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.

19. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction, Teen Books

Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football: Make-or-Break Moment by Carla Killough McClafferty, 96 pages, read by Angie, on 04/17/2014

This was a fascinating look at the connections between football and concussions. The first thing you read about in the book is the history of the sport of football. One of the things I found most interesting was the fact that conversations about the dangers of concussions with football players started at the beginning of this game. Football has always been a dangerous sport and it started out even more dangerous than it is today. I knew players didn’t start out with the padding and helmets of today. What I didn’t realize was that they started out with no padding or helmets and that it was a fairly common occurrence for players to die. From the time football started in the 1890s to when it was reformed in the 1900s it seems between 10-20 players died each year as a result of injuries sustained playing football. The fact that the game persists to this day is astounding!

The other thing I found really interesting was the fact that brain injuries are so very common among all ages of football players. The book gets into the science pretty heavily which I think will go over some kids heads, but they will understand the injuries and deaths that football players have sustained. Concussions and football have been in the news a lot lately, but the connection actually started in the 1980s. Repeated concussions and repeated blows to the head without concussion have resulted in dementia, ALS, Alzheimers, and death among football players. And it isn’t just the professional players that have to worry about it. Brain damage has even been found in high school and college football players. The fact that we let our boys start playing at a very early age and then have them continue into their teens means they are likely to get hit thousands of times. This means there is a greater chance they will sustain brain damage or injuries. I’m glad I never played football, but I worry about those who have and will.

07. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Informational Book, NonFiction, Teen Books

Rookie Yearbook Two by Tavi Gevinson, 352 pages, 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, 248 pages, 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, 526 pages, 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, 382 pages, 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, 224 pages, 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, 336 pages, 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, 189 pages, 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, 274 pages, 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, 487 pages, 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.