All Night Long isn’t code for Lionel Richie but instead a list populated by titles whose narrative arcs are condensed into a single day and/or night. Quite a task for the author to do well but these following titles show how to achieve just that.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Rachel Cohn & David Levithan)
“After one electric kiss, the five-minute couple of Nick and Norah sets off on an uncharted adventure that turns into a long night of falling in and out of love, in the alternative club scene of New York City.” A&U
Shortlisted for the 2007 Inky Awards, Nick and Norah has gained a large audience from the 2008 film adaptation starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. This title is many things – naughty, earnest, intense, funny strange and above all authentic. Nick and Norah are far removed from contemporary cliches and blaze their own path of wit, charm and a few curve balls.
Graffiti Moon (Cath Crowley)
“Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.
Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.
Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it.
Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.
An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.” PanMac
Graffiti Moon has won a litany of youth literature awards this year with good reason – it is a splendid book. Three characters that are beautifully released on a single Melbourne night, our journey with them sketches in their details, their motivations and their fears. Crowley’s a gifted wordsmith blending character and lyricism with perfect balance. Graffiti Moon has been shortlisted for the 2011 Gold Inky award.
This is Shyness (Leanne Hall)
“A guy who howls. A girl on a mission to forget.
In the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and the border crackles with a strange energy, Wolfboy meets a stranger at the Diabetic Hotel. She tells him her name is Wildgirl, and she dares him to be her guide through the endless night.
But then they are mugged by the sugar-crazed Kidds. And what plays out is moving, reckless…dangerous. There are things that can only be said in the dark. And one long night is time enough to change your life.” Text
Hall won the 2009 Text Prize for This is Shyness and it is not hard to see why it swept away with the win. Daring and surreal, This is Shyness subverts traditionally storytelling to present relateable characters in a brave world of heightened (and somewhat dark, literally) reality. This is Shyness has been also shortlisted for the 2011 Gold Inky award.
If I Stay (Gayle Forman)
“For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they’re all about a future full of music and love, a future that’s brimming with hope.
But life can change in an instant.
A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one.
As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.” RHA
If I Stay whips the reader around like a ragdoll as we enter Mia’s lovely home life and see it tossed on its end. Examining the importance of family and loved ones and making tough choices, If I Stay is a 200 page emotional journey in love, loss and hope.
Where She Went (Gayle Forman)
“It’s been three years since Adam’s love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it . . . and three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future—and each other.” RHA
The companion novel to If I Stay, Where She Went follows Adam three years after parting ways from Mia. The events of the story take place solely over one night in New York City influenced by the music and memories of their joined past. Told from Adam’s perspective it navigates the complex facets of guilt, anger and being left behind. And again, hope is the driving force of Forman’s tale.
One Night That Changes Everything (Lauren Barnholdt)
“Two years ago, when Eliza Sellman was in ninth grade, her dad found out he was being transfered and the family was going to move. Having always been shy and not so confident about her body, Eliza took that opportunity to start a list in her private notebook of all the things she planned on doing when she moved but had always been afraid to—like wearing a miniskirt and asking guys to dance; singing karaoke in front of strangers; posting a photo of herself on her Facebook wall in a bikini…you get the idea. New town, new Eliza, right? Well, she’ll never know because the transfer fell through and they didn’t move. But Eliza kept adding her goals and secret fears to the list in the notebook.
Now it’s two years later, and in that time Eliza has had and lost her first boyfriend. But this was more than your average breakup…turns out the sweet and cute Cooper was only dating her as a hazing stunt by a secret society. Eliza got her revenge by posting some pretty nasty (and only sort-of true) stuff about Cooper online. That posting has had major consequences and now Cooper and his buddies have stolen her private notebook and won’t give it back until she performs all the things on her list in one night. It’s torture…until Eliza steals something from the boys she knows they’ll want to trade her notebook for. What starts out as a night of humiliation turns into a night of revelations as Eliza learns what Cooper was really thinking when they dated, the real reason he’s stolen her notebook, and how freeing—and life-changing—it can be to do the things you fear the most.” S&S US
The single night setting adds to the urgency and adventure of Eliza’s escapades as she attempts to reclaim her notebook. Barnholdt has a history of writing teen boys in an earnest and amusing way that makes them realistic rather than romantic archetypes.
Dirty Little Secrets ( CJ Omololu)
“Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.” Walker US
Omololu weaves frightening truths of the hoarder lifestyle in an hour by hour account of Lucy grappling with her need for normalcy. A disturbing read, if only for the knowledge that this is real for some teenagers. Emotionally wrenching, intense and unsettling.
The Day Before (Lisa Schroeder)
“Sometimes there’s no turning back.
Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of her family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell that he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now–he’s living like each moment is his last.
Can you think of more?” Lisa Schroeder Books
Many of Schroeder’s books are written in her beautiful free verse. In this case Amber’s life unfolds with Schroeders’s signature flowing style that sweeps throughout.
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