Killing Mr. Griffin

September 4, 2015 by

Killing Mr. GriffinTitle: Killing Mr. Griffin

Author: Louis Duncan

Why I picked it up: It was recommended that I read this book. However, after reading the summary on the back, I decided that it was a must-read book. The title is fascinating: Killing Mr. Griffin. Who was he? And why did people want to kill him? Both questions were answered once I finished the novel.

Why I finished it: This is a fast paced novel with an engaging storyline and plot. Killing Mr. Griffin is about a few high school students who kidnap their strict English teacher and end up mistakenly killing him. The mastermind behind the plan, Mark, wanted revenge because he has been held back, and, after being further humiliated, he decides, with a group of friends, to kidnap Mr. Griffin. But then things go horribly wrong when the students mess with his pills, and he dies. After the surprise, the students ultimately decide to hide the body and try to get away with it. However, soon, things become difficult, and details are revealed about Mark’s past.

I’d give it to: I’d give it to fans of fiction and mystery.

Star Rating:   Five stars

Reviewer: Derex (Plano teen)

 

Weetzie Bat

August 28, 2015 by

weetziebatWeetzie Bat

By: Francesca Lia Block

Weetzie Bat is a pixie woman that has adventures in the fanciful land of Los Angeles with her friend Dirk. In one of their adventures, they meet respective significant others: Duck and My Secret Agent Lover Man. What ensues is an oddball group of friends coexisting together in the same house dealing with issues, such as a friend dying of AIDS, a witch baby, and other California pop culture references.

The story is brief, but as a reader, you are left wondering if everything is symbolic, and not what it seems.

Why I picked it up: I had read Block’s Love in the Time of Global Warming and wanted to find her previous titles.

Why I finished it: I had to find out if everything came out “happily ever after”.

I’d give it to: Anyone interested in fiction from the late 1980s or early 1990s and anyone who likes Francesca Lia Block’s writing.

I’d give it:

4 stars

 

 

 

Reviewed by: Diana (Harrington Library)

 

Clariel

August 26, 2015 by

ClarielClariel: The Lost Abhorsen

By Garth Nix

Clariel is the daughter of the one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most importantly, to the King. When her family moves to the city of Belisaere, there are rumors that her mother is next in line for the throne. However, Clariel wants no part of it—a natural hunter, all she ever thinks about is escaping the city’s confining walls and journeying back to the quiet, green world of the Great Forest.

But many forces conspire against Clariel’s dream. A dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she discovers hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape unwanted marriage, and save the King? (from inside flap)

Why I picked it up: I love Garth Nix’s fantasy fiction, and I’m a huge fan of the original Abhorsen trilogy, so when I heard that Nix had finally written another Old Kingdom book, I had to read it.

Why I finished it: I felt a terrible sense of foreboding as Clariel is pushed further and further away from her only ambition, and thus forced to greater and greater extremes to try to regain some control over her destiny. The book’s tagline is “A passion thwarted will often go astray,” and it is heartbreaking that although Clariel is incredibly intelligent and gifted, she doesn’t have the experience or perspective to avoid disaster, and the adults around her, who do, utterly fail to divert her from her destructive path.

I’d give it:

4 starsFour stars. Clariel  is informed by the previous Old Kingdom books too much to be able to stand on its own, but Clariel as a character made for a refreshingly unique and passionate heroine I couldn’t help but empathize with. Things could have so easily gone differently for her… but they didn’t, and while it is a terrible tragedy, it is also a logical one. I immediately had to go back to the original books and re-read them again, with a new perspective. Fans of the original Old Kingdom books should enjoy this, and if you haven’t yet read the Abhorsen trilogy, go do it. Right now.

Reviewed by: Francesca (Davis)

Ruthless

August 26, 2015 by

By Carolyn Lee Adams

Ruthless – having no compassion or pity for others.  Ruthless is Carolyn Lee Adams debut novel.  Ruth is 12 years old and lives on a horse farm with her parents.  She has spent most of her young life training for horse shows.  This life style has created a self-absorbed, selfish and ruthless young girl.  With little regard for friends or family she thrives on controlling others and her environment.   So when the day of the biggest horse show of the year arrives Ruth’s triumph turns into tragedy.  After the show she finds herself in a pickup truck bound and gagged.  Her fight for survival takes over and she focuses on escaping.  She outwits her captor on several occasions but each time she is recaptured her strength and courage take over.  She vows to never give up and to reach her family once again.  You find yourself rooting for Ruth with every new twist and turn.  This book is an emotional journey  which takes you on a roller coaster of suspense and mystery.

Why I picked it up:  The title caught my eye and when I read the inside cover it was a must read

Why I finished it:  I love suspense and mystery so I had no problem finishing this book.  It definitely has adult appeal and I would recommend Ruthless for older teens.

I’d give it: 4 stars4 stars

Three Weeks with My Brother

August 24, 2015 by

Three weeks with my brotherTitle: Three Weeks with My Brother

 Author/Artist: Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks

Why I picked it up: I saw the name ‘Nicholas Sparks’ and was instantly interested. The concept of the book appealed to me, as it was about the author’s early life with his family. I had read many of his novels, including the Notebook, which was absolutely amazing.

Why I finished it: While this book is slow paced, it is paced this way for the purpose of enjoying the small aspects of the author’s life. It explored death, life, and everything in between, and it left the reader wanting to know how the relationship between the author and his brother had ended up. The book also explores how the relationship made the authors who they are today. I was able to relate to the author’s experiences which made the book more personal.

I’d give it to: This book is geared towards men, but can be enjoyed by either gender. I would personally give it to my brother, who would enjoy the places that the characters traveled to, as well as be able to relate with how the characters act.

Star rating: 4 stars

Reviewer:   Sarah (Plano teen)

Kissing in America

August 21, 2015 by

Kissing in AmericaKissing in America

By Margo Rabb

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love. (Summary from book cover flap)

Why I picked it up:

I like road trip novels and I thought this one could be unique. I was right!

 Why I finished it:

I’m typically not one for romance novels or novels dealing with death and dying, both of which are significant components of this novel’s plot. However, Rabb’s characters grabbed me with all of their authenticity and complexity and wouldn’t let go!  She expertly interweaves the devastation of grief from loss and heart-break in all of its convoluted aspects while also interjecting moments of humor to lighten the mood. Eva and Annie’s cross country travel adventures continued to open up new avenues with each experience and kept me reading to the very last page.

I’d give it to:

  • My coworker who loves novels about grief, death and dying (or anyone else who does for that matter).
  • Anyone who enjoys books about self-discovery with a smattering of romance.

I’d give it: 4 stars

 Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)

 

 

Blackbird Fly

August 17, 2015 by

Blackbird flyTitle: Blackbird Fly

Author: Erin Entrada Kelly

Twelve-year-old Apple Yengko believes that there are at least three interesting facts about every person on Earth. Unfortunately, her three Ifs make her an outcast in Chapel Spring Middle School in Chapel Spring, Louisiana:

 

  • She has slanted eyes
  • She has a weird Filipino nickname
  • ….and a weird mother

When Apple is voted the third-ugliest girl in school, her life quickly falls apart. The boys bark at her in the halls and a rumor spreads that she eats dogs for dinner. Music is her only escape. All she needs is enough money to buy a guitar, and then she’ll be able to change herself and her life forever. So what if her mother doesn’t understand and thinks she’s becoming too American? So what if her supposed best friends turn the other way…

It might be the Beatles and their music who save Apple, or Mr. Z (Chapel Spring Middle’s awesome music teacher) – or it could be two unexpected friends who show her that standing out in a crowd is better than getting lost in it.

Why I picked it up: I picked up this book because of the amazing cover!!! There is a girl holding a guitar and the vibrant purple, lavender, and green colors on the cover that really caught my eye.

 Why I finished it: I immediately connected with Apple’s character. I moved a lot as a kid and I know the feeling of not belonging. I think this story will resonate with many young teens.

 I’d give it to: This YA book is great for all middle school students. It is Erin Entrada Kelly’s first book and I will be looking forward to reading her future novels.

Star Rating:   Four stars

Reviewer: Renee (Parr Library)

 

 

Nimona

August 12, 2015 by

nimona

Nimona
by Noelle Stevenson

I immediately recognized the art style of Nimona from the cover of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and I will read anything in any way related to that so I picked up this one. And it was so good! Nimona is a shapeshifter looking to be a sidekick for Lord Ballister Blackheart. She is also awesome and hilarious. Lord Blackheart does not want a sidekick, but he soon gets used to having Nimona around and starts looking after her as she helps him work on his schemes against his nemesis Sir Ambrosius Goldenlion.

The plot thickens when we find out Lord Blackheart does not want to kill anyone and Sir Goldenlion isn’t aware of everything going on within the Institution of Law Enforcement where he works. And Lord Blackheart and Sir Goldenlion may have a more complicated relationship than a simple nemesis.

The art is wonderful (no surprise there), the story is fun, and the characters are endearing. I’d definitely suggest picking this one up, and I will be keeping an eye out for more from Noelle Stevenson in the future!

Reviewed by: Nina (Haggard Library)

More Happy Than Not

August 7, 2015 by

more happy than notMore Happy Than Not

by Adam Silvera

“In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.” -Summary from Goodreads

This was a really riveting story! I really liked how the characters were neither good or bad, but an interesting mixture of both. Silvera shares a really honest situation – trying to figure out what makes you happy. Aaron thinks he’s finding it in Genevieve, but then Thomas comes along and things aren’t as clear. Silva does a good job of portraying the struggle of the pursuit of happiness. And once you find happiness, it’s impossible to feel it all the time.  This book has been repeatedly compared to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but for young adults. Pretty accurate, but there’s definitely enough differences in perspectives and plot to stand out on its own.

If this sounds interesting, also check out:

Reality Boy by A.S. King

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Reviewed by Kate (Haggard Library)

The Last Leaves Falling

August 5, 2015 by

The Last Leaves Falling

By Sarah Benwell

 

And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this . . .
Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future. (From Goodreads)

Why I picked it up:  The cover art caught my attention, and when I read the jacket description, I knew I wanted to read more. I’m so, so glad that I did!

Why I finished it:  This is so much more than a story about a dying boy.  It is a story of friendship, honor and love.   I was touched by Sora’s relationship with his mother and with his online friends. I can’t begin to imagine having such a horrible disease and knowing that you will slowly deteriorate in front of your family and friends. This was one of the most powerful and moving books I’ve read in a long time.

I’d give it to:  Anyone who loves realistic fiction, and stories of friendship, honor and love.  I was moved on so many levels!  READ THIS BOOK!  (but be prepared to sob uncontrollably)

I’d give it: Five Stars!

Reviewed by:  Melanie, Parr Library