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Teens Review Teen Lit

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Reviewed By: A.T.
In this book, you follow the life of senior in high school, Hayley Rose Kincaid. Hayley is not your typical teenager, as she has spent most of her young life on the road with her dad Andy, a retired army vet who was making a living as a long haul truck driver. While it may sound fun and exciting, her dad is actually running from his Army past which has scarred him both mentally and physically. Finally, when Hayley is 17, her dad decides that it’s best for both of them if they settled down in his hometown. Here both Hayley and her dad struggle to adapt to “normal” life. This is their story.
Why I Picked it Up: This book came highly recommended to me, specifically, the audio book, which is what I listened to. As usual, Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a difficult and sensitive subject and does a fabulous job of it.
Why I Finished It: Once you get involved in Hayley’s life you have to find out how it ends. Much like Hayley throughout the book, you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I’d Give this Book To: I would recommend this to fans of realistic fiction and those who have enjoyed her other books. I would also say this would be more for the 8th grade to high school crowd because of the serious topics covered in this book.

**Librarian Side Note** Yet another though provoking, emotional tale from the author who wrote Speak and Winter Girls. I highly recommend checking out this author’s entire list of books.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

The 100 by Kass Morgan

Reviewed By: A.T.
Right from the beginning, this book had me hooked. Space colonies, criminals, the planet being unable to sustain life because of a war 300 years ago, what more could you ask for. The book focuses on just 4 characters: two girls, Clarke and Glass (fun names, huh?) and two boys, Bellamy and Wells. Through the point of view of these three characters you get a full idea of life on the space colony and how they got to where they are today. While some of them start off being sent to Earth as test subjects to see if the planet is once again habitable, 100 teenagers to be exact (hence the name of the book!), others stay behind on the ship that is getting close to making it last orbit totally oblivious to the impending demise of the ship and the 100 who may be their last hope. Will they survive the trip to Earth and avoid any lingering radiation? Will everyone be able to once again roam the fields and mountains of the planet we call home? Read the book to find out!
Why I Picked it Up: I had downloaded it a while back and I was curious what all the buzz was about since it was made into a TV series. Also, I had the second book too, so I knew if I liked it I wouldn’t have to wait forever to see what happens next!
Why I Finished It: I’m a big fan of sci-fi, and I liked the premise of this book. It’s crazy to think about nuclear winter and the idea that the planet could become uninhabitable if just a few people in high places decided it would be a good idea to release nuclear weapons on the world again.
I’d Give this Book To: I would recommend this to sci-fi fans and readers who like a dystopian future with a hint of hope.

**Librarian Side Note** As I mentioned above this book was made into a TV show on the CW. I haven’t watched much of it, but what I have seen, it looks like it only follows the book loosely, so don’t use the TV show as a substitute! Read the book, compare, and let me know what you think. As you all know, the book is ALWAYS better. Happy reading!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Reviewed By: L.D.
It’s Leonard Peacock’s 18th birthday. He has big plans. By the end of the day, Leonard is going to kill his former best friend and then off himself. First though, he wants to say good-bye to the only four people who have meant anything to him. Not his self-absorbed Mom. Certainly not his Dad who left them years ago. He has gifts to give to the old guy that lives next door (and introduced Leonard to Bogie movies), to the foreign kid at school who secretly practices violin in an empty auditorium, but allows Leonard to listen, to the gorgeous born-again Christian girl who hands out religious tracts at the train station, and finally, to his Holocaust studies teacher. Will any of them see Leonard’s gift-giving for what it is? Will he succeed in his murder-suicide plan or will someone stop him? You must read this book!
Why I Picked it Up: I am still catching up on all of the audiobooks I downloaded during the summer from SYNC. This was one of them.
Why I Finished It: It was THAT good. The narrator Noah Galvin is so good, he becomes Leonard. As you follow Leonard through his day, hear his thoughts, witness his encounters with the people he cares about, learn about what happened between him and his former best friend, you just have to find out… does he go through with it?
I’d Give this Book To: I would recommend it to anyone who liked Thirteen Reasons Why; I thought this was so much better. Because of the content, I would recommend it to older teens, and definitely to any adult who works with or lives with teens.

**Librarian Side Note** Recognize the author’s name?? This is the same guy who wrote Silver Linings Playbook! Also, picking up on her recommendation for fans of 13 Reasons Why, didn’t some of you just get to see Jay Asher speak at your school? If you liked that, then try this!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Reviewed By: A.T.
Not your typical sci-fi book, Virals is an interesting YA offering from the author who writes the Temperance Brennan books the TV show Bones is based on. This book features 4 teens in South Carolina, and one of them just happens to be the niece of Temperance Brennan, but that is where the normal stops and the fun begins. This is the first book in a series all about Tory, Ben, Hiram, Shelton, their wolfdog Coop and the strange bond that forms between them after a freak accident in the secret lab on Loggerhead Island. This accident causes them to all to get “canine superpowers” and form a pack, very reminiscent of Spiderman, in that their powers are heightened smell, sight, strength, and so on and so forth. Their pack gets into all sorts of close calls trying to keep their powers a secret while solving mysteries and stopping criminals. All in a day’s work for these sophomores from Bolton Prep!
Why I Picked it Up: I am a HUGE fan of the TV show Bones, and I have read her adult series that follows Temperance Brennan. I was interested in what she would write for Teens, and I was pleasantly surprised at the angle she took.
Why I Finished It: Once I start something I have to finish it. I liked it so much, I have read the other three books in the series and I am patiently waiting for the next one!
I’d Give this Book To: I would recommend this to sci-fi fans and readers who like a bit of mystery with their fiction, kind of like Spiderman meets Scooby Doo.

**Librarian Side Note** If you like where this is going, then you will be pleased to know that this in only the first book in a series that already has 4 books released, and the 5th is set to come out in March 2015.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Reviewed By: M.S.
Alex goes to an all boys boarding school and isn't much of a writer...till he has something to write about. When his friend Thomas dies he begins to write in this journal and tell of the event surrounding his friends death but also his day to day life as he lives with the guilt of what happened. The story is told through journal entries, but they aren't a distraction to the story at all, like they can be sometimes.
Why I Picked it Up: It was on my school's summer reading list.
Why I Finished It: I was hoping it would make sense and get better towards the end.
I’d Give this Book To: I actually didn't like this book very much at all. I never really grasped exactly "the point" of the whole story since it's kind of unclear. It just doesn't really go anywhere so it's kind of a tiresome read. One thing I did notice is that if you need to read this for school and annotate it, there are a lot of allusions and good annotations that could be made from this book.

**Librarian Side Note** So, they can't all be winners, right? At least this reviewer was able to find something redeeming about the book in the end (good for a school project!). However, not everyone always feels the same way about books. Give this one a try and let me know what you think... Who knows? Maybe you LOVE realistic teen fiction and this could be your next favorite book!

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Reviewed By: M.S.
In 1941, 15yr old Lina, her 11yr old brother Jonas and her mother are taken away by secret Soviet police. They are being deported along with several other Lithuanians to Siberia. This story takes place during the time period where Stalin annexed the Baltic states. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia where many civilians were wrongly accused of being criminals and taken away to labor camps, such of what happened to Lina's family. But Lina has a gift, she's a beautiful artist and is determined to use her drawings, which if found could get her killed by the NKVD, to help her father...or anyone, find her and her family and get them back to safety. And she's not scared at all to speak her mind and do as she pleases in order to accomplish just that...which could get her in dangerous trouble at times . This story is very interesting but very depressing as you follow the journey of Lina and her family being shoved into a cattle truck and driving for days in terrible conditions to only wind up in labor camps.
Why I Picked it Up: It was highly recommended by Amelia to read.
Why I Finished It: There's no way you can't finish it. Though depressing it draws you in right away and you are instantly connected to not only Lina but all the other Lithuanians who are only trying to survive.
I’d Give this Book To: I recommend it to a very mature reader, probably of 16 or up to read only because the history and plot are very deep topic that is hard to appreciate and understand unless you are older. Plus the things that happen in the book are graphic and intense, so you have to be older to handle it and be able to still sty connected to the story. I really suggest this book especially because it wasn't just made up out of the blue out of the author's imagination. Ruta Sepetys is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee and used her mother and research in history for inspiration to as she put it "speak for the thousands who couldn't" to create this book.

**Librarian Side Note** So, I know it says I recommended this book above, so it should be obvious that I'd like you read it! Also, this author has written a second book called Out of the Easy which is on the 2015 Abraham Lincoln Award list, so check out this author and let me know what you think!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Reviewed By: A.T.
Meet Ezra Faulkner. Senior tennis player extraordinaire, and future homecoming king. That is, until he catches his girlfriend cheating on him at a party and he leaves only to get into a car crash that ends his tennis career. Back in school his senior year Ezra rediscovers old friends, meets new friends, and and trades in old interests for new ones as he navigates his way through senior year and first loves. Who better to help him do all this than his best friend growing up and the new girl who is so different from everyone he has ever known. Will Ezra figure out what life has in store for him, or does anyone ever really know when tragedy is the beginning of everything instead of the end.
Why I Picked it Up: This book was highly recommend to me by several people, and I'm not going to lie, I was intrigued by the bright cover and the blurb on the back of the book. Plus, it is on the 2015 Abraham Lincoln Nominee list!
Why I Finished It: As I was reading this book, the only thing I could think of was, "OMG, this is just like a John Green book!!!!!!!!!!!" I could NOT put this book down, and I loved the ending. It was not what I was expecting at all, but it's nice to be surprised. It also kinda made me wish my school had a debate team!
I’d Give this Book To: Anyone who likes John Green. I have made this recommendation several times since I have read it, and everyone has come back to me agreeing that it's the next best thing to a new John Green book.

**Librarian Side Note** Seriously, I know I recommend audio books all the time, but if you like audio books, the narrator of this is excellent, and he really brings Ezra, Cassidy and Toby. Also, I don't know if I can stress this enough, but if you are desperate for a John Green-like book, this is the title for you!

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