Pin It

Young Adult Books 

Works by Nova Ren Suma, Marc Aronson, Charles R. Smith Jr., and Aimee Ferris

click to enlarge imaginary-girls_nova-ren-summa-2.jpg
by Nova Ren Suma
Dutton Books, 2011, $17.99
How’s this for a local hook? Dared by her charismatic big sister Ruby, 14-year-old Chloe night-swims the Ashokan Reservoir and finds the drowned body of a classmate. Or does she? Suma’s mesmerizing page-turner is twisty as eelgrass, and a body of water that lies above submerged homes may hold any number of secrets.

The Dani Noir author spent her teen years in Woodstock, and her never-named Catskill town evokes both specific locations (Village Green, Wok’n’Roll) and the scrappy sadness of teenagers left to raise themselves while their parents self-medicate, or disappear. Though the storyline flirts with the paranormal, the quarry keggers, awkward sex, and shifting loyalties are vividly real. “Family connections are a lot like old gum—you don’t have to keep chewing it,” Chloe says of her father and stepmom. The only constant in her life is the magnetic Ruby, and that could be dangerous.

Original, atmospheric, and as spectrally gorgeous as its cover image, Imaginary Girls will keep teen readers wondering what lies in the depths.

click to enlarge pick-up-game_aronson.jpg
edited by Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith Jr.
Candlewick, 2011, $15.99
A compilation of 10 stories by 10 very different authors that slides seamlessly together to form an exceptional novel, Pick-Up Game is an audacious concept that would never have worked if all concerned didn’t have world-class moves. As it is, the writers chronicle a day at a public basketball court in Manhattan—the players, the watchers, the ambiance—with a blend of grit and silk that will awe any teen who loves good books and/or basketball.

Diverse voices and a round-robin style are a perfect fit for the subject, and the characters are equally diverse, without the least whiff of stereotype. Players are black, white, male, female, Asian, Indian; war veterans and showoffs and reluctant geeks. The perspectives shift like lightning—we are behind the eyes of a girl angling to hook the cutest baller, an aspiring videographer, a disabled kid whose way with words saves the day.

Editor Smith, based in Poughkeepsie, has salted the book with his evocative b-ball poetry and photos. Contributors including Joseph Bruchac, Walter Dean Myers, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Adam Rapp execute a flawless passing game that will draw nonreaders into literature and nonplayers to the game.

click to enlarge will-work-for-prom-dress_ferris.jpg
Aimee Ferris
Egmont USA, 2011, $8.99
Pizza toppers at a frozen pizza factory, dead body at a dinner theater, dress models at a college fashion design class—there’s very little Quigley and her best friend Anne won’t do to earn money for fancy gowns to wear to their senior prom. But Quigley’s life isn’t all taffeta and tulle. For one thing, she hasn’t been accepted to her first-choice art college. For another, the girls don’t actually have dates for the big event.

Quigley likes hot, brooding fashion student Zander—but suddenly, David, her keenest art class competitor, is finding her fascinating. Choosing between them is hard—but what will she do when her choice inexplicably un-chooses her?

Woodstock author Ferris’s novel offers accessible characters and a nonformulaic plot in a high school tale of romance and self-definition. Fluffy and fun, the ending won’t come as a surprise, but the background glitter of sequins and smears of smudged charcoal keep the journey entertaining.
Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Books: Holiday Gift Guide

    Deck the halls with homegrown books and go to author events at local bookstores. Signed books make great gift for all ages.
    • Dec 1, 2015
  • Will Lytle: Catskill Magic

    'The Art of Thorneater Comics' Will Lytle
    • Feb 1, 2016

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Echoes of the Past

May 27-July 8 — Tweny artists explore the rosy glow of nostalgia and enduring classic design,...

Figure 2: The Sense of Being

May 27-July 9 — Features two artists working with what it means to be human, in...

View all of today's events

Latest in Books & Authors

More by Chronogram Staff

  • New Year’s is Coming Early at Skyway Camping Resort

    Since winter camping is just a little too cold for comfort, Skyway Camping Resort in the Catskills is celebrating New Year’s early with live music, dancing, hay wagon rides, crafts and more. Book your stay at Skyway around the event: August 12, 2017.
    • May 25, 2017
  • The Clearwater Festival, founded by Pete Seeger, June 17 & 18

    This year Clearwater Festival features an amazing line-up including: Lake Street Dive, Cry Cry Cry’s reunion (Lucy Kaplansky, Richard Shindell & Dar Williams), Arlo Guthrie, Richard Thompson, Tommy Emmanuel, Valerie June, Joan Osborne, Nick Lowe, Josh Ritter and many more. Kids 12 & under get in for free!
    • May 25, 2017
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Home, Library & Museum Hosts Memorial Day Events

    Memorial Day weekend: World War II Living History encampment & military displays at the FDR Home, Presidential Library & Museum, Hyde Park. Fri.: USO Show. 7 pm. Sat.-Sun.: Re-enactors. Historic military displays & vehicles. 11am - 4pm. Mon.: Graveside Memorial Service. 1:30pm.
    • May 18, 2017
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets