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

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

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

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

14. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Inspirational, NonFiction, Sarah

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom, 254 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/13/2014

  Mitch has been asked to by a Rabbi to do his eulogy at his funeral.  What Mitch expects to be a short get to know you better period of a few weeks or months, turns into an insightful 8 years.The Reb (Rabbi Albert) was a remarkable man of God whose faith caused him to lead a simple, generous life.  While Mitch is traveling back and forth to interview Reb, he starts his own not for profit to help the homeless and downtrodden in his home, Detroit.  It is in this town that he learns about Rev. Henry Covington, a former drug addict and criminal, and his contributions to the homeless.

This book is powerful in that you leave it with a strong feeling that God is in everything, whether you are Jewish, Christian, Hindu, or Muslim.  God can work through anyone that is willing to give Him an opportunity.

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.

21. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, NonFiction, Sarah

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan, 157 pages, read by Sarah, on 10/18/2014

This is a great slice of life from the stacks.  I enjoyed it immensely as it reminded me of a few patrons that I or my fellow library staff have been blessed to deal with.  Some of the stories made me laugh out loud and attract the interest of my kiddos!  Good stuff.

15. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah

Deenie by Judy Blume, 183 pages, read by Sarah, on 10/13/2014

Deenie is a young lady who is beautiful and her mother thinks she is destined to be a model.  It is discovered that she has scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) and will need to wear a back brace for about four years.  This book showed the struggles of dealing with an overbearing mother, a disease, and friends who don’t know the best way to support each other.  It was pretty good, but a few scenes would prevent me from recommending it to the younger set.  Recommended for the older teen.

15. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Christian, Fiction, Sarah

The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury, 288 pages, read by Sarah, on 09/13/2014

This book was amazing.  Karen Kingsbury brought the gospel story of Jesus Christ to life by telling it from the different viewpoints of the closest family members of Jesus.  She researched, studied, and tried to make it as true to the Bible as possible.  It opens with Joseph courting Mary from his viewpoint, and goes other close family members such as his uncle, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, and his brother, James.  This was heart-moving even thought I knew how it would end!!  I highly recommend it.  I listened to it as a book on cd.

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.

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.

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!

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

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, 525 pages, read by Sarah, on 01/09/2014

  Beatrice Prior (“Tris”) was a divergent who chose to join the Dauntless faction when she turned 16.  This book continues exactly where Divergent left off with death and destruction fresh in Tris and her boyfriend, Tobias’ minds.  They have to figure out what is happening and how to stop the simulations.  This book explains a lot more of what is happening between the factions and makes you realize that each faction needs the other to survive.  This book was fast-paced and full of twists and turns that leave you breathless.  You have to read it to believe it.

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.

31. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker, 275 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/23/2013

Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom “finds herself,” Stella fantasizes that someday she’ll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn’t be less like her name—she’s tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other.

But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined. And over the course of the summer they discover the one thing they do have in common: dreams of finally belonging to a real family.

16. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky, 260 pages, read by Sarah, on 12/13/2013

 How would you like to be solely in charge of your manic-depressive mother at 16?  What would you do if you came home to find her passed out with a bottle of spilled pills all around her?  Sophie has had an interesting life dealing with and managing her mom’s ups and downs.  At this point, her mother is hospitalized and Sophie has to stay with other family.  But the freedom that comes with her new situation makes her wonder….does she really want her mom to come back home?

This is a heart-wrenching story with strong-willed characters and a realization that sometimes we can’t do it all on our own.

09. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, NonFiction, Sarah

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, 215 pages, read by Sarah, on 12/07/2013

This book is a challenge to Christians to stop being “fans” of Jesus and start becoming a completely devoted follower. Mr. Idleman is a pastor at a megachurch in Louisville who believes a majority of us are just fans of Jesus who do not fully give over our lives to him.  It is very insightful making you want to further your own relationship with God.

25. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah

Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg, 245 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/24/2013

  Clare is raw after the death of her mother.  Her dad, a doctor, has decided to take her with him to Malawi for a nine week stay while he works for a hospital there.  Clare is immersed in the culture going to a local school and making friends with the natives.  She struggles with how to carry on and discovers she is more like her mother than she realized.

This touching story was pretty slow at first with lots of Malawian vocabulary words thrown in.  It improved as Clare opened up, and made friends with the locals, and I got more drawn into the story.  It was pretty good.

18. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Humor, NonFiction, Sarah

Fakebook by Dave Cicerelli, 306 pages, read by Sarah , on 11/16/2013

Ever feel like you life is in a rut?  Wonder what it would be like to quit your job and start hiking across America?  Dave Cicirelli does just that, on his facebook profile.  Only a few people know the truth, he is still employed and has not “travelled” anywhere!  This book is good fun for the facebook addict.  Dave plays on people’s emotions and gets real responses to each of his updates.  Some people applaud him and others cajol and reprimand him.  This experiment to see what would happen if he made everyone believe he had jumped off of the deep end, takes over his life for about 6 months.  He discovers through this process that his previous perception of facebook aka fakebook, may be a little off.

This was a great read complete with fakebook updates and pictures to fill out the story.  It has some strong language at times, but it doesn’t detract from the story.

04. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah

The Last Present by Wendy Mass, 246 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/03/2013

Willow Falls is an absolutely enchanting place to live.  Wendy Mass has written several novels concerning a magical old woman, Angelina De’Angelo, who has the power to see the future and change the past.  She often involves unwitting children in the town to help her with her schemes.  Birthdays are very important, and when Grace goes mute on her tenth birthday, they gang realizes that Angelina must be involved.  Through a series of time travels and great investigative work, the kids finally figure out the best way to help Grace.

This book was wonderful.  I would say so much more, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises!!  Characters from “Finally,” “11 Birthdays,” and “13 Gifts” team together to solve this mystery.  I have to say, that I figured it out before they did!!!  I highly recommend it for the Willow Falls’ fans.