The Spiritual Lives of Teens in YA Lit, a discussion
Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back? (February 17th 2015 by HarperTeen )
Can an atheist be saved? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of faith and forgiveness with brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance.“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was…my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”
Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.
Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.
No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question. (2014)
Fate brought them together. Will life tear them apart? Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing.Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters).They’ve spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did.When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection.Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up?In the timeless tradition of West Side Story and Crossing Delancey, this thoroughly modern take on romance will inspire laughter, tears, and the belief that love can happen when and where you least expect it. (2014)
When seventeen-year-old Minnow stumbles out of the woods one winter morning, she is haunted and handless and covered in someone else’s blood. She has just escaped the strict religious commune run by a cruel man named the Prophet. In exchange for freedom, she leaves behind her family, her home, and Jude–an outsider boy who changed everything.
But the real world isn’t the sanctuary Minnow imagined. Soon, she gets arrested and placed in juvenile detention. Now, Minnow is being questioned by an FBI psychiatrist about the night she escaped, the same night the Prophet was burned to death in his own home—a murder Minnow may be responsible for.
A modern retelling of the Grimm fairy tale, “The Handless Maiden,” in which the Devil orders a girl’s hands cut off, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is the story of a girl growing out of the wreckage of corrupted faith. (June 9th 2015 by Dial/Penguin)
All book descriptions are from the publisher
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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