The Things You Kiss Goodbye

August 27, 2014 by

The Things You Kiss Goodbye

By Leslie Connor

 Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.  Over the course of the summer, Bettina falls in love with Brady… and with the new freedom that comes along with him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes.  What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with?  Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not – gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina, or “Beta” as he nicknames her.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean losing her freedom – and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy.  Still, she can’t help that her breath catches she he smiles, or that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth – and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Why I picked it up: I liked the title, and the jacket description really intrigued me.

Why I finished it: I was really interested in Bettina’s relationships, with Brady, Cowboy and the other students.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but Bettina had to deal with several serious issues in this book, and I thought they were handled realistically. I also really enjoyed learning about Greek culture.

I’d give it to:  Anyone who enjoys realistic fiction.

I’d give it: 3 ½ stars

The Graveyard Book (volume 1)

August 26, 2014 by

graveyard book The Graveyard Book (volume 1)

 by Neil Gaiman; graphic adaptation by P. Craig Russell

Oh guys! Here is some glorious news…The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has been adapted as a graphic novel! The  Graveyard  Book shares Bod’s story of growing up as a living soul raised by the ghosts of a graveyard. It’s beautifully written  and a classic  Gaiman tale. You can read our review of the Gaiman’s original book here. The graphic novel is divided into two  volumes. Plano Public Libraries have volume 1, and volume 2 is on order, but you can place a  hold on it. Check our library  catalog (click the title above to follow the link) to see if we have a copy volume 1 available or place a hold.

P. Craig Russell takes Gaiman’s story and works it perfectly into the graphic novel format. A great team of illustrators (Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott) create some  wonderfully rich scenes. Even though each chapter is drawn by a different illustrator, the graphic story as a whole flows well. I  loved watching the relationship between Bod and Silas develop.

Check out this graphic novel if you’ve read The Graveyard book or if you are interested in eerie stories with a lot of heart.

Not a Drop to Drink

August 22, 2014 by

Not a Drop to Drink CoverNot a Drop to Drink

By Mindy McGinnis

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it…. (Summary from the book cover flap)

Why I picked it up:

I read that Stephanie Meyer (author of the Twilight series) had optioned Not a Drop to Drink for a movie. I hadn’t heard of the book and thought the premise sounded interesting.

 Why I finished it:

This is not your typical dystopian novel.  Yes, this is a post-apocalyptic world where survival is uppermost on everyone’s mind but this one also has the feel of a historical fiction novel set in the Old West with its focus on self-reliance, self-protection and isolation. Initially the plot moves slowly but as Lynn is forced to rely on herself for survival and comes into closer contact with others, the plot becomes more and more intense and could even qualify as a page-turner.

 I’d give it to:

Fans of dystopian novels with fierce female survivalist characters.

Recommended for grades 8 and up.

I’d give it:  4 Stars

 

Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)

 

 

Teen Anime Club!

August 21, 2014 by

Picture1Teen Anime Club!

The Teen Anime Club is back for fall and better than ever. Do you watch anime? Read manga? Cosplay at conventions? Whether you are new to the world of Japanese animation or a long-time fan, join us as we watch anime, discuss our favorite characters and series, and create crafts and other fan art together.

Our first fall meeting will be on September 16, 5-6:30pm at the Haggard Library. Don’t miss it!

Check out our fall brochure to learn about all the other teen events we have going on at all five Plano libraries. There is a lot to do!

On the Fence

August 20, 2014 by

18298225[1]On the Fence

by Kasie West

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high. (from Goodreads)

While contemporary romance isn’t my usual genre, I really enjoyed Kasie West’s Pivot Point series, so I was curious to see how she would handle a less sci-fi/fantasy, more realistic sort of story. The answer? Quite well! I really enjoyed the characters, and I liked that friends and family play an important role and it’s not just all about the romance. Sweet, but with a serious side, this would be perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Morgan Matson.

Happy reading!

Lara (Haggard Library)

Scat

August 19, 2014 by

Title:  Scat

Author:  Carl Hiaasen

Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, is missing.  She disappeared after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp.  And, to be honest, the kids in her class are relieved.

But when the principal tries to tell the students that Mrs. Starch has been called away on a “family emergency,” Nick and Marta just don’t buy it.  No, they figure the class delinquent, Smoke, has something to do with her disappearance.

And he does!  But not in the way they think.  There’s a lot more going on in Black Vine Swamp then any one player in this twisted tale can see.  And Nick and Marta will have to reckon with an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a wannabe Texas oilman, a singing substitute teacher, and a ticked-off Florida panther before they really begin to see the big picture. (Taken from the cover).

Why I picked it up:  I listened to the audio book when I realized that is was narrated by Ed Asner (Lou Grant to me/ Santa from Elf to you teens)

Why I finished it:  The dialogue is hilarious and the characters of Nick, Marta, Bunny Starch, and Smoke are very unique.  I loved the narration by Ed Asner.  Time flew by during my commute home as I listened to the audio version of this terrific novel.

I’d give it to:  Readers who enjoy a well-paced mystery laced with humor.

Star Rating:   Four stars

Reviewer:  Renee (Parr library)

 

 

 

The Fever

August 18, 2014 by

the feverThe Fever
by Megan Abbott

When Deenie’s best friend Lise falls suddenly and frighteningly ill in class, a seizure jolting and twisting her body, questions instantly grab hold of her and the other students. What happened? Will she be ok? Could it happen again? Soon the questions turn to panic, and the entire community is asking what went wrong. Suspicion is cast not only on the school mandated vaccinations the girls have been receiving, but the town’s polluted lake, long fenced off and forbidden. Deenie, Lise, and their other friends swam there before Lise fell ill. Does the lake’s water contain something sinister beneath its algae ridden surface, and could it be contagious?

The Fever is told from multiple perspectives: Dennie is a book worm and one of a trio of best friends including Lise and Gabby, her older brother Eli is one of the stars of the school hockey team, and their father Tom is a science teacher at their school. From the open, there is a sense of foreboding, a darkness that hangs just above the surface of the story, which Abbott manages to keep up throughout the book. You will find yourself wrapped up in the hysteria of the characters, trying to figure out the cause of the illness as it spreads.

I won’t say too much, because spoilers, but The Fever is loosely based on an outbreak that occurred in upstate New York in 2012. As soon as you finish the book, you’ll find yourself googling a medical phrase taken straight from its pages. And yes, it is real. And yes, the creep factor of The Fever just got upped to an 11. But don’t think about it too much, you might start to feel twitchy…

Note: This book is considered adult fiction, and as such, is recommended for older teens and young adults.

Reviewed by: Jocelyn (Davis Library)

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial Russia

August 15, 2014 by

FR The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia 

 By: Candace Flemming

 About: This book chronicles the Romanov family (Russia’s last czar family), the fall of Imperial Russia, a history of Russia and it’s people, what became of Russia after the fall of Nicholas II, and so much more!

 What I Thought: I’ve always been interested in the last tzar family of Russia, as well as their gruesome ending! That was the initial impetus for why I picked up this book, but what I got out of it was so much more.

I’ve never had much of a knack for world history, especially the history of places that I have never been! It can all seem kind of nebulous to me and blend together as a hodge podge of dates, wars, names, and governments. But, due to the riveting detail, as well as the narrative style of the book I was able to fully comprehend what was going on.  I walked away from this novel with an understanding of the events that lead up to the Romanov’s execution, as well as the plight of the Russian peasant (which made up 84% of Russia’s population), and why the idea of Communism would have been so welcomed.

This book is detail rich and does not skim on some of the juicier tidbits.  I swooned over the love notes sent between Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra, and laughed at the frivolity of the young Romanov’s who were never prepared for much more than being children. Also, I learned about the family’s dealings with Rasputin, who seems terrifying to me, but was considered a prophet from God and became a political adviser while Nicholas II was attending to WWI business. Interesting stuff!

Anyhow, super interesting read that will in return teach you a lot about Russia and European History. WIN!

Watch the video below to whet your palate and check out this book asap!

Boys like You

August 14, 2014 by

Boys like You

Juliana Stone

“Two broken souls…one hot summer.”

Monroe is a New York City native who has been sent to her grandmother’s in Louisiana for the summer to help cope and move forward from a heartbreaking tragedy. Nathan has lost his driving privileges and summer freedoms after one reckless night and now is spending his summer assisting his Uncle on various construction jobs. The two are thrust together thanks in part to Monroe’s wonderful grandmother. Heartache helps build an attachment to one another and the bond helps heal wounds. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good summer read and I was transported to that small Louisiana town. I could feel the sweltering heat and taste the sweet lemonade as I was reading.

My One Problem:

The cover of this book is quite deceiving. After reading the story I have imagined a better cover; one that features a plantation style home with a porch swing and garden off to the side. While music does play a role in the book, the role is not quite big enough to warrant such a presence on the cover. That is my one complaint!

4 STARS

Reviewed by: Maggie (Parr Library)

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

August 12, 2014 by

Love Letters to the Dead

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?

It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path. (synopsis taken from book cover).

Why I picked this book up: I enjoyed Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and his endorsement of this author and the similarity in their writing styles got my attention.  Also I found the idea of writing love letters to dead people both macabre and alluring.

Why I finished reading it: At first I picked up the book wanting to learn the details surrounding May’s death.  What secret is Laurel keeping and what part, if any, did she play in May’s death.   Admittedly Dellaira is a little slow in developing her storyline but that could have been done intentionally to emphasize how deeply Laurel has tried to bury her feelings about her sister’s death.  The reader gets to know Laurel as she shares her thoughts on high school, making new friends, dealing with a wounded and fractured family life, and first love in her letters to dead people, deceased celebrities who like May also led troubled lives and experienced early deaths.   I found Laurel’s introspection into the past of such celebrities as Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, Jim Morrison and the others … what their lives were like, how their talents were often exploited, what a high price they paid for their success … to be very revealing and thought-provoking.  By the end of the book, it is through her letters and her growing relationships and acceptance of  imperfect family and friends,  that Laurel finally accepts her sister’s death and forgives her sister for her shortcomings.  Most importantly Laurel comes to terms for her own shortcomings … a poweful feat.

 I’d give it: 4 stars to 4.5 stars.

4 Stars