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Celebrate NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) by joining our teen writing contest! Short story submissions will be accepted November 1st-30th. The theme is: STARS. You are encouraged to interpret this in any way you wish. Be creative and express your ideas!  Winners will be announced in December.

The following rules apply:  

  • Teens in grades 6-12 are eligible  
  • Works cannot exceed 2,000 words
  • 1 entry per person
  • All work must be original and unpublished
  • Participants must be a resident of DuPage County
  • Entries must include a title page with your name, age, school, and contact information (phone number or email address)
  • Work will be judged on originality of plot, characters, use of language, grammar, spelling, and syntax

Entries which do not meet the requirements as put forth in these rules may be disqualified.


Grades 6 – 8 submit here: Middle School Short Story Submissions 

Grades 9 – 12 submit here: High School Short Story Submissions 

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Book Reviews

Through the Woods
Emily Carroll
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

This book is full of different scary stories paired with equally unsettling illustrations. Carroll includes various types of horror stories, including ghosts, possessions, body horror, and more. The illustrations and the font used are bold, colorful, and menacing. The colorful images compare and contrast well with the stories and add to the chilling and creepy atmosphere in each one.

Posted 11/10/2022

The Haunted
Danielle Vega
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5 Stars

Hendricks is a high schooler trying to start over in a new town and school after she and her family flee her abusive ex. The trauma of her old life haunts her, and now her new house is haunted. The book starts scary and remains steadily action-packed, which puts a constant sense of dread in the reader. Vivid and disturbing descriptions further immerse the reader in the horror of each scene. The mostly likable characters act in believable ways regarding the haunting and conflicts between characters. This non-stop scary haunted house story is a horrifying page-turner.

Posted 10/18/2022

Clown in a Cornfield
Adam Cesare
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

After a family tragedy, Quinn and her father move from Philadelphia to a small town in rural Missouri. Wanting to make the most of her senior year in a new place, she goes to a party with what she hopes are potential new friends. The party quickly goes from lighthearted fun to a fight for survival as teens are targeted by killers dressed as the town mascot, Frendo the Clown. Full of retro horror fun and clever social commentary, this suspenseful slasher novel escalates intensely and doesn’t stop until its blood-soaked finale.

Posted 10/5/2022

I'm The Girl
Courtney Summers
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

I’m the Girl follows the story of Georgia, who discovers the dead body of a thirteen-year-old girl while she’s riding her bike on a road that leads to Aspera, a resort where the country’s most elite like to stay. While Georgia begins to investigate the murder with the dead girl’s sister, Nora James, she becomes increasingly entangled with the world of Aspera and the patriarchal structure of the society she lives in. If anyone knows how to write a book that unravels you completely before punching you right in the gut, it’s Courtney Summers. This novel is a raw and unflinching look at society and how it treats girls. Summers doesn’t shy away from the horrors of growing up as a young woman in today’s society. (Please check trigger warnings before reading, as this is not an easy book to read.)

-Michelle J.
Posted 9/22/2022

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness
Kristen Radtke
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

Radtke’s introspective portrayal of every human’s quest to connect is haunting, humorous and most importantly, hopeful. The sections are categorized by hear, touch and feel with different inventions, studies and pop-culture vignettes to, well, illustrate her points. The art is simplistic and highly relatable with an overarching message: being lonely is the most unifying part of the human experience.

Posted 9/2/22

This One Summer
Mariko Tamaki
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

In their annual reunion at Awago Beach, Rose and Windy’s friendship changes with the tides in shades of blue.  From cloudless, robin’s egg skies as they swim through the swells to deep sadness in the shade cerulean, this precious and poignant story simultaneously highlights the season of summer and big, personal growth in all its funny, confusing and cherished moments.

Posted 8/10/2022

And the Trees Crept In
Dawn Kurtagich
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

Teenage Silla and her young sister Nori have escaped from their abusive father in London and soon find themselves living in the middle of a forest in their Aunt Cath’s dilapidated manor, La Baume. Like many classic horror houses, La Baume has its own personality and agenda, and the trees around them – home to a monster known as “The Creeper Man” – seem to be growing closer with each passing day.  Written in lyrical, artistic prose, this claustrophobic horror novel will keep you guessing until the end.

Posted 8/9/2022

A Heart in a Body in the World
Deb Caletti
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

Annabelle likes to run. So when a devastating tragedy takes everything from her, leaving her with unthinkable pain and trauma, what else is there to do but just that? Annabelle decides to run from her home in Seattle to Washington, D.C., with her grandpa following her in an R.V. While she runs, memories of her past life and The Taker, the boy at the root of her trauma, follow her on her journey. This book is a powerful, heartbreaking look at the impact of violence against women. Caletti’s emotionally-charged writing puts you right in Annabelle’s running shoes. It makes you root for her as she takes back her voice and strength.

-Michelle J.
Posted 8/8/2022

Activist: A Story of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Shooting
Lauren Elizabeth Hogg
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

This heart-wrenching story is by one of the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting that occurred on February 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida. Lauren was a 14-year-old freshman when she, her friends, brother, and classmates were victimized by mass gun violence that permanently changed, or ended, their lives forever. This graphic novel is a haunting personal portrayal of the realities of the US epidemic of gun violence and mass school shootings. It is emotionally intense but not hopeless. Lauren emphasizes relationships, love, and hope for the future throughout the storyline. She argues passionately about the importance of individual and group activism to create change in America. It is a heavy and significantly relevant quick read.

Posted 7/28/2022

Web Resources

Book recommendations, homework help, and more!

  • Path2Purpose Campaign: Evidence-based mental health tips and techniques to help cope with the COVID outbreak, the stay-at-home blues, depression, anxiety, and more so that we can all grow stronger together from this crisis.
  • Teen COVID-19 Resources: A collection of resources for teens living during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • YALSA Teens’ Top Ten: The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year!
  • YALSA Book Finder: Search 4,000+ books, audiobooks, and films from YALSA’s book awards and book lists.
  • Lincoln Award: Illinois Teen Readers’ Choice Award.
  • Explora Secondary: Explora supports both student research and classroom instruction with rich, reliable content and easy-to-use functionality.
  • Points of View Reference Center: Resources for students to understand issues, develop criticial thinking skills, and develop persuasive arguments. Includes essays, overviews, articles, and transcripts on, citizens’ rights, earth and environmental issues, global issues, health and medicine, and media and communications.