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Posts Tagged ‘ya lit’

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Young Adult

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 24th, 2015
ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Young Adult Cover Image

The Library’s pick for Best Book of the Year in 2013 and 2012 were young adult titles: Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in 2013 and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in 2012. We love the rich variety of stories in this genre, even if some of us are past the suggested reading age.

(OK. A few of us are way past the suggested reading age. Thank goodness the books don’t care, they only want to be read!)


  • The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  • Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud
  • Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
  • Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  • A Prince Without A Kingdom by Timothee de Fombelle
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Have you explored our young adult collection? It’s on the Library’s second floor!

Reading another person’s letters …

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 1st, 2015

An upcoming episode of On Air: The ICPL podcast will feature a Favorite Book segment.

Not books.


It isn’t easy choosing a favorite book. I have tons of favorites from various stages in life, but there is one title that remains my hands-down favorite: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

84, Charing Cross Road details the 20-year friendship between Hanff, a writer living in New York City, and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co., antiquarian booksellers in London. This lovely non-fiction book is an epistolary book, written entirely in the pair’s letters. (It was later turned into a stage play, TV play and a movie, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.)

I love epistolary novels – books written as a series of documents, such as letters and journal entries. There’s realness with this genre, even in fiction works. Reading something private instantly makes the reader part of the character’s personal life.

Some of my favorite epistolary titles include Stephen Chboksky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (bonus: it’s also a banned 0504_i-will-always-write-backbook; perfect for Banned Books Week reading); Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell; and Where Rainbows End (previously published as Rosie Dunne) by Cecelia Ahern. Now, I have a new title to add to the list: I Will Always Write Back by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka.

I Will Always Write Back is the true story of two lives changed by a letter. Caitlin wrote to Martin as part of an English assignment, choosing Zimbabwe because she liked the name of the country. Her letter arrived with nine others, at a poor school with 50 students. Martin was lucky enough to receive one because he was the top student.

Caitlin and Martin had very little in common, but somehow they struck up a friendship that transcended their differences, eventually changing both of their lives. I Will Always Write Back is a great story of generosity, inner strength, and friendship. I could not put it down, finishing it in one afternoon.

I Will Always Write Back is cataloged as for ages 12 and up, but I see it as one of those books everyone should read, no matter if you are 15 or 50. It will make you smile, make you cry, and make you better for having experienced how truly amazing people can be.