High School


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I’ve read some passionately written posts in which the blogger gets very upset about the fact that grown women are devouring Young Adult literature. Oh my. And many of them are mothers, no less. It’s scandalous! My teenage daughter would describe those kinds of people as ‘judgy’. We don’t like when people are judgy. We like to read what we want, and we like to share stories with each other. If she doesn’t think it’s weird to read the same novels as her already weird novelist mother, then why would I complain? I write my novels for the future adult in her, so the least I can do is read the ones she already loves right now. Here are five of our favorites:

  • Walk Two Moons: Sharon Creech books always require a tissue. Any time my daughter reads a book and says, “Mom, you have to read this,” I know it has touched her. She read this one in fifth or sixth grade and it is the ultimate in mother-daughter novels, featuring mystery, intriguing characters, and a protagonist with a big heart.
  • The Outsiders: We both follow S.E. Hinton on Twitter because we absolutely love The Outsiders. She started reading it even before she knew it was my favorite, so that makes it even more special. It is timeless and will give you much to talk about with your daughter concerning social barriers, friendship, and growing up. In fact, when my daughter connected to this book and was able to talk about its deeper themes, I knew she really was growing up.
  • Never Been Kissed: This novel is not to be confused with the movie. Author Melody Carlson knows what teenagers are thinking and my daughter is the one that told me I should read it. It’s a good one for discussing what kinds of things can happen involving teenage relationships and the dangers and mishaps of teens navigating the digital world.
  • Diary of a Teenage Girl: Becoming Me: This is another one by Melody Carlson and is a must-read for mothers and daughters. This one deals with some very grown-up choices and the price of choosing friends for the wrong reason. It could give you and your daughter a way to broach the subject of boys, because we can’t ignore this important part of our daughter’s lives.
  • The Fault In Our Stars: If you haven’t heard of it, then you really have been living under that rock your teenager might already think you live under anyway. This one has deep themes, and because it deals with cancer and some light sexuality, it’s a good one to read and discuss. Kids love this story because deep down it is a love story and it has intense moments of joy in the midst of trouble. Moms love it because what happens in the book reflects our biggest fears for our children, and you will love the mom and dad in this book. Author John Green has to be a parent to have such insight.


tina ann forknerGuest contributor Tina Ann Forkner is a Women’s Fiction writer and the author of the novel, Waking Up Joy, which releases October 8 and is available for preorder now.  She is also the author of Rose House and Ruby Among Us. Tina makes her home in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her husband, three teenagers, and two spoiled dogs. Learn more at www.tinaannforkner.com.




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Joy School by Elizabeth Berg

I’ve read Elizabeth Berg’s fiction for adults and a writing book she wrote. I enjoy her voice and her characters. Brilliance audio released her novel Joy School on audiobook late last year. I didn’t realize it was a Young Adult book until I started listening, but I feel like I enjoyed the sort of coming-of-age story as much or more as the target audience would. Fourteen-year-old Katie Nash is an interesting character. Her dad is in the military, so she’s recently moved and isn’t sure where she fits in at school. Her uncertainties and desire to find her niche come through loud and clear. Her uncertainties about herself are amplified, because her mother has passed away, and so there are things that she has trouble
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Just Call My Name

I read I’ll Be There to get up to speed on the characters whose story continues in Holly Goldberg Sloan’s new book Just Call My Name. The first book was fine. The characters certainly intrigued me, but I wasn’t 100% wowed. Wanting to follow the characters, and especially knowing there was another book hat was going to continue the story kept me reading. This book had a stronger pacing than the first one. Maybe it’s just because the scene was set, and I already knew the characters and the situation. The characters each had a lot of growth during this novel, and new characters were introduced as well. The background from the first novel that led into the story is this: Seventeen-year-old Emily is singing
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Subway Love

Jonas is struggling through a summer in NYC. It’s kind of hot, he’s kind of bored, and he’s ticked off at his dad who left his mom for another woman. Laura is struggling a bit too. Her older brother is a total hippie, rebelling against authority, using mind-altering drugs. Her mother has shacked up with a guy closer to her brother’s age than her own. Her parents are divorced too, so she spends time commuting between her mom’s home in Woodstock and her Dad’s apartment in NYC. Jonas and Laura meet on the subway one day, but they are truly star-crossed lovers. They have to hurdle time and space and schedules and brothers and friends to be together, not to mention the pleas of a
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Deep Blue

I frequently enjoy YA books, as they may be meant for teenagers but still appeal to the kid in me, too. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly felt more like a book that needs a teenage girl to truly appreciate it. This first book in the Waterfire series is set under the ocean and features the world of mermaids. Serafina is the princess of Miromara, and she is getting ready to celebrate her Dokimi, which is a series of tests that prove that she is ready to take on the mantle of ruler one day once her mother dies – as this is a matrilineal society and the men don’t rule. It is also when her betrothal to a prince from another kingdom will become official. In
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The Revealed

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Me and You

Lorenzo is a 14-year-old boy. He’s a bit of a misfit, and though his parents support him, they wish he would make more friends. He’s been under the care of a therapist trying to help him reach out (I think he’s somewhere mildly on the spectrum). He himself vacillates between being happy on his own and wanting to fit in with the others at school. This desire to fit in causes him to fantasize about tagging along on the ski trip he hears the popular kids talking about. He voices the fantasy to his mom, which results in a spiraling lie that ends up with him spending the ski week hiding out alone in the basement of his building. He’s an only child, sort of.
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Happy to Be Alive, Because

Avery has a summer to remember. It doesn’t start off that way, far from it. During her senior year in high school, her mom got cancer. When she passed away, Avery was lost. Her mother is all she has, and all the plans she made in her last year of high school — like staying at the local community college after she graduates — were all made so she could help care for her mother. After receiving yet another casserole from a well-meaning friends, she feels like she has to get away. When she finds some tickets and a travel itinerary for a trip her mother hoped to take with her to her hometown on the beach. Avery decides to take the trip alone in
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Love and Other Foreign Words, a 5-Star Read

Josie is a precocious 16-year-old girl. She loves languages, and she’s become an expert at all of the languages she hears each day: her best friend Stu speak (even Stu Chewing), those of her volleyball teammates at school, the college kids she sees each day in her Early College Program, sisters, fiancees, parents and more. The word most on her mind is love. Her older sister Kate says she’s in love, but Josie knows Geoffrey Stephen Brill is not right for her. She can’t be in love with him. Kate, he’s the single most uninteresting person in the world. You’re not really going to marry him, are you? Is this a delayed rebellion? Is this the boyfriend you should have had when you were sixteen
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5 YA Books to Read to Get Ready for the Movies, 2014 {Friday’s Five}

The Fault in Our Stars – June 6 There’s been a lot of talk in the #kidlit world about the fact that John Green’s book isn’t the only popular, well-written, well-reviewed YA book out there, but to listen to mainstream press, you might think it is. No, it’s not. It’s good, and he’s good, and I think the movie will be good, so it definitely belongs on this list. The movie comes out first, so I’m including it at the top of the list. I think that people will want to pick up the book after they see it, but I’m urging you to go ahead and take a couple of days and read it before you see it. Or not. I don’t really care
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Why Adults,Teens, and John Green are excited about The Fault in Stars movie #TFIOS

I’m excited about The Fault in Our Stars movie, are you? I am glad that I reviewed the book way back in 2012 before it was all the rage, though John Green was a popular YA author before this blockbuster of a book. My 15 1/2 year old daughter Amanda got to be a part of a phone interview with John Green. Hearing his excitement about the movie is contagious. He was honest and humorous: I would tell you if it sucked. Well, actually probably they probably wouldn’t let me do this call if it sucked. But, no, it really was, it was so special. I was just ridiculously lucky. This was one of the pictures that was released that got Amanda really excited, and
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Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival

Though Anne Frank’s personal story is likely the best known tale of hiding from the Nazis during World War II, hers was one of many. Too many to even imagine. Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis have worked to gather and share more accounts from Jewish people who survived this terrible time hiding in the Netherlands, which was occupied by the Germans during the war. Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival is a challenging read, filled with emotion and horror, but with reminders of human kindness and bravery. In the foreword, it is stated that about 28,000 Jews went into hiding in the Netherlands, with about 16,000 ultimately surviving, while the other roughly 12,000 were caught or betrayed. The stories included in this collection tell of
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