November 21, 2014
The Hungry City Chronicles
by Philip Reeve
The Great Traction City of London is on the move again, seeking smaller towns to devour for fuel and materials. This is the futuristic age of Municipal Darwinism, and only the strong survive as populations compete for scarce resources. Elsewhere on the earth, some cities have become static, choosing to remain in one place and get their resources from the earth. Still other cities have taken to the water or to the air in hopes of exploiting new habitats. What happens when these ways of life collide? (from Sellers Library Teens)
A thrilling distant future steampunk adventure, The Hungry City Chronicles is one of my all time favorites, following one of the most interesting and daringly written characters I’ve ever run across in YA fiction, Hester Shaw, and what happens to her after a failed attempt at revenge. The story is really dark at times, but refreshingly so, and the world full of traction cities and the wars fought amongst them is fascinating. And for those interested in more of this world, Reeve has written a prequel series as well, where we learn the origins of one of Hungry City’s more intriguing characters.
Well worth a read for fans of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series!
Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)
November 19, 2014
One Past Midnight
by Jessica Shirvington
Sabine isn’t like anyone else. For as long as she can remember, she’s had two lives. Every 24 hours she “shifts”, living each day twice. In one life, Sabine has everything: popular friends, perfect grades, expensive clothes, and the guy everyone wants. In the other, Sabine’s family struggles financially, and her friends are considered rebels. But then she meets Ethan. He’s gorgeous and challenging, and he makes her feel like she’s never felt before.
All Sabine really wants is the chance to live only one life. But when this finally becomes possible, is she willing to risk everything – including losing the one person who might actually believe her – to make it happen?
(Summary from the book cover)
Why I picked it up:
I seem to always be saying in my reviews that I picked a book up for an interesting or unique plotline. Once again….it’s the plot line. In this case it vaguely reminded me of one of my favorite books last year – Every Day by David Levithan with its unexplainable life experiences.
Why I finished it:
I was afraid the plot may be confusing as Sabine “shifted” between her 2 lives but it wasn’t at all. Just don’t try to figure out the mechanics of “the Shift”. It’s like trying to figure out time travel! No matter. Shirvington keeps the plot moving by placing Sabine in high tension “cliff-hangers” just as she “shifts” to her alternate life. After all, she will be right back in that same situation in another 24 hours. What will she do?
I’d give it to:
Readers grades 9 and up who enjoy suspense and paranormal romance. Also, those who like to read about teens facing some conventional (as well as unconventional!) teen problems. After all, being a teenager is tough enough once….try living it twice in two totally different circumstances!
I’d give it:
Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)
November 17, 2014
Sixteen- year old Jess Tennant has never met any of her relatives, until her mom suddenly drags her out of London to spend the summer in the tiny English town where her family’s from. Her mom’s decision is surprising, but even more surprising is the town’s reaction to Jess. Everywhere she goes, people look at her like they’ve seen a ghost. In a way, they have – she looks just like her cousin Freya, who died shortly before Jess came to town.
Jess immediately feels a strange connection to Freya, whom she never got to meet alive. But the more Jess learns about the secrets Freya was keeping while she was alive, the more suspicious Freya’s death starts to look. One thing is for sure: this will be anything but the safe, boring summer in the country Jess was expecting. (review Good Reads)
Good Reads gave How To Fall 4 stars and I must admit I didn’t enjoy it that much. Enjoying mysteries as much as I do I found the beginning of the book a page turner. Around the middle of the book and especially the ending left me a bit confused. A sub-plot was forming but I don’t think enough information was given to the reader about those characters. There were just too many unanswered questions and the ending was definitely not a cliff hanger.
I’d give it:
November 7, 2014
Title: Kiss of Broken Glass
Author: Medeleine Kuderick
Kuderick’s debut novel told in free verse paints a picture of what it’s like to be a compulsive cutter. 15-year-old Kenna is caught cutting in the school bathroom and must serve a mandatory 72-hour stint at Adler Boyce Pediatric Stabilization Facility. Most of the story takes place during this period and shows Kenna’s interaction with the psychiatric staff and other patients. Kenna thinks of Rennie, the girl who introduced her to the world of cutting, often. Kenna wants to get out of the hospital so she doesn’t lose her standing in the group of girls called “The Sisters of Broken Glass”. The girls would compare scars and share tips for hiding blades or pins. In flashbacks, readers learn about Kenna’s strained family relationships and her trouble with making friends. This story was inspired by the author’s own experience dealing with her daughter’s cutting.
Why I picked it up: I love novels in verse and this one did not disappoint. I was curious about the addictive behavior of cutting because I didn’t know much about it.
Why I finished it: Kenna’s story was compelling because I never imagined that peer pressure could cause someone to start cutting themselves. Kenna became addicted to cutting after feeling the pressure to start because she didn’t fit in with any other groups at school. I wanted to know how Kenna’s story would end.
I’d give it to: Anyone who enjoys a well-written story told in verse.
Star Rating: Four stars
Reviewer: Renee (Parr library)
November 5, 2014
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
By: Adele Griffin
Addison Stone died unexpectedly, after attempting to plaster a billboard on a Manhattan Bridge overpass. Witnesses have mentioned seeing her fall from the bridge. Known as the up and coming artist in the New York City art scene, Addison Stone was one to watch. This story is told from the perspective of a writer, who had briefly encountered Addison at Pratt Institute. The writer wonders what happened to Addison leading up to her death. She interviews family, friends, boyfriends, exes, and acquaintances. The story is told from the perspectives of all these people in a unique format juxtaposed with photos of Addison and illustrations of her work. At first glance, you may think that it is an authentic biography of a young artist. In reality, it only cleverly appears this way. Addison is not the most likable character, but it is compelling to see her climb from art nerd in suburban Rhode Island to mega art star in New York City.
Why I picked it up: The format of this story is different than many young adult novels out there.
Why I finished it: I had to find out what happened to Addison Stone.
I’d give it to: Anyone interested in the art world, especially the New York City art scene, and street art.
I’d give it: 3 stars
Reviewed by: Diana (Harrington Library)
November 1, 2014
We have an Advance Reader’s Copy of Frostfire by Amanda Hocking for one lucky reader of the teen blog. An Advance Reader’s Copy is a pre-publication paperback copy of the book. This version may contain small errors and it is distributed to book reviewers and librarians to promote the book. This title will be published in January 2015.
Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. Set apart by her half-breed heritage, Bryn is a tracker who is determined to become a member of the elite King’s Guard. She’s not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss, Ridley Dresden.
But her plans are put on hold when Konstantin—a fallen hero who she once worshipped appears to be kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent to help stop him, but will she lose her heart instead?
With beloved characters from the world of the Trylle making cameo appearances, gifted storyteller Amanda Hocking weaves a new tale of family, lore, action, and romance.(Taken from the cover).
To participate in the drawing for this book, send an email to email@example.com with Frostfire in the subject line. Include your phone number and the Plano library branch where you would like to pick up the book. We will have a drawing for the winner of the give-away on Saturday, November 15, 2014. One must be a resident of Plano, Texas in order to qualify for the monthly book giveaway.
October 31, 2014
By: Brenna Yovanoff
“I don’t remember any of this, but my sister, Emma, swears it’s true and I believe her. This is the story she used to tell me at night, when I would climb out of bed and sneak down the hall to her room…
In the story, Emma’s four years old. She gets out of bed and pads across the floor in her footie pajamas. When she reaches her hand between the bars, the thing in the crib moves closer. It tries to bite her and she takes her hand out again but doesn’t back away. They spend all night looking at each other in the dark. In the morning the thing is still crouched on the lamb-and-duckling mattress pad, staring at her. It isn’t her brother.
–from p. 12-13
Mackie Doyle’s life revolves around a terrible secret, one that his family tries to help him hide and his friends and the town all agree to ignore. One that deep down, everyone knows but no one will speak about.
One that is literally killing him, and maybe killing the town as well.
Why I picked it up: The creepy cover, with the baby carriage under a dead tree with all kinds of sharp and metal implements dangling over it, really caught my attention. Then I read the last part of the quote above off of the back cover and I had to know more.
Why I finished it: The suspense is palpable as Mackie reveals to the reader (and discovers for himself) more and more of the town’s dark history and his own troubling origins. I hated putting the book down because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I also really liked the character of Mackie, who struggles with his identity in a realistic and relatable way and is, despite what he thinks, very human and very brave, and easy to love.
I’d give it to: Anyone who enjoys suspenseful horror that hearkens back to the darker roots of the original tales about fairies or the fair folk.
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by: Francesca (Davis)
October 27, 2014
Title: The Giver
Author/Artist: Lois Lowry
How would you like to live in a perfect world, where everyone looks the same, follow the exact same rules and laws and are governed by a single authoritative person called the Chief Elder? Sounds good right? But what if with all the “sameness” there are no colors, no memories of the past and no emotions. This was the exact description of the world Jonas, the 12-year-old protagonist that has an ability to “see beyond” lived in. Soon, through an electoral process to assign jobs and internships to the upcoming adult generation. Jonas finds his world changing and soon exploring the mysteries of the not-so-perfect community. Can Jonas do anything to help save his community by bringing back those memories that makes us humans unique? Find out more in the best-selling novel trilogy by acclaimed author Lois Lowry.
Reviewer: Nipun (Plano teen)
October 22, 2014
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy
By Kate Hattemer
Witty, sarcastic Ethan and his three friends decide to take down the reality TV show, For Art’s Sake that is being filmed at their high school, the esteemed Selwyn Arts Academy, where each student is more talented than the next. While studying Ezra Pound in English class, the friends are inspired to write a vigilante long poem and distribute it to the student body, detailing the evils of For Art’s Sake. But then Luke—the creative force behind the poem and leader of the anti-show movement—becomes a contestant on the nefarious show. It’s up to Ethan, his two remaining best friends, and a heroic gerbil named Baconnaise to save their school. Along the way, they’ll discover a web of secrets and corruption involving the principal, vice principal, and even their favorite teacher. (Summary from Goodreads)
Why I picked it up:
Reality shows…..how “real” are they? And TV talent competitions…how fair are they? Admittedly these are questions I have asked myself as I have joined their legions of viewers from time to time. Mix them with components of the show Glee and I believed Kate Hattemer had written a book that could be a hit.
Why I finished it:
The narrator (Ethan Andrezejczak) stole my heart. His dedicated friendship, devotion to a sickly (but talented!) gerbil and loving patience with his whacky 4-year-old triplet sisters kept the plot moving with comedy and heart. As one reviewer put it, this is a “hilarious story of friendship and poetry”.
I’d give it to:
Anyone (grade 9 and up) who loves a uniquely written comedy.
I’d give it: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)
October 17, 2014
I’ll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson
A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. (from Goodreads)
Compelling characters, visceral writing, and great twists make this a book that’s hard to put down!
Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)