Thursday, July 16, 2015

Unmask! Everyday Heroes

Every week, I receive a copy of the New York Times’ bestseller list for Young Adult literature; I review it mostly to be sure we have the listed books in our collection. As I was skimming the July 12, 2015 edition, I noticed several unusual items:

  1. Four of the top ten books are novels by John Green: Paper Towns (1); Looking for Alaska (3); The Fault in our Stars (6); and An Abundance of Katherines (8).  Perhaps that shouldn’t surprise me, as Green is an excellent author and the first two titles have been made into movies . . . but still, four out of ten?  I think Green might be living every author’s dream. Even more remarkable, for YA literature, is the fact that each of these is a stand-alone novel; none belong to a series.
  2. In fact, only one of the top ten books is part of a series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs (5).  The sequel is Hollow City.
  3. Miss Peregrine’s Home, along with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (4), are the only two novels in the top-ten list that contain elements of the fantastic. Miss Peregrine’s Home is a thriller/ghost story, and The Book Thief is told from the perspective of Death himself. Still, both books contain plenty of reality, and realistic fiction populates the rest of this week’s list: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jessie Andrews (2); We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (7); Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (9) and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (10), as well as all four of the Green novels already mentioned.  Although dystopia still fills the NYT best-selling series list, none of the most popular novels are dystopias.
  4. Finally, with the exception of the Andrews, Riggs, Lockhart, and Rowell novels, the top-ten bestseller list is relatively old.  The other six YA titles on the list have copyright dates ranging from 2005 to 2008. . . ancient, in terms of YA literature.


All of these are interesting facts, but what can we infer from them? That teens like to read books that are going to be made into movies? That many adults are reading teen realistic fiction, and driving up sales? That today’s teens have suddenly developed an interest in reading books that were published when they were still in kindergarten? That John Green now owns the New York Times?

Perhaps all these statements are true; who knows? What is certain is that dystopian fiction is less popular than it was a year ago, and realistic fiction more popular, and that teens (and probably adults) are gravitating toward novels with real-life problems and real-life heroes, no matter the publication date.

Therefore, in celebration of our Unmask! teen summer reading program, here are some more recent YA novels about realistic, everyday heroes:


Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: Younger sister Sydney has always been overshadowed by her big brother, Peyton.  When Peyton is imprisoned for a drunk-driving accident, their mother seems to forget about Sydney even more. Sydney shrinks into herself and her reality-TV programs, until a school transfer causes her to meet Layla. As Sydney and Layla become friends, Layla’s support helps Sydney take steps toward healing and a new beginning.

The Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver: In this story of two sisters, each dealing with their own turmoil following a terrible accident, Oliver weaves together mystery and family tension. Nick leaves her parents’ home to move in with her older sister, Dara, hoping to mend the divide between them. But when a little girl goes missing in their town, and Nick thinks Dara disappears in a similar incident, she discovers secrets about her sister that threaten to unravel their bond even more.

If You’re Reading This by Trent Reedy: Ever since Mike Wilson’s father was killed in Afghanistan when Mike was eight, he’s tried not to give his mother any problems, taking on extra responsibility and doing what she asks. All he wants is to play football, but she won’t allow it.  Mysteriously, Mike begins receiving letters from his dad – letters that were written long ago.  Inspired by the letters, Mike forges his mother’s signature and joins the team. In joining the team, Mike experiences both the love of the game and the guilt that comes from living a double life. Bullying, hazing, and a budding relationship with a Muslim girl complicate Mike’s decision even further. Can his father’s letters help him sort it all out?  

Biggie by Derek Sullivan: Henry Abbott is an obese 17-year-old who suffers from the dual pressure of being bullied about his weight and being pressured to succeed by his locally-famous father. Henry has little ambition, and even less self-esteem . . . until a fluke perfect game in gym class makes him believe that he may have the potential to, like his father, excel at baseball. His friends begin to help him on his quest to get healthy, but along the way discover that Henry’s weight isn’t the only thing keeping him down.  Language and some mature content make this a choice for older readers.


By all means, read some of the Young Adult bestsellers listed above; they are wonderful novels. But if all those are checked out of the library, delve into a newer, less well-known story of realistic, everyday heroes; you won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Teen Summer Reading 2015: Unmask!

Darcy's Note:  We are a month into our Teen Summer Reading program for 2015 -- Unmask!  Here in the Teen Room, we are using this theme not only to focus on activities and crafts that "unmask" the teens' creativity, but also to focus on books and movies that "unmask" the heroes in our world -- both superheroes and unlikely heroes.

Alyssa, our newest staff member, wrote the following review of an unlikely heroine for this summer blog post.  Don't miss this engrossing title; summer is a great time for a mystery!

The Diviners by Libba Bray

With the summer reading theme of “Unmask!”, The Diviners, by Libba Bray,  seemed an intriguing choice not only for the unlikely heroine who  begins her journey in a selfishly reckless manner, but also for the elements of horror,  historical fiction, romance, mystery, and the supernatural all wrapped into one book.

 Evie O’Neil is a spoiled girl of the 1920’s who, because of poor behavior and an unfortunate parlor trick, is sent to her Uncle’s in New York City where he manages The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult.  Evie reaches New York ready for a life filled with speakeasies, dancing, and the moving pictures.  We follow her and a special set of characters as they navigate the city; all the while evil unlike any other is unleashed as a string of murders takes place.  When investigators find strange symbols left on the bodies, Evie, her Uncle Will, and his assistant are asked to help solve the mystery.

 As the case grows and more victims are found an intricate web is cast throughout the city connecting characters and unraveling secrets.  Soon Evie finds she must confront her own secrets and channel her inner powers in order to bring justice to the city and its citizens.
The sequel to The Diviners, titled Lair of Dreams, is due to be released in August, 2015.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Michael L. Printz award

Every year at the end of January, the American Library Association announces a list of top books, audio books, and video for children and young adults.  One of the awards listed is the Michael L. Printz award for excellence in young adult literature. The winners and nominees share a higher level of literary quality than some of the more “trendy” YA novels.  If you are looking for a novel that is challenging, innovative, or just exceptionally well-written, try one of these Printz winners or finalists.
(Please note:  Many of these reviews have been posted previously in this blog; they are simply collected here.)


Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (2011 Printz honoree)

This novel is set in a post-oil world, following an apocalyptic world disaster. Now, the world’s few remaining wealthy people sail the oceans on enormous hydrofoil ships, and the many poor scavenge old shipwrecks and destroyed buildings for whatever they can sell. Nailer, the main character, is scavenger whose job is tearing up old hulks of ships, living day to day, until a rich girl arrives to change his life.


Going Bovine by Libba Bray (2010 Printz winner)

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through life with a minimum of effort. It's not a lot to ask.  But that's before Cameron finds out he's sick and going to die. Dulcie, an angelic hallucination tells Cam that there is a cure, if he's willing to go in search of it. With the help of a video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother-of-all-road-trips through a twisted America to find his quest. (Some mature language and content)


Stolen by Lucy Christopher (2011 Printz honoree)

It’s a parent's nightmare: 15-year-old Gemma is drugged and kidnapped in an international airport, the crime crafted so carefully that her kidnapper is able to pass her off as his girlfriend. It takes Gemma days to realize that she has been taken to a place so remote and oppressive that she will not be able to escape. Gemma fights, with whatever limited means she has, to resist her captor's twisted plan, and to take back her life.


A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (2004 Printz honoree)

Mattie Gokey lives in upstate New York at the end of the 19th century; she has a suitor, and it seems that a life of marriage and family has already been decided for her. When she takes a summer job at a nearby lake resort, she learns the truth about a suspicious murder case; her findings help her to step out into a life of her own design.


Looking for Alaska by John Green (2006 Printz winner)

At his new boarding school, Miles Halter experiences a new life: academic challenges, lack of parental supervision, and, for the first time, friendship. One of these new friends is Alaska, a clever, funny, messed-up girl with a penchant for pranks.  In the end, Alaska’s pain wins over her spark, and her friends are left wondering why. A somber read that somehow ends up being hopeful. (Some mature language and content)

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick (2014 Printz winner)

On a remote Scandinavian island, we begin to read the story of a photographer there to document a mysterious plant. Within pages, his story ends; another abruptly begins. Soon, we delve into seven seemingly disparate, but cunningly intertwined, short stories about the power of the midwinterblood.


Code Name Verity  by Elizabeth Wein (2013 Printz honoree)

Julia, formerly a wireless operator for the British, is being held captive in France by a sadistic Nazi interrogator. She has supposedly "sold her soul" in exchange for small bits of freedom. Interspersed with the story of her fierce fight for survival is a different tale: that of how she came to be in France and of her friendship with Maddie Brodatt, a British civilian pilot. In the second half of the book, Maddie narrates, telling of her desperate attempts to rescue her friend and revealing both the truth of what happened to each of them, and the truth of Julia's bravery.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

LIghting the Darkness

Stories of future dystopian societies crowd our shelves in the Young Adult department, their popularity fueled by blockbuster series/movies such as Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games and Veronica Roth's Divergent.  But while that genre continues to explode, another type of story walks out of our doors more and more often these days: stories about normal people faced with huge, yet very real, problems: disease, injury, family trouble, and more.  This genre, simply called realistic fiction, appeals to teens who want to read stories of other teens "lighting the darkness" -- finding their way through these problem to some sort of resolution. The last five of our 2014-2015 Soaring Eagle book award nominees tell of these types of stories.
The Fault in our Stars, by John Green.  Green is one of few authors, YA or not, to have more than one title on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time, and the popularity of the movie version of The Fault in our Stars has landed the book on our Soaring Eagle nominee list for the second time in three years. 

This is the story of Hazel Grace. Living life with Stage IV thyroid cancer, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors . . . for now.
We meet her two years post-miracle. Sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too - post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. She considers herself a "ticking time bomb" and refuses to let anyone get too close.  Then she meets Augustus Waters at the  cancer kids support group her mom insists she attend.  

Gus is gorgeous, in remission, and - shockingly - interested in Hazel. In fact he sets out to make Hazel’s wishes come true.  As Gus and Hazel fall more deeply in love, they have to accept the role cancer is going to play in their relationship. Is it worth falling in love if you don't know what tomorrow will bring?        

Counting by Sevens, by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Making friends is hard for 14-year-old Willow Chance. Instead of playing sports or watching movies with her friends, Willow would rather spend her time working on the garden she has created in her backyard or studying and diagnosing diseases…or counting by sevens. Seven is a lucky number and Willow sees it everywhere.

 Dell Duke is a lazy school counselor with no interest in the students that come to his office until he meets Willow Chance. Willow teaches Dell that not everyone teenager fits into the predictable categories that he has placed them in.  Willow’s meetings with Dell Duke pay off when she finally gets her chance to make friends. Quang-ha, one of Dell’s students, and Mai, his older sister, take an interest in Willow.

However, when tragedy strikes Willow, she is suddenly alone in the world with no one to take her in. She loses her ability to count by sevens.  Mai, Quang-ha, and Dell must work together to help Willow find her new place in the world, and to help her remember how to count by sevens. (Review by my colleague, Rachael Yates)

This Is What Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith  If fate sent you an email, would you answer?
When GDL accidentally gets an email address wrong, EONeill decides to answer. They strike up a conversation, which leads to another, and another . . .until the two have developed an intimate rapport, all the while guarding their true identities.
However, GDL is convinced that EONeill is someone special, so he lobbies for his next movie to be shot in her hometown.  After all – this is Graham Larkin, the latest teenage heartthrob, and he can shoot movies wherever he likes.  Ellie O’Neill isn’t the type of girl to be taken in by the trappings of stardom, however, and when his true identity is revealed, she is shocked and unsure if she wants any relationship at all.
Can a star as big as Graham really start a relationship with a girl as ordinary as Ellie? And why is Ellie so intent on avoiding the media spotlight at all costs? Is her secret as big as Graham's?

The Running Dream, by Wendelin Van Draanen.  Jessica has everything going for her:  at 16, she has many friends, and her running ability makes her a superstar on the high school track team.  And then, the unthinkable happens: a random accident with the track team bus leaves one team member dead, and Jessica seriously injured. She has lost her leg.

Jessica doesn't know who she is anymore, without being a runner. Her recovery is long and difficult, but it forces Jessica to look hard at her life:  while she was a popular track star, she ignored people with disabilities, people like her math tutor, Rosa, who has cerebral palsy. Is that the type of person she really wants to be? 

This is the story of Jessica's quest to run again, but it is also the story of what Jessica learns when running is taken away from her.

Forgotten, by Cat Patrick. What would you do if you knew you would forget everything that happened today while you sleep tonight? How would you get ready for your science quiz, or remember what you and your friend talked about at lunchtime?  How would you remember meeting the new student, so that you didn't embarrass yourself by introducing yourself a second time?

Each night at precisely 4:33 a.m., while 16-year-old London Lane is asleep, her mind "erases" the previous day’s memories. In the morning, all she can “remember” are events from her future. She relies on elaborate notes to re-establish her memory before she goes to school each day, and usually, her system works.

But when Luke Henry, the new boy in school, enters the picture, life gets even more complicated. Luke is not someone you’d easily forget – and yet, London cannot find him in her future “memories.”  When she starts experiencing disturbing dreams, London realizes it’s time to learn the truth about whatever destroyed her memory in the past – before it destroys her future.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Setting An Example: Strong Voices, Strong Women

Sometimes the list of Soaring Eagle nominees, since it is entirely based on nominations from teens throughout Wyoming, does not easily divide into genre categories. This week's list of books represent that fact:  the titles include historical fiction, historical fantasy, and nonfiction. All three titles, however, represent strong female voices telling their stories with dignity and intelligence.  All three present female characters fighting oppression within their respective societies.

The Royal Ranger, by John Flanagan.   We'll begin with the lightest of the three books:  the 12th in Flanagan's acclaimed Ranger's Apprentice series.  Whereas Will Treaty, the series' main character, has generally been presented as enthusiastic and optimistic, this title paints a much darker picture of Will. Due to a terrible tragedy that befell the Ranger in an earlier installment, he's grown morose and obsessed with the idea of revenge.  Will's saving grace comes in the form of a second main character, but she has her own troubles.  Madelyn, the daughter of Will's best friend, Horace, and Princess Cassandra, feels constrained by the restrictions of royal life, and battles against her parents and her lifestyle in increasingly risky ways.  Enter Halt, Will's former mentor:  he proposes that Will become mentor to Madelyn, and train her to become the first female Ranger in Araluen. Will reluctantly agrees, and Madelyn happily gives up her royal privileges to enter the Ranger force.  But when investigating a suspicious death leads Will to believe he's back on the trail of his nemesis, Madelyn's safety becomes a concern. Can Will pursue his enemy and still keep Madelyn safe?  Even more to the point -- can he satisfy his quest for revenge and still uphold the Ranger code of honor?  As stated, this is book 12 in Flanagan's historical fantasy series; find more backstory about the Ranger's Apprentice here.   However, since this title, Royal Ranger, introduces Madelyn as a new main character, it would not be necessary to have read the preceding eleven books to understand this one.

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys.  Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. But one night, Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way out of their beloved Lithuania with others from their communities.  Nobody knows what they've done to deserve the inhuman treatment they receive; they are given little food and drink and subjected to filth, violence and worse. After stops at several labor camps, Lina and her family slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Through it all, Lina makes secret drawings, desperately trying to capture the truth of what is happening to her family and culture.  Her prayer is that her drawings, which she sends away with various accomplices, will make their way to her father, wherever he might be.  Lina holds on to this scrap of hope when faced with losing her freedom and everyone she loves. This masterful work of historic fiction presents a story of humanity that is not well-recorded in young adult literature: that of the disappearance of millions of people during the Soviet occupation, and their forced relocation to the Siberian labor camps.

I am Malala:  The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai. This nonfiction book, the only nonfiction to appear on this year's list of Soaring Eagle nominees, requires little introduction. Most people have heard at least something about the girl who was shot by a Taliban soldier, survived, and went on to be named, this fall, as the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, there is more to the story than that.  Malala's memoir, co-written with journalist Christina Lamb, recounts the rich culture and history of Pakistan, her homeland.  For readers, particularly teens, who have trouble understanding complicated Middle Eastern politics, Yousafzai explains -  in the voice of a teenager - the gradual occupation of the Swat valley by Taliban forces, and the increasingly fundamentalist Muslim restrictions placed on society.  One such restriction was prohibiting education for girls over the age of 11. Yousafzai, with the support of her parents, rebelled against this restriction and continued to pursue her own education; it was on the bus home from school that she was shot, in October of 2012.  That she recovered is considered a miracle.

Yousafzai continues to champion the cause of education for women, and has been noted as a global symbol of peaceful resistance to oppression. Her story both inspires and educates.

As we look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving next week, let's remember to be especially grateful to live in a country in which females have unlimited opportunities. And let's take from the example of Madelyn, Lina, and Malala the strength to stand up against oppression in any form, in any society.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This is America? More Soaring Eagle book award nominees

One of the most prevalent trends in Young Adult fiction continues to be the dystopian adventure -- a novel that presents some sort of post-apocalyptic view of society, and the efforts of the protagonist(s) to make sense of, and survive in, their new reality.  With many of these novels, the setting is our country, the United States of America; however, these novels present an America forever changed from our country's founding ideals.  Since next week we celebrate Veteran's Day to honor all those who have fought to uphold these founding ideals, let's look at three Soaring Eagle book award nominees that present a chilling future for our country.

The Selection by Kiera Cass:  In this future society, "America" is only the name of the main character.  Our country is instead called Ilyria, and has reverted to being ruled by a monarchy.  In this novel, something of a cross among The Hunger Games, "Cinderella," and "The Bachelor," the time has come for the prince to marry.  Since there are no other royal options for his marriage, the palace will hold a Selection:  35 young women from across the country will move into the palace and compete for the hand of the prince.  Marrying the prince becomes the dream of most all eligible teenage girls in Ilyria: not only would the bride achieve title and prominence, but she would become a One.  Society in Ilyria is divided into levels, much like castes in some third-world countries: jobs, social position, and, of course, wealth are all determined by the number assigned to your family, and the only way to move up from the level of your birth is through marriage.  There is one teenage girl, however, who wants nothing to do with the Selection: America Singer, a talented Five who has been secretly seeing Aspen, a Six, for over a year.  When America finally succumbs to her mother's urging and enters her application for the competition, she discovers that everything she thought she knew -- about friendship, about her future plans, about the Prince, and even about Aspen -- has been turned upside down.  This is the first title in Cass' trilogy:  the following titles are The Elite and The One.

The Darkest Path, by Jeff Hirsch:  Six years ago, Callum and his younger brother, James, were kidnapped from their upstate New York home.  Since then, they've been living at the headquarters of The Glorious Path -- a militant religious group founded by a former U. S. soldier.  The Path has taken over control of several southern and western states, and the United States is now engaged in its second civil war. Cal, now 15 years old, has been trained as a deadly secret agent for The Path, but he is also considered rebellious; in an effort to control him, he is given the duty of cleaning the kennels of the fighting dogs raised by The Path.  He befriends one dog, and in an attempt to save him, ends up committing murder.  Cal and the dog are now on the run, and they head north - out of Utah, where The Path is headquartered, and into Wyoming.  There, Cal meets Natalie, part of a group of teenage rebels who are fighting The Path.  They are nearly killed in one battle; will they survive a second? And how will Cal rescue his younger brother, still in the clutches of The Path?  Hirsch says on his website ( that he is at work on a companion novel to Darkest Path; at this writing, the title is planned to be a digital-only release, and a date is uncertain.

Insignia by S. J. Kincaid:  14-year-old Tom Raines just wants to "be somebody."  Since he and his father live on the fringes of society, he's lived most of his life as a nobody; even his teacher at the virtual school he sometimes attends has called him a loser.  Kincaid's novel presents a view of the United States at a time when kids attend school by logging onto the Internet and attending a virtual classroom via their avatar; when gaming happens in virtual spaces that can be publicly viewed, again via the Internet; and when World War III is being fought, not between countries, but between huge multinational corporations who control all society.  Tom happens to be an expert gamer; he's had to be, because his gaming scams often provide the only money he and his dad have for food and hotel rooms.  During one brilliant match, Tom attracts the attention of one of the country's top military generals.  The general is interested in him because World War III is a different war from anything in history:  it's being fought in outer space, with unmanned drone-like battleships controlled from earth.  The soldiers controlling the battles?  Not traditionally-trained soldiers, but gamers -- kids, like Tom, who excel at video-gaming.  Tom is recruited, and he enlists willingly -- after all, he views this as his chance to "be somebody."  But at what cost?  Tom's about to find out. This is also the first of a trilogy, followed by Vortex and Catalyst.

So, teens in Wyoming have nominated three titles that present some disturbing views of the United States of America. Some would say the changes presented in these novels could never happen.  Some would say they are imminent.  What would you say?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Creepy Soaring Eagle book award nominees

Sometimes, it's hard to believe how quickly time passes.  This autumn is one of those times:  putting up the Halloween decorations, celebrating Teen Read Week, and going out to the schools to talk about the new Soaring Eagle book award nominees . . . all these actions feel oddly routine, as if we just completed them a week ago.

Nonetheless, the calendar says an entire year has passed. And so, it's time to introduce this year's set of Soaring Eagle book award nominees:  books that, for reasons of popularity and literary quality, have been nominated by Wyoming students in 7th-12th grades as possible winners of our state youth book award.

I've just been in one of our junior high schools, talking about these books with the students.  This year's list has generated a lot of excitement about reading, and that's a very good thing.

As usual, I won't write about all fourteen nominees in one blog post.  As we're getting close to Halloween, I'll focus on the "creepy" books first:

Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman:

15-year-old Jacob Fielding should not have survived the car accident that killed his foster father, but he did.  Weeks later, he returns to school and meets a new student, Ophelia, or "O" for short.  O is smart, pretty, daring; she wears a pink cast on her arm, the result of a skateboarding accident.  Jacob and his best friend, Milo, ask to sign O's pink cast.  On a whim, Jacob writes "You are indestructible" -- the very words his foster father spoke to him before their car smashed into a giant redwood tree.

That afternoon, Ophelia tries another skateboarding stunt, and wrecks - badly. She should have had more broken bones, or worse, but she walks away without a scratch.

Could Jacob's foster father have given him some magical protection before he died? And could Jacob have passed that protection on to Ophelia?

What would you do if you had the power to control life and death. How would you decide who to protect? How would you decide who lives and who dies?

Zom-B by Darren Shan:

B Smith is a bully and a thug.  B's father is worse: racist, sexist, alcoholic, and violent.  B's father keeps control in their London home by spouting prejudicial opinions, then berating -- or beating -- anyone who disagrees with him.

At school, B behaves similarly:  using insults, racial slurs, and fists when necessary, to stay on top. 

When news program footage shows a gruesome zombie attack in Ireland, B's father pronounces that the footage is just a government plot to scare citizens; and besides, he notes, the world could do without a few Irishmen anyway.

But the zombies are real, and they show up at B's high school.  In one terrible afternoon, B and his gang zigzag though classrooms and corridors, trying to escape the zombies; around every turn is a new threat.  Finally, B faces a moment of truth -- and B's true character, as well as true identity, is revealed. 

This is the first book in Shan's Zom-B series; nine books have been published so far.

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman:

The second book in Shusterman's UnWind series, UnWholly continues his disturbing vision of "Happy Jack Harvest Camp," where unwanted teenagers are "unwound" -- their body parts harvested for organ and tissue donation while they are still, barely, alive.  In the first book of the series, a group of teens manages to escape, and they continue to live underground, searching for ways to help other teens like them. 

Meanwhile, the harvesting continues, as big business and big science have teamed up to exploit these unwanted teens.  New to the story is Camus Comprix, a 21st-century Frankenstein who was constructed of donated parts from 99 gifted teens.  He is the centerpiece of "Proactive Humanity's" campaign to expand the general harvest to include not only troublesome teens, but also the imprisoned and impoverished.  Cam begins to fall in love, however, and this new development leads him to search fro meaning in his life, and to question whether a "rewound" being can actually have a soul.  

As Cam begins to question his identity, he has to also question the unwinding process that made him, and his connection to the teens who have escaped.

As stated, this is the second book in what Shusterman calls a "dystology".  Other titles include UnSouled (#3) and UnDivided (#4).

There are other titles on this year's list of nominees that are "creepy," for a variety of reasons, but these three definitely have the potential to make you jump at loud noises and peek around corners while you read them.  Happy spooky reading!