her choice.

Author’s InformationJay Asher‘s debut YA novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, has appeared regularly on the New York Times bestsellers list for the past 9 years. It has sold over 2.5 million copies in the US alone and is currently in production to be a 13-part series on Netflix. His second YA novel, The Future of Us, was coauthored with Printz-honor winner Carolyn Mackler. His novels have been translated into over 30 languages. His third novel, What Light, will be released in October 2016 (Jay Asher).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Mystery

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Clay listens to the first of the tapes, only to find out he was one of the reasons Hannah decided to take her own life. Was it a good choice for him to listen to the tapes? What else could he have done?
  • What can Clay do better now that he has learned so much from Hannah?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 7-12 (Scholastic) and Ages 13-18

Challenge Issues: Death, Suicide, Violence, Language, Drinking

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Asher, J. (2007). Thirteen Reasons Why. New York, New York: Razorbill.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a part of the collection because of its personal and in depth look into the mind of someone who has been bullied and isolated. So often their voices are not heard. Asher’s novel makes the important point that there is so much more going on in a person’s life than just what we can see.

Other recommendations like this book include: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin, The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen, and Hate List by Jennifer Brown.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • Georgia Peach Book Award Nominee for Honor book (2009)
  • South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book (2010)
  • Abraham Lincoln Award (2013)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book:

I chose this book because of the powerful understanding it gives to readers about what others around them go through. That even when we think we’re seeing it all, we’re probably not. Clearly, it is important that we are kind to all because they might be going through something that we will never know about. Thirteen Reasons Why guides readers to this understanding.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

61t67xhl2cl-_sx321_bo1204203200_Information: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky was published in 1999 by Pocket Books. ISBN: 0671027344

Plot Summary: Charlie was an awkward high school freshman. He is known as a geek, complete introvert, and basically a wallflower. The novel contains a series of letters, written by Charlie to an unknown friend, detailing Charlie’s high school experiences. Throughout the letters, Charlie explains first hand about his attempts to make new friends, first dates, and his introduction into a new life of wild experiences he never expected. While approaching these new adventures, Charlie also has to come to terms with family differences, anxiety, and past traumas. But with all these new events in his life, Charlie must choose if he wants to put himself out there or remain a wallflower. With the help of his new friends, Charlie hopes to achieve just one peaceful experience, with the perfect song on the perfect drive.

Critical Evaluation: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply personal look inside the mind of being a geeky introvert while in high school. Chobsky uses the letters written by Charlie to get a completely unobstructed view of what it means to be a freshman, trying to make new friends, while also dealing with anxiety, family differences, and past traumas. Because the letters were written by Charlie, all the reader has is how Charlie views his high school experiences, creating an intimate portrait of how people like Charlie survive their first year of high school.

Reader’s Annotation: Charlie is a high school freshman, who writes down his experiences with new friends and his struggles with family in letters to a mysterious friends. Through these letters Charlie must choose if he wants to continue to move forward in his new life or be a wallflower forever.

Author’s Information:  Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed the feature film adaptation of his award-winning novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He has worked in film and television, on projects including the film version of the smash-hit musical Rent; the TV show Jericho; and others. He also edited Pieces, a collection of short stories for Pocket Books. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Chbosky graduated from the University of Southern California’s Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at Sundance Film Festival (Simon & Schuster).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Charlie works out his experiences and his thoughts on them through letters to his friend. How else can someone work out their thoughts and emotions, besides letters?
  • What would be your perfect song and perfect car ride?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 and Ages 14-18 (Scholastic)

Challenge Issues:  Adolescent Anguish, Depictions of Homosexuality, Rape, Drug Use, Masturbation, and Suicide

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Chobsky, S. (1999). Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York, New York: Pocket Books. Perks of Being a Wallflower was published for high school students to examine and reflect on the emotional struggles teens can have when they feel isolated from their peers. Charlie writes his personal thoughts and reactions to his experiences through these letters and that allows the reader to share a personal connection to the character. Charlie’s letters address hard topics that many teens go through alone. Perks of Being a Wallflower is an example of how expressing one’s emotions can have a positive impact on healing and surviving high school.Other recommendations like this book include: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty, Boy Toy by Barry Lyga, and The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2000)
  • ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2000)
  • ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (2002)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book: I chose this book because the way it was written allowed for a clear message of healing, self-discovery, and coming of age. It doesn’t sugarcoat the struggles of isolation or social anxiety, but it also doesn’t hide the pain healing can have. It’s one of the truest depictions I’ve ever read of trying to keep it together, while everything else seems to be falling apart.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

41qap6ztvolInformation: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was originally published in 1999 by Puffin. ISBN: 014131088X

Plot SummarySpeak is the story of Melinda as she endures horrible trauma and is unable to tell anyone what has happened. Melinda is at high school party, trying to meet new people and make friends, when she is raped by an older high school student. After calling the police to the party, Melinda is left with no friends and a complete outcast to the rest of school. No one will listen to her or even acknowledge her, leaving Melinda to process the horrific event at the party on her own. As she processes what happened on her own and tries to move on in school, Melinda develops a love and talent for art. It is through her art that Melinda begins to form her own way to express herself. Her healing is only beginning when she realizes the upperclassman who had attacked her was still a threat to her. Now Melinda has to decide how she can stand up for herself and how she can finally speak out about what happened.

Critical Evaluation: Speak is a startlingly honest novel about the struggles of speaking out against someone in high school. Anderson wrote the novel in first person, allowing readers to see the trauma of being attacked and the isolation that occurs when there is no one to speak to about it.  The first person narration also opens the reader up to the healing process Melinda experiences through her art. By being so transparent about such a traumatic event, Speak offers the bitterness of real life, without discounting the strength of a silent teen.

Reader’s Annotation: Melinda must search for a way to find her voice again after being brutally attacked at a high school party. Just when Melinda has found a small form of self-expression through art, Melinda is threatened again, forcing her to make the choice to stand up for herself and be heard.  

Author’s InformationLaurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Laurie was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by YALSA division of the American Library Association for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature…”. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes(Laurie Halse Anderson).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Melinda finds a way to express herself through her art. Are there any other non-verbal ways for teens to express themselves?
  • What different ways can people listen better for those who have trouble speaking out?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 (Scholastic) and Ages 14-18

Challenge Issues: Language, Sexual Abuse, Violence

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Anderson, L. (1999). Speak. New York, New York: Puffin. Speak was published for high school teens, between the ages of 14-18. The novel tells the story of Melinda after she is raped at an end of summer party. Anderson details the trauma and the beginnings of Melinda’s healing process, before she forced to face her attacker again. Speak depicts what it is like to be a teen, who is suffering and unable to speak to anyone about their trauma. Melinda shows the strength of silent characters, who are learning to heal from their experiences. Speak opens up discussions on trauma and how to find your voice when no one will listen. Other recommendations like this book include: Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman, A Step from Heaven by An Na, and True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult (2000)
  • Michael L. Printz Award Nominee (2000)
  • Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (2000)
  • Oklahoma Sequoyah Award for YA (2002)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

  • Positive Reviews: CNN

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book:

I chose Speak for its brave unflinching look at what happens after a teen is sexually assaulted. Anderson shows the powerful healing that can take place when teens use art and other forms of self-expression.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

51maszxex8l-_sx317_bo1204203200_Information: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi was published in 2000 by Pantheon. ISBN: 037571457X

Plot Summary: In this graphic novel, Marjane tells her own story of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. She begins with her own childhood dreams of becoming a prophet. Marjane’s family are of distant Iranian Azeri ancestry and are descendants of Nasser al-Din Shah, so her dreams of being a prophet were inlined with her family history. But as the Islamic Revolution continued and the war between Iran and Iraq began, many homes and lives were destroyed. Marjane’s graphic novel follows her move to Austria and the difficult transition she had to make there.

Critical Evaluation: This strictly black and white graphic novel is rich with the history and political nature of Iran. Marjane gives the world a first hand account of how living during some of the most drastic changes in a country can shape someone’s childhood. Her graphic novel gives hope, but also an intimate understanding of Iran that cannot be gained anywhere else.

Reader’s Annotation: Persepolis is Marjane’s graphic novel of how she survived the turbulent Islamic Revolution in Iran. By describing her childhood, Marjane also reveals much about the rich history of Iran.

Author’s Information: Marjane Satrapi (Persian: مرجان ساتراپی) is an Iranian-born French contemporary graphic novelist, illustrator, animated film director, and children’s book author. Apart from her native tongue Persian, she speaks English, Swedish, German, French and Italian.

Satrapi grew up in Tehran in a family which was involved with communist and socialist movements in Iran prior to the Iranian Revolution. She attended the Lycée Français there and witnessed, as a child, the growing suppression of civil liberties and the everyday-life consequences of Iranian politics, including the fall of the Shah, the early regime of Ruhollah Khomeini, and the first years of the Iran-Iraq War. She experienced an Iraqi air raid and Scud missile attacks on Tehran. According to Persepolis, one Scud hit the house next to hers, killing her friend and entire family.

Satrapi’s family are of distant Iranian Azeri ancestry and are descendants of Nasser al-Din Shah, Shah of Persia from 1848 until 1896. Satrapi said that “But you have to know the kings of the Qajar dynasty, they had hundreds of wives. They made thousands of kids. If you multiply these kids by generation you have, I don’t know, 10-15,000 princes [and princesses]. There’s nothing extremely special about that.” She added that due to this detail, most Iranian families would be, in the words of Simon Hattenstone of The Guardian, “blue blooded.”

In 1983, at the age of 14 Satrapi was sent to Vienna, Austria by her parents in order to flee the Iranian regime. There she attended the Lycée Français de Vienne. According to her autobiographical graphic novel, Persepolis, she stayed in Vienna through her high school years, staying in friends’ homes, but spent three months living on the streets. After an almost deadly bout of pneumonia, she returned to Iran. She studied Visual Communication, eventually obtaining a Master’s Degree from Islamic Azad University in Tehran.

During this time, Satrapi went to numerous illegal parties hosted by her friends, where she met a man named Reza, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War. She married him at the age of 21, but divorced roughly three years later. Satrapi then moved to Strasbourg, France (Goodreads).

Genre: Nonfiction, Graphic Novel, Autobiography

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • At one point, Marjane’s own street is bombed. Have you ever come home to a major crisis or disaster like she did? How did it change you? 
  • Even when she is very young, Marjane is outspoken at all times. How does this help her and hurt her in the new Iran? What decision does it lead her parents to make?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 and Ages 15-18

Challenge Issues: Violence, Language

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Satrapi, M. (2000). Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. New York, New York: Pantheon. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood reveals the personal impact of the Islamic Revolution and Iran-Iraq war. The graphic novel shows the real devastation war can have on children and how it forces them to grow up early. But it also shows where there is perseverance, there is a way to survive.

Other recommendations like this book include: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by G.B. Tran, and Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned by Judd Winick.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • Harvey Awards for Best US Edition of Foreign Material (2004)
  • ALA Alex Award (2004)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

  • Reviews by Young Adults: N/A

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book: I chose this book because of its profound and firsthand view on the history of Iran. So often views of other countries are clouded by false media stories and agendas.

Paper Towns by John Green

51hgknew2bxl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Information: Paper Towns was published in 2008 by John Green, through the Penguin Group. ISBN: 978-0-525-47818-8

Plot Summary: Paper Towns is about a boy who loves a girl he’s known his whole life. Unfortunately, Margo fell in with a different crowd, causing them to have different friends and hobbies. Q is convinced Margo has even forgotten he existed. Then one night, Margo sneaks into his room, asking for Q to help her get revenge on everyone who has ever done her wrong. Q is then faced with a decision to either stay home to continue his ordinary life or embark on a one night adventure with his dream girl. But after the night is over, Margo disappears, leaving a trail of clues and a growing mystery behind her for Q to find. Q is left to wonder if he ever knew Margo at all.

Critical Evaluation: Paper Towns is a realistic view of what happens when a teen learns to separate his goals, high ideals, and dreams with what is actually happening around him. Paper Towns falls in line with all of his other novels that examine teen relationships through challenging times. His previous line of work as a children’s chaplin greatly shaped his perspectives of teens and how he writes them realistically. John Green composes an honest look into loving someone for who they really are instead of loving them for who we want them to be. His characters challenge the need for a happy ending and what it means to find yourself as a teenager.

Reader’s AnnotationOne night, after years of loving from afar, Q’s dream girl appears in his room, asking for his help. It isn’t until after she mysteriously disappears, does Q realize she might not be the girl he knew after all.

Author InformationJohn Green is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was the 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than 55 languages and over 24 million copies are in print. John is also an active Twitter user with more than 5 million followers.

John and Hank launched educational YouTube channel Crash Course in late 2011 with funding from YouTube’s original channel initiative. John, Hank, and a range of other hosts teach humanities and science courses to viewers, with multiple new series launching each year. World History, Literature, Economics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Government are just some of the courses available to date. Crash Course has over 4.6 million subscribers and 420 million views.

John and Hank are involved with a myriad of other video projects, including mental_floss video, The Art Assignment, SciShow, sexplanations, hankgames, and Healthcare Triage.
John’s book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Booklist, a wonderful book review journal where he worked as a publishing assistant and production editor while writing Looking for Alaska. John grew up in Orlando, Florida before attending Indian Springs School and then Kenyon College. He currently lives in Indianapolis with his wife, children, and Fireball Wilson Roberts, the family’s west highland terrier (John Green).

Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Adventure, Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  1. As Q built up Margo to be the ideal person in his head, how often do we build up other people in our own lives? Be they friends, love interests, or heroes, how many of the people we admire do we truly know?
  1. As Margo tried to fit into a life that wasn’t right for her, it’s true that everyone acts differently when they know people are watching. What is the most common aspect people change about themselves to make others like them?

Reading Level/Interest Age: Grades 9-12 (Scholastic) Ages 14-18 (Lexile)

Challenge Issues: Adult Language, Sexual Content, and Death

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Green, J. (2008). Paper Towns. New York, New York: The Penguin Group. Paper Towns was intended for an audience of the ages of 14-18. Paper Towns is about how Q gets to live the ultimate night with the one girl he’s been in love with since pre-school. But when she goes missing after that night Q discovers he might not have known her as well as he thought he did. Paper Towns offers a teen’s perspective on the high school pressures of social experiences and relationships and how those pressures can shape how teens see each other. Problems of the novel could include strong language and sexual content. Despite these challenged issues, Paper Towns offers a deep look at how teens perceive love and relationships with others. Alternative readings could include: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford, Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards:

  • Winner, The Edgar Award
  • An ALA BBYA title
  • A Booklist Editor’s Choice title
  • An SLJ Best Book of the Year
  • A VOYA Editor’s Choice title
  • An Amazon Top Ten Books for Teens title
  • A Chicago Public Library’s Best Books title
  • An NYPL Book for the Teen Age

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

Selection Tools:

Why I picked it for the collection:

I chose Paper Towns for its compelling look at what it means to truly know someone. Q believes he loves Margo, but what does that really mean? Paper Towns is a realistic look at romantic relationships, where ending up with the dream girl might not be the best thing that happens to Q.

Othello by William Shakespeare

cvr9780743482820_9780743482820_hrInformation: Othello by William Shakespeare was published in 2004 by Simon and Schuster. The original play was published in 1603. ISBN: 0743477553

Plot Summary: The play Othello, is about the love between Othello and Desdemona. Othello is a Moor from an exotic land and Desdemona is a Venetian lady. They have many differences, including race, background, and age, but they both love each other nonetheless. One of Othello’s men hates him for his success and wishes to destroy everything in his life, starting with his love for Desdemona. Iago sets a dark plan in motion to play on Othello’s suspicion and jealousy, to make him think his wife is having an affair. Despite their strong marriage, Othello is overcome with jealousy and is refusing to believe Desdemona. Now Othello must deal with his mistrust as Iago continues his terrible plan to destroy him.

Critical Evaluation: The play Othello is warning for those not to let jealous overrule relationships and situations. Jealousy can make things appear differently than they really are. It is also a warning against overconfidence. Othello had everything in the palm of his hand and he let it all go because he wasn’t able to see beyond himself. Instead he believed the whispers and lies and refused to hear Desdemona’s truth.

Reader’s Annotation: Iago is jealous of Othello’s success, so to ruin him, Iago uses jealousy against Othello to destroy his marriage. After falling for his ploy, Othello must decide what to do with a wife he cannot trust.

Author’s Information: William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “The Bard”). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. Scholars believe that he died on his fifty-second birthday, coinciding with St George’s Day.
At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others (Goodreads).

Genre: Fiction, Plays, Classic

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  1. Does not trusting someone mean to not love them?
  2. Do you think there was a less destructive plan that Iago could have used?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades: 9-12 and Ages 15-18

Challenge Issues: Violence, Language

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Shakespeare, W. (2004). Othello. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster. While this play was not written for high school students, it is now required that most high schools at least read two Shakespeare plays before graduating. Othello has strong themes that are still relatable to the relationships of today’s high school students.

Other recommendations like this book include: Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, Fences by August Wilson, and Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards: N/A

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

  • Reviews by Young Adults: N/A

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book:

I chose this play because out of all the Shakespeare plays, Othello has one of the most relatable plots. You don’t have to be married or in a relationship to have experienced jealousy or its destruction.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

9781419702167_s3Information: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf was published in 2012 by Harry N. Abrams. ISBN: 1419702173

Plot Summary: My Friend Dahmer is a graphic novel that tells the high school life of Jeffrey Dahmer before he became a serial killer, from the point of view of someone who went to school with him. Derf recalls his few memories of Dahmer and what he learned of him after high school to piece together how someone he knew could have become a serial killer. Derf describes memories of family, friends, teachers, and the townspeople he remembers having contact with Dahmer. He examines how he was treated and how Dahmer treated others, trying to figure out if there were really any warning signs for Dahmer’s future behavior.

Critical Evaluation: My Friend Dahmer is a black and white graphic novel that visualizes the few memories Derf had with Jeffrey Dahmer. Surprisingly, the dark cartoon like picture help ease the harsh topic, but does not take away from the seriousness of the subject. Instead Derf explores the psychological aspects of what makes kids become the adults that they are.

Reader’s Annotation: My Friend Dahmer is a graphic novel where Derf recalls his few memories with Jeffrey Dahmer, trying to piece together how someone could become a serial killer.

Author’s Information: The writer-artist, who works out of an unheated, attic studio in his Cleveland home, grew up in a rural, small town in Ohio, an experience that was the inspiration for his graphic novels TRASHED, PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS and the international bestseller, MY FRIEND DAHMER.

An art school dropout, Derf worked on a garbage truck before deciding to give cartooning a try. He attended Ohio State University on a journalism scholarship, where he drew political cartoons for the school paper for three years and caused such controversy school officials put a 1-year limit on all future cartoonists. After graduation, he landed a similar position on a paper in South Florida but was fired after two years for, as the editor put it, “general tastelessness.” He moved to Cleveland and THE CITY comic strip debuted in the now-defunct Cleveland Edition in 1990. A year later, he began selling it to other alternative papers. The strip appeared in over 140 publications during it’s 20-plus years, including The Village Voice, Chicago Reader and The Los Angeles Reader. THE CITY was retired in 2013 so Derf could concentrate on books (About Derf).

Genre: Nonfiction, Graphic Novel

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Derf wonders if there was anything he could have done to help Dahmer. Was there? Or was Dahmer’s fate unpreventable?
  • Was there anyone responsible for Dahmer’s outcome? Or is everyone just responsible for themselves?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 and Ages 15-18

Challenge Issues: Violence, Language, Homosexuality

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Backderf, D. (2012). My Friend Dahmer. New York, New York: Harry N. Abrams. This book is part of the collection for its discussion on bullying and isolation of high school students. It is a valuable lesson to learn that not everything is a joke and that everyone deserves to have help when needed.

Other recommendations like this book include: The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, and Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • 2013 ALA/YALSA Alex Award
  • 2014 Revelation Award at Angoulême
  • 2015 ALA/YALSA Alex Award (Excellence in Narrative Nonfiction)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

  • Reviews by Young Adults: N/A

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book:

I chose this book for the unique way it delivers its message as a graphic novel. I think a lot of people go through traumatic things through high school and need ways of working out the memories as an adult. My Friend Dahmer is one of the best examples of how this can be done in a healthy and creative way.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

61vtxjtnosl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Information: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness was published in 2011 by Walker Books. ISBN: 1406311529

Plot Summary: Connor has been waiting for something bad to happen. He has terrible nightmares and he knows one day they are going to come true. But then one night, just after midnight, a massive tree like monster comes calling. The monster wasn’t what he had expected at all. Connor’s mom has been sick for a long time and now things have taken a turn for the worst. On top of it all, Connor has a monster appearing to him at night, telling him three stories and demanding Connor tell him the fourth. All Connor wants is for this ancient monster to heal his mom, but the monster wants an even more impossible thing from Connor. He wants the truth. Now Connor must decide whether or not he is brave enough to face his inner truth– his very nightmare.

Critical Evaluation: A Monster Calls is a fantasy retelling of a boy going through grief and loss. So much happens in the mind when it is under stress that as unbelievable as it is for a boy to have a monster visit him at night, it is also equally believable for a young boy like Connor to be convinced that what he’s seeing is real. Ness managed to take the pain and grief of loss and turn into this incredible creature and experience, that even though it wasn’t real, it was still relatable.

Reader’s Annotation: After a series of terrible nightmares and desperate wishes for his mom to get better, an ancient monster comes calling to Connor, demanding his most inner truth.  

Author’s InformationPatrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London (Goodreads).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Would the impact of A Monster Calls have been lessened if Ness had ever used the word “cancer?” Why or why not?
  • Do you think Conor handles his mother’s illness well? Why or why not?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 6-8 (Scholastic) and Ages 13-16

Challenge Issues: Grief, Loss, Violence, Death

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Ness, P. (2011). A Monster Calls. New York, New York: Walker Books.

A Monster Calls presents a very real situation for many kids and people in a very manageable way. The novel opens up a discussion about grief, loss, and the anger those things can cause. Other recommendations like this book include: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd, The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey, and Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Young Adult Literature (2011)
  • Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Novel (2011)
  • Carnegie Medal (2012)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book: I chose this book for the beautiful way it details working through grief and loss. It is an important discussion to have as many, like Connor, don’t know how to talk about the pain and anger they are experiencing.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

lockandkey-newInformation: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen was published in 2008 by Viking’s Children’s Books. ISBN: 067001088X

Plot Summary: Lock and Key is about seventeen year old Ruby, who ends up living with her older sister and her husband because Ruby’s mother has disappeared again. Ruby thought she was doing well, living on her own in their trash filled house, but once the landlords found out her mom was gone, no one would believe her. Now Ruby has to get used to living with his sister’s rules that require her to go to school and follow curfew. Not used to being taken care of, Ruby and her sister clash constantly. But once Ruby realizes her mom isn’t planning on coming back to get her, Ruby discovers family secrets that her mother never intended for her to know.

Critical Evaluation: This novel is a prime example of how hard it is for some to ask for help. Ruby is convinced she is fine living on her own and it isn’t until she sees someone in the same situation, that she finally realizes how much help she actually needed. Sarah Dessen writes heartfelt literature for teens, addressing their deepest vulnerabilities. Lock and Key is a relatable story for anyone struggling with feeling on their own or unable to ask for help.

Reader’s Annotation: After being forced to move in with her sister, Ruby now has to adjust to being taken care of. But when one of her new neighbors is going through a hard time with his family, she realizes just how important it is to ask for help.

Author’s Information: Sarah Dessen is one of the most popular writers for young adults. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold more than nine million copies. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine. Visit her online at www.sarahdessen.com (Penguin Books).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Chick Lit Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Why was it so hard for Ruby and Nate to ask for help? Were they for different reasons?
  • What do you think happened when Ruby’s mom got the letter? Do you think it would be healthy for Ruby to confront her mom?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 and Ages 15-18

Challenge Issues: Language, Drinking, Drugs

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  

Rationale

Dessen, S. (2008). Lock and Key. New York, New York: Viking’s Children’s Books. Sarah Dessen is one of the most popular authors for young adults. She writes specifically for young adults, by addressing their deepest problems and issues. Lock and Key explores the vulnerability of asking for help and having the responsibility of being an adult before one is ready to.

Other recommendations like this book include:North of Beautiful by Justina Chen, Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson, and Sweethearts by Sara Zarr.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards

  • Iowa High School Book Award Nominee (2011)
  • Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee (2011)

Reconsideration Form

Reviews

Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book:

I chose this book because it’s a compelling read with a little bit mystery mixed in with the drama and the romance. I think this novel addresses the important needs for high school teenagers.