Young Adult Books | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
The Work Project @ Bridge Street Theatre

The Work Project

Sept. 28-Nov. 30 — Luis Macia and the Coxsackie-Athens Teachers’ Association present “The Work Project”, portraits...
The Body Reconfigured Exhibit @ Rockland Center for the Arts

The Body Reconfigured Exhibit

Oct. 13-Nov. 24 — The Body Reconfigured, an exhibit of one Vietnam Veteran’s journey creating art...

View all of today's events

Chronogram on Instagram

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • Nightclub Revel 32 Opens in Historic Downtown Poughkeepsie Building
  • Nightclub Revel 32 Opens in Historic Downtown Poughkeepsie Building

    A “Dress to Impress Party” will unveil the new music venue and event facility on November 23.
    • Nov 15, 2019
  • A Heaping Handful of Hudson Valley Happenings
  • A Heaping Handful of Hudson Valley Happenings

    The weather is turning colder, but we’ve got all of your hot Hudson Valley action right here. Readings, rock ’n’ roll, and renewable energy—plus more!
    • Nov 13, 2019
  • Follow that Spark: Brooklyn Designer Turns Farm Visit into Book that Gives Back
  • Follow that Spark: Brooklyn Designer Turns Farm Visit into Book that Gives Back

    In August, Brooklyn-based digital designer Michelle Layne Lawson read an article on Chronogram's website about Tomorrow, Tomorrow, a 150-acre farm animal sanctuary in Columbia County that was struggling to raise funds to stay afloat. Within a few days, Lawson was on her way up to Hudson to visit the farm. And what began as casual cute animal pics turned into a coffee table book that is being sold to raise funds for the sanctuary and a renewed sense of creative vocation. Don't mind us, we're just sobbing over here.
    • Nov 12, 2019
  • More »