Book Buzz: Summer’tude

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Book Buzz: Summer’tude

By Lucie Smoker

Smartphone at your fingertips? iPod in your pocket? Why not take books to the pool, Keystone Lake, or a ledge on Quartz Mountain this summer?

You can download a free Kindle, BlueFire, Kobo, iBooks, Audible or iTunes app to get started. Here are some firebrand Oklahoma YA reads to consider for a teen—or for yourself.

Mythology High by Jammie Kern, Diana Rodriguez Wallach and Magda Knight

Imagine a paranormal special agent ridding the world of shallow people. Or a red-headed Irish selkie trying to fit in at an American high school. Could you keep a secret that would hurt someone you love—when keeping it might destroy yourself?

These ancient myths updated with humor and tenderness are Mirror, Mirror, Seal Girl and Chloe in Bloom, part of a Kindle-only series from Edmond’s Buzz Books USA. Start anywhere in the series. These novellas are perfect for phones.

Beautiful Oblivion by New York Times bestselling Oklahoma mom, Jamie McGuire

Trenton Maddox came home from university haunted by crushing guilt. He had been the guy every girl wanted to tame until the accident. Now he can barely forgive himself.

Eighteen months later, living at home, working full-time to help with the bills, Trenton spots Cami Camlin alone at a table. Fiercely independent, Cami has no time for romance. She’s certain this friendship with Trenton will be strictly platonic, but when a Maddox brother falls in love… E-book and paperback out July 1 for older teens and new adults.

Reader Pick:
Jazmin Warren is a 23-year-old mom and “devout non-reader” (except when reading to kids). Her first book since high school was Beautiful Disaster and she’s wants Beautiful Oblivion, “like yesterday.”

Mojo, the 2014 Oklahoma YA Book Award Winner by Tim Tharp

Walking home from his grocery-sacking job, minding his own business, 16-year-old Dylan ends up on the run from angry thugs in a Camaro. Dylan hides in a dumpster where they have no trouble finding him, but the thugs get spooked by the person lying next to him—the dead body of that quiet guy in his Western Cultures class.

Dylan tries to solve the murder (and a related one) to gain confidence and respect at school. Oft criticized for his lack of empathy for the victims, Dylan felt authentic to me. Maybe like many boys his age, he just needs figure out who he is before he can connect to the suffering of others. (Audible, paperback, iTunes, Kindle, and iBooks.)

Scalping Columbus and Other Damn Indian Stories by Adam Fortunate Eagle from OU Press

This book isn’t billed YA, but it has the attitude, the free spirit—plus is so damn hilarious. Raised in mainstream America, Fortunate Eagle went home to traditional Ojibwe family events and made a fool of himself trying to fit in. Then he became a well-known political activist, once stepping off an airplane to “discover” Italy and “claim” it for his nation.

Older people said, “How do you know how we feel? You never had it bad.” And teens of all stripes will relate to his response: “Those words were hurtful to me because the people who said them didn’t understand the kinds of things I had gone through.” (Kindle and paperback.)

Reader pick:
Sarah Cariker recommends Tulsa author Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series beginning with The Black Gryphon: In an age when magic is still wild and uncontrollable, Skandranon “Skan” Rashkae is a gryphon with ebony feathers, majestic wingspan, magesight and sharp intelligence. He defends the realm from the evil mage, Maar, his magical constructs and wicked birds of prey. Sarah says, “Mercedes Lackey brings fantasy to life.”

The Dark Between by Oklahoma author, Sonia Gensler

At the turn of the twentieth century, spiritualism and séances are all the rage in Cambridge, England but one medium’s assistant, Kate Poole, just got fired for blowing the deception. An orphan kept out of sight to build the con, Kate has only one friend, Billy, who finds her a place to stay at Summerfield College where she meets Elsie, whose medical condition has her hooked on the same drug that killed Kate’s mother, and Asher, a young man estranged from his father.

The teens have each come to the college to escape the past, but they soon find their futures entwined when Kate’s friend, Billy, turns up dead. Their strength plus the overwhelming sense of being suspended between reality, mad science and the paranormal make this book my fave on the list. (Hardcover or E-book)

Lucie Smoker is a freelance writer and author of Kindle top-selling murder mystery, Distortion. More at

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