Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens
Title: The Secret Journal of Ashley Juergens
Author: ABC Family
Pages: 240
Content: PG13
Language: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary: I got called into Principal Miller's office again. She handed me a notebook. This notebook. She told me keeping a journal is an excellent way to express oneself. So I have to write in this stupid thing and turn it in at the end of each month.
Little does she know what she's in for. With everything that's been going on—Amy's band camp pregnancy, my parents' divorce, a secret wedding—it's practically one-stop shopping for all your Grant High gossip needs. Property of Ashley Juergens. Read at your own risk (especially you, Amy).

Review: Based on the series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager",  this book was requested by numerous students.  However, I was not impressed.  I do not exaggerate when I say the word sex appears on nearly every page.  The sister had it, Ashley shouldn't.  Although following Ashley through the course of high school and the problems in her lives through her entries in a journal may open some eyes to what teenagers are dealing with on a daily basis, I would not recommend this book.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Pages: 272
Content: G
Language: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: VERY Good Read

Summary: Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything? Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row. A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Review: I truly enjoyed everything about this book.  Good language, good content, good story!  It is crazy to see how much of one's life can be shared while on a 7 hour flight to London.  There are many underlying themes to this book that come through conversation!  It was a delight to find a book that's content was suitable for all students.  Thank you Jennifer Smith!

Monday, October 29, 2012

52 Reasons To Hate My Father

52 Reasons to Hate My Father
Title: 52 Reasons To Hate My Father
Author: Jessica Brody
Pages: 352
Content: PG13 (underage drinking)
Language: PG13 (10 swears)
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job…but someone’s gotta do it.  Lexington Larrabee has never had to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand-new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Boulevard either.  Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteenth birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

Review: I fully expected this dislike this book.  Although I didn't love the main character, I did find myself enjoying the story and wanted to know if Lexi's life changes when she has to work 52 menial jobs assigned to her by her father.  There were a couple unexpected twists at the end, but I did enjoy the book.  Be aware...there is underage drinkin involved (although it is used to show the negative effects of drinking).

Boy21

Boy21
Title: Boy21
Author: Matthew Quick
Pages: 256
Level: High School
Content: PG
Language: PG
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: You can lose yourself in repetition—quiet your thoughts; I learned the value of this at a very young age.
Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in broken-down Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, his dad works nights, and Finley is left to take care of his disabled grandfather alone. He's always dreamed of getting out someday, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay.  Russ has just moved to the neighborhood, and the life of this teen basketball phenom has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, he won't pick up a basketball, but answers only to the name Boy21—taken from his former jersey number.  As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, a unique friendship may turn out to be the answer they both need.

Review: Although some parts of this book were a little quirky, I enjoyed the book.  Based around 2 basketball players with some inner-struggles, the book was quick and easy, yet enjoyable.  Good read for any student who enjoys basketball, or likes space!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stronger

Stronger: A Super Human Clash
Title: Stronger
Author: Michael Carroll
Pages: 370
Level: Middle School/High School
Language: G
Content: PG (violence)
Recommendation: Good Read For Guys

Summary:  The critically acclaimed Super Human series reaches its shocking conclusion.  All Gethin Rao wants is to be like every other boy his age. But normal twelve-year-olds aren't blue. And they certainly aren't thirteen feet tall. That's what happens when his superpowers kick in. And from that moment on, his life is never the same. Treated as a villain—a monster—Gethin spends the rest of his life on the run or as a prisoner in a secret military facility.
When he finally escapes, he falls in with a group of superpowered teens and becomes the one thing he never thought he'd be: a hero. But as the years pass by and he takes the name Brawn, Gethin learns that being a good guy is a lot more difficult than he thought.

Review: Think comic book in novel form.  Readers who enjoy comics and superheros will be drawn into this book.  Although at times the book seemed disjointed, due to flashbacks of how Brawn became super human, I wanted to know what happened to him!  I read this book, even though I hadn't read any of the other Super Human books,  but am now intrigued to read more.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Clarity

Clarity (Clarity Series #1)
Title: Clarity
Author: Kim Harrington
Pages: 256
Language: PG
Content: PG13
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary:  When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?  This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.  Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.  And a curse.  When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Review: I had no expectations going into this book.  I have never read this author, or heard of the series, but was intrigued when I saw the cover in another library.  A twist on the paranormal, the book is set around a family with gifts - talking to the deceased, seeing visions, reading minds.  The gifts are put to use to help solve a crime.  The story was well written - but be warned, it does contain references to sexual experiences.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Edenbrooke

Edenbrooke
Title: Edenbrooke
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Pages: 255
Content: PG
Lanugage: G
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: When Marianne receives a letter from her twin sister, she is languishing from boredom in Bath with her grandmother and spinster aunt. After convincing her grandmother to let her go to her sister's aid, Marianne's idea of a restful country summer helping her sister snag the handsome Lord of Edenbrooke is transformed into a thrilling adventure filled with intrigue, romance, and, yes, even a bit of twirling. With just a touch of Austen-esque charm, Julianne Donaldson creates an endearing Regency romance filled with misunderstandings, perilous rescues, and a love letter that will melt readers' hearts.

Review: Refreshing and delightful debut novel.  Great to have a book that grabs attention, gives character insight, has twists and turns, and little bit of romance to boot!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't Turn Around

Don't Turn Around
Title: Don't Turn Around
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Pages:310
Language: PG13
Content: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.
Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa's talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation called AMRF threatens his life in no uncertain terms. But what Noa and Peter don't realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who'd stop at nothing to silence her for good.

Review:  This novel has a lot of chase scenes, and street-wise Noa uses her brain and hacking skills to get away!  She is headstrong and truly independent.  The plot was interesting, with a new disease to conquer, but I didn't  have a lot of emotional connection to either of the main characters.   YA readers who want a novel with a bit more mystery and excitement would enjoy this book.  There is  a little language (no "F"s) and a few graphic images that are discussed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Girls of No Return

The Girls of No Return

Title: The Girls of No Return
Author: Erin Saldin
Pages: 345
Language: R (13 "F",  40+ other)
Content: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary: CUT meets HATCHET in this lacerating debut about girls, knives, and redemption.  The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area stretches across two million acres in northern Idaho. In its heart sits the Alice Marshall School, where fifty teenage girls come to escape their histories and themselves. Lida Wallace has tried to negate herself in every way possible. At Alice Marshall, she meets Elsa Boone, a fierce native Idahoan; Jules, who seems too healthy to belong at the school; and Gia Longchamps, whose glamour entrances the entire camp. As the girls prepare for a wilderness trek, Lida is both thrilled and terrified to be chosen as Gia's friend. But everyone has their secrets--their "Things" they try to protect; and when those come out, the knives do as well.

Review: Based around girls who are at a camp to rehabilitated, this story has secrets and twists.  However, I was completely put off by the language of the book, even though I realize that girls with "problems" don't have the best language, it was hard to suffer through. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Confessions of A Murder Suspect

Confessions of a Murder Suspect
Title: Confessions of A Murde Suspect
Author: James Patterson
Pages: 384
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family . . . and the dark secrets they're keeping from one another. On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone--maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?

Review: I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book.  I was pleasantly surprised with the twists, turns, and insights that were found throughout the entire book.  I did however, find myself needing to pay close attention to the names  - they came fast and furious at the beginning!  Not super intense, but a safe read for teens.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Because It Is My Blood

Because It Is My Blood
Title: Because It Is My Blood
(Sequal to All These Things I've Done)
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Pages: 350
Content: PG13
Language: PG13 (4 swears)
Level: High School
Recomendation: Good Read

Summary: Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve—and her heart—will be tested as never before.

Review:  I was so excited for this book to come out, and it didn't disappoint - in fact - I stayed up WAY too late to finish it the night I got it.  Full of twists and turns, I had to keep turning the pages.  Romance, violence, suspense, this book has it all. There are a few references to pre-marital sex, and **SPOILER ALERT** there is a teen that ends up pregnant.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Clockwork Prince

Title: Clockwork Prince
Series: The Infernal Devices
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 528
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  In the magical underwold of Victorian London, Tessag Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters.  But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute.  If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street-- and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for her own dark ends.  

Review: I loved the second book of the Infernal Devices series.  I found myself more devoted to the characters!  Will Tessa end up with Jem or will Will win her heart?  There is one scene of romance that might make readers uncomfortable. I am excited to read the next book!

Clockwork Angel

Title: Clockwork Anglel
Series: The Infernal Devices
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 512
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Magic is dangerous-- but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets.  Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Review: Took a little to get into the story, but once you get to know Tessa Gray you will fall in love with her.  A great read for 8th graders and up!  There are some scenes of romance and fighting that might make some readers uncomfortable.  I am excited to continue reading this series.

Save The Cupcake

Save the Cupcake! (Confectionately Yours Series #1)
Title: Save the Cupcake
Series: Confectionately Yours
Author: Lisa Papademetriou
Pages: 229
Language: G
Content: G
Level: Middle/High
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Confession: My life is soooo not sprinkles and sunshine . . .Hayley's world is far from perfect: her parents have divorced, her mom has lost her job, and she and her sister Chloe are stuck sharing a bedroom in their grandmother's apartment. Luckily, Hayley has a knack for baking cupcakes -- and cupcakes always make life just a little sweeter! But when she and her best friend Artie start drifting apart, she realizes that it's going to take more than sugar and spice to make things nice.

Review: Fun, easy, interesting read.  The main character is dealing with a lot of teen issues - divorce, friends, boys, girl drama, which makes her easy to identify with.  Refreshing to read a book without language or inappropiate actions and scenes. Intriguing and real. (Although I can't imagine my young teen being able to bake like that!!!!!!!!!!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

37 Things I Love

37 Things I Love (in no particular order)
Title: 37 Things I Love
Author: Kekla Magoon
Pages: 218
Content: PG13
Language: R (few light swears, 7 "f"s)
Level: High School
Recommendation: Not in this library

Summary: Ellis only has four days of her sophomore year left, and summer is so close that she can almost taste it. But even with vacation just within reach, Ellis isn’t exactly relaxed. Her father has been in a coma for years, the result of a construction accident, and her already-fragile relationship with her mother is strained over whether or not to remove him from life support. Her best friend fails even to notice that anything is wrong and Ellis feels like her world is falling apart. But when all seems bleak, Ellis finds comfort in the most unexpected places. Life goes on, but in those four fleeting days friends are lost and found, promises are made, and Ellis realizes that nothing will ever quite be the same.

Review: The summary of the book looked great, but I was disapponited once I got deeper into the book. A teen girl, dealing with a few rough circumstances, I really thought a lot of teens could relate to the main character. Until they book got into a drunken party abd a lesbian scene. I guess I should have clued in, based on the cover of the book, but my naive mind didn't go there. I was very disappointed when these scenes took place at the end of the book, because I was really interested to see how Ellis would deal with the situations in her life. This book would not be a good addition to the libraries in our conservative area.

Article 5

Article 5
Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Pages: 365
Content: PG/bordering PG13 for violence
Language: PG (a few light swears)
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes. There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.
Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.  Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.  That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Review: For kids who like Hunger Games, Insurgent, Legend, this book will not disappoint.  Based on a very right-winged society, Kristen tried to find and save her mother.  The twists and turns keep coming. Adventure. Love. Fear. Sadness . Anxiety . Loyalty . Suspense and much more.  Great suggestion for those kids who enjoy dystopian novels.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Half Moon Investigations

Half-Moon Investigations
Title: Half Moon Investigations
Author: Eoin Colfer
Pages: 290
Content: G
Language: G
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Fletcher Moon has never been like other kids. For one thing, he has had to suffer the humiliating nickname “Half Moon” because of his short stature. But the real reason Fletcher is different is that ever since he was a baby, he’s had a nose for sniffing out mysteries. And after graduating at the top of his Internet class, he is officially certified as the youngest detective in the world. He even has a silver-plated detective’s badge to prove it. Everything is going along fine until two things happen: a classmate hires him to solve a crime, and his prized badge is stolen. All signs point to the town’s most notorious crime family, the Sharkeys.
As Fletcher follows the clues, evidence of a conspiracy begins to emerge. But before he can crack the case, Fletcher finds himself framed for a serious crime. To clear his name, he will have to pair up with the unlikeliest of allies and go on the run from the authorities. Fletcher has twelve hours to find the guilty party--or he is the guilty party.

Review: Refreshing, fun, comedic, interesting, easy read that kept my interest to the end.  Fletcher Moon finds himself in a sticky situation and must use his wits, as well as a surprising friend, to help solve a mystery before he ends up punished for the crime!  Fun book  - great for boys and girls!!

Graveminder

Graveminder
Title: Graveminder
Author: Melissa Marr
Pages: 324
Content: PG13
Language: R
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary:  Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”  Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene’s death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk. . .

Review: I was quickly enthralled with this book, and eager to see what happens throughout the story, however I was quickly turned off by the language used in the book, and am sad to say that I didn't finish the book.  I would LOVE to continue this story, if only I could get past the language.  This book would be a good read for less conservative readers -  it is full of suspense, twists, and turns.

Illiminated

Illuminated
Title: Illuminated
Author: Erica Orloff
Pages: 244
Content: PG/PG13 (barely)
Language: G
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story - and hers - takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary - and that of Heloise and Abelard's ancient romance - their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can't last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history?

Review:  As far as teen reads are concerned, this was a nice switch from the dystopian, doom and gloom genre!  Based around rare manuscripts, this "love story" is full of discovery - both for the mystery Callie is trying to unravel, as well as her self.  A quick, enjoyable, easy read for teens.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road (Dust Lands Series #1)
Title: Blood Red Road (Dust Lands Series)
Author: Moira Young
Pages: 459
Language: PG13:  48 minor, 25 major, 23 vains, no "f"s
Content: PG
Level: High Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.  Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Review: This book was supposed to raise the bar for dystopian novels.  Although I love the main character, and the book was full of action and character relationships, it fell short for me. The storyline is good, but some of the elements of the story just didn't fit for me and I could also do without the language.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Title: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Author: Linda Urban
Pages: 224
Langage: G
Content: G
Level: Upper Elem, Middle School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Ten-year-old Zoe Elias has perfect piano dreams. She can practically feel the keys under her flying fingers; she can hear the audience's applause. All she needs is a baby grand so she can start her lessons, and then she'll be well on her way to Carnegie Hall.  But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe's dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn't the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn't the only part of Zoe's life that's off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day. 
Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises--and that perfection may be even better when it's just a little off center.

Review:  I stole this from my 12 year old daughter while we were on a road trip because I ran of books to read.  Loved it!  Quick and easy to read, the characters are adorable!  I loved ZOE and even her quirky parents!  Life isn't always what we want it to be, but what we have can be okay, or maybe even great.

Hummingbird Heart

Hummingbird Heart
Title: Hummingbird Heart
Author: Robin Stevenson
Pages: 272
Content: PG13
Language: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary:  Sixteen-year-old Dylan has never met her father. She knows that her parents were just teenagers themselves when she was born, but her mother doesn't like to talk about the past, and her father, Mark, has never responded to Dylan's attempts to contact him. As far as Dylan is concerned, her family is made up of her mother, Amanda; her recently adopted younger sister, Karma; and maybe even her best friend, Toni.
And then, out of the blue, a phone call: Mark will be in town for a few days and he wants to meet her. Amanda is clearly upset, but Dylan can't help being excited at the possibility of finally getting to know her father. But when she finds out why he has come—and what he wants from her—the answers fill her with still more questions. What makes someone family? And why has her mother been lying to her all these years?

Review: Although the book is fast paced and interesting, the adult role models in this book are lacking—smoking pot, getting drunk, and lying on a regular basis. Dylan's personal life is a shambles, and she makes some pretty bad decisions with her friends, family, and first boyfriend.  With many prevalent teen topics, this is a perfect book for discussion with teens.

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray
Title: Between Shades of Gray
(Not to be confused with Fifty Shades of Gray)
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Pages: 338
Content: PG
Language: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life--until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?

Review:  One of the most heartbreaking, educational books I have read in some time.  I had NO idea what happened to these Lithuanians.  What an insight!  The story is told beautifully as it follows Lina along her journey of survival. 

Never Fall Down

Never Fall Down
Title: Never Fall Down
Author: Patricia McCormick
Pages: 224
Language: PG (sh** a lot)
Content: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: The only way to truly survive is to "never fall down." Arn learns this lesson at the age of eleven when his village in Cambodia is invaded by Khmer Rouge troops. The entire population is marched into the countryside and forced to live in labor camps. Arn finds ways to use his "smarts" and some luck to escape the worst problems. He manages to make friends, learns to play an instrument, protects others and survives against all odds. But he has plenty of struggles after the regime is conquered as he deals with his horrific memories, the guilt of many of his actions, and adjusting to a new life in America. Despite being teased and having difficulty learning English he again rises above his circumstances to become an advocate for his homeland and his people.

Review:  Tough but important subject matter, this book is a great way to learn about the Khmer Rouge.  Though there are still plenty of instances of violence, rape, and murder the worst takes place off-page or is handled deftly conveying the horrors without dwelling on them. Well-written but heartbreaking, and not for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Agency (series)

The Body at the Tower (The Agency Series #2)
Title: The Agency (series) - Body at the Tower, A Spy in the House, Traitor in the Tunnel
Author: Y.S. Lee
Pages: Varies
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.
Introducing an exciting new series! Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment
.


Summary:  I have enjoyed this series.  The Victorian era only adds to the intrigue of the cases that Mary Quinn become invovled in!  Great books!

Foul

Foul
Title: Foul
Author: Paul Hoblin
Pages: 112
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Easy Read

Summary: Rhino is one of Bridgewater's best basketball players—except when it comes to making free throws. It's not a big deal, until he begins receiving strange threats. If Rhino can't make his shots at the free throw line, someone will start hurting the people around him. Everyone's a suspect: a college recruiter, Rhino's jealous best friend, and the father Rhino never knew—who recently escaped from prison.

Review: I have been looking for some small, easy to read books for teen.  This one fits the bill.  Interesting enough to hold the reader's attention, yet small enough to tell the full story.

Masque of the Read Death

Masque of the Red Death
Title: Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Pages: 319
Language: PG
Content: PG/PG13ish
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Everything is in ruins. A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them. So what does Araby Worth have to live for? Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Review: Although I found myself confused several times in the book, I enjoyed this book.  I think the author expected us to know more about the characters than he gave us, I found myself wishing for some kind of prologue to explain some of the characters and their relationships.  That said, the book was intriguing, a new twist on the dystopian genre.

Dead End In Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt
Title: Dead End In Norvelt
Author: Jack Gantos
Pages: 352
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: High Elem/Middle/High School
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "grounded for life" by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack's way once his mom loans him out to help a fiesty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launced on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air.

Review: LOVE LOVE LOVE this book.  I began reading this book to my children (ages 12, 10, 8) on a car trip....we read for HOURS!  All of us thoroughly enjoyed this book!  I seriously can't say enough.  Quirky, Funny, Tender, Hilarious!  I want more of this kind of book!!!!!!

The Girl In The Park

The Girl in the Park
Title: The Girl In The Park
Author: Mariah Fredericks:
Pages: 224
Language: PG
Content: PG-13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary: When Wendy Geller's body is found in Central Park after the night of a rager, newspaper headlines scream,"Death in the Park: Party Girl Found Strangled." But shy Rain, once Wendy's best friend, knows there was more to Wendy than just "party girl." As she struggles to separate the friend she knew from the tangle of gossip and headlines, Rain becomes determined to discover the truth about the murder. Written in a voice at once immediate, riveting, and utterly convincing, Mariah Frederick's mystery brilliantly exposes the cracks in this exclusive New York City world and the teenagers that move within it.

Review:  I loved Rain and the character development in her.  The mystery in the book kept me guessing.  Just be aware though, that there is a lot of sensitive issues dealt with like drugs, drinking, sex, rape, and murder.

Rush For The Gold

Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympics
Title: Rush For The Gold
Author: John Feinstein
Pages: 320
Language: PG 13
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Bestselling sportswriter and Edgar Award winner John Feinstein is back with another sports mystery featuring Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson—this one set at the summer Olympics in London. In this book, Susan Carol isn't a reporter—she's an Olympian, competing as a swimmer at her first Olympic games. Stevie is both proud and envious of her athletic prowess. And he's worried by the agents and sponsors and media all wanting to get up close and personal with Susan Carol. But the more disturbing question becomes—how far might they go to ensure that America's newest Olympic darling wins gold?
Sports novels abound, but Feinstein's books are all stars. They combine sports action, high-stakes mysteries, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of big-time sporting events.

Review: This book follows the life of a young olympic hopefully.  The author gives us a unique view inside the world of competitive swimming at the world championship level.  I read this book right after the 2012 Olympics had ended, and it put a new perspective on a few things for me.  The little bit of mystery added intrigue and only added to an already good book.

After The Snow

After the Snow
Title: After The Snow
Author: S. D. Crockett
Pages: 304
Language: PG
Content: PG/PG13
Level: Middle/High School
Review: Optional

Summary: The oceans stopped working before Willo was born, so the world of ice and snow is all he’s ever known. He lives with his family deep in the wilderness, far from the government’s controlling grasp. Willo’s survival skills are put to the test when he arrives home one day to find his family gone. It could be the government; it could be scavengers—all Willo knows is he has to find refuge and his family. It is a journey that will take him into the city he’s always avoided, with a girl who needs his help more than he knows.

Review: Written in very tearse tongue, I had a hard time reading this book, simply because of the grammatical structure of the book.  However, the story of the young boy and his will to survive, (and help a girl survive as well) was intriguing and good.

Keep Holding On

Keep Holding On
Title: Keep Holding On
Author: Susane Colasanti
Pages: 224
Language: PG-13
Content: PG-13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary:
A romantic and empowering book about bullying
Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on

Review: This book tackles a lot of teenage struggles...parents who don't care, friends who really aren't friends, humilating experiences, lust, bullying, friendship.  The story is good, but does have some sensitive situations that may not be suitable for middle school or early high school students.

Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl

Title: Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Pages: 295
Language: R - too many swears to even count
Content: R
Level: High School
Recommendation: Not in this library

Summary: Greg is a high school senior who has survived and thrived on a complex set of social rules –that include skirting the edges of all the social groups. Greg loves films and has been making his own for years with his friend Earl. He hates all the films they have made and no one else is allowed to see them. When Greg’s mom forces him to reacquaint himself with a girl named Rachel, because she has leukemia, he has to start breaking all his rules.

Review:  I was excited to read this book, until I began reading it.  The storyline intrigued me, but the writing turned me off completely.  There are too many swearwords to count (SERIOUSLY!!) and the author is completely BLUNT about things that I can't imagine really happen in high school.  Maybe this book would be great in a less conservative area,but I am afraid it won't fly in a rural, conservative town.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Clockwise



Title: Clockwise
Author: Elle Strauss
Pages: 295
Language: G
Content: G
Level: Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Must Read


Summary: Casey Donovan, a fifteen year old with crazy curly hair, has a problem. She trips. Back in time, that is. Her secret is known only by her best friend, until she accidentally takes her amazingly cute crush, Nate, with her. Hello Civil War, goodbye twenty-first century.

Review:  Clockwise is a great read for anyone liking time travel or American history. This book was an AWESOME step outside the oh-so-common YA paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy mojo that has been going on lately. The main character is quirky, awkward, has her wits about her, and is all around believable. I found myself laughing out loud at times. Seriously, Casey Donovan would have been my best friend in high school. Definitely a must read. AND IT IS A FREE KINDLE BOOK RIGHT NOW, SO GO GET IT!

Insurgent

Title: Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 544
Language: PG
Content: PG13
Level: Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Must Read



Summary: Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris must keep the people she cares about alive while dealing with the grief of the people she has lost. War is looming and Four and Tris are at the forefront while trying to decide who to trust, where to go and exactly what it means to be divergent. 

Review:  I love that no time was lost between book one and two. Very often the second book in a series suffers, but not Insurgent. We get to see a depth to each faction and the factionless which makes this series even more believable. Definitely a must read!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The List

Title: The List
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Pages: 332
Language: R
Swears: 20+ swears, 10+ "F"s
Content: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary: An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them. It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.
This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

Review:  I found this book a little "cliche".  Although it does tackle the tough world of high school, this book just didn't grab me.  I had a hard time keeping track of characters ~ who was "ugly" and who was "pretty".  The language of one character nearly did me in, although I can see why the author chose to present the character that way, I still struggled with it.  The book does show the effects of labeling, but I didn't love the way she presented it.

The Nigh She Disappeared

 Title: The Night She Disappeared
Author: April Henry
Pages: 229
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

Review: Very interesting book.  The reader's attention is grabbed from the first page and doesn't stop.  Told through alterating characters, the reader gets just enough of a glimpse into each character to get some insight, but keep the mystery going. 

Curveball

Title: Curveball
Author: Jordan Sonneblick
Pages: 285
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Sometimes, the greatest comebacks take place far away from the ball field.   Meet Peter Friedman, high school freshman. Talented photographer. Former baseball star. When a freakish injury ends his pitching career, Peter has some major things to figure out. Is there life after sports? Why has his grandfather suddenly given him thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment? And is it his imagination, or is the super-hot star of the girls' swim team flirting with him, right in front of the amazing new girl in his photography class?

Review: I enjoyed this book...I also enjoy photography...so this book was a match for me.  I love the development of the characters, and the issues that Peter has to deal with during his freshman year in high school.  Good read for boys and girls alike.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Limit

Title: The Limit
Author: Kristen Landon
Pages: 291
Language: G
Content: G
Levels: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read


Summary: An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn't let up for a moment. In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government. Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever.

Review: Although a little bit predictable, the book was an easy, interesting read.  It is nice to see a book though for guys to get into ~ mystery, high dollar purchases, action, adventure, tech toys and friendship.  This book gives us a frightening look at what could happen if "big brother" continues to take control of our lives.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Luck of the Buttons

Title: Luck of the Buttons
Author: Anne Ylvisaker
Pages: 224
Content: G
Language: G
Level: Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Tugs Esther Button was born to a luckless family. Buttons don’t presume to be singers or dancers. They aren’t athletes or artists, good listeners or model citizens. Until tomboy Tugs befriends the popular Aggie Millhouse, wins a brand-new Brownie camera in the Independence Day raffle, and stumbles into a mystery only she can solve, she looks at her hapless family and sees her own reflection looking back. But it’s a summer of change, and it just may be that in the end, being a Button is precisely what one clumsy, funny, spirited, and observant young heroine decides to make of it.

Review: I instantly fell in love with the quirky Tugs Button and the town she lives in.  This book is a very quick and easy read, but full of wonderful characters and insight to a tiny town, where people are as good as their word.   Great characters, great story, an enjoyable book for boys and girls alike.

Bewitching

Title: Bewitching
Author: Alex Flinn
Pages:  338
Language: G
Content: G
Level: High school/middle school
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn't.  I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I'm not still here because I'm stupid; I just don't age. You see, I'm immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out. I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don't even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn't get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn't an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching

Review:  Although the book offered some interesting "insights" to many fairytales, I began to wonder how many tales the author could fit into one book.   The author jumps from one fairy tale, to a modern day story, and back to tale after tale, weaving the stories into the reasons she is in the modern story to begin with.  I have liked several of this author's book, so I wanted to give this one a try too, but it fell a little short for me.  The book however, would be a good, easy read for many kids.

Girl Parts

Title: Girl Parts
Author: John M. Cusick
Pages: 218
Content: PG13/R
Language: PG13
Swears: Too many to count
Level: High School
Recommendation: Not In This Library

Summary: David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious, redheaded Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Severed from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up to her, knowing that she isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal “companion” is about to become her own best friend.

Review:  Eeeeek.  In my opinion, this book shouldn't be on the shelves.  Extremely mature content, extremely mature language, extremely dissappointing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Premise . ... lonely hormonal teen boys, extremely real robotic girls made to keep them company . . .  you can take it from there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Selection

Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Pages: 327
Language: PG (7 minor swears)
Content: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.  But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.  Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Review: The Bachelor meets the Hunger Games without any violence.  I began reading, anticipating an extreme dystopian society, but find although the United States has been overtaken, society is much more civilized than other dystopian novels.  There is a only a brief chapter that tells the reader what has happened to the United States to now be under the rule of a king, and leaves me wanting a little bit more history.  America, (the character, not the country) is full of vim and vigor, and I love her spunky attitude.  This book would be a good, easy read for girls, but I can't see any guys picking up this chick lit!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Alchemy of Forever

Title: The Alchemy of Forever
Author: Avery Williams
Pages: 246
Language: PG (2 swears)
Content: PG/PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary:  Incarnation is a new series that introduces a fresh mythology perfect for fans of bestselling series like The Immortals by Alyson Noel and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Ater spending six hundred years on earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world’s riches, but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to swap bodies with other humans, jumping from one vessel to the next, taking the human’s life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she’s done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.  Then sixteen-year-old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she’s inhabiting—and falls for the human boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she’s his again, and every moment she stays, she’s putting herself and the people she’s grown to care for in great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?

Review:  I am not quite sure how many immortal series can continue to make a mark in this genre.  This book was an okay read, but didn't stand out as a stellar beginning to a new series.  The story does have a few twists to keep the reader in suspense, but the book just didn't grab me the way I hoped it would.   It is your basic immortal story . .. boy chases girl, girl falls in love with mortal, what will they ever do?

Close To Famous

Title: Close To Famous
Author: Joan Bauer
Content: G
Language: G
Pages: 250
Recommendation: Good Read
Level: Middle/High School

Summary:  A novel full of heart, humor, and charm from Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer! When twelve-year-old Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, they don't know what to expect. But folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody's business. Soon Foster - who dreams of having her own cooking show one day - lands herself a gig baking for the local coffee shop, and gets herself some much-needed help in overcoming her biggest challenge - learning to read . . . just as Foster and Mama start to feel at ease, their past catches up to them. Thanks to the folks in Culpepper, though Foster and her mama find the strength to put their troubles behind them for good.

Review: Easy, simple, good read.  This book sped by.  The characters were loveable, and some even a little bit quirky.  I enjoyed seeing how people from such different worlds were able to work together, surprising even themselves.  This plot was simple and the story line easy to follow, making for a quick read.  This book would be great for struggling readers and anyone who has a dream.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Book Thief

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Pages: 576
Language: PG-13
Content: PG-13 (Death Themes)
Level: Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quiet a lot of thievery...


Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich.  Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist--books.  With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.  


This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Review:  This book is one of those books that everyone in existence should read.  The insight into the innocent German mentally during WWII was very refreshing.  Liesel Meminger is one character that will stick with you for a very long time.  The novel is written through Death's point of view and therefore would not be suitable for a younger reader.  The character also use the occasional profanities.  These complex themes would be fantastic for discussion in any type of group or classroom setting.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Pages: 230
Language: PG-13
Content: PG-13 (racial slurs and sexual content)
Level: High School
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.  Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.  Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

Review:  This book is a great insight into one man's experience growing up in modern day Washington on a reservation.  The book is filled with discussion of the underlying racism between Caucasians and Indians in and around two small towns in Washington.  The point of view is that of a typical teenage boy.  I laughed out loud several times while reading this novel.  The language and reference to sexual material fits this stereotypical point of view as well.  I would not recommend this novel to anyone who cannot handle strong language and/or heavy themes.