There Will Be Lies

March 27, 2015 by

There Will Be Lies CoverThere Will Be Lies

By Nick Lake

In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car. Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon. All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody. (Summary from Goodreads)

Why I picked it up:

I read (and enjoyed) Nick Lake’s previous book Hostage Three.  It was an excellent thriller and I was looking forward to reading more of the same.

 Why I finished it:

This is a real page turner but definitely not in the same way as Hostage Three.  Shelby unexpectedly finds herself in two worlds: “the Dreaming” as well as the “real world”. Or is it?  I was totally captivated by the plot as it moved in and out of two intertwining storylines. Sometimes I found it to be a bit perplexing but, like Shelby, I wanted to learn what lies she had been told and why.  Clues are interspersed throughout the narrative keeping the savvy reader on edge as chapters flow so smoothly into each other that it is almost impossible to put down.  There isn’t much else I can say as it would be very easy to reveal a “spoiler”.  You’ll have to read it for yourself to become part of this “strange and beautiful story”.

 I’d give it to:

I’d recommend it to readers grade 9 and up who enjoy convoluted plotlines with many unexpected twists and turns.

I’d give it:

 Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)

 

 

Edge of Nowhere

March 25, 2015 by

edge of nowhereEdge of Nowhere
by John Smelcer

Since his mother’s death in a car accident, Seth has closed himself off from the world, preferring video games, TV, and junk food to the company of his friends. And he certainly doesn’t see eye to eye with his father, whom Seth blames for his mother’s death. While out on a fishing trip with his father, a storm hits and Seth is washed overboard along with his dog Tucker. The two make it to shore, but are stranded far from home with no way to call for help. When Seth realizes help may never come, he must use his knowledge of the Prince William Sound islands to make his way home, surviving off the land and sea before summer ends and the unforgiving Alaskan winter descends.

Why I picked it up: I love a good survival story. Hiking and camping are hobbies of mine so pointers on how to live in the Alaskan wilderness for four months with only the clothes on your back, the good sense in your head, and your dog at your side—right up my alley.

Why I finished it: I couldn’t put this book down; I literally read it in one sitting (which isn’t hard given its slim size—only 150 pages). Seth’s story isn’t just one of intense survival, but of self-realization—of his knowledge, skills, and heart. He rarely gives up hope, calling up memories of his grandmother and the lessons she taught him, and of his mom and dad when they were together and the strong love they shared.

Smelcer intertwines Alutiiq words (an endangered Alaskan Native language) and Alaskan Native myths into Seth’s story seamlessly, adding authenticity, and elevating it above a simple tale of survival.

I’d give it to: Readers who enjoy stories of survival, suspense, action, or realistic fiction.

I’d give it: 4 stars

4 stars

Reviewed by: Jocelyn (Davis Library)

Jane

March 23, 2015 by

Jane by April LindnerJane

By April Lindner

In this contemporary retelling of the classic Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, the title character is reimagined as Jane Moore, a young woman forced to drop out of the esteemed (and expensive) Sarah Lawrence College by her parents’ untimely deaths. Short on money and on job experience, Jane signs up at a nanny agency, and because of her lack of interest in popular music, she is soon placed at Thornfield Hall, where she is to care for the daughter of rock legend Nico Rathburn.

Mr. Rathburn likes his privacy, but Jane soon finds that the mystery at Thornfield goes much deeper than a rock star’s reluctance to have his personal life in the public eye. Why is the third floor forbidden to all but one staff member? What is the source of the strange noises that Jane keeps hearing at night? The closer Jane finds herself getting to Nico, the larger the mysteries loom, and their forbidden romance forces Jane to choose: Which is more important, true love or staying true to herself?

Why I picked it up: I’m a huge fan of the original Jane Eyre, and I wanted to see what a contemporary adaptation might look like.

Why I finished it: Adapting a Gothic novel like Jane Eyre is a tremendous task. As anyone familiar with the plot of Jane Eyre knows, its circumstances are very much a part of the early 17th century era. For that reason, parts of the plot don’t make much sense in a contemporary setting, but Lindner gamely tries anyway, and if you’re willing to suspend disbelief a bit, she succeeds. Her idea of preserving the huge class difference between Jane and Mr. Rochester/Rathburn by making him into an internationally known rock musician is a master stroke of genius; without that, there could be no way that this story could happen in the 21st century. I also really enjoyed the moments when Jane echoes the original, and I thought that Jane’s relationship with Maddy, Nico’s daughter, was much more fleshed out than it had been in Jane Eyre.

I’d give it to: Other Jane Eyre fans, or people struggling with reading the original. I’m not sure how much appeal this book would have to people unfamiliar with Jane Eyre, as I don’t think this book can really stand on its own without a comparison between the two.

I’d give it: Two stars.

2 stars

 

It was a nostalgic experience for me, but unless you have read Jane Eyre, it won’t make much sense, especially the relationship between Jane and Nico, which isn’t fleshed out that well and, because of their age difference, comes off a bit creepy. Some things just don’t translate well to contemporary times.

Reviewed by: Francesca (Davis Library)

The Alex Crow

March 18, 2015 by

22466277

The Alex Crow

by Andrew Smith

In case you didn’t already know it (and I’m pretty sure anyone who’s met me already knows it), I miiiiiiight have a little bit of an obsession with Andrew Smith. There are just certain things that man does really, really well, like teenage boys, friendship, hilarious dialogue, heartache, and totally out-there craziness (see Grasshopper Jungle and The Murbury Lens especially). The Alex Crow exhibits all of those things. It’s the story of a boy named Ariel and his many almost deaths, his new American family full of un-extinctions, and a wild six weeks at a camp where nobody is normal. Part realistic fiction, part science fiction, and all awesome, this book (and this author) is definitely one to check out!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

Brown Girl Dreaming

March 16, 2015 by

Brown girl dreamingTitle: Brown Girl Dreaming

Author: Jacqueline Woodson

Award winning author, Jacqueline Woodson, tells the story of her life from her childhood in Ohio and South Carolina to her adolescent and adult years in New York City. This memoir told in verse captures her quest for a sense of belonging. Jacqueline was born in Ohio in 1963, but moved to South Carolina with her mother, brother, and sister at age one, when her parents divorced. Her grandparents became like second parents to her, especially when her mother moved to New York City. The family is later reunited when she and her siblings move to New York to live with their mother. Jacqueline and her siblings each have unique talents and gifts and her special gift is writing. One of her proudest moments is when a teacher tells Jacqueline that she is a “writer”.

Jacqueline was born at a time when the South was in a war for civil rights and we see through her eyes the differences in how the “colored” people were treated in both the North and the South. This book would make a great addition to a history lesson on race relations in America during the civil rights era.

Why I picked it up: I love Jaqueline Woodson’s writing and I have enjoyed many of her novels. This book received a 2015 Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Book Award, and was the National Book Award winner.

Why I finished it: Jaqueline Woodson and I were born one year apart. I really enjoyed experiencing the 1960s and 1970s through her eyes. The story of her life is told in beautiful verse that was so immediate I felt as if I were experiencing everything with her.

I’d give it to: I have already recommended this book to many of my co-workers. All teens who have a dream for their life would enjoy reading Ms. Woodson’s life story.

Star Rating:   Five stars

Reviewer: Renee (Parr Library)

 

 

 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

March 13, 2015 by

To All the Boys I've Loved Before CoverTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

By Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. (From the jacket cover)

Why I picked it up: A friend had just finished reading this book, and loved it. She thought I would really like it too, so I decided to give it a try.

Why I finished it: I was hooked right away! I loved the relationships between Lara Jean and her sisters. As the middle sister, Lara Jean seemed unsure of herself. I enjoyed watching her become more confident as her relationships changed after her secret love letters were mailed. (Yes, there is a love triangle, too!) And, I just learned that a sequel is coming out soon. Can’t wait!

I’d give it to: Anyone who enjoys realistic fiction and/or romance novels. This story has a bit of everything. Loved, loved, loved this book!

I’d give it: 5 stars

Reviewed by:  Melanie, Parr Library

Teen Job Skills Fair

March 11, 2015 by

UntitledDon’t forget the Teen Job Skills Fair is this Saturday over at the Parr Library from 2-4pm!!! We have many vendors coming to talk to you!

And if you missed the video our Teen Street Team put together posted last week, check it out on our YouTube page.

 

Casket of Souls

March 9, 2015 by

Casket of soulsCasket of Souls

Lynn Flewelling

Why I picked it up:

I’m an ardent fan of the Nightrunner series. There’s something about the way Flewelling brings together political intrigue, exciting action, LGBTQ romance, and unique characters with distinct personalities that makes the series so good. The said, book six was a disappointment for me in many ways.

Why I finished it:

Honestly, I finished this book just for the sake of finishing it. I kept hoping that the book would get better as it went on, but it really didn’t. Here’s what I didn’t like about it compared to others in the series: Firstly, the plot just didn’t come together for me. The story felt like it was coming apart in pieces at certain times, many chapters were too long and without action, and the resolution to the novel was completely and utterly unconvincing. When attempting to discover the perpetrator of the magical plague that has struck Rhiminee, Alec and Seregil come to a dead end, until suddenly a family appears out of nowhere and saves the day by revealing that Atre was behind it all. It was almost as if Flewelling was running out of ideas and didn’t know how to get our dear protagonists to finally resolve the mystery. Furthermore, Phoria just dies in battle and Klia, being the faithful sister she is, furiously avenges her. It seems rather too convenient a solution to the plotting occurring back in Rhiminee—and that’s because it is. By the end of the book, I was getting rather bored and felt completely unengaged by the story, which is something completely new for the series. As a result of all this, sometimes the movements of the characters felt unnatural and out of character. I feel like Flewelling has lost some of the depth to her characters in book six. Alec’s compassion is demonstrated repeatedly as he carries many of Atre’s victims to temples for healing, but his public reticence and introversion doesn’t really appear much in the book. There seems to be a slight conflict developing in the beginning between Alec and Seregil when Seregil becomes slightly overprotective of Alec, but it doesn’t end up being a big deal; I’d love it if that particular problem had been elaborated upon more. Atre is an interesting character, but he doesn’t seem to have been developed very well; we are shown his personality in public, but all we really know about him at the end of the day is that he’s selfish and crafty. It would have been intriguing had Flewelling shown us more of his personality and his history, or demonstrated hidden motives behind his soul consumption. To be honest, I don’t really think Atre is even portrayed as bad or evil throughout the book because many of his private scenes are a little callous and unemotional. While I will certainly read book seven and any future books to come in the Nighturnner series, casket of Souls was just a bit of a disaster for me. Although the premise of the book is interesting, the book itself simply wasn’t as engaging or stimulating as some of its predecessors. Casket of Souls certainly doesn’t ruin the entire series for me, but I definitely would have enjoyed a better book six from Flewelling.

Who I’d give it to:

Epic/high fantasy fans, LGBTQ fantasy fans (although romance is not a large part of the series and in fact doesn’t materialize until the end of book 2), fans of the spy/thief novels (fan of Scott Lynch, etc.)

How many stars would you give this item?

3 stars

Kevin (Plano teen)

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir

March 6, 2015 by

tomboyTomboy: A Graphic Memoir

By Liz Prince

What does it mean to be a girl? Do you have to love dresses and makeup? Do you have to pretend to be the damsel in distress when you are playing dress up, or can you be the heroic superhero?

Liz Prince is a tomboy. She doesn’t want to be a boy, but she also doesn’t want to conform to the traditional girl gender role. Unfortunately, other people aren’t very understanding. Liz deals with lots of naysayers and bullies as she grows up. Instead of letting their bad attitudes influence her, she stands firm and doesn’t change who she is.

Woah, I loved this memoir! Liz is easy to relate to and super inspiring. She captures the uncertainty and awkwardness of those formative years perfectly. This is a unique coming of age story that reveals a very important positive message about identity and self-worth.

Happy Reading!

Similar titles:

Any graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier

Little Fish by Ramsey Beyer

Any graphic novel by Lucy Knisley

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Reviewed by Kate (Haggard Library)

The Adventures of Superhero Girl

March 4, 2015 by

superherogirlThe Adventures of Superhero Girl

By: Faith Erin Hicks

Superhero Girl is like any other crime-fighting, ninja-kicking, monster-punching superhero. Oh, except that she has a popular superhero older brother, and is having a hard time finding enough villains in her Canadian neighborhood to fight. She begins to wonder why she dropped out of college to become a superhero. I mean, does she even have a legitimate origin story?

Why I picked it up: I had read Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks and wanted to read her other graphic novels.

Why I finished it: The book is comprised of a series of vignettes starring Superhero Girl, including some funny moments when she is trying to pass herself off as a “normal” person.

I’d give it to: Fans of (nerdy) superheroes, of course!

I’d give it:

4 Stars

 

 

 

Reviewed by: Diana (Harrington Library)