03. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Kristy, Romance, Teen Books

Perfected by Kate Birch, 304 pages, read by Kristy, on 02/28/2015

PerfectedAs soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow

 

-Goodreads

02. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The Treatment by Suzanne Young, 344 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/27/2015

  This is the sequel to “The Program” and it is just as exciting and fast paced as the first.  Sloan and James are on the run trying to figure out who can be trusted and who can help them take down the program.  Both of them are still missing a lot of their memories, so this is very challenging.  The treatment is a little pill that can bring back all of your memories after you have been in the program, but they only have one dose.   Who will take it?  Or will it be lost forever?  Will it really solve any problems?  Can anyone be trusted besides each other????  Good book.  I recommend it so long as it’s paired with the first one.

02. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King, 307 pages, read by Angie, on 02/28/2015

Glory O’Brien has just graduated from high school and doesn’t really see a future for herself. She and her dad have been stuck ever since her mom DArla committed suicide when Glory was 4 years old. The only thing Glory has is her photography, which Darla also had. She starts learning more about her mom after taking over the dark room in the basement. She finds her mom’s album entitled “Why People Take Pictures” filled with disturbing images and starts answering her mom in her own album.

Glory lives across the road from her best friend Ellie. Only she is not sure she wants Ellie to be her best friend anymore. Ellie lives on a commune run by her mother Jasmine Blue and totally takes advantage of Glory. The girls find a petrified bat and decide to drink it when it turns to dust. The bat gives the girls the ability to see the past and future when they look in someone’s eyes. They see people’s ancestors doing all kinds of things and they see people’s descendants in the future. Glory’s visions of the future all revolve around war. There is going to be a second civil war in America. This time it will not be slavery that divides the country but women’s rights. The passage of an equal pay bill will splinter the country and some states will end up taking away the rights of women completely. This will divide the country and cause a war as women basically become fugitives or breeding machines.

I am torn about this book. I really enjoyed the contemporary story of Glory trying to figure out her life. In the beginning, she only sees herself through Darla and doesn’t believe there is a future for her. Through the visions and the people she meets she starts to see herself as a different person, as someone with a future to look forward to even if it involves war. She also helps draw her dad back into the land of the living. Finally, she comes to terms with her relationship with Ellie and the commune. It was a compelling story and one I really wanted to read. However, the visions of the future just threw me off. I found it so unbelievable that I couldn’t buy into the visions or the future they represented. It was an interesting future and made for good storytelling, but it was just too far-fetched for me.

02. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Teen Books

The darkest part of the forest by Holly Black, 328 pages, read by Angie, on 02/17/2015

In the heart of the forest lies a glass coffin with a horned-boy in it, a faerie prince forever asleep. He never wakes no matter how many people dance on his coffin, try to kiss him, or simply stare at him in awe. As far as the people know he has always been there and will always be there.

He is not the only unusual thing in Fairfold, a town where humans coexist with the fae. Residents know what to do to protect themselves and only shake their heads when tourists go missing. However, something in the heart of the forest is growing stronger, and the protections no longer seem to be working. Hazel and Ben have grown up in Fairfold. Ben is gifted with music, but his gift comes with a curse. Hazel wants to be a knight and fight the monsters in the forest. She made a deal with the fae, but doesn’t know how or when she will have to pay it back. Hazel is in love with Ben’s best friend Jack, a changeling whose human parents decided to keep him when they got their own son back. Jack knows more about what is happening with the fae in the forest than he lets on. One day, the horned-boy awakes and the monster at the heart of the forest makes her way into town. Hazel, Ben and Jack have to find a way to stop the monster and save the town before it is too late.

This is Holly Black at her best. It is a dark fairy tale filled with lies, secrets, heroes and curses. Hazel is the star of this story, but she has the most secrets to protect. Hazel is keeping secrets from Ben about the deal she made with the Alderking; she is keeping secrets from Jack about her true feelings; and she is unknowingly keeping secrets from herself. Hazel’s secrets have to be revealed if our heroes are going to win the day.

Fans of Holly Black’s teen books like the Modern Faerie Tale series or The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and her middle grade books Doll Bones and The Spiderwick Chronicles, will appreciate the way she is able to weave the dark elements of this story in with the more heart-warming elements. She is at her best when she is writing about strong female characters who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and those around them, but who are also aware enough to know when they need help.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

27. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Poetry, Teen Books · Tags:

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 02/27/2015

An intriguing novel-in-verse about two girls with Crohn’s Disease sharing a hospital room. Chess is new to the disease and ended up in the hospital after a party/date with her crush turned disastrous. She is not happy to have something called irritable bowel syndrome and doesn’t want to see friends or family and definitely not the crush. Shannon, on the other hand, has been living with disease for years. She is past the hiding stage and well into the angry stage. The two girls don’t seem to have anything in common, but they bond over their common enemy…Crohn’s. The girls are in beds separated by a curtain and the novel represents this with a line down the middle of the page separating their words. It is an unusual topic for a teen book but one that seems timely. I think the novel-in-verse style works really well as it gives the reader just enough information and allows the reader to be more immersed in the characters.

27. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Teen Books, Teen Books · Tags:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, 438 pages, read by Kira, on 02/26/2015

fangirlTwin sisters, Cath and Wren (their mother had prepared only one name for one child – Cather-Wren) had been really tight after their mother abandoned her daughters and bipolar husband years ago.    Now that its time to head off to college, Wren the extrovert wants more space, wants her own roommate, and doesn’t want Cath around much.  Cath the awkward introvert feels abandoned by Wren, especially when Wren reconnects with their mother.  Cath has coped by writing fanfiction for a series called Simon Snow – a Harry-Potteresque fantasy series (Wren used to help her).  Simon Snow books were what got the sisters through the rough times, through their abandonment, through their father’s hospitalization, etc.  Cath continues to write Simon Snow stories – much to the annoyance of her tough-girl roommate Reagon.  Then there’s Reagon’s boyfriend Levi who hangs around their room all the time.  Rowell writes great love scenes – only light kissing is detailed, but she makes it seem so hot!

Not everything is explained, like the reason from Wren wanting distance, nor why their mother is so shallow.  Nonetheless a fabulous read!

I am loving Rainbow Rowell’s books.  Rainbow Rowell’s next book will be about Simon Snow – the story within the story – I can’t wait!

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26. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books · Tags:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven , 388 pages, read by Kristy, on 02/06/2015

18460392I decided to read “All the Bright Places” because I had heard from several people that it is just like “The Fault in our Stars.” And I love “The Fault in our Stars”! I can see how people relate the two: “The Fault in our Stars” is about the struggles of two teens with a physical illness, and “All the Bright Places” is about the struggles of two teens who have emotional issues.

“All the Bright Places” is well written and brings up important issues like bullying, suicide, and bi-polar disorder. Despite this, I just didn’t get into the book the way I had expected to. It was a slow read for me. But I can tell that the author had a lot of enthusiasm for this story and her characters, which I can admire. I liked the author’s note at the end, describing Niven’s personal experiences with mental illness and suicide.

25. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim B, Teen Books · Tags:

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, 401 pages, read by Kim B, on 02/14/2015

prison night fogI enjoyed reading the book. It is a good way to introduce young adults to the years preceding the Holocaust and the events leading up to it. Plot was good and characters believable.

23. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Steam-punk, Tammy, Teen Books

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3) by Gail Carriger, 298 pages, read by Tammy, on 02/20/2015

waistcoats & weaponry Sophronia continues her second year at Lady Genevieve’s Finishing School for Ladies of Quality. This semester they learn how to use a fan as a defensive weapon. This is especially usually if the fan has blades on the tips. Sidheag receives an upsetting letter from home dealing with werewolf politics of grandfather’s pack. While attending the engagement party of her brother, Sophronia, Dimity and Soap end up on an unexpected adventure on a stolen train. To their surprise Monique is also on board the train but who is she working for and what are they up to?

20. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, 265 pages, read by Kira, on 02/13/2015

wanting s Charlie Duskin is a shy but talented musician, who spends every Christmas at her grandparents, except this year, not only is her Mom dead, her Granny has recently died as well.  Next door to Grandpa lives Rose, who has ignored the girl from the city for years, but now that Rose wants to take a scholarship year off in the city, she realizes that Charlie may be her ticket out of the small backwater town she lives in, that Chamarblebarrlie visitsSmall Waterfall in Ku-ring-gai Chase NP, Sydeny, Australia.  This is a fine coming of age story.  I liked that people besides the main protagonist experience growth.  This book is recommended for those who liked Eleanor and Park (which I loved).

20. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The Program by Suzanne Young, 405 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/19/2015

  Sloane and her boyfriend, James, live in a world where suicide has become an epidemic among the teens.  The only cure is the Program which cures your depression, but sends you back hollow without your memories.  They vow to each other to stay safe and protect each other through anything, but how can they stay strong enough to avoid the Program?

This is an intense book that I really enjoyed reading.  What if you could wipe out all of the memories that make you sad?  Would it be worth it to lose your identity in the process?  I highly recommend “The Program.”

17. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Drama, Fiction, Paula, Teen Books

If I Stay by Forman, Gayle, 201 pages, read by Paula, on 02/13/2015

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make–and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

 

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston, 312 pages, read by Angie, on 02/11/2015

Owen Thorskard comes from a long line of dragon slayers dating back to the Vikings. His aunt Lottie is one of the most famous dragon slayers of modern times. After Lottie is hurt battling a dragon the family moves to the rural Canadian town of Trondheim, which is thrilled to get its very own family of dragon slayers. Owen’s father, Aodhan, takes on the duties of protecting the area while Lottie and her wife Hannah train Owen. Siobhan McQuaid meets Owen his first day of school when they are both late for English. She is a musician and is soon asked to become Owen’s bard. Turns out dragon slayers used to always have a bard to tell the tales of their heroics. But modern dragon slayers are all corporate or military and the charm of the profession is no more. Lottie and Aodhan want to bring back the traditional role of dragon slayers and they want to start with Owen. Siobhan and Owen train together and Siobhan learns more than how to fight. Turns out the dragons are moving into the area in larger and larger numbers and the fear is a new hatching ground has been established. They have to find a way to stop the dragons before their area becomes just another Michigan.

I loved this book! I had never heard of it until it became one of the sixteen contenders for School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books. I am so glad I was introduced to it. It is such a fun story. It is an alternative history where dragons do exist and they feed on carbon. So as the world became more and more industrialized more and more dragons appeared. I loved all the little details we learned about the world like the fact that Michigan had to be abandoned because the auto industry drew so much dragon attention it was overrun or like the fact that Queen Victoria was the only non-dragon slayer to be inducted into the Order of St. George for moving a hatching ground and enabling travel between England and Scotland. There were lots of little things like that that made the story even more charming. But the true star of this book was Siobhan. She narrates The Story of Owen in such a charming and humorous way. Through her we learn more about the world, the history of dragons, music and dragon slaying. I also really loved that there were no romantic feelings between Owen and Siobhan. They are friends and partners and that is it. It made for a nice change of pace to other teen books. I am definitely putting this series on my to-read list.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Steam-punk, Tammy, Teen Books

Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger, 310 pages, read by Tammy, on 02/11/2015

curtsies The second book in the Finishing School series. Our young heroine, Sophronia has now been attending Mademoiselle Geraldines Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality for six months and her first major reviews are coming up. Will she pass the normal reviews of social skills of a high class Victorian lady to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s satisfaction? How will she do with the reviews of the real lessons of the school – being a spy? Sophronia enjoys sneaking around the school, a floating dirigible with multiple levels and ships connected together, at night to visit the ship’s boiler room as well as eavesdrop on the teachers’ quarters. Who among her friends can she trust? What about the teachers? Who is the schools secret patron? Someone high up in the queen’s inner circle, a vampire, a werewolf or other business interests?

10. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

If I Stay by Gayle Forman, 201 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/09/2015

Mia is out for a family drive and her whole life changes in an instant.  Her stresses about life choices, music vs boyfriend, are all put on hold as she has to make the most important decision of her life.  Will she stay or will she go on to be with her family?  This was a memoir of sorts as Mia flashes back to memories and re-lives her life so far.

This dark tale emphasizes how important family is to your back story and how music can infuse your life and influence it like nothing else can.  This was another one I was wishing I had the cd to while I was reading!

07. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Paula, Teen Books

Paper Towns by Green, John, 305 pages, read by Paula, on 02/03/2015

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night;dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge;he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.

 

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Like Water On Stone by Dana Walrath, 368 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/25/2015

1914, Ottoman Empire: The Donabedian family members have a good life. They mill grain, grow grapes and spend warm summer evenings playing music with friends and neighbors on the rooftop. Unbeknownst to the younger family members, unrest is brewing and their lives are about to change forever. The three youngest siblings are the stars of this story. There’s Shahen, who dreams of moving to America, Sosi, Shahen’s twin sister, who has recently fallen in love with a local boy, and Mariam, the five-year-old baby of the family. As political discontent grows, neighbors advise the family to leave, but their father firmly believes that their Turkish and Kurdish friends will help protect them from the soldiers. Unfortunately, things begin getting bad very quickly. The eldest sons are arrested and later massacred along with other men of fighting age from the village. One night, word comes that violence is on its way. The parents make the brave and devastating decision to send their remaining children off into the night. The three siblings then begin an epic journey over the mountains with little more than the clothes on their backs. All along, an eagle keeps watch over the family and helps to keep the children safe as they hide from soldiers and traverse the unforgiving mountainous landscape.
This novel-in-verse is one of the more heart-wrenching tales I’ve read in recent memory. It’s also the first time I’ve read any fiction about the Armenian Genocide of 1915. This family’s story is heartbreaking, but even worse is the knowledge that these children were the lucky ones. They manage to escape the worst of the violence and are spared from seeing what happens to their parents (though we do, thanks to our friend, the eagle). Since this novel is written in verse, it moves very quickly. The language is beautiful, even if the subject matter is not. The narrative cycles through each of the siblings in addition to the eagle. Readers will breathlessly turn the pages to see what happens to these kids. The inclusion of the eagle adds a touch of magic realism, as well as an effective quasi-omniscient narrator. The end of the book includes an author’s note, a glossary and a list of resources for further exploration of this horrific historical event.
06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple, 304 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/24/2015

This is one of those books that really doesn’t lend itself well to summarizing, but I’ll do my best. There are several groups of characters that exist in several different dimensions (realities?). We have our world, with two of the main characters. Then there’s the world of the Wrenchies, a post-apocalyptic wasteland where only the children are technically “safe” from the Shadowsmen, a terrifying entity that attacks anyone “of age” with the purpose of turning their victims into more Shadowsmen. Then there’s yet another dimension with super-heroic adult versions of the Wrenchies as portrayed in the Wrenchies comic book that appears in each of the first two dimensions (our world and the Wrenchies’). The story began a few decades ago when a pair of brothers enter a cave and encounter one of the Shadowsmen. The story picks up later when one of the brothers is an adult living next door to an adolescent boy named Hollis. Hollis doesn’t fit in well with his peers. He wears a superhero outfit everywhere he goes and would prefer to be in his fictional worlds rather than the real one. He finds a totem hovering in the air outside his window and jumps to grab it. He’s then pulled into the world of the Wrenchies, who regard him with a sense of wonder and include him in their group without question. As things get weirder, a character known as “The Scientist” pulls the heroes in through a portal similar to the one Hollis came through. Now they all need to work together to defeat the scourge of Shadowsmen who are also taking advantage of the rifts between dimensions.
There’s a lot of unusual stuff going on in this graphic novel and it’s occasionally hard to explain exactly what’s happening, which means it’s not for everyone. It’s very gritty and violent, which one might expect from roving bands of armed children wandering around a post-apocalyptic world. The treatment of the kids is simultaneously disturbing and heart-warming. In spite of the extreme violence that comprises daily life in the world of the Wrenchies, the bonds they create amongst each other are strong and true. Add in some interesting philosophical dilemmas and you have a thoroughly fascinating, if somewhat disorienting, story. The artwork is lavishly detailed and full-color, making this a graphic novel you can really sink your teeth into. In fact, repeated reads may be required to fully appreciate the experience. I have a feeling one would notice something new upon each read.

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Paranormal, Teen Books

(Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn, 336 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/22/2015

Gardnerville is not like any town you’ve been in before. Not only is it so remote that it’s only accessible via train (and that only within the last few decades), its residents never get sick and they live far longer than the average person. Prospective residents travel from far and wide for a chance to live within the confines of Gardnerville; the only people accepted are those with life-threatening illnesses. In that sense, Gardnerville is a life-saving town. Something of a paradise. But nothing comes without a price and this town is no exception. There’s a four-year cycle of escalating calamity. In a first year, someone might be mad at someone else and accidentally turn them into an animal. In a forth year, one might see the kind of catastrophe that befell Skylar’s family. Skylar’s sister, Piper, led dozens of the town’s teens on a midnight parade down to the railroad bridge where they all proceeded to jump, many of them to their deaths. Piper now resides in the town’s correctional facility, a place known for taking in troublemakers and turning out hollowed-out husks of human beings. Skylar’s pretty sure that’s where Piper is, anyway.
As the book opens, it’s another fourth year. It’s also late in the year, which is making everyone extra nervous. Skylar’s been living in a drug-fueled haze ever since Piper went away. She takes a pill made from some of the Forget-Me-Not flowers that grow in Gardnerville. Within minutes of taking them, Skylar begins to forget. When she isn’t under the influence of the pills, she’s wishing she had more. Something is nagging at her though. She keeps finding the tape recorder that she and Piper used to use when they were kids. It’s not the only reminder of Piper that she keeps stumbling across, which makes her decide that it’s time to start remembering so that she can get her sister out of the correctional facility and start addressing some of the town’s darker secrets.
There is so much going on in this book that it’s really difficult to summarize. The mythology of the town itself is a bit messy and explanations come very late. Skylar is an unreliably narrator since she’s constantly taking the pills to forget everything. The main narrative alternates with flashbacks that are presumably recorded onto the tape recorder that seems to turn up wherever Skylar has been. The people that surround Skylar don’t seem any more reliable than she does, which only adds to the disorientation.
While I generally love oddball books, this one was just a little too convoluted to make me fall head-over-heels. I did enjoy it, but even with all the craziness, I was able to figure out the major twist, so that was kind of disappointing. I can’t help but think that the confusion is just a bit over the top. It takes forever for the book to get to the point and when there is exposition, it comes in big chunks rather than being seamlessly intertwined with the plot. I had a like/hate relationship with Skylar, who frequently frustrates as she continually drugs herself. She never asks the questions the readers want her to ask and it feels as though she alone is the one dragging out the plot. Still, the concept was intriguing and the writing was decent. Adventurous and patient readers will likely find this entertaining.

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Graphic Novel, Horror, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 6 by Jinsei Kataoka, 212 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/14/2015

In yet another brutal and intriguing volume, Shiro tries to learn how to cook in order to cheer up Ganta, who has sunk into a deep depression.  It doesn’t really work.  In the aftermath of the prison break, the warden moves things in a new direction.  It is decided that the public will now be shown what “monsters” the Deadmen are.  Behind the scenes, prison officials are now turning regular prisoners into brain-washed Deadmen.  Every time anything gets better in this series, something devastating is sure to follow.  Still, very imaginative, if a bit disturbing.