Thursday, October 23, 2014

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Calling all fans of The Fault in Our Stars ... you will love Maybe One Day!

Olivia and Zoe are best friends. They attend high school and ballet school together and have plans to go to New York City to join a professional ballet company. Their plans change when they are told they don't have a future in ballet and are dismissed from their school.

This becomes the least of their problems, however, when Livvie is diagnosed with cancer. Maybe One Day is the emotional story of true friendship and how two teenagers and their families deal with a life-altering event.

Although it's very emotional, there is also some romance and some light-hearted moments, too. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written story, but I did need some tissues close by.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Tripp and Lyla are about as different as two people can get. Tripp uses the practice room to escape from his home life as he pours everything he has into the guitar.

 Perfect Lyla must share the practice room with Tripp on even days. She is a terrific student and award-winning cellist who is competing to get accepted at The Coles Conservatory of Music.

When Lyla arrives at the practice room and finds it a mess, with crumpled leftovers from Tripp's lunch, she's upset and leaves him a note:

Dear Odd Day Musician,
     We are sharing this room. Please remove your trash from the music stand when you are done.
-The Even Day Musician

And then finds his reply:

Dear Ms. Even Day,
     Thank you so much for the little note you left in the guitar case.
     The napkin that I left on the music stand was not trash. I wrote a chord progression on it. Did you throw it away in your quest for a perfect spotless world?
     Most Sincerely,
     Mr. Odd Day
     P.S. Please do not leave negative Even Day vibes all over the room. They will soak into this guitar, which will ruin it. Please clean up after yourself.

This Nutmeg nominee for 2014 is funny, engaging, and terribly sad. Anyone interested in music will love it, but even if you are not a musician, there is much that will engage you in this book.

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Kayla, Gabie, and Drew all work at Pete's Pizza. One night Kayla goes on a delivery and doesn't come back. This novel becomes even more intense when we find out that the man who ordered the pizza asked if the girl with the Mini Cooper was delivering pizzas that night. Fortunately for Gabie, the owner of the Mini Cooper, she switched nights with Kayla and Gabie was home and not working that night. Did the kidnapper take the wrong girl?

 But since Gabie was the intended victim, is she next? And is Kayla safe?

Students who like scary, intense books, will love this one. Other students may have nightmares, so be aware - this book may be too intense for some students.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Darcy is just 18 years old and a writer. Her novel is actually getting published! When she moves to New York instead of attending college, her parents are concerned but allow her to go and live on the advance money from her publisher.

The tag-line on the novel's cover really says it all:

Darcy writes the words.
   Lizzie lives them.

Both Darcy and Lizzie tell their stories in alternating chapters. The book begins when Lizzie survives a horrible terrorist attack at the airport. She plays dead and is the only survivor. Yami, an afterworld guide, arrives to help her navigate this strange ethereal world.

Chapters and events interweave and it is so interesting following the stories of both girls. This is a "smart" novel. One that you need to think about when you read. Students who like to write or are interesting in writing and the publishing world will love this novel. English teachers will LOVE this novel.

There is romance throughout the novel including same sex dating. If your parents don't want you to read books with foul language, you may want to put this novel on hold for a few years. But over-all, many students will love following Lizzie's adventures in the underworld and Darcy's adventures in New York.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Final Four by Paul Volponi

March Madness has begun! Michigan is heavily favored to win, but Troy State has heart.

The entire book takes place in the time span of a single game. As the announcer does his exciting play-by-play throughout the game, the back story of four key players is also told.

 This is not only the story of two very different teams, but also the story of four very different basketball players. Malcolm is from the inner-city, is VERY talented, and is called "one and done" because of his plans to join the NBA after his freshman year.

Roco Bacic is from the war-ravaged country of Croatia where his uncle, a journalist, was killed by a car bomb. Basketball is his ticket to freedom and an education.

Along with the basketball action, there are also some very pertinent issues explored in this novel. Universities make millions off the ticket sales, etc. of their varsity teams, but the players (many of whom come from very limited economic families) go through their college careers without being able to profit at all.

This was a riveting read. Basketball fans will especially enjoy this novel, but I think most everyone will be drawn into the back stories of these players. Some foul language

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

This is going to be a big one - this book was great!

Callum Hunt does NOT want to be a magician. Call's mother and father were both mages, but his mother is dead and his father both hates and fears magic.

 When Callum turns 12 he is required to be tested to see if he is qualified to be educated in the realm of magic. He tries to fail every test, but is admitted to magic school despite his efforts. Once he begins school, Call finds he enjoys his lessons much more than he thought he would. Why does his father want him to come home? Will magic lead to something much more sinister?

Despite(or maybe because of)  its similarities to Harry Potter, I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to the sequels!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Very different novel told from SEVEN different points of view!

"The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, somethingis happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship. 

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together...."

Summary above from:

Girls will love this romantic story that almost happens over and over and over. Will they EVER get together???

Check out the songs that go along with this novel at the link above.