December 14th, 2017
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DREAMING OF A WHITE WOLF CHRISTMAS

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Ex-NFL star + snarky single mom = a touchdown of a holiday romance


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The vampires are coming... and this time, the lights won't stop them.


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The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery...


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This holiday season, love is on the menu.


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A Spartan heart can conquer anything, even myths, magic, and monsters.


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There’s nothing like a firefighting cowboy to keep you toasty warm this Christmas...



December brings fabulous reads!


Barnes & Noble

Young Adult Musings
All Things Fresh for Young Adult Fans

The Crossover Novel

With the release of Insurgent next week, I’ve been thinking about the success young adult novels have had on the big screen. It feels like every week there’s a new adaptation of a classic-dystopian-sci-fi-epic-fantasy-romance YA novel. All these YA novels that make it to the big screen are lumped together as “crossover novels.” For the movie industry, the crossover novel seems to be a magical, money-making story written for children or teens, which adults love, and movie industries love more because they can produce blockbusters every summer, not to mention make liberal use of the word trilogy. Examples are the wildly successful Harry Potter, Twilight, Divergent, and Hunger Games series.

Another definition for a crossover novel is a book written for adults that appeals to teens as well; like everything ever written by Sherman Alexie, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Chuck Palahniuk.

What I find troubling about this is how it’s stereotyping, and underestimating, readers. A crossover novel is then forced to be a shaky bridge between YA and adult literature. Crossovers are called “better, smarter, deeper” than normal YA lit but more “fun, entertaining, irreverent” than novels for adults. And it’s simply not true.

When I was a teen and went to the library every weekend for new books, I didn’t just look on the YA shelves because they were the books meant for my age. I didn’t ignore the shelves of mystery, horror, romance, science-fiction and fantasy, westerns, and nonfiction because they were meant for adults. I read everything that sounded interesting to me.

Some genres appeal to me more than others (I’m a fan of the macabre and gothic as well as historical fiction). Some books appeal to me more than others because the writer created a character, a world, a plot that meant something to me. A crossover novel is a novel that can appeal to many people not because it’s playing to both markets but because a writer created a character, a world, and a plot that means something to a lot of people no matter their age or gender.

That’s why this week’s list doesn’t necessarily come from the YA shelves, but rather they’re books that appeal to readers of any age. (And they are a little macabre and spooky, but, like I said, I’m a fan).

FINDER’S KEEPERS by Stephen King

FINDER’S KEEPERS FINDER’S KEEPERS

About: A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in MR. MERCEDES.

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.

THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL by Paige McKenzie

THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL
THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL

About: Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain- drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just ... creepy.

In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

DEAD BOYS by Gabriel Squailia

DEAD BOYS
DEAD BOYS

About: A decade dead, Jacob Campbell is a preservationist, providing a kind of taxidermy to keep his clients looking lifelike for as long as the forces of entropy will allow. But in the Land of the Dead, where the currency is time itself and there is little for corpses to do but drink, thieve, and gamble eternity away, Jacob abandons his home and his fortune for an opportunity to meet the man who cheated the rules of life and death entirely.

According to legend, the Living Man is the only adventurer to ever cross into the underworld without dying first. It’s rumored he met his end somewhere in the labyrinth of pubs beneath Dead City’s streets, disappearing without a trace. Now Jacob’s vow to find the Living Man and follow him back to the land of the living sends him on a perilous journey through an underworld where the only certainty is decay.

Accompanying him are the boy Remington, an innocent with mysterious powers over the bones of the dead, and the hanged man Leopold l’Eclair, a flamboyant rogue whose criminal ambitions spark the undesired attention of the shadowy ruler known as the Magnate.

An ambitious debut that mingles the fantastic with the philosophical, DEAD BOYS twists the well-worn epic quest into a compelling, one-of-a-kind work of weird fiction that transcends genre, recalling the novels of China Miéville and Neil Gaiman.

 

 

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