A moving and deeply touching teen novel. Charlie shares his thoughts and feelings with us through diary style writing as he experiences his freshman year of high school. Charlie is a sensitive, naive teen who is unsure how to join in. His English teacher encourages him to get more involved and to work on his writing. With the teacher’s encouragement he makes friends with a couple of seniors and now has a social life. He feels emotions deeply and often internalizes what happens around him including the death of his aunt when he was a child in a car accident. He holds himself responsible. This book does deal with other realities of teen experience including drugs and sex. One of the main characters is also a homosexual but the book presents his story as Charlie’s friend. His being gay is simply part of who he is. None of the topics brought up in the story are treated as taboo, but rather the reader experiences Charlies thoughts and feelings about them and the lessons he learns whether happy or painful ones.
When her best friend, Meg, drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything;so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open; until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
“I Was Here is a pitch-perfect blend of mystery, tragedy, and romance. Gayle Forman has given us an unflinchingly honest portrait of the bravery that it takes to live after devastating loss.”
Third of book of Gayle Forman’s that I have read. I love her style.
1932, Sydney: the Australian government has outlawed guns, so gangsters have perfected the art of killing with razors. The most dangerous part of town, Razorhurst, is home to two rival gangs known for their ruthlessness.
Kelpie has been living on the streets for years. How many, she’s not sure. She doesn’t even know how old she is nor does she know her parents. She was raised by Old Ma until Old Ma died. Then Kelpie was raised by Old Ma’s ghost. Now, Kelpie knows enough not to trust every ghost she meets, but heads into the boarding house looking for the apples a local ghost had promised were there. Instead of apples, Kelpie finds a young woman standing over her sliced-up boyfriend. That young woman is Dymphna Campbell, Razorhurst’s top prostitute, also known as the “Angel of Death” since none of her boyfriends seem to survive. She works for the infamous Gloriana Nelson, one of the two crime bosses that have given their Sydney neighborhood its name. Dymphna and Kelpie could not possibly be any more different, but they have one major characteristic in common: they can both see and hear ghosts. Dymphna has been successful in hiding her ability; even ghosts don’t realize she can see them. Kelpie believes she’s the only one who sees them, but she’s at least learned not to speak to them in the company of other living folks. The dead man that Kelpie and Dymphna meet over is Glory’s top standover man and Dymphna’s boyfriend. And his ghost will not shut up. Kelpie wants no more to do with these people, but Dymphna has actually been hoping to meet Kelpie for a long time. Dymphna intends to take Kelpie under her wing and help to navigate life with their unique shared ability. Kelpie helps to get Dymphna away from authorities as they arrive to investigate the dead body. The girls then embark on a tense, day-long mission to elude Mr. Davidson and the authorities while not making anything worse for Glory. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll both have lives left to salvage at the end of the day.
I loved, loved, loved this book. Not only did I get to read about an era of history that I knew literally nothing about, but the story itself was great. It’s hard not to be a little wary of historical fiction that uses a supernatural element, but in this case, the ghost aspect was fascinating. The writing was fantastic; its use of period slang genuinely emphasized the sense of place. Kelpie and Dymphna are both amazing and complex characters. Even the secondary characters are fleshed out (without slowing down the plot any). The pacing is swift, especially since the entire book’s action takes place within a 24-hour time span. It never sacrifices its integrity for the sake of brevity, however. Instead, it is refreshingly concise. One gets the sense that there’s not a single wasted word. This may not be a book for everyone, but for those looking for an experience both educational and entertaining, Razorhurst will be a rare treat.
Seventeen-year-old Jacob lives a life very different from the average American teen. He’s spent his entire life living in the same twelve square miles of rural Montana, a fenced-in compound known as “Nodd” or “Eden West”. He’s a member of a group called the Grace, an insular cult that has its members awaiting the arrival of archangel Zerachiel who will spare them all the horrors of the apocalypse. Jacob is dutiful and devoted to his faith, but things cease to be simple for him when he meets the teenaged daughter of the rancher whose land is adjacent to Nodd. Contact with outsiders is discouraged, but Jacob can’t help but be intrigued. Around the same time, a new family joins the Grace. This new family includes a boy who is around Jacob’s age, Tobias. Tobias is less-than-thrilled to have been uprooted and moved to the compound by his mother and sister. Jacob attempts to introduce Tobias to the ways of the Grace, but he soon finds that indoctrination of the unwilling is harder that it seems. Complicating matters even more is the appearance of a wolf who has been attacking the sheep tended by the Grace. Is Jacob’s faith strong enough to adapt to these new changes or will the outside world eventually win out?
Questioning faith is not a particularly new topic for Pete Hautman to tackle, but when he does, he really does it well. Jacob is a surprisingly sympathetic character. Readers will rarely, if ever, agree with his assessment of the outside world, but the struggles he undertakes are familiar just the same. Interesting thematic components round out what is otherwise a fairly straight-forward, coming-of-age tale. Secondary characters are well-developed and provide a fascinating contrast to the youth of Nodd. Issues of faith are treated with sensitivity and never feel forced. This would make a great discussion book for older readers.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. I am not in any way compensated for a favorable review (other than my own personal edification).
What’s not to love about this graphic novel? Kamala is a teenager living in Jersey City. Her life revolves around her family, her faith (Islam) and her love of superheroes. She’s a bit of a fan-girl, really. She dreams of a more exciting life, but her super-strict parents are quick to ground her whenever she gets even remotely out-of-line. In a classic teenager move, Kamala sneaks out to go to a party hosted by some of the popular kids at school. Quickly realizing that these kids would prefer to poke fun at her Muslim upbringing than actually be her friend, Kamala takes off on her own. All of a sudden, something mysterious happens. A strange fog rolls in, causing Kamala to pass out. She has a vision of superheroes speaking to her which ultimately ends up in Kamala becoming the new Ms. Marvel. Kamala now has shape-shifting powers that she’s not exactly sure how to execute on command, which makes for some entertaining scenes. It also serves to further complicate her relationship with her parents as Kamala becomes determined to live up to her new (secret)moniker.
I’m definitely interested to see where this series goes. Kamala is a great character; she’s easy to relate to and is absolutely likeable. The very idea of a Muslim-American teenaged girl superhero is pretty progressive, though that aspect is almost over-done in this comic. The art and writing are great and the storyline is thoroughly entertaining. Highly recommended.
Prairie Fire is the second and final book in the Story of Owen. It picks up a few months after the first book. Siobhan, Owen and Sadie are joining the Oil Watch as planned despite the terrible events they experienced. Owen and Sadie are dragon slayers and Siobhan has joined as Owen’s bard. She is determined to tell his story despite the fact that her hands no longer work as they did before. She can no longer play musical instruments or compose music, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still hear the song around her.
The Oil Watch is not like they expected. Owen and Siobhan angered the Canadian government with their heroics on Manitoulin even though it endeared them to the people. So not everyone is a fan when they arrive at base. There are a lot of politics at play as the conservative government tries to suppress the new style of dragon slaying Owen is advocating. Despite the opposition they settle in to training and their first posting. They meet a lot of other dragon slayers and support staff and learn more about dragon slayer.
Dragon slaying is not for the faint of heart nor the weak of stomach. It is hard work battling giant lizards who breath fire and acid. It is also extremely dangers as our heroes find out.
This is one of those books that when you finish you are crying horribly and throwing the book across the room. Of course, you immediately go lovingly pick it up and flip back through the story to see what you missed. When I started the book I thought it wasn’t nearly as exciting or interesting as the first one. The action is a bit slower as our heroes are going through basic training and their first posting. But that all changes during the final chapters and you are left wondering what the heck just happened to your world.
This is one of the best series I have read in a long while. The thought and detail that went into the world-building is amazing. I would actually like for E.K. Johnston to write a history of the this world as her next book. I was always fascinated by the little snippets of alternative history she provides about this world and Canada in particular. I wouldn’t even mind more books about the dragon slayers of this story just anything to stay in this world.
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Envision a world where teen suicide is an inexplicable national epidemic. One in three teenagers is affected, and the explosive teen suicide rate sends the world into a panic. Adults will do anything to keep the remaining teenagers alive and well, even if it means sending them away to mental institutions to have their minds irrevocably altered. This is the world that 17-year-old Sloane lives in. She and her peers are under relentless surveillance in case they show signs of depression, despair, or any other negative emotion. Teenagers who display these undesirable emotions are submitted to The Program, where their negativity is completely expunged. Unfortunately, most of their memories of adolescence are erased as well. Sloane and her boyfriend James are desperately afraid of losing their memories to The Program, and they vow to keep each other safe. However, the epidemic soon looms over them, and it is not long before they too fall prey to its fatal grip.
When their close friend commits suicide, James becomes inconsolable and is taken away by The Program. This spirals Sloane into her own depression. Sloane had already lost her brother to the epidemic, and her parents will do anything to keep her alive. Despite her adamant protests, Sloane is dragged from her home and forced into The Program, where she is slowly stripped of her memories. Will she be able to remember James and her past or will her mind be completely reset?
“The Program,” written by Suzanne Young, is both a New York Times bestselling novel and a Gateway Award Nominee. While there are several questions left unanswered in “The Program,” this provides ample opportunity for more plot twists and excitement in the next book in the series, “The Treatment.” There are some sections in the book that are rather slow, but the fascinating plot, strong characters, and resilient, sexy romance between Sloane and James more than make up for this. “The Program” is an intriguing novel that is ideal for readers who enjoy similar dystopian novels such as Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Cadence suffered a terrible accident on her families summer vacation island at age 15. It is 2 years later, and she is finally allowed to return to the family vacation home, to be with her cousins and family, and to try and retrieve her memories about what happened. I’m reading this for a book-group I belong to. I advise you to skip the reviews – you will enjoy it the book that much more. I liked the ending!
Seventeen-year-old Avery has been sent to a boarding school by her outlandishly wealthy Grandmother who has raised her. She is the ostracized illegitimate granddaughter of a drunk son and has no love for her cousins or uncles. She rarely sees her father. Now her Grandmother has set up a competition to see who deserves to inherit the entire VanDemere fortune. It’s family member against family member as they race around the globe and solve puzzles from the mines of Venezuela to the castles of Scotland. Since she is under 18 Avery has to be accompanied by an adult. Riley the son of her Grandmother’s lawyer goes along. But is her to help her or just protect his father’s interests at staying employed by Grandma. Is she falling in love with him and further complicating things? If Avery loses she knows she’ll have to go back to the horrible boarding school but is that motivation enough to get her through all the challenges? Who will the one and only heir be? Who can Avery truly trust? And is winning worth her life?
Gaia is a teenage girl who is pushed into an adult world, with adult problems, when her parents are suddenly arrested by the Enclave. This coming of age story is set in a dystopian future where global warming (called the cool age) has already scarred the Earth and several generations of survivors have hashed out a new way of life. Gaia follows in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife for a group of outsiders who live an archaic life. Bakers, carpenters and weavers are at odds with technological leftovers like movie theaters. Gaia’s life is fairly happy, despite that fact that the Enclave requires that a percentage of all babies delivered be “advanced” to the Enclave. These children are adopted into Enclave families. Though they will never see their birth parents again, it is considered a privilege because the children will go on to live rich, fulfilled lives. Gaia has no qualms with the situation until the evening her parents are arrested with no warning or explanation. As she begins to investigate, Gaia discovers a less savory side of the Enclave and starts questioning the rituals that have always been a part of her life. Leaving behind a prosperous job and the safety of ignorance, Gaia sets off to rescue her parents.
Birthmarked is neither the best, nor the worst, teen dystopian I have come across since the explosion of popularity in the genre began. The protagonist, Gaia, is a bit annoying in her blind devotion followed by startlingly sudden and inept actions. However, most of the characters are likable and the plot is simple and clear. It is an easy and fun read.
Feyre is the youngest daughter of an impoverished merchant. She is the sole provider for her family. When her mother died she charged Feyre with taking care of her older sisters and her father and Feyre has tried to fulfill that promise. One day when she is out hunting in the forest she shoots a wolf. Turns out the wolf was a shapeshifted faerie and she has to pay for his life. She is whisked off over the wall by Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court. Hundreds of years ago there was a war between mortals and fae that divided the world. The fae courts stayed behind the wall in the north and the mortals were relegated to the southern most part of the island of Prythian. Recently the fae have been venturing beyond the wall and attacking humans. Feyre finds life in the Spring Court different from what she expected. Tamlin and the other faeries treat her with respect and she is better fed and clothed than she has been in years. She finds herself falling in love with Tamlin. But things are not right in Prythian. There is a blight on the land that seems to be spreading and endangers both fae and humans alike. Feyre has the power to stop the blight if only she would realize it.
I am a big fan of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series so I was really excited when I saw this new series. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a different twist. Maas has gone back to the old story of Beauty and the Beast, but instead of a troll queen we have an evil faerie queen. The beauty is a mortal girl and the beast is a faerie prince. It is a fabulous story with a fabulous set of characters. My only little quibble is that it is marketed as a teen book, but it has some fairly sexy sex scenes with a bit more detail than teen books usually have. Didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book, but I might be a bit hesitant to give it to younger, more innocent teens (not that I don’t think they get more graphic information elsewhere). I can’t wait to see where this series goes as this book wrapped most of the storylines up pretty nicely; although there is a nice twist at the end.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read the ARC of this book. I loved it!
It’s a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge and trying to make sense of these random acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives.
Craig’s crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him…and if he’ll do it again…and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody.
Lio feels most alive when he’s with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable…and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk.
I loved this book!
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
This was a sweet story but I thought it was very sad. The ending really made the whole book.
Cady wakes up on the floor of a cabin with no memory of who she is or why she is there. She hears someone talking about “taking care” of her and knows she needs to find a way to escape. What follows is Cady’s race to find out who she is and why these guys want to kill her. She faces danger along the way, but she also finds help from unexpected sources. She meets Ty at a McDonalds and he immediately sets out to help her find out what is going on even though the men chasing her seem to be closing in on her. They do eventually find out who Cady is, but the bad guys seem to have created a smear campaign where she is either crazy or a murderer or a crazy murderer.
I enjoy April Henry’s books and had the pleasure of meeting her last year at a conference. She writes fast-paced mysteries that suck the reader in to the very end. Cady’s story was certainly intriguing. You had no idea what was going on. Was she an escaped mental patient? Was she a murderer? Or was she just an innocent girl caught up in something beyond her control? I liked the relationship between Ty and Cady and was glad that it didn’t get all romantic right from the start which would have ruined the believability of the story. I did find the revelations at the end maybe just a bit too out there, but it made for great storytelling and an enjoyable read.
2015-16 Truman Award Nominee.
Cady wakes up on the floor of a cabin, listening to a man tell someone else to take her out back and finish her off. She has no memory of who she is or why she is in this situation. Once she manage to escape (after some impressive defense skills set off instinctively), Cady spends the rest of the book looking for answers about who she is and why people want to kill her. This is made more difficult as she realizes that whoever is after her is powerful enough to have sway over the police and can trace her movements.
This is a fast, easy-to-read suspense. The heroine is a teen and it might be hard to believe that a 16-year-old is incapacitating people after studying kung-fu for a couple months, but this is a teen fiction. It’s less important that it’s believable, and more important that the hero be easily associated with. Nancy Drew was never that believable either. The Girl Who was Supposed to Die is thoroughly enjoyable. There is a small, romantic part to the book, but, luckily, it stays far, far in the back ground. It’s as if the author knows she needs to put something romantic in to fill a quota or check off a list, but did not want it to interfere with her fast-paced plot.
The Program is set in yet another dystopian future, but this time the plague racking the Earth is suicide. A type of death that once was a choice, has become a sickness that affects a large percentage of the teenage population. Worse still, it appears to be a communicable disease. In order to deal with this, governments are turning to The Program. Teens who are flagged with depression are involuntarily admitted to a center which attempts to cure their illness by wiping away any memories that might make the teens sad. The hero and heroine of this book both suffer through the trauma of The Program, but once they are released as having been cured, they fight to regain their memories. No one has ever accomplished this before and they must try while forced to run away from parents, watchers, and government officials who would lock them back up. Sloane and James, lovers prior to the program, not only find each other, but slowly piece together some memories of their past together because “[she] may not remember him, but [her] heart does.” The story ends as they break ties with their family and start running.
I was not impressed with this book. The plot was thin and, as a reader, I really had to put in a lot of effort to suspend disbelief. Important parts, that do not flow smoothly in any kind of arranged sense, are left up to the reader to find some excuse for. Many parts seemed added solely to add a shock value to the narrative. It is a decent book, but if you have a limited amount of time to read, I would not bother with this one.
Bladud is a Druid king forced out into the wilderness because of an illness. After wondering in the wilderness he finds a healing spring that cures his illness. He builds a temple to the goddess Sulis in appreciation for her healing. He erects a circle of stones and his people return to him.
Zac is apprenticed to architect Jonathan Forrest who is going to build the King’s Circus in Bath. Forrest is obsessed with druids and designs the Circus to mimic ancient druid structures. Zac is down on his luck after his father gambled away their fortune. He resents his lack of means and being the assistant to a mad man like Forrest. He has to decide if he is loyal to his master or to his idea of who he should be.
Sulis has just moved to Bath and into one of the houses on the Circus. There was a tragedy in her past that has put her in witness protection for the last ten years. Bath offers a fresh start with new foster parents in a new city and a new name. However, she believes she is being stalked by the man from her past. She has to come to terms with the truth of her past in order to create a new future.
These three stories all revolve around the same place but are very different. I thought some of the stories worked better than others. I loved Sulis’s tale and thought the reveal about the tragedy in her past was really well done. I like how her story tied in the story of the Circus and the other two characters. I wasn’t that interested in Zac’s story mainly because I really didn’t like him as a character. I wanted more information about Forrest and less whining from Zac. Bladud’s story was the briefest with the least amount of details. The three characters each had their own style of chapters with different fonts and styles of writing. I was also occasionally thrown by the probably historically accurate spelling, punctuation and writing of the Zac chapters. I thought this was an interesting, different type of novel and quite enjoyed the uniqueness of it even if I didn’t enjoy every part as much as the whole.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.
Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.