18. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa, Teen Books

Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho, 366 pages, read by Lisa, on 11/18/2014

What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails—and then one day there’s no one left to help you get it back on track?

Althea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she’s the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close, Althea has begun to want something more than just best-friendship. Oliver, for his part, simply wants life to go back to normal, but when he wakes up one morning with no memory of the past three weeks, he can’t deny any longer that something is seriously wrong with him. And then Althea makes the worst bad decision ever, and her relationship with Oliver is shattered. He leaves town for a clinical study in New York, resolving to repair whatever is broken in his brain, while she gets into her battered Camry and drives up the coast after him, determined to make up for what she’s done.

Their journey will take them from the rooftops, keg parties, and all-ages shows of their North Carolina hometown to the pool halls, punk houses, and hospitals of New York City before they once more stand together and face their chances. Set in the DIY, mix tape, and zine culture of the mid-1990s, Cristina Moracho’s whip-smart debut is an achingly real story about identity, illness, and love—and why bad decisions sometimes feel so good.

17. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, 368 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/16/2014

  Sarah Dunbar is one of 10 black students that are integrating into the white high school in Virginia in 1959.  She is a brilliant senior, but gets placed in the remedial classes because they don’t want the black students holding their white students back.  Linda Hairston is a white senior at the school who is oppposed to integration.  In their French class, they are forced with another white student to work together for a class project.  How can they meet without letting Linda’s father know that she is working with a black girl?  How can Sarah make Linda understand that the black people deserve an equal shake at education and other civil rights?

This was a coming of age story that was disturbing to read at times because it mirrored the turmoil that was going on during the civil rights movement.  Told alternately from the perspective of each girl, it puts you in their shoes to see how their background and family helped to shape their beliefs.  Pretty good book, but it had some alternate themes that weren’t what I expected.

16. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, 314 pages, read by Kira, on 11/14/2014

Witch_and_Wizard_CoverA fantasy novel by one of the most popular (if Not the MOST popular author – I think he has the broadest appeal).  I’d had such good luck with David Baldacci, and Nora Roberts.  Well this time I struck out.  There was way more freaking out than was necessary and also too much immediate foreshadowing “my next decision was stupid, and unfortunately, so was my next”.  I would think someone like Patterson would be good at straight out telling a story, without so much dancing around with the thoughts of the main characters.  Basically two teens wake up in the middle of the night and are taken to jail, after a new order has been elected into office.  Oh, yeah, and they both apparently have major powers, which their parents explained to them, except they weren’t listening.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

Circle of Stones by Catherine Fisher, 304 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/27/2014

Three interwoven, spine-tingling historical thrillers from the New York Times bestselling author of Incarceron.

Suspense, mysticism, and history encircle three separate but related narratives in this fantasy novel. Today, Sulis, a teenage girl with a mysterious past, arrives in Bath with a new identity, trailed by the person she’s trying to outrun.  In 1740, Zac is apprenticed to an architect obsessed with Druidic mysteries, but has his own secret—and destructive—agenda.  In ancient England, a druid king discovers the healing waters of a magical spring, where he founds a great city, and the heart of Fisher’s story. Through each voice, the mysteries are revealed, linking Sulis, Zac, and the king through the circles of time.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), 320 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/19/2014

Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, 208 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/18/2014

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It’s true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, 371 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/11/2014

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Horror, Teen Books · Tags:

The Infects by Sean Beaudoin, 384 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/04/2014

A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre.

Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.

Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read—whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten—and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, 599 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/06/2014

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Drama, Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Romance, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

The One by Kiera Cass, 323 pages, read by Kristy, on 11/08/2014

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I’m not sure why I went ahead and read The One since I thoroughly disliked The Elite. It was a bad choice. The One is basically a repeat of books one and two of this series. America is still unsure about her relationship with the prince, the castle is still constantly attacked by rebels, and character development is still awkward and stilted. This series was such a bore/snore/waste of my time!

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Romance, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

The Elite by Kiera Cass, 336 pages, read by Kristy, on 11/05/2014

16248068While the Selection was fun and fluffy and romantic, The Elite was just annoying. America is one of the few Selected left, and she is trying to figure out whether she would be a good princess. She goes back and forth about this and about her love for both Prince Maxon and Aspen roughly a billion times. If one doesn’t give her attention, she gets huffy and falls into the arms of the other. She is wishy washy about pretty much everything. The plot was slow and boring, and nothing really happened except a few of the Selected got booted. Her rotten attitude in this novel made me very much dislike America.

04. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke, 341 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/26/2014

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With her weak eyes and useless lungs that often leave her gasping for air, Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies than she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she is so much more comfortable and confident in the water than on land until the day she learns the shocking truth—she is one of a group of kids who have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of the “Neptune Project” are supposed to build a better future under the waves, safe from the terrible famines and wars and that rock the surface world. Fierce battle and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friend race to safety in this action-packed marine adventure.

I enjoyed this book very much, probably because of the solution the characters have to global warming, which I have not seen explored before like this.  I feel for Nere and her friends as they try to make sense of what they have become and how they try to cope with their new world.  Very enjoyable and I think that both boys and girls will enjoy this novel.

03. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer, 276 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/15/2014

15927598On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia’s mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren’t as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That’s their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather’s survivalist compound in West Virginia.

Highly recommendable book for both boys and girls.  Along the way to find their uncle and grandfather, Nadia and Rabbit show a knack for avoiding trouble, for the most part.  However, after they begin traveling with Zack, you just want to yell into the book that they need to hide their vehicle better, when they leave it to explore a nearby mall.  Along the way, they rescue a dog, a bird and a little girl.  It’s a feel good story, even when you aren’t sure that their uncle and grandfather are going to be at the final destination.

03. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books

Pivot Point by Kasie West, 343 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/03/2014

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“A girl with the power to search alternate futures lives out six weeks of two different lives in alternating chapters. Both futures hold the potential for love and loss, and ultimately she is forced to choose which fate she is willing to live through”

Addie lives in a community of people who have powers that most people don’t.  They keep their community a secret from the world, whether to better retain their powers or eventually hold sway over normal humans, it isn’t really clear.  After her parents divorce, she goes to spend some time with her father, but before going, she uses her power to see which of two futures would she rather live with.  While it might seem nice to have some kind of ‘super’ power that others don’t, this book points out that it might not always be a good thing.

03. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Award Winner, Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, 448 pages, read by Kristy, on 10/31/2014

Uglies follows the story of Tally, a youth who lives in a dystopian world where everyone turns “pretty” when they reach age 16. This extreme plastic surgery changes people from normal to beautiful, but at a terrible cost. At first Tally both craves and embraces her society and the opportunity to become pretty, but she learns how corrupt the government is. Tally decides to defy her society, which opens up a new world of friendships, romance, and unexpected tragedies.

Uglies is the first book in the Uglies trilogy, and it brings up many themes ranging from corrupt governments to self acceptance.

I found this novel to be thought provoking, but perhaps not particularly believable. I’m excited to learn how Tally faces her mounting challenges in book 2.

30. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

The Finisher by by David Baldacci, 497 pages, read by Kira, on 10/29/2014

index2 I hadn’t read anything by popular author David Baldacci, so when I saw this book in my favorite genre I thought I’d give it a try.  This strategy paid off when I discovered Nora Roberts’ fantasy trilogy Morrigan’s Cross.  It is a very fast-paced read with a rather different world, some sort of apocalypse, I believe, with perhaps magic or maybe its technology.  Things are Not as they seem, it took me awhile to figure out how this universe/world worked.  The main character Vega Jane (an orphan of course) sees her coworker being chased by tracking hounds followed by the City Council members.  Her friend is headed into the Quag – wherein there are only monsters and no sane member ventures into.  Yet things are Not as they seem.  Vega Jane’s transformation seemed a lot more believable than a number of heroes, I’m Not sure why.  I cannot wait for the sequels!

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25. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Katy, Teen Books

If I Stay by Gayle Forman, 234 pages, read by Katy, on 10/24/2014

81aTBRY7dxLAfter a car accident which takes the lives of her parents and younger brother, Mia finds herself with the agonizing decision of whether to stay or be with her family. While in a coma she is able to see herself in the hospital and follow the actions of her friends and relatives who have come to be with her. It sparks a beautiful recollection of memories which impact her decision.

21. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, 472 pages, read by Angie, on 10/20/2014

So I picked up this book because it was on a time travel list. So I was expecting time travel; I didn’t expect to have to wait until the very end of the book to get it. This is a story of two girls separated by hundreds of years but connected by their love and grief over two little boys. Donnelly does an excellent job of bringing their stories together and making them both very believable. What she didn’t do a great job of was making me care about the characters. Modern day Andi in particular was hard to like or connect with. I got that she was grieving over the death of her brother Truman and that she blamed herself for his death. What I couldn’t get past was how unlikeable she was. She was whiny, self-centered and horrible to those around her. French Revolution Alex was easier to like even if she was further away in time. However, at times she too didn’t seem that realistic. She seemed to innocent of what was going on around her while at the same time she was jaded by the events as well. It was a contradiction that was a bit hard to reconcile. I thought the time travel bit at the end was pretty much unnecessary even though I was expecting it. It was basically a way for Andi to work through her grief and come to terms with her life as it is. I wish she had been able to come to that point on her own, but thought the narrative twist worked in its way. The problem with dual storylines is that one is often a lot better than the other and I think that is where this book fell for me. I really wanted more of Alex’s story and the French Revolution and every time it went back to Andi I got bored.

20. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Sinner (Shiver Trilogy Companion) by Maggie Stiefvater, 357 pages, read by Kira, on 10/19/2014

Sinner?  well I usually think of someone much worse than Cole’s character.  It seems something of a boast to label oneself as a sinner with his few “crimes”.  I wish I found out more about Sam and Grace – I don’t really care that much for Cole and Isabel, they are Not as interesting as Sam and Grace, but perhaps their story has played out, maybe it really played out at the end of v1 of the  Trilogy.  Isabel became less and less likeable, really annoying as if parents getting a divorce entitles her to be bitchy and mean.  And I guess Cole’s great self-doubts justify him falling in love with such a mean person.    Much more romance, much less action. Trite.  But if we categorize this as a romance, then it is a much better romance than the majority of romance type novels I’ve come in contact with.

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20. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa, Romance, Teen Books

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl, 261 pages, read by Lisa, on 10/17/2014

Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors–or suitors of any kind–in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There’s only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans.