Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February Reader's Advisory Challenge Pick - Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta by Rachel Cohn
Published Oct. 16, 2012 by Hyperion 
The island of Demesne is a retreat away from the harsh realities of a world changed by global warming and wars fought over water supplies. The wealthy citizens who live there use clones as servants and companions. Elysia is a teen clone who is purchased by the wife of the governor to fill the emotional role of daughter and sister in the family. As a clone, Elysia should not be able to feel human emotions, but as time goes on, she realizes that she not only feels things she shouldn't, she also has memories from her First, the person she was cloned from. This puts her in a dangerous position.
What I liked:
There wasn't very much that I liked about this story, to be honest. It felt very derivative of many other books and I didn't connect with any of the characters. Add in a seriously problematic plot twist, and this wasn't a personal favorite of mine.
Reader’s Advisory Challenge
Science Fiction is the genre I read for February. It covers a huge amount in terms of sub genres (dystopians and steampunk to name a couple) and honestly, I find it all a bit confusing. The rule of thumb I'd always heard for SF was that if it could eventually come true due to scientific advancement (living on space ships or inside biodomes or something), it's science fiction.  If you add in a paranormal element, it ceases to be SF and becomes fantasy. That's a pretty simplistic explanation, but it makes sense to me.
Kelly and Kimberly at Stacked wrote a great blog post about the genre and included a ton of recommended titles.
The Andre Norton Awards are given to the best science fiction and fantasy titles in YA.
I'll be back next month with a pick for High Fantasy!

Click to read more about the Reader's Advisory Challenge.

January's Reader Advisory Challenge Pick - The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba Bray



Set in the heady days before the Great Depression, The Diviners is a feast for the senses.  There are flappers, Ziegfeld girls, Bolsheviks, and artists in Harlem. Add in the occult, government conspiracies, and young people with mysterious gifts, and you've got Libba Bray's latest creation. 

What I liked:

I felt like I was dropped into the middle of 1920s New York CIty. It's obvious that Libba Bray did a lot of research when writing this book, and the level of detail appealed to me because I felt like I was learning something as I was being entertained. And horrified. 

Reader's Advisory Challenge

I chose Horror as the genre I was going to read for January. The Diviners defies categorization, and could fall under a lot of genre headings. To me, that is one of its strengths. But horror is definitely a genre label I would apply to it. It's creepy and there is a serial killer, and blood, and murder.

However, I would still say it's Horror Lite. So, if you're a half-chicken like me when it comes to scary books and movies, you'll probably do okay with this one. Total chickens might want to avoid.

If you want more detailed reviews, check out these links and everything will be jake: 

Someday My Printz Will Come 

Reading Rants 

Other recent YA horror titles you might enjoy: 

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

I'll be back in February with my Science Fiction pick!

Reader’s Advisory Challenge for 2013

As a Young Adult Librarian, I try to read what teens are reading so that I can assist them when they are in my library looking for new books to check out. However, for the last year I have been on a committee that focused my reading all on nonfiction for teens. As a result, I feel I’ve missed some great reads that were published in 2011 and 2012. 
So, for each month of 2013, I will read a 2011 or 2012 YA book in a (sub)genre or format that I normally shy away from. I want to branch out beyond my comfort zone. Here is my plan of action: 
January - Horror
February - Science Fiction
March - High Fantasy
April - Mystery
May - Verse Novel
June - Realistic / Contemporary
July - Historical Fiction
August - Graphic Novel or comic
September - Romance
October - Dystopian
November - Steampunk
December - Humor
After I read each month’s selection, I will post a review here. If you want to play along, please do! I’ll be tagging all my posts with #rac13.