The Six Emotional Stages of Weeding a Teen Fiction Collection

For the last week, I have been weeding the teen fiction collection in preparation for 2016 and all of the wonderful books that haven’t been printed yet. As I do so, I find that I have some very conflicting emotions. Any of you who manage a print collection probably have experienced a similar roller coaster while weeding.

  1. First I feel glee! Finally! I will be able to fit all of the books on the shelf again and still have some space! They’ll also be in order because let’s face it, those teen volunteers do a good job at shelf reading but there’s nothing like a librarian’s over-sensitive eye to put books in their place. It’s going to look nice and clean and organized like it hasn’t for a few months.
  2. Then I feel fear. What if I’m about to weed a book I shouldn’t. Maybe it’s going to show up on the high school reading list! Maybe they’ll turn it into a movie or a tv show and people are going to be demanding copies of the book to read. What if this book right here is the next [enter super popular YA title here] and i’m making a terrible mistake?!
  3. And then it’s on to rationality. Well, if it was going to be a sensation, chances are it would have happened earlier on. I mean, this book was published in 2008. What’s the likelihood it’ll kick off now? And really, how many copies of The Hunger Games do we really need?
  4. And then it’s back to smug happiness. Look how pretty the shelves are all organized and orderly and with room to spare. It makes the teen area look bigger somehow.
  5. And then fear again. Are people going to look at the shelves now and start to ask where all the books went? We already have those people who tell us that the world is coming to an end because ebooks are the downfall of all humanity and blah blah blah. Will they take this as the harbinger of doom and start demanding that the libraries do this or that or the other to counteract the scourge of the ereader?
  6. And then I just feel fine because I’m a librarian and this is what I am good at. I nurture my collection to reflect the community I serve and as tastes and interests change, so do the items on the shelf. I listen to my community and I am confident that my decisions are in accordance with their needs and interests.

Confidence wins! And the teen space really does look nicer this way. I should do this more often.

Review of the Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie

Reached by Ally CondieI recently finished reading the third and last book in the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. I began reading this series because it was described as a readalike to the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Well, it is…kinda. It is a YA dystopian novel set in a future where society has become corrupt and unreasonable. There is a lot that the Matched society has in common with Wells’ 1984. Society is always watching, listening, and controlling. Society tells you what your job will be, who you will marry, and when you will die. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that obviously the three main characters form a love triangle and succeed in overthrowing Society’s control by the end of the third book. That’s a common theme in dystopian YA. I will say that I enjoyed the first book much better than either of the two the followed. The second book indeed lived up to “second in a trilogy” stereotypes by being the least memorable. The conclusion was interesting, but entirely too perfect. All loose ends were tied up, all questions were answered, and everyone was happy.

I would recommend this book to people who found the romantic conflict within the Hunger Games trilogy highly interesting.

Review of Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

by Kady Cross

And here we go with the third book in the Steampunk Chronicles, The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross. Not too long ago I read the first two books in this series and reviewed them. This one I received as an advance reader copy from the publisher.

Description from Goodreads:

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What’s left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends’ lives.

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke’s sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him…and for Griffin.

Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel’s desolate alleyways to Mayfair’s elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist’s ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she’s to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn’t know she has….

When reading the first two books in this series, I did a lot of ignoring the weird way the characters just seemed to take for granted the unusual things that happened around them and the baseless trust they showed in near strangers. The fast pace of the story and the intriguing plot do a lot to make up for the shallow characters, and the same is true in this book. Cross is an excellent storyteller, knowing just the right time and place to leave suspense and build tension. I might personally have been a little happier with a little less time devoted to the characters’ inner romantic turmoil, but I do see how the romantic developments helped drive the story along. I’m still not completely over the moon about the Steampunk Chronicles, but I will continue to read them just to find out what happens next.

Cover Art Deja Vu

I recently cataloged some new YA fiction and included in the bunch was the title The Ruining by Anna Collomore. The cover of this book has a large mansion in the background and a young woman’s half-submerged profile in the foreground. Yesterday, I glimpsed a new Non-fiction title in my coworker’s office titled Shouting Won’t Help: Why I– and 40 Million Other Americans — Can’t Hear You by Katherine Bouton. It has a cloudy sky in the background and a young woman’s half-submerged profile in the foreground. I thought to myself how similar it looked to the YA book I had just added to the collection. Today as I was walking past the new books in the teen area I saw The Ruining again and was really struck by the similarity between the covers. So I went searching for the other and lo and behold, they are the same.

Side by Side Comparison

I have read blog articles about this kind of phenomenon but have never personally stumbled upon two (mostly) identical covers like this. Let alone two books published in the same month. I am very glad that these two books will be displayed in different parts of the library, so that people won’t be turned off or confused by the similarity of the covers.