Best YA Winter Reads

Winterkill: Winterkill Series by Kate A. Boorman

When the revered leader of her settlement, a dark, isolated land with merciless winters and puritanical rulers, asks Emmeline for her hand in marriage it is a rare opportunity, but not only does she love another man, she cannot ignore dreams that urge her into the dangerous and forbidden woods that took her grandmother’s life and her family’s reputation.

The afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year old Holly Chase was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she had become. They tried their hardest to convince her to change her ways. She didn’t. And then she died. Now she’s working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge- as their newest ghost of Christmas past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year it might be different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything… This YA re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a humorous and moving novel about life, love and seizing second chances. 

Winter of the Gods (Olympus Bound #2) by Jordana Max Brodsky

Myth and reality collide in this sequel to The Immortals that sets Greek Gods against a modern Manhattan backdrop. Manhattan has many secrets, some of which are even older than the city itself. Winter in New York: snow falls, lights twinkle, and an extremely disgruntled Selene DiSilva explores the streets, looking for prey. When a body is discovered on top of Wall Street’s iconic Charging Bull statue, it’s clear the NYPD can’t solve the murder without help. While raising fundamental questions about the very existence of the gods, Selene must hunt down the culprits, tracking a conspiracy that will test the bonds of loyalty and love.

This post was created by Toby Tilley. Toby is a 10th Grader at the United Nations International School and loves playing soccer with his friends!

Family Matters

Many people have a picturesque vision of what family gatherings during the holidays are supposed to be like. A family loving each other unconditionally while gathering around a table to be thankful for each other. As heartwarming as that vision may be, that is not always the case. Every family comes in different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and goes through their own obstacles. At the end of the obstacles, some families come together, and others do not. Here’s a selection of fiction and non-fiction young adult books that are themed around the unique makeup of different families. 

Three Dark Crowns By Kendare Blake

In this book, readers find out what happens when the king and queen of a mystical land give birth to triplets. How does a kingdom determine who is to be the royal heir with three firstborn daughters eligible for the crown? Have them fight to the death, of course! When they turn 16, these three girls with special powers are raised together to one day kill the other two for the crown.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

When a child named August is born with a disability, one sees throughout the book how it affects the people around him, especially his family and classmates. The reader gets to see from not only from August’s perspective in each chapter but from the other people in his life. 

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Fourteen-year-old Audrey is struggling with an anxiety disorder that resulted from the bullying she endured in high school. Her family consists of her suffocating and overprotective mother, quiet father, unapologetically sarcastic older brother, and adorable little brother. Kinsella does a great job focusing on how Audrey’s diagnosis and prognosis affect family dynamics. 

Where The Stars Still Shine By Trish Doller

What happens when you are abducted by your mentally unstable mother at five years old and then sent back to your father at seventeen? This is Callie’s reality. She is forced to find normalcy when she has no idea what that might be. She has to make a new home, new life, and new family after years on the run with her mom.

By Elbie Love
Young Adult Library Associate

Halloween Horror Reads for Teens

There is no better way to get into the Halloween spirit then to borrow some Horror-themed YA reads for FREE at the Hoboken Public Library. Below are four suggested reads that are great for Halloween, Day of the Dead, and all year round. If you like to feel the anxiety and adrenaline that comes with being a little scared at home, CHECK OUT these awesome reads!

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
by Gwenda Bond

Stranger Things Suspicious Minds

The hit thriller Netflix series has a prequel!!! In the series, we are familiar with curious characters like Eleven. Like most things in the series, Eleven’s past is still a mystery. This book investigates Eleven’s mother’s past and the moments that set things in motion for the original series. The author, Gwenda Bond, makes the story her own with respect to the show by introducing new characters and following along with the original story. If you are a fan of Stranger Things, this is the book for you.

Theme: Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery, Horror

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline

Leaving your friends and moving away is tough, and there are no siblings to bother in Caroline’s case. She is not afraid to tell her parents that it was not fair that they had to move. But her parents do not care to acknowledge it or her for that matter. She is the only kid in the building of weird neighbors like Mr. Bobo, the mouse trainer, and Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, the building’s fortune-tellers. Even they could not keep boredom away. She counted the windows and the doors to fill in time but stumbles on a small door in the wall. This door happens to open to another dimension where the “other mother” lived. The other mother was the replica of her birth mother, except she gave her the attention she craved, and she had the TWO BLACK BUTTONS for eyes. The reader can get a virtual taste of the story’s setting through the black and white illustrations sporadically throughout the book. Coraline could not wait to go through the door and hang out with her “other mother and father.” But the day came when the “other mother” asked her to stay with her at the price of letting her sew buttons into Coraline’s eyes. Coraline escapes, the other mother is not happy, and kidnaps her birth parents. What can Coraline do now?  You can also borrow the movie adaptation

Theme: Paranormal, Horror, Graphic Novels

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenJacob grew up listening to his grandfather, Abraham’s, stories. He told stories of surviving monsters of human and mystical forms during World War II. Jacob always looked up to him, but as he grew into a teenager, he started to doubt his grandfather’s stories where true. When his grandfather is found brutally murdered, he ventures out to the island setting of his grandfather’s stories to find out more about him and his death. He stumbles upon to an orphanage of children with peculiar abilities. There is a boy with bees in of him and a floating girl which are displayed in old fashioned style pictures throughout the book. Little did he know was that his presence made the children valuable to the murderous monster’s that lark in the shadows.  A movie adaptation is also available.

Theme: Orphanages, Mystery, Supernatural, Monsters

Thornhill by Pam Smy

Thornhill

The Thornhill orphanage intertwines the lives of two girls. Mary was a mistreated orphan of Thornhill 35 years before Ella moved into the neighborhood. How do they connect all those years apart? The secret is a diary and dolls! In this book of traditional text and haunting grayscale illustrations, the reader cannot help but wonder what became of Mary and if she wants Ella to join her.

Theme: Bullying, Orphanages, Ghosts, Supernatural

By Elbie A. Love
Young Adult Library Associate

All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, is a bittersweet, heart-pulling book about two teenagers. Theodore Finch (commonly called Theodore “Freak” Finch) is an outgoing, restless artist who is suicidal. Violet Markey is a popular girl who survived a car crash that killed her older sister. When Violet and Finch meet each other, Finch must talk Violet out of jumping off the bell tower. When Finch chooses Violet for a school project, they fall in love. Through the highs and lows of having a relationship this complicated, Finch and Violet care about each other and nothing can break that love.

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year (along with Dear Evan Hansen and Jane, Unlimited) because it expresses love and transformation. It helps me to imagine Finch as an ecosystem that guides Violet through adaptation. My favorite part is when Violet and Finch sit in his closet, and Finch has a whole display ready for Violet. It gives you the lovely thought that they have gotten so much farther in life than they thought they would. I recommend this book to any age who wants to read or learn more about change and undeniable, heartwarming love.

Caroline is a twelve-year-old student from Hoboken who likes to write A LOT! some of the things she likes to do besides write is sing, paint, and play basketball.

Spider Man: Far From Home Review

Spider-Man: Far From Home is the newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU for short). Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man is a sixteen-year-old who was bitten by a radioactive spider and giver the powers of a spider. He then takes on the responsibility of looking after the crime-ridden streets of New York City. In the first movie of the newest Spider-Man franchise starring Tom Holland, Peter meets Tony Stark, a.k.a. Ironman, and joins the Avengers, a group of superheroes who fight off the supernatural. In the events of Avengers: Endgame, Tony gives up his life in order to save half of the universe that was wiped out, but that’s a different story. In the new movie, Peter is faced with the challenge of protecting Earth while attempting to fill the shoes of Tony. However, Peter must also deal with the challenges of a class trip, a girl he likes, and trying to be a normal teenager. 

The movie has an interesting plot and is thoroughly enjoyable. The story is presented in a way that will have you both laughing and crying by the time the movie has ended. Not only does Peter pretend to be a European Spider-Man knock-off called Night Monkey, but he also has to cope with his grief over Tony’s passing. Spider-Man learns independence, how to deal with grief, and that Back in Black is not a Black Sabbath song. Overall I give this movie a B+. 

Want to check out some Spider-Man graphic novels before seeing the latest movie? Come to the Hoboken Public Library for great selections like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, The Amazing Spider-Man: Amazing Grace, and Amazing Spider-Man. Venom Inc.

Written by: Annie McGraw

What is the shocking secret at the heart of We Were Liars?

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is about a New England family who lives on their private island off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. “No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure,” are three lies, the first of many, that the book presents. The narrator, Cadence Sinclair, describes her summer filled pain while being surrounded by her family’s addictions, deaths, and tragedies that affect everyone. Cadence is a girl who has been broken and has been trying to put the pieces of her life back together. The raw emotions that her family feels are covered up by their politeness. The secret that is revealed at the center of the book is more shocking than most readers could imagine.

After reading this book in 8th grade, I told all my friends about it and lent it to them. Each week in 8th grade, we had to read one book and then write an essay regarding our thoughts on the book as well as how we could relate to the characters. Every week, We Were Liars was always signed out at the library because one of my friends was reading it. We all really enjoyed this book because of the captivating story. This thrilling book is original and like no other. I quickly finished the book as I kept turning page after page way after my bedtime. Knowing the ending of the book makes you want to tell everyone but seeing their faces after reading it is an even better feeling. If you are into a quick novel that still has a great story, I highly recommend this book.

You can search for We Were Liars on the BCCLS catalog at the Hoboken Public Library.

Written by: Bianca Pino. Bianca recently graduated from the Norte Dame School of Manhattan. She is a life-long user of the Hoboken Public Library and enjoys creating art, playing soccer, and watching movies in her free time.

A Powerful YA Biography About Overcoming Trauma

Moving halfway across the world was hard enough as Chessy Prout, a freshman at boarding school, experienced one of the most intruding actions on the human body, sexual assault. I was inspired to write about I Have The Right To after reading it in school and having Chessy Prout come and speak to my classmates and I about her experience. This book includes difficult content but it motivated many people around the country to understand what consent really means. Because of Chessy’s young age, it helps young adults and teens to connect with her. In the memoir, Prout describes her childhood growing up in Japan doing the same activities that I remember doing such as riding my scooter and playing Just Dance on the Wii. I enjoyed the story because it was non-fiction and because it was from her point of view.

Now at Barnard, Chessy was able to come to my school and I was able to get my book signed. I admired her strength and bravery while going through the legal process. After a victory over her perpetrator, she still must live with this awful experience.  Although this is a memoir about a horrific event, it looks at schools and institutions that turn a “blind eye” to such behavior and how society (most of the time) blames the victim rather than the perpetrator. Learning about her tough experience and how brave she was to report her assault made me unable to put the book down. Prepare yourself to be inspired by Chessy and her story of survival, advocacy, and hope after facing tremendous trauma.

I Have The Right To by Chessy Prout is available on the BCCLS Catalog.

Written by: Bianca Pino. Bianca recently graduated from the Norte Dame School of Manhattan. She is a life-long user of the Hoboken Public Library and enjoys creating art, playing soccer, and watching movies in her free time.