Adult Virtual Reading Club

Welcome to the Adult Virtual Reading Club!

Each month we will explore a new theme, our suggested reads along with related articles and topics.


How to participate in the Virtual Reading Club: Adult Edition

  1. Start by locating the book or books you are interested in reading during that month. Try one or try all of the book picks, it is completely up to you. Request a copy from TRAC or find it here at SGPL. Visit us in-person or give us a call as we would be happy to help you! Try out one or more of the featured activities. 
  2. We'd love to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts on the monthly theme or share your book review. Give us a shout out on social media or contact reference@sgpl.ca. 

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“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” 

C.S. LEWIS 


April: YA Books Adults Will Love Too 

This month we are celebrating books created for the teen market known as YA (Young Adults) in libraryland.

What exactly is a “young adult” novel? 

The emergence of “young adult” as a genre occurred side by side with the emergence of “adolescence” as a stage of life. When we started to understand more about this stage as a transition period between childhood and adulthood, writers started pumping out books for that newly-defined age group of 12-17 year olds, too. The term “young adult books” entered the lexicon with the Young Adult Library Services Association and has been used ever since. Most YA novels at least touch on the coming-of-age theme, with their main characters undergoing some kind of major development or change that propels them towards adulthood. In the end, we need to keep in mind that the designation of “young adult” is about one thing, and one thing only: marketing. It’s a label that publishers slap on the spine, making a book easier to define and sell. 


 

How Many Adults Read YA Books? 

So, now we know what young adult is, and we know that it is a huge market out there: how many adults are actually reading it? Tons! 

A 2012 survey found that 55% of YA readers are adults. In fact, the largest (and growing!) segment in the market for YA literature are adults aged between 30 and 44 years (which accounts for 28% of all sales).  

 

In a 2015 study, Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company, noted a 40 percent growth in the US juvenile market over the previous decade, the opposite of what has been happening on the adult market. 

 

Why Read YA Books? 

Young adult fiction has always had some level of cross-over appeal, if for no other reason than parents want to read what their kids are reading, so they can share a common interest. But this natural tendency exploded into a phenomenon with the release of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The themes of friendship, identity, discrimination, fear, politics, and family gave Harry Potter universal appeal. Another major explanation, especially during these uncertain times, to read young adult books is sheer escapism. There’s comfort to be found in reading beautiful (but uncomplicated) prose, depicting straightforward and sometimes-predictable storylines, watching characters for whom we feel deep affection grow, and overcome their obstacles. 

However, many readers reject this notion of “escapism” in their reading habits. Popular young adult books from recent years (even in sub-genres like fantasy and sci-fi) have covered everything from police brutality to homophobia to suicide to political oppression. Young adult certainly doesn’t shy away from these serious issues, but it does perhaps tackle them in a more hopeful way than many books pitched at the adult market. 


Scroll to the bottom for more resources.


April Book Picks:

Credit: All book descriptions were taken from goodreads.com


1. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she's never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society's failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. SHOUT speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice-- and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.

2. Sadie by Courtney Summers

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she's left behind. And an ending you won't be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him. When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

3. Frankly in Love by David Yoon

High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo--his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance--“Date Korean”--which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful--and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love--or himself--at all.

 

4. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

 

5. Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt

It's still true...

That's the first thing James Tillerman says to his sister Dicey every morning. It's still true that their mother has abandoned the four Tillerman children somewhere in the middle of Connecticut. It's still true they have to find their way, somehow, to Great-aunt Cilla's house in Bridgeport, which may be their only hope of staying together as a family. But when they get to Bridgeport, they learn that Great-aunt Cilla has died, and the home they find with her daughter, Eunice, isn't the permanent haven they've been searching for. So their journey continues to its unexpected conclusion -- and some surprising discoveries about their history, and their future.

 

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

 

7. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.


Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

 

8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes


Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
 

 

9. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can't get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school's resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He's determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

 

10. Wilder Girls by Rory Power

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan.... But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she's really good at it. She and her twin, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fanfiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to.
Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend; a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world; a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... and she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Further Readings:

Extended Reading List:

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