Booktalks in a Box: It’s the End of the World as We Know It
Life as We Knew It looks to space for its disaster. When a meteor strikes the Earth’s moon, many are relieved, believing they’ve been saved – it didn’t hit the earth, after all. Their relief is short lived, however, as it soon becomes clear that the meteor knocked the moon out of its normal orbit, causing world-wide tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, killing millions and making Earth nearly inhospitable for people like sixteen-year-old Miranda and her family. Miranda chronicles her struggles with starvation, danger, and fear in a journal, giving the reader a first-hand view of her scary world.
Imagine coming home from an awesome camping trip with friends to an eerily empty town: no adults, no notes…nothing. Then imagine finding out that your families have been rounded up into prison camps, because while you were gone, your country was invaded and you must now decide: turn yourself in and join your families; head back into the wilderness to hide; or, take your chances and fight back. In Tomorrow, When the War Began, Australian teenager Ellie writes of what happens when she and her friends decide to fight back in a deadly, desperate bid to save their families and themselves.
In Ashes, terminally ill, 16 year-old Alex is backpacking alone through the Michigan wilderness when the Zap happens: one minute she’s considering her death by brain tumor, the next she’s trying to survive the most terrifying pain she’s ever faced. Bombs detonated above the Earth’s atmosphere have resulted in devastating electromagnetic pulses, destroying electronics, wiping out communications, and killing millions. She’s suddenly faced with a completely new world, in which most adults and teens have died, and those who haven’t died have…changed. Into something even more terrifying.
One afternoon, as fourteen-year-old Sam tries to stay awake in History, when, without warning, his teacher disappears. Across town, adults have vanished: food half eaten, cars suddenly driver-less, words left half-written on a chalkboard. The children left behind, fourteen and younger, are confused and very scared. Some kids wander, others begin to take care of the toddlers and babies, and others take advantage of zero adult supervision and seize control. But how safe is a town run by bullies? With no phones or internet, how can they get help? And what on Earth can they do about the dangerous powers a couple of kids have begun to develop?
Kearsten’s Bio: I am a Tween/Teen Librarian in Glendale, AZ, at the same library I used as a teen. By the time I got my MLS from the University of Arizona in 2004, I’d been working in Glendale libraries for eight years and tried out circulation, adult reference, and children’s services before finding my home working with teens. I am the unofficial book club queen, coordinating and moderating three very different book discussion groups for tweens and teens aged 8-18, and am happiest when talking with teenagers about awesome books. I’ve spoken about book groups, teen reading confessions, and the importance of graphic novels in libraries at Arizona Library Association conferences, for the Maricopa County Library Council’s Continuing Education program, and at the ultimate geek prom, San Diego Comic Con. My darling husband understands that I won’t answer questions posed while I’m reading, and I lose my 9-year-old to the comic books whenever she comes to work with me. Some of my favorite authors are Tamora Pierce, John Green, Lish McBride, Jonathan Maberry, Jim Butcher, Elizabeth Peters, and Mo Willems. I prefer my genres ‘blended’ – an end-of-the-world paranormal mystery in a Victorian/steampunk setting? Yes, please! — and I’m always up for anything involving zombies….unless it’s about dating zombies. That’s just too scary for me.
Filed under: Booktalks
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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