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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10. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, Informational Book, NonFiction, Teen Books

Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics by Marilee Peters, 166 pages, read by Angie, on 02/10/2015

Patient Zero is a look at epidemics of the past and how doctors and scientists found what or who was causing them. The epidemics covered were the plague, cholera, yellow fever, typhoid, Spanish flu, ebola and AIDS. Each chapter focused on the “patient zero” who was the first to get the disease and start spreading it. It is a pretty interesting read with lots of good historical information. However, it is not a book for research. The diseases are covered pretty thoroughly but in a more surface way than would be needed for reports or assignments. I think kids who are interested in this type of thing will really enjoy this more for pleasure reading.

My one gripe with the book is actually the illustrations. There are clip art type pictures throughout the book instead of actual photos or historical data. I thought the pictures didn’t fit with the text and actually distracted me from the seriousness of what I was reading.

I received this book from Netgalley.

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

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff, 281 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/09/2015

Sam’s best friend, Hayden, commits suicide after a fight at a party.  He leaves a playlist of music for Sam to listen to and a note that says the playlist will explain everything.  Sam is hurt, confused, guilty, and wondering what he missed that night that could have changed the way things turned out.  A friend of Hayden’s, who Sam doesn’t know anything about, shows up and starts to shed some light on that last night’s events.

This was a sad mystery of sorts as I tried to figure out who was behind the “paying back” of the bullies that let this escalate so drastically.  It needed to come with a cd of the music referenced to help me understand it even better.  I was tempted to go to i-tunes more than once!  It was a good book.

11. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Teen Books, Teen Books · Tags:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, 328 pages, read by Kira, on 01/08/2015

What a wonderful read!  Fast paced, emotionally gripping.  A love story – Not a romance.  I’m going to have to devour everything else Rainbow Rowell has written.

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08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, NonFiction, Teen Books

Girls Standing On Lawns by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman, 64 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/13/2015

This charming little book is a three-way collaboration amongst artist Maira Kalman, writer Daniel Handler and the Museum of Modern Art. The theme is, obviously, “girls standing on lawns” and is illustrated by Handler’s poetic interludes, Kalman’s paintings and photographs of girls who are, quite literally, standing on lawns. Just about everyone who grew up in a household with a camera has one or more pictures of themselves in just such a setting. I know that I personally have many pictures of myself standing on a lawn (first days of school, school dances, etc.), as do my mother and her mother. These particular photos are all from a more distant past, largely the ’30s-’50s. Kalman’s paintings are her own take on some of the photos (the originals of which appear in the back of the book).
A very fast read, Girls Standing on Lawns is an interesting experiment in form. The short vignettes of text evoke a sense of potentiality for the girls in the photos. These girls are going somewhere, preparing for something – just as any of us would have been in our pictures. We don’t know who the girls are or where they’re from, but these snapshots into their lives reveal intriguing bits of personality and remind us of ourselves. Notes from the collaborators and credits for the artwork follow the main text.

04. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Katy, Teen Books

Where She Went by Gayle Forman, 260 pages, read by Katy, on 01/03/2015

thIt’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

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.

From www.goodreads.com. 

03. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, NonFiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Positive by Paige Rawl, 272 pages, read by Sarah, on 12/28/2015

Paige Rawl is a courageous young lady who is positive for HIV.  She was born with HIV and took meds everyday since she was three, but didn’t know of her diagnosis until she was in the 6th grade.  This memoir is deeply moving about how ignorance can breed hatred and bullying situations that are completely uncalled for.  Many of her “friends” turned on her after finding out about her HIV status, and this sent her on a roller coaster of despair as she tried to cope emotionally while acting like everything was ok.  This goes to show you that even a positive, optimistic person can be devastated by bullies and overcome the worst.  This is a must read.

29. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Abhorsen book 3 of the Sabriel trilogy by Garth Nix, 358 pages, read by Kira, on 12/28/2014

Abhorsenindexsabriel__abhorsen__s_house_by_andreascott-d3encfeNEW_Abhorsen300pxKPrhwK0abhorsen_bells_2_by_elentari_liv-d4ynyh5This is really Lirael part II.  The previous book in the trilogy ended on a cliffhanger. Sabriel and Touchstone walked into the trap laid for them.  Now only Lirael and Sameth can save the kingdom.  I am very glad I finished this series.  Though it did drag a bit, (and I don’t like set-back, after setback) it contained some really great parts, I even cried at the end.  I look forward to the next title in the series, I believe Garth Nix is doing a sequel to the trilogy.Lirael__The_Abhorsenabhorsen+trilogy

15. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Lirael by Garth Nix, 487 pages, read by Kira, on 12/10/2014

index    lirael 2This is the 2nd book in the Sabriel trilogy.  It picks up 14 years after Sabriel killed Kerigor and takes the viewpoints of Sabriel’s son, Prince Sameth, the Abhorsen-in-waiting, and of Lirael a daugher of the Clayr who are able to see into the future.  We meet Lirael at age 14 long after most Clayr have obtained the “Sight”, who has given up hope that she will ever become a ‘normal’ Farseer, like the rest of her community.  Lirael eventually becomes a librarian (and what a kick-butt occupation this is in this world), and has adventurous encounters in the library with her newly acquired magical companion “the Disreputable Dog”.  At the same time Prince Sameth tries to study the Book of the Dead in order to master the bells, to help his mother and eventually to become the Abhorsen.  However, he experiences panic attacks when he tries to interact with the book.  Eventually the 2 characters 3e091473a6324c21a9932889449091b6cross paths.  Their interactions are delightful.  Some of the index2surprises were easy to foresee, but I found this a very enjoyable read.  Beware,it ends 91GqNS1Oc2L._SL1500_on a cliffhanger.

28. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: , ,

Dragon Champion Bk 1 in the Age of Fire series. by E. E. Knight, 371 pages, read by Kira, on 11/27/2014

632579In this first book of the series, we get the viewpoint of AuRon, the clutchwinner (male dragon hatchling who wins the fight after the male eggs hatch).  AuRon is a grey dragon, and unusual because he lacks scales.  This is his tale from the eggshelf, the death of his parents, his capture by humans, dwarves, elves, his escape, then journey across the mountains, his tenure/apprenticeship with NooMoahk one of oldest surviving dragons, and AuRon’s revenge on the human’s who are enslaving dragons and wiping out the other species of hominids.  This is a fast moving tale with adventure, battles, skirmishes, and an extended apprenticeship with the great black Dragon NooMoahk (I find I usually really enjoy these periods of scholarship in fantasy books).  I enjoyed learning more background about this dragon family.  I also really liked how the author depicted weaknesses that could be turned into strengths (AuRon’s lack of scales).  I also enjoyed being introduced to character’s early on in the book, and then meeting them in their changed (mostly for the better) adult forms later on.  index2LineoftheSiblings2

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott, 310 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/03/2014

  What happens when a goddess is banished to earth by Zeus?  Does she still have her powers?  Or will she be on her own to complete her tasks at hand?  True (Eros) was banished to earth and has to match 3 couples before she can be restored to the heavens.  This wouldn’t be so bad, except, the love of her life has been sent down, too.  And Orion has no recollection of who she is.  This fantasy book was pretty good.  I enjoyed the references to the different gods and goddesses and how they could effect True’s mission.

09. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Fat Cat by Robin Brande, 330 pages, read by Kira, on 09/07/2014

Overweight teen Cat takes on a high school science project where she takes up the diet and physical habits of hominins.  In the process she loses lots of weight, dates a number of guys, and tries to recover from an old emotional injury.

The books starts out well enough, but gets pedantic towards indexsthe $_72end.    images36090411 index

23. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: , ,

Bras & Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski, 320 pages, read by Kira, on 08/22/2014

home_hdrbras-and-broomsticks-sound41eB3vGFWRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_   9789892310312 Cute story.  Protagonist Rachel learns her younger sister is transitioning into witch powers.  Rachel pressures her younger sister to use her magic for things like making Rachel more popular, getting their dad to Not marry the Stepmonster… Problems are neatly wrapped up, with authentic relationships the prize.home_nav_spellsimages

19. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Science Fiction, Teen Books, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves., 239 pages, read by Kira, on 08/19/2014

interworld-by-neil-gaiman-and-michael-reaves Inter_World917 itrs 8dd7103b2bb3074baa5d7ad59f963f3a Interworld-neil-gaiman-1548448-258-410 interwrld Interworld_by_Neil_Gaiman_and_Michael_Reaves_200_312 50130_interworldThe setting is the Multiverse or all the different possible versions of realities our world could have taken. Two factions at opposite ends of the multiverse continuum are fighting for supremacy, destroying worlds with impunity.

In our world Joey Harker takes a wrong turn, and first winds up in a world very similar to our own, except that his mother has a fake arm, and her offspring is a girl Josephine, who looks very much like him, just a female version.  In the next world, it turns out he drowned in the river a couple years ago, instead of having a close brush with death, and getting a huge lecture from his father on water safety.  Another look-alike Joe Harker look-alike J is sent to rescue Joey Harker before the warring factions can use his soul for energy in their never-ending war.  The Joe Harker look-alikes vary widely from girls with wings, to cyborgs with implants.  This was a quick and enjoyable read.  It leaves room for a sequel.  Lastly, I liked the mudluff sidekick.

17. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction, Teen Books · Tags: ,

The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 08/16/2014

Adolf Eichmann was a Nazi commander in charge of emptying Europe of its Jews. He commanded the transportation of Jews from their homes to the ghettos to the camps and to their extermination. He was an essential part of the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem. At the end of WWII, he escaped Germany and ended up in Buenos Ares, Argentina. He lived there in freedom for 15 years before he was identified by a local girl and her Jewish father. Israel was contacted and soon a team of Mossad agents where in Buenos Ares with a plan to capture Eichmann and bring him back to Israel to stand trial. This is their story. It is a compelling story of how the Israelis tracked down Eichmann, confirmed his identity, captured him, and secreted him out of Argentina. The trial of Adolf Eichmann brought the story of the Holocaust into the public consciousness. Survivors were able to tell their stories and the world was ready to listen. This trial was a turning point in the story of the Jews. It is a powerful story and one I hadn’t heard before. Definitely worth the read.

10. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, 470 pages, read by Kira, on 08/09/2014

Before I FallBefore I Fall picI loved this book!  If you liked Replay by Ken Grimwood, or the Time Traveler’s Wife by Niffenegger, or Singing the Dog Star Blues by Allison Goodman or even the movie Groundhogs Day, you need to read this book.  Protagonist Samatha Kingston, part of the popular and MEAN girls at her highschool repeatedly lives through an eventful Friday trying to get it right.  You see her grow from a shallow, rationalizing unlikeable character to a deeper person, who comprehends what it means to live life well.  I so wish they’d make a movie from this book.  I could read this book a couple of times.Kent and Sam a5caa651fe239a6675b249209c9d08c9

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

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, 199 pages, read by Sarah, on 06/21/2014

16068341Alice is not an innocent teenage girl, but she’s not a killer.  This book explores bullying from the viewpoint of the bullies, friends or ex-friends of the victim, and eventually, the Alice herself.  I like how the author doesn’t give you all of the information upfront.  You have to piece together what really happened the night of Brandon’s death from the snippets of info given by the other characters.  It was a pretty typical teen flick, but I enjoyed it anyway!

11. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

November Blues by Sharon Draper, 316 pages, read by Sarah, on 06/10/2014

This is the sequel to “The Battle of Jericho” that fills you in on Josh’s girlfriend, November, after he’s gone.  Within a couple of months of Josh’s passing, November finds out that she is pregnant.  All of her friends rally around her to support her, but her Mom’s disappointment is almost too hard to bear.  Jericho (Josh’s cousin) feels like he is responsible to help November through this but he is still aching over Josh, too.  Complications and ugly high school life make this very believable and heart wrenching.  November has to find the courage to do what is right by the baby, regardless of what others think.  This was a good book, but I enjoyed the first one more.

28. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The Battle of Jericho by Sharon Draper, 297 pages, read by Sarah, on 05/27/2014

   Jericho has a chance to pledge with the Warriors of Distinction, a club in his school that seems to have it all going on.  The pledges are told all or none so they have to stick together through pledge week through all types of challenges to prove themselves worthy of the group.  At what point do the challenges cross the line?  Should Jericho and his friends stick together and endure the worst?  Or band together to stand up for what is right?

This book was very intense at times when the kids were pledging.  I was disgusted by what they were asked to do and wondered how this type of hazing could ever be allowed.  Obviously, the adults didn’t know the full extent of what was going to transpire that week.  This was a powerful book that serves as a reminder to always listen to that little voice in your head that tells you if something doesn’t feel right…or if you need to get the heck out of a situation.  It was well told, but predictable.

07. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction, Teen Books

The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 05/06/2014

The Freedom Summer Murders covers the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner in Mississippi. The book really brings the crime and its impact to life. There is a lot of information packed into this book, but it is all stuff the reader needs to know. However, I do think it might be a little too much for some younger readers. The book first describes the murder, then introduces the three men, then details the aftermath and the trials that resulted from the murders. I did find the narration a little choppy and wished we had been introduced to James, Andrew and Mickey before we learned about their murder. I especially enjoyed the aftermath section which talked about the difficulty in getting information out of the Neshoba County residents and how much resistance there was to prosecuting the men who murdered the civil rights activists. It is strange to me to think this happened just 50 years ago. It was definitely a dark time in our history. 

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.