by Tessa & Rebecca
Not only is it National Library Week, it was also Support Teen Literature Day yesterday. In that spirit, we’d like to highlight a benefit of the library that also doubly benefits the writers, illustrators, and publishers of the items we can check out of those institutions. Namely, things that we discovered at the library and loved so much we had to buy them.
Yes, the library purchases items, which allows the community access to the items. And then people can purchase the items for their personal collection. It really happens!
(If I can digress a little: In my opinion, it’s better for everyone this way because people are more likely to end up with what they want to own if they pre-screen it first, rather than ending up with a pile of stuff they kind of like, and a pile of frustration that they can’t seem to find what they want.)
Here are some of the things we loved so much we didn’t want to return them, but we did and then bought them elsewhere. It’s not too late to Support Teen Literature - buy a YA book today. Don’t know what to buy? Click on the link to read some of the books that have recently won honors due to the work of YALSA!
YA LIBRARY TREASURES*
I don’t own the Folio edition, but mine are almost as neat.
His Dark Materials Trilogy / Philip Pullman
Crunchy, dense fantasy. English fantasy. Like a special chocolate bar given to you from a friend who traveled abroad, it must be sampled (read once) and saved for savoring later.
The Dark is Rising Sequence / Susan Cooper
More English fantasy with a movie version you’d do better to skip – but this stuff has a legendary, Arthurian bent. I bought a paperback omnibus edition and plan to track down and buy the originals with their fantastic Alan Cober illustrations. Check out my full review here.
Whales on Stilts / Feed / M.T. Anderson
Whales on Stilts was my gateway drug to M.T. Anderson – I picked it up for an assignment in my Children’s Services class in library school and felt like there should be more books with such a sense of silliness. When I became a Teen Services person I gathered that Feed was a big deal so I read it and fell in love. I’ve been recommending it to basically everyone ever since. Come on. The first line is “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”
Lowboy / John Wray
I think I read a review of this, got it from the library, was sucked into its story of a sadly schizophrenic teenager who sort of kidnaps his friend and takes her to an out-of-commission subway station (perhaps the City Hall stop?) and the parallel story of how his mom tries to find him. I think it was one of the best things I read all year. And I love the cover design.
The Magicians / Lev Grossman (and The Magician King)
Harry Potter, only real, with even more teenage confusion and sadness and exhilaration and friendship, and referencing Harry Potter. And Narnia. And… Magritte. I’m so glad that there’s more than one book set in this world(s). (There will be three, actually). I’m now a pre-orderer.
Bodyworld / Dash Shaw
It takes barely any incentive for me to buy graphic novels – usually I have to make myself NOT buy them because I have a budget to stick to. I’d read Bottomless Belly Button via the library and was researching more about Dash Shaw so I could get more of his work into my brain, and found that he had some free stuff online. Bodyworld was all up online at that point. I gulped it down – it’s set in a world that seems just offset from mine. It’s the world in the corner of your eye. And it’s kind of dangerous and psychedelic and nasty and sad. (This is more of an adult title, but it’s partially set in a high school so I’m including it.)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart
The cover seemed like it would hold a story that was a little too precious (it was the seal that did it—I can’t tell you why). Luckily my fellow librarians booktalked this enough so that I knew that there was something else to it. Frankie is sort of my hero, but she’s not without flaws. I’m glad she’s on my shelf to return to whenever I wish.
The Marbury Lens / Andrew Smith
As I mention in my review of The Marbury Lens, I picked this book up because of the amazing cover (I’m shallow), thought the blurb looked sinister and awesome, and then proceeded to read the first two chapters before having to be dragged out of the library by the friend I was supposed to be meeting. I finished it that night, thought it was so amazing that I had to buy it immediately, and have since read and pretty much adored everything Andrew Smith has written. Check out his blog, too. The sequel to The Marbury Lens, Passenger, comes out this Fall!
The Unwritten / Mike Carey & Peter Gross
In this amazing series of graphic novels we meet Tom Taylor, whose father wrote a series of fantasy books about a boy-wizard named Tommy Taylor, which became massively popular. Now an adult, Tom must fight a metatextual battle with his father’s character in the eyes of rabid fans the world over, and maybe find out who he is in the process. This series is now an auto-buy for me. The art is wonderful and the story fascinating and innovative. Plus, did I mention that #4 is called Leviathan and features one of my two favorite sea dwellers? Yes, indeed, Tommy Taylor enters Moby Dick(no jokes, sexual or Jonah-related, please). Joy of joys!
Will Grayson, Will Grayson / John Green & David Levithan
This book is pure joy from the word go (well, the first word is actually “when”). I had no idea what to expect when I grabbed this from the library one afternoon—I just loved the concept of two dudes with the same name meeting (sometimes it doesn’t take much). Anyhoo, as they say, I laughed, I cried, etc. And then I bought the book so that I could laugh and cry again, only without dripping my tears on the library copy of the book. Sorry about that, Bloomington public library patrons. Check out our joint review here, here, and here!
Skin Hunger (A Resurrection of Magic #1) / Kathleen Duey
I’ve raved about how much I love this series in my review. Skin Hunger was recommended to me by my friend E— and after reading it on an airplane, I didn’t even bother getting the sequel from the library; I immediately bought both because I knew they would be must-rereads. Duey promises that she has made much progress on the third book in the trilogy, so we’ll keep you informed.
Skellig / David Almond
I don’t remember how I first heard about Skellig but it’s a short British novel about a young boy whose sister is sick and who finds a bird-man-angel dripping with bugs in his shed, so of course I read it. And loved it. The bird-man-angel eats Chinese food, for god’s sake. Skellig is a very simple story, but its elliptical quality makes it haunting and very re-readable. I was thrilled to find it in a used bookstore this summer.
Just Listen / Sarah Dessen
Believe you me, I did not pick this puppy up because of the cover. Indeed, I had resisted reading Sarah Dessen for years before finally giving this one a try. Girl who is too nice to tell the truth + boy who tells the truth as part of anger management = delightful conversations set to a soundtrack of music discussion that I couldn’t resist. Have I mentioned that I’m obsessed with the notion of radical truth-telling? (Not that I practice it—I mean, I’m not a sociopath. Or brave enough. Or mean enough.) I bought this (well, traded it) because it’s exactly the kind of comfort book that I want sometimes.
The Toll Bridge / Aidan Chambers
I’ve been a big Aidan Chambers fan since I first read YA lit as a kid, and The Toll Bridge is my favorite of his novels. Piers takes a job as the keeper of a toll bridge, where he befriends Tess and they both fall for Adam, a compelling wanderer. First of all, is it any wonder that I do not have a realistic view of the world, given that as a child I thought that being keeper of a toll bridge was a totally reasonable summer job. I also didn’t understand that color and colour were American and British spellings, respectively, because I didn’t know that I was reading American and British books—I just thought there were two spellings. And I just thought there were toll bridge keepers. But I digress. The point: this book is an awesome story about a group of friends figuring out what they want and with whom they want it. I’ve re-read it many times.
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You / Peter Cameron
I won’t lie: I checked this out because it had a kick-ass title. Well, and because even though I’m 30, I always seem to identify strongly with misanthropic, gay, teenage boy characters (seriously, some of the things James Sveck says . . . It’s like Peter Cameron was following me around with a tape recorder). James Sveck is awkward and odd and hilarious, and this was a definite re-read. Check out the full review here.
Tithe (The Modern Faerie Tales #1) / Holly Black
I actually read this as part of a breakfast book club with some friends from grad school, so we collectively checked out every copy in the library. I won’t say that homemade scones and cucumber sandwiches at the discussion of Tithe made me like it even more, but they certainly didn’t hurt. I love this whole series, and after reading Tithe I bought all three.
*Most of the poetry I buy is because I read it from the library, and the music. But these are not germane to our mission here at Crunchings & Munchings – Tessa
So, what are your favorite books that you just HAD to buy after getting them from the library? Tell us in the comments!