Top Teen Reads of 2017 from your HCPL Teen Librarians!

2017 was definitely a roller coaster ride. There were some incredible peaks, plenty of quick drops and more than a few twists and turns.  We costumed up and partied at the Library Comic Con, saw the sun go dark during the Great American Eclipse, and fought the rise of fake news.

But 2017 was also another awesome year for YA books.  We read SO MANY great books this year, it was hard to choose our favorites.  We cheered for new titles from past favorites John Green and Philip Pullman. We were bowled over by brand new authors like Angie Thomas and Sandhya Menon. And we loved seeing YA lit continue to tackle topics relevant to all teens, reflecting the diversity that surrounds us every day.

Without any further adieu, here is your HCPL Teen Librarians’ Top Teen Reads of 2017.  You may just find your next book to read on this list – click on the titles to head to our catalog and place copies on hold!

We dedicate this list to Amanda Giannini (1982-2017), Teen Librarian at the Fairfield Library. We miss you, Amanda.

Continue reading “Top Teen Reads of 2017 from your HCPL Teen Librarians!”

Read + Review is Back!

Happy first day of school everyone!  The first day of school is also the first day of Read + Review – so you can start earning community service hours for submitting your reviews of our New YA books.

Visit our Read + Review page to learn more, and check out our handy guide to getting awarded the maximum two hours service credit for your reviews below.

Happy reading from your HCPL Teen Librarians!

Read Review Infographic

Read + Review: Nothing by Annie Barrows

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Charlotte and Frankie are two best friends that are the epitome of normalcy. They spend their days lounging around, hanging with their friends, and going on a few short adventures. And this Christmas break, nothing is different, but they want to hilariously document their life in the short book of Nothing. Through this novel, we explore their ups and downs of friendship, the trials and tribulations of family, and what it means to be loyalty. Yet, the boring lifestyle of these two friends is what truly makes it the book of Nothing.

I had originally picked up this book because of how normal it sounded; there were no huge plot twists, simply the life of a modern teenager. Going into this, I expected it to be still somewhat engaging, but I’m very on the fence with that statement after reading the story. As a child, I used to read the Ivy + Bean books that Annie Barrows wrote. However, I felt that those types of childlike language translated here and furthered my confusion. The point of view of the story kept switching, so I was constantly scratching my head at who was talking and for what purpose. I found the book a little too boring for my taste. Perhaps that was the intention of the story, but I don’t think that many teens would be too interested in this type of genre. However, I encourage anyone to still take a shot. This book didn’t mesh with me, but maybe it will for others.

I enjoyed that this book showed that friendships aren’t as perfect as people try to make it out to be. Frankie and Charlotte were best friends, but they still fought and pushed each other harder than they wanted to be pushed. Yet, in the end, they still had each other’s backs, which is what true friendship is about.


Reviewed by Mitali, Grade 10, Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

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The book is from Rachel and Henry’s points of views. They were best friends in school, until Rachel moved to Sea Ridge, a town by the ocean. She, her mother, and her brother Cal lived there happily; until one day, Cal mysteriously drowned in the ocean. Rachel couldn’t stand the ocean anymore, and her mother sent her to live with her aunt in the town that she had previously lived in. At the same time, Henry has had an on-off relationship with his girlfriend Amy, and every time they break up, he thinks it would be the last time, but he always wants her back. Also, his family is considering to sell the bookstore, which is his only happiness. Once Rachel moved back, they tried to bring each other back to the ways things used to be, but so much had happened since then.

The book was absolutely amazing. There was so much description and there were so many emotional twists and turns. The book really drew me in, and there were times that I wanted to stop reading because the book was so sad, but at the same time I wanted to keep going. There really was no main conflict; it was simply normal problems of everyday life. The book really gets you thinking about the small things in life and that we have to appreciate everything and everyone in our lives.

In the novel, Henry and his family own a bookstore, and there is a section called the Letter Library. Filled with books that cannot be bought, there are classics and favorites lining the shelves. People are allowed to write in the margins about parts of the book, and you can meet people that share similar interests. There were certain books that shared a deep connection between two characters, and entire letters and conversations were passed back and forth. The Letter Library added a whole new facet to this novel.


Reviewed by Heer, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian

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Daria is an Iranian American girl who is proud of who she is. Her former friend Heidi who is in a clique called the “Nose Jobs,” while Daria’s friends are called the Authentics. The Authentics included her, Kurt, Caroline, and Joy. One day in their English class, Mr. Farrell assigns a project about what brought them to this point in their life. Daria decides to draw up a little family tree, including her brother Amir and his husband Andrew, and her parents Sheila and Baba. She then decides that she should do a DNA test on herself. She finds out shocking news that will test her family and the Authentics. She is on the road of self-discovery and secrets.

I like how her friends and family were tested throughout the story. You also get to learn about her culture at the same time. The friendship that Daria, Kurt, Caroline, and Joy had was one of a kind. I loved how her mom was so party crazy, while the dad just went along with everything so the mom wouldn’t be mad at him. It really showed their relationship clear and how they are as parents. The author being the same race as the character that he wrote made you feel better because you know the culture is truthful. There wasn’t anything in particular that I didn’t like. If I had to really choose it would be Heidi’s attitude.

The most memorable thing was when her niece was born. I understood how she felt because I’m currently having a niece too, so I felt like I could relate with the character.


Reviewed by Alanda, Grade 11, Libbie Mill Library

Read + Review: The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian

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Daria Esfandyar’s life revolves around being an authentic Iranian-American. She is vehemently proud of her heritage and culture and looks down upon those who shy away from their identities. Her life suddenly changed when her research led to the truth about her past. Conflicted, Daria goes out on a mission to find out who she really is. However, lies, mishaps, and consequences follow her along the trail. She begins to doubt if she’ll ever solve her identity crisis.

In The Authentics, there were several diverse and controversial topics that deemed interesting. The beginning of the novel had made it somewhat difficult to read. I wasn’t well-informed about Iranian culture. However, I was determined to finish, and I genuinely enjoyed reading about astrology, Daria’s relatives, and other cultures.

The most memorable thing about The Authentics was that the protagonist was an Iranian-American. I’ve read numerous books throughout my life, and not one had a protagonist with such an interesting background and culture as Daria.


Reviewed by Jessica, Grade 9, Glen Allen Library