2012 The Maze Runner

2012 Winner - The Maze Runner
 by James Dashner

My name is Thomas. That's all I can remember. I ask them: Where am I? They tell me: Nowhere good. 

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lifts doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade--a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up--the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the strange secrets buried within his mind.

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Good friends Matt, Coop and Sean always set themselves a goal each summer. They have never failed to reach their goal. This year, their agreed-upon goal is to see a real, live naked girl/woman before the end of the summer. This does not go as smoothly as they had expected, and you might wonder how powerful laxatives, cross-dressing, projectile vomiting, and learning to swim the 100-yard butterfly race from a sadistic German swim instructor to impress the new girl on the swim team might relate to this goal. Wonder no more! By the time you are done snorting snot out of your nose from laughing without warning, absorbing all of Coop's crass yet hilarious metaphors and talk--Finally, the guys hit their goal. It's not, however, like anything they wanted: They would give their whole allowance to burn it out of their mind.

Don Calame was a screenwriter who worked on various Disney films, so he knows how to create scenes where the dialogue is realistic, clever and crackling with life. While this rapid-fire book is spewing gross-outs, you will also find the sweet center with the three boys who share a true friendship. Find a place where you have privacy, so you don't get buried with ugly looks from people wondering why you keep complaining your stomach hurts from laughing so hard.

Swim the Fly also has a sequel with a new goal for the three friends!

Booktalk by Michael Fleming, Teacher Librarian
Pacific Cascade Middle School Library

Don Calame tells you "what THEY don't want you to know" about his book. Share "valuable life lessons" with your booktalk audience (for example: mixing Clamatto and chocolate milk is a bad idea) in this book trailer.

If I Stay by Gale Forman

Mia isn't alive, but she's not quite dead yet either. The last thing she remembers is her parents' dead bodies and the paramedics. Now Mia is in a coma, and as the parade of visitors and mourners flood past her unconscious body, Mia must decide if life is worth returning to when the people she most loves are gone.

Booktalk by Jackie Parker, Teen Librarian
Sno-Isle Regional Library System

If I Stay 
by Gale Forman

 - Booktalk #2

Mia's life was taking shape. She had a caring family, a loving family, and a bright future at Juilliard. But it all changed. The accident. The hospital. With her whole family dead, Mia walks the space between life and death. Her body may never be the same. So with everything gone, will Mia let go?

Or will she stay?

Booktalk by Maddie Smitt, teen reviewer

Penguin Young Readers has crafted a compelling book trailer that would be easy to adapt into a booktalk.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

"Some loves are meant to be; others are cursed." 

Ethan Wate is practically counting the days until he can escape Gatlin, a small Southern town where everyone knows and has an opinion on everyone else's business. That is until he meets Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams...literally.

A new girl at school is automatically big news, but Lena draws extra attention because she is the niece of Gatlin's very own Boo Radley: Macon Ravenwood. The students, egged on by their small-minded parents, assume Lena is a freak and immediately target her. Ethan, however, is utterly drawn to Lena and braves the wild storms that seem to follow her and creepy Ravenwood Manor in order to be with her. Their connection is immediate, intense, and magical. But, their relationship seems doomed before it can even start. Lena, a caster, is also counting days. But, her countdown leads to potential darkness not freedom. A curse that began generations ago, in the violence of the Civil War, threatens to tear them apart and put all of their loved ones in danger.

Booktalk by Kirsten Gunn, Teacher-Librarian
Highline High School Library

LittleBrown books has a book trailer here

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Terra Rose is gorgeous. She works hard to keep it that way. That is, if you don't look at the "port-wine" colored stain that is the birthmark on the left side of her face. She is really tired of people staring at that side of her. She is tired of her controlling father, and she is tired of her perfect boyfriend. In walks (or rides through a car accident) Jacob, a Goth Chinese boy with a cleft palate. Terra and her mother travel to China to meet Terra's brother and track down Jacob's birth mother. Terra's father is a cartographer, [prop idea / questions to ask: picture bringing out books of maps--which will chart a simple journey, a map of your love, a map of your relationships?] which runs throughout the book--finding a place in life, in romance, in your personal journey, in love, and in your own voice.

North of Beautiful is a complex novel that asks the reader to become involved.

Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Teacher-Librarian emeritus

North of Beautiful
 by Justina Chen Headley 

- Booktalk #2

"My dad calls me jolie laide. That's French for "pretty ugly." My mom says "You'll be beautiful one day," as she's paying for yet another laser surgery to heal my scar. It doesn't work. It never does. 

Jacob sees me through the port wine stain. Jacob with his own scars. This boy throws my plans totally off the map. 

Can I learn to see me as Jacob sees me? Am I ready to?

If you've ever hated how you look. If you've ever thought the people who say, "oh, the only beauty that matters is what's inside" were lying like a rug. And if you've ever wondered how that could possibly change, you'll want to read Terra's story

We Were Here by Matt De La Pena

Imagine you are in a sleeping bag that is closed over your head, locked, and made of Kevlar. Would you be strong enough to break free? That is similar to the strength that a moth needs to emerge from a cocoon. That is nature's way of making sure the moth is strong enough to fly before it is set free.

In the book We Were Here by Matt de la Pena the main character, Miguel, must use all his determination to work through memories and emotions that keep him in a cocoon of denial. He and two unlikely companions escape from a juvenile detention home in California. Their goal is to start a new life in Mexico, but our main character's real journey is in his soul. This moving adventure story is like an urban version of John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men which brings the reader closer to the true meaning of friendship and freedom. 

Booktalk by Kathleen Dunbar, Teacher-Librarian
Cleveland High School Library

We Were Here
 by Matt De La Pena - Booktalk #2

Miguel knows that no one will ever forgive him for the tragedy that changed his family's life forever. So he doesn't fight when he's sentenced to a year in juvenile detention. He doesn't even mind the rule that he has to keep a journal.

But that's all he does. Counselors? Who needs them--! Miguel spends all his time alone and despondent. Until one of the other inmates, Mong, plans an escape and that changes everything. Miguel and his roommate Rondell decide to join him. Miguel believes if he can escape across the border into Mexico he can start a new life.

Mong is a troubled boy with a bunch of physical and emotional problems. Rondell is mentally challenged, prone to violent outbursts. Even though they are so different, the runaways forge a bond as they hide, steal, fight, and work their way up and down the coastline.

But can Miguel really run away from his past?

Forest of Hands and Teeth 
by Carrie Ryan

For as long as anyone in Mary's village can remember, the Sisterhood has protected everyone from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The village is bordered by fences to keep out the Unconsecrated and their hunger for human flesh. Guardians patrol the forest and mend the fences. No one recalls what life was like before the Return, but Mary's mother has told her stories: of the ocean, a place where there is nothing but water as far as the eye can see and where they can be safe from the Unconsecrated. When a breach in the fence occurs and the village is attacked, Mary and a few other survivors must leave the only place they have ever known and venture into the forest.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Ever since the yellow-eyed wolf saved her, Grace has been fascinated with him. She watches as the wolf visits the woods behind her house every winter. But not everyone shares her view. When wolves attack a boy from her school, the town sets up a wolf hunt. And she stops them, because her wolf might be in danger. Then she finds a crumpled form in her back yard. She thinks it's a wolf, but it's a boy. A boy with her wolf's yellow eyes...

Booktalk by Jocelyn Rydel, Teen Librarian
Sno-Isle Regional Library System

by Maggie Stiefvater

As a small girl, Grace survived being attacked by the wolves that haunt the woods behind her parents' house. She would have been badly hurt and probably killed had not a yellow-eyed wolf come to her rescue.

Ever since then, Grace has watched the woods, trying to catch a glimpse of the animal.

But when a high school student is killed in a wolf attack, the town mobilizes and sends hunters into the woods to flush out the murderous beasts. Fearing for the safety of her special wolf, Grace stops the hunt, claiming that a friend of hers is taking photographs in the woods.

As she arrives at home, a captivating boy with eerily familiar eyes appears at her doorstep. She feels a strong bond with Sam even though she realizes that he has a terrible secret: as the temperature drops every fall, he transforms from a boy into a werewolf. Every spring, he stays in his wolf form later and later, and this may be his final season as a human.

Grace and Sam can be together only if they discover a cure for his condition. Time isn't on their side, especially when they must also deal jealous wolves and other obstacles.

Obstacles which include a student who may not have died in that wolf attack after all.

Booktalk #2 by mackinbooktalk.com

Random House has a shiver-ready first person book-talk ready trailer here

by Scott Westerfeld


Europe at war! The battle between steam driven mechanical technology and DNA-altered, fabricated animal technology has finally come to a head. It's 1914 and the Archduke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is dead – assassinated. His son, and heir, Alek, is fleeing from his own people in a clanker, called a Cyklop Stormwalker, with a few loyal men. On the other side of the ocean, a girl named Deryn hides her gender and signs on as a midshipman on the huge British battle beast, the Leviathan. But when a battle with the Germans causes Leviathan to crash near Alek's hideout, the two cross paths and find that they must work together to survive.

Booktalk by Jocelyn Rydel, Teen Librarian
Sno-Isle Regional Library System

Watch a snazzy book trailer here

Malice by Chris Wooding

Seth and Kady sit with Luke as he does the "Tall Jake" ritual: some hair from a cat, a tear (don't ask how he got that) and several other things that are put in a pot and burned while you say 5 times, "Tall Jake, come take me away." [Note: just imagine what a good booktalk this is. With voices as if you were involved in this!] And then nothing happens. Luke does this just to show his friends how silly it is, even though it is in the comic book he shows them.

Then the next day he disappears. His friends know in their hearts what has happened. They look for the comic book, but it is perfectly blank. [Prop idea: music please!] They even break into the comic book store to find the next issue, to redo the ritual, to get into this place called "Malice." At this point the book becomes a comic/graphic novel. [Prop note: have some blown up pages to show the students.] This is a horrid world that is half horror, half steam punk.

Interspersed graphic novel and prose, this is a great read--and of course the sequel is out, with the next in the series coming soon!

Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Teacher-Librarian emeritus

by Chris Wooding

 - Booktalk #2

[This works as an impromptu reader's theater. Print out three copies of the script below. Highlight Jake & Heather's lines in different colors: yellow for Heather, blue for Jake, etc. Leave the narrator's lines un-highlighted: these will be yours. Ask for two volunteers.]

Narrator: There were once two kids named Heather and Luke. Luke had found a comic book. It was kind of a famous comic book; if you knew the stories about it. [Show the copy of Malice and hand it to Luke.]

Luke: "Hey, I have to show you something."

Heather: "What is it?"

Luke: "Malice." [Hold up the book]

Heather: "Huh?"

Luke: "Are you scared of a little book? Come on Heather--get real! It's not like the rumors are real. Look. I'll prove it."

Heather: "Luke, don't! He's gonna--"

Luke: "Chill, Heather. It's just a myth. See: here's the feather; the twig; the cat fur, the tear drop, and the lock of hair."

Heather: "Luke. Are...are you sure?!"

Luke: "It's just a story. A rumor. Watch me; I'll say the chant and nothing will happen. Tall Jake take me away. Tall Jake take me away. Tall Jake take me away. Tall Jake take me away. TALL JAKE TAKE ME AWAY!"

Narrator: That's the last anyone saw of either Jake or Heather for a long, long time. So, Dear Readers. Do you think you have the courage to come into tall Jake's world? Are you ready to sacrifice your life in his realm? Are you ready to give up everything you have for ... [Hold up the novel] ... Malice? You'll never know unless you try. Like Luke. Or Heather. It's not going to be tall Jake's fault, if you decide to test your luck, test your wits against him.

Heather: Tall Jake take me away!

Luke: Tall Jake take me away!

Narrator: He'll be waiting for you...

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System