Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Welcome, caller, This is Chloe

Title: Welcome Caller, This Is Chloe
Author: Shelley Coriell
Pages: 299
Content: PG13
Language: PG13 (10+ swears, no "F")
Level: High School
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

Review: Not a bad book, a pretty easy read for teens.  Touches on a few sensitive subjects like drinking and drug abuse.  Chloe has to deal with her share of problems while learning how to be a friend.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Title: Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Pages: 288
Content: G
Language: G
Level: Upper Elem. Middle School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.   In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.

Review: LOVED this book!  So fun!  Lots of twists and turns, and excitement.   Loved all the references to Literary Works and realized there were a few I need to read!  Kids who like mystery, games, excitement, fun, puzzles, etc.  will love this book!!  GREAT book!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Title: Mudbound
Author: Hillary Jordan
Pages: 328
Language: PG13
Content: PG
Level: High School/Adult
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family's struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.

Review:   I'm not always a fan of novels that tell a story from different characters' perspectives but Jordan made it work.  Great book for those interested in the history of the southern states, or for more mature readers.


Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Pages: 328
Language: PG13
Content: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation:  Good Read

Summary: Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

Review:  What an original story!  I had to keep turning the pages to find answers. The characters were developed and I was emotionally attached to their stories.  Although probably not for everyone, I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the 2nd installment when it isn't checked out!!

A Mango Shaped Space

Title: A Mango Shaped Space
Author: Wendy Mass
Pages: 276
Language: G
Content: G
Level:  Middle/High School
Recommendation:  Good Read

Summary: Mia Winchell appears to be a typical kid, but she's keeping a big secret—sounds, numbers, and words have color for her. No one knows, and Mia wants to keep it that way. But when trouble at school finally forces Mia to reveal her secret, she must learn to accept herself and embrace her ability, called synesthesia, a mingling of the senses.

Review:  A fan of Wendy Mass, I was excited to read this boo and was not disappointed. There's a lot that happens within the story, and the character has many challenges to face.  Mass is able to portray the way in which young teen girls react to turmoil in their lives. Overall, I enjoyed this book and will recommend it.

Paper Covers Rock

Title: Paper Covers Rock
Author: Jenny Hubbard
Pages: 192
Language: R
Content: PG13/R
Level: High School
Recommendation: Not In This Library

Summary: At the beginning of his junior year at a boys' boarding school, 16-year-old Alex is devastated when he fails to save a drowning friend. When questioned, Alex and his friend Glenn, who was also at the river, begin weaving their web of lies. Plagued by guilt, Alex takes refuge in the library, telling his tale in a journal he hides behind Moby-Dick. Caught in the web with Alex and Glenn is their English teacher, Miss Dovecott, fresh out of Princeton, who suspects there's more to what happened at the river when she perceives guilt in Alex's writing for class. She also sees poetic talent in Alex, which she encourages. As Alex responds to her attention, he discovers his true voice, one that goes against the boarding school bravado that Glenn embraces. When Glenn becomes convinced that Miss Dovecott is out to get them, Alex must choose between them.

Review:  Although there are a lot of literary elements in this book, I would not recommend it to our patrons - especially the conservative ones.  This is not a story that will suit everyone, particularly with its fragmented voice, symbolic representations, and references to homosexuality, drinking, etc.

Bald Headed Princess

Title: Bald Headed Princess
Author: Maribeth Ditmars
Pages: 96 pages
Language: G
Content: G
Level: Middle School/High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: What is a girl with cancer to do? Will her friends still want to hang out with her now that she has cancer? Can she play soccer? How will she deal with being out of school? How will she manage homework from home and the hospital? Can she please get back to a normal life? A life with hair and without chemo? Discover with Isabel that having cancer doesn t have to change who she is a budding teenager and an awesome soccer princess. Her strength and courage, and fabulous sense of humor, helps carry her though it all. 

Review: A great story for anyone who is or knows someone who has been affected by cancer.  Fast and easy to read, I enjoyed the story.

Once Upon A Toad

Title: Once Upon A Toad
Author: Heather Vogel Fredericks
Pages: 272
Language: G
Content: G
Level: Middle School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary:  Once upon a time, Cat Starr lived with her astronaut mom in Houston. But when her mother gets sent on a long-term mission, Cat has to move to a far away land—her dad’s house, halfway across the country—and share a room with her real-life evil stepsister, Olivia. Just when Cat can’t take it anymore, Great-Aunt Abyssinia comes to the rescue. And things go from bad to worse.
The next morning, Cat opens her mouth and a toad hops out! What’s more, when Olivia speaks, diamonds and flowers appear. How unfair is that? Before you can say "happily ever after," the girls are on the run from jewel thieves and a government agency. Can Cat save the day—and get rid of all those toads?
Review:  A sweet and entertaining book for girls who are looking for an Ella Enchanted read-alike.   Not full of teen drama, and an easy plot to follow for younger readers.

Ketchup Clouds

Title: Ketchup Clouds
Author: Annabel Pitcher
Pages: 251
Content: PG13
Language: PG
Level: High School
Recommendation:  Okay Read

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

Review: I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the plot of this book, however, I had a hard time connecting to the characters.  Some explicit sexual details (which when you thought about how she was writing this in a letter to some older guy she doesn't know was kind of weird), but it was never over the top or gratuitous.

Queen of Kentucky

Title: The Queen of Kentucky
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Pages: 375 pages
Content: PG/PG13
Language: PG
Level: Middle School High School
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would prefer to be called Ericka, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer's daughter roots and become part of the popular crowd at her small town high school. She trades her Bible for Seventeen magazine, buys new "sophisticated" clothes and somehow manages to secure a tenuous spot at the cool kids table. She's on top of the world, even though her best friend and the boy next door Luke says he misses "plain old Ricki Jo."

Review:  Fun and easy contemporary read for those girls who are tired of dystopian or paranormal genres.  The writing is light and the characters are ones that youth can relate to.  

The Boy On The Wooden Box

Title: The Boy on the Wooden Box\Author: Leon LeysonPages: 240Content: PG13Language: PGLevel: Elementary/Middle/High SchoolRecommendation:  Good Read

Summary: This powerful memoir of one of the youngest boys on Schindler’s list deserves to be shared. Leon Leyson grew up in Poland as the youngest of five children. As WWII breaks out, Leyson’s ingenuity and bravery, combined with the kindness of strangers and a bit of serendipity, save his life, time and again. The storytelling can at times meander, and the various reflections of his life in Poland during the war can result in a certain patchiness, but Leyson’s experiences and memories still make for compelling reading about what it was like to suffer through the Holocaust. 

Review:  Great book with the straightforward story of Leon, perfect for YA readers. I was impressed with the brilliant descriptions of such horrific events. Truly a moving piece of work and a must read for those interested in the holocaust.  Understated in some parts, but tells enough of the story to understand the terrible experiences without being too graphic. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Colin Fischer

Title: Colin Fischer
Author: Ashley Miller & Zach Stentz
Pages: 228
Content: PG
Language: PG13 (a few strong swears, no "F")
Level: High School
Recommendation:  Good Read

Summary:  Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions.  But when a gun is found in the school cafeteria, interrupting a female classmate's birthday celebration, Colin is the only for the investigation. It's up to him to prove that Wayne Connelly, the school bully and Colin's frequent tormenter, didn't bring the gun to school. After all, Wayne didn't have frosting on his hands, and there was white chocolate frosting found on the grip of the smoking gun...

Review:  With the support of a childhood friend, the understanding of his parents, the frustration of his brother, and his meticulous notebook Colin works to make things right. This book left me laughing and cheering.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ten Miles Past Normal

Title: Ten Miles Past Normal
Author: Frances O'Roark Dowell
Pages: 211
Language: PG13
Content: PG
Level: High School, Upper Middle
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation—and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.
Review: The characters are all kind of quirky and unique.  And Monster - what a character to add to the story.  The civil war aspect was also nicely added to the book.  It is a short, entertaining read.

Send Me A Sign

Title: Send Me A Sign
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Pages: 384
Language: PG13
Content: PG13
Level: High School
Recommendation: Good Read

Summary: Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death

Review:  In this book you will find drama, romance, deceit,  and denial.  So what is “the sign”? Mia finds out what life is all about and what a definition of a friend is. A very powerful read!   Mia does face teen situations - so be aware that the book mentions sex, drinking,  and it does contain some swear words. 

Man Made Boy

Title: Man Made Boy
Author: Jon Skovron
Pages: 368
Language: R (10+ "F")
Level: High School
Recommendation: Okay

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.  Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more.

Review: Man Made Boy is many things and genres. A retelling, fantasy, romance, humorous and contemporary. However behind all this, Man Made Boy is a coming of age novel. Highly entertaining and relatable, Jon Skovron weaves a story suitable for all ages. While I would say more boys would love this, I still think anyone could read this book.  Not a bad read, but this book just ins't the right book for me.   Full of mystical characters, the book keeps you guessing.

Things That Are

Title: Things That Are (Things #3)
Author: Andrew Clements
Pages: 167
Language: PG
Content: G
Level: Middle School
Recommendation: Okay Read

Summary: Alicia may be blind, but that doesn't mean she can't see what is happening right in front of her eyes. Like how her parents try to give her freedom. Or how Bobby now Robert has returned to figure out their relationship. Or even the invisible man, William, and just how dangerous he is to Alicia, to Robert, to their whole family or so the police say. Or is Alicia wrong this time? If her normally sharp instincts are wrong, the results could be disastrous.From award-winning author Andrew Clements, here is a novel full of adventure, romance, and mystery, which at its heart is about trusting even things we know but cannot see.

Review: I read this book without having read the previous books in the "Things" series. I was pleasantly surprised at the suspense that kept me wanting to read more.  An easy, fast read for boys and girls alike.