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Beyond The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief, Graceling, The Hunger Games... these hot titles are jumping off the shelves in our teen section, but they also have a long wait list. What to read while you wait? At a recent Lit Bistro meeting, we discussed these hot books and what you might enjoy if you have to wait to get your hands on a copy.

For instance, The Night Tourist, by Katherine Marsh, plays on some of the same themes as The Lightning Thief, with the three-headed dog, Cerberus, the River Styx and the ferryman Charon, a missing mother, and the Underworld. In The Night Tourist, a boy named Jack is hit by a car, but survives, and begins seeing ghosts. In particular, he sees a ghost girl named Uri, who invites him on a tour of the Underworld, one entrance to which happens to be underneath New York City's Grand Central Station. Jack is really looking for his dead mother, whom he believes hasn't "moved on" yet and yearns to see again. Will he find her? Can he rescue her and perhaps Uri too, and return them to the land of the living? Follow up this one with its sequel, The Twilight Prisoner, which just came out last year.

If you can't get enough of Riordan's series, you might also like The Cabinet of Wonders, by Marie Rutkoski. This is an amazing mix of light fantasy in a historical-type setting. The main character, Petra, awakes one morning to find her father returned to her... without his eyes. The Prince of Bohemia has taken them for reasons both sinister and selfish. Her father had extraordinary talent working with metals, but it was his magical gift that made his creations come alive, giving life to creatures of all sorts, including her pet spider, Astrophil. Petra and Astrophil set off for Prague to retrieve his eyes and get to the bottom of the prince's scheme, meeting a Roma boy with ghost fingers along the way. The magical but realistic setting will please readers of all kinds!

Meanwhile, older teens who have been drooling over the Twilight series will enjoy these new fantasy titles with a bit of a love story and a faerie theme: Wondrous Strange, by Lesley Livingston and Lament, by Maggie Stiefvater. Both have modern characters who are shocked to discover they are an intricate part of another world (and who are stronger and more exciting than Bella!). If you get hooked on Lament's characters, you can follow them up in the newly released, Ballad, which is arguably even better than the former. You might also switch to Stiefvater's werewolf series, beginning with the amazing book, Shiver. Of course, if you haven't read the companion novel to Graceling by Kristin Cashore yet, go ahead and get on the list for Fire. It's every bit as extraordinary. Cashore's books are great adventures to read while waiting for Suzanne Collins's,The Hunger Games or Catching Fire.

Of course, if you're a truly ambitious reader, our Lit Bistro fans suggest you check out, The Ultimate Teen Book Guide, edited by Hahn, Flynn, and Reuben. Including many great reviews from teens and teen authors, this guide gives you more than 700 book suggestions. The best part is the large number of book lists, with everything from genre top tens, to "featurettes," such as, "A Few Childhoods You Wouldn't Want for Yourself," and Ultimate Teen Readers' Poll Results, like, "Characters You'd Most Like to Be."

There's something for everyone out there when it comes to books, so don't give up if you can't get your hands on the hottest books right away. Check out our many great book lists in Reading Matters, or fill out a Book Match request, where you can specify genres, titles, or authors you've already enjoyed. Our librarians will reply with a personalized list of great reading ideas. Of course, you can always drop by Lit Bistro at the Salem Church or Porter branches to ask some other teens in person!