More Young Adult Dystopian Novels

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

Stories set in dystopian societies are wildly popular right now, with books like The Hunger Games and Divergent becoming blockbuster hits at the box office. If you’re done re-reading  Mockingjay before the release of part one later this month, then you might want to check out some of these other young adult dystopian novels available at the library.

pasPills and Starships

by Lydia Millet

(PZ7.M63923 Pi 2014)

“Seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come to Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. Global warming has devastated the planet, and the disintegrating society that remains is run by “corporates” who keep the population complacent through a constant diet of “pharma.” The few Americans who stil live well also live long — so long that older adults, like Nat’s parents, blow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts. While Nat grapples with the bizarre ritual of her parents’ slickly engineered last days, Sam begins to uncover a secret, wilder Hawaii hidden beneath the high-gloss corporate veneer. Their family’s Final Week races toward its climax in the face of a looming hurricane as Nat struggles to protect herself and the people she loves — Along the way forging her own surprising path to hope.”


Matched series

by Ally Condie

(PZ7.C7586 Ma 2010)

“All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, whom to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn’t be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky’s face show up on her match disk as well?”


Tankborn series

by Karen Sandler

(PZ7.S2173 Tan 2011)

“Kayla and Mishalla, two genetically engineered non-human slaves (GENs), fall in love with higher-status boys, discover deep secrets about the creation of GENs, and find out what it means to be human.”


Thotshe House of the Scorpion series

by Nancy Farmer

(PZ7.F23814 Mat 2002)

“In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patrón, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.”


smShatter Me series

by Tahereh Mafi

(PZ7.M2695 Sh 2011)

“Ostracized or incarcerated her whole life, seventeen-year-old Juliette is freed on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a postapocalyptic dictatorship, but Adam, the only person ever to show her affection, offers hope of a better future.”


sbShip Breaker series

by Paolo Bacigalupi

(PZ7.B132185 Sh 2010)

“In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.”


Life As We Knew It series

by Susan Beth Pfeffer

(PZ7.P44855 Lif 2006)

“Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.”


These are just a few books to get you started, all of which are available at McLure in the Education School Library downstairs. Enjoy, and let us know your favorite dystopian reads.

Illustrated Novels for Older Readers

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

Illustrations aren’t just for kid’s books anymore. A lack of pictures has often categorized reading material as more “mature,” but that isn’t always the case. There are many novels written on more advanced reading levels that include a strong visual component. Not to be confused with graphic novels, whose stories are told entirely through pictures, illustrated novels still contain plots that are told primarily through the writing. However, they also contain images that add to the story and are sometimes even pivotal to understanding it. These books are great for reluctant readers or anyone who enjoys artistic interpretations of the text. Here are a few examples available through the university’s libraries:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret cover

Brian Selznick’s Caldecott winning book tells the story of Hugo Cabret, an orphan living in a railway station in 1930s Paris. At 500+ pages, this is no picture book. But don’t be intimidated by its size. It is a surprisingly quick read, as many sections of the story are told entirely through Selznick’s full-page, detailed black and white drawings. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an enchanting piece of historical fiction, and the film adaptation, Hugo, won several Academy Awards. Fans of the book should also check out his latest novel, Wonderstruck, which uses a similar style.



The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian cover

This highly acclaimed young adult novel by Sherman Alexie features a 14-year-old Native American protagonist who decides to leave the reservation in order to attend an all-white public high school. Arnold Spirit, Jr., aka Junior, is an aspiring cartoonist, and the book’s illustrations, drawn by Ellen Forney, depict his humorous drawings of the world around him. Alexie uses humor to balance the depressing events Junior experiences in his life on the reservation. While it contains a powerful story, some of the book’s more controversial elements have landed it on many banned book lists.



Leviathan cover

Science fiction writer Scott Westerfeld puts his own spin on history with this steampunk version of World War I. Leviathan introduces Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service, and what happens when their lives intersect. Westerfeld’s fantastic vision of alternate history, complete with complex, steam-powered machinery and genetically engineered animal-vessels, is punctuated by the awe-inspiring illustrations of Keith Thompson. His artwork masterfully combines elements of past and future and helps readers better picture the richly complex setting. The book is the first in a trilogy.


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close cover

Although this is a novel aimed at adults, Jonathan Safran Foer’s nine-year-old narrator might make it also appeal to a slightly younger audience. In this book, Oskar Schell looks for clues that will unlock the meaning of a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died on 9/11. Foer’s narrative is supplemented by many visual elements, such as photographs and letters. These pictures often contain clues or hidden meanings that are revealed throughout the course of the story. Once again, this book serves as an example of how images can enrich a book’s text. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close deals with issues of grief and loss, especially in the wake of September 11th, and has also been made into a movie.


These are only a few examples of how fiction books incorporate illustrations. Graphics can enrich a text, provide supplementary information, and even communicate part of the plot. All of the books mentioned above are available at a library on campus. Let us know in the comments what other novels you think use images effectively to add to the story.

Television Show Read Alikes

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

For fans of popular television series, there’s never an episode long enough to satisfy, and the wait between seasons can feel like an eternity. To bide your time until then, you might be interested in reading some similar stories. Here’s our list of read alikes for a few of your tv favorites:

If you like The Bachelor, you might like…



The Selection by Kiera Cass.

PZ7.C2685133 Sel 2012

“America Singer is chosen to compete in the Selection–a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illea’s prince–but all she really wants is a chance for a future with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her.”


If you like Once Upon a Time, you might like…



The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley.

PZ7.B882323 Fai 2005

“Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead.”



If you like Hannibal, you might like…



Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory.

PN6728.C48 L396 2010

“Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats.”



If you like The 100, you might like…


The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

PZ7.D2587 Maz 2009

“Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.”


You can find all of these suggestions at McLure. Let us know in the comments if there are any other tv show/book comparisons you think we’re missing.

Take a Literary Journey with These Spring Break Reads

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

Spring break is right around the corner. Whether you’re going on a trip or planning a staycation, we’ve got plenty of books you’ll want to have on hand. Any of these would be great for reading on the beach. However, if you’re staying a little closer to home, never fear! Save money by traveling via book. All of these reads feature trips you can enjoy without leaving the comfort of your couch.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

(PZ7.M43151 Am 2010)

“After the death of her father, Amy, a high school student, and Roger, a college freshman, set out on a carefully planned road trip from California to Connecticut, but wind up taking many detours, forcing Amy to face her worst fears and come to terms with her grief and guilt.”

Paper Towns by John Green

(PZ7.G8233 Pap 2008)

“One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q’s neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears.”

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

(PZ7.B7386 Go 2009)

“In an attempt to find a cure after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s (aka mad cow) disease, Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen-year-old boy, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital.”

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

(PZ7.J634145 Nam 2011)

“Rory, of Bénouville, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.”

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

(PZ7.B73759 Si 2001)

“During their first summer apart, four teenage girls, best friends since earliest childhood, stay in touch through a shared pair of secondhand jeans that magically adapts to each of their figures and affects their attitudes to their different summer experiences.”

Best of all, each of these books can be found at McLure library. But if you’re planning to leave town, be sure to come ahead of time, as we will close at 5 pm on Friday and won’t open again until Monday morning, March 24th.

What are you reading during spring break?

Books to Movies: Spring 2014

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

We’ve reached that hectic part of the semester where every professor is trying to cram in one last paper or test (or both!) before spring break. Once you’ve turned in the paper and aced the midterm, reward yourself. Identify your junk food of choice and watch that movie you’re dying to see.

There are several new movies based on books coming out in theatres and on DVD. If you’re a book loyalist, you’ll want to read these first. Maybe you loved the movie and have been inspired to read the original. Or you can’t wait for the sequel to find out what happens next. Either way, you’re in luck. Here are a few we have at the library.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

On DVD: March 11

At the library: PZ7.Z837 Boo 2006

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living in Germany during World War II, and her relationship with her new foster home and the written word. This deeply touching work of historical fiction deserves a read for numerous reasons, including Zusak’s hauntingly beautiful prose and masterful storytelling, along with the many intricacies lost in its translation to film.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

On DVD: March 7

At the library: PZ7.C6837 Cat 2009

The second book in Collins’ bestselling Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire has Katniss Everdeen at odds with the Capital again during the 75th Annual Hunger Games. The movie is worth a watch if you’re a fan of action, dystopia, or Jennifer Lawrence. Brush up on your knowledge with a re-read in preparation for the release of Mockingjay. Part one comes to cinemas this November.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In theatres: March 21

At the library: PZ7.R7375 Di 2011

If you’re looking for the next big series, look no further. Divergent capitalizes on the dystopian trend with the story of Tris Prior, who lives in a futuristic version of Chicago where people are divided into “factions” based on their defining characteristic. Tris must decide between a life of selflessness with her family or embracing her inner bravery by starting a new life, and she finds out what happens to people who believe they can do both. Roth’s stunning conclusion to the trilogy, Allegiant, was released last fall, so fans of the books eagerly await as it comes to the big screen later this month.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

On DVD: April 8 (Part 2)

In theatres: Dec 17 (Part 3)

At the library: PZ8.1.T576 Ho

For fantasy enthusiasts, a read through of Tolkien’s work is always in order. This Lord of the Rings prequel is a perfect choice with the release of parts two and three of The Hobbit this year, on DVD and in theatres, respectively. And if The Hobbit is too easy, you can always check out The Silmarillion as well for even more knowledge about the Tolkien universe.

Good luck with your assignments, and don’t forget to borrow one of these books while you’re in the library studying!

Love Is In The Air – Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a book about Love



Books About Love: Valentine’s Day Recommendations

Blogpost by Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate


With February 14 rapidly approaching, love seems to be on everyone’s mind. You can’t walk through the grocery store or turn on the TV without being assaulted by red and pink hearts. If books are your one true love, then consider checking out some of these books from the library.

eleanor & park

Eleanor & Park

PZ7.R79613 Ele 2013

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Rainbow Rowell’s honest story about two outsiders trying to survive high school in the eighties has taken the world of Young Adult fiction by storm. This story epitomizes the power and importance of young love. A 2014 Printz Honor book, Eleanor & Park would be a good Valentine’s read for fans of teen romance and good music.

  fault in our stars

The Fault in Our Stars

PZ7.G8233 Fau 2012

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

In this book, John Green tells the story of two teens who meet in a support group for cancer survivors. Green has quite a following, and you’ll know why after reading this witty and heartbreaking book. Plus, The Fault in Our Stars comes to the big screen this June, so why not read the book first? But don’t forget to bring tissues!



PZ7.M57188 Tw 2005

“About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him-and I didn’t know how potent that part might be-that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”

While Twilight receives a lot of criticism, don’t discount its popularity. The now ubiquitous love story of Bella Swan and teen vampire Edward Cullen is a perfect guilty pleasure for this holiday. To be read while eating an entire box of chocolates by yourself.

 on and only ivan

One and Only Ivan

PZ7.A6483 On 2012

“Right now I would give all the yogurt raisins in all the world for a heart made of ice.”

If friendship is more your style, then check out Katherine Applegate’s One and Only Ivan, winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. Ivan, a gorilla on display at the mall, must learn to care for his fellow animals in order to find a way to spare their newest addition, a baby elephant, from sharing the same sad existence. Inspired by the real life story of a gorilla who lived in a mall in Tacoma, Washington for 27 years.


All of these books are available at the McLure Education Library, so come by to find your perfect match. Have a happy Valentine’s Day!