07. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Courtney, Informational Book, NonFiction, Teen Books

Rookie Yearbook Two by Tavi Gevinson, read by Courtney, on 03/27/2014

Can I just say how much I love Rookie? Loooove it. And it makes me really happy that a good deal of the online-only magazine is being published in these “Yearbook” editions. The format is identical to the first Yearbook, but the depth and breadth of the subject matter is fresh and relevant. Rookie tackles things that most other teen magazines wouldn’t dare to. Faith, sexuality, art, music and activism are all given equal weight and credibility. The fashion spreads are moody and creative (and refreshing free from brand names and prices; something I’ve always found particularly irritating about most magazines). Themed playlists and colorful art abounds throughout. There’s not a single teenaged girl I wouldn’t recommend this to. In fact, I think most adults should check it out too. I know I learned a thing or two. And boys? If you want to understand girls a little bit more, consider this a really good starting point.

02. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The In-Between by Barbara Stewart, read by Sarah, on 04/01/2014

  This was a haunting book that will keep you guessing until the very end.  A family of three (mom, dad, and Ellie) are in a terrible car wreck on their way to their new home and one of them doesn’t survive.  How would you cope if one of your parents died?  Ellie’s mind is a beautiful and terrible thing.  I would love to tell you more, but you have to read it for yourself.  It will touch your heart and leave its mark on you forever.

17. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, read by Sarah, on 03/04/2014

Ok, so I read Divergent and Insurgent…wonderful…then I read Allegiant.  First, the idea behind it was great.  It starts off right where Insurgent left off and leads into Tris and Four joining a group to find out what is on the other side of the fence surrounding their city.  They discover they are part of an experimental group with genetic implications.  New allies and enemies are made in the compound where they are staying.  I have mixed feelings on this one.  The other two were told from the exclusive point of view of Tris while this one bounced back and forth between Tris and Four.  Sometimes, the continuity was not there to keep up with the story.  Although it was helpful to hear Four’s view, I enjoyed Tris’s storyline better.  Their relationship was tested, and they alternate between loving and fighting.  Overall, it did not live up to my expectations, but it was still pretty good.

27. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, read by Tammy, on 02/04/2014

ameliaA coming of age story, a mystery, a mother-daughter relationship story are all wound tightly together in this novel. After Amelia’s suicide her mother, Kate searches to find who her daughter really was and if she really committed suicide. Told from both Kate and Amelia’s perspectives and through text, email and Facebook posts the story shows how today’s teens smoothly communicate on all the numerous social media that exists today and how easy it is for a parent to fall behind. Kate has to come to terms with who Amelia really was and all the events that led up to her death. A moving, relate-able story that keeps you turning the page.

15. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Courtney, NonFiction, Teen Books

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, read by Courtney, on 07/19/2013

When it comes to serial killers, few are as well-known as Jeffrey Dahmer. To the author, “Jeff”, was much more than a face on the news. Backderf grew up in the same town and went to the same school as Dahmer. Long before the name “Dahmer” entered public consciousness, he was an awkward and troubled kid. Through the eyes of a friendly acquaintance (Backderf never genuinely appears to consider Dahmer a true “friend”, but more of kid on the periphery of his social circle), we meet a boy who was certainly unusual and somewhat anti-social. Readers will follow Dahmer from childhood to his teen years and, while it paints a slightly more sympathetic version of Dahmer, it never explains or excuses the actions he eventually takes. In hindsight, the signs were there, but it was clear that, at the time, Dahmer was simply regarded as the resident odd-ball and few thought little else about him.
What makes this graphic novel particularly interesting is the inclusion of both photos and documents from Backderf and Dahmer’s school years, as well as the detailed, page-by-page annotations provided by Backderf. This graphic novel is morbidly fascinating. Readers with any interest whatsoever on the topic will find themselves sucked in with no chance of escape until the end of the book. I was intrigued, horrified and even occasionally amused by Backderf’s story.

01. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Revived by Cat Patrick, read by Sarah, on 01/30/2014

  What if there was a drug that could be administered when you die that would revive you?  Daisy has been revived five times in her short life and is a part of a secret government case study.  Each death means a move to conceal the secret, so putting down roots has been a problem until she moves to Omaha.  Here she makes good friends with a brother and sister who make her realize that she wants more of a normal teenage life.  This experiment is more sinister than Daisy realizes and a thriller ensues that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.  This was a very enjoyable book!  I had read Cat Patrick’s The Originals last year and loved it, too.  I highly recommend it!

22. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Children's Books, Classics, Fantasy, Fiction, Rachel, Teen Books, Teen Books

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, read by Rachel, on 01/21/2014

Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

Journey into the land beyond the wardrobe! The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has been captivating readers of all ages for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone novel, but if you would like journey back to Narnia, read The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

15. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Classics, History, Rachel, Teen Books

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, read by Rachel, on 01/15/2014

Anne Frank, June 1929 – March 1945 Anneliesse Marie Frank was born on June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. She was the second daughter of Otto and Edith Frank. Anne’s father was a factory worker, who moved his family to Amsterdam in 1933 to escape the Nazi’s. There he opened up a branch of his uncle’s company and Anne and her sister Margot resumed a normal life, attending a Montessori School in Amsterdam.

The Germans attacked the Netherlands in 1940 and took control, issuing anti-Jewish decrees, and forcing the Frank sisters into a Jewish Lyceum instead of their old school. Their father Otto decided to find a place for the family to hide should the time come that the Nazi’s came to take them to a concentration camp. He chose the annex above his offices and found some trustworthy friends among his fellow workers to supply the family with food and news. On July 5, 1942, Margot received a “call up” to serve in the Nazi “work camp.” The next day, the family escaped to the annex, welcoming another family, the van Pels, which consisted of Hermann and Auguste van Pels and their son Peter. Fritz Pfeffer also came to stay with them, causing the count to come to eight people hiding in the annex.

Anne, Margot and Peter continued their studies under the tutelage of Otto, and all of the captives found ways to entertain themselves for the long years they remained hidden. On August 4, 1944, four Dutch Nazis came to arrest the eight, having discovered their hiding place through an informant. Anne’s diary was left behind and found later by one of the family’s friends. The eight were taken to prison in Amsterdam and then deported to Westerbork before being shipped to Auschwitz. At Auschwitz, the men were separated from the women and Hermann van Pels was immediately gassed. Fritz Pfeffer died at Neuenganme in 1944.

Anne, Margot and Mrs. van Pels were taken to Bergen-Belson, leaving behind Anne’s mother, Edith, who died at Auschwitz of starvation and exhaustion in 1945. At Bergen-Belson, Anne and Margot contracted typhus and died of the disease in March of 1945. Anne was 15 and Margot was 17. The exact date and the place they were buried is unknown. Otto Frank was the only one of the original group of eight who were hidden in the annex to survive. He was left for dead at Auschwitz when the Russian Army came to liberate the camp. It is due to him that Anne’s diary was published and became the success it is.

13. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Sarah, on 01/03/2014

  Divergent is an awesome, thrill-ride full of an attempt at a utopian society, romance, death-defying experiences, and life choices that will change the world.  Society is divided into five different factions with each focusing on a different personality characteristic that is believed to be the best.  Courage, pursuit of knowledge, selflessness, and peacefulness are a few of the ideal traits.  When a person reaches 16, he or she can choose which faction to join for the rest of their lives.  This decision can make all the difference in how your life unravels afterward.  I highly recommend this book.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Courtney, Graphic Book, History, NonFiction, Teen Books

A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return by Zeina Abirached, read by Courtney, on 12/30/2013

A Game for Swallows is a graphic memoir of life in Lebanon during their civil war in the ’80′s. Zeina and her family live in an apartment building that is situated right next to the dividing line. One night, Zeina’s parents leave home to check on family members across town, risking their lives to pass through various security checkpoints and sniper territory. While the parents are out, the neighbors drop in to check on Zeina and her little brother. As time passes, more and more of the apartment’s inhabitants make their way down to Zeina’s apartment because the foyer there is the safest room in the building. Before long, everyone they live with is grouped together in the small room. As the bombs start falling, the adults tell the children stories and fix them food to help them keep their mind off of their absent parents. The reader learns a bit about each character and how the war has affected them.
It’s a sweet story and it gives the reader a bit of perspective on how everyday citizens dealt with an ongoing civil war in their own backyards. The artwork will definitely draw comparisons to the now-classic graphic memoir, Persepolis, with its bold, black-and-white illustrations. It is, however, stylistically different and well-suited to the story it tells. I wish there were more to the story. Readers not familiar with the region’s troubled history will probably be left with more questions than answers. The ending feels very abrupt and anti-climatic, which is probably best for the real-life individuals involved, but not as exciting or compelling for the reader.

04. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, NonFiction, Teen Books

Rookie Yearbook One by Tavi Gevinson, read by Courtney, on 11/24/2013

Tavi Gevinson started her personal blog, Style Rookie(http://www.thestylerookie.com), in 2008, when she was eleven years old. It was a place where, from the confines of her bedroom in the suburbs, she could write about personal style and chronicle the development of her own. Within two years, the blog was averaging fifty thousand hits per day. Soon fashion designers were flying her around the world to attend and write about fashion shows, and to be a guest of honor at their parties.
Soon Tavi’s interests grew beyond fashion, into culture and art and, especially, feminism. In September 2011, when she was fifteen, she launched Rookie (http://rookiemag.com), a website for girls like her: teenagers who are interested in fashion and beauty but also in dissecting the culture around them through a uniquely teen-girl lens. Rookie broke one million page views within its first six days. Rookie Yearbook Onecollects articles, interviews, photo editorials, and illustrations from the highly praised and hugely popular online magazine.
In its first year, Rookie has established a large inclusive international community of avid readers. In addition to its fifty-plus regular writers, photographers, and illustrators (many of whom are teenage girls themselves), Rookie’s contributors and interviewees have included prominent makers of popular culture such as Lena Dunham, Miranda July, Joss Whedon, Jon Hamm, Zooey Deschanel, David Sedaris, Elle Fanning, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, John Waters, Chloe Sevigny, Liz Phair, Dan Savage, JD Samson, Ira Glass, Aubrey Plaza, Daniel Clowes, Carrie Brownstein, Paul Feig, Bethany Cosentino, Kimya Dawson, Fred Armisen, and Winnie Holzman.
As a young teenager, Gevinson couldn’t find what she was looking for in a teen magazine; Rookie is the one she created herself to fill that void. Her coolheaded intellect shines in Rookie, arguably the most intelligent magazine ever made for a teen-girl audience. Gevinson writes with a humble but keen authority on such serious topics as body image, self-esteem, and first encounters with street harassment. She’s equally deft at doling out useful advice, such as how to do a two-minute beehive, or how to deliver an effective bitchface. Rookie’s passionate staffers and faithful readers have helped make Rookie the strong community that it is.

13. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, Informational Book, NonFiction, Teen Books

Unsettled: The Problem of Loving Israel by Marc Aronson, read by Angie, on 11/12/2013

Marc Aronson takes a look at the history of Israel and what it means to be Jewish in Israel. This is not a straight-forward historical book, but a personal soul-searching by the author. He does a lot of back and forth between the ideal Israel and the actual Israel. He also compares Israel to America and American Jews to Israeli Jews. Even though he does touch on some controversial topics in this book, it is still more of a personal journey about why Aronson does not live in Israel and what he wishes it was. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be and was a little difficult to read. Aronson never really comes to any conclusions, just back and forth on the topics he discusses.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Pretenders by Lisi Harrison, read by Sarah, on 10/17/2013

This book is told through journal entries from 5 different people attending high school during their freshman year.  Each one of them has an interesting back story that leads them to intertwine with the others.  Secret crushes (and obsessions!), a gay friend, movie-star wanna-be’s, basketball stars, hurt feelings, muddled grades, previous home-schooled experience….these kids have a lot on their plates.  AND they are each pretending to have it all together on the outside, while things are really falling apart.

This was a pretty good book, but confusing to keep track of who was talking during each chapter.  There didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to the order of their freshman year being told out during the book.  The ending is a cliff hanger that screams for a sequel, so if you can’t stand to wait….read this after the next one comes out!!

03. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction, Teen Books

"The President Has Been Shot!": The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson, read by Angie, on 10/02/2013

The assassination of JFK was a pivotal moment in American history. James Swanson leads us through the lives of JFK and Oswald leading up to the assassination. He takes us step by step through the day of the assassination and the immediate days following. Swanson definitely has a bit of a bias in the way he treats Oswald. Not that Oswald was a good guy, but at one point Swanson even calls him evil and describes him in very derogatory terms. His attention to detail is very good however, with lots of source material and photos. This book is geared towards the older kid and some of the graphic explanations of what exactly happened to Kennedy may be too much for more sensitive readers.

I received this book from netgalley.com.

01. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

The Journey Back by Priscilla Cummings, read by Leslie, on 09/15/2013

The Journey Back

After breaking out of juvenile detention, fourteen-year-old Digger stops his trek across Maryland at a campground where he recovers from injuries, cares for little Luke, works with smart and pretty Nora, and begins to understand how his behavior and choices shape his life.

This a companion book the The Red Kayak, continuing the story of Digger.  I liked the story and feel compelled to read the previous story to find out what led him to the decisions that landed him in a juvenile facility.  Digger learns a lot about himself in his journey to get back to his mom and siblings.  His heart is in the right place, if he only learns to control his impulses and think of the consequences of his actions.  Highly recommend it to any reader.

21. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt, read by Sarah, on 05/21/2013

going vint.

After a break-up with her cheating boyfriend, Mallory swears off of all modern technology until she can complete a list.  Her list is borrowed from her Grandma’s junior year in high school and includes such things as make a homecoming dress and find a steady.  Mallory learns a lot about herself and her family during her two week quest to go vintage and live like they did in the ’60′s.  She thinks that being a teenager was so much easier during that time, but she learns that adolescence is hard regardless of the time period.

I enjoyed the bantering between Mallory and her younger sister.  They had a great relationship and were able to tell each other what they really thought without fear of losing each other.  Also, Oliver’s unique personality added charm and comedic relief.  I enjoyed Going Vintage.

02. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner, read by Andrea, on 11/01/2012

Picking up right where the last book ended, Thomas has just recovered from his time in the “white room” within the WICKED headquarters after their journey across the Scorch. As expected, everyone who survived the grueling trial across the Scorch is told they are heroes and what they have done is for the greater good of everyone. However, in order for the last part of WICKED’s experiment to work, they have decided to give everyone their memories back. Thomas, thinking he would rather live without the terrible memories he knows were in his past, declines as does Newt and Minho. However, WICKED decides this is not an offer but a demand. The three boys escape the forced Swipe reversal and things escalate from there. Thomas, Newt, and Minho are caught up in a race to find the others who have gotten their memories restored and stopping WICKED. The last book finally explained who WICKED was and where the Flare came from, but it didn’t really elaborate on some of the situations that may have given readers a clearer understanding of everything that happened. I felt like this last book was all about Thomas and him running for his life rather than the whole WICKED situation and the Flare. It kind of just skated over that. A little bit disappointed about the ending, but overall, it was a good teen dystopia book series.

06. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Apocolyptic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books, Teen Books

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, read by Andrea, on 03/02/2012

MockingjayThe last book in the Hunger Games series was rather violent. I guess I should have expected that from a society that ultimately used children’s lives for sport and entertainment. Even after her part in the Hunger Games’ arena is over, Katniss finds herself “back in the arena again”, as she is forced to face the same horrors as she did during the Games. She makes some horribly tough choices about survival, friendship, and trust. The book pretty much focused on her and her role as the face of the rebel revolution. It was more intense and detailed than the first two books. I felt as if those focused more on character development and description of the games while the last just focused on the vivid gore of the rebel revolution and their plans to expose the horrors of the Capitol. It seemed that, overall, the series was showing its readers the dangers of a leader and how vulnerable we can be to its decisions and desires.

 

19. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocolyptic, Fiction, Horror, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

Feed by Mira Grant , read by Angie, on 02/17/2012

Feed doesn’t read like your typical zombie apocalypse book; it is much more like a political thriller that just so happens to have zombies in it. I am not even sure if it should be classified as a teen book even though that is what it is being sold as. In the world Mira Grant has created a virus has been released and everyone is infected with the potential to be a zombie. Once you die you turn into one no questions asked, you can also spontaneously turn but that is rare. The dead have taken over parts of the country but other parts are safe and life goes on. Bloggers have taken over traditionally media and these are our main characters. Georgia, Shaun and Buffy are the bloggers for After the End Times. They are selected to follow the campaign of president hopefully Senator Ryman.

The book is really interesting. There is a great deal of world building, but unfortunately the world-building comes at the expense of info dumping in the plot, which makes for huge sections of dry plot in the book. I had a hard time getting through the first half of the book. There wasn’t a whole lot of action going on and there was a lot of information sharing and politics. It was fairly boring. I wish there was a more interesting way to impart the information, maybe through dialogue instead of text? There was also a lot of repetition of information. We heard about Mason’s law, retinal KA, etc. over and over and over again. I know it is part of the world but it got to be a little much after a while.

The last half of the book when the action picked up was really good. There was less info dumping and more action and dialogue. We really got to see the world move at this point. I love the characters of Georgia and Shaun. They are perfectly drawn and we really know who they are and what they stand for. Their world is fast paced and tragic and you can really see that in the last half of the book. And the end was tragic, but it had to be. You can’t have a zombie book end on a high note. I am interested to see where the rest of this trilogy goes since there were a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this one.

The library does not have this series but I was able to get a copy through Mobius.