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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
2012
Where the Streets had a Name
Click to search this book in our catalog   Abel-Fattah, Randa

Book list Since her Palestinian family lost their home, times have been hard for Hayaat, 13, who lives in Bethlehem on the occupied West Bank. To try to comfort her beloved dying grandmother, Sitti, Hayaat journeys to get some soil from the Jerusalem garden that Sitti longs for. Hayaat's friend, Samy, joins her on her quest. His mother was killed, and his imprisoned father is a heroic activist to some, but Samy is bitter: He traded me for the cause. At the many checkpoints, the friends encounter soldiers, both brutal and kind, and also an Israeli peacenik couple who helps the kids get past the towering barriers. Hayaat's immediate, wry, and irreverent narrative intensifies the story of anguished struggle and Palestinian politics. The author leavens the story with humor; Sitti farts a lot, for example. The suspense builds, though, to heartbreaking revelations, particularly about the violent episodes that Hayaat has tried hard not to remember.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This suspenseful novel reveals the plight of Palestinians living in occupied territory, as 13-year-old Hayaat braves the journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, trying to fulfill the wish of her ailing grandmother, who dreams of touching the soil of her home once more. In her first middle-grade novel, Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?) crafts a classic quest and adeptly sketches the strong friendship between Hayaat and her soccer-obsessed friend Samy, who accompanies her through checkpoints, and the memorable cast they encounter along the way, which includes a pair of Israeli peace activists. The rest of Hayaat's family anchor the narrative and prove equally compelling, including Hayaat's older sister, who is preparing for her wedding; her tenacious mother; and her depressed father. Clues to the disfiguring accident that scarred Hayaat and caused the death of her best friend build, illuminating a source of fear and sorrow. Still, Hayaat manages to hold onto hope: "Maybe it's not about survival. Maybe we have to learn how to live with purpose." The heroine's courage, warmth, and humor despite mounting challenges will win over readers. Ages 9-12. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Physically and emotionally scarred, Hayaat lives behind the Israeli-built Separation Wall in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. When her beloved grandmother falls ill, the 13-year-old decides to make her way to Jerusalem to fill an empty hummus jar with soil from the land of her grandmother's ancestral home. She is certain that this will mend her heart. Unfortunately, although Jerusalem is merely minutes away, curfews, checkpoints, and an identity card that doesn't allow her to cross the border mean that Hayaat and her soccer-loving, troublemaker friend Samy face a perilous journey. This novel is an important addition to a very small body of existing books that tell the Palestinian story for young people, and an intensely realistic setting brings that story to life. It is full of humor, adventure, and family love, but doesn't try to hide the heartbreaking and often bitter reality of life under Occupation. Abdel-Fattah manages to walk the line of truth-telling and sensitivity. She has avoided vilifying Israelis and, in fact, Hayaat and Samy could not have completed their journey without the help of a Jewish Israeli couple sympathetic to their cause. A cast of quirky characters adds both humor and realism to the story, making the devastating circumstances more palatable to young readers and keeping the story light in spite of a heavy topic and some dark realizations as the plot moves forward.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Enclave
Click to search this book in our catalog   Aguirre, Ann

Publishers Weekly In this skilled though violent postapocalyptic thriller, Deuce has newly earned the rank of Huntress, after years of training have taught her to "wield a knife or a club with equal proficiency." It's her duty to provide meat for her loveless, draconian enclave, deep beneath the streets of a ruined city, as well as to defend it against cannibalistic Freaks, who are gradually eliminating the scattered human survivors of a vaguely remembered plague. Deuce's is a world of terrifying encounters in near-complete darkness, but she's very good at what she does. Then Deuce stands up for a friend unfairly accused of hoarding and, accompanied only by her talented but unpopular partner, Fade, is soon exiled with little chance of survival either in the lightless and dangerous sewers or Topside. In her first young adult novel, Aguirre (the Sirantha Jax series) has created a gritty and highly competent heroine, an equally deadly sidekick/love interest, and a fascinating if unpleasant civilization. This series is likely to hold considerable appeal for fans of The Hunger Games. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Aguirre's young adult debut is a gripping survival story set in an apocalyptic future. At her naming ceremony, Deuce receives triple slashes on each arm, signifying her status as a Huntress, an elite warrior who protects their underground enclave. She is paired with Fade, a scarred, taciturn veteran who claims to have lived Topside and chafes under their exacting rules. When they find proof that the mutant Freaks who share the tunnels are banding together, they are exiled to silence their warnings. Forced Topside, the pair heads toward a settlement Fade has only heard stories about, picking up two others: Stalker, a violent gang leader, and Tegan, a brutally abused girl. This is a tense, action-packed dystopian story with intriguingly gray characters, much more thriller than romance although Aguirre teases at a future love triangle, it never intrudes. While the enclave's elders are initially presented as morally corrupt antagonists, Aguirre's gritty future is not so simple; like Deuce, readers must weigh the comparative values of law and freedom in a functioning society.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 8-10-Deuce gets her name when she is declared Huntress and protector of College, the enclave where the survivors of "the second holocaust" dwell. They live in abandoned subway tunnels, never venturing Topside; the stories of aboveground dangers are enough to keep everyone below. Deuce and her partner, the enigmatic Fade, bring news of the destruction of enclave Nassau by the mutant cannibal Freaks and are banished Topside for their trouble. Once there Deuce recognizes the treachery of the College enclave elders and must face the real dangers-and wonders-of a long-ruined New York City. Joined by vicious ganger Stalker and abused Breeder Tegan, the four young adults make their way North to fabled safety. While the pace is quick, the characterizations are flat, and without a personality on which to hang an empathetic hat, there is little to involve readers emotionally. Continuity problems and some contradictions in logic result in world-building that does not fare well under scrutiny: the inhabitants of College lack knowledge of their own environs and the people who dwell there despite constant patrolling and occasional trading; the gangs who take over the city never range beyond its boundaries, and no one in the finally reached safety of the aboveground enclave returns to the city, despite apparently frequent trade-runs elsewhere. The familiar tropes of postapocalyptic fiction get no new handling here, but those looking for a "Hunger Games" read-alike might be willing to accept this lukewarm offering.-Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
My Name is Mina
Click to search this book in our catalog   Almond, David

Publishers Weekly This intimate prequel to Skellig is built around Mina McKee, the curious and brilliant home-schooled child who eventually befriends that book's protagonist, Michael. Mina, a budding writer, reveals her love of words in her journal; most of the book unfolds in a handwritten-looking font, with Mina's more emphatic entries exploding onto the pages in massive display type. Her lyrical, nonlinear prose records her reflections on her past, existential musings ("The human body is 65 percent water. Two-thirds of me is constantly disappearing, and constantly being replaced. So most of me is not me at all!"), and self-directed writing exercises ("I'll try to make my words break out of the cages of sadness, and make them sing for joy"). Almond gives readers a vivid picture of the joyfully free-form workings of Mina's mind and her mixed emotions about being an isolated child. Her gradual emergence from the protective shell of home is beautifully portrayed as she gingerly ventures out into the world. Not as dark, but just as passionate as Almond's previous works, this novel will inspire children to let their imaginations soar. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Almond is rather brave to have written a prequel to Skellig (1998), a book that was the essence of originality. So many things could have gone wrong. But he is too shrewd and fine a writer to let that happen. This is the story of Mina, the girl next door who, in Skellig, helped Michael cope with the man he found in his garage eating dead flies and growing wings. Who was Mina before Michael arrived? Form as well as language bring Mina alive. Her journal introduces us to this authoritative, imaginative, irascible child, and her entries appear in her childlike penmanship; the print is big and bold when she finds a word she loves ( METEMPSYCHOSIS! ), and she uses concrete poetry as she plays with language and thoughts. And what thoughts! Mina is homeschooled, because, well, because she's Mina, and she needs expanses of time to think about myths and mathematics. She dreams of her dead father and wonders, wonders, wonders about birds. It is the birds that will lead readers into Skellig that, and glimpses of Michael and his family moving next door. This book stands very much alone, but the sense of wonder that pervades the smallest details of everyday life remains familiar.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6-8-Mina fills her new journal with thoughts, dreams, and stories. She has left St. Bede's Middle School to be homeschooled by her mum. The reasons for this are slowly revealed. Mina writes about her home life (happy with her mum, but they both miss her late father). About her time at St. Bede's (unhappy since some of her teachers did not appreciate her extreme sense of whimsy). About a new family moving in up the street (with a young boy who turns out to be Michael from Skellig). About nature (particularly the blackbirds nesting in her tree). And about the time she attended an alternative school (that did not last long). The layout is great fun. Since this is a journal, the main font looks like handwriting. When Mina writes a poem or focuses on a particular word, the "handwriting" gets thicker and darker, as though written with a felt-tip marker. When Mina wants to distance herself from the action, she drops into the third person and writes a story in a more formal typeface. Boxes scattered throughout the text include "Extraordinary Activity" suggestions: writing a particular kind of poem, watching the stars, or flying while you dream. Almond portrays Mina as a girl with a great love of words and learning, and he plays joyfully with language. This might make for tricky going for some readers, but it is truly a wonderful book.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Dreamland Social Club
Click to search this book in our catalog   Altebrando, Tara

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-When Jane and her brother inherit their late mother's childhood home in Coney Island, the siblings and their dad leave London and move into it. There they experience a shockingly different culture filled with roller coasters, dwarves, bearded girls, and mermaids. Struggling to find her place in their new, unconventional high school, Jane stumbles upon a secret social club that her mother founded years earlier. As this discovery raises even more questions, she searches for answers from Leo, a strangely familiar tattooed boy. They explore the mysteries surrounding her family's carnie past with a set of hidden keys belonging to the amusement park. This book does a wonderful job of pairing eccentric details concerning Coney Island's past with a whimsical undertone. Any teen who has felt like an outsider in a new environment will devour this book.-Stephanie Malosh, Donoghue Elementary School, Chicago, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly When Jane and her brother inherit the house in Coney Island where their late mother grew up, they move in with their father, planning to stay one year to prepare the house for sale. Sixteen-year-old Jane has lived everywhere from London to Tokyo, but amid Coney Island's rundown attractions and checkered history, she hopes to find clues about the mother she desperately misses. Palpable without being melodramatic, Jane's longing is well-wrought, as is the supporting cast of teenage dwarves, giants, and other Brooklyn natives, including a love interest for Jane. The mysteries Altebrando (What Happens Here) weaves into her story (what is the Dreamland Social Club? what iconic Coney sites do the keys Jane finds unlock? why is the carousel horse chained to a radiator in their living room so important?) will keep readers engaged, though not much really happens. Rather, this is a languid, introspective novel about a search for identity and meaning; against the backdrop of impending gentrification and development, both Jane and Coney Island itself are caught between the pull of the past and the uncertainty of the future. Ages 14-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Jane, a self-admitte. Looky Lo. afraid to take risks, is the type of girl with a closet full of gray skirts. Her high-school career has been defined by constant moves throughout Europe as her widower father searches for work. Yet, when her grandfather dies, the family inherits a new house in her mother's childhood home, near Coney Island in Brooklyn. Jane must acclimate to a high-school atmosphere in which the cliques resemble sideshow acts. As Jane and her brother, Marcus, delve into their departed mother's past, she recaptures bits of memories of life before her mother died and clues about her mother'. carn. past amid the glitz of Coney Island in its heyday. This novel offers typical teenage issues and the angst over making friends and catching the right boy's eye, but it is also a study in diversity, acceptance, and what it means to b. norma. as introverted Jane learns that everyone has his or her own freakishness to overcome.--Anderson, Eri. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Close to Famous
Click to search this book in our catalog   Bauer, Joan

Publishers Weekly Bauer (Peeled) tweaks a familiar recipe in this heartwarming novel about a determined girl who faces adversity with humor, heart-and cupcakes. A recent sixth-grade graduate (by the skin of her teeth), Foster McFee lands in tiny Culpepper, W.Va., with her mother after the two of them hightail it away from Mom's abusive, Elvis-impersonator boyfriend in Memphis. Foster has already known her share of tough times: her soldier father was killed in Iraq, and she's been struggling through school, unable to read. But Foster's dream of having her own show on the Food Network is a powerful force, and she takes comfort in baking and in emulating her favorite TV chef. With the help of kind and quirky locals, including a former movie star, Foster makes friends, earns fans for her cupcakes, and even begins to conquer her reading difficulties. Bauer skillfully brings readers to the heart of Culpepper with rich depictions of a contemporary small town and its residents and rhythms. The characters' eventual triumphs are the type that this author's fans eat up. Ages 10-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Sixth-grader Foster McFee is a supremely talented baker and dreams of being a famous television chef like Sonny Kroll, star of her favorite show on the Food Network, but she has already had to face some major challenges in her life. After her father's death in combat in Iraq, she and her mother, a talented singer, have had a hard time financially, and ultimately they are forced to leave Memphis in order to escape her mother's abusive Elvis-impersonator boyfriend. Worst of all, Foster is unable to read because of a learning disability. When she and her mother accidentally end up in Culpepper, WV, Foster finds some unlikely supporters among the tiny town's eccentric residents, including a boy with no camera who dreams of being a documentary filmmaker and a famous retired actress who lives in seclusion on the outskirts of the community. Thanks to them and to her own perseverance, Foster is able to work toward her dream of making the world a better place, one cupcake at a time. The story is fast paced, and readers will be rooting for likable and gutsy Foster, who expresses her views on life in baking metaphors. The quirky residents of Culpepper are equally believable and appealing. Youngsters will find this story tastier than a batch of Foster's triple chocolate cupcakes.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother leave Memphis in the middle of the night, fleeing the mother's abusive boyfriend. Foster has a severe learning disability, a pillowcase full of mementos of her dead father, and a real gift for baking. When she and her singer mother relocate to a tiny, rural West Virginia town, they discover a friendly and welcoming population of delightfully quirky characters. Foster finally learns to read from a reclusive, retired movie star; markets her baked goods at Angry Wayne's Bar and Grill; helps tiny but determined Macon with his documentary; and encourages her mother to become a headliner rather than a backup singer, all the while perfecting her baking technique for the time when she gets her own cooking show like her TV idol, Sonny Kroll. Bauer gently and effortlessly incorporates race (Foster's mother is black; her father was white), religion, social justice, and class issues into a guaranteed feel-good story that dodges sentimentality with humor. Readers who want contemporary fiction with a happy ending will find it here.--Carton, Debbie Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
I am J
Click to search this book in our catalog   Beam, Chris

Book list *Starred Review* Who is J? Though born a girl, he has known since early childhood that he is really a boy. But how to explain that to his parents, who simply consider him to be a lesbian, or to his best friend, Melissa, whom he loves but who rejects him angrily when he kisses her since she, too, regards him as a girl? Small wonder he is self-hating and angry and determined to mask the female part of his identity. But finally, sick of wearing bandages and multiple layers of baggy clothing to hide his body, he decides to take testosterone so he'll look and sound more male. But he is only 17 and needs parental consent to do this. What to do? The solutions like his life are complicated and difficult. But desperate determination and the faithfulness of friends may help him to find himself and the acceptance of others. Beam has written easily the best book to date about the complicated condition of being a transsexual teen, not only sharing important information that is artfully woven into the plot but also creating, in J, a multilayered, absolutely believable character whose pain readers will share. Perhaps most importantly, the author brings clarity and charity to a state of being that has too long been misunderstood, ignored, and deplored.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-When J reached adolescence, he quit the swim team and began covering his body with extra clothes to hide the fact that he had been born a girl. At 17, J dreams of being accepted as a boy, binding his breasts and despising his monthly periods. His close friend, Melissa, a cutter, tries her best to understand and support him. His parents are confused, angry, and sad. He runs away from home and enrolls in a special school for gay and transgender teens, where he makes a helpful friend, a transgender girl. He also embarks on a shaky romance with Blue, a straight female artist who believes J is a boy and to whom he must eventually confess the truth. When he learns about testosterone and how it can help with his transformation, he is overjoyed, despite the obstacles he faces in getting the drug legally. Finally, J turns 18 and is able to begin getting his shots. He applies to and is accepted at college to study photography as a transgender young man, and holds out hope that one day his parents will accept him as well. Beam is the author of the informative adult book, Transparent: Love, Family and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers (Houghton, 2007). This novel is just as impressive. J is an especially vivid character, and the supporting characters are carefully drawn. Told in third person, the story is believable and effective due to insightful situations, realistic language, and convincing dialogue. Readers who relished Julie Anne Peters's Luna (Little, Brown, 2004) will snap it up.-Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly J was born Jenifer but has never felt female. Now on the verge of 18, he wants to be "more than just a hovering brain without a body," and starts to transition to male. He binds his breasts; attends a school for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth; and starts therapy so he can be approved for testosterone injections. Change isn't easy: afraid of his father's rejection, J runs away temporarily, and is anxious that the girlfriend who "saw him as a man" will find out that he is "trans." Readers will learn a lot about transgender teens as J does online research, attends a support group, and gets advice from friends who have transitioned; adult author Beam (Transparent) also includes a four-page list of resources. It is J's authentic voice that keeps this challenging story from simply being a problem novel. J is sure of his masculinity, yet vulnerable and confused, and his thoughts often come out in a tangled rush. Readers should be absorbed by J's struggle to prove "My gender's not a lie. I am not a lie." Ages 15-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Chime
Click to search this book in our catalog   Billingsley, Franny

Publishers Weekly After too long of an absence, Billingsley (The Folk Keeper) returns with the quirky but rich tale of 17-year-old Briony, who is convinced that she's a witch. Not only is Briony responsible for her twin sister Rose's disabling fall from a swing years earlier, causing brain-damage, she also believes she caused her stepmother's death. The 20th century has arrived in backwater Swampsea, England, and with it such wonders as railroads, motorcars, and pumping stations to drain the bog. But the supernatural Old Ones are unhappy with technology and have sent a fever to punish the children of Swampsea, including Rose. Desperate to save her sister's life, Briony is torn between her painful belief in her own irredeemably evil nature and her attraction to handsome, newly arrived bad boy Eldric Clayborne. "How could I bear it, Eldric living with us, this non-child, this boy-man? I'd have to keep on my Briony mask.... I'd have to keep my tongue sharp and amusing. Already I was exhausted." Filled with eccentric characters-self-hating Briony foremost-and oddly beautiful language, this is a darkly beguiling fantasy. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Even as the Industrial Revolution has modernized much of England, belief in the Old Ones is still deeply rooted in the isolated Swampsea community. Convinced that she is a witch, 17-year-old Briony holds herself accountable for her stepmother's death and her twin's injury, until she is befriended by a handsome Londoner who helps her to see her world and herself in a new light. A lush, lyrical, romantic page-turner. (Mar.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Born precisely at midnight, that eldritch hour between one day and the next, Briony has always been a bit fey. But it isn't until her twin sister, Rose, is hurt while they are swinging together and her stepmother is tragically crippled in a freak accident that Briony comes to believe that she is a witch, doomed to end her life dangling from the hangman's noose. She only begins to hope that she might not be quite as wicked and damned as she had thought when she is befriended by a newcomer to the village, a beautiful boy with leonine grace and electric eyes. The magnificently dark romantic setting and lovely, lyrical language and imagery enhance a novel that is both lushly sensual and shivery. Billingsley's YA debut is a memorable one.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Since her stepmother's recent death, 17-year-old Briony Larkin knows that if she can keep two secrets that she is a witch and that she is responsible for the accident that left Rose, her identical twin, mentally compromised and remember to hate herself always, no other harm will befall her family in their Swampsea parsonage at the beginning of the twentieth century. The arrival of Mr. Clayborne, a city engineer, and his university-dropout son, Eldric, makes Briony's task difficult. Clayborne's plan to drain the swamp has made the Old Ones unhappy, particularly the Boggy Mun, who has plagued the village's children with swamp cough in retaliation. When Rose's lingering illness turns into a cough, Briony knows that she must do whatever it takes, even revealing her secrets, to save her sister. While thwarting the advances of an arsenic-addicted suitor, Briony must also deny her feelings for Eldric, even as he helps her solve the puzzle that has become her life. Exploring the powers of guilt and redemption, Billingsley (The Folk Keeper, 1999) has crafted a dark, chilling yet stunning world. Briony's many mysteries and occasional sardonic wit make her a force to be reckoned with. Exquisite to the final word.--Leeper, Angela Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Red Glove
Click to search this book in our catalog   Black, Holly
2012
Anna Dressed in Blood
Click to search this book in our catalog   Blake, Kendare

Publishers Weekly Effectively blending horror and romance, Blake (Sleepwalk Society) delivers an exciting and witty gothic ghost story. Seventeen-year-old loner Cas follows in his late father's footsteps, hunting down vengeful ghosts and dispatching them before they can hurt more people. He and his mother (a witch) move from town to town, and his latest target is the titular Anna, a 16-year-old girl killed on the way to a dance in Thunder Bay, Ont., in 1958. When the ghost eviscerates a local in front of Cas, he realizes it will be a much harder struggle than previously anticipated, joining forces with psychic Thomas and popular girl Carmel to discover Anna's history and attempt to free her from her curse without destroying her. Blake occasionally gets too cute-naming a character "Will Rosenberg" in a story in which characters are aware of Buffy is pushing things, as is the notion that today's small-town teens are all Rules of Attraction. But the pop culture references are generally sharp (Ghostbusters references make for an effective running gag) and on point, and the result is an enjoyable horror tale. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Theseus Cassio Lowood (Cas for short) is the son of a white witch and a ghost killer. He inherited his father's knife and talent for dispatching vengeful spirits when his father was gruesomely murdered by a particularly powerful ghost. Now he and his mother travel around helping restless spirits that need help moving on. Cas is blindsided when he meets Anna Korlov, the ghost of a murdered teen who kills anyone who sets foot in her completely haunted house except Cas. Blake's vivid imagery, especially in the many scary scenes, is cinematic and compelling, as is the predictable but touching relationship between Anna and Cas. Once Cas solves Anna's dilemma, he moves on to the issue of avenging his father's death. It's one too many threads and feels tacked on to the otherwise complete and engrossing ghost story. Several interesting secondary characters, including a surprisingly un-Queen Bee popular girl, should become more developed in future books, signaled by the abrupt ending. Blake's smooth combination of gore and romance should have little problem attracting the Twilight crowd.--Carton, Debbi. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-Theseus Cassio Lowood is a legacy ghost killer. He inherited his gift and his weapon, an athame, from his father, who was killed and devoured by a ghost when Cas was seven. The teen and his mother, a white witch, are constantly on the move following leads to unquiet spirits wreaking havoc on the innocent. After the killing with which the book opens, Cas and his mom head to Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the trail of a particularly violent ghoul nicknamed "Anna Dressed in Blood." Here, he finds friendship as well as his ghost. Just when readers think they've reached the denouement, Blake propels the plot in new and unexpected directions. The novel is a love story, a high-school buddy story, a story of revenge and tragedy, and a bildungsroman. The language is typical-teenage-coarse, and it is totally in keeping with the realities of adolescent speech. The violence is fittingly disgusting and not for the weak of stomach. The relationships among the characters, including Cas and his mother, are multidimensional and satisfying.-Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Strings Attached
Click to search this book in our catalog   Blundell, Judy

Book list Blundell, a National Book Award winner for What I Saw and How I Lied (2008), returns to themes of lies and secrets and this novel has plenty. It's 1950, and 17-year-old Kit Corrigan has left Providence, Rhode Island, for the bright lights of New York, where she intends to make it as a dancer. When her estranged boyfriend's father, Nate, offers her an apartment and arranges a job for her as a Lido girl, Kit doesn't understand all the ramifications. Sure, Nate wants news of his son, Billy, when Billy comes home from the army on leave, but though Kit knows Nate's involved with the mob, she doesn't foresee how all that can touch her. Oops. There's really not much of the teen about Kit she could be 21 as easily as 17 but her voice neatly propels the action, even through the occasionally annoying back-and-forthing in time. One part Jackie Collins novel, one part melodrama (had this been a 1950s movie, Douglas Sirk would have been perfect to direct), and all Blundell, this book is hard to put down.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-November 1950 in New York City: a time and place in which everything changes for Kit Corrigan. After dropping out of high school in Providence to pursue dancing and acting, a breakup with Billy Benedict, a college boy and the son of a powerful mob lawyer, propels her to the Big Apple. A fraternal triplet whose mother died in childbirth, Kit has been raised by a working-class father with the sometime help of his sister, Delia. Her brother, Jamie, and Billy have enlisted in the Korean War. In New York, Kit's talent and gorgeous red hair help land her in the chorus of a quick-to-close Broadway show. Her money is disappearing when Mr. Benedict shows up to dangle a carrot she can't ignore: a cozy apartment and an audition to be a Lido Doll. Is it so much just to tell him when she hears from Billy, help with the occasional package, and chat with certain men who frequent the Lido? Goings-on at the club get increasingly sinister, Kit's neighbors are being persecuted as Reds, and somehow Aunt Delia's disappearance is linked to the teen's current New York life. Evoking the glamour, grit, and gusto of the era, Blundell has produced a compelling narrative with well-crafted characters who bring different ambitions, fears, and memories toward tragic collisions. Circling back and forth through the years of Kit's life, readers dip into her Great Depression childhood, her family's bootlegging past, and the stark revelations of the adult world.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly The New York City mobster scene during the 1950s is vibrantly brought to life in this saga of a poor dancer who pays a high price for the breaks she gets. When the story opens, 17-year-old Kit Corrigan has left her Providence, R.I., family for the lights of Broadway and still has mixed feelings about her hotheaded ex-boyfriend, Billy, who has since joined the army. Then Kit receives an offer she can't refuse: become a snoop for Billy's gangster father in exchange for a much-needed Manhattan apartment and a nightclub gig. Kit almost immediately regrets her decision but is unable to prevent a future tainted by heartache, deception, and murder. Past tragedies suffered by Kit and her Irish-American family are artfully woven into the plot; if the book is a little slow-moving at first, National Book Award-winner Blundell (What I Saw and How I Lied) successfully constructs a complex web of intrigue that connects characters in unexpected ways. History and theater buffs will especially appreciate her attention to detail-Blundell again demonstrates she can turn out first-rate historical fiction. Ages 13-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
A Time of Miracles
Click to search this book in our catalog   Bondoux, Anne-Laure

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Blaise Fortune has gone by the name Koumail for most of his life with Gloria in the war-torn Republic of Georgia. Although he loves her like a mother, he enjoys hearing the story of how she rescued him from a train that had derailed and his French mother, a passenger, died, and he dreams of the day he will find his real family. When the Soviet Union collapses, Gloria and Koumail begin a long, perilous journey to France where she believes he can live the life he deserves, without the stress and strife of war. Readers follow them through refugee camps, alternating between times of more peaceful hardship and periods of danger and flight. When Gloria tells Koumail to hide in a truck, he makes it to France but she is left behind. As he grows from a child into an adolescent, Koumail begins to wonder more about his true identity, and the novel culminates nine years later with a heartbreaking realization. The story is written in beautiful, quiet prose and offers a touch of hope, along with tragedy. The characters and story are well formed, but young people unfamiliar with the circumstances of life behind the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union might be confused as much of the conflict and political situation isn't explained until near the end of the book. However, those who stay with it will be rewarded with an exceptional story.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Blaise Fortune has gone by the name Koumail for most of his life with Gloria in the war-torn Republic of Georgia. Although he loves her like a mother, he enjoys hearing the story of how she rescued him from a train that had derailed and his French mother, a passenger, died, and he dreams of the day he will find his real family. When the Soviet Union collapses, Gloria and Koumail begin a long, perilous journey to France where she believes he can live the life he deserves, without the stress and strife of war. Readers follow them through refugee camps, alternating between times of more peaceful hardship and periods of danger and flight. When Gloria tells Koumail to hide in a truck, he makes it to France but she is left behind. As he grows from a child into an adolescent, Koumail begins to wonder more about his true identity, and the novel culminates nine years later with a heartbreaking realization. The story is written in beautiful, quiet prose and offers a touch of hope, along with tragedy. The characters and story are well formed, but young people unfamiliar with the circumstances of life behind the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union might be confused as much of the conflict and political situation isn't explained until near the end of the book. However, those who stay with it will be rewarded with an exceptional story.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly "There's nothing wrong with making up stories to make life more bearable," says Gloria, the wise woman who is the soul of Bondoux's (The Killer's Tears) beautifully nuanced novel. As she and seven-year-old Koumail flee the Republic of Georgia to escape uprisings and fighting during the Soviet Union's collapse, Gloria soothes the boy with the story of his past. She says she rescued him from a train wreck near her family's orchard after his badly injured mother "begged me with her eyes, and I understood what she expected of me." His real name, she says, is Blaise Fortune and he was born in France, where he and Gloria are headed. The two make a perilous, five-year journey westward through war-torn territory, encountering a memorable entourage of fellow refugees with poignant stories of their own. Continuously embellishing Blaise's life story, Gloria keeps hope alive for the boy, believing it is the "one and only remedy against despair." Years after their sudden, wrenching separation, a reunion brings to light the final, heartrending version of Blaise's past. Though Blaise narrates this splendidly translated novel, Gloria's voice will long resonate. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list After the collapse of the Soviet Union, seven-year-old Koumaïl and his guardian, Gloria, flee violent unrest and begin an arduous journey across the Caucasus toward France. That's where Koumaïl was born, according to Gloria, who describes how she found Koumaïl in the wreckage of a train accident that killed his French mother. Gloria became the boy's devoted guardian, and Koumaïl recounts their inseparable bond as they risk everything, finding shelter in forests, camps, and gypsy settlements. Bondoux, author of the multi-award-winning The Killer's Tears (2006), tells another unusual, wrenching story of a vulnerable child. Koumaïl's first-person voice shifts uneasily between a young person's naïveté and an adult's acquired wisdom: I'm in a rush to grow up. I sense that the world in which we live is hostile to children. That may be a natural combination in an individual who has endured so much so young, though, and in potent details, Bondoux creates indelible scenes of resilient children who, like Koumaïl, find strength in painful memories: To be less afraid of the darkness and the unknown, I call on my ghosts. --Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Bronxwood
Click to search this book in our catalog   Booth, Coe

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In Tyrell (Scholastic, 2006), the teen dumped the girl who lied to him and left his mother to her own devices. He set up a new life in Bronxwood, crashing with two friends who are heavily involved in drug dealing. Now his father's out of prison and wants to reunite the family, but Tyrell finds the rules and posturing too much to handle and stays out on his own. He quickly realizes that without his own DJ equipment, he can't make the money he needs to support himself and take care of his girlfriend, Jasmine. When the decision comes down to what's best for his little brother, Troy, and what's best for Tyrell, the tough choice will change his life. Returning to the inner-city setting that is as much a character as any of the individuals, Booth builds up the conflict brought on by Tyrell's temptations-the drug dealers are more violent and persuasive, the girls are more enticing, and the family dynamics are more charged. Action scenes combine with interpersonal exchanges to keep the pace moving forward at a lightning speed, but Booth never sacrifices the street-infused dialogue and emotional authenticity that characterize her works. She has created a compelling tale of a teen still trying to make the right choices despite the painful consequences.-Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list With the same heartbreak and honesty as the widely acclaimed Tyrell (2006), this fast-paced sequel continues the title teen's immediate first-person narrative of his struggle in the hood. Tyrell's dad has been released from prison, but having him at home does not make life easier; in fact, the two face off verbally and then in a brutal physical fight. It is hard to make enough money working as a DJ at parties, and Tyrell gets drawn into drug dealing on the violent streets. He finds escape with girls, and he has sex with more than one, although he loves gorgeous Latina Jasmine, whom he met in a motel for the homeless. Born in the Bronx, Booth has worked as a social worker there, and she is not easy on the system, offering no sweet resolution; in fact, things only get worse, and the realism continues in the characters' raw language (including the n- and f-words). Still, the hope rings true through Tyrell's sense of survival and responsibility ( I hafta ) as he cares for his brother, his friends, and his girl.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Beauty Queens
Click to search this book in our catalog   Bray, Libba

Publishers Weekly Bray follows her Printz Award-winner, Going Bovine, with an only slightly less absurd premise in this out-there satire about a planeload of teen beauty queens who crash onto a (not so) deserted island. Lord of the Flies with an evening gown competition, anyone? Led by the indefatigable Miss Texas, Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins, the 14 surviving contestants must rely on competitive moxie. Despite the large cast, Bray makes the Misses distinctive, though each is more a stand-in for a particular brand of diversity than a fully dimensional teenager (one's black, one's deaf, one's gay, one is a boy in the process of becoming a girl). Poor Miss New Mexico stands out because she has a serving tray embedded in her forehead. ("Bangs are the new black!") Halfway through the ordeal, a boat full of shirtless, reality TV pirates runs aground, allowing for some smoking hot scenes. Fun footnotes, contestant profiles, and scripted commercial breaks are interspersed. There's a lot of message, but every time the story veers toward sermonizing, Bray corrects with another crack about our media-saturated, appearance-obsessed, consumer-driven society. Ages 13-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list When a plane carrying contestants for the Miss Teen Dream pageant crashes on a remote island, the survivors face greater challenges than just finding food, shelter, and missing cosmetics. Unbeknownst to the girls, the island is not deserted: its volcano houses a secret U.S.-government enclave involved in illegal weapons trading, and the cast grows further after some studly reality-TV pirates arrive on the scene. Outlandish? Yes. And there are characters that veer toward stereotype: take-charge Miss Texas, incognito-journalist Miss New Hampshire, and transgender Miss Rhode Island (who has a surprise under her sash), among others. But rather than letting the plot reel out of control, Bray, author of the Printz Award-winning Going Bovine (2009), spins this hilarious romp into an examination of femininity and feminism, sex and sexuality. And while they await rescue, the girls discover moving truths about themselves. The text is interspersed with commercial breaks, contestant fact sheets, footnotes, radio broadcasts, and spoofs of reality TV and celebrity status, all of which add to the appeal of this sure-to-be popular title.--Dobrez, Cind. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Whip-smart social commentary, surreal plot elements, and feminist themes come together in this bizarre and brilliant story about a group of beauty pageant contestants stranded on a remote island after a plane crash. Undaunted by disaster, the teens hone their survival skills as they practice dance routines and pageant interviews, while a ruthless corporation secretly plans to use them as pawns in an arms deal with an insane dictator. Beneath an entertaining veneer of witty dialogue and comic absurdity lies a thought-provoking exploration of society's expectations for how young women should look, feel, think, and act. Wry footnotes lampoon the media and pop culture, while hilariously scripted "commercial breaks" interrupt the narrative, leading readers to question the pervasiveness of self-improvement products that make consumers feel inadequate. Using multiple points of view to tell the story, Bray rises admirably to the challenge of developing a large cast of characters. Each pageant contestant possesses much more than surface-level beauty, and even the most stereotypically ditzy girl offers unique and unexpected strength. Readers from all backgrounds will identify with the representation of various religions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations among the characters. Occasional strong language and a frank approach to sex may make this novel most appropriate for older teens. The empowering theme of self-acceptance and the affirming message that women should not underestimate themselves or others makes this novel a potentially life-changing book for budding feminists.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Brooklyn, Burning
Click to search this book in our catalog   Brezenoff, Steve

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-It's a summer of love for Kid and Scout, two runaway teenagers living in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Complicating their romance, Kid is wanted for questioning about a tragic warehouse fire that happened just before the summer began. As the season draws to a close and Kid finally decides to work toward proving his/her innocence, he/she worries about losing Scout before leaving Brooklyn forever. The story is presented in nonlinear format, often flashing back to Kid's previous relationship with an older street junkie named Felix. It is implied that this relationship ended tragically and explains why Kid is depressed when the story begins. Told from Kid's perspective, the title avoids assigning gender pronouns to the protagonist, allowing readers to make their own decisions about the character's gender and sexual identity. It's also assumed that Kid has not yet made these particular decisions either. While this is a somewhat clever idea, it also proves to be confusing at times and may ultimately prevent readers' from identifying with the character. This, combined with a menagerie of forgettable and unrealistic supporting characters, will limit the book's appeal.-Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list At one point in Brezenoff's ambitious new novel, protagonist Kid's father snarls, I've got the only kid who doesn't know whether to be straight or gay or a girl or a boy or what. Well, not the only kid. Kid's new love interest, Scout, is also sexually ambiguous and, like Kid, non-gender-specific. In fact, the author never does tell the reader the sexual identity of either of the two teens. This makes for a certain amount of confusion, as does the author's narrative strategy of moving backward and forward in time. But this strategy does add tension to a second mystery: who set the fire that destroyed a historic (but deserted) warehouse? The police think it was Kid, but was it? Meanwhile, Kid and Scout are discovering their tender feelings for each other and making music: Kid's a drummer, and Scout's a singer (and guitar player, of course). The question raised by all this is not whether their love will last but, rather, do their genders and sexual identities matter. Heated discussions are sure to follow.--Cart, Michae. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Sixteen-year-old Kid, a passionate drummer and painter, spends summers on the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, taking refuge in Fish's bar, practicing drumming in the bar's cellar, and hanging out with friends. It's at Fish's that Kid meets Scout, a magnetic musician that Kid is drawn to but reluctant to get close to, still heartbroken after falling in love with-and losing-Felix, a musician and junkie, the previous summer. Brezenoff (The Absolute Value of -1) alternates between the events of each summer, but it's another authorial decision-to never make clear Kid or Scout's gender-that gives the story, and their relationship, their power (Kid's narration directly addresses Scout as "you"). The author throws out occasional references to Scout's "dirty-honey" singing voice and pixyish looks, and at one point Kid's father rages, "I've got the only kid I know who doesn't know whether to be straight or gay or a girl or a boy or what." But Brezenoff lets readers take the reins, recasting and reimagining the lead roles as often as they like. For readers with little use for labels, it's an intimate yet wonderfully open rock 'n' roll love story. Ages 12-18. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-It's a summer of love for Kid and Scout, two runaway teenagers living in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Complicating their romance, Kid is wanted for questioning about a tragic warehouse fire that happened just before the summer began. As the season draws to a close and Kid finally decides to work toward proving his/her innocence, he/she worries about losing Scout before leaving Brooklyn forever. The story is presented in nonlinear format, often flashing back to Kid's previous relationship with an older street junkie named Felix. It is implied that this relationship ended tragically and explains why Kid is depressed when the story begins. Told from Kid's perspective, the title avoids assigning gender pronouns to the protagonist, allowing readers to make their own decisions about the character's gender and sexual identity. It's also assumed that Kid has not yet made these particular decisions either. While this is a somewhat clever idea, it also proves to be confusing at times and may ultimately prevent readers' from identifying with the character. This, combined with a menagerie of forgettable and unrealistic supporting characters, will limit the book's appeal.-Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Queen of Hearts
Click to search this book in our catalog   Brooks, Martha

School Library Journal Gr 7-10-It is 1940, and Canada, along with the rest of the world, is at war. Marie-Claire, 15, lives on a farm with Maman, Papa, and her younger brother and sister. Never easy, life gets much harder after down-on-his-luck Oncle Gerard comes to stay and then dies from tuberculosis in the local infirmary. Soon, Marie-Claire and her siblings are diagnosed with TB and consigned to the same institution. Adventuresome and headstrong Marie-Claire is confined to a bed next to painfully cheerful Signy and told to be a "patient patient." When her brother dies just before Christmas, Marie-Claire must come to terms with the blame she has placed on herself for having taken him to visit their Oncle, as well as her father's inability to deal with what has happened to his children. The novel provides an intriguing glimpse into the now-unfamiliar world of TB sanatoriums. From a scene in which the women tan naked to soak up the sun to Marie-Claire's stolen moment spent flying a kite by moonlight with her new love, the story is played out in small moments, sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes sweet, and always poignant. Brooks masterfully re-creates a TB sanatorium through the protagonist's experience and believable characters. A well-drawn, innocent, yet compelling work of historical fiction.-Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Set in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Canada during the early 1940s, this moving perspective of the home front during wartime is told in the first-person, present-tense voice of Marie-Claire, who at 14 is infected with TB and must move with her younger brother and sister from their Manitoba farm to a treatment center, where they are separated. Over nearly three years, she suffers not only the crushing physical symptoms of her disease but also loneliness, fury at her parents, and overwhelming sorrow and guilt when her little brother dies. So weak at first that she cannot get out of bed, she slowly recovers, but others do not. Along with the medical details--lesions and treatments, infection, collapsed lungs, fluoroscopy--the personal drama drives the story, from scenes of Marie-Claire venting furiously to her sweet, supportive roommate abou. this stupid pathetic plac. to surprising reversals. Marie-Claire falls in love, but there is no easy resolution, especially with her distant dad. Readers will be held by the story's heartbreaking truths, right to the end.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal In the 1940's, Marie-Claire and her siblings contract tuberculosis and move to a sanatorium in Manitoba. Undergoing treatment, Marie-Claire learns of love, loss, and friendship. This novel is deeply moving and emotionally honest, and readers will empathize with its characters. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly When 15-year-old Marie-Claire and her younger brother and sister are diagnosed with tuberculosis, they are admitted to Quebec's Pembina Hills Sana-torium, where they separately struggle with the disease. In the 1940s, the only cure-according to Marie-Claire's nurse-is "rest.... besides eating properly and breathing in fresh air at night and during rest hours and, sometimes, surgery." Brooks's (Mistik Lake) premise may not instantly click with readers, but they will sympathize with the book's prickly heroine, who feels as though "my world as a normal person has just ended." Marie-Claire has many anxieties, from worrying about her siblings to fearing a grisly operation. But as Marie-Claire recuperates, she grows up, too, beginning a sweet romance with another patient and learning to support those she loves, even though "bad things happen and will keep on happening." Marie-Claire and her fellow patients' fears will be recognizable to contemporary readers-in a heartbreaking scene, another girl, Signy, wonders, "And who will love me?" And those worries gain real depth from truly being a matter of life or death, instead of just feeling that way. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Bitter End
Click to search this book in our catalog   Brown, Jennifer

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Alex is looking for something real-more real than her distant father, who never speaks in complete sentences, more real than the faded memories of her mother, who died on the night she was leaving her family, even more real than her two best friends and their plan for a graduation trip to Colorado. She thinks she has found what she has been looking for in Cole, the new boy at school whom she has been assigned to tutor. Alex is flattered when he shows interest in her, and he rapidly becomes her entire world. As she tries to balance her friends and Cole, her life begins to unravel. Bethany and Zack do not like Cole, and he does not want to share her. His increasing jealousy leads to escalating abuse, both physical and verbal. Her friends and coworkers know something is wrong, but Alex covers for him because she loves him and believes him when he says that he is going to change. When a former girlfriend comes to talk to her about Cole's abuse of her and others, and tells her that he and his family moved because of her lawsuit against him, Alex finally admits that her boyfriend is an abuser. That night he is waiting at her car after work and beats her until she is certain she is going to die. Thanks to the intervention of her boss she survives and begins the long road to recovery. Gritty and disturbing, this novel should be in all collections serving teens. It could be used in programs about abuse, as well as in psychology or sociology classes.-Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list When Alex and new-guy Cole hit it off during their tutoring sessions, Alex can't believe her good fortune. Not only is Cole sweet, gorgeous, and fun but he knows exactly how to make her feel special. He wants to be where she is, even watching her while she works at the Bread Bowl. He cares enough to be jealous of her best friends, Zack and Bethany, especially Zack. He is certainly different from her still grieving, emotionless father! Many readers will spot Cole's ultimately abusive tendencies early on, but Bitter End is rarely didactic, and Brown draws on her professional psychology background to create a nuanced novel that will help young readers explore not only why women allow themselves to be abused but how love factors into their inertia in seeking help. Brown creates multifaceted characters as well as realistic, insightful descriptions of Alex's emotions, and readers will empathize with Alex's terrifying decision to cut all ties before Cole harms her further. A tough but important addition to the YA romance shelves.--Bradburn, France. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Haunted by the death of her mother many years earlier in a car accident, Alex has long dreamed of visiting the Colorado mountains that were her mother's destination. Alex and BFFs Bethany and Zack are gearing up for a cross-country road trip to Colorado as a graduation present when Alex falls for Cole, a new senior who seems to understand her in ways no one has before-and who is prone to violent rages. As in The Hate List, Brown demonstrates an expert ability to handle difficult subject matter. Cole's brutal abuse and manipulations, Alex's inability to disclose her battering (and her willingness to make excuses for Cole), and Bethany and Zack's frustration and fear all feel entirely authentic. The book's power-and its value-comes from the honest portrayal of characters who simply can't figure out how to bring an ugly, evident truth to light. Brown's deliberate pacing and the gradual unveiling of Cole's nature make the story, and Cole and Alex's relationship, feel akin to a train gathering momentum, one whose destruction is as assured as it is tragic. Ages 15-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Liar's Moon
Click to search this book in our catalog   Bunce, Elizabeth C

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Durrel and Raffin from Starcrossed (Scholastic, 2010) are back. Pickpocket Digger is now in her home city of Gerse, but life has not returned to normal. Civil war is dividing the country and the peoples' loyalties. Those with magical gifts are being imprisoned and tortured; and Digger's brother, Werne the Inquisitor, is trying to compel her to assist him in rounding them up. In the midst of this, the young lord Durrel has been arrested for the murder of his wife. As he once saved Digger's life, she vows to help him. What she discovers is a muddle of politics, intrigue, and poison that even the most accomplished sleuth would be hard pressed to sort out. This mystery/fantasy hybrid is intriguing and complex, and the setting is well-imagined. Digger is a scrappy, cynical, morally deficient, yet honorable, thief. Readers who like independent heroines and/or Philip Pullman's "Sally Lockhart Mystery" series (Knopf) will enjoy this novel. Although confident readers can follow the twisting plot, the complicated situations may cause confusion for some teens not familiar with the first book.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In this sequel to Star Crossed (2010), gifted thief Digger has returned to Gerse to discover that nobleman and friend Durrel Decath has been imprisoned after being accused of murdering his wife. After determining to prove Durrel's innocence, Digger becomes entangled in a web of deceit and intrigue. Bunce incorporates mystery, suspense, romance, and social issues into an absorbing fantasy-adventure that is likely to resonate most with returning readers, although the appended lexicon will help orient newcomers. Digger's highly descriptive first-person narrative brings the settings and diverse characters to life, and the cliff-hanger ending is sure to leave readers anticipating the follow-up.--Rosenfeld, Shelle Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Stay
Click to search this book in our catalog   Caletti, Deb

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Interweaving a young woman's past and present experiences in alternating chapters, this novel reveals how Clara's romance with Christian tips slowly but inexorably toward obsession during her junior and senior years of high school. After graduation, Clara and her father slip off to a Washington beach town in secret to escape her now ex-boyfriend's frightening and unpredictable reach into her current life. In this cunningly crafted narrative, readers will slowly come to understand the danger posed by the cute Scandinavian boy who swept Clara off her feet and how what feels like love can crack and crumble when an insecure and possessive guy won't accept their breakup. Her summer job at a lighthouse and the friends she and her father meet, especially Finn, who sails his family's tourist boat with his brother, make Clara hopeful about the future. The suspense rises like the tide while readers applaud the teen's healthy new life and relationships but fear that she hasn't seen the last of the unstable and unpredictable Christian. Characters and new love ring true and would make this fine chick lit in and of itself, but the looming specter of the ex-boyfriend finding Clara makes it a novel with an appealing edge. Fear tinges this summer romance and underscores the issue of abusive and claustrophobic relationships among teens.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Clara has just graduated from high school, and her intense relationship with Christian is over, but he cannot accept that reality. The more he pushes and pleads, the more she pulls away. When Clara and her writer-father go to the coast for the summer without telling anyone, she begins to come to grips with Christian's obsession. Making friends with local sailor Finn Bishop helps Clara see herself more clearly and confront the damage of the relationship. Told in Clara's clear, poignant voice, with occasional revealing footnotes from the narrator, Caletti's prose is at its best. The real Washington State locales of Deception Pass and Possession Point seem to be used deliberately, but readers won't mind the coincidence. Finn serves as a lovely foil to Christian, and a subplot involving Clara's father and dead mother adds depth. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen's books, especially Dreamland (2000), this is a moving tale of a young woman learning how to love, to live, and to forgive.--Moore, Melissa Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Click to search this book in our catalog   Carson, Rae
2012
The Beginning of After
Click to search this book in our catalog   Castle, Jennifer

School Library Journal Gr 7-10-Laurel is home doing her French homework while her parents and brother go out for dessert with the neighbors. A car accident kills everyone except the driver, her neighbor. Laurel's grieving is complicated by not knowing if the accident was the driver's fault (he had been drinking), and by a strained and complicated relationship with David, his son, who was not in the car either. With his mother dead and his father in a coma, David runs away and Laurel is left caring for his dog. Her grandmother moves in, and the story follows Laurel as she makes her way through senior year. Castle has created a strong and independent girl. Laurel struggles through a crisis even as she deals with more-typical teen problems. Two boys are love interests, but they are never Laurel's sole focus. She has her art; her college applications; a new job; and, most of all, her grief to deal with. Castle gives her a solid support system-a loving grandmother; an understanding guidance counselor; a sweet best friend; and a stereotypical, but well-intentioned, therapist. Perhaps all this support is why she copes so well. In fact, Laurel copes almost unbelievably well, breaking down and crying only a time or two throughout the entire 400 pages. The pace is slow, but the detailed writing and smart, realistically cool characters will be appealing to many girls. Offer this to teens who are waiting for the next Sarah Dessen book.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly After Gayle Forman's acclaimed If I Stay, books tackling the same topic-a girl surviving the death of her parents and brother in a car crash-face inevitable comparisons. And although there's certainly room for more stories with this premise, Castle's debut, while affecting, comes up short. Sixteen-year-old Laurel reluctantly goes to Passover dinner with her family and their neighbors, the Kaufmans, whose son, David, is an estranged childhood friend. After dinner, everyone except Laurel and David goes out for ice cream; only David's father survives the subsequent accident, and he is left in a coma. While Laurel's journey to recovery and her blossoming romance with David are compelling reasons to keep reading, the story never delivers the raw emotional truths expected. Laurel's reactions to the accident get lost among other mini-dramas that pop up along the way, and the blunt descriptions of her feelings (as well as how early in the book the accident takes place, before the characters are really established) render her grief flat and generic. Too little "before" makes the "after" less wrenching. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list All it takes is a moment and a reckless driver, and Laurel's world is changed forever: her parents and her brother are dead, and suddenly the SAT and college apps seem irrelevant. Her BFF, Meg, tries to support her but also needs to look forward toward their senior year, so Laurel feels alone in her grief until romance comes unbidden from the most unlikely source the driver's son, David and nothing is cut and dried. This first novel takes some of its emotional clues from Gayle Forman's breakout novel If I Stay (2009) and will be well received by Sarah Dessen fans. Laurel's grieving process is believable and will resonate with all who have lost someone they love. The subplot of part-time job in an animal clinic and its four-legged personalities is an unusual mood-lifter that works. While some of the plot devices seem almost too convenient, most readers will gladly overlook them while they cheer for Laurel to find a way forward.--Moore, Melissa Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Hush
Click to search this book in our catalog   Chayil, Eishes

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-After six long years, Gittel is still haunted by her friend's suicide. Now 17, she knows what happened to Devory and why, but their ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has refused to accept the truth. The incest that led to Devory's death is not acknowledged, because "that doesn't happen in our community." This thoughtful, disturbing, and insightful novel provides an insider's view of an insular society that denies the reality of rape and oppression within its ranks. Gittel is poised to be married to a good man, the best fate she can obtain. The present action of the story is the unfolding of Gittel's arranged marriage, from negotiations between the families and her only meeting with her intended groom, to the wedding ceremony, young married life and the birth of her first child. But the plot revolves around her internal struggles to reconcile her faith and culture with the awful secrets that she knows and has witnessed. Her own purity-and therefore desirability-is linked to her silence. Speaking out carries too high a cost in a society in which the appearance of holiness and probity is everything. Family and social life within today's Chassidic community are portrayed with affection for the warmth and the enduring values but with a clear eye for the vulnerability of the young and the hurt. When Gittel finally does try to tell her friend's story, she comes up against the powerful men of the community. It is fitting that it is through the written word that both Gittel and the author are able to speak for the Devorys of the world.-Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In this stunning debut, Chayil (a pseudonym) takes readers into a cloistered society and exposes its secrets. Moving back and forth between 2003 and the present, Gittel, living in a Brooklyn Hasidic community, remembers her best friend, Devory. Her family seemed like any other, lots of children, ultrareligious, but one night when Gittel sleeps over, she watches as Devory's brother forces Devory to do something under the covers. Gittel doesn't understand. This is a community where teenagers in arranged marriages don't learn about sex until days before the wedding. But when Devory hangs herself and the community covers up the reasons, Gittel is haunted by the girl she couldn't help. Taken from an incident in her own life, Chayil's cri de coeur might as easily have been published as an adult book. She does, however, have a wonderful way of getting inside a child's head. Readers may have trouble with the story's frequent Yiddish phrases and be shocked by its casual fear and hatred of goyland. But this is powerful stuff and a glimpse into places not often seen.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Bitter Melon
Click to search this book in our catalog   Chow, Cara

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-While this novel will tend to resonate most with Asian-Americans, many teens can find kinship with a high school senior straining against rigid parental expectations. Living in late-1980s San Francisco in a one-bedroom apartment with a Chinese mother focused entirely on the future success of her daughter, Frances (Fei Ting) is accidentally scheduled for a public-speaking class instead of Berkeley-worthy calculus. Soon she is so taken with her free-spirited teacher, Ms. Taylor, that she misses the deadline to change classes and must lie to her mother, especially once her talents lead her to off-campus speech competitions. Frances takes second place in her first attempt and gets to know Collins, a boy she has met in the Princeton Review class her mother is making her attend to boost her SAT score. Lies build until her mother finds a forged report card with no calculus. A Chinese American Association competition that Frances wins gives the woman a chance to take pride in her daughter's accomplishment, but instead of releasing her from a tunnel-future straight through to medical school, the win merely recasts the future Frances: now her studies must be journalism and she, the next Connie Chung. As senior year goes on, Frances works to determine her own fate, choose her own college, control her own money, and even date Collins. Chow skillfully describes the widening gulf between mother and daughter and the disparity between the Chinese culture's expectation of filial duty and the American virtue of independence.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Your papers say American but your blood is Chinese. You inherit my genes. You eat my rice. You will mold to my shape. In San Francisco, Frances has grown up feeling crushed by the weight of her mother's expectations that she will go to Berkeley and become a wealthy doctor. Frances doesn't actively defy her mother until she takes a senior year speech class and discovers the truth in her teacher's message, language is power. A few cultural details point to the 1980s setting, but this debut reads like a searing, contemporary story of timeless parent-child friction across cultural and generational borders. Frances' mother's cruelty is shockingly unrelenting and includes some Mommie Dearest moments. Chow adds depth to these scenes by making clear not only Frances' boiling rage but also her confusion as she balances loyalty, tradition, duty, and independence. Readers will connect with Frances' fury and yearning as well as her sense of empowerment when she begins to find her voice: I am not a helpless prisoner anymore. Like a secret agent, I am plotting my escape. --Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Frances lives to please her mother, pushing herself for top grades so that she can get into Berkeley and become a doctor. But at the start of her senior year, she is mistakenly scheduled for speech class, where she learns she is a natural at public speaking, and she begins to question the path her mother has outlined for her. "If you eat bitterness all the time, you will get used to it. Then you will like it," Frances's mother tells her, referring to the eponymous dish, a blatant metaphor for the tight confines of their life together. Frances begins to make choices for herself, first hiding them from her mother, but ultimately confronting her. Though the viciousness her mother displays at times strains credulity (as when she beats Frances with a speech trophy, telling Frances she wants her to die), teens will be able to identify with the intense pressure Frances is under to succeed. The story follows a foreseeable course, but debut novelist Chow's descriptions, dialogue, and details of Chinese-American life in 1980s San Francisco shine, and Frances's growth is rewarding. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Texas Gothic
Click to search this book in our catalog   Clement-Moore, Rosemary
2012
Leverage
Click to search this book in our catalog   Cohen, Joshua C.
 
2012
The FitzOsbornes in Exile
Click to search this book in our catalog   Cooper, Michelle

Book list Cooper's follow-up to A Brief History of Montmaray (2009) has the surviving members (all five of them) of the fictional kingdom of Montmaray taking refuge in England following the Nazi bombing of their tiny island home. In journal entries that span the tumultuous years from 1937 to 1939, Princess Sophie recounts her aunt's attempts to get her and her cousin, the firebrand Veronica, introduced to society and married off to the richest royalty she can find. But the girls are far more preoccupied by the growing threat of fascism and finding a way to present their minute nation's case to the moribund League of Nations than tea parties and debutante balls. Readers looking for frippery and fluff won't find much in Cooper's thorny, rewarding novel, which cleverly injects the Montmaravian kingdom into a rich historical, political, and ideological context. Though it lacks some of the dramatic tension of the first book, this is still top-shelf historical fiction that offers a glimpse of the conflicts that defined the middle part of the twentieth century from within the prism of high society.--Chipman, Ia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-At the end of A Brief History of Montmaray (Knopf, 2009), the FitzOsbornes flee their fictional island kingdom after an attack by the Nazis. The young royals are homeless and are taken in by their widowed Aunt Charlotte at her English estate. Although they are relieved to have a roof over their heads and food to fill their stomachs, being "kept" comes with a price. Aunt Charlotte begins training the girls to be proper ladies and find wealthy husbands, while the boys are expected to receive a respectable education and find suitable wives. Aunt Charlotte has her hands full. While Veronica and Sophie comply with being thrust into London Society's Season, they do so reluctantly; Veronica has her eye on getting the word out about the injustices of Nazism, and Sophie's goal is to not look foolish. All of the characters challenge the notions of "proper" behavior while trying to stay under their aunt's scornful radar. They are not always successful, and young Henry's antics are some of the funniest moments in the book. Political activism is a major theme in this story. The author explains, "While Montmaray does not exist, most of the world events described in the novel actually occurred," and she includes a lengthy list of real people who are mentioned in the book. Readers who enjoys good character development and/or historical novels will be drawn in easily.-Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Where I Belong
Click to search this book in our catalog   Cross, Gillian
2012
I Will Save You
Click to search this book in our catalog   de la Pena, Matt

Book list After running away from a group home, 17-year-old Kidd Ellison sets up camp at a beach, where he is put to work by Mr. Red, an aging surfer who runs a maintenance shop. Hardworking and handsome, if somewhat slow, Kidd begins to make friends with some of the camp's teens, especially Olivia, a blond beauty who wears a ski cap that covers part of her face regardless of the weather. Then Devon, Kidd's former best friend and nemesis, finds Kidd and threatens to destroy the peaceful life that he has fallen into. De la Peña has crafted a taut psychological novel that will both frustrate and fascinate readers. Narrated by Kidd, it moves from the immediate past and a possible murder to the present, then to the far past, constantly offering clues to the mysteries of Kidd's sad and violent life. The intriguing, well-developed characters introduce themes of class and gender friction, creating a puzzling and sobering yet strangely hopeful book that will stay with readers.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
What Happened to Goodbye
Click to search this book in our catalog   Dessen, Sarah

Publishers Weekly Dessen's 10th novel is another smoothly written journey of self-discovery. Mclean Sweet, named for "the all-time winningest basketball coach of Defriese University," has moved four times in two years, following her father's job as a restaurant consultant. Each time she moves she reinvents herself, not so much to try on a new identity but to rid herself of the original one-only daughter of a couple whose divorce was an awful, public scandal. It becomes clear that although Defriese basketball was her father's obsession, Mclean's idol was her mother, and Mclean's lasting anger adds an emotional punch to a long narrative that doesn't otherwise have much of an arc. It will delight Dessen's passionate fans that Mclean and her father have landed in Lakeview (capital of Dessenland) and that the action ricochets between there and familiar (fictional) beach towns. As Mclean figures out how to make peace with her mother, she relies on friends made at both school and at the restaurant her father is trying to save. Dessen delivers another cast of authentic, likable characters, struggling to make sense of the world. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Mclean and her father have just moved to yet another town; the constant motion is an escapist strategy since her parents' acrimonious divorce, and usually, while her father tries to turn around another failing restaurant, Mclean attends the local high school and sports her newest identity. Here in Lakeview, though, Mclean suddenly feels like herself not a cheerleader, a drama geek, or a joiner, but Mclean, a new girl who gradually makes friends and may even have a boyfriend. Roots are dangerous, though, since her father will inevitably want to leave again. The novel nimbly weaves together familiar story lines of divorce, high-school happiness and angst, and teen-identity struggles with likable, authentic adult and teen characters and intriguing yet credible situations. The topics may be well-trod territory, but Dessen once again offers a substantive, well-crafted exploration of a teen's life that will deeply satisfy her legions of fans.--Bradburn, France. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Mclean Sweet, 17, has moved four times in the last three years. Surviving the scandalous breakup of her parents' marriage, she chooses to live with her father, a restaurant fixer who is assigned to a new project every few months. Although her mother, remarried and with three-year-old twins, tries regularly to reconnect with her, McLean is angry and resentful and will hardly have a conversation with her. In each town, she takes on a different name (some version of Elizabeth) and persona, and keeps personal relationships at arm's length. Now, in Lakeview, McLean is making friends in spite of herself. She is befriended by her neighbor and his close-knit group of buddies, and her resistance to making real and lasting connections starts to dissolve. Working together on an intricate model of the community is a not-so-subtle metaphor for Mclean building an emotional community for herself. When it's time for her dad to move on, she must decide where she will live for the final few months before heading off to college. Her ability to come to terms with the concessions and compromises people make in every meaningful relationship allows her to accept her fate as her dad is sent to another job and her mom moves (back) into her heart. These characters are real and interesting and the story line unrolls smoothly and with purpose. There's a slight lack of tension, however, that keeps it from being truly compelling. Still, Dessen's fans will be happy to devour this latest offering and will surely be able to relate to one of several engaging and evolving teenagers that populate the novel.-Karen Elliott, Grafton High School, WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Wither
Click to search this book in our catalog   DeStefano, Lauren

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In the near future, genetic engineering has given a single generation freedom from all physical ills and a long life, but something claims the lives of successive generations as women reach 20 and men reach 25. Many of the first generation and their offspring are fabulously wealthy, but the rest of the population struggles for a living. Rhine Ellery is 16 when she is kidnapped from Manhattan and selected as a bride for Linden Ashby, along with 18-year-old Jenna and 13-year-old Cecily. Jenna seems to be resigned to her existence and naive Cecily is delighted by her situation, but Rhine is determined to escape from her "husband" and his mansion in Florida to return north to her twin brother, Rowan. She finds an ally and love interest in Gabriel, a servant who is as much a prisoner as Rhine. Linden's father, Vaughn, is the true power in the house, controlling his son through disinformation and the "brides" through fear and lies. Vaughn conducts research in the mansion's basement, searching for a cure, but Rhine and Jenna suspect something sinister behind his supposed altruism. As time goes by, Rhine begins to soften toward Linden, who proves to be gentle and artistic, but her determination to escape never wavers. She proves herself to be a heroine who faces her situation with spirit and cleverness. The trapped bride and mysterious husband are straight out of Gothic romances. By stirring in elements of sheer creepiness with dystopia and the hot topic of polygamy, DeStafano creates a story that should have broad appeal.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list When scientists engineered genetically perfect children, everyone thought it would ensure the future of the human race. Though the first generation is nearly immortal, a virus causes all successive generations to die early: age 20 for women, 25 for men. Now, girls are kidnapped for brothels or polygamous marriages to breed children. Rhine is taken from her hardscrabble life and sold with two other girls to Linden Ashby. Though they live in a palatial Florida home surrounded by gardens and treated like royalty, the girls are sequestered from the outside world, and Rhine longs to escape. Her growing affection for her sister wives, her pity for Linden, and her fear of Housemaster Vaughn, Linden's manipulative father, keep her uncomfortably docile until she falls for servant Gabriel. This character-driven dystopia, more thoughtful than thrilling, sets up an arresting premise that succeeds because of Rhine's poignant, conflicted narrative and DeStefano's evocative prose. Many will appreciate the intense character drama; however, the world building is underdeveloped, with holes in internal logic.Still, this first title in the Chemical Garden Trilogy will surely be popular.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Opening the Chemical Garden trilogy, DeStefano's harrowing debut initially comes across as The Handmaid's Tale for YA readers. DeStefano, however, forgoes larger social analysis to depict the personal impact of a dystopian future on Rhine and Gabriel, teenagers with a handful of years to live. Science gave 21st-century America one generation of perfect babies; since then, war has destroyed the other continents, and a virus that kills girls by 20 and boys by 25 has ravaged subsequent generations. Healthy teenage girls are prized as breeding stock, and Rhine is kidnapped and forced into a polygamous marriage with the wealthy Linden Ashby, in whose palatial Florida home Gabriel is a servant. Pampered but imprisoned, Rhine only wants to get back to her twin brother, Rowan, in gritty Manhattan. And as Gabriel's furtive relationship with Rhine grows, he begins to share her dream of escape. DeStefano has an observant and occasionally pitiless eye, chronicling the cruelties, mercies, and inconsistencies of her young characters. The larger world is less precisely realized; it will be intriguing to see how DeStefano develops it as this promising trilogy progresses. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In the near future, genetic engineering has given one generation long life, but successive generations die as women reach age 20 and men reach 25. Sixteen-year-old Rhine is kidnapped to be a bride for wealthy Linden Ashby, but she is determined to escape from her "husband" and his sinister father. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Payback Time
Click to search this book in our catalog   Deuker, Carl

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Senior Daniel True is short, pale, and round, hence his nickname the Michelin Man, or Mitch, for short. His former elementary school best friend, Horst Diamond, is the star quarterback and BMOC at their Seattle high school. Mitch's ambition is to be an ace investigative reporter, a la Woodward and Bernstein, but the new editor of the school newspaper assigns him to cover sports. Worse still, Coach McNulty makes it clear that Mitch's job is to be Horst's cheerleader. McNulty intends to ride his star player to a college coaching job, and he won't let Mitch do anything to jeopardize that opportunity. While covering a practice, Mitch notices Angel Marichal, a senior transfer student. Angel is clearly the best athlete in the school, but McNulty keeps him hidden, playing second string, changing his jersey number, and denying any interview requests. Mitch knows that McNulty and Angel are hiding something, and he is determined to get to the bottom of it. What he finds is far different from what he suspects, and along the way his personal and journalistic ethics are tested. Deuker has crafted another entertaining and readable football story. The game descriptions are well done and will appeal to players and fans. Many teens who dreamed of being a star as children but don't make the team in high school will identify with Mitch.-Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Deuker (Gym Candy, 2003) really cranks up the suspense in his newest pageturner, combining a Seattle high-school football team's march toward the state championship game with a school reporter's investigation of an apparent ringer that the coach has slipped in to bolster the defense. Mitch doesn't think much of his new assignment as sports reporter, but when he sees how Coach McNulty keeps Angel a reclusive new student who shows star-quality abilities in practice benched until late in each hard-fought game his suspicions are aroused. Thrilled to think that he has caught wind of an actual cheating scandal, Mitch digs into Angel's past. What he discovers stirs up far more trouble than he has bargained for, and pitches him into a series of terrifying situations. The game action alone is riveting even for readers who don't know a naked bootleg from a hook-and-ladder play, but Deuker enriches the tale with several well-tuned subplots and a memorable narrator/protagonist who turns a corner on his own self-image while weathering brutal tests of his courage and determination. Definitely one for the top shelf.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Entwined
Click to search this book in our catalog   Dixon, Heather

Book list *Starred Review* In the half-magical world of Eathesbury, Azalea is the oldest of 12 daughters and heir to her father's throne. When the sisters' mother dies after a long illness, the siblings find a hidden passageway to an enchanted pavilion under the castle where they can dance all night, secretly breaking the rules of mourning. The mysterious and alluring Keeper makes this possible, but he also seems to have less-than-honorable plans for the girls, especially Azalea. The tale's atmosphere becomes increasingly dark and brooding as the truth from ages past comes out, and Azalea realizes just what evil they are pitted against. With several unexpected twists, the story, based on the original Grimms' tale The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes, plunges toward a harrowing conclusion. This first novel is richly imagined with a gothic feel, and Dixon's descriptions of the many dances are thrilling. Although the general story line will be familiar to readers of Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball (2009), this romantic fantasy is darker in tone, and the villain resembles the faeries in Nancy Werlin's Impossible (2008) and O. R. Melling's The Hunter's Moon (2005). The story gracefully explores significant themes of grief and loss, mercy and love. Full of mystery, lush settings, and fully orbed characters, Dixon's debut is both suspenseful and rewarding.--Moore, Melissa Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Readers who enjoy stories of royalty, romance, and magic will delight in Dixon's first novel. Part confection, part acute observation, the story of Azalea and her sisters is a reimagining of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" by an author who knows both the protocols and the pleasures of dance. The girls lose that when their mother dies in childbirth, and the castle is plunged into deepest mourning. Their father, whom they call "the King," banishes the girls from his sight and shortly thereafter goes off to war without saying good-bye. Grieving, angry, and bored, Azalea discovers a hidden passage out of the princesses' room, and the magical pavilion it leads to, guarded by the enigmatic spirit Keeper, is the perfect place to dance again. Or is it? Azalea, keenly aware of her duties as the Princess Royale, cannot trust a dream-come-true scenario nor can she forget the warm brown eyes of Mr. Bradford, met briefly and now warring beside the King. The language is simple, rendering Dixon's insights with a light touch without simplifying the problems Azalea faces or the nuances of the understanding she develops. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 7-10-This novelized reimagining of the Grimms' "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" is a successful and appealing blend of fantasy, romance, mystery, and creepiness. After her mother's death and the banning of all diversions by her grieving and distant father, the eldest of the 12 sisters, Princess Azalea, finds a magical entrance to a fantasy world of a dancing pavilion to which the sisters can escape each night. Azalea slowly begins to understand that the handsome and mysterious Pavilion Keeper has a sinister plan that will ensnare her, but it is only toward the climax that its terrible meaning becomes clear. Her battle with the Keeper will require all of her courage, ingenuity, and ultimately something magical beyond herself. While the plot has a fairy-tale feel, the relationships among the sisters have more of a contemporary domestic sensibility. There are hints of something deeper, too, with 16-year-old Azalea trying to fill the shoes of her mother even while she grieves for her, and struggling with the weight of that responsibility. Woven around the fantasy is a gentle romance theme accompanied by touches of humor, with the king attempting to marry off his daughters and the princesses insisting on their autonomy. Dixon successfully distinguishes the younger girls by emphasizing only one or two traits for each. The three eldest, Azalea, Bramble, and Clover, are more fully drawn. The suitors are by turns appealing and funny, but it is the Keeper who stays with readers. Fans of Gail Carson Levine's Fairest (HarperCollins, 2006) or Julie Kagawa's "Iron Fey" series (Harlequin Teen) will cheer on Azalea and her sisters in their quest for family and happiness.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Ten Miles Past Normal
Click to search this book in our catalog   Dowell, Frances O'Roark

Book list Moving up to a big new high school can throw anyone off her game. For Janie it hardly helps her cool quotient that her family is into sustainable living on a farm well out of town. Old friends are no longer in the same lunch period, and boys might as well live on another planet. When she and friend Sarah track a boy they both like, the quest brings them to a weekly Friday-afternoon jam-band session and new musical and social vistas. Then a class project leads Janie to discover a couple of elderly townspeople who had been civil-rights leaders in voter registration, figures who deeply move her and enrich her view of both the past and present. Life turns around quickly, and somewhat miraculously, but this is a witty, poignant story about trying to fit in and finding a bigger world and a more secure self in the process.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6-10-When Janie was nine she persuaded her parents to move to a small farm. Now that she is 14, that life has lost some of its charm. She is rarely noticed at school, except for things like manure-scented shoes. Still, Janie is hopeful about high school, and she and her friend Sarah try branching out-joining Jam Band, making new friends, and working on an intriguing local-history project. There is a love interest (or two), and parental embarrassment, and Sarah's cool older sister to look up to. But none of these standard YA novel tropes is handled in a standard way. Dowell brings a completely refreshing take on the coming-of-age novel. Janie is not suffering through anything harsher than trying to find her place in high school. That can be difficult enough, as the author seems to know. Janie is realistic, smart, crabby, emotional, loving to her family, not overly dramatic. Dowell's writing is smart, lithe, and cheerful. The plot covers only a few weeks' time, and the story flies along. It's about making friends, keeping friends, trying to broaden horizons, meeting boys, seeing idols from a different perspective, and staying true to oneself without feeling lost in a big school. Throw in an interesting subplot about civil-rights history and you've got a rich book that will resonate with young teens who may not see themselves in other, darker, YA literature.-Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
You Against Me
Click to search this book in our catalog   Downham, Jenny

Book list *Starred Review* Mikey's 15-year-old sister, Karyn, is holed up in the family's apartment, unwilling to go out or see anyone since accusing an older boy of sexual assault. Feeling helpless and outraged, Mikey vows to seek revenge for his sister, even as the court case against Tom Parker continues. Meanwhile, Tom's sister, Ellie, the only witness to the alleged crime, feels unsure about her statement to the police. When Mikey (who at first hides his identity) meets Ellie, their attraction to each other only exacerbates matters. The family dynamics of their very different home lives powerfully dictate the moves each makes: Mikey lives with a drunken single mother in subsidized housing, while Ellie comes from a family of privilege. Ellie's dilemma is especially harrowing, threatening to separate her from one or both of her parents as the day of her testimony approaches. Each time, Ellie and Mikey draw close, pull apart, then draw close again, Downham puts readers inside their heads, feeling and understanding their complicated emotions as she masterfully shifts points of view. This excellent sophomore effort from the author of Before I Die (2007) should have broad appeal for teens looking for weighty issues tied to their romance.--Cruze, Karen Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly After Mikey's 15-year-old younger sister Karyn accuses college student Tom Parker of raping her, Mikey plans to avenge her. But when he goes to the Parkers' sprawling house, heavy spanner in hand, he meets Tom's younger sister, Ellie, and an attraction sparks between them. Downham's (Before I Die) sophomore novel is set in coastal England, and while there's a fair amount of detail about the English legal and school systems, as well as regional vernacular, the book's powerful themes are universal. As Mikey and Ellie's relationship deepens, and both feel forced to choose "sides," they struggle with their loyalty to their families, their feelings for one another, and broader issues of class, gender, and power. Well-drawn characters allow readers to sympathize with nearly everyone; Ellie, "the primary witness," is in a particularly difficult spot as she begins to waver about testifying for her brother ("I keep going over and over that night in my head and more stuff comes back to me, more things fit into place," she says). With no tidy solutions, it's an unflinching portrayal of love under pressure. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Mikey's life is a juggling act: Mum spends her days and nights with cheap sherry, seven-year-old sister Holly needs help getting to school each day, and Mikey is working at a menial job that offers the hope of a tantalizing career. He faces further complications when his 15-year-old sister, Karyn, completely withdraws, suffering the devastating aftermath of a rape by Tom Parker. Ellie Parker has always been a quiet little nerd until she witnesses her brother's brutal sexual assault of her classmate. The pressure from her family to protect Tom at all costs has forced her into the position of fabricating a statement to the police about what she knows. For both Mikey and Ellie, the balancing act of their personal lives becomes more precarious when they meet. They are drawn to each other but are torn between family solidarity, an inability to trust any member of the enemy's family, and the feelings of their hearts. Downham brilliantly captures the struggle of these two star-crossed lovers as they navigate the stormy waters of family loyalty, social workers and legal systems, job and school. With touching honesty, she brings her characters to life in this poignant story of love and choice. Mesmerizing.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
My Name is Not Easy
Click to search this book in our catalog   Edwardson, Debby Dahl
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2012
The Dark City
Click to search this book in our catalog   Fisher, Catherine
2012
Where She Went
Click to search this book in our catalog   Forman, Gayle

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Three years after the tragic accident that killed the family of his former girlfriend, Mia Hall, the now-famous rock star Adam Wilde finds himself at New York City's Carnegie Hall for Mia's breakout cello concert. Convinced that merely hearing her play will be enough to satisfy his curiosity, Adam hides in the audience but is stunned when she asks him to come backstage after the show. Their awkward reunion sparks a night of painful reminiscing, heartbreaking closure, and hopeful discoveries. Using the voice of Adam, Forman continues the gripping narrative started in If I Stay (Dutton, 2009). After months of rehab from the car accident, Mia leaves Oregon for the east coast to attend the prestigious Juilliard School. Adam remains on the west coast to pursue his own rising musical career as the lead in his band. Mysteriously Mia cuts off all contact with him. Simultaneously freed and abandoned, Adam plunges into a depression, which also fuels the writing that launches his band to stardom. This novel is best suited to readers familiar with the first book. However, Forman convincingly establishes the relationship with flashbacks and Adam's current angst. Though not as poignant as its predecessor, this book has compelling characters and a romance so deliciously fated that readers will be willing to suspend believability and embrace the growing mood of a fairy tale. Fans of the exceptional first novel won't be able to put this one down.-Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list This companion to Forman's New York Times best-seller, If I Stay (2009), picks up three years after Oregon teen Mia survived the car accident that killed her parents and brother. Compacted once again into a 24-hour period of seismic emotional shifts, this time the story is narrated by Mia's former boyfriend, Adam. Still haunted by the bewildering dissolution of their relationship, Adam, now a punk-rock star, stumbles across a concert in which Mia, a rising cellist, will perform solo. His spontaneous ticket purchase begins their awkward, charged reunion, and in a sleepless night spent roaming New York City, they talk, argue, and gradually recapture the profound, enduring bonds between them. As in If I Stay, Forman tells an emotionally wrenching story that believably captures the mature depth and intensity possible in teenage love as well as the infinite ways that grief of all kinds permeates daily life, from the wormholes of memory that spin out from small moments to the unconscious ways that past pain can influence present decisions. Sure to please the first book's legions of fans.--Engberg, Gillia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly "I know it's really cheesy-crass even-to compare my being dumped to the accident that killed Mia's family, but I can't help it. Because for me, at any rate, the aftermath felt exactly the same." Forman follows up her bestselling If I Stay with a story that is equally if not more powerful, set three years after the previous book and told from the perspective of Mia's former boyfriend, Adam. Mia and Adam haven't seen each other since she left for Juilliard, deserting him just months after emerging from her coma. Adam's anguish found an outlet in songwriting, and the resulting album, Collateral Damage, has become a sensation, turning Adam and his band into bona fide rock stars, though he's barely keeping it together. Mia's career as a cellist is taking off as well, and a chance meeting in New York City gives Mia and Adam the opportunity to exorcise the ghosts of their past. Having spent If I Stay in Mia's head, readers are, like Adam, thrust into a state of unknowing regarding Mia's thoughts and motivations. It's an extremely effective device, and one that makes this reunion all the more heartrending. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
The Survival Kit
Click to search this book in our catalog   Freitas, Donna
2012
Threads and Flames
Click to search this book in our catalog   Friesner, Esther

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-Raisa, a 13-year-old Jewish girl, leaves a Polish shtetl to journey to America to join her sister, Henda, who has mistakenly been told that Raisa is dead. The crossing to America, the frightening chaos of arrival, poor working conditions, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 form the novel's framework. Raisa makes some close friends on the ship and she takes responsibility for Brina, a child whose mother dies during the crossing. Raisa's overwhelming loneliness as she tries to adjust and find her sister permeates the story. The frustration she feels and the seemingly insurmountable challenge of succeeding spills dramatically from the pages despite some contrived twists and turns. When Raisa seeks some rest by entering a synagogue, she meets Gavrel Kamensy, an aspiring rabbinal student just a few years her senior. He brings her home and she and Brina become boarders with his family. The Kamensys' warmth and accepting nature allow Raisa the chance to look for work and begin her English studies. She feels lucky to get a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, but the drudgery and unfair working conditions repeatedly foreshadow the horrendous event to follow. Gruesome details of workers jumping from the window in order to escape the pervasive flames are horrific. Scores die, many are physically injured, and still others, like Gavrel, suffer mentally. Anguish and frustration of looking for survivors and identifying the dead seem hopeless, but Raisa remains brave and focused. This would be a fine companion to Margaret Peterson Haddix's Uprising (S & S, 2007) and Mary Jane Auch's Ashes of Roses (Holt, 2002).-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list What would become of the little birds if their mama did not push them out of the nest? Glukel reassures Raisa, who makes the daunting decision to leave her Polish shtetl for America and try to join her sister, Henda. Leaving the nest means setting out on a grueling overseas voyage, facing fear of rejection at Ellis Island, and embarking on a desperate search for shelter and work. Adding to the challenge, Raisa takes over the care of a small child whose mother died on the ship and Henda seems nowhere to be found. Friesner's sparkling prose makes the immigrant experience in New York's Lower East Side come alive: from working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company and attending night school to becoming part of a close-knit community with hope for the future. The devastating Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire tragedy resonates heartbreakingly, and although the happy ending is contrived, readers will turn the pages with rapt attention to follow the characters' intrepid, risk-all adventures in building new lives.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Dead End in Norvelt
Click to search this book in our catalog   Gantos, Jack

Book list Looks like a bummer of a summer for 11-year-old Jack (with a same-name protagonist, it's tempting to assume that at least some of this novel comes from the author's life). After discharging his father's WWII-souvenir Japanese rifle and cutting down his mom's fledgling cornfield, he gets grounded for the rest of his life or the rest of the summer of 1962, whichever comes first. Jack gets brief reprieves to help an old neighbor write obituaries for the falling-like-flies original residents of Norvelt, a dwindling coal-mining town. Jack makes a tremendously entertaining tour guide and foil for the town's eccentric citizens, and his warmhearted but lightly antagonistic relationship with his folks makes for some memorable one-upmanship. Gantos, as always, deliver bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws, though the story gets stuck in neutral for much of the midsection. When things pick up again near the end of the summer, surprise twists and even a quick-dissolve murder mystery arrive to pay off patient readers. Those with a nose for history will be especially pleased.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. "The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again." Memorable in every way. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In 1962, Jack accidentally discharges his father's war relic, a Japanese rifle, and is grounded for the summer. When a neighbor's arthritic hands get the best of her, his mother lifts the restriction and volunteers the 12-year-old to be the woman's scribe, writing obituaries for the local newspaper. Business is brisk for Miss Volker, who doubles as town coroner, and Norvelt's elderly females seem to be dropping like flies. Prone to nosebleeds at the least bit of excitement (until Miss Volker cauterizes his nose with old veterinarian equipment), Jack is a hapless and endearing narrator. It is a madcap romp, with the boy at the wheel of Miss Volker's car as they try to figure out if a Hell's Angel motorcyclist has put a curse on the town, or who might have laced Mertie-Jo's Girl Scout cookies with rat poison. The gutsy Miss Volker and her relentless but rebuffed suitor, Mr. Spizz, are comedic characters central to the zany, episodic plot, which contains unsubtle descriptions of mortuary science. Each quirky obituary is infused with a bit of Norvelt's history, providing insightful postwar facts focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in founding the town on principles of sustainable farming and land ownership for the poor. Jack's absorption with history of any kind makes for refreshing asides about John F. Kennedy's rescue of PT-109 during World War II, King Richard II, Francisco Pizarro's conquest of Peru, and more. A fast-paced and witty read.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Ruby Red
Click to search this book in our catalog   Gier, Kerstin

Publishers Weekly Along with everyone else in her extended London household, 16-year-old Gwyneth believed that her cousin Charlotte was destined to be the family's next time-traveler. Unlike Charlotte, Gwyneth has no training in how to behave in other time periods, nor any background in the secret society of Guardians that protects the travelers-all vexingly inconvenient when Gwyneth starts popping back in time. What she does have is a mystery about why her mother lied about her birth date and a rocky partnership with fellow time-traveler Gideon. Gwyneth and Gideon are to fulfill the great quest of the Guardians and unlock a mysterious power, but the journeys prove perilous as they jaunt through 300 years of family secrets. First published in Germany, Gier's trilogy (Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green will follow) has met with success in Europe, though for a book set (at least partly) in the era of Google and cellphones, it has a quaint, old-fashioned feel. While some of the foreshadowing lacks subtlety, Gier's characters and plotting are first-rate, creating an adventure that should leave readers eager for the rest of the trilogy. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* It is supposed to be Charlotte. Sixteen-year-old Gwen has always known that her cousin is the one who has the family's time-travel gene, which is about to activate at any moment. Charlotte has been trained since childhood to complete a complicated task that involves fulfilling a prophecy. Gwen tries to tell herself that the tell-tale dizzy spells she has been experiencing don't mean anything, and then she finds herself back in time. Is this time-travel fantasy easy to follow? Not especially. Throw in the secret society of the Guardians and a mysterious chronograph that synchs gems, musical notes, and the blood of the time travelers, and readers' heads may be spinning like Gwen's. What makes this such a standout is the intriguingly drawn cast, stars and supporting players both, beginning with Gwen, whose key feature is her utter normality. Despite being raised by odd characters in a strange old London house, Gwen is a girl who likes texting, watching the telly, and teasing her best friend. Suddenly, she is meeting a mysterious cabal, talking to ghosts, and, while back in the eighteenth century, running an attacker through with a sword. The fact that her assigned partner in these endeavors is swoonworthy Gideon helps only a little. Adventure, humor, and mystery all have satisfying roles here. Originally published in Germany, this is the first of a trilogy. Hint: for a clue to what it all means, reread the first chapter.--Cooper, Ilen. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-Gwyneth Shepherd, 16, was born into an offbeat English family. Unfortunately, she has no real interest in its unique time-travel gene or the tedious fencing training and language lessons that come with being the chosen one. That's best left to her cousin, Charlotte, so when Gwyneth, rather than Charlotte, starts traveling to the past, she is entirely unprepared. She lacks adequate knowledge of history and etiquette, and her mother warns her not to trust the secret Society of the Guardians, whose job is to protect her. Gwyneth's only help comes from Gideon de Villiers, a handsome time traveler from another family. Together, they must face off against the formidable Count and uncover the mysterious disappearance of a stolen chronograph, a time machine. The teen describes her exploits with humor and naivete. Aside from her special abilities (she can also see ghosts), she is every bit the typical teenager who bickers with her family, snoops with her best friend, and crushes on the snooty Gideon. This first installment of a trilogy will soon find a new crop of fans in the United States. It's a fun, engaging read that will be an easy sell for teens wanting to time travel with a delightful narrator.-Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Northampton Community College, Hawley, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
I'll Be There
Click to search this book in our catalog   Goldberg Sloan, Holly

Book list A naturally gifted musician, Sam and his younger, possibly autistic brother, Riddle, have been raised apart from society by their criminally insane father, Clarence, who constantly moves the boys from town to town, always one step ahead of the law. But when Sam meets Emily and a tentative friendship begins, the always unstable Clarence goes berserk and, taking the boys deep into the heart of a national forest, attempts to kill them. The boys escape, but Sam is injured in the process, and a harrowing survival story begins. Sloan's novel is an exercise in excess, which is both good and bad news. Sam and Riddle are wonderfully appealing characters that readers will root for, but the story is occasionally over the top and misanthropic in tone, with too many characters that range from fatuous to grotesque. Still, this is a highly suspenseful read with a dynamic, cinematic quality that keeps the pages turning to the satisfying conclusion.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Seventeen-year-old Sam's and 10-year-old Riddle's lives have never been normal. Because of their abusive father's bad habit-stealing-they are always on the run. Sam stumbles into church wearing his cleanest dirty clothes on the day that Emily Bell sings "I'll Be There" by the Jackson Five. He can't help but feel that she is singing directly to him, and the two make a connection that later will change both of their lives. Because of many coincidences, the two eventually meet again and the relationship blossoms, but not without some hindrances. Sam's father commits a series of crimes, and he forces the boys to hit the road with him again. The brothers end up escaping their father's grip and get separated, and readers will flip pages frantically to find out if they are reunited with one another and with Emily's family. Sloan illustrates how we are all connected in big and small, positive and negative ways. Any reader who has ever questioned whether even the smallest gesture of kindness can make a difference will appreciate this book. Even though there are many characters and the scene is constantly changing, this riveting story will keep readers interested and guessing until the end.-Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Screenwriter and director Sloan delivers a cinematic, psychologically nuanced first novel of star-crossed love and the power of human empathy and connection. Sloan excels at crafting memorable characters and relationships, from the central, transformative romance between 17-year-olds Sam and Emily, who meet after her disastrous church solo, to finely sketched cameos. Sam and his sensitive, possibly autistic younger brother, Riddle, live an isolated and itinerant existence, subject to the whims of their violent and deranged father, Clarence. Tension escalates as Emily's family becomes attached to the boys, growing concerned for their well-being, and an unstable Clarence takes off with his sons once again. It's agonizing but thrilling reading as Sam and Emily try to surmount the many obstacles Sloan throws at them. Her skills as a writer are never in doubt, though the story can at times feel melodramatic, especially as it turns into a survivalist epic, and a plot thread about a classmate enamored with Emily devolves into slapstick. But Emily and Sam's romance is that of the against-all-odds, meant-to-be variety, and while the ending is too perfect, it is unquestionably earned. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Something Like Hope
Click to search this book in our catalog   Goodman, Shawn

Book list *Starred Review* Smart, angry, and desperate, Shavonne, 17, is in juvenile detention again, and in her present-tense, first-person narrative, she describes the heartbreaking brutality that she suffered before she was locked up, as well as the harsh treatment, and sometimes the kindness, she encounters in juvie. With a mother who is a crack-addicted prostitute, and a father she never knew who died in prison, she was sent into the foster-care system as a young child. One foster mother needed money for drugs, so she forced Shavonne, 11 at the time, to go with a man who raped her. While she was locked up, Shavonne gave birth, and she is glad that her daughter is now in a kind foster home. As the title suggests, the story leaves room for something like hope; with all the pain and sorrow Shavonne endures, she is never broken. Not only does the African American teen survive, but she also nurtures needy fellow inmates, and she bonds with her counselor even as she tries to escape a vicious, racist supervisor. More than a situation, the story builds to a tense climax: What is the secret Shavonne cannot even think about? Shavonne's voice witty, tender, explicit, and tough will grab readers. In the tradition of Walter Dean Myers' and Jacqueline Woodson's novels, this winner of Delacorte's 2009 prize for best YA debut gets behind the statistics to tell it like it is.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Goodman (winner of the Delacorte Press Prize, awarded to first-time novelists) debuts with the wrenching portrayal of a girl who has had to shut down her emotions to survive a childhood of profound physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Shavonne's mother was a drug addict, and Shavonne was placed in foster care when she was six years old, where she faced a myriad of abusive situations. Now 17 and living in a juvenile facility, Shavonne's primary emotion is a burning anger that erupts in violence and will secure her a place in prison when she turns 18, a fact she is unable to care about, despite her desire to regain custody of her two-year-old daughter. But her new therapist, whose vulnerability touches Shavonne despite herself, begins to earn her trust and lead her to a place where she is emotionally strong enough to confront the secret that has haunted her. The story and its trajectory are familiar, but Goodman's delicate prose avoids sentimentality, instead painting a searing picture of a girl who slowly begins to claim the life long stolen from her. Ages 14-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Shavonne, who has gone from one juvenile detention center to another since junior high, will be moving out of the system on her 18th birthday. Fury and frustration are huge obstacles she must conquer by coming to grips with a drug-addicted prostitute mother; abusive foster parents who allowed her to be raped; a father who died in jail; giving up her own baby to the foster-care system; and forgiving herself for an accident that injured her beloved baby brother. Her personal challenges are compounded by troubled and desperate fellow inmates; several cruel, manipulative, corrupt guards who beat and taunt them; and youth counselors without a clue, who hurt more than help. Luckily, the last embers of hope deep within Shavonne's soul are flamed by one kind guard and an empathetic and straightforward counselor who successfully reaches through to her at the 11th hour. Shavonne's first-person narrative captures readers' attention and never lets go. Short, compelling chapters keep up the tempo as her shocking and sad past and present are revealed and her desire for a better future takes center stage. Readers will forgive the slightly pat ending, reassured that Shavonne is finally on the right track. Language and situations are appropriately coarse and startling for the setting, and those teens who applauded the urban survivors in Sapphire's Push (Vintage, 1998) and Coe Booth's Tyrell (Scholastic, 2006) will do the same for Shavonne.-Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Why We Broke Up
Click to search this book in our catalog   Handler, Daniel

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-A romance gone wrong, a wannabe director drama queen, and a quirky assortment of relationship mementos are all part of this wickedly clever, surprisingly soulful look at young love. Handler's debut YA novel is smart, sophisticated, and ultimately satisfying. (Nov.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-After classic movie aficionado Min Green breaks up with good-looking, popular athlete Ed Slaterton, she dumps a box full of mementos at his doorstep along with a very long "letter." The letter-the text of this book-explains step by painful step the reasons for the breakup and why their relationship was doomed from the start. Each chapter is introduced with a complementary, full-color painting of a memento, ranging from bottle caps to movie tickets to condom wrappers to rose petals, each representing an important element in the progression of and subsequent decline in their romance. Min's expose begins at the end and flashes forward through meeting and falling for Ed, losing her virginity, and realizing that the course of true love rarely follows a Hollywood script. Characters are vivid, and their portrayal is enriched by realistic dialogue. Despite Min's somewhat distracting tendency to expound on feelings, experiences, and images in a run-on fashion, and that her unusual perceptiveness stretches belief in her voice as that of a high school girl, the story ultimately comes together. Handler offers a heartbreaking, bittersweet, and compelling romance with a unique angle and flare that will satisfy those who immersed themselves in Jandy Nelson's The Sky Is Everywhere (Dial, 2010).-Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Handler and Kalman (13 Words) craft a book-length breakup letter from Min (short for Minerva) to her ex-boyfriend, Ed. Accusatory yet affectionate-directed at "you, Ed"-it accompanies a hefty box of souvenirs Min accumulated during the two-month romance. Between chapters, readers gaze at Kalman's almost totemic still lifes of each nostalgic item, which range from handwritten notes ("I can't stop thinking about you") to secondhand-store finds and movie tickets. Min loves classic cinema, and Handler invents false film titles like "Greta of the Wild" that Min and her platonic pal Al name-drop like an "old married couple." Proceeding chronologically, Min recounts her doomed affair with Ed, a basketball star who shrugs at movies and commits gaffe after embarrassing gaffe in front of Min's friends. They can't understand what she's doing with him, but readers won't have that problem-Handler shows exceptional skill at getting inside Min's head and heart. Halfway through Min's impassioned epistle, readers may realize that Ed, even if he cares, lacks the wherewithal to read it-lending real pathos to Min's memorabilia and making her sorrow all the more palpable. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. Ages 15-up. (Dec.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* This novel may sound like another tale of boy meets girl, but, folks, it's all in the delivery. In faltering pitter-patter dialogue and thick, gushy, grasping-for-words paragraphs, Handler takes a tired old saw, the romance between senior basketball cocaptain Ed Slaterton and junior cinephile Min Green, and injects us into the halting, breathless, disbelieving, horny, and nervous minds of two teens who feel different only in how they define themselves in contrast to each other that dumbstruck, anthropological joy of introducing foreign films to a dude schooled only in layups, and vice versa. The story is told from Min's perspective, a bittersweet diatribe of their breakup arranged around objects (a matchbox, a bottle cap, a dish towel, an ahem condom wrapper) of varying importance that she intends on returning to him. (Kalman's full-color drawings of these objects were not available for review.) It is fitting that the chapters center upon these items; the story itself feels like blurry photos, snippets of stray recordings all the more powerful because of how they evoke truth more than any mere relaying of facts. Yes, the relationship breaks apart like a predictable song, but Handler's genius is to make us hear those minor-key notes as if they were playing on our first and last dates, too. In the mood to break additional hearts? Pair this with Pete Hautman's The Big Crunch (2011). HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Yes, Handler is mostly known to the younger set as Mr. Snicket, but this effort finds the perfect spot between his youth and adult novels, a fact born out by the high-caliber promotional plans.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
The Big Crunch
Click to search this book in our catalog   Hautman, Pete

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-June has attended six schools in the last four years and is once again the new kid, this time at a Minnesota high school. First on her agenda: find some friends and a boyfriend. Wes broke up with Izzy just before school started and he doesn't want another girlfriend, but after seeing June, he can't get her out of his mind. June meanwhile starts dating Wes's best friend. Wes is in a fog. A chance encounter with her sparks a romance between the two. But before it even has a chance to get started, it's time for June to move again. Told from June's and Wes's alternating points of view, this book follows their romance through the four seasons. With rapid-fire dialogue and plenty of sappy language, the author nails the confused, self-absorbed teen characters obsessed with first love. However, the plot falls flat by focusing too closely on what love feels like instead of building a story.-Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Showing his range, Hautman (How to Steal a Car) writes a love story that's affecting despite, or perhaps because of, its ordinariness. Wes and June know each other, vaguely, from high school, but become better acquainted when he accidentally gives her a black eye. Both teens are prone to introspection. June is constantly on guard because her father's job requires the family to move often; Wes cleans out the garage when too much thinking leads to insomnia. When the two overcome obstacles to become a couple, they fall hard. Hautman's depiction of this is both sensitive and realistic-"I can't breathe when I look at you," Wes tells June-and the use of scientific imagery adds metaphorical heft to an otherwise run-of-the-mill romance (to everybody but Wes and June, of course). As she expected, June's father pulls up stakes again, and the lovers try to carry on with texting and telephone calls, leading to frustration and bad decisions. Readers who need nonstop action must look elsewhere, but those who make it to June's final declaration will arrive with a lump firmly lodged in their throats. Ages 13-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* When June starts her junior year of high school in Minneapolis, she isn't looking for love. Thanks to her management-consultant dad's constantly shifting positions, this is June's sixth new school in four years, and she's learned to guard against getting attached. Then she literally crashes into classmate Wes at a convenience store, and what begins with a black eye for June and a head bump for Wes turns into a true, deep romance that the teens try to sustain after June's dad moves the family once again. As in Lynne Rae Perkins' novels, this story's delight lies in the details. National Book Award-winning Hautman writes with wry humor and a comic's sense of juxtaposed phrases and timing. From guys' lunchroom conversations ( How come you didn't just go online for your porn, says Wes to a friend who excavates an old Penthouse from his neighbor's recycling bin) to June's father's corporate mantras of self-control and forward thinking, the dialogue is refreshingly honest, particularly in the bewilderingly urgent, awkward exchanges that fuel the attraction between June and Wes. Hautman skillfully subverts cliches in this subtle, authentic, heart-tugging exploration of first love, but his sharp-eyed view of high-school social dynamics and the loving friction between parents and teens on the edge of independence is just as memorable.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Stupid Fast
Click to search this book in our catalog   Herback, Geoff

Publishers Weekly Adult author Herbach (The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg) delivers an alternately fascinating and awkward novel that sometimes seems to exist in denial of its own characters. Felton Reinstein's late puberty during his sophomore year turned him into an incredible runner, which has landed him on both the track and football teams. Socially isolated, he is resigned to a lonely summer with his unpredictable widowed mother and piano-prodigy younger brother. But things become complicated as Felton meets beautiful new girl Aleah, he is drawn into the football team's summer workouts, and his home life disintegrates. Herbach's story would be typical but for a narrative style that clearly paints Felton as developmentally disabled ("I sweated in my tight jeans because it was summer. I smelled the pee-smell of my own athlete's body"). This offers potential, but it's wasted by the denial practiced by practically everyone he deals with, including his mother (who, admittedly, has problems of her own). Instead of coming across as an actual element of his character, Felton's narrative voice reads as merely "quirky," and it creates issues that aren't adequately addressed. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Everything changes for Felton Reinstein during his fifteenth year. A growth spurt and the discovery of latent athletic talent tilt how the world views the teen, who thinks of himself as a little slow on the uptake. Hitherto unpopular and the object of jokes, suddenly Felton, who narrates the story in a hyper, slightly astounded voice, is going out for football, taken under the wing of one of his school's more popular jocks. Meanwhile, a paper route leads him to meet (and become sweet on) a musical prodigy, whose father is a visiting professor at the local college. If all this weren't enough, things at home are falling apart: Felton's mom has a breakdown as she tries to face Felton's maturation and younger brother's persistent probe of their father's suicide many years earlier. Suffice it to say, nothing is quite what Felton thinks. In this struggling and often clueless teen, Herbach has created an endearing character coming to terms with his past and present in a small, well-defined Wisconsin town.--Cruze, Kare. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In his sophomore year, Fenton Reinstein's voice drops, he begins to grow hair all over his body, and he becomes "stupid fast." Previously indifferent to sports, he instantly becomes a star sprinter and is touted as the next savior of the football team before he has ever played a down. All is not entirely well, however. Fenton's only real friend, Gus, has gone to Venezuela with his family for the summer, and he has to take over Gus's paper route, a job he hates. More ominously, the teen's always-quirky mother, Jerri, has retreated into her own world and has left Fenton and his sweet, needy younger brother, Andrew, to basically fend for themselves. Fenton is also haunted by the early-childhood trauma of discovering his father's body after the man committed suicide. When African-American teen piano virtuoso Aleah Jennings and her father move into Gus's house for the summer, things begin to look up for Fenton. After an awkward beginning, the two establish a relationship that has its ups and downs, but helps to sustain Fenton as his mother's mental illness rages out of control. He and his sibling finally find the courage to contact their father's mother, who turns out not to be the shrewish ogre their mother described, but a loving, responsible adult who sees the boys through their crisis. The novel has some loose ends and needless plot contrivances, but in the end Fenton's sarcasm, anxiety, self-doubt, thoughtfulness, and compassion carry the day and perfectly capture the voice of his generation.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
The Last Little Blue Envelope
Click to search this book in our catalog   Johnson, Maureen

School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-In 13 Little Blue Envelopes (HarperCollins, 2005), Ginny Blackstone followed the instructions contained in the little blue envelopes written by her recently deceased aunt. But before she could read the 13th letter and finish her adventures that sent her all over Europe, her backpack was stolen, with the envelope in it. In this book, Ginny is contacted by a London teen who bought her backpack. She decides to return to England, collect the last letter, and finish what she started. Once she is there, though, things don't turn out quite the way she expected. Paul knows that she is selling her aunt's art and wants a cut for returning the letter. Thus begins a wild and tense journey through the British Isles as Ginny, her former boyfriend, his girlfriend, and Paul try to solve the clues and get along. Ginny, a practical and level-headed girl, is likable and easy to root for. With its blend of life lessons and a dash of romance, this sequel is sure to appeal to fans of the first book-Jessie Spalding, Tempe Public Library, AZ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In 13 Little Envelopes (2006), 17-year-old Ginny was sent on an all-expenses-paid scavenger hunt of sorts through Europe, via a series of envelopes from her late aunt. Johnson efficiently recaps the events of that book in a prologue (Ginny plans to use her European tour as fodder for her college application essay), before moving onto the plot point on which this sequel turns: the fact that Ginny never opened the final envelope-it was stolen before she had the chance. After a mysterious e-mail shows up in Ginny's inbox with a scan of partial contents of envelope 13, Ginny returns to Europe to find out what was in the rest of the note and carry out her aunt's last assignment. Johnson's prose is as fluid and assured as ever, and extortion, heartbreak, and a host of entertaining British boys all play their parts as Ginny and friends venture from London to Paris, Amsterdam, and Dublin. Readers who, like Ginny, are on the edge of adulthood, will be drawn in by this winning mix of globe-trotting adventure and romance. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In 13 Little Blue Envelopes (2005), Ginny never finishes the European scavenger hunt, created by her late aunt Peg, which ends when her backpack is stolen in Greece. Now home in the U.S., Ginny gets an e-mail from Oliver in London, who claims to have the letter that will continue her hunt. Spontaneously, Ginny travels to England and connects with Oliver as well as her old flame, Keith, who surprises her with his new girlfriend. Once again, Johnson's legions of fans will happily follow Ginny's European adventures for the humor, realistic dialogue, and delicate journey through the grieving process.--Dobrez, Cind. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
The Name of the Star
Click to search this book in our catalog   Johnson, Maureen

Book list Flip-flop-wearing. Chee. Whiz-eating 18-year-old Rory has left her Louisiana home to spend her senior year at an esteemed London school, Wexford. Her arrival, though, is met by a series of grisly murders precisely mirroring the 1888 killings of Jack the Ripper and Wexner is right in the center of Saucy Jack's stomping grounds. After a near-death experience, Rory finds herself with the ability to see the shades, ghosts drifting about London. This ability brings her to the attention of a squad of young people with similar talents who are working with the authorities to sniff out the copycat killer before the final murder takes place. Johnson proves again that she has the perfect brisk pitch for YA literature, never overplaying (or underplaying) the various elements of tension, romance, and attitude. The mechanics of the squad's ghost busting are a little goofy, but, otherwise, this is a cut above most paranormal titles, with a refreshing amount of space given to character building. What's that coming through the fog? Yes, it's more volumes in the Shades of London series headed our way.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Johnson's trademark sense of humor serves to counterbalance some grisly murders in this page-turner, which opens her Shades of London series. Rory Deveaux trades the sultry heat of Louisiana for the academic rigors of a London boarding school, only to arrive in the middle of a spate of murders that echo those committed by Jack the Ripper. As one mutilated body after another turns up, Johnson (Scarlett Fever) amplifies the story's mysteries with smart use of and subtle commentary on modern media shenanigans and London's infamously extensive surveillance network. With the sordidness of Criminal Minds and the goofiness of Ghostbusters, it's a fresh paranormal story. Rory is a protagonist with confidence and a quick wit, and her new friends are well-developed and distinctive-both the "normal" ones and those who, like Rory, can see ghosts-and Wexford, Rory's new school, is an appropriately atmospheric backdrop to this serial murder mystery. Rory's budding romance with a classmate takes a backseat to more pressing (and deadly) concerns, but readers looking for nonstop fun, action, and a little gore have come to the right place. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Rory, 17, leaves rural Louisiana and enrolls in a British boarding school. Her arrival coincides with the emergence of a new terror in London: a murderer mimicking the 1888 grisly killings by Jack the Ripper. As she reports to officials her knowledge of events leading up to these gruesome deaths, she reaches the startling realization the she can see individuals not observed by others or picked up with electronic surveillance: Rory can see ghosts. She recognizes the one who poses as a modern-day Ripper and who is responsible for the horrific murders spreading across London. His plan intensifies and Rory becomes his target, with an announcement that the killings will continue until she surrenders to him. Employing a terminus, a device used to eliminate lingering ghosts, and a few friends who, like Rory, possess "the sight," she goes deep into the London underground to "terminate" this modern-day Ripper. While she is successful, there is obviously more to tell in this planned trilogy. This savvy teen, who uses her considerable smarts and powers against the ghosts, will return to battle all who haunt her world. Johnson uses a deft hand, applying the right amount of romance and teen snarkiness to relieve the story's building tension. Departing from her previous works, she turns paranormal on its head, mocking vampires and werewolves while creating ghosts that are both realistic and creepy. A real page-turner.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Everybody Sees the Ants
Click to search this book in our catalog   King, A.S.

Book list *Starred Review* Fifteen-year-old Lucky Linderman doesn't feel lucky. After creating an ill-conceived school survey on suicide, he is besieged by well-meaning but ineffective adults who want to make sure he's okay. But though he is honest about how not okay Nader McMillion's bullying is, no one intervenes, not even his parents, who are too caught up with their own inadequacies. Better to pretend everything's fine, even when Nader's bullying escalates, and Lucky begins seeing the ants, a tiny Greek chorus that voices what he cannot. The only place Lucky has agency is in his dreams, where he runs rescue missions to save his POW-MIA grandfather from Vietnam. But are they only dreams? Blending magic and realism, this is a subtly written, profoundly honest novel about a kid falling through the cracks and pulling himself back up. Lucky narrates with bewildered anger and bitter humor, his worrisome moments of emotional detachment going unnoticed by the adults around him. Though heartbreaking, the story is ultimately uplifting, as Lucky accepts responsibility for himself, his family, and the other bullying victims he knows are out there, waiting for someone to speak up. Another winner from King, author of The Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Reality is a flexible thing in this offbeat and thought-provoking coming-of-age story from Printz Honor-winner King (Please Ignore Vera Dietz). Lucky Linderman, 15, has been the target of bullying by a classmate, Nader, and after a particularly brutal attack by him, Lucky leaves Pennsylvania for Arizona with his mother, who is fed up with her marriage. Staying with his uncle and pill-popping aunt is anything but a peaceful vacation, but when Lucky meets 17-year-old Ginny, a reluctant model, her strong will and courage make Lucky realize that it's time to stand up for himself. The gravity of the issues King addresses-bullying, marital difficulties, the lack of closure regarding Lucky's grandfather, an MIA soldier who has been gone for decades-are thrown into high relief by surreal elements interwoven throughout, most notably Lucky's dreams, which bleed into reality in intriguing ways as he attempts to rescue his grandfather and others, and a Greek chorus of ants Lucky sees, which adds welcome doses of humor and pathos. It's a smart, funny, and passionate novel that embodies the idea that "It Gets Better"-when you take action. Ages 15-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Lucky Linderman has been tortured by Nader McMillan since they were seven, when Nader inexplicably peed on him in a restaurant bathroom. Now it's the summer before sophomore year, and ever since Lucky unintentionally got the bully in trouble with his social-studies survey about suicide, Nader's harassment has escalated. What's more, everyone thinks Lucky is serious about killing himself, and in addition to this and the bullying, his parents' marriage is falling apart. The only way Lucky can escape his life is through a touch of mysterious magic, in which he dreams of communicating with his grandfather, who has been MIA since the Vietnam War. In his dreams, Lucky is strong and fearless, ready to stop at nothing to rescue him. When Nader smashes him into the concrete at the community pool, crushing his face and pride, Lucky's mom flies them to Arizona to stay with her brother and his wife for a few weeks. During his time away Lucky learns that he is okay with being a "momma's boy," that he can't keep escaping his life in the jungle of his dreams. King's heartfelt tale easily blends realism and fantasy. Through a man he never met, Lucky learns he can stand up for himself and stop Nader from terrorizing him and other students. Some mild language and discussion of male and female anatomy are included, but they are within the realm of the story and necessary for these teens to sound real. A haunting but at times funny tale about what it means to want to take one's life, but rising above it so that living becomes the better option.-Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Icefall
Click to search this book in our catalog   Kirby, Matthew J.

Publishers Weekly Kirby follows The Clockwork Three with a tense mystery that blends history and Norse myth. Solveig-the plain and oft-ignored second daughter to a king away at war-has been sent to safety high in the fjords, along with her siblings, beautiful Asa and future heir Harald, and others loyal to her father. As winter closes in, food grows scarce, and tempers flare. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that one among them is a traitor. Their only diversion comes from the stories told by Alric, the resident skald, who takes on Solveig as an apprentice. With her ability to spin tales and find the truth, can Solveig uncover the traitor? Kirby turns in a claustrophobic, thought-provoking coming-of-age adventure that shows a young woman growing into her own, while demonstrating the power of myth and legend. Kirby's attention to detail and stark descriptions make this an effective mood piece. Readers may be drawn in by the promise of action, which Kirby certainly fulfills, but they'll be left contemplating the power of the pen versus the sword-or rather the story versus the war hammer. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Solveig and her two siblings are sent to the far end of a fiord for safety's sake while their father battles to save his kingdom. Solveig knows that the elite warriors who brought them there are entrusted to guard her younger brother, Harald, the crown prince. Older sister Asa, favored for her beauty and marriage potential, causes Solveig to agonize about her own insignificance and lack of purpose. Supplies dwindle while waiting for victory news, and anxiety increases as a warship full of the king's berserkers arrives just as ice closes over the fiord. Stranded for the winter, the untamed warriors are restless and unpredictable, and begin to raise mayhem in the camp, killing Solveig's pet goat and accusing one another of treason. Calmed only by listening to stories told by Alrec the skald (poet of the living past), the boorish Vikings become attentive to Solveig as well, bolstering her confidence and providing a means for the author to (ingeniously) integrate tales from Norse mythology, featuring gods Odin and Thor, supernatural creatures, and fallen warriors. In a page-turning climax, the fiord thaws and enemies arrive to overpower the berserkers and kidnap Harald. The ensuing battle and survival scenes are vividly portrayed, and characters fight back with the epic heroism of gods. Solveig is an empathetic heroine and Hake, the hulky berserker war chief, is also a well-developed and (eventually) endearing character. Fans of John Flanagan's "Ranger's Apprentice" series (Philomel) will enjoy this adventure tale.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Following his ambitious Victorian-era The Clockwork Three (2010), Kirby's second novel takes readers even deeper into history. In an attempt to keep his children safe while he wages war, a Viking chief sends beautiful Asa, heir-to-the-throne Harald, and overlooked Solveig to winter in a distant fortress along with a cadre of berserkers. While the ice-locked fjord provides a perfect safeguard from outside threats, it also becomes a prison when it's clear there's a traitor among them. Over the course of the brutal winter, Solveig learns the delicate art of storytelling from her father's skald ( the poet of the living past ) and also forms a bond of mutual affection with the most fearsome berserker of the bunch. Her stories provide comfort, distraction, and hope for the starving people, but are tested to the utmost when blood begins to spill. Both elegant and exciting, this work recalls Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley (2009) in its treatment of the lofty spot that lore occupies in a warrior society and how stories give meaning to both life and death.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
The Iron Thorn
Click to search this book in our catalog   Kittredge, Caitlin

Book list Steampunk fans will delight in this first title in the sure-to-be-popular Iron Codex series, featuring an alternate, Victorian-flavored America tightly controlled by Proctors and driven by the Engine, an underground power source. The only girl at the prestigious School of Engines of Lovecraft Academy, Aoife Grayson is terrified that she will follow her mother and brother into the hereditary madness that strikes on the sixteenth birthday, now just a few weeks away. Determined to escape that fate, she sets off to her never-met father's estate, with her friend Cal and a cocksure but very appealing hired guide. Here, she tumbles into a magical world she recognizes from her father's journals and her mother's mad ravings. Kittredge's richly descriptive narrative captures all the details of clockwork, inventive machinery, foggy mists, ghastly ghouls, and creative landscapes. There's plenty of tame but satisfying romance, too, and plot twists galore. Aoife is a caustic-tongued, feisty, and independent young woman, with plenty of nerve and courage. The abrupt ending signals a sequel, which can't come too soon.--Carton, Debbie Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Aoife Grayson is terrified that she will go mad when she turns 16. She believes that she carries a latent form of a necrovirus that has already affected her brother, who has disappeared, and her mother, who is locked up in a madhouse. The setting is an alternate version of New England, where Boston is known as Lovecraft, a town powered by a mysterious underground engine and ruled by Proctors who enforce a rationalistic worldview that denies the existence of magic, blames madness on a necrovirus outbreak, and keeps the populace safe from the apocryphal night creatures who are said to feed on human flesh. Aoife, who is studying at Lovecraft's School of Engines, receives a mysterious letter from her missing brother that leads her to escape the city with her friend Cal. The pair recruits Dean Harrison as a guide as they hitch a ride on an airship to Aoife's ancestral mansion, which has long been abandoned except for the young maid, Bethina. At Graystone, Aoife discovers her father's journals that help her to understand her family's secrets and her own destiny. The journals also lead her into a fairy realm, the Land of Thorn, where she meets Tremaine, one of the "Kindly Folk" who may or may not be telling her the truth. Kittredge has fashioned a unique, action-filled, and compelling combination of steampunk, H. P. Lovecraft-inspired horror, and straight fantasy that should enchant fans of all three genres.-Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In her first book for young readers, urban fantasist Kittredge (the Nocturne City series) presents a fevered if somewhat unlikely mashup of steampunk, the Cthulhu mythos, and traditional fairy tale, set in an alternate 1950s America. Talented engineering student Aoife Grayson, the illegitimate daughter of a madwoman and a reclusive scholar, fully expects to go insane on her upcoming 16th birthday because, as her only friend Cal reminds her, "the Grayson line has bad blood. From the first infected on down," and it is clear that the Proctors, who rule the ghoul-haunted, necrovirus-stricken city of Lovecraft, are watching her closely. Fleeing Lovecraft, accompanied by Cal and Dean, her handsome but disreputable heretic guide, Aoife heads for Arkham and her father's ancestral mansion, intent on saving her mad brother, Conrad, from a hideous fate. There she discovers marvelous inventions, gruesome monsters, a complex plot that spans several worlds, and the secret of her own identity. Though the material borrowed from H.P. Lovecraft occasionally calls too much attention to itself, Kittredge generates significant thrills and chills in this fast-moving tale, first in a planned series. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Steampunk fans will delight in this first title in the sure-to-be-popular Iron Codex series, featuring an alternate, Victorian-flavored America tightly controlled by Proctors and driven by the Engine, an underground power source. The only girl at the prestigious School of Engines of Lovecraft Academy, Aoife Grayson is terrified that she will follow her mother and brother into the hereditary madness that strikes on the sixteenth birthday, now just a few weeks away. Determined to escape that fate, she sets off to her never-met father's estate, with her friend Cal and a cocksure but very appealing hired guide. Here, she tumbles into a magical world she recognizes from her father's journals and her mother's mad ravings. Kittredge's richly descriptive narrative captures all the details of clockwork, inventive machinery, foggy mists, ghastly ghouls, and creative landscapes. There's plenty of tame but satisfying romance, too, and plot twists galore. Aoife is a caustic-tongued, feisty, and independent young woman, with plenty of nerve and courage. The abrupt ending signals a sequel, which can't come too soon.--Carton, Debbie Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Aoife Grayson is terrified that she will go mad when she turns 16. She believes that she carries a latent form of a necrovirus that has already affected her brother, who has disappeared, and her mother, who is locked up in a madhouse. The setting is an alternate version of New England, where Boston is known as Lovecraft, a town powered by a mysterious underground engine and ruled by Proctors who enforce a rationalistic worldview that denies the existence of magic, blames madness on a necrovirus outbreak, and keeps the populace safe from the apocryphal night creatures who are said to feed on human flesh. Aoife, who is studying at Lovecraft's School of Engines, receives a mysterious letter from her missing brother that leads her to escape the city with her friend Cal. The pair recruits Dean Harrison as a guide as they hitch a ride on an airship to Aoife's ancestral mansion, which has long been abandoned except for the young maid, Bethina. At Graystone, Aoife discovers her father's journals that help her to understand her family's secrets and her own destiny. The journals also lead her into a fairy realm, the Land of Thorn, where she meets Tremaine, one of the "Kindly Folk" who may or may not be telling her the truth. Kittredge has fashioned a unique, action-filled, and compelling combination of steampunk, H. P. Lovecraft-inspired horror, and straight fantasy that should enchant fans of all three genres.-Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Pearl
Click to search this book in our catalog   Knowles, Jo
 
2012
Sean Griswold's Head
Click to search this book in our catalog   Leavitt, Lindsey
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781599904986 A chronic worrier, high school freshman Payton Gritas has just had a massive wrench thrown into her hyperorganized life: for six months her family has kept her father's multiple sclerosis diagnosis a secret from her. The school guidance counselor asks Payton to keep a journal about a "Focus Object" of her choosing, and she picks Sean Griswold's head, since he has sat in front of her in class for years. The drama begins when her boy-crazy best friend, Jac, decides that they should research Sean-and then starts playing matchmaker. Payton soon falls for sensitive Sean and begins to share his passion for cycling, but between her father's illness, her declining grades, and her faltering friendship with Jac, she isn't sure that she can let someone new into her life. Leavitt (the Princess for Hire series) delicately handles topics of illness, evolving relationships, and what it means to grow up. Payton's alternately sarcastic, snappy, and reflective narration ("The truth, I know, is that it's not my dad I'm really mad at. I'm mad at his disease") carries this insightful story. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781599904986 A teenager charts her rocky course toward, as she puts it, getting over myself in the wake of the revelation that her father has contracted multiple sclerosis. Enraged to learn that everyone else in her family has been shielding her from the knowledge for six months, 15-year-old Payton stops speaking at home, lets her schoolwork slide, and manages to alienate both her stubbornly loyal best friend and budding romantic interest Sean a classmate who, thanks to alphabetization, has occupied the desk in front of her since third grade. Setting up the central conflict as an inner one between Payton's anger-fueled grief and her deep-seated good nature and common sense, Leavitt tucks in lines like I don't do spandex. The devil wears spandex. And I doubt the devil's butt is as big as mine while bringing her protagonist around to acceptance and repaired relationships with help from patient family members and peers, an unexpectedly wise guidance counselor, a little prayer, a newfound love for long-distance biking, and plenty of self-analysis. It's formulaic, but the formula is tried-and-true.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781599904986 Gr 6-9-When 15-year-old Payton Gritas gives her family the silent treatment for withholding her father's MS diagnosis for six months, her parents request the aid of their daughter's guidance counselor, who assigns a focus object exercise. Payton chooses Sean Griswold's head because she and Sean have been linked by last name proximity since the third grade. Soon, with the help of her boy-crazy friend Jac, Payton gets to know Sean Griswold the person and the head. Interpersonal conflicts abound as the teen chooses to focus on avoidance rather than confronting the fear she is experiencing. In a balanced proportion of comedy and gravity, she comes to terms with her father's illness, deals with conflicts she has created with Jac, and eventually opens up her heart to a little romance. While the path that Leavitt paves for her protagonist is somewhat predictable, the likable characters will have girls gravitating toward the novel. Though the book takes a light look at a teenager coming to grips with a parent's serious illness, it is refreshing and realistic without being overwrought with angst.-Adrienne L. Strock, Maricopa County Library District, AZ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2012
Huntress
Click to search this book in our catalog   Lo, Malinda

Publishers Weekly Two teenage girls-Taisin, a sage who has visions, and Kaede, a brave fighter from a powerful family-must travel to see the Fairy Queen to try and save their land. A persistent winter has settled over their kingdom for two years, halting not only trade and harvests but the natural course of life itself, and threatening the survival of Taisin and Kaede's fellow citizens. The journey to the city of Taninli, home of the Fairy Queen, is treacherous, and along the way Taisin, Kaede, and their travel companions face many dangers and tests of their abilities, not least of which are Taisin and Kaede's growing feelings for each other. Lo's storytelling and prose are masterful, and her protagonists will fascinate, particularly Taisin and her relationship to death and its accompanying rituals, her visions, and the way she can occupy another's mind. As with Ash, Lo's characters are emotionally reserved, which makes the unfolding of romance between Kaede and Taisin all the more satisfying. Fans of Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy will love this. Ages 15-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list Set in the same universe as but in an era long preceding that of Lo's earlier fantasy, Ash (2009), Huntress follows the physical, intellectual, and romantic adventures of two teen girls: apprenticing guard and huntress Kaede and future sage Taisin. Elowen, the daughter of the Fairy Queen, threatens to destabilize and destroy both the land of fey and the land of humans; Kaede and Taisin must employ their different strengths to face and overcome her and to rescue the Fairy Queen. Along the way, the two girls recognize and act upon their attraction to each other, knowing that they have no future together because of Taisin's vocation. Lo's alternately languid and heated descriptions of the politics and obstacles in Kaede's life from her father's presumption to marry her off to her fight with Elowen build a compelling world to pull in readers and hold them fast to the final page. A gripping fantasy with high appeal for fans of Ursula K. Le Guin as well as for readers in search of a smart, female-dominated adventure tale.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-Set in the same world as Ash (Little, Brown, 2009) but centuries earlier, this stand-alone novel tells the story of Kaede, a 17-year-old studying at the Academy of Sages. When climate changes cause terrible storms resulting in the loss of crops and livestock, she, along with Taisin, another sage-in-training and seer; Con, the king's son; and some trusted guards are sent to renew an ancient treaty with the Fairy Queen, hoping that together they might restore order to the land. After many arduous weeks of travel, they arrive only to discover that the fairy realm is in straits nearly as dire as those they left behind in the human lands. Together, the three young people embark on a desperate mission to destroy the being responsible for draining the fay of their magic and wreaking havoc on the land. In spite of the prohibition against sages forming intimate relations, feelings develop between Kaede and Taisin, and the two girls must decide whether to follow their hearts or their destinies. Lo has created a wonderfully detailed world, and this dynamic and moving story of love that must find a way against nearly insurmountable odds will be as well received as Ash. Select where historical fantasy and GLBT fiction are popular.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Legend
Click to search this book in our catalog   Lu, Marie

Book list *Starred Review* All right, it has a plague. And, yes, it's set in some semblance of America in the not-so-distant future. Yet even with all the hordes of dystopian novels out there, this one still manages to keep readers on the edge of their seats. But even the nonstop action would mean little without Lu's well-toned ability to write characters to care about. One is June, a daughter of the Republic. Her perfect scores at the Trial have insured a great future for her. Then there is Day. A hero to the street people, he fights injustice and keeps an eye on his brothers and mothers as they try to survive. Their narratives, told in alternating and distinctively voiced chapters, describe how circumstances bring them together. Day kills June's beloved soldier brother as he tries to get medicine for his own. With cold precision, June makes it her mission to exact revenge. What happens next, in macro terms, probably won't surprise, yet the delicious details keep pages turning to learn how it's all going to play out. Combine star-crossed lovers with the need to take down the Republic, and you've got the makings for a potent sequel.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-In this futuristic tale told in alternating voices, the United States has devolved into factions and California is a part of the Republic. The people are oppressed, except for the privileged few, and Day is carrying out a raid on a hospital for plague medicine for his family. Readers learn that he has been fighting against the Republic for some time, with phenomenal success. Unfortunately, his raid ends with a Republic soldier wounded, and Day is also injured while making his escape. The other narrator is June, who is Republic-trained, privileged, and also in possession of remarkable abilities. She vows vengeance on her brother's killer-he is the wounded soldier. June knows about Day, and she also knows that he doesn't kill, so why did he kill her brother? It's a good question, since he didn't. There is plenty of intrigue and underhanded dealing going on, mostly by Republic officials. The mystery surrounding June's brother and the constant recurrence of various strains of plague are solved by the end, with June and Day joining forces to fight injustice. The door is left open for a sequel since June and Day make their escape and head toward the Colonies (the western part of the former United States not including California) to seek aid in their fight against tyranny. The characters are likable, the plot moves at a good pace, and the adventure is solid. This is a fine choice for those who enjoyed Gemma Malley's The Declaration (Bloomsbury, 2007), Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (Tor, 2008), and fans of the "Star Wars" franchise.-Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Lu's debut is a stunner. Weaving the strands of SF dystopia, police procedural, and coming-of-age-with touches of superhero and wild frontier traditions-she fashions a narrative in which the action is kinetic and the emotional development is beautifully paced. June, a prodigy from the elite class of the disintegrating Republic, is being groomed for a military career when her brother, a captain, is murdered. June is quickly drafted into the team tracking his accused killer, a spectral and maddeningly persistent outlaw known as Day. June's life has been shaped by intellect, and to be driven by an emotion as ungovernable as grief makes her vulnerable in painful, dangerous ways. Day has known grief all of his life, but is no more immune to it than June is. The chase unfolds against a plague-infested Los Angeles of Gotham-like grit that Lu conjures with every nuance of smell, sound, and sight. First in a series, this story is utterly satisfying in its own right and raises hopes high for the sequels to come. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
The Piper's Son
Click to search this book in our catalog   Marchetta, Melina

Book list Australian author Marchetta follows her Printz Award-winning Jellicoe Road (2008) and the high-fantasy Finnikin of the Rock (2010) with this realistic, stand-alone companion to Saving Francesca (2004), set five years later in the same urban neighborhood. After the death of his beloved uncle Joe in an overseas bomb blast, Tom dropped out of the university, and his family spun apart. After a rock-bottom moment leaves Tom homeless with a head full of stitches, he moves in with his aunt Georgie, who is pregnant at 42 and navigating a fraught relationship with a sometimes-estranged partner. Marchetta draws in familiar faces from Saving Francesca, including the title character, as Tom begins to reclaim his life and reach out to the girl he can't forget. Readers may find that the narrative loses focus in frequent switches to Georgie's point of view, but the multidimensional adult characters add to the story's deep flashes of authenticity. A memorable portrait of first love, surviving grief, and the messy contradictions and fierce bonds that hold friends and family together.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This tender sequel to Saving Francesca focuses on Francesca's friend, Thomas Finch Mackee, whose family is being torn apart by tragedy. Two years ago when Tom's young uncle was killed by a suicide bomber, Tom's father ("He was a drinker, Dom was. Always had been") lost control, causing his mother to leave town with his younger sister. Tom dropped out of his university-and abandoned his tight-knit circle of friends-while his aunt Georgie has yet to acknowledge that she is pregnant by her ex-partner. There is a lot of backstory, and readers may initially have trouble sorting out the pieces. But the story that unfolds through Tom and Georgie's alternating points of view is powerful and tragic, revealing a wonderful and realistically flawed family working hard to fix its deep damage. Marchetta masterfully demonstrates the depth of emotion-and love-the characters feel, sometimes in small but moving moments. The ending may wrap up somewhat neatly, but readers who make this intense journey with Tom and Georgie will feel they deserve the sweet resolutions. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Fans of Marchetta's Saving Francesca (Knopf, 2004) will enjoy revisiting the book's characters, now five years older. This time the focus is on Thomas Mackee, whose entire family is torn apart by grief when his uncle Joe is killed, the result of a terrorist bombing in a London subway. Tom's parents separate, he drops out of university, and hits rock bottom with booze, drugs, and one-night stands. His flatmates bail on him and he finds himself living with his unmarried, pregnant aunt, Georgie. Eventually they're joined by Tom's alcoholic, grieving dad. There's a plethora of family angst, including Grandpa's remains now returned from the Vietnam War and Georgie's boyfriend getting another woman pregnant. At times, the story plods and Tom is quite unlikable, but Marchetta uses smart dialogue, email messages, and a bit of humor to slowly draw readers into the complicated social dynamics. It's a joy to watch Tom reconnect with his friends, his music, his family, and Tara, the girl whose heart he broke.-Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Exposed
Click to search this book in our catalog   Marcus, Kimberly
2012
Virtuosity
Click to search this book in our catalog   Martinez, Jessica

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-In this riveting novel, 17-year-old violin prodigy Carmen Bianchi is forced to question everything she believes when she falls hard for a rival musician. At first, she is, with her manager mother's encouragement, completely focused on her career and winning the Guarneri Competition. On her mother's orders, Carmen even takes prescription pills to steady her nerves during performances. When she meets Jeremy King, her main competition, he helps her see beyond her own sheltered world. This is a beautifully written story, especially the descriptions of the pressures and pleasures of Carmen's life as a professional musician. Readers will sympathize as she deals with a controlling parent, high-stakes situations, ethical choices, and uncertainties over Jeremy's romantic motives. Carmen's mother seems less fully developed, but the budding relationship between the teens is realistic, and the Chicago setting adds to the story. The portrayal of Carmen's world, in which every performance is terrifying and even one stumble could end her career, is unique and convincing. The novel builds to a satisfying finish as the competition arrives and Carmen discovers a terrible secret. Even readers without much interest in music will enjoy this exceptional novel.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Unified School District (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Carmen Bianchi knows she will be a finalist for the Guarneri, an international violin competition. She has sacrificed a normal childhood and adolescence for her beloved violin, and her dedication has paid off with a Grammy Award and world renown. Although she can tamp down her nerves with increasing doses of Inderal, an antianxiety drug, she can't tamp down her growing fear that her only competitor, Jeremy King, is the better violin player. And once Jeremy kisses her, she has a new concern: did he do it because he cares about her or because he wants to distract her from the goal they share winning the Guarneri? First-time novelist Martinez has a gift for making classical violin accessible and understandable to even the most tone-deaf reader. The twists in the pair's love affair, combined with the turns in their careers, elevate this novel from sweet romance to a complex drama. Decisions are never easy, but will the cost of winning or losing be too high? For older readers of The Mozart Season (1991).--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Under the Mesquite
Click to search this book in our catalog   McCall, Guadalupe Garcia

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-This stunning debut novel in verse chronicles the teenage years of Lupita, a character drawn largely from the author's own childhood. Poised to enter her freshman year in high school, Lupita comfortably straddles the country of her birth, Mexico, and that of her family's adoptive country, the United States. She and her seven siblings live with their Mami, a gifted gardener and tender of her brood, and Papi, a hardworking construction worker. When her mother is diagnosed with cancer, the disease begins to sap the family's lives both emotionally and financially. The simplicity of the story line belies the deep richness of McCall's writing. Lupita, a budding actress and poet, describes the new English words she learned as a child to be "like lemon drops, tart and sweet at the same time" and ears of corn as "sweating butter and painted with chili-powdered lime juice." Each phrase captures the essence of a moment or the depth of her pain. The power of Lupita's story lies also in the authenticity of her struggles both large and small, from dealing with her mother's illness to arguments with friends about acculturation. This book will appeal to many teens for different reasons, whether they have dealt with the loss of a loved one, aspire to write and act, are growing up Mexican American, or seeking their own identity amid a large family. Bravo to McCall for a beautiful first effort.-Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Like the mesquite tree of the title, Lupita is sturdy and able to survive harsh climates with great potential for recovering from stress. Told in verse sprinkled with Spanish terms (a glossary is included), this story of Lupita's high-school years details her increasing responsibility within her large Mexican American family after Mami is diagnosed with cancer. Caring for seven younger siblings, keeping up with schoolwork and her drama roles, and staying connected with her classmates and friends while the worries gnaw at her take their toll, but she is strong. There are also moments of intense vulnerability. As high-school graduation nears, Lupita sees that her mother may not be there for it: Suddenly I realize / how much I can't control, how much / I am not promised. The close-knit family relationships, especially Mami and Lupita's, are vividly portrayed, as is the healing comfort Lupita finds in words, whether written in her notebooks or performed onstage.--Dobrez, Cindy Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Cryer's Cross
Click to search this book in our catalog   McMann, Lisa

Book list Kendall is a senior in a one-room high school where last spring Tiffany, a freshman, disappeared. Now it is the start of a new year, and Kendall's boyfriend, Nico the only one who truly understood Kendall's OCD has gone missing, too. While compelled to straighten the desks before class one morning, Kendall discovers that Nico's desk was also Tiffany's desk. This seems like more than a coincidence, but Kendall is afraid that people will think she is crazy. The town's dark past is a well-kept secret, and though she doesn't want to admit it, Kendall will need the help of brooding newcomer Jacian if she is going to find Nico. Kendall is a unique character, and the details of her OCD compulsions are well drawn. Haunting passages from another world, which provide just enough detail to intrigue and disturb readers, are intertwined with Kendall's story. Part mystery, part ghost story, and part romance, this book has enough to satisfy a variety of readers and will find popularity with McMann's established fan base and new readers alike.--Yusko, Shauna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this ghost story, McCann (the Wake trilogy) delivers an atmospheric but unsatisfying tale of smalltown horror. Kendall Fletcher, a soccer player with obsessive-compulsive disorder who dreams of performing on Broadway, is determined to escape her tiny hometown of Cryer's Cross, Mont., by getting into Juilliard. When her best friend, Nico, is the second student to vanish mysteriously in recent months, it throws Kendall's ordered life into disarray. Soon, enigmatic daydreams and clues lead her to believe that Nico is the latest victim of a supernatural mystery, and she may be the next target. A handsome but surly newcomer, Jacian, may be the key to surviving whatever is preying on the teens of Cryer's Cross. While the remote, rural setting is laden with potential (the one-room high school has only 24 students) and the constant whirring of Kendall's OCD-afflicted mind adds an interesting dimension, the elements never completely gel. McMann handles the buildup of the story's tension well, but her resolution feels quick and easy, and even bloody final revelations can't mitigate a premise that's far more silly than spooky. Ages 14-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 7-10-This horror/suspense offering never really gets a full shiver going, even though McMann infuses her story with a 50-year-old wooden school desk and a menacing collective of tortured souls possessing it. Even when the desk-spirits seem to explain the bizarre disappearances of two of several high school students in the tiny Montana town of Cryer's Cross, the intended creep factor intended falls short. What doesn't fall short is the solid characterization of Kendall, a senior who tries to keep control of her OCD even after Nico, her best boy-friend since infancy, goes missing. Weird carved messages show up on the desk he was using before his disappearance, and Kendall thinks she hears his voice when she sits at it. Luckily, she has the distractions of soccer, a new boy from Arizona who slowly warms up to her, and her family's potato harvest to keep her from obsessing about Nico's loss and the eerie desk-until they just become too compelling. Then she, too, faces danger from the trapped entities that inhabit the desk. The mystery of why and how the desk is possessed and urging teenagers to harm themselves is given a quick and illogical gloss over when explained. Discerning readers are unlikely to suspend disbelief, but they may find character and setting help redeem the book.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
The Apothecary
Click to search this book in our catalog   Meloy, Maile

Book list Janie, 14, has been living happily with her screenwriter parents in Hollywood. But it's 1952, and blacklisting makes it imperative that the family moves to London, where a TV job awaits. Janie is not happy about this, but a startling adventure opens to her as she becomes friends with Benjamin Burrows, whose father is an apothecary, and not just any apothecary. Mr. Burrows is part of a small, international group of scientists who are trying to contain the destructive results of the atomic bomb, including a weapon that is being tested off the coast of Russia. Those who know little about blacklisting, the Cold War, and European life after WWII will just have to dive into the fantasy-adventure pool, which runs long and deep. Magic elixirs, transformational disguises, and everyday cunning help Janie, Benjamin, and several scientists elude capture and defeat the desperate cabal that supports the Soviet Union. Readers must be willing to traverse a complicated tale and avoid stepping in a few plot holes, but Meloy offers a strong narrator in Janie and an intriguing mix of history and mystery.--Cooper, Ilen. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly When the House Committee on Un-American Activities targets Janie's television writer parents, the 14-year-old and her family flee from Los Angeles to London. There, Janie meets Benjamin, a "defiant" classmate, and his father, the neighborhood apothecary, who is involved in much more than hot water bottles and aspirin. In fact, he is part of a long line of apothecaries who have discovered miraculous secrets-truth serums, invisibility, amazing physical transformations-and he is now working with scientists on an incredible plan that has global ramifications with regard to the escalating tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. Some readers may need to brush up on cold war history to fully appreciate the stakes, but even those with a vague understanding of the times will be quickly swept up in this thoroughly enjoyable adventure, filled with magic, humor, memorable characters, and just a bit of sweet romance. With evocative, confident prose and equally atmospheric spot art from Schoenherr, adult author Meloy's first book for young readers is an auspicious one. Readers will hope they haven't heard the last from Janie and Benjamin. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 5-8-A fairly interesting mystery set mostly in 1952 London, The Apothecary offers a little of everything; magic, romance, mystery, and historical fiction. When friends of Janie's parents are blacklisted in Hollywood (they are a television writing team), the Scotts move to London. Around the corner from their flat is a mysterious shop with an enigmatic apothecary. The man's son is Janie's new friend at school. When she and Benjamin, who aspires to be a spy, happen to witness a handoff involving a Russian attache in the park, the teens get more than they bargained for. As it turns out, not only is Benjamin's father involved, but the Latin instructor at their school is also a part of this web of espionage. The two rush to save the apothecary only to find out that he is attempting to stop a nuclear test in Soviet territory. Everyone goes along to help stop the explosion. However, the magic occasionally feels like a contrivance to move the plot forward instead of an organic part of the fantasy. The ending is sort of a free-for-all, and the created world doesn't really keep to the rules set up at the beginning. Nonetheless, this is a highly readable adventure/mystery, and it is greatly enhanced by Schoenherr's graceful and evocative illustrations.-Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-A fairly interesting mystery set mostly in 1952 London, The Apothecary offers a little of everything; magic, romance, mystery, and historical fiction. When friends of Janie's parents are blacklisted in Hollywood (they are a television writing team), the Scotts move to London. Around the corner from their flat is a mysterious shop with an enigmatic apothecary. The man's son is Janie's new friend at school. When she and Benjamin, who aspires to be a spy, happen to witness a handoff involving a Russian attache in the park, the teens get more than they bargained for. As it turns out, not only is Benjamin's father involved, but the Latin instructor at their school is also a part of this web of espionage. The two rush to save the apothecary only to find out that he is attempting to stop a nuclear test in Soviet territory. Everyone goes along to help stop the explosion. However, the magic occasionally feels like a contrivance to move the plot forward instead of an organic part of the fantasy. The ending is sort of a free-for-all, and the created world doesn't really keep to the rules set up at the beginning. Nonetheless, this is a highly readable adventure/mystery, and it is greatly enhanced by Schoenherr's graceful and evocative illustrations.-Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Ashfall
Click to search this book in our catalog   Mullin, Mike

Book list Alex, 15, is alone at home in Cedar Falls, Iowa, when his house collapses, as thick black ash falls from the sky. A supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park has erupted 900 miles away, all power is out, and the horrendous noise of the aftermath does not stop. Alex takes off through the never-ending darkness, stench, corpses, and tumult to try to find his family who had been vacationing. Along the way, he meets smart, tough Darla, an engineering whiz, and together they fight through the post-eruption world. The step-by-step survival journey may be too graphic for some, especially the detailed descriptions of filth, hunger, and injuries as the teens scavenge for food, water, and shelter; run from a brutal FEMA refugee camp; fight off looters; and witness unspeakable violence (a woman tells them she saw her husband roasted on a spit). This catastrophic vision is rooted in realism that is extended by a concludingnote about the story's scientific connections, and Alex's voice is right on, especially in his romance with fierce, angry Darla. Of course, a sequel is coming.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Alex, 15, is separated from his family when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts. The eruption leaves his world in confusion, with no infrastructure and drifts of ash everywhere. He decides that he must leave his home in Iowa to seek out his family, who were traveling toward Pennsylvania when the explosion occurred. Alex uses his Tae kwon do skills to keep himself safe as he skis over the ash. Food is in short supply for everyone. Eventually he is taken in by Mrs. Edmunds and her daughter, Darla. When tragedy strikes, Alex and Darla must set out on their own to find safety and food. Not surprisingly, along the way, a romantic attraction develops between them. Ultimately, they must figure out how to survive in a refugee camp. The conclusion is satisfying, but unresolved enough to indicate the beginning of what appears to be a planned trilogy. The tough self-sufficiency of the two lead characters (Alex's Tae kwon do coupled with Darla's automotive prowess) adds to their appeal. The romance develops believably over the course of the book. Tautly paced and well researched, this is a high-action read-alike for fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It (Harcourt, 2006).-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In this grim, postapocalyptic tale, the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, covering much of North America in volcanic ash and plunging the world into nuclear winter. Fifteen-year-old Alex Halprin refused a family trip to visit relatives in Illinois, so he's home alone in Iowa when the eruption occurs. After seeing a neighbor kill three looters, Alex heads east through falling ash, dropping temperatures, and torrential storms, hoping to find his family. Soon he's joined by another survivor, Darla Edmunds, with whom he falls in love. Debut novelist Mullin puts his characters through hell, depicting numerous deaths in detail ("Blam-Blam! His head pretty much burst, showering my legs with blood and bits of hair and skull and brain"). There's also cannibalism and a rape before the novel comes to a believable ending; "happy" is perhaps too much to ask for, but Alex does find a measure of stability. The book is well written and its protagonists are well-drawn, particularly the nontraditional and mechanically inclined Darla. Although more appropriate for older teens due to its violence, this is a riveting tale of survival. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Shine
Click to search this book in our catalog   Myracle, Lauren
2012
Recovery Road
Click to search this book in our catalog   Nelson, Blake

Book list Madeline is starting junior year in rehab. She hates the losers surrounding her all except Trish. Soon the two are escaping the halfway house every Tuesday to go to the movies with other recovering addicts. It is here that Madeline meets Stewart, another recovering addict, and the two teens are immediately drawn together. What follows is a story about being in love while trying to survive sobriety. Eventually, the two are released from rehab and must return to their previous lives; for Madeline that means returning to school and her old friends and routines. Her struggle to stay sober and find a new path is realistic and the strength of the story. Her relationship with Stewart, on the other hand, has the expected narrative ups and downs. When a tragedy strikes, Madeline is left to figure out what she really wants from life and how Stewart fits into her plans. Spanning over three years, the book finds its biggest fireworks in the first half, with the rest proceeding like an extended epilogue.--Yusko, Shauna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Nelson offers another sharply focused portrait of a teen in crisis in this story of ex-party girl Maddie, who struggles to renew herself after being released from a rehab center. At Spring Meadow, Maddie's best moments come during her fleeting romance with another young patient, Stewart. After returning home, 16-year-old Maddie counts the days until Stewart's release, hoping they can take up where they left off. Meanwhile, she battles loneliness and isolation at her high school where her earlier drunken escapades earned her the nickname "Mad Dog Maddie," and her old friends pressure her to start using again. "It's so weird being straight," Maddie thinks. "You have no defenses. Shit happens and you have to feel it." Predictably, reuniting with Stewart isn't the answer to Maddie's problems, and tension rises as both teens' resolve to stay sober shows signs of weakening. Nelson (Destroy All Cars) gives a hard, honest appraisal of addiction, its often-fatal consequences, and the high probability of relapse. This is an important story that pulls no punches. Ages 13-18. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-After one too many incidences of drinking and fighting, Madeline Graham's parents send her to Spring Meadows, which is just one of a string of rehab centers on what is called Recovery Road. She is just getting used to the routine of it all-therapy, work, and mealtime-but then, on one fateful weekly Movie Night in town, Maddie meets Stewart, a damaged teen fighting demons of his own. The two begin an intense relationship that flourishes in the bubble of recovery's routine. Once Maddie is released, though, she finds that their connection just isn't the same, even though she still loves him. She has sex for the first time while not drunk. When she tries to move on with her life, though, she feels the need to keep rescuing Stewart from himself. The story, told by Maddie, is all about finding the wrong kind of love and trying to make it right. She and Stewart have a deep connection because they understand one another on a different level due to what they are both going through. Maddie is a strong, likable teen, and the rest of the characters are believable and genuine as they help her move on with her life after rehab. The chapters are concise, which will grab reluctant readers. This is a great book for teens who are, or know someone who is, dealing with drug or alcohol addiction. Nelson doesn't glamorize it, but paints a portrait of the struggle that people go through when fighting substance abuse.-Kimberly Castle, Medina County District Library, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
A Monster Calls
Click to search this book in our catalog   Ness, Patrick

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Conor O'Malley, 13, is having a difficult time. At school, he copes with bullying and loneliness. His father is living in America with his new family, and at home he has to contend with a recurring nightmare that torments him every night. His mother is seriously ill and undergoing painful cancer treatments. One night, he wakes up to a voice calling his name. An ancient, treelike monster, hovering over him like a sleeping giant, has come to tell him three stories. When the monster is done, he wishes for Conor to tell him a fourth tale, wanting the scariest thing of all-the truth. The wise monster's ambiguous tales contain unexpected outcomes and help demonstrate that not all stories have happy endings, but they can be more important than anything else if they carry the truth. Conor has to accept the truth about his mother's prognosis and letting go, even if it means losing her. Only then can he start to heal, without destroying himself in the process. This is an extraordinarily moving story inspired by an idea from author Siobhan Dowd before she passed away. Kay's shadowy illustrations slither along the borders of the pages and intermingle with text to help set its dark, mysterious mood, while Conor is often seen as a silhouette. A brilliantly executed, powerful tale.-Krista Welz, North Bergen Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-With an absent father and a mother dying of cancer, Conor O'Malley has recurring nightmares that are becoming more and more real, until they transform into a monster that tells him three stories and demands one in return. Eerie illustrations help set the mood in this haunting tale of acceptance, letting go, and healing. (Sept.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* After the stylistic feats and dumbfounding originality of Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy, this follow-up effort comes as something of a surprise an earthbound story concocted from a premise left behind by the late Siobhan Dowd. As Conor watches his mother succumb to cancer, he is pummeled by grief, anger, isolation, helplessness, and something even darker. At night, when he isn't trapped in a recurring nightmare too terrible to think about, he is visited by a very real monster in the form of a giant yew tree. The monster tells Conor three ambiguous, confusing stories, then demands a final one from the boy, one tha. will tell me your truth. Meanwhile, Conor's mom tears through ineffective treatments, and Conor simmers with rage. Everybody always wants to have a talk lately. But all that really happens is a lot of pussyfooting around the central, horrible fact that his mother is dying, and what does the monster mean abou. the trut. anyway? A story with such moribund inevitability could easily become a one-note affair or, worse, forgettable but small, surgically precise cuts of humor and eeriness provide a crucial magnifying effect. Moreover, Ness twists out a resolution that is revelatory in its obviousness, beautiful in its execution, and fearless in its honesty. Kay's artwork keeps the pace, gnawing at the edges of the pages with thundercloud shadows and keeping the monster just barely, terribly seeable. Sidestepping any trace of emotional blackmail, Ness shines Dowd's glimmer into the deepest, most hidden darkness of doubt, and finds a path through.--Chipman, Ia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In his introduction to this profoundly moving, expertly crafted tale of unaccountable loss, Ness explains how he developed the story from a set of notes left by Siobhan Dowd, who died in 2007 before she had completed a first draft. "I felt-and feel-as if I've been handed a baton, like a particularly fine writer has given me her story and said, 'Go. Run with it. Make trouble.' " What Ness has produced is a singular masterpiece, exceptionally well-served by Kay's atmospheric and ominous illustrations. Conor O'Malley is 13. His mother is being treated for cancer; his father, Liam, has remarried and lives in America; and Conor is left in the care of a grandmother who cares more for her antique wall clock than her grandson. This grim existence is compounded by bullies at school who make fun of his mother's baldness, and an actual nightmare that wakes Conor, screaming, on a recurring basis. Then comes the monster-part human, part arboreal-a hulking yew tree that walks to his window just after midnight and tells three inscrutable parables, each of which disappoints Conor because the good guy is continually wronged. "Many things that are true feel like a cheat," the monster explains. In return for the monster's stories, Conor must tell his own, and the monster demands it be true, forcing Conor, a good boy, a dutiful son, to face up to his feelings: rage and, worse still, fear. If one point of writing is to leave something that transcends human existence, Ness has pulled a fast one on the Grim Reaper, finishing the story death kept Dowd from giving us. It is a story that not only does honor to her memory, it tackles the toughest of subjects by refusing to flinch, meeting the ugly truth about life head-on with compassion, bravery, and insight. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
The Floating Islands
Click to search this book in our catalog   Neumeier, Rachel

School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-Tragically losing his family in Tolounn and then turned away by his Tolounnese uncle, grieving Trei, 14, ventures to the Floating Islands (kept aloft by wind dragon power) hoping his mother's family will take him in. Seeing the kajuraihi-an elite group of men who borrow wind dragon power to fly-Trei immediately longs to become one despite being only half-Islander. He finds a kindred spirit and eventual coconspirator in his sharp-tongued cousin Araene. Society would have Araene's ambitions stop at wife and mother but with her culinary talent she'd prefer to be a chef. A habitual secret jaunt while disguised as a boy leads her to the hidden school for mages and she discovers yet another supposedly male-centric gift. Neumeier's primary heroes-Trei, Araene and, to some extent, Trei's friend and fellow kajuraihi novice, Ceirfei-all struggle to find their true purposes despite the limitations others place on them. In the process they prove to be invaluable allies and assets when warmongering Tolounn threatens to conquer the Floating Islands. While the mechanics of magic need more explanation and similar-sounding names may give pause, the well-drawn protagonists are sympathetic and behave consistently. Emotions are palpable, from grief and doubt to frustration. Neumeier has a talent for world-building and a knack for description, evident in her unique settings. Recommended for general purchase in school and public libraries with a fantasy fan base.-Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Themes of finding home, creating identity, and sorting out loyalties in the face of others' suspicions are woven beautifully into this fantasy story. Trei, who lost his family and home in a disaster, eventually finds his way to another country, the home of his cousin Araenè. The two become tentative friends and share their personal dreams: his, to fly with the majestic wingmen, and hers, to study to become a chef, although she must disguise herself as a boy in order to attend school. Their adventures converge when Trei's adopted homeland is threatened by attack from his land of birth. Araenè provides the necessary defensive weapon a dragon's egg acquired illegally on her first day in the mage academy. Both adolescent and adult characters are rounded and realistic, and the two cousins' parallel journeys are equally absorbing. Neumeier's writing is fluid and evocative, and the questions raised are reflections of those intrinsic to every individual's journey to adulthood.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Prized
Click to search this book in our catalog   O'Brien, Caragh

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-O'Brien's follow-up to Birthmarked (Roaring Brook, 2010) begins with Gaia Stone at a lonely oasis in the wasteland, far from the Enclave she escaped. She and her infant sister, Maya, are rescued by Peter, a young man from a settlement called Sylum, which, in its own way, is as strange and harsh a place as the Enclave. Women are only one tenth of the population but they rule over the men, many of whom are sterile. Any physical contact between an unmarried man and a woman is considered attempted rape, and the man can be confined to the stocks, imprisoned, or exiled. The last means death, because everyone who leaves Sylum for more than a few days becomes fatally ill. Gaia is immediately considered to be guilty of placing her sister in harm's way and Maya is taken from her. As a woman and the community's only midwife, though, she is also highly valued. To complicate matters further, Leon has followed her from the Enclave. Gaia must sort through her feelings for him as well as those for Peter and his sensitive brother, Will. Cryptic messages left by her grandmother give both a warning and a glimmer of hope. In all, O'Brien has done a marvelous job of building a society with intricate human and environmental elements. Gaia is a very human heroine, often uncertain of her course but always determined to do right as best she can. Although this is undeniably a dystopia, it is filled with romance and beauty, but familiarity with the first book is crucial to understanding this one.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Picking up quickly on the heels of Birthmarked (2010), this second book in the trilogy feels almost like an entirely new story. Gaia and her baby sister stumble upon the Sylum, a strange village where women are in short supply (only one in 10 babies is female) and yet hold all the power. Gaia enters into a battle of wits with the Matrarc, Sylum's feared leader, and with two potential loves she begins to investigate the science of what is behind the town's weird biology. Fans of Kristin Cashore's Graceling books should know about O'Brien's writing: these are smart, tough romances.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
The False Princess
Click to search this book in our catalog   O'Neal, Eilis

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-One day after her 16th birthday, Nalia, the Princess of Thorvaldor, learns that she isn't "Nalia" after all. She is Sinda, a poor peasant who has been used as a decoy to save the true princess. Because of a prophecy that foresaw her death before her 16th birthday, the true Nalia was sent to a convent where she was kept safe. Now, she returns to Thorvaldor, and Sinda is sent to live with her aunt in Treb, where she struggles with her new identity and misses the king and queen, the only parents she ever knew, and Kiernan, her best friend. When a friend betrays her trust, she becomes overwhelmed and magic begins bursting out of her-magic that she didn't know she possessed and can't control. She goes back to Thorvaldor and becomes a scribe to the eccentric Philantha. One night, she watches someone put a spell on Nalia, or the girl who she thought was Nalia. It is the same spell that was repeatedly put on Sinda to hide her true identity during her first 16 years. Could there be another decoy? Who is deceiving the king and queen? The plot line is unpredictable, causing readers to be pulled along with each page turn to find out what will happen next. The thick character descriptions allow for teens to empathize and put themselves in the place of Sinda and the others. The characters are dealing with the angst of change and identity development, so readers can really relate to the issues that come up in this exciting story. Written from Sinda's perspective, this book takes readers on a wild ride of deception, mystery, and young love.-Kathryn Kennedy, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Young readers who have ever wondered if they are in the right family might heed O'Neal's fantasy as a cautionary tale. Princess Nalia was switched at birth, when the king and queen of Thorvaldor hid their infant daughter to avoid a deadly curse due before her sixteenth birthday. A stand-in princess was arranged and then cruelly torn from the palace when the danger had passed. Now called Sinda, the forme. princes. lives a hardscrabble existence as scribe to a minor wizard. Bright and plucky, Sinda does not meekly slip away. She comes to realize she holds magic powers that need taming, and she also uncovers a good deal of palace intrigue connected to master wizard Melaina, and even a second birth switch that has ensconced the latter's daughter in the palace in place of the true princess. Who will believe Sinda? Brave and clever Kiernan, a good friend from her palace days, helps her plot and triumph. This novel crackles with adventure and suspense and will delight fans with its blend of wizardry and court life.--O'Malley, Ann. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Just after her 16th birthday, the princess of Thorvaldor finds out she is no princess at all, but a peasant girl named Sinda Azaway, switched at birth with the real princess after a prophesy predicted the royal's death; Sinda has ceased to be useful to the king and queen now that the fated birthday of their real daughter has passed. Readers will feel for Sinda, who's immediately exiled from palace life, sent to live with an unknown aunt, and burdened with having lived a lie. Debut novelist O'Neal deftly draws a protagonist to root for as Sinda forges a new identity, comes into her own as a talented wizard, and discovers further royal intrigue. Sinda's sadness and anger feel righteous, never grating, and O'Neal quickly buoys Sinda's new life with her best friend from the palace, Kiernan, who proves his loyalty, and a wonderful teacher in the eccentric Philantha, who takes Sinda in as a wizard's apprentice. Fans of Shannon Hale will enjoy this compelling fantasy, which is filled with magic, political drama, and romance. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Fixing Delilah
Click to search this book in our catalog   Ockler, Sarah

Publishers Weekly Delilah Hannaford's grandmother was estranged from her daughters for eight years, but when she dies, 16-year-old Delilah, her workaholic mother, and her tarot-reading aunt spend the summer at the family lake house, tying up loose ends with her estate-and within their family. Well-written and ambitious, Ockler's (Twenty Boy Summer) book is a bit overstuffed with secrets: what exactly happened eight years ago? why doesn't anyone talk about her mother's youngest sister, who died as a teenager? Delilah even learns that her father is not who she thought he was. Readers may have a hard time knowing where to focus, especially when a romance with a long-lost childhood friend is mixed in, plus Delilah's strained relationship with her mother and the discovery of her dead aunt's secret diary. Even so, Delilah's gradual acceptance of her family's complicated history feels authentic, as does her growing ability to recognize her own flawed coping mechanisms. Readers will appreciate her honest assessment that while the Hannaford women cannot fix all past hurts, "some of them can be repaired, piece by piece, rebuilt into something even more cherished and loved and unique." Ages 12-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-When Del's grandmother's dies, the teen and her mother, Claire, immediately head to Red Falls, VT. The house is a Victorian relic where her mother and aunt grew up and it holds fond memories for Del, particularly of Rickie, the boy who was once her inseparable companion. An unexplained fight between her mother and her grandmother ended any contact. Claire is a secretive sort who has a demanding job and seems to pay attention only when Del gets in trouble, and Del has obliged. The summer is spent working on clearing the house and repairing it to get it ready to sell, with the aid of Rickie, now known as Patrick, and his father, who run a construction business. Romance ensues, along with uncovering clues about the family mystery regarding an aunt who died at age 19. Although the plot is sometimes melodramatic, romance lovers will enjoy the tender love scenes, while more practical folk may tire of Del's vacillations and whining. The ending seems telegraphed, and nothing is new, except a friend who declares herself a lesbian. The story will satisfy readers who crave romance that focuses on the moments spent kissing and touching rather than on the sex.-Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Tragedy and deception tore 17-year-old Delilah's family apart nearly a decade ago. After her grandmother dies, Delilah and her mother head to Vermont for another summer at the family home, where they settle the estate and revive unresolved family matters. Delilah discovers her deceased aunt Stephanie's lost diary; as she reads about her teenage aunt's relationships and her slip into depression, Delilah is worried to see parallels in her own life. She also learns of the secret that split the family apart, and threatens to do so again. A nice cast of characters adds a homey feel and small-town color to the narrative, including Patrick, Delilah's childhood buddy, who has grown steadfast and handsome. Ockler's follow-up to 20 Boy Summer (2009) is another perfect fit for those seeking expressive writing, emotional depth, and lush, cinematic romance, cementing her comfortably next to similar teen favorites like Deb Caletti, Carolyn Mackler, and Sarah Dessen.--Booth, Heather Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Akata Witch
Click to search this book in our catalog   Okorafor, Nnedi

Publishers Weekly Okorafor (The Shadow Speaker) returns with another successful tale of African magic. Although 12-year-old Sunny is Nigerian, she was born in America, and her Nigerian classmates see her as an outsider. Worse, she's an albino, an obvious target for bullies and suspected of being a ghost or a witch. Things change, however, when she has a vision of impending nuclear war. Then her classmate Orlu and his friend Chichi turn out to be Leopard People-witches-and insist that she is, too. Soon Sunny discovers her spirit face ("It was her, but it felt as if it had its own separate identity, too. Her spirit face was the sun, all shiny gold and glowing with pointy rays"). Eventually, the three and an American boy named Sasha visit the dangerous, magical city of Leopard Knocks and learn from their mentors in witchcraft that they must destroy Black Hat Otokoto, a monstrous serial killer and powerful witch. Although a bit slow getting started, this tale is filled with marvels and is sure to appeal to teens whose interest in fantasy goes beyond dwarves and fairies. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-This contemporary fantasy features Sunny, 12, Nigerian by blood but born in New York City, who's been living in Nigeria since she was 9. She has West African features but is an albino with yellow hair, white skin, and hazel eyes. This mixture confuses people, and she is teased and bullied by classmates. One day while looking into a candle flame, she sees a vision of the end of the world. She discovers that her classmate Orlu; his friend Chichi; and Sasha, newly arrived from America, all have magical abilities, and they suspect that she does, too. She finds out she's of the Leopard spirit line and has the ability to cross over into the spirit world, become invisible, see the future, and manipulate time. She and her new friends must use their abilities to try to defeat a serial killer who's maiming and killing children to use to awaken a monster from the spirit world. This vividly imagined, original fantasy shows what life is like in today's Nigeria, while it beautifully explores an alternate magical reality. Sunny must deal with cultural stereotypes, a strict father who resents her being female, and older brothers who pick on her because she's better at soccer than they are. This is a consistently surprising, inventive read that will appeal to more thoughtful, patient fantasy readers because it relies less on action and more on exploring the characters' gradual mastery of their talents.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Flame has always been soothing to 12-year-old Sunny until she sees a vision of the end of the world in candlelight. Raging fires, boiling oceans and ruptured land, dead and dying people. It was horrible. And it was coming. Born in the U.S. to Nigerian parents, Sunny and her family have returned to Nigeria, where she is taunted for being both foreign-born and albino. Then Sunny learns that her classmates' jeers that she i. half-ghost, half-huma. hold truth: she is a Free Agent, descended from both Leopard People, who have magical abilities, and Lambs, who are equivalent to J. K. Rowling's dull Muggles. Along with three other Leopard kids, Sunny has been chosen to help stop a serial killer whose dark juju depends on sacrificing children and links to her apocalyptic vision. The story's pacing isn't consistently smooth, but the world Okorafor creates is spellbinding, from its fantastical plants and animals, including sculpture-buildin. wasp artist. and forceful lightning bugs ( the ones with attitude have the best light ), to its values, which are refreshing inversions of Lamb beliefs: money is earne. by gaining knowledge and wisdom. for example. Harry Potter fans will find plenty of satisfying parallels here, as will readers who know Okorafor's previous novels, especially The Shadow Speaker (2007), for which Akata Witch serves as a prequel of sorts. Okorafor's high-spirited characters, sly humor, archetypal themes, and inventive reworking of coming-of-age journeys will leave readers eager for this series starter's planned sequels. For more about Okorafor and her imagined worlds, see the accompanyin. Story behind the Stor. feature.--Engberg, Gillia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Delirium
Click to search this book in our catalog   Oliver, Lauren

Book list Oliver's follow-up to her smash debut, Before I Fall (2010), is another deft blend of realism and fantasy. The hook is irresistible: it's the near future, a time when love has long since been identified as a disease called amor deliria nervosa, and 17-year-old Lena is 95 days away from the operation that everyone gets to cure themselves. Can you feel the swoon coming? Enter Alex, a rakish daredevil who, as it turns out, is one of the Invalids a tribe of uncured who live on the lam in the surrounding wilderness. With the clock ticking down to her surgery, Lena is drawn into Alex's world, one of passion and freedom, while her emotionally castrated family members hope to turn her into yet another complacent zombie. Oliver's masterstroke is making a strong case for love as disease: the anxiety, depression, insomnia, and impulsive behavior of the smitten do smack of infirmity. The story bogs down as it revels in romance Alex is standard-issue perfection but the book never loses its A Clockwork Orange-style bite regarding safety versus choice.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-In this gripping dystopian novel set in a future Portland, ME, everyone is safe, unhappiness can be cured, and the freedoms we take for granted have been relinquished in the name of "security" and "the common good." There is no risk and no pain, or at least there won't be for 17-year-old Lena Haloway and her outspoken friend, Hana, once they turn 18. They will then be eligible, in fact forced, to undergo the procedure that will render them impervious to delirium-the disease that was formerly known as love. You can see, of course, right where this is headed, but the ride is well worthwhile. Lena is an engaging and believable protagonist, at first compliant, then questioning, and finally desperate to save herself and the irrepressible emotions blooming within her. Her journey to understanding is both painful and exhilarating as she meets free-spirited Alex, succumbs to delirium, and wrestles with the social code she's been taught so well. Ultimately, Lena gets a shocking glimpse into the world outside the city's borders and witnesses the barbaric underpinnings of the "safe" world in which she has lived. Especially heartbreaking is her discovery of the fate of her mother, who was unable to stop loving her husband and daughters and paid a terrible price for her transgression. On the other hand, Lena's caring but numbed-out aunt and her scrupulously compliant older sister make clear the consequences of obedience to tyranny. Strong characters, a vivid portrait of the lives of teens in a repressive society, and nagging questions that can be applied to our world today make this book especially compelling and discussable.-Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-In 17-year-old Lena's America, science has conquered the most pernicious disease of all-love. Also gone are laughter, dancing, and the appreciation of beauty. Lena is looking forward to being cured of her troublesome feelings until she meets a boy with golden eyes and hair the color of autumn. Audio version available from Audible.com. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In her sophomore novel, Oliver (Before I Fall) presents an intriguing but disappointing thought experiment, set in a dystopian future in which American borders are sealed and civil order is enforced by regulation, vigilantism, and "the procedure," a coming-of-age lobotomy that excises amor deliria nervosa, or love. Nearly 18, Lena Haloway welcomes the prospect; her mother underwent three unsuccessful procedures and eventually committed suicide, so Lena deeply believes that love equals suffering. Still, there's a subversiveness to her thoughts and actions, from nurturing the motherless child Gracie to reading Romeo and Juliet because it is "beautiful," not the cautionary tale it's presented as. When a strange, handsome boy begins to intrude on her life, strictly against the regulations, the "beauty" of that tragic trope begins to play out swiftly and relentlessly. The prose is accomplished, and the Portland, Maine, setting wonderfully evoked. However, Oliver's nightmare future lacks a visceral punch, primarily because of the weakness of the world-building. Her America has undergone a seismic shift, but the economic, religious, and cultural ramifications are all but ignored. Ages 14-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
Click to search this book in our catalog   Oppel, Kenneth

Book list That Victor Frankenstein must've been a handful as a teen, eh? The latest entry in the why-hasn't-anyone-thought-of-this-before category is this cunning take on Victor's formative years, which (no surprise) are filled with wild temper, intellectual passion, and an aptitude for renegade science. When 15-year-old Victor's twin brother, Konrad, is struck by a dire illness, Victor, his cousin Elizabeth, and friend Henry take advantage of the Dark Library they recently found hidden behind a bookshelf. Swiftly, they become confederates with Polidori, a shamed alchemist who sets before the trio the challenge of assembling three ingredients, each more harrowing to acquire than the last. Brash, jealous, and arrogant, Victor is sweet relief from today's introspective YA protagonists, and one can easily visualize how this teen becomes the mad genius of Shelley's Frankenstein. Elizabeth feels less like her literary counterpart, and the middle section drags in classic teen sleuthing. Thankfully and almost out of nowhere the final 50 pages explode into wild, gory theatrics that prove Oppel isn't afraid to reach into his characters' darkest hearts.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this stylish gothic tale, first in a planned series, teenage Victor Frankenstein makes a desperate attempt to create the forbidden alchemical Elixir of Life, in order to save his beloved twin brother, Konrad, from an untimely death. Aided by his steadfast friend Henry and his adopted sister, Elizabeth, who both twins love to distraction, Victor sets out to acquire the necessary ingredients, scales the tallest tree in the Sturmwald during a lightning storm to acquire a rare and poisonous lichen, later descending into a dangerous Swiss cave in search of the equally rare and even deadlier coelacanth. Victor, already a mad scientist in training, is passionate and easily angered, and Elizabeth makes for a fiery love interest. Written in a readable approximation of early 19th-century style, Oppel's (Half Brother) tale is melodramatic, exciting, disquieting, and intentionally over the top. For the most part, Oppel hews closely to the Frankenstein mythos, and with a delicious mix of science, history, and horror, he peers into the psyche of a young man who is beginning to hunger for greater control over life and death. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 7-10-When Konrad Frankenstein, the beloved twin brother of headstrong, quick-tempered Victor, falls inexplicably and deathly ill, Victor embarks on a dark quest to find a cure. Enlisting the help of his cousin/adopted sister, Elizabeth, and his best friend, Henry Clerval, he seeks a disreputable alchemist named Polidori who sends them to retrieve the ingredients for a potion that will supposedly restore Konrad's health. However, the potion also has a history of killing those who drink it. Despite the ambiguous nature of the remedy, Victor feverishly follows his course, pulling himself, Henry, and Elizabeth into greater danger with each relentless step. Sharp readers will find allusions to Mary Shelley, her literary circle, and classic horror films; for those simply wanting a good story with plenty of action, this book will not disappoint. Many details remain the same as in the original work; for instance, Victor's arrogant desire to overcome the power of illness and death makes him a slightly unlikable protagonist. But here's a sign of a good storyteller: readers may not like Victor, but they will certainly want to find out what happens to him.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Karma, A Novel in Verse
Click to search this book in our catalog   Ostlere, Cathy

Publishers Weekly This epic novel, written in free verse poems in a diary format, straddles two countries and the clash of Indian cultures in the tale of 15-year-old Maya. Raised in Canada, Maya is the product of a marriage between her Hindu mother and Sikh father, a union that upset both families. Her 1984 trip to India with her father, after her mother's suicide, thrusts her life into further chaos when her father disappears during riots that follow Indira Gandhi's assassination. In her first YA novel, Ostlere (Love: A Memoir) makes Maya's subsequent muteness believable in the wake of the many traumas she endures. Burdened with guilt over her parents' fate, as well as that of a Sikh man burned alive in front of her, she asks, "Is my silence unfounded too?/ No. I do not deserve to be found./ Or loved." A family in a desert town takes Maya in, and 17-year-old Sandeep (who contributes kinetic, lovestruck journal entries) takes special interest in her. In contrast to the hatred, mistrust, and violence, the friendship-and then love-between Maya and Sandeep offers hope, rebirth, and renewal. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-This epic tale unfolds through the pages of alternating diaries from October 28th through December 16th, 1984. Yet countless layers peel off with the turn of each page, leading readers deeper into the rich and sometimes tortured history beneath the tale's present. Fifteen-year-old Maya, half Hindu/half Sikh, has lived her entire life in rural Canada. Her family's religion and ethnicity set them apart from their community, but also from one another. Maya's name itself signifies the tension between her parents, lovers who forsook their families for each other, but who have lived in different states of mourning and regret since. Her given name is Jiva or "life," yet her mother blasphemously calls her Maya or "illusion," an insult to her Sikh father. Thus, when life and loss lead Maya and Bapu back to India at the time of Indira Gandhi's assassination, they are plunged deep into a nation in bloody turmoil. Maya's sense of otherness escalates dramatically as she is forced to consider it on a personal and near-universal scale. The middle diary belongs to that of Sandeep, with whom Maya experiences love, tragedy, ancestry, and loyalty at an intimate (yet physically innocent) level. The novel's pace and tension will compel readers to read at a gallop, but then stop again and again to turn a finely crafted phrase, whether to appreciate the richness of the language and imagery or to reconsider the layers beneath a thought. This is a book in which readers will consider the roots and realities of destiny and chance. Karma is a spectacular, sophisticated tale that will stick with readers long after they're done considering its last lines.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* After her Hindu mother's suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her Sikh father travel from Canada to India for a traditional burial. The year is 1984, and on the night of their arrival in New Delhi, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her Sikh guards. When the city erupts in chaos, both Maya and her father find themselves in great danger. Through a sequence of horrifying events, father and daughter are separated, and Maya is left alone in a violent foreign country where she must rely on the help of strangers to reach safety. In her YA debut, acclaimed adult author Ostlere offers a riveting, historically accurate coming-of-age tale of gutsy survival, self-sacrifice, and love. Set during a six-week period, the novel in verse makes the most of its lyrical form with lines of dialogue that bounce back and forth in columns across the page and singularly beautiful metaphors and similes that convey potent detail and emotion. With artful compassion, Ostlere reveals the infinitely complex clash of cultures within both India and Maya's family, and although the allusions to karma could have seemed awkward in less talented hands, here they lead into well-framed larger questions that will stay with readers. A fascinating, epic page-turner.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Guantanamo Boy
Click to search this book in our catalog   Perera, Anna

Book list *Starred Review* Is torture ever justified? Can a confession given under torture be considered the truth? What if the suspect is only 15? There are adult books about abuse at Guantanamo Bay. But what about the many kids held without trial? Set six months after 9/11, this unforgettable novel raises crucial headline issues through the story of teenage Khalid, born near Manchester, England, into a secular Muslim family. Close with his mates on the soccer field and excited about a girl in his class, Khalid grabs every spare minute at home to play war games online with his Pakistani cousin, Tariq, whom Khalid has never met. Then, on his first family trip to Pakistan, Khalid is suddenly arrested in the street, named an enemy combatant, beaten, and questioned, first in Pakistan, then Afghanistan, and then Guantanamo Bay, where he is deprived of sleep, shackled, and water-boarded until he confesses to everything in order to stop the pain and get back home. Tariq is also a prisoner. Did he confess and betray Khalid? Were they victims of bounty hunters? Finally, after almost two years and with the help of his family's lawyer, Khalid does return home to a heartfelt welcome, but many young suspects remain in prison. The extensive back matter by the author and human-rights activists includes detailed discussion questions and more facts. Teens, and adults, too, will want to talk about the terrifying stories like Khalid's, which are happening now to young people.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Originally published in the U.K., this harrowing first novel, in which a 15-year-old British boy is apprehended as an enemy combatant while visiting family in Pakistan, focuses on the darker practices of the war on terror. "Six months after 9/11 and the world is getting madder by the day," observes Khalid's father, which foreshadows the insanity to come. Perera quickly establishes Khalid as a typical teenager who quarrels with his parents and likes to play soccer and roughhouse with friends, heightening the tragedy of what follows. After Khalid's father disappears in Karachi, Khalid's chance appearance at a protest and innocent computer gaming leads to his imprisonment for two years, first in Pakistan, then at a CIA camp in Afghanistan, and finally in Guantanamo Bay. Perera unflinchingly portrays the beating, sleep deprivation, isolation, and waterboarding that Khalid undergoes; in one section, she skillfully employs white space to demonstrate the confusion and madness caused by sleep deprivation. Readers will feel every ounce of Khalid's terror, frustration, and helplessness in this disturbing look at a sad, ongoing chapter in contemporary history. Ages 13-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
What Can't Wait
Click to search this book in our catalog   Perez, Ashley Hope

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-Marisa Moreno, a Houston high school senior, is the goody-goody younger sister of Cecelia, who had a child at 17, and macho brother Gustavo, who calls her nerda. Although Marisa earns A's, her acceptance letter to an Austin university sits hidden away in a kitchen drawer stuffed with her mother's prayer cards, an example of the narrative's rich and carefully observed detail. Afraid to let go of her younger daughter, Ma equates the distance to not-so-far-away Austin with Germany because the only other young woman who left their neighborhood is stationed there with the army. Ma's geography may be weak, but her logistical argument is solid. Marisa babysits her niece, Anita; works at a supermarket; and cooks for the family: Who will replace her? With little spare time, the teen's attempts at having a social life are flimsy; her best friend, Brenda, and boyfriend Alan provide comic relief and support. A short scene about an attempted sexual assault is too quickly drawn to be convincing. The real dynamic is among the members of this nuclear family, particularly involving its five-year-old scene stealer, Anita. The love of Marisa's life, she's someone for whom one would gladly struggle to build a future, even if it means learning to put your own needs before those of the family. This strong first novel makes an excellent choice for populations with large numbers of immigrant students.-Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Marisa loves AP calculus, and she is good at it. But her overbearing father, a Mexican immigrant, always reminds her that familia comes first. That means picking up extra shifts at the grocery store, where she works to help pay bills, and babysitting her adorable niece, who distracts from schoolwork. This is Marisa's senior year, and she has a shot at a great engineering school, but her supportive teacher doesn't seem to comprehend the cultural conflict she is creating by pushing Marisa's college dreams. Even Marisa's new boyfriend doesn't understand her struggle to aim for a better life. Although it has the potential to become a book version of Stand and Deliver, by focusing on Marisa's determination in the face of quiet disapproval from her mother and outright opposition from her father, Perez removes the cliche and creates a relatable character who is unraveling under the pressure to support her family at the expense of her dreams. This solid debut deftly explores the daily struggle of some students to persevere in the face of long odds.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-Marisa Moreno, a Houston high school senior, is the goody-goody younger sister of Cecelia, who had a child at 17, and macho brother Gustavo, who calls her nerda. Although Marisa earns A's, her acceptance letter to an Austin university sits hidden away in a kitchen drawer stuffed with her mother's prayer cards, an example of the narrative's rich and carefully observed detail. Afraid to let go of her younger daughter, Ma equates the distance to not-so-far-away Austin with Germany because the only other young woman who left their neighborhood is stationed there with the army. Ma's geography may be weak, but her logistical argument is solid. Marisa babysits her niece, Anita; works at a supermarket; and cooks for the family: Who will replace her? With little spare time, the teen's attempts at having a social life are flimsy; her best friend, Brenda, and boyfriend Alan provide comic relief and support. A short scene about an attempted sexual assault is too quickly drawn to be convincing. The real dynamic is among the members of this nuclear family, particularly involving its five-year-old scene stealer, Anita. The love of Marisa's life, she's someone for whom one would gladly struggle to build a future, even if it means learning to put your own needs before those of the family. This strong first novel makes an excellent choice for populations with large numbers of immigrant students.-Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Anna and the French Kiss
Click to search this book in our catalog   Perkins, Stephanie

Book list Anna is not happy about spending senior year at a Paris boarding school, away from her Atlanta home, best friend Bridgette, and crush Toph. Adapting isn't easy, but she soon finds friends and starts enjoying French life, especially its many cinemas; she is an aspiring film critic. Complications arise, though, when she develops feelings for cute and taken classmate Etienne, even though she remains interested in Toph. Her return home for the holidays brings both surprises, betrayals, unexpected support, and a new perspective on what matters in life and love. Featuring vivid descriptions of Parisian culture and places, and a cast of diverse, multifaceted characters, including adults, this lively title incorporates plenty of issues that will resonate with teens, from mean girls to the quest for confidence and the complexities of relationships in all their forms. Despite its length and predictable crossed-signal plot twists, Perkins' debut, narrated in Anna's likable, introspective voice, is an absorbing and enjoyable read that highlights how home can refer to someone, not just somewhere.--Rosenfeld, Shelle Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Anna Oliphant has big plans for her senior year in Atlanta: hang out with her best friend, Bridgette, and flirt with her coworker at the Royal Midtown 14 multiplex. So she is none too happy when her father sends her off to boarding school in Paris. However, things begin to look up when she meets -tienne St. Clair, a gorgeous guy-with a girlfriend. As he and Anna become closer friends, things get infinitely more complicated. Will Anna get her French kiss? Or are some things just not meant to be? Perkins has written a delightful debut novel with refreshingly witty characters. There is strong language and mention of sexual topics that make the book more appropriate for older teens. The chapters are concise, and the steady pacing leading up to the "will they or won't they?" moments will capture even reluctant readers. Teens will feel like they are strolling through the City of Lights in this starry-eyed story of finding love when you least expect it.-Kimberly Castle, Medina County District Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Click to search this book in our catalog   Perkins, Stephanie

Book list Lola, 17, is committed to her older musician boyfriend, Max, who is 22. And Max seems committed to Lola, so much so that he even joins her for family brunch on Sundays with her gay dads. Then the boy next door, who had moved away, comes back, and Lola has to figure out who she really wants in her life. The first half of this novel moves along with brio, introducing a slew of interesting characters, including the druggy mother who gave Lola to her brother and his partner to raise, her movie-theater coworkers, Max, and Lola's neighbor and first love, Cricket. Readers will be taken with Lola's strong voice as she tries to fit the ubernice Cricket back into her life even as she fights her strong attraction to him. The latter half of the book could have been tightened as it winds slowly to its inevitable yet sweet conclusion. Throughout, Lola wears costumes instead of clothes, in some ways to mask who she really is, and Perkins skillfully shows that learning to let one's authenticity shine through is what true love can make happen.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9-11-Seventeen-year-old Lola lives with her two fathers in San Francisco. An aspiring costume designer, she has an extreme style and a penchant for outlandish outfits, sequins, and wigs and no longer cares what anyone else thinks about her exotic outfits. She also dreams of a future with her boyfriend, Max, as he pursues his rock-and-roll career. But life rarely follows a plan, and Lola's seems to be falling apart. Her parents don't like Max, who is 22, and seem to go out of their way to express their displeasure (not that the restrictions have stopped Max and Lola's more amorous activities). Then Cricket Bell, the guy who broke Lola's heart two years earlier, and his twin sister move back into the house next door, and Lola's unstable birth mother moves in until she can find a new place to live. As everything begins to come apart at the seams, she learns that, like fabric, life's pieces can be sewn back together to create something better than what was originally designed. Perkins's novel goes a bit deeper than standard chick-lit fare, and Lola is a sympathetic protagonist even when readers disagree with her decisions. Her shaken certainties and the obstacles that are thrown in her path give her maturity and depth and, ultimately, settle her more firmly into her dreams with a greater confidence. Secondary characters are well developed and lend believability to the novel. Step back-it's going to fly off the shelves.-Heather Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Like its predecessor, Perkins's companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss has snappy dialogue and sexy love interests, though high-school junior Lola is a much more unconventional heroine. With an array of wigs and costumes at her disposal (her outfits include an Egyptian-inspired gown made from a sheet and a cheetah-print number adorned with red ribbons and brooches to protest game-hunting), she has no interest in blending in. As Lola begins her junior year, her goals are to get her fathers to approve of her 22-year-old boyfriend, Max, and to create a masterpiece Marie Antoinette costume for the winter dance. But complications arrive when Cricket Bell moves back next door. Two years ago he broke her heart, and seeing him again shakes her faith in her relationship with Max. What's a girl to do when two guys are into her? Lola indulges her inner angst plenty, but her self-deprecating sense of humor and Perkins's skill at capturing Lola's seesawing emotions make for a lively romance about a girl trying to understand who she is under all the gowns and glitter. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Lark
Click to search this book in our catalog   Porter, Tracey

Publishers Weekly Neither character-driven nor plot-driven, middle-grade author Porter's first YA novel is a message-driven story about three teenage girls who have suffered at the hands of men. The 16-year-old title character has been stabbed, raped, and left to die of hypothermia in the woods near her home. Her voice alternates with those of two friends, Nyetta and Eve, who are coping with their own betrayals by men in their lives (Nyetta's father abandoned her family; Eve was molested by a coach). Lark, meanwhile, faces further victimization after her death-she will, like other murdered girls, be imprisoned forever in a tree if no one truly acknowledges what happened to her. It's neither clear what supernatural agency would inflict such a fate nor why the acknowledgement of law enforcement is insufficient, but Eve and Nyetta must come to terms with their own lives, and with Lark's death, for all three to move on. Porter (Billy Creekmore) develops strong, distinct voices for each girl, but they are the flat characters of a parable. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list After a kidnapping, brutal assault, and rape, 16-year-old Lark is left bound to a tree and dies of exposure in a snowstorm. Eve, once Lark's best friend, was the last person to see her alive and struggles to find the right way to react. Nyetta, a younger girl Lark once babysat, is visited by Lark's plaintive ghost. If Lark can't convince someone to look at her and bear witness to her wounds, she will be trapped in the tree, unable to move on into the afterlife. Nyetta is troubled by Lark's demands and forms an unlikely friendship with Eve and Eve's boyfriend, Ian, to find a way to help Lark go. In this sparse and poetic novel, Lark's ordeal is depicted briefly but with enough detail that it may be difficult for sensitive readers. Ultimately, though, this is a haunting addition to th. dead gir. genre that treats the survivors' emotions, guilt, and pain gently and with a great deal of understanding.--Booth, Heathe. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Lark Austin is only 16 when she is kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Her former best friend, Eve; her former babysitting charge, Nyetta; and Lark herself take turns telling this poignant story. Lark gets trapped in limbo, becoming a part of the tree where, her arms tied behind her, she was left to die. She begins to communicate with Nyetta, begging for her help in order to be set free. Eve is still recovering from being molested by her swim coach, which has caused her to withdraw from everyone around her. Nyetta is homeschooled, living primarily with her unemotional mother, and has no one with whom to really connect. The girls are all looking for someone to hear them. Readers may initially be reminded of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones (Little, Brown, 2002), but the story takes its own path at once. The concise narrative holds deep and honest emotions as the characters go through the stages of dealing with Lark's untimely and gruesome death. An excellent addition to YA collections.-Emily Chornomaz, Camden County Library System, Camden, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
This Thing Called the Future
Click to search this book in our catalog   Powers, J. L.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Khosi, a 14-year-old living in post-apartheid South Africa, is torn between her grandmother's superstitious beliefs in witches and sangomas (healers) and her mother's Western belief in science and medicine. She lives in a shantytown in Pietermaritzburg with Gogo and her younger sister while their mother works in another city and comes home on the weekends. At school, Khosi earns top marks in biology, but she wonders how she can balance science, Zulu ancestral beliefs, and religion (the family is Catholic) when they seem to contradict one another. Everywhere Khosi looks, from billboards to the frequent local funerals, she sees evidence of "the disease of these days" (HIV/AIDS). When her mother returns home ill, Khosi is torn between shame brought upon her family and trying to figure out what is wrong with her. Has the neighbor put a curse on her family? Does her mother have the disease, and, if so, does that mean Khosi's distant father gave it to her? Khosi's dreams torment her and seem to turn into reality, causing her to question her possible future as a sangoma. The stark reality facing South Africa's population is delineated with heart-wrenching honesty. This is a powerfully gripping, eye-opening novel that doesn't pull any punches, and readers will long remember Khosi and the trials and tribulations facing South Africans as they venture forth into the modern world while desperately holding onto their heritage.-Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly For 14-year-old Khosi, life has become far more complicated than she would like. She lives with her mother, her grandmother "Gogo," and her younger sister, Zi, in a Zulu shantytown in South Africa, where conditions are dismal: no one has money, and there are weekly funerals for AIDS victims. On top of everything, a neighbor accuses her mother (who becomes violently ill) of stealing, and Khosi's developing body is drawing unwanted attention, particularly from a drunken neighborhood man who attacks Khosi on multiple occasions. Despite her circumstances, Khosi is resilient; her passions are science and her unshakable connection to the spirit world. "Science is important," she reflects. "So are the old ways. But because they are so stubborn, it makes it really difficult to navigate a path between them to be my own person." Through the eyes of a conflicted teenager, Powers (The Confessional) composes a compelling, often harrowing portrait of a struggling country, where old beliefs and rituals still have power, but can't erase the problems of the present. Readers will be fully invested in Khosi's efforts to secure a better future. Ages 13-17. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list Apartheid may be over, but for Khosi Zulu, 14, growing up in a slum near Pietermaritzburg, the daily struggle continues with poverty, crime, and the spreading plague of HIV/AIDS. She has a scholarship to a good school and a nice boyfriend, who is a fellow classmate, but a drunk man is stalking her in the dark streets, and a furious neighbor accuses Khosi's mother of theft, even while Mama lies dying. Grandmother (Gogo) tells Khosi to listen to the ancestors who speak to her in her dreams. But Mama wants her daughter to be a modern Zulu girl; science and Christianity are the answer, no. superstition. Can Khosi reconcile it all? Powers, who has spent a lot of time in South Africa and speaks Zulu, captures the local conflicts as well as the universal coming-of-age themes. Teens will sympathize with Khosi's weariness at hearing about her parents' heroic role in the pas. struggle. and the tense story builds skillfully to an anguished revelation readers will want to discuss.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Desert Angel
Click to search this book in our catalog   Price, Charlie

Publishers Weekly Price (The Interrogation of Gabriel James) delivers a visceral thriller that starts with the murder of 14-year-old Angel's mother and ratchets up the tension from there. Angel finds her mother's body and vows to escape Scotty, the latest in a line of abusive men her mother had been involved with. After Scotty's failed attempt to burn her alive in his trailer, in the remote southwestern desert, Angel makes her way to a neighboring home, where she soon finds help in the form of Rita, a Head Start worker in a nearby town who takes in a reluctant Angel. The story doesn't shy away from the horror of the violence Scotty inflicts, killing animals and those who help Angel, while she contemplates taking revenge on her mother's murderer and worries about the repercussions of drawing Scotty closer to her newfound family. Price's pacing is tight, aided by direct, clipped prose that underscores Scotty's brutality and Angel's fragile emotional state. Both the best and worst of humanity shine through in this gripping novel. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Angel's life is a nightmare. Her mother drinks and does drugs and her mother's boyfriend, Scotty, sexually abuses her. One morning after a night of hiding from him in the desert, Angel returns home to find that he has killed her mother and has been waiting so he can murder her, too. Angel barely escapes, but since Scotty is an expert tracker, the hunt has only just begun. During her flight, she meets people who put themselves in danger to protect her, acts of kindness that the untrusting 14-year-old cannot understand. As these caring folks keep shielding her from Scotty, who always seems to know where she is, Angel struggles with the danger she's putting them in and she wonders if she would be better off on her own. She begins to realize that no matter how worthless she feels, she needs and deserves love and that she is important to others. The story is a fast-paced adventure with an interesting premise, but at times it's hard to believe that so many strangers would risk their lives to hide the teen in their homes. Fans of dramatic, high-adrenaline books with hard-knocked protagonists might enjoy the basic premise.-Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list From Night of the Hunter to countless westerns, the theme of a bad man coming is a powerful one: there is an unstoppable force on its way to deliver a brutal reckoning, and the fun is in watching the heroes try (in vain) to avoid the final battle. Price's fast, sharp, unsentimental contribution follows 14-year-old Angel, on the run since a villain named Scotty (ominously kept offstage for almost the duration of the book) murdered her mother and is now coming after Angel to wipe up the last bit of evidence. After racing across the desert, Angel stumbles into the lives of an extended family of immigrants some legal, some not who want to help the shell-shocked, rage-filled girl without putting their own loved ones in danger. Price's biggest curve is turning the hunted into the hunter after Angel decides that she must find Scotty first. Never showy, this is hard, gritty realism, and Price's depiction of the twitchy psyche of an abused girl is dead-on. Serious thriller fans will be more than satisfied.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Click to search this book in our catalog   Riggs, Ransom

Publishers Weekly Riggs's atmospheric first novel concerns 16-year-old Jacob, a tightly wound but otherwise ordinary teenager who is "unusually susceptible to nightmares, night terrors, the Creeps, the Willies, and Seeing Things That Aren't Really There." When Jacob's grandfather, Abe, a WWII veteran, is savagely murdered, Jacob has a nervous breakdown, in part because he believes that his grandfather was killed by a monster that only they could see. On his psychiatrist's advice, Jacob and his father travel from their home in Florida to Cairnholm Island off the coast of Wales, which, during the war, housed Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Abe, a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, lived there before enlisting, and the mysteries of his life and death lead Jacob back to that institution. Nearly 50 unsettling vintage photographs appear throughout, forming the framework of this dark but empowering tale, as Riggs creates supernatural backstories and identities for those pictured in them (a boy crawling with bees, a girl with untamed hair carrying a chicken). It's an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list On the brink of his sixteenth birthday, something terrible happens to Jacob something so terrible that it splits his life into two parts: Before and After. Before, he was an ordinary young man with a peculiar but doting grandfather. After, he discovers he isn't so ordinary after all. Nor are th. peculiar childre. he meets at Miss Peregrine's home. Riggs' debut uses the framework of a horror novel to tell a more far-reaching tale with symbolic overtones of the Holocaust. Though the author's skill does not always match his ambition his pacing is particularly uneven his premise is clever, and Jacob and the children are intriguing characters. The book is made even more intriguing by the inclusion of a number of period photographs that seem almost Victorian in character and that expand the oddness of the proceedings. An open ending suggests the possibility of a sequel.--Cart, Michae. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Sixteen-year-old Jacob, traumatized by his grandfather's sudden, violent death, travels with his father to a remote island off the coast of Wales to find the orphanage where his grandfather was sent to live to escape Nazi persecution in Poland. When he arrives, he finds much more than he bargained for: the children from his grandfather's stories are still at the orphanage, living in a time loop in 1940. The monsters that killed Jacob's grandfather are hunting for "peculiar" children, those with special talents, and the group at the orphanage is in danger. Jacob must face the possibility that he, too, has certain traits that the monsters are after and that he is being stalked by adults he trusted. This complex and suspenseful story incorporates eerie photographs of children with seemingly impossible attributes and abilities, many of whom appear as characters in the story. The mysterious photographs add to the bizarre and slightly creepy tone of the book. Jacob is a strong and believable character, though only a few of the secondary characters are fully realized. The pacing of the story is good, alternating action sequences with Jacob's discoveries of his grandfather's long-hidden secrets. Readers will find this book unique and intriguing.-Misti Tidman, formerly at Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal Sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman no longer believes the stories his grandfather told him when he was a little boy. These are obviously fairy tales about children with mysterious abilities, such as a girl who could levitate and a boy with bees inside him, and not real memories from his grandfather's childhood. Grandpa's sepia-toned photographs of his strange friends also seem fake to Jacob. However, when he gets a chance to visit the island where the stories took place, he can't resist delving into his grandfather's past. Could these odd children really have existed? VERDICT An original work that defies categorization, this first novel should appeal to readers who like quirky fantasies. Suitable for both adults and a YA audience. Riggs includes many vintage photographs that add a critical touch of the peculiar to his unusual tale.-Laurel Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Words in the Dust
Click to search this book in our catalog   Reedy, Trent

Publishers Weekly In his first novel, Reedy, a former soldier in Afghanistan, examines the restrictive experiences of contemporary Afghan girls through sympathetic 13-year-old narrator Zulaikha. Zulaikha's cleft palate makes her an object of ridicule for local merchants, bullies, and even her younger brother. Although Zulaikha's disability often relegates her to a serving and observing role, it allows her more freedom to leave her home than her 15-year-old sister, Zeynab, who will soon wed. Contact outside Zulaikha's family provides compelling insights for Zulaikha, such as her ad hoc education by Meena, a professor who knew and taught Zulaikha's bookish mother (a proclivity that led to her death), and with the American soldiers who offer to operate on her lip and teeth. "Even with the swelling, I looked almost normal. And I had the Americans, as ignorant and wasteful as they were, to thank." Within the family, the evolution of key relationships presents a nuanced look at family dynamics and Afghan culture. Though unsentimental and fraught with tragedy, Reedy's narrative offers hope and will go a long way toward helping readers understand the people behind the headlines. Ages 9-14. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Zulaikha's life in Afghanistan is not easy. She is teased constantly for a facial deformity and although the Taliban is no longer in power, it has violently taken her mother from her, and the 13-year-old is left keeping house for a busy, traditional father and his bad-tempered wife. She is trapped by the confines of her culture as well as by her own fears, but things begin to change when she meets a mysterious woman who wants to work with her on her writing and teach her about poetry. When American soldiers roll into town and offer her the chance to fix her cleft palate, Zulaikha allows herself to wish for a better and different future. Reedy was inspired by a girl he met during his tour of duty in Afghanistan, and Zulaikha's character is based loosely on her experiences. Infused with poetry, and wrought with hardship, the story gives a bleak, but ultimately hopeful, portrayal of girlhood in Afghanistan. It is full of hard truths, painful lessons, beautiful human interaction, and the promise of possibility.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Born with a cleft lip, Zulaikha struggles to feel worth in a society that values women by their marriage prospects: What bride-price would Baba get for me? Maybe one Afghani? Then, by chance, Zulaikha meets Meena, a former professor, who begins to teach her to read and write just as American soldiers arrive, bringing the chance for both more education and surgery to correct Zulaikha's birth defect. Reedy based his debut on real people and places he encountered while serving with the National Guard in Afghanistan, and the extensive detail about Afghani customs gives the story the feel of a docu-novel while also creating a vivid sense of place and memorable characters. Reedy skillfully avoids tidy resolutions: the grim fate of Zulaikha's sister, who is married to a much older man, offers a heartbreaking counterpoint to Zulaikha's exciting new possibilities. A glossary of Dari phrases, an extensive author's note, suggested-reading lists, and an introduction by Katherine Paterson complete this deeply moving view of a young girl caught between opportunity and tradition in contemporary Afghanistan.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012
A Web of Air
Click to search this book in our catalog   Reeve, Philip

Book list Two years have passed since Fever fled London at the end of Fever Crumb (2010), set centuries before Reeve's Hungry City Chronicles. Now the engineer-raised girl is living the most irrational sort of life with a traveling theater group, which makes a stop in a small coastal city at the edge of Europa. She meets another genius sort who is convinced that he has discovered the old-tech secret to flying, if only he could cobble together an engine light enough to do the trick. They join up, Fever experiences the weird sensation of love, and together they try to outwit a gaggle of deadly villains. Though Reeve again displays a knack for the sort of inviting cleverness that makes readers feel as if they are in on an inside joke, this follow-up is a bit less crammed full of imaginative delights than the first. There is still plenty of high-wire action and inventive writing to savor, though, and if the downer of an ending leaves some crestfallen, the promise of what is in store (the mechanizing and mobilizing of cities) should keep appetites hungry for the next book.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Traveling with a troupe of actors, Fever uses her knowledge of technology to add special effects to the shows performed in a future England. This well-written, richly imagined story is the second about Fever Crumb. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 6-10-Having fled London and her recently discovered parents, Fever Crumb is traveling around a postapocalyptic Europe with an acting troupe. She earns her keep by using her knowledge of technology and electricity to provide lighting and special effects. The audiences and performers are appreciative, but deep inside, Fever is unhappy about how unreasonable the acting business is, since her childhood training by the Order of Engineers focused on facts and rational thought. Then, at a seaside town, Fever comes across a model glider built by a mysterious young recluse named Arlo Thursday, who is trying to rediscover the lost mysteries of flight. Fever wants to help him, but shadowy powers seem to be working against any inventor, philosopher, or engineer who wants to study flight and flying machines. Reeve's intricately imagined world, combined with a fast-paced plot, offers a rich, rewarding reading experience. In the bittersweet ending, Fever continues to develop as a character as she experiences the transformative power of love and makes sacrifices that none of her family and friends can truly appreciate. This book can be read as a stand-alone work, though readers familiar with Fever Crumb (Scholastic, 2010) will have a better understanding of the backstory.-Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Queen of Water
Click to search this book in our catalog   Resau, Laura and Maria Virginia Farinango

Book list *Starred Review* In a desperately poor Andean village in Ecuador, 7-year-old Virginia is sold off by her indigena (Indian) parents as a servant to an academic, mestizo family. In her new home, the wife beats her, the husband gropes her, and she is insulted as a longa tonta (stupid Indian). Still, she teaches herself to read and write and begins to perform science experiments in secret. Then, when she is 12, she finally gets a chance to return to her parents: But does she want to? And do they want her? Virginia does travel back to her indigena family, but there is not the expected sweet reunion. Ashamed of her illiterate parents and bitter that they gave her away, Virginia is uncomfortable in the family's mud-walled shack, where she cannot speak the language and hates the hard work. Could she go back to being enslaved in the mestizo family's clean prison ? Rooted in Farinango's true story, the honest, first-person, present-tense narrative is occasionally detailed and repetitive, but it dramatizes the classic search for home with rare complexity and no sentimentality or easy resolutions. Virginia's conflicts with her birth parents and her employers are heartbreaking, even as she finds a way to attend school and shape a more hopeful future. A moving, lyrical novel that will particularly resonate with teens caught between cultures.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-A seven-year-old indigena goes from her family in the Ecuadoran Andes to be a servant in an urban home, where she is abused verbally and physically. As a teenager, she knows she must escape-but where can she find refuge. A heartbreaking, ultimately uplifting, tale of a young woman who takes her life in her own hands. (June) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Based on a true story, and told from the protagonist's point of view, The Queen of Water follows a seven-year-old indigena who was taken from her family in the rural Ecuadoran Andes mountains to be a servant in an urban home. Confused, afraid, and alone, Virginia accepts her captors as parents and loves their children. The prejudice of these mestizos, or middle-class natives, speeds the girl's assimilation, though it comes with a price: an inferiority complex that she confronts slowly as she secretly teaches herself to read. Confusion over whether or not her parents gave her away willingly serves the plot well; Virginia's dilemma doesn't fit neatly into formulas about courage and fighting for justice, although eventually both are within her reach. Her mistreatment by the woman of the house, an overweight, selfish dentist, is humiliating, constant, and disturbing; her husband plays her foil-understanding, even loving, until Virginia reaches adolescence-when he tries to molest her. This is a poignant coming-of-age novel that will expose readers to the exploitation of girls around the world whose families grow up in poverty.-Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
The Lost Hero
Click to search this book in our catalog   Riordan, Rick

Book list Readers longing for a return to Camp Half-Blood will get their wish in the first novel of the Heroes of Olympus series, which follows Riordan's popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and includes some of the same characters in minor roles. The new cast features Jason, Piper, and Leo, teen demigods who are just coming to understand and use their unique abilities as they learn how much depends upon their wits, courage, and fast-developing friendship. Setting up the books to come, the backstory of a master plan to unseat the gods is complex but is doled out in manageable bits with a general air of foreboding. Meanwhile, the action scenes come frequently as the three heroic teens fight monstrous enemies in North American locales, including the Grand Canyon, Quebec City, Detroit, Chicago, Omaha, Pikes Peak, and Sonoma Valley. Flashes of humor lighten the mood at times, but a tone of urgency and imminent danger seems as integral to this series as the last. With appealing new characters within a familiar framework, this spin-off will satisfy the demand for more.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5-9-This book will delight fans of The Lightning Thief (Hyperion, 2005) as Percy, Annabeth, and others play roles in the new prophecy and its subsequent quest. A few months after The Last Olympian (Hyperion, 2009) ends, Jason wakes up on a bus filled with problem kids from the Wilderness School who are headed to the Grand Canyon. He has no memory of his previous life, but seems to be with his girlfriend, Piper, and his best friend, Leo. The action takes off quickly: storm spirits attack them and capture their coach, who turns out to be a Satyr. Searching for Percy, who is missing, Annabeth arrives and takes the three to Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods. Their parents are gods in their Roman rather than Greek personae. By sunset of the solstice in three days, the teens must rescue Hera, Queen of the gods, or Porphyrion, the giant king created to destroy Zeus and unseat the gods of Olympus, will rise. Their quest takes them across the United States, sometimes flying on a mechanical, 60-foot dragon, as they use their power and wits against Medea, King Midas, and the giant cannibal Enceladus. Riordan excels at clever plot devices and at creating an urgent sense of cliff-hanging danger. His interjection of humor by incongruous juxtaposition-Medea, for example, heads up a New York City department store-provides some welcome relief. The young heroes deal with issues familiar to teens today: Who am I? Can I live up to the expectations of others? Having read the first series is helpful but not essential, and the complex plot is made for sequels.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Percy Jackson fans can rest easy: this first book in Riordan's Heroes of Olympus spin-off series is a fast-paced adventure with enough familiar elements to immediately hook those eager to revisit his modern world of mythological mayhem. Clever plot devices-like gods who shift back and forth between their Greek and Roman personae-keep the book from feeling like a retread of Riordan's previous novels. Jason, Piper, and Leo, three students at a wilderness school for troubled teens, are transported to Camp Half-Blood after an unexpected encounter with evil storm spirits on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Not only do they discover that they are the offspring of ancient gods, but they also learn that they are three of seven demigods mentioned in the Great Prophecy uttered by Rachel in The Last Olympian. Wasting little time acclimating to their new lives, the three embark upon a quest to preserve Mt. Olympus and the divine status quo, by rescuing an erstwhile enemy. Rotating among his three protagonists, Riordan's storytelling is as polished as ever, brimming with wit, action, and heart-his devotees won't be disappointed. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
Divergent
Click to search this book in our catalog   Roth, Veronica

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In a futuristic Chicago, the populace is divided into distinct factions, each devoted to a particular virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. At 16, Beatrice parts ways with her family and chooses her own path, only to find that the highly structured society isn't as perfect she's been led to believe. A dystopian thriller filled with secrets, suspense, and romance. (June) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In the future, you are born into one of five factions, each of which has its strength and focus: Abnegation (service), Candor (truth), Erudite (intellect), Amity (friendship), or Dauntless (fearlessness). But on your sixteenth birthday, you can choose a new faction if you are so compelled, and that's what happens to Tris, who shocks everyone by exchanging the drab gray robes of Abnegation for the piercing and tattoo stylings of Dauntless. What follows is a contest, where only the top 10 initiates are accepted into the final group. This framework of elimination provides the book with a built-in tension, as Tris and her new friends and new enemies go through a series of emotional and physical challenges akin to joining the marines. Roth is wisely merciless with her characters, though her larger world building is left fuzzy. (Is there a world beyond this dystopian version of Chicago?) The simplistic, color-coded world stretches credibility on occasion, but there is no doubt readers will respond to the gutsy action and romance of this umpteenth spin on Brave New World.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In a future Chicago, the population is divided into five factions-Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite, and Amity-each of which believes its opposite is the root of human evil. Sixteen-year-olds are tested for aptitude and must choose whether to remain in their birth faction or select another. They are aided in this selection by a simulation in which their decisions indicate which faction best suits them. Occasionally, though, the simulation indicates multiple choices. These individuals, known as Divergents, are perceived as threats by leaders who want members to behave and think in specific ways. Beatrice Prior is a Divergent, born into the selfless Abnegation faction but fascinated by the outrageous Dauntless. She chooses to become an initiate there and leaves her family behind, little knowing the challenges she will face. Despite her slight build and her meek upbringing, she must demonstrate her courage in physical combat and in simulations designed to present her with her deepest fears. Only 10 initiates will be accepted, and there are those willing to let cruelty take the place of courage. Beatrice comes to realize that another faction plots against Abnegation and that it may take a Divergent to save them. Roth paints her canvas with the same brush as Suzanne Collins. The plot, scenes, and characters are different but the colors are the same and just as rich. Fans of Collins, dystopias, and strong female characters will love this novel.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Past Perfect
Click to search this book in our catalog   Sales, Leila

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Chelsea Glaser, 16, is finally old enough to get a job at the mall where normal people spend their summers instead of at the Colonial Essex Village where she's been working with her parents since she was six. However, her friend Fiona convinces her to spend one more summer as a historical interpreter, and Chelsea's previous life comes back to haunt her when her ex-boyfriend, Ezra, shows up for orientation. It's not unusual for a main character to ponder reconnecting with an old flame or pursue a forbidden love interest, but what sets Past Perfect apart is that it takes place in a colonial reenactment village complete with costumes, romance, and an ongoing rivalry with the Civil War reenactors across the street. Chelsea is an appealing narrator with a sharp sense of humor, and readers will tear through this novel to find out whether she reunites with Ezra or gets together with Dan from the rival museum. Although there is no surprise ending here, this is a satisfying and fun read.-Rachael Myers-Ricker, Horace Mann School, Bronx, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012
Okay for Now
Click to search this book in our catalog   Schmidt, Gary

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-When his blowhard dad loses his job, Doug Swieteck has to say so long to his friend Holling and Camillo Junior High and get used to things in stupid Marysville, NY. His oldest brother's in Vietnam, his middle brother's still a hoodlum, his mom is quiet but enduring, and his only salvation is weekly visits to the public library, where the librarian is teaching him to draw by using models from a volume of Audubon's Birds of America. Also not too bad is Lil, the daughter of the grocer who gives him a delivery job. Fans of The Wednesday Wars (Clarion, 2007) will find that this companion novel has more in common with it than just a charismatic narrator and pitch-perfect details of daily life in the 1960s. In addition to a mix of caring adults and comically unreasonable authority figures, Schmidt also revisits baseball, theatrical escapades, and timely preoccupations like the Moon landing and the Vietnam War. But Doug's blue-collar story is much darker than Holling's in the earlier novel, and, as a narrator, he's more psychologically complex. Readers know right upfront that his father is abusive, but for a while Doug keeps the depth and magnitude-among other secrets-hidden from those around him. He grows to realize a lot about his family's relationships through study of Audubon's painted birds (one plate is featured at the start of each chapter), and the volume itself becomes a metaphor for his journey from fragmented to whole self. Schmidt manages a hard balance of relatable youth-is-hard humor and nuanced family trauma, though the mix of antics and realism is a bit Shakespearean. Readers will miss Doug and his world when they're done, and will feel richer for having experienced his engaging, tough, and endearing story.-Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-A forced move from Long Island to upstate New York in the late 1960s leaves Doug Swieteck on his own to deal with his reprehensible dad and bad-boy older brothers. His salvation comes largely from kind strangers who help to nurture his talents and his humanity. Schmidt's masterful characterization and balance of humor and pathos make this coming-of-age novel so memorable. (Apr.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* In this stand-alone companion to The Wednesday Wars (2007), a Newbery Honor Book set in the late 1960s, Schmidt focuses on Holling Hoodhood's classmate Doug Swieteck, who is furious when his volatile father gets fired and moves the family to tiny Marysville, New York. Eighth grade gets off to a rocky start, particularly after Doug's brother is blamed for a series of local break-ins, and Doug, too, is viewed with suspicion. Life at home with his hard-drinking dad is rocky as well, especially after Doug's second brother returns from Vietnam without his legs. In addition to brief character references, this title shares much with The Wednesday Wars. Here, John James Audubon's portraits of birds, rather than Shakespeare's plays, provide a cultural awakening, and once again, Schmidt skillfully makes a reluctant boy's connection with the works a plausible and moving catalyst for strength and growth. Schmidt stretches credibility with another wish-fulfilling ending, but readers will likely forgive any plot contrivances as they enjoy Doug's distinctive, rhythmic narration, inventively peppered wit. stat. about his life, which reveals hard, sometimes shocking truths about the time period and, most of all, Doug's family. Delivered in a wholly believable voice, Doug's euphemisms are heartbreaking and authentic, as when he describes his dad's violence. He has quick hands. Reproductions of Audubon plates introduce each chapter in this stealthily powerful, unexpectedly affirming story of discovering and rescuing one's best self, despite family pressure to do otherwise.--Engberg, Gillia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This companion to The Wednesday Wars follows the formula of Schmidt's Newbery Honor winner with less success. Doug Swieteck, a prankster in the previous book, has graver problems than Holling Hoodhood did, making the interplay of pathos and slapstick humor an uneasy fit. In summer 1968, the Swietecks leave Long Island for the Catskills, where Doug's father has found work. Doug's mother (like Holling's) is kind but ineffectual; Mr. Swieteck is a brutish jerk. His abuse of his three sons, one of whom is currently in Vietnam, happens mostly offstage, but one episode of unthinkable cruelty is recounted as a flashback to explain why Doug refuses to take off his shirt in gym class. Doug does make two key friends: Lil, whose father owns the deli for which Doug becomes delivery boy, and the less fleshed-out Mr. Powell, a librarian who instantly sees Doug's potential as an artist. There are lovely moments, but the late addition of an implausible subplot in which Lil, who has never shown an interest in acting, is drafted for a role in a Broadway play, seems desultory considering the story's weightier elements. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
White Crow
Click to search this book in our catalog   Sedgwick, Marcus

Book list Using three wildly different voices and two time periods separated by more than 200 years, Sedgwick's horror offering is pretty ambitious for its modest page count. The good news: he pulls it off. Sixteen-year-old Rebecca and her policeman father have just moved from London to the seaside town of Winterfold to escape the controversy surrounding his failure to save a girl's life. There Rebecca meets Ferelith, a philosophic goth whose tricky mannerisms keep her status constantly in question is she friend or foe? While the two play increasingly dar. games. Sedgwick cuts back to 1798, when the town priest teamed up with a visionary doctor to try to learn the secrets of the afterlife. These sections, written as the priest's journal in convincing period tongue, are masterful in their ominous vagueness ( But, oh! The blood! The blood! ). The chapters from Ferelith's point of view as well as her character feel far less assured. Still, Sedgwick dovetails the plot splendidly. This book is one thing very few YA novels are: genuinely scary.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Rebecca's vacation with her father in a small English coastal village takes a dark turn when a strange local girl befriends her. This chilling, compulsive read switches back and forth from the teens' stories to that of an 18th-century rector obsessed with communicating with corpses. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Sedgwick (Revolver) addresses themes of death and what may (or may not) await in the afterlife in this chilling story, told in three voices and in two parallel stories set 200 years apart. In contemporary England, teenage Rebecca reluctantly moves to the coastal village of Winterfold, trading her life back in Greenwich for a lonely town where she knows no one and that every year loses more of itself to the inexorable pull of the sea. Soon, though, Rebecca is discovered by Ferelith, "the strangest-looking girl she's ever seen," who opens a dangerous new world to Rebecca, as Ferelith draws her into Winterfold's dark secrets and legends. The mystery that is Ferelith-a calculated and intelligent girl who left school at age 14, lives in a commune, and doesn't seem entirely human-will pull readers through the book, as will a twin mystery that unspools through the increasingly frenzied journal entries of a local priest in 1798, himself in the thrall of a mysterious stranger. Showing his customary skill with a gothic setting and morally troubled characters, Sedgwick keeps readers guessing to the very end. Ages 12-up. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Three lives intersect in this disquieting but skillfully written tale of the human desire to know what awaits us after death. Beautiful and bitter Rebecca has come to the crumbling seaside village of Winterfold with her police-officer father to escape the consequences of a deadly choice he made. She meets Ferelith, a peculiar local girl who prefers "things that are frightening," and who convinces Rebecca to join her in rebellious and perilous activities. Ferelith shares a troubling story of dark doings in the history of Winterfold, which leads to the third part of this tale, which is told through excerpts from the diary of a priest, written in 1798, about a devilish scientific experiment. The three characters around whom the narrative revolves are well realized and realistically flawed, and the story is hugely compelling. The plot moves forward with Sedgwick dangling juicy details in front of readers, revealing just enough information to keep them guessing, never allowing everything to be exposed at once. As all the puzzle pieces fall into place, the peril for the girls rises to a terrifying crescendo, and teens will have no choice but to continue until the last page is turned.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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