Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Memories of a Former Teen Librarian

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a good one: books with sensory reading memories. I often find that when I look at a book cover, I am reminded of certain aspects of the story, and of where, when, and with whom I enjoyed that particular story. This seems to be especially true of the books I read during the three-and-a-half years I worked as a teen librarian (2007-2010).  So my list today is of the memories associated with some of the YA books I read, recommended to teens, and purchased for my library's collection during that time.

  • Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler 
    Though librarians like to say they don't sit at their desks and read all day, there were many days in this job where I did just that. This book - about teens who take jobs at Disney World after the regular workers go on strike -  was one that I distinctly remember finishing in one sitting on a particularly slow day. 
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 
    All the teen employees at the library as well as their teen patron friends could not get enough of this book. I had multiple kids recommend it to me, which is probably the only reason I actually read it. I loved it back then, but I would like to revisit the book now that I'm a parent to see if my perspective has changed.
  • The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin  
    I read this book for an annual local conference called Fall Into Books. The basic plot revolves around two kids dealing with their abusive mom. I remember that one of the teen boys who hung out at the library a lot also read it, and it seemed to put his issues with his own mom into perspective.

  • Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer  
    This book made the rounds of the staff, and we were all just totally blown away by the concept - that the moon is knocked out of its orbit and Earth is affected in unexpected ways. For days after reading it, my coworkers and I would look up at the moon on our way out the door and comment on how realistic the book had been. I did read the second book, but somehow never finished the series.
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
    My memory of this book is of wanting to throw it across the room, (and of actually doing so at the children's circulation desk at the moment when Jacob imprints on Reneesme.) I was worried the teens would disown me for hating it, but it actually sparked a lot of good discussions and quite of few of the kids wound up not liking it either. [My scathing Goodreads review from August 2008].
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman 
    I read the end this book during my lunch one day and had to keep myself from crying so I could go back out the desk and resume my duties. I never did read the sequel because I was afraid it would be too emotional, and I gave the book a fairly negative review! [My Goodreads review from December 2009.] 
  • The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti 
    This was another book that sparked some great discussions with the teens who hung out at my desk during the summer. It was interesting to me how cynical fifteen-year-olds already were about dating, but I also remember them having very astute observations about the way men were treated in the story. [My Goodreads review from July 2009.]

  • Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan 
    I got permission to take one of my teens to New York City for a Young Adult Author Night at the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library. (We were an 80-minute train ride from New York City at the time.) That night, David Levithan read from this book, and I was completely blown away. To this day, it remains my favorite novel about September 11, 2001, even if not all of the content matches my personal values. [My Goodreads review from September 2009.]
  • Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
    One of the quieter teen girls who used to read several books per week asked me to read this so I could talk about it with her. I remember not being thrilled by the idea because it was fantasy, but then I did end up enjoying several of the series. That teen was so happy, and it opened her up to talking books with me every time she came in. [My Goodreads review from December 2009.]
  • King of the Screwups by K.L. Going 
    K.L. Going's mom was the children's librarian at my library growing up, and she was my coworker in this position. When this book came out, I received an ARC, which I was encouraged to pass around to the teens. We all loved it, and the kids were excited when K.L. Going came and did a writing program for them. 
Just seeing all these covers together takes me right back to my old library, and to the late 2000s. Have you read any of these? What do you remember?


  1. I think it's cool that you acknowledge in your review of If I Say that although you dind't like it it was mostly your reading preferences! I think that sometimes is hard when it comes to reviewing but I think you did it well! Great answers & happy reading!

    Heather @ Heather's Reading Hideaway|My Top Ten Tuesday!

  2. I really liked Life As We Knew It, too. Like you, I didn't finish that series. Maybe I should sometime.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. for any of your readers who might like to check it out. Thanks for stopping by yesterday.