Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Title: Game Changers #1
Author: Mike Lupica
Pages: 224
Content: G
Language: G
Level: Middle school
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Ben McBain is every football team's dream player. He's a jack-of-all-trades guy that can handle almost any position. When the game is on the line, Ben's number is the one being called for the final play. But Ben wants to be the starting quarterback and the one thing standing in his way is the coach's son.  Shawn O'Brien looks the part. He has been groomed by his father, a former professional quarterback. But despite his size and arm strength, Shawn is struggling.  Ben is torn between being a good teammate and going after his own dream. As Ben finds out, Shawn isn't the easiest person to help. And when Ben gets an unexpected opportunity, the entire game will change for the both of them.

Review:  Read this with my 10-year old son. The bulk of the book is actual descriptions of football games. So of course, it's great for kids more obsessed with sports than reading.  I think it was great that Ben always did the right thing, but I think some kids would have trouble relating.  I think in real life more kids tend to behave like the protagonist than the main character.  It would have been more interesting if he had struggled a little more, the way most kids do in real life.  My son enjoyed it, as did my husband who listened in.  I am pretty sure my "tween" girls even wanted to know how the book turned out!  Good book for reluctant readers!

Viola in Reel Life

Title: Viola in Reel Life
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Pages: 288
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  I'm marooned.  Abandoned.  Left to rot in boarding school . . .  Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.   There's no way Viola's going to survive the year—especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.  Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.  But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in.

Review:  An easy read for teen girls.  This was a sweet but very simple YA novel. Viola always managed to have a thoughtful, mature epiphany whenever one was needed to keep conflict from spiraling. It was a little hard to believe that a friendship between four very different girls all living together, away from home for the first time, would be as straightforward as depicted--I still appreciated that friendships were the focus of both the book and Viola's journey, and I liked the depiction of how natural it was for the girls to support each other, knowing when to help each other.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wicked Jealous

Title: Wicked Jealous
Author: Robin Palmer
Pages: 272
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: Simone never saw herself as the “cute girl”—she was always the chunky, band tee wearing, France-obsessed smart girl. But now that Simone’s a few pounds lighter and sporting a new retro style, things have gotten, well, weird. Her crush Jason seems to actually know she exists. And when Simone’s soon-to-be stepmonster Hillary stops ignoring her, Simone knows something is up. When Simone’s brother offers to let her move in with him and his six roommates on the beach for the summer, Simone jumps at the chance. But living with seven very different college boys isn’t exactly helping her land her very own happily ever after.

Review: An easy read with an updated fairy tale and a protagonist that I really enjoyed. Her teen angst was real without being exaggerated like it can be in so many books.This, as if you couldn't tell just by looking at the cover, is a modern day version of Snow White, complete with 7 silly boys, with funny nicknames closely resembling those of the 7 dwarfs. The story is predictable of course, but does have a lot of humor in it which was enjoyable.  Good moral to the story.

Every Day

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Pages: 322
Language: PG13
Content: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: There’s never a warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.  It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Review: Risky book.  This book doesn't adhere to the status quo when it comes to romance - this book covers all types of people and is not for conservative readers.  Anyone who reads this book needs to have an open mind with the incredibly new twist the author uses to touch on relationships of every type.  An interesting concept that left me wondering what will really happen to A.

Miles From Ordinary

Title: Miles From Ordinary
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Pages: 197
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control...

Review: With nearly the entire book taking place in basically just one day, Lacey pulls on our heart strings.  It was an emotional story and found myself feeling sorry for Lacey and her situation. Williams really got inside the mind of this girl. A haunting story about a girl fighting an uphill battle.

If I Ever Get Out Of Here

Title: If I Ever Get Out Of Here
Author: Eric Gansworth
Pages: 368
Langage: PG
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:
Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan's side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis's home -- will he still be his friend?

Review:  Similar to Alexie's Absolutely True Diary.  There is a universal pressure for kids from marginalized communities to negotiate the gap between home and school.  We can't have enough books told from a Native perspective. As Debbie Reese says, "Through exquisite writing, wit, and music, the author invites you inside a native home."    The book’s messages are clear: Prejudice is bad. Bullies are bad. Friends accept you as you are, not as you’d like to be. Music is a universal language and overcomes most barriers.

Little Miss Red

Title: Little Miss Red
Author: Robin Palmer
Pages: 254
Content: PG
Language: G
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: Sophie Greene gets good grades, does the right thing, and has a boyfriend that her parents— and her younger brother—just love. (Too bad she doesn’t love him.) Sophie dreams of being more like Devon Deveraux, star of her favorite romance novels, but, in reality, Sophie isn’t even daring enough to change her nail polish. All of that changes when Sophie goes to Florida to visit her grandma Roz, and she finds herself seated next to a wolfishly goodlooking guy on the plane. The two hit it off, and before she knows it, Sophie’s living on the edge. But is the drama all it’s cracked up to be?

Review:  This book was a little bit too predictable for my taste.  An easy read for any girls who like romance, adventure, and travel.  The plot is VERY loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood, and Sophie goes for a walk on the wild side but realizes it is good to stay true to yourself.

The Ruining

Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Pages: 312
Language: PG 13 1 "F" 1 "B"
Content: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door.  All too soon cracks appear in Annie's seemingly perfect world. She's blamed for mistakes she doesn't remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she's always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie's fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play?  The Ruining is a complex ride through first love, chilling manipulation, and the terrifying depths of insanity.

Review: The first half of the book was very intriguing and I felt like I was watching a thriller on television.  I found the second half a little predictable, and the ending was rushed and too neat. I would have liked some ambiguity or even a major big showdown or twist. Still though, this is a good read overall.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Just Your Average Princess

Title: Just Your Average Princess
Author: Kristina Springer
Pages: 197
Language: PG
Content: PG (couple references to sex)
Level: Middle School Plus
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary:   Jamie Edwards has loved everything about growing up on a pumpkin patch, but ever since her cousin Milan Woods arrived, things have really stunk. Jamie can’t imagine it was easy for Milan to leave her life back in Los Angeles and move to Average, Illinois, population one thousand. But it’s kind of hard to feel sorry for her since (a) Milan’s drop-dead gorgeous; (b) she’s the daughter of two of Hollywood’s hottest film stars; (c) she’s captured the attention of everyone in town, including Danny, Jamie’s crush since forever; and (d) she’s about to steal the title of Pumpkin Princess right out from underneath Jamie!

Review:  The story is cute, but not much is truly resolved by the end of the book, give or take a friendship or two.   The main character doesn't change a lot over the course of the story, but it is a cute, easy read for chick lit.

The Sweetness of Salt

Title: The Sweetness of Salt
Author: Cecilia Galante
Pages: 305
Language: PG13 10 light swears, 5 "F"
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Julia is a high school valedictorian with a college scholarship and a coveted summer internship. But when her older sister, Sophie, shows up at graduation determined to reveal some long buried secrets, Julia’s carefully constructed plans come to a halt. Julia follows Sophie back to Vermont, where Sophie is opening a bakery. What follows is a summer of revelations—some heartwarming, some heartbreaking, and all slowly pointing Julia toward a new understanding of herself and of the sister she never knew.

Review: I read the book, needing to read a book with a "yellow" cover.  I expected it to be a cute book, maybe a little bit "bitter" from the title.  The book was full of secrets and characters who had a lot of "problems" to figure out.  I enjoyed the read, but found myself wishing the author had omitted the "F" words, as they didn't add to the storyline at all.  Good characters with a great coming of age storyline.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stung

Title: Stung
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Pages: 304
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered-her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist-a black oval with five marks on either side-that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she's right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. Only the solution was deadlier than the original problem-the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts who were branded as a warning to un-vaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected from disease and beasts inside a fortress-like wall. But Fiona has awakened branded, alone-and on the wrong side of the wall . . .

Review: A fun twist on the dystopian genre.  This book had an original storyline and I didn't feel like re-reading a book.  The characters were believable and I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen to Fiona.

Wentworth Hall

Title: Wentworth Hall
Author: Abby Graham
Pages: 276
Content: PG/PG13
Language: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. As one of Britain’s most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been…even as their carefully constructed façade rapidly comes undone.  Maggie has a secret. And she’s not the only one…

Review: I read this mostly because I am a "Downton Abbey" fan - and was hoping that this would be similar to the series.  The book was interesting enough, and I enjoyed the satire's interspersed throughout the book, but a few of the secrets were a little bit too easy to guess before it was spelled out.  

Models Don't Eath Chocolate Cookies

Title: Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies
Author: Erin Dionne
Pages: 256
Content: G
Language: PG
Level: Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and a daily chocolate cookie suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn't entered her in the HuskyPeach Modeling Challenge. To get out of it, she's forced to launch Operation Skinny Celeste-because, after all, a thin girl can't be a fat model! What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone . . . or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight.

Review: I am happy to see the topic of weight presented in a light and oft times comic way.  The story was interesting and explored the insecurities that most girls deal with, both teenage and preteen. I was expecting Celeste to find out that she was beautiful just the way she was but she had to lose weight to feel good about herself. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Unigfted

Title: Ungifted
Author: Gordon Korman
Pages: 288
Language: G
Content: G
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: When Donovan Curtis pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students.
Although it wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, the ASD couldn’t be a more perfectly unexpected hideout for someone like him. But as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything), he shows that his gifts may be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed. 

Review: Fun, refreshing, although it probably appeals more to boys, girls can also enjoy this book.  The content and subject make this a great book for reluctant readers and/or troublemakers! 

This Is What Happy Looks Like

Title: This Is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith














Pages:404


















Language: G


















Content: G














Level: Middle/High School





Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: If fate sent you an email, would you answer? When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

Review:  It is refreshing to read a book without worrying about sexual content and/or language.  This book was interesting enough to keep my attention through the complete 400 pages – something that I was worried wouldn’t happen when teens picked up the book.  However, I think that the storyline and characters will keep the readers attention long enough to get through it, and find that sometimes, things really are worth fighting for!




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blood-Kissed Sky

Title: Blood-Kissed Sky
Author: J.A. London
Pages: 338
Language: PG13
Content: PG13
Level: Upper Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  There's nowhere left to hide.  

I thought vampires were our enemies--they controlled our lives, isolated our cities, and demanded our blood-- until I met Victor.  With Victor taking over as the new Lord Valentine, things were supposed to get better.  Instead, they're worse than ever.

Day walkers, a new breed of vampires who can walk in the sun, are terrorizing the city.  Blood supplies are low, and if Victor's vampires don't get enough, they will become infected with the Thirst-- a disease that will turn them into mindless killers.

To stop it, I must journey across the desolate wasteland to the very place where the sickness began.  I can only hope that the answers that await me are enough to save us all... before it's too late.

Review: This is the second in the Dawn Series.  The first did not keep me as interested as the second did.  There is one use of the F-word and a bedroom scene which includes making out and petting.  The main character does drink a glass of wine --she is underage-- but drinking is not a major theme in the book.  Overall, I would recommend this novel to anyone who is into the paranormal genre.  Quick and easy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Tragedy Paper

The Tragedy Paper
Title: The Tragedy Paper
Author: Elizabeth Laban
Pages: 320
Language: G
Content: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: It follows the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.   Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets.

Review: The summary does not do this book justice.  A beguiling book, with a secret that doesn't come out until the very end, I had to keep reading!!  I found this book a  refreshing read, clear of langugage and sexual content!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume
Title: The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume
Author: Lisa Rumsey Harris
Pages: 304
Level: High School
Content: PG
Language: G
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: With her love of sweaters, goofy hair, and awkward manners—-not to mention her family curse—-Treasure Blume knows love is not in her future. That is, until she matches wits with Dennis Cameron, a divorced chef with a six-year-old daughter. Full of mischief, mayhem, and laugh-out-loud humor, this is an unlikely love story you'll want to read over and over again!

Review:  Witty humor, great characters, and a fun read! It conveys an important and timely message about looking past exteriors to find inner beauty.

Treasure is the most "unlikely" heroine you can imagine. She is awkward, old-fashioned, and completely clueless. But she is also compassionate, honest, and real. Grammy Blume, Treasure's ancestors, Bonnie (the villain), the Steppers geriatric dance team, and even the kids in Treasure's first grade class added their own flavor and color to the story.

Peeled

Peeled
Title: Peeled
Author: Joan Bauer
Pages: 247
Level: Middle School/High School
Content: PG
Language: G
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Hildy Biddle wants something monumental to happen so she can finally prove herself to be more than a high school journalist. The problem? Her town's biggest story stars a ghost, which is not an easy interview. But while the local paper is playing up people's fears with shocking headlines of creepy happenings, Hildy is determined to discover what's really going on. Unfortunately, her desire to uncover the truth is starting to cause a stir. With rumors swirling and tensions high, can Hildy push past all the hype ...

Review: Very easy read, with quirky characters.  Suspense, mystery, and teens bent on helping their small community in New York. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Also Known As

Also Known As
Title: Also Known As
Author: Robin Benway
Pages: 320
Content: PG13
Language: PG
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.  Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

Review: Fans of Ally Carter Spies or Heist Society novels will enjoy this book.  Maggie is easy to like, and the reader can sense her frustrations as she tries to live a normal life when nothing about her life is normal!

Out of the Easy

Out of the Easy
Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Pages: 346
Content: PG13
Language: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Review: It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.  Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.  With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

Review: I LOVED the author's first book, Between Shades of Gray, and was anticipating another book from this author.  When I knew she had a new book, I was a bit saddened when I realized the book was about a prostitute's daughter.  I loved the character in this book, as well as the peculiar, yet loving people who took care of Josie in the only ways they knew how.  I would be hesitant however, to have this book in my library simply due to the subject matter invovled.  Although there is nothing graphic in the book, there are enough references to prosititution and subject matter of the like that I don't feel that I could recommend this book to the majority of the readers in our school.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Breaking Point

Breaking Point
Title: Breaking Point (Book 2 to Article 5)
Author: Kristen Simmons
Pages: 384
Content: PG13
Language: PG
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: After faking their deaths to escape from prison in Article 5, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.  Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper's true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Review:  Following Article 5, Breaking Point follows Ember and Chase as they continue to try to find safety and security in a dystopian society.  New characters cross their path, and they must deal with characters from their past. For kids who love dystopian, this book will keep them intrigued, and waiting for the third installment.

Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
Title: Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer
Author: John Grisham
Pages: 272
Content: G
Language: PG
Level: Middle School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he's only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he's one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk-and a lot about the law. He dreams of a life in the courtroom. But he finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much-maybe too much-he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth. The stakes are high, but Theo won't stop until justice is served.

Review: Quick easy read with a male character (which seems harder and harder to find).  Interesting story, with a little bit of mystery.  Easy to read and full of information about the justice system in the United States.  Grisham does a great job of keeping the mystery and intrigue of his books on a level for young readers.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Darkness Before Dawn

Title: Darkness Before Dawn
Author: J.A. London
Language: PG-13 (several swear words)
Content: PG-13
Level: Upper Middle School/Highschool
Recommendation: Good read, but optional

Summary: Only sunlight can save us.  We built the wall to keep them out, to keep us safe.  But it also makes us prisoners, trapped in what's left of our ravaged city, fearing nightfall.

After the death of my parents, it's up to me-- as the newest delegate for humanity-- to bargain with our vampire overlord.  I thought I was ready.  I thought I knew everything there was to know about the monsters.  Then again, nothing could have prepared me for Lord Valentine.. or his son.  Maybe not all vampires are killers.  Maybe it's safe to let one in.

Review:  This book was a good read that kept me entertained.  There are several swear words and a few references to underage drinking that might offend some readers.  I believe the characters are developed enough to keep a students' interest throughout the series, but the genre is getting crowded with similar books.  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Frenzy

Title: The Frenzy
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Language: PG-13 (several f's)
Content: PG-13
Level: Highschool
Recommendation: Not in this library

Love is a werewolf, influenced by the moon and terror, and always about to change.
Summary: Liv has a secret.
Something happened to her when she was thirteen. Something that changed everything. Liv knows she doesn’t belong anymore—not in her own skin, not in her family . . . not anywhere. The only time she truly feels like herself is when she’s with her boyfriend, Corey, and in the woods that surround her town.
But in the woods, a mysterious woman watches Liv. In the woods, a pack of wild boys lurks. In the woods, Liv learns about the curse that will haunt her forever. The curse that caused the frenzy four years ago. And that may cause it again, all too soon.
While Corey and Liv’s love binds them together, Liv’s dark secret threatens to tear them apart as she struggles to understand who—or what—she really is.

Review:   I was excited to read this one.  However, I was completely disappointed.  The story line is filled with terrible things that happen to Liv and her friends, but the story for many of the characters stops short without a real close to their story. The whole story felt rushed and full of holes which the author tried to fill in with inappropriate scenes between teens. Not in my library.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Breathe

Breathe
Title: Breathe
Author: Sarah Crossan
Pages: 384
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Inhale. Exhale.  Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . . The world is dead.  The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen–rich air.
Alina has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful. Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her. Bea wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl. And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

Review: Another take on the dystopian genre - based on the precept that all vegetation as been killed out, and without BREATHE and their oxygen under the "dome" - there is no air to breathe.  Told from 3 different viewpoints, I had a hard time connecting with each character.    The action packed first chapter was great, but I had a hard time staying interested when the action died down.  Boys and girls who are fans of the dystopian genre will like this book.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Boundless

Title: Boundless
Author: Cynthia Hand
Language: PG
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read


Summary: The past few years held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner ever could have anticipated. Yet through the dizzying high of first love to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she could no longer deny was that she was never meant to have a normal life.
Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seemed like the best option, so she's headed back to California—and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.
As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he's not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny.

Review: This is another great angel series and I would not hesitate to read another book written by Cynthia Hand. This series is just a really good story, it doesn't have the more mature content in it that makes you think twice about recommending it.  The main character Clara is strong with a lot of fight in her.  She doesn't play by anyone's rules, but her own, not even angel rules. This is a good read for your Twilight or Hush Hush fans.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bunheads

Bunheads
Title: Bunheads
Author: Sophie Flack
Pages: 294
Language: PG13 (10 swears, 5 "f")
Content: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary:  In a crowd of beautiful ballet dancers, how can one girl stand out?  As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances, and complicated backstage relationships. But when she meets a spontaneous and irresistibly cute musician named Jacob, her universe begins to change.
Until now, Hannah has happily followed the company's unofficial mantra, "Don't think, just dance." But as Jacob opens her eyes to the world beyond the theater, Hannah must decide whether to compete against the other "bunheads" for a star soloist spot or to strike out on her own.

Review: Where 'Bunheads' really shines is in setting the scene for Hannah and her world. Flack brings a professional eye to the story, showing us a world filled both with grueling monotony and moments of wonder found on the stage. This book reminds readers of the stamina and strength that makes every ballet look effortless on stage. 'Bunheads' is a beautiful example of the bravery it takes to dedicate years to a specific plan only to choose a completely different path leading into uncharted territory. A good read for anyone trying to strike out on their own--even if they don't know exactly where they will be striking just yet.

Wonder

Wonder
Title: Wonder
Author: R. J. Palacio
Pages: 310
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Upper Elementary/Middle/High School
Recommendation: Must Read

Summary: I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.   August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

Review: I can't say enough about this book!  I wish every LA class could read this outloud so that all students could see how their actions can hurt, hinder, or help their peers, and how Kindness can change lives.  I wanted to write down quote after quote of this book.  Although August is a young boy, readers of all ages can enjoy this book.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Altered

Altered
Title: Altered
Author: Jennifer Rush
Pages: 323
Language: PG13/R (15+ swears, 8 "f")
Content: PG13/R (violence)
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good read, but optional

Summary: They were made to forget. But they'll never forgive.Everything about Anna's life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch, at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There's Nick, solemn and brooding; Cas, light-hearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who's stolen Anna's heart. On the run, with her father's warning in her head, Anna begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about herself. She soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they're both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Review:  Although told from Anna's point of view, this story has enough action, adventure, mystery, and violence for a male audience.  The story captivated me from the beginning, and I had to finish the book!  The plot kept twisting and turning, and I found myself hoping to find out more information about the characters and their past.  I would love to recommend this book to readers galore, if only there weren't so much violence (shooting) and swearing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Withering Tights

Withering Tights
Title: Withering Tights
Author: Louise Rennison
Pages: 304
Language: PG
Content: PG/PG13
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Reccomendation: Optional

Summary:  Wow. This is it. This is me growing up. On my own, going to Performing Arts College. This is good-bye, Tallulah, you long, gangly thing, and helloooooo, Lullah, star of stage.
Tallulah Casey is ready to find her inner artist. And some new mates. And maybe a boy or two or three. She's bound for a performing arts program in the wilds of the Yorkshire Dales—eerily similar to the windswept moors of Wuthering Heights.
Acting? Tights? Moors? Check, check, check.  Louise Rennison returns with her trademark wit, a hilarious new cast, and a heroine who is poised to discover plenty of opportunities for (mis)adventure!

Review: I haven't read the other series by Louise Rennison, but I had heard that this was as "hilarious" as her other series was.  Maybe I just don't get British humor, as I didn't find it as funny as the reviews had said it was going to, but I had to keep reading...kind of like the quote in the book, "Watching you is like watching someone whose pants are on fire.  Stragely fascinating, keep it up".    This book is truly light reading. It is full of nonsensical ramblings from the mind of 14-year-old Tallulah, most of it over the top. There was very little plot around Tallulah and how she interacts with friends and local boys.  Her obsession with her small "corkers" and knobby knees got very old and I have to wonder if all 14 year old girls are that obsessed with their bodies. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Finale


Title: Finale
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Pages:464
Level: Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Good Read



Summary:
Nora is more certain than ever that she is in love with Patch. Fallen angel or no, he is the one for her. Her heritage and destiny may mean they are fated to be enemies, but there is no turning her back on him. Now Nora and Patch must gather their strength to face one last, perilous trial. Old enemies return, new enemies are made, and a friend's ultimate betrayal threatens the peace Patch and Nora so desperately want.

Review:
I was sad to see this series come to an end. As the fourth book in the series I didn't find it as intriguing as the other three books, but it did provide closure. This is definitely an essential series for any library collection. You quickly fall in love with the characters and want to know what happens to them.

 


Off Side

Offside
Title: Off Side
Author: M. G. Higgins
Pages: 109
Content: PG13
Language: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Between finishing late school projects and looking after her brothers and sister, Faith Patel barely has time to play soccer. And when she's at practice, surrounded by girls who can afford to play in club leagues, she doesn't even feel like part of the team. So when Coach Berg starts to give Faith extra attention, she feels . . . really special.   It might be crazy, but suddenly Faith has a crush on her coach. Can she keep her head in the game? The situation gets worse after Faith's frenemy Caitlyn decides that Faith's getting special treatment. Will Caitlyn tell the rest of the team—and make Faith into a total outcast? 

Review: A short, easy read for teens who love sports. Common teen issues are presented and dealt with as Faith tried to continue doing what she loves - playing soccer. Although some of the issues may be too mature for younger readers, the storyline is presented an interesting way to keep the reader involved in Faith's story.

Riptide

Riptide
Title: Riptide
Author: Lindsey Scheibe
Pages: 288
Language: PG13
Content: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  For Grace Parker, surfing is all about the ride and the moment. Everything else disappears. She can forget that her best friend, Ford Watson, has a crush on her that she can’t reciprocate. She can forget how badly she wants to get a surf scholarship to UC San Diego. She can forget the pressure of her parents’ impossibly high expectations.  When Ford enters Grace into a surf competition— the only way she can impress the UCSD surfing scouts—she has one summer to train and prepare. Will she gain everything she’s ever wanted or lose the only things that ever mattered?

Review: This book was a fun change from the dystopian genre that is so popular right now.  Although I know absolutely nothing about the surfing world, I was drawn into the life that Grace leads and the love that she has for the sport.  Dealing with pressures from school, parents, friends, and surfing buddies, teen readers can identify with Grace and the decisions that she must make.

I Am A Seal Team Six Warrior

I Am a SEAL Team Six Warrior: Memoirs of an American Soldier
Title: I Am A Seal Team Six Warrior
Author: Howards Wasdin
Pages: 192
Language: PG13
Content: PG13
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  FOR YOUNG READERS—A SPECIAL EDITION OF THE BESTSELLER, SEAL TEAM SIX.  When the Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six—a secret unit made up of the finest soldiers in the country, if not the world. I Am a SEAL Team Six Warrior is the dramatic tale of how Howard Wasdin overcame a tough childhood to live his dream and enter the exciting and dangerous world of U.S. Navy SEALS and Special Forces snipers.  His training began with his selection for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S)—the toughest and longest military training in the world. After graduating, Wasdin saw combat in Operation Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team Two. But he was driven to be the best of the best—he wanted to join the legendary SEAL Team Six, and at long last he reached his goal and became one of the best snipers on the planet. Soon he was fighting for his life in The Battle of Mogadishu. This is Howard Wasdin's story of overcoming abuse and beating the odds to become an elite American warrior.

Review: I was suprised at the limited swearing and graphic content that was in this book, considering the topic.  The book follows an elite Seal from youth to adulthood, following his training and career as a SEAL.  I knew that Seal Team Six was the best of the best, but it was unbelieveable to read all the rigorous training that Wasdin endured. This book offers a unique view into a very specialized world.

Tokyo Heist

Tokyo Heist
Title: Tokyo Heist
Author: Diana Renn
Pages: 364
Content: PG
Language: PG
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: The perfect mystery for fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society. When sixteen-year-old Violet agrees to spend the summer with her father, an up-and-coming artist in Seattle, she has no idea what she's walking into. Her father's newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone's lives are in danger—including Violet's and her father's.  Violet's search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet's not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery—before it's too late.

Review: Refreshingly clean!  Great book for kids who love Manga or mystery!  Twists and turns in the plot keep the reader guessing.  Well written and fun to read.

Catching Jordan

Catching Jordan
Title: Catching Jordan
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Pages: 281
Content: PG13
Language: PG13/R (40+ swears, 10 "f")
Level: High School
Recommendation: Optional

Summary: What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though- she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Greeen moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line? "A beautiful novel with a real and captivating depiction of high school relationships, Catching Jordan shows the same reverence for the human heart that it does for the game of football."

Review: Loved the storyline, hated the language.  I realize that this book centers around sports, but it is full of locker room talk.  I was disappointed in the amount of swearwords, "f" words, but mostly how casual the topic of sex is handled.  I wish the story could be re-written for a more conservative audience, because the story and the issues in this book are great.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Tribe: Homeroom Headhunters

Homeroom HeadhuntersTitle: The Tribe: Homeroom Headhunters
Author: Clay Chapman
Level: Middle/High School
Content: PG
Language: PG
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: All Schools are the same and Spencer Pendleton expects no less from Greenfield Middle. But Spencer hasn’t met them yet—the Tribe, a group of runaway students who secretly own the school. They live off cafeteria food and wield weapons made out of everyday school supplies. Strangely, no one seems to know they exist, except for Spencer. And the group wants him to join their ranks. All he has to do is pass the initiations...and leave his mother and life behind. Can Spencer go through with it? Better yet, what will happen if he says no?
Review:   A new students at a school, the main character confronts bullying head on!  Feeling alone, he finds a missing poster of "Sully".  Turns out Sully isn't really missing!  She has joined a tribe/gang of students who aren't missing at all, but taking revenge on those who treated them badly at school!  An interesting read for anyone who deals with middle school kids, teasing, or bullying!  Although retaliation may not be the best avenue to deal with unfair treatment, the book opens eyes to the world of bullying and hurt feelings.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pride and Popularity

Pride & Popularity
Title: Pride and Popularity
Author: Jenni James
Pages: 225
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Upper Middle/High
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Chloe Elizabeth Hart despises the conceited antics of the popular crowd, or more importantly, one very annoying self-possessed guy, Taylor Anderson, who seems determined to make her the president of his fan club! As if! Every girl in the whole city of Farmington, New Mexico, is in love with him, but he seems to be only interested in Chloe. This modern high school adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is a battle of wits as Chloe desperately tries to remain the only girl who can avoid the inevitable falling for Taylor.

Recommendation: A refreshingly clean read.  It was nice to read a book and not worry about language or content.  The story may have been slightly cliche', but the book was interesting enough to want to finish.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Terror of Black Eagle Tavern

The Terror of Black Eagle Tavern
Title: The Terror of Black Eagle Tavern
(Paranomalists Case #2)
Author: Megan Atwood
Pages: 95
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Todd's family has problems, serious problems; his parents' bar is losing customers at such a rapid rate that they will soon be out of business. While the bar has always been noted as haunted, the ghost has always been friendly. When the mild-mannered ghost is displaced by one with a rotten disposition, the atmosphere takes a decided turn for the worse. Glasses fly, people get caught in freezers, and all sorts of havoc is wreaked. At Todd's request, in step Jackson and Jinx, lead investigators (and only members) of their paranormal club. They pull out all stops and fire up their ghost-hunting apparatus as they prepare to spend the night. It is up to them to figure out what has gone wrong, particularly since Todd's potential scholarship hinges on their success.

Review: Another great HI/LOW book for relunctant readers.  Book two in a series, the author continues to give action, mystery, adventure, and a little bit of drama.  Easy, fun, interesting read.

The Haunting of Apartment 101

The Haunting of Apartment 101
Title: The Haunting of Apartment 101
(The Paranomalists case #1)
Author: Megan Atwood
Pages: 103
Language: G
Content: PG
Level: Middle/High School
Recommendation: Good Read for reluctant readers

Summary: Jane is tired of not being noticed in high school, over the summer she transforms herself from being plain Jane to a Twizzler eating, paranormal investigator named Jinx who has a hard time being positive. Jinx and her best friend Jackson are as different as night and day. Jackson is the popular kid who loves to play sports and everyone knows in name. The one thing they do have in common is their love of paranormal investigations. Jinx is excited about the launch of her ghost hunting website to promote her business; the only problem is, she has yet to investigate her first haunting. Once Jinx and her trusty sidekick, Jackson, start their business they soon have their first client, Emily. Jinx is reluctant to take the case as she sees Emily as the enemy, but through the coaxing of her sidekick and a large supply of Twizzlers, Jinx agrees to take the case. Emily is convinced she is being attacked by a ghost in apartment 101. As Jinx and Jackson investigate their first haunting, they discover some starting surprises and reasons behind the hauntings. Not all is as it appears in Apartment 101.

Review: Short, simple, easy read.  Great Hi/Low for reluctant readers! Believable characters, crazy situations, with enough mystery and action to keep the reader's attention.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dear Blue Sky

Dear Blue Sky
Title: Dear Blue Sky
Author: Mary Sullivan
Pages: 248
Content: PG/PG13
Level: Upper Middle/High School
Langauge: PG
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: A timely, eye-opening novel showing how war affects families on both sides. Ever since her brother Sef left for Iraq, Cassie has felt like her life is falling apart. Her parents are fighting over her brother having gone to war. Her smart, beautiful sister is messing up. Her little brother, who has Down syndrome, is pretending he's a Marine. And her best friend no longer has time for her. In her loneliness Cassie turns to a surprising source of comfort: Blue Sky, an Iraqi girl she meets through her blog. The girls begin a correspondence and Cassie learns that when Blue Sky says "I want my life back," she means something profound, as she can no longer venture out in her destroyed city. Cassie takes strength from Blue Sky's courage and is inspired to stop running away from the pain, and to reclaim her life.

Review: An interesting view of how war affects everyone - on both sides!  Cassie has a lot to deal with, and her character has to really grow up and search herself.  An interesting read for those interested in war, who deal wtih Down Syndrome, Blog (or read blogs), or want to appreciate all that is good in their life.

Firelight, Hidden,Vanish

Firelight (Firelight Series)Title: Firelight, Hidden, and Vanish
Author: Sophie Jordan
Pages: 323,
Content: PG
Language: PG (o "f")
Level: High School/Upper Middle
Recommendation: Good Read

 Hidden (Firelight Series)Vanish (Firelight Series)Summary: A hidden truth. Mortal enemies. Doomed love. Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Review: Each book follows the adventurous, dangerous, and sometimes downright heartbreaking path of Jacinda.  Teenage life is hard, even when you are not draki.  All three books kept my fingers turning the pages up until the very end.  Not generally a fan of science fiction, I really enjoyed all three books in this series. I read the first one, having NO idea what the series was about. A fresh new series for teens who love vampires, werewolves, or "otherworldy" or "supernatural" themes.

Wish You Were Eyre

Wish You Were Eyre
Title: Wish You Were Eyre
Series: Mother Daughter Book Club
Author: Heather Vogel Frederick
Pages: 442
Content: PG
Language: PG
Level: High School/Upper Middle
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  It’s a dream come true for Megan, who’s jet-setting to Paris for Fashion Week with Gigi. Meanwhile, back in Concord, Mrs. Wong decides to run for mayor, so Emma and Stewart team up to make her campaign a success. Jess and Cassidy are also hoping for victories, Jess in the a cappella finals with the MadriGals and Cassidy in the national hockey championships with her teammates. In the midst of it all, the girls—along with their Wyoming pen pals, who drop in for a visit over Spring Break—dive into Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre. Some real life romance follows, as Becca may have found a Mr. Rochester of her own. 

Review: I read this book without reading the previous books in the series.  I was surprised to find that I wasn't lost in the stories, but more background on the characters would have been helpful.  (I will soon be reading the rest of the series...starting with #1).  Fun characters, with problems teens can relate to helped move the story along.  I love all the references to classic literature...and find myself wishing I had more time to read some of the great classics like the girls in this book club do. 

Can't Get There From Here

Can't Get There From Here
Title: Can't Get There From Here
Author: Todd Strasser
Pages: 198
Level: High School
Language: PG13 (0 "f")
Content: PG13
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Tired of being hungry, cold, and dirty from living on the streets of New York City with a tribe of other homeless teenagers who are dying, one by one, a girl named Maybe ponders her future and longs for someone to care about her.
                        
Review: Very realistic, but dark and somewhat depressing, the book follows a group of runaways living on the streets of New York City. A quote by one of the characters, OG. "Here is where you are. There is where you want to be. But you can't get there from here."
Although there was not a lot of foul language, but it does touch upon mature themes, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, alcohol poisoning, suicide, drug use and prostitution.  Any teen or grown up who has ever contemplated running away from home should read this book.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Texting Through Time

Texting Through Time: Trek with Brigham Young
Title: Texting Through Time / Brigham Young
Author: Christy Monson
Pages: 116
Language: G
Content: G
Level: Upper Elementary/Middle/High
Recommendation: Easy Reading

Summary: When 12-year-old Micah "borrows" his father's experimental time-travel phone, his hopes for seeing the future are dashed as he and his sister, Alicia, end up trapped in the past at Brigham Young's boyhood home. This book is a fun way for kids and adults to dive into Church history and learn that no matter what time period you are in, God is still aware of you.

Review: An easy, fun book for LDS readers.  On a quest to find information for a report, Micah and Alicia teach the reader about Brigham Young and LDS history in a fun and exciting way.