Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Fault in Our Stars Read-Alikes

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is one of those rare books that can make you laugh while it’s breaking your heart into teeny, tiny pieces. If you’re a fan of realistic fiction featuring loveable characters trying to live a normal lives in the face of abuse, disability, and death, then you need to check out these books.

BeforeIDieBefore I Die by Jenny Downham (2007)

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints
of “normal” life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up.

Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out. (Source:

DeadlineDeadline by Chris Crutcher (2007)

How can a pint-sized eighteen-year-old make his mark on the world from Nowheresville, Idaho-especially when he only has one year left to do it? When Ben Wolf learns his senior year of high school will be his last year, period, he is determined to go out in a blaze of glory.

That means not letting anyone know about his diagnosis. It means trying out for the football team. It means giving his close-minded civics teacher a daily migraine. It means going for the amazingly perfect, fascinating Dallas Suzuki.

But living with a secret isn’t easy . . . What will Ben do when he realizes he isn’t the only person who’s keeping one? (Source:

IfIStayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman (2009)

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. (Source:


PerksOfBeingAWallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. (Source:


wonderWonder by R. J. Palacio (2012)

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid-but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. (Source:

Divergent Read-Alikes

As Blood Red Road and Divergent are very similar (action-packed dystopias featuring a strong heroine), their read-alike lists could easily be combined or interchanged. The main difference between the two lists is that the read-alikes for Blood Red Road are primarily novels set in lawless, post-apocalyptic wastelands, while the read-alikes for Divergent tend to focus on characters living under extreme government control.

(If you’ve read the books in these two posts and need more dystopian fiction, be sure to bookmark this great flow chart featuring The Hunger Games read-alikes, created by the Lawrence Public Library.)

BarCodeTattooThe Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn (2004)

The bar code tattoo. Everybody’s getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity.

But what if you say no? What if you don’t want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There’s no option but to run…for her life. (Source:

DeliriumDelirium by Lauren Oliver (2011)

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie. (Source: Harper Teen)


LegendLegend by Marie Lu (2011)

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.  (Source:

ShatterMeShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (2011)

No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time – and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever. (Source:


UgliesUglies by Scott Westerfeld (2005)

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license — for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world — and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever. (Source:

Blood Red Road Read-Alikes

If you’re a fan of Blood Red Road, you’re in luck! It’s pretty easy to find dystopian books on library shelves in our post-Hunger Games world. Blood Red Road’s obvious read-alikes are The Hunger Games and Divergent, but there are many other titles that feature a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a strong heroine, intense action, or a combination of the three.  Here is a list of five novels you may want to check out after reading Moira Young’s Dustlands series:

AshesAshesAshes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari (2011)

Epidemics, floods, droughts – for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park.

But when she’s rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can’t continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There’s something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her. (Source:

BirthmarkedBirthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien (2010)

In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia’s mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia’s choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying. (Source:

GracelingGraceling by Kristin Cashore (2008)

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. (Source: Harcourt Books)

RoadThe Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-and each other. (Source:

ShipBreakerShip Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (2010)

In America’s Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life… (Source:

One Week

Just a reminder that this is your last week to vote (online and in your school library) for the winner of the 2013 CCRSB Teen Reader’s Choice Award! You have until 3:00pm on Friday, May 3 to read a Top 10 book and cast your vote. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 14.

Between Shades of Gray Read-Alikes

If you love Between Shades of Gray and want to explore more historical fiction and nonfiction along similar themes, try one of the following titles. Most of these books take place during the Holocaust (WWII), but one is set during the Armenian Genocide of WWI.

AnnexedAnnexed by Sharon Dogar (2010)

Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her? What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants. (Source:

ForgottenFireForgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian (2000)

In 1915 Vahan Kenderian is living a life of privilege as the youngest son of a wealthy Armenian family in Turkey. This secure world is shattered when some family members are whisked away while others are murdered before his eyes.

Vahan loses his home and family, and is forced to live a life he would never have dreamed of in order to survive. Somehow Vahan’s incredible strength and spirit help him endure, even knowing that each day could be his last. (Source:

MilkweedMilkweed by Jerry Spinelli (2003)

He’s a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham.

He’s a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He’s a boy who steals food for himself and the other orphans. He’s a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He’s a boy who wants to be a Nazi some day, with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he’s a boy who realizes it’s safest of all to be nobody. (Source:

NightNight by Elie Wiesel (1960)

A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family…the death of his innocence…and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again. (Source:

StonesInWaterStones in Water by Donna Jo Napoli (1997)

When Roberto sneaks off to see a movie in his Italian village, he has no idea that life as he knows it is over. German soldiers raid the theater, round up the boys in the audience, and pack them onto a train. After a terrifying journey, Roberto and his best friend Samuele find themselves in a brutal work camp, where food is scarce and horror is everywhere. The boys vow to stay together no matter what. But Samuele has a dangerous secret, which, if discovered, could get them both killed. (Source:

Anya’s Ghost Read-Alikes

If you’re a fan of Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, you may also enjoy one of the following graphic novels:

AmericanBornChineseAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (2006)

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn’t want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he’s in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee’s annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny’s reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can start all over again. The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. He’s ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven. But there’s no place in heaven for a monkey. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? They’re going to have to find a way-if they want to fix the disasters their lives have become. (Source:

FriendsWithBoysFriends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks (2012)

Maggie McKay hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it’s time for Maggie to face the outside world, all on her own. But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life. Maybe it even means making a new friend-one who isn’t one of her brothers. (Source:

GhostopolisGhostopolis by Doug TenNapel (2010)

Imagine Garth Hale’s surprise when he’s accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don’t have, but he’s stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth”s new found abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather’s ghost, the pair search for a way to get Garth back home-and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake. (Source:

MercuryMercury by Hope Larson (2010)

August 31, 5:15 PM, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Tara is running. She runs through her nice neighborhood and up a road to the burned ruins of what was once a beautiful house–her family’s house.

August 31, 1859, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Josey is picking blackberries with her friend Connie. As the girls gossip, a handsome stranger knocks on the door of Josey’s house. His name is Asa, and with his coming, Josey’s life–and later in time, Tara’s as well–is about to change forever.

Because there is treasure in the woods that belong to Josey’s family. Gold–an untold fortune. Asa has a secret way of finding it, and his partnership with Josey’s father could make them all rich. But there is darkness in the woods, and in Asa. And in the present day, Tara, Josey’s descendent, is about to discover the truth about what really happened in the family’s past. (Source:

PageByPaigePage by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge (2011)

Paige Turner has just moved to New York with her family, and she’s having some trouble adjusting to the big city. In the pages of her sketchbook, she tries to make sense of her new life, including trying out her secret identity: artist. As she makes friends and starts to explore the city, she slowly brings her secret identity out into the open, a process that is equal parts terrifying and rewarding. (Source:

Across the Universe Read-Alikes

Now that the Teen Reader’s Choice Award is winding down and you’ve read a few (or all) of the nominated books, you may find yourself wondering what to read next. During the  next two weeks, we will publish a series on Top 10 read-alikes – books that feature similar themes, settings, genres, plots, etc. Today we are featuring five science fiction novels you may want to seek out if you’re a fan of Across the Universe.

CityOfEmber2City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (2003)

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! (Source:


EndersGame2Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives. (Source:

Glow2Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (2011)

The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage.

Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean”s sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences. (Source:

KnifeOfNeverLettingGo2The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (2008)

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is. (Source:

MazeRunnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner (2009)

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 lift’s 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 thirty 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. (Source:

Top 10 Sequels & Trilogies

Are you a reader who prefers series to stand-alone novels so you can live in the word of the book as long as possible? Did any of the Top 10 books leave you wanting more? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you’re in luck! Four of the 2013 nominated books are first in a trilogy (or planned trilogy), and one has a sequel in the works.

MillionSunsShadesOfEarthBeth Revis’ Across the Universe trilogy is the only completed series featured in this post. The final installment was just published in January of this year. Be sure to check out A Million Suns and  Shades of Earth.




Blood Red Road is the first book of Moira Young’s planned Dustlands trilogy.  The follow-up, Rebel Heart, was published in October of last year. According to Goodreads, the final installment (titled Raging Star) won’t be released until January 14, 2014. That’s too long to wait!



InsurgentThe other dystopian novel among this year’s Top 10 nominees is also the first in a trilogy. Divergent‘s sequel, Insurgent, was released May 1, 2012 and the series will conclude with Allegiant on October 22, 2013. Mark your calendars, Divergent fans!




MissPeregrine_SequelAs those of you who have read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children know, the ending leaves you hanging. Luckily, Ransom Riggs has written a sequel. It was originally supposed to be released this year, but I was disappointed to learn that it now won’t be released until January 14, 2014 (which is shaping up to be a good day for new books).



SuchWickedIntentKenneth Oppel’s series The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein starts with This Dark Endeavor with continues with Such Wicked Intent. There is no release date or title for the third book in the trilogy, but my guess is the last line of Such Wicked Intent, “Such astonishing power,” will be the title.



Have you read any of these sequels? Are  you planning to? Is there a Top 10 book you wish had a sequel, but doesn’t? Share your thoughts in the comments.

READy, Set, Vote!

Voting for the 2013 CCRSB Teen Reader’s Choice Award begins today (Monday, April 22) and the polls will remain open until Friday, May 3. You can vote on the blog (the poll is located in the sidebar) or by filling out a paper ballot in your library. You only have one vote, so make it count.

If you haven’t read a Top 10 book yet, you have until May 3 to check one out from your school library.

Happy voting!

Top 10 Movie Adaptations

Adapting novels to the silver screen is nothing new, but the huge success of movies based on teen books  (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight) is a fairly recent development. Movie producers and studios are now quick to buy the rights to adapt new, exciting young adult books, but this doesn’t always guarantee a movie will actually be made. Of this year’s nominated books, the rights to more than half have been sold to a studio. The Top 10 books you might see on the big screen someday are:

BloodRedRoadBlood Red RoadAccording to an interview Moira Young did with Page to Premiere Network a few weeks ago, Blood Red Road was optioned by Ridley Scott (director of Bladerunner and Alien) a year before the book was even published. The first draft of the script is complete and actors are currently reading for the parts. It’s not a guaranteed movie, but it looks promising!



DivergentDivergentThis is the movie adaptation furthest along in development – according to IMDB it is currently filming and set to be released in 2014. Shailene Woodley (from The Secret Life of the American Teenager) has been cast as Tris. Check out the IMDB page for move information on the cast, and keep up-to-date with Divergent movie news on Veronica Roth’s blog.



FaultInOurStarsThe Fault in Our StarsJohn Green’s hit novel was published just over a year ago (it’s the most recent Top 10 book) and casting has already begun for the movie adaptation. Shailene Woodley is going to be busy; in addition to Tris, she’ll be playing Hazel Grace Lancaster. No other characters have been cast, but there is a screenplay and a director attached to the project so I think it’s likely to hit the big screen in the next few years.


TheFutureOfUsThe Future of UsThis adaptation is still in the early stages of development. According to Jay Asher’s blog, the film rights were sold to Warner Bros. and a producer and two screenwriters are attached to the project. No word yet on a director or potential cast members. I wouldn’t expect to see this movie for awhile.



MissPeregrineMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – In a blog post dated February of last year, Ransom Riggs shared the news that the legendary Tim Burton was attached to direct and screenwriter Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, The Woman in Black ) was adapting the screenplay. There has been no other word on its development. The crew can always change at this stage, so fingers crossed that Tim Burton directs!



ScorpioRacesThe Scorpio Races – The rights to this movie were purchased by Warner Bros. in October, 2011, but there has been no development to speak of since that time. In the FAQ section of her website, Maggie Stiefvater explains that she has had some promising conversations with producers and reminds us that adapting a novel to the big screen takes years (if it happens at all). We’ll have to be patient and see what happens.



ThisDarkEndeavorThis Dark Endeavour – According to a Toronto Star article, the film rights were purchased by the people who created the Twilight movies. There is a screenwriter and a director attached to the project, but as Kenneth Oppel points out in his interview, there’s no guarantee that the movie will be made. He is cautiously optimistic about a film adaptation as he has had books (like Airborn) optioned in the past, but the movies were never made.



Aside from Divergent, and probably The Fault in Our Stars, which Top 10 book do you hope makes it past the development stage and onto the big screen??