Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Great Book Trailers

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Light by Michael Grant

Winter Girls by Laurie Halse Anderson

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Legend by Marie Lu

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

Fifteen-year-old Joy has had a terrible life. She lives with her abusive mother in a broken-down trailer. Her mother has various boyfriends come to stay with her and this leads to even more problems for Joy.

Nothing in this novel is graphic, but I recommend Stronger Than You Know to mature readers only because it deals with various kinds of abuse.

Joy is finally removed from her mother and goes to live with her aunt and uncle and their children. However, Joy still needs to deal with her past. She has panic attacks and can't even be in the same room as her very kind uncle.

Slowly Joy begins to heal. Although this is a very upsetting book, the final message is people can heal from the past and most people are good and caring.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

What a sad, sad, book. Lex's brother commits suicide and nothing will ever be the same. Is there something she could have done to prevent this?

To add to Lex's guilt, her brother reached out to her that awful night, and she didn't respond to him.

Everything falls apart in Lex's life. She breaks up with her boyfriend, removes herself from her friends, and doesn't even get excited when she's accepted to MIT.

Cynthia Hand does a lovely job describing the love between Lex and her brother and the devastation that suicide causes.

This book may upset some readers, but mature students will be able to appreciate this story despite their tears when reading.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

"I was sent here because of a boy. His name was Reeve Maxfield, and I loved him and then he died, and almost a year passed and no one knew what to do with me. Finally it was decided that the best thing would be to send me here."

So Belzhar begins ...

Jam is sent to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school for emotionally fragile teenagers because she can't deal with the death of her boyfriend, British exchange student, Reeve.

At The Wooden Barn she is assigned to "Special Topics in English" where she and a handful of other students will read only one novel all semester and keep a journal. The novel is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

At first Jam doesn't want to write - why examine her feelings when she can barely make it through each day?  But the first time she does write, something amazing happens .. something that can't be explained.

Belzhar is an emotionally wringing experience. I would only suggest this book to very mature readers eighth grade and up. The ending is mind-blowing and the reader's heart will break for Jam.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop

Davey and his family are on a long-awaited vacation on an island off the coast of Key West, Florida.

Davey's favorite thing to do is read, and on the first day of vacation he wakes up early and without telling anyone heads to a quiet spot on a secluded beach with his favorite book.

The water there is so warm and feels so good to Davey that he wades in farther and farther. Before he realizes it, he is up to his chest. But when he tries to swim to shore, he can't. Unbeknownst to him, there is a very strong riptide that is preventing him from swimming any closer. He is soon exhausted from his efforts and now must simply try to survive until someone rescues him.

Because the water is so clear, Davey can see fish swimming around below him. Some tiny fish nibble on his foot. He isn't panicking because he is sure someone will miss him soon and send a rescue team out to find him. Suddenly he sees a larger shadow below him ...

Read this exciting, fast-paced novel if you like books that you can read in one or two nights. I really couldn't stop reading this and read it in one afternoon - it was great!

Book trailer by Naomi Bates - thank you, Naomi!


Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas

Top Ten Reasons You Will Like This Book:

10. You like to read humorous books.
 9.  You want to take a break from all the serious books you've been reading.
 8.  You have or know someone who has diabetes.
 7.  You are a fan of the author who also wrote Ask Again Later.
 6.  You like to read about first crushes.
 5.  You don't like to read books about stereotypical characters.
 4. You like to try to solve the mystery in the book as you read.
 3.  You like to finish a book really quickly.
 2.  You don't like reading to be "painful" - it should be fun.
 1. You don't want to be totally "clueless!"

This is a fun fast read about a group of teenagers who work in a Whole Foods-type of grocery store. They are all accused of a crime that is committed in the store and told they cannot leave until they are questioned by the police. Unfortunately, it is Christmas Eve and tonight of all nights, everyone wants to go home.

Told from Chloe's point of view, this story is a fast, funny, light-hearted read, that has just enough substance to keep you caring about all the characters.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

Budo has existed for five years which is a very long time for an imaginary friend. Nine-year-old Max relies on Budo for many things and Budo helps Max both in school and at home. 
This very imaginative novel is told from Budo's point of view. We learn about Max's difficulties from Budo. We also learn about the lives of other imaginary friends. Budo looks pretty much like an real-life boy, but other imaginary friends may not be fully formed. Budo can walk through doors because when Max invented him, he imagined Budo walking through doors. Other imaginary friends may not even be human. Other than their "owner," imaginary friends can only be seen and heard by other imaginary friends. 

Budo becomes even more important to Max when Max is abducted from school. No one but Budo has any idea where Max is. But since Max is the only person who can see or hear Budo, Budo can't really help very much. 

I can't believe that a book about an imaginary friend could have me in it's grip, reading compulsively for just "one more chapter." And I can't believe I cried when Budo was describing his relationship with Max.

I loved this book and I love the way Matthew Dicks writes.  Our teacher book club is reading this as our next selection, but I think students from 7th grade on up would also really enjoy Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend!