Missouri Gateway Nominees- Training and Read Alikes

I was tasked with reading this years Gateway nominees and presenting a mini training for other librarians in our district. I thought I would share my book-talks, slides, and read-alikes with my followers. I had mixed feeling about this year’s nominees. I felt that the group as a whole was rather depressing. There are a lot of heavy topics and not a lot of humor. On their own I feel that most of the books were pretty good stories but together they made me a bit¬†bummed out. I really think that teens need some happy mixed in with hot topic books. I am hoping that next year includes a few books with humor. From the statistics at our library Eleanor and Park, 5th Wave, The Naturals, and Out of the easy, seem to be the most popular with our teens. My vote for the award winner is “Eleanor and Park.”

Read-Alikes for the Gateway Nominees-


Slide Presentation-


On my slides are a few book posters that I made on Canva. If you are interested, please message me and I will send them to you!


Eleanor and Park- Book Review

Eleanor and ParkEleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nearly everyone I know has recommended this book at some point and mostly for the 80’s references. While it’s not a personal favorite, I can see why so many of my friends loved it. I personally enjoyed the pop culture flashbacks of cassette tapes, stonewashed mini skirts, and awkward first love. It felt like Jr. High all over again.

I think I was expecting more of a fluffy romance and wasn’t prepared for the family drama that Eleanor was dealing with. That was heartbreaking on so many levels. I wanted to reach into the pages and rescue her from her awful situation. I wanted to strangle all the adults that stood by and did nothing to help or didn’t believe her when she told them. I wanted to cheer when Park took her away to a better life. Basically, this book hit me in the feels over and over again and didn’t let up until I was finished.

I agree with another friend who said the ending felt a bit contrived. However, I don’t think it will matter to teens. I predict that this book will win the Gateway Reader award for Missouri with little competition.

View all my reviews

2014 MASL Reader Awards

Congratulations to the winners of MASL’s 2014 Readers Awards!

1st place: Divergent, by Veronica Roth. Katherine Tegen Books.
2nd place: Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake. Tor Teen.
3rd place: Ashfall, by Mike Mullin. Tanglewood Press.

Mark Twain
1st place: The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann. Aladdin.
2nd place: Hidden, by Helen Frost. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
3rd Place: Pie, by Sarah Weeks. Scholastic Press.

Show Me
1st place: Painter and Ugly, written and illustrated by Robert Blake. Philomel.
2nd place: A Book for Black-Eyed Susan by Judy Young, illustrated by Doris Ettinger. Sleeping Bear Press.
3rd place: Charlie the Ranch Dog, by Ree Drummond, illustrated by Diane deGroat. HarperCollins.

1st place: Legend, by Marie Lu. Putnam Juvenile.
2nd place: Michael Vey: the Prisoner of Cell 25,
by Richard Paul Evans. Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink.
3rd place: The Running Dream, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Book Review- Of Poseidon


Of Poseidon- By Anna Banks

This is my first YA mermaid tale that I have braved this year. Merfolk are the new hot genre in the teen sector and so far most have been hit or miss. I wanted to like this book. The cover is beautiful and relevant to the the story. I was excited to read it because it was told from two perspectives. It promised humor, romance and a little bit of mystery. Unfortunately it did not live up to many of its promises. 

Galen is the Prince of Syrena. He spends his days monitoring the human world so that he can be prepared for anything. Emma is a Senior in high school who is clumsy and shy. A chance meeting and a tragic accident brings these two characters together in what should have been a wonderful story.

The Good-
I liked Emma. She wasn’t too overly flawed and I think that many teens could relate to her well. Much of her dialog is fairly witty and she is written in 1st perspective. Her part of the story has a good flow and is easy to follow. She is a bit of a love-struck fool at times but who isn’t when confronted with a handsome guy at 18?

The premise of the story is rather promising. I liked that the author used some traditional mythology with Trident and Poseidon. It created a new perspective on the whole story of Atlantis.

There are some laugh out loud moments and some intrigue. Just not enough for me to rave about it.

The Bad-
While Emma is written in 1st perspective, Galen is written in 3rd. It completely threw me off and drove me nuts. It was horribly distracting to the story and his chapters felt stilted and forced. I don’t know if the author was trying to give him a more lofty perspective or to really drive home the differences between Galen and Emma. To me it really didn’t work.

Galen is also your typical YA lover boy with the “OMG he is to die for” good looks. He also tends to be a possessive and entitled creep through most of the text. I tried to chalk it up to the whole prince and merman thing but still.. enough is enough with the controlling male love interests.

I found it odd that while Emma has to hold her breath underwater, she can still talk. Really?? How does that work?

If you can get past the weird dialog and possessive romance it is okay. I can see some of my teen female readers enjoying this one and few others that will hate it because of the 3 person perspective. I doubt many of the teen boys will enjoy this one since it is very romance heavy. It is also not one I would have chosen for Gateway.

I would recommend this one for teens looking for fantasy romance that is different than the traditional Princess tale and for teens that enjoy Poseidon and Atlantis mythology.

This book is on the Missouri Gateway Reader Award nominee list for 2014-2015