Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Title: Hallowed
Author: Cynthia Hand
Pages: 403
Language: PG (occasional profanity)
Mature Content: PG (brief mature content)
Level: Middle/High
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Review: After reading Unearthly I was sucked into the storyline so much that I couldn't wait for the opportunity to read Hallowed.  I like the character development in these novels.  You really are able to connect with the characters, even the ones you don't like. I hope to see more in this series.

Divergent

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 496
Profanity: PG
Mature Content: Pg-13 (violence, some sexual content)
Level: High School
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

Review: Love, love, love it! I truly enjoyed this book. Boys and girls alike will find this book enthralling. There is violence though, and a few scenes that aren't for the faint at heart, so I would not recommend this for sensitive readers. There is also a couple of brief conversation about sex (not graphic though), so be careful of younger readers. I was captivated by the choices the characters have to make, how many realizations they come to, and how they work through their problems. The only problem about this book is waiting for the next one!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Enclave

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre
Pages: 272
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

Review: Another dystopian hit. Boys and girls alike will enjoy this book . There is a lot of action to keep male readers enthusiastic about the story. I enjoyed the settings in this book and what the characters went through in each setting. For anyone who enjoys dystopian novels, this is a great read!!

How To Save A Life

Title: How to Save a Life
Author: Sara Zarr
Pages: 352
Profanity: PG-13 (20+ swears, 1 "F")
Content: PG-13 (Teen pregnancy, abuse)
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary: Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one. Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems.

Review: Alternating stories told by both Mandy and Jill bring the reader into both their worlds. Two girls, each struggling in their own ways. When their worlds collide will they make it through? I enjoyed the story line and cherished the characters, and the twist at the end seems too good to be true. The story does deal with a pregnant teenager, death, and a bit of sexual abuse, and the possibility that love can help us all. Due to some content, I would not recommend this for young or immature readers.

Eve

Title: Eve
Author: Anna Carey
Pages: 336
Profanity: G
Language: G
Mature Content: PG / PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: A generation after a plague wiped out 98% of humanity, orphaned girls like Eve are raised in secluded schools, conditioned to fear the outside, distrust men, and look forward to a comfortable life in the City of Sand. When Eve discovers what’s actually intended for her, she flees the school. Teaming up with another refugee classmate, Eve meets Caleb, a teenage boy who alternately attracts and repels her. Together and separately, the three struggle through numerous dangers in the postapocalyptic landscape, while Eve and Caleb fall for one another.

Review: For those who love the dystopian genre, this book is great. The author creates a society that is surreal yet believeable. Fiesty young teens learn a lot about life, friendship, and love, while trying to survive in a world that would control them. I gave this book a PG/PG13 rating due to the fact that "breeding" is a main concept in the book that young or immature readers of the book should be aware of.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Matched

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Pages: 400
Laguage: G
Content: G
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendations: Must Read

Summary: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Review: I enjoyed this book. Matched is a great book in the dystopian genre. People who enjoyed the story line and romance in Hunger Games more than the action would like this book.

The Highest Tide

Title: The Highest Tide
Author: Jim Lynch
Pages: 272
Profanity: PG-13 (Miles's friend has a dirty mouth)
Mature Content: PG-13 (Miles's friend also has a dirty mind)
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Not in this library!!


Summary: One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley sneaks out of his house and goes exploring on the tidal flats of Puget Sound. When he discovers a rare giant squid, he instantly becomes a local phenomenon shadowed by people curious as to whether this speed-reading, Rachel Carson obsessed teenager is just an observant boy or an unlikely prophet. But Miles is really just a kid on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. As the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up.


Reviews: I loved the setting and ocean life included in this book. Although I fell in love with the main character, I struggled to finish this book. The "friend" in this book, although probably a normal teenager, referenced body parts and made too many "inuendos" for me to enjoy this book . . . the sexual references pretty much ruined the book for me.

Night Circus

Title: Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Pages: 400
Profanity: PG-13 (1 "F" word)
Mature Content: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary: The circus arrives without warning. No nnouncements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Review: I enjoyed this book. Not typically a fan of magic, the magic used in this book enthralled me. The love story between the pages kept me enticed. I just wish the one "F" word had been omitted . . no need to use that word when many other words would do. I enjoyed envisioning the "magic" that was created for this novel.

The Season by Sarah MacLean

The Season (Book) ~ Sarah MacLean (Author) Cover Art

Title: The Season
Author: Sarah MacLean
Pages: 336
Profanity: G
Mature Content: PG (kissing)
Violence: G
Level: Middle School, High School
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: Quick-witted and sharp-tongued Lady Alexandra (Alex) and co-characters/best friends Vivi and Ella are experiencing their first coming-out season and are none too thrilled. They are frustrated with the fact that men do not like ladies with a mind and opinions. With a mother eager to marry her off and three brothers who constantly tease, it is no wonder Alex has learned to speak her mind and hold her own. Even between all the swirling activities the season gives way to, Alex and her friends still manage to fall into their biggest scrape yet. Lord Gavin Blackmoor, a close family friend and may be suitor, has recently lost his father, but there is more to the death than meets the eye. Alex falls head into an adventure and, quite unexpectedly, into Gavin's arms.  Will they figure out what really happened to Lord Blackmoor's father? Will Alex's distaste for marriage fall give way to Gavin or another suitor?  This fun, fast-paced, novel will stay in your head even after the final page has been turned.



Daughter of Smoke and Bone


Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Pages: 432
Profanity: PG-13 (some swears, no "F"s)
Mature Conent: PG-13 (references to body parts, sexual situations, some violence)
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Review: The story tells a history of angels, demons, and the worlds they live in through the eyes of a teenage artist in Prague. Critical pieces of the story are told throughout the book and keep the reader enticed to find the who's, what's, and where's that are crucial to the story. This novel is not a typical angel/demon novel, and the plot twists and turns as more information is revealed. Not recommended for young, conservative, or sensitive readers.