Fox Lake District Library · 
255 E. Grand Avenue
 · 
Fox Lake, IL 60020
USA
 ·  Phone: (847) 587- 0198
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 · Director: Harry J. Bork

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 · Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
 · Sunday  1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (Sept. thru May)
Abraham Lincoln Book Award Nominees
2008
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Harlan Coben

Library Journal "Just stay quiet and all safe." Not a good message to find when spying on your 16-year-old son's computer. With a national tour. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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

Book list *Starred Review* The average person visiting an electronics store may be excited, confused, or bored. It takes a suspense master like Coben to realize the full pernicious potential, to extrapolate the eerie endgames, hidden in contemporary electronics. In thriller after thriller, Coben, who has a clutch of awards including the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony, casts a variety of electronic gadgets as prime plot movers and shakers. His genius is to make the seemingly mundane terrifying. In his latest, computer spyware, text messages, and cell phones deliver a series of well-timed shocks to the family he focuses on and to the reader. Coben begins with a harrowing scene in which a woman is forced from a bar and brutally murdered. Cut to a seemingly unrelated scenario parents installing a program on their son's computer that can monitor his every keystroke. Throughout, Coben juxtaposes a serial killer's spree with a domestic drama centering on the ways that a friend's suicide has affected the son, his parents, and the entire neighborhood. A single message ( Just stay quiet and all safe ) shakes up the parents, who are soon spiked with terror as their son vanishes. Coben enhances the narration with shifting points of view and through the cryptic messages that follow the son's disappearance. He also brings the spate of serial killings closer and closer to the family. Fascinating.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2008 Booklist

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

Library Journal Coben (The Final Detail) continues to dominate the thriller genre in this latest examination of suburbia. Mike and Tia Baye's son Adam delivers typically teen angst to his befuddled family. As a precaution, Mike and Tia invest in a spyware program that will report every keystroke on Adam's personal computer so they can track his movements. The results terrify them, and then Adam disappears. Life moves forward, and the questions become complex: How far would you go to protect your family? How well do you know your children? Coben tackles the troubles not only of the Bayes but also of other families, creating a strikingly realistic X-ray of an entire neighborhood. A fast and exhilarating roller-coaster ride that you don't want to end, but hold on tight. Then take the time to hug your kids. A mandatory purchase. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/08.]--Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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

Publishers Weekly Parents will find this compulsive page-turner from Edgar-winner Coben (The Woods) particularly unnerving. A sadistic killer is at play in suburban Glen Rock, N.J., outside New York City, but somehow he's less frightening than the more mundane problems that send ordinary lives into chaos. How do you weigh a child's privacy against a parent's right to know? How do you differentiate normal teenage rebelliousness from out-of-control behavior? When and how do you intervene if suicidal signs appear? Other issues include single parenting; career versus family; marital honesty; and how much information you should share with a child at what age. Coben plucks each of these strings like a virtuoso as Mike and Tia Baye try to deal with the increasing withdrawal of their 16-year-old son, Adam, after a friend's suicide. A pair of brutal, seemingly senseless killings, punctuate the unfolding domestic troubles that ratchet up the tension and engulf the Baye family, their friends and neighbors in a web of increasing tragedy. The "this could be me" factor lends poignancy to the thrills and chills. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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2007
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Khaled Hosseini

Publishers Weekly Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny-There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten-is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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Library Journal Raised in poverty by her unwed epileptic mother and married off early by the rich, elegant father who has always kept her at arm's length, Mariam would seem to have little in common with well-educated and comfortably raised young Laila. Yet their lives intertwine dramatically in this affecting new novel from the author of The Kite Runner, who proves that one can write a successful follow-up after debuting with a phenomenal best seller. As Mariam settles in Kabul with her abusive cobbler husband, smart student Laila falls in love with friend Tariq. But she loses her brothers in the resistance to Soviet dominion and her parents in a bombing just as the family prepares to flee the awful violence. Simply to survive, she becomes the second wife of Mariam's husband and is bitterly resented by the older woman until they are able to form the bond that serves as the heart of this novel. Then the Taliban arrive. Hosseini deftly sketches the history of his native land in the late 20th century while also delivering a sensitive and utterly persuasive dual portrait. His writing is simple and unadorned, but his story is heartbreaking. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/07.]--Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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

Book list Hosseini's follow-up to his best-selling debut, The Kite Runner (2003) views the plight of Afghanistan during the last half-century through the eyes of two women. Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of a maid and a businessman, who is given away in marriage at 15 to Rasheed, a man three times her age; their union is not a loving one. Laila is born to educated, liberal parents in Kabul the night the Communists take over Afghanistan. Adored by her father but neglected in favor of her older brothers by her mother, Laila finds her true love early on in Tariq, a thoughtful, chivalrous boy who lost a leg in an explosion. But when tensions between the Communists and the mujahideen make the city unsafe, Tariq and his family flee to Pakistan. A devastating tragedy brings Laila to the house of Rasheed and Mariam, where she is forced to make a horrific choice to secure her future. At the heart of the novel is the bond between Mariam and Laila, two very different women brought together by dire circumstances. Unimaginably tragic, Hosseini's magnificent second novel is a sad and beautiful testament to both Afghani suffering and strength. Readers who lost themselves in The Kite Runner will not want to miss this unforgettable follow-up. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2007 Booklist

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

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2008
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Sarah Dessen
 
2009
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John Green
2009
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Alyson Noel

Book list This opening book in a new series, The Immortals, will thrill many teen fantasy-suspense readers, especially fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Seventeen-year-old Ever survived the car crash that killed her parents, younger sister, and their dog. Now she lives with an aunt in Southern California, plagued not only by survivor guilt but also by a new ability to hear the thoughts of all around her. She tries to tune out all these distractions by keeping her hoodie up and her iPod cranked loud, until Damen, the cute new boy at school, convinces her to come out of her shell. Damen, however, is frighteningly clever and has the strange ability to produce tulips from nowhere and disappear himself at critical moments. Noel (Saving Zoe, 2007) creates a cast of recognizably diverse teens in a realistic high-school setting, along with just the right tension to make Ever's discovery of her own immortality should she choose it exciting and credible.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2009 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-After surviving a car accident that killed her entire family, 16-year-old Ever gains the ability to see auras and read thoughts. The overwhelming nature of her new powers and her guilt about the accident turn the once-popular teen into a loner at school. She makes friends with stereotypically gay Miles and mega-Goth Haven, and does everything she can to drown out the din of psychic energy around her. Her loner status comes under siege, as does her friendship with Haven, when a new boy, Damen, shows an interest in her. By accident, Ever learns that he has no aura, a fact that pushes her to uncover more about the mysterious newcomer. Some obvious clues, like the red liquid that Damen drinks instead of food, lead Ever to conclude that he is a vampire when in fact his true nature is more complex. Teens will identify with Ever, who not only has to deal with relationship and friend issues, but also with a dead sister who refuses to cross over and crippling psychic powers that make it hard to cope with everyday life. Though the familiar premise may hook many paranormal romance fans, none of the plot elements receive the thorough treatment they deserve, and the revelation in the end relies too heavily on backstory. Not a first pick in this ever-expanding genre.-Kim Ventrella, Ralph Ellison Library, Oklahoma City, OK Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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2009
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Neal Shusterman
 
2007
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Jake Wizner

Publishers Weekly This bold and bawdy first novel introduces Shakespeare Shapiro, whose very name seems to destine him for a life of farce (that his parents offer changing but invariably embarrassing explanations for his whacko moniker merely compounds matters). Now that he's taking the memoir-writing class required of all seniors at Ernest Hemingway High, he seizes the chance to frame his life as a darkly comedic series of humiliations, from being born on Hitler's birthday ("Whenever I did anything wrong, my father would call me Adolf") to his father's blackmail techniques ("I'm about ten seconds away from telling you things [about our sex life] that will haunt you for the rest of your life," his father cheerfully threatens an 11-year-old Shakespeare) to his misadventures in masturbating. Wizner knows just how to set up his outrageous jokes and how far to push most (not all) of them; and nothing seems off-limits, neither religion nor sex nor bowel movements. This author demonstrates an equally sure approach to sober themes: as his memoir assignments win him increasing respect and interest from his classmates, Shakespeare slowly realizes that the role of comic victim is one he has chosen in order to avoid challenging himself. Exceptionally funny and smart. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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2007
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Laurie Halse Anderson

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Socially inept Tyler Miller thinks his senior year of high school is going to be a year like no other. After being sentenced to a summer of "character building" physical labor following a graffiti prank, his reputation at school receives a boost, as do his muscles. Enter super-popular Bethany Milbury, sister of his tormentor, Chip, and daughter of his father's boss. Tyler's newfound physique has attracted her interest and infuriated Chip, leading to ongoing conflicts at school. Likewise, Tyler's inability to meet his volatile father's demands to "be an asset, not a liability" adds increasing tension. All too quickly, Tyler's life spirals out of control. In the wake of an incident at a wild party that Bethany has invited him to attend, he is left feeling completely isolated at school and alienated at home, a victim of "twisted" perception. Tyler must tackle the complex issues of integrity, personal responsibility, and identity on his own as he struggles to understand what it means to be a man. His once humorous voice now only conveys naked vulnerability. With gripping scenes and a rousing ending, Anderson authentically portrays Tyler's emotional instability as he contemplates darker and darker solutions to his situation. Readers will rejoice in Tyler's proclamation, "I'm not the problem here-I'm tired of feeling like I am." Teenage concerns with sex, alcohol, grades, and family are all tackled with honesty and candor. Once again, Anderson's taut, confident writing will cause this story to linger long after the book is set down.-Erin Schirota, Bronxville Public Library, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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

Book list Tyler Miller was a socially invisible nerd (Your average piece of drywall who spent too much time playing computer games ) before he sprayed some attention-getting graffiti and became a legend. Sentenced to a summer of physical labor, he enters his senior year with new muscles that attract popular Bethany Millbury, whose father is Tyler's dad's boss. On probation for his graffiti stunt, Tyler struggles to balance his consuming crush with pressure that comes from schoolwork and his explosive father, and after Tyler is implicated in a drunken crime, his balancing act falls apart. The dialogue occasionally has the cliched feel of a teen movie (Party's over. We're just getting started. And I don't remember inviting you ). What works well here is the frank, on-target humor (I was a zit on the butt of the student body ), the taut pacing, and the small moments, recounted in Tyler's first-person voice, that illuminate his emotional anguish. Writing for the first time from a male perspective, Anderson skillfully explores identity and power struggles that all young people will recognize. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2007 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly At first, Anderson's (Speak) contemporary novel appears to be a "twisted" version of a Cinderella story. Unpopular senior Tyler Miller ("a zit on the butt of the student body") gains stature and notoriety the summer after he pulls off an impressive prank: "spray-painting a couple thousand dollars worth of damage to the school." But readers soon discover that the author has something more complex and original to offer than a fairy-tale rendition of transformation. Humorous, compelling first-person narrative traces how Tyler's newfound happiness as a gutsy tough-guy soon turns to agony; he starts to wish that he could go back to being "invisible." Tyler is floating on Cloud Nine when he wins favor with rich, popular Bethany Milbury, but she drops him after he won't sleep with her, and then he gets the blame when compromising photos of her appear on the Internet. As a result, Tyler has to contend with the police, a verbally abusive father (who works for Bethany's dad), a principal who is still angry about the graffiti incident, and a slew of new enemies at school. With justice seemingly beyond his reach, Tyler considers suicide and running away from home before settling for less drastic measures. This dark comedy gives a chillingly accurate portrayal of the high-school social scene, in which morals, perceptions and conceptions of truth are continually being challenged. Tyler may not gain hero status with his peers, but readers will respect his integrity, which outshines his mistakes. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Agent: Writers House. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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2008
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Kristin Cashore

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-In this debut fantasy novel, Cashore treats readers to compelling and eminently likable characters and a story that draws them in from the first paragraph. In Katsa's world, the "Graced," those gifted in a particular way, are marked by eyes that are different colors. Katsa's Grace is that she is a gifted fighter, and, as such, she is virtually invincible. She is in the service of her tyrannical uncle, king of one of the seven kingdoms, and she is forced to torture people for infractions against him. She has secretly formed the Council, which acts in the service of justice and fairness for those who have been accused and abused. Readers meet her as she is rescuing the father of the Lienid king, who has been abducted. The reasons for his capture are part of a tightening plot that Katsa unravels and resolves, with the help of Prince Po, the captive's grandson. He has his own particular Grace, and he becomes Katsa's lover and partner in what becomes a mortally dangerous mission. Cashore's style is exemplary: while each detail helps to paint a picture, the description is always in the service of the story, always helping readers to a greater understanding of what is happening and why. This is gorgeous storytelling: exciting, stirring, and accessible. Fantasy and romance readers will be thrilled.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Book list *Starred Review* Feared as a killer since her childhood, Lady Katsa uses her unusual Grace (superhuman gift) in the service of her uncle, King Randa. She is beginning to rebel against his orders to kill or maim his more disloyal subjects when her path crosses that of Po. A young foreign prince with a mysterious Grace as well as wisdom beyond his years, Po convinces Katsa that she can stand up to the brutal king and put her gift to better uses. When Katsa joins Po on a quest, she throws herself headlong into a rescue mission and finds romance, self-knowledge, and justice along the way. Although many fantasy writers create intriguing alternate worlds and worthy adventures, as Cashore does in this well-imagined novel, she also offers believable characters with enough depth, subtlety, and experience to satisfy older readers. Katsa is a heroine who can physically overpower most men she meets, yet her strength is not achieved by becoming manlike. She may care little for fine clothes, but from her first kill to her first experience of lovemaking, Katsa's womanhood is integral to her character. An impressive first novel, this well-crafted and rewarding fantasy will leave readers hoping for more.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2008 Booklist

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

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2008
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Suzanne Collins

Library Journal In a far-future United States, a cruel Capitol keeps order by demanding an annual tribute for its Hunger Games, in which two contestants, a boy and a girl, are chosen by lottery from each of 12 districts to fight to the death in an event televised from an arena. Katniss Everdeen lives in what used to be Appalachia and is now called the Seam-a dirt-poor district without much hope of success in the games. Katniss volunteers in her sister's place and may just have the smarts to win. Then Peeta, the soft baker's son chosen from her same district, does something surprising. He declares his undying affection for Katniss just before they enter the arena. Is there room for friendship, loyalty, or even love when survival is on the line? Why It Is a Best: Collins's prose is merely serviceable, but she writes compelling characters and spins one terrific yarn. The premise is good to begin with, and the surprises keep coming. Why It Is for Us: In this fight to the death, the book's violence is cringe-worthy by even the most jaded standards. The exploitation of the desperate and impoverished for the entertainment of the wealthy and powerful is a theme reminiscent of Stephen King's The Long Walk or The Running Man. King himself makes the comparison in his Entertainment Weekly review of the book, saying "I couldn't stop reading."-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up--In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins's characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like "Survivor" and "American Gladiator." Book one of a planned trilogy.--Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list *Starred Review* This is a grand-opening salvo in a new series by the author of the Underland Chronicles. Sixteen-year-old Katniss poaches food for her widowed mother and little sister from the forest outside the legal perimeter of District 12, the poorest of the dozen districts constituting Panem, the North American dystopic state that has replaced the U.S. in the not-too-distant future. Her hunting and tracking skills serve her well when she is then cast into the nation's annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death where contestants must battle harsh terrain, artificially concocted weather conditions, and two teenaged contestants from each of Panem's districts. District 12's second tribute is Peeta, the baker's son, who has been in love with Katniss since he was five. Each new plot twist ratchets up the tension, moving the story forward and keeping the reader on edge. Although Katniss may be skilled with a bow and arrow and adept at analyzing her opponents' next moves, she has much to learn about personal sentiments, especially her own. Populated by three-dimensional characters, this is a superb tale of physical adventure, political suspense, and romance.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2008 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly If there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that "boy meets girl" is always mentioned, and "society goes bad and attacks the good guy" never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion-and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games. Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death. Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser. It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem-which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent-may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. "They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet," she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch. Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more. Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor book The Thief and its sequels, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. The next book in the series will be published by Greenwillow in 2010. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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2008
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Lisa McMann

Publishers Weekly The trick to getting hooked on this highly satisfying first novel is to look past its disjointed opening. The initial chapters consist of flashbacks into which are woven a series of repetitive scenes wherein Janie Hannagan is unwillingly sucked into others' dreams and nightmares, and suffers debilitating side effects. But as soon as McMann establishes Janie's strange skill, she throws just the right teen-centric ingredients into the story to propel it forward and grab readers. Tough and strong Janie, now 17, seems totally independent, charting a future that will lead away from her welfare mother's alcoholism. Her turbulent relationship with Cabel, the unwashed stoner boy-turned-handsome, pulsates with sexual tension--problematized by Janie's knowledge of his insistent dreams about killing a man. But then Cabel learns to communicate his desires to Janie through lucid dreaming at just about the same time that Janie finds out that she can influence the dreams she enters. The plot twists keep coming, even if one or two are shopworn, and the writing has a Caroline Cooney--like snap that's hard to resist. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-This clever novel opens with Janie Hannagan, 17, inside the star quarterback's dream-she knows it's his dream because he's the only one naked on the football field. Janie dreams along with her fellow students when they fall asleep near her-on the bus, in study hall, in boring classes, etc. She begins to dream with loner Cabel Sturmheller and discovers both his horrific childhood abuse and longstanding feelings for her. The third-person omniscient narration sets a perfect mood; readers are, like Janie, observers. Janie and Cabel's friendship is sweetly drawn, their conversations are smooth, and their romantic tension builds naturally. The language is realistically gritty. Unfortunately, McMann uses a plot twist right out of Law and Order to doom their relationship, and an even cheaper twist to reconcile them. Still, an economy of language, swift character development, and mysterious circumstances drive the narrative to a fast and mostly satisfying conclusion. McMann also gives useful attention to the science of dreaming. This book is ideal for reluctant readers, especially girls.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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2009
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Chris Crutcher
2008
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Jonathan Friesen

Book list In rural Wisconsin, Sam, a high-school student with Tourette syndrome, is alienated from his peers and rejected by his stepfather, and he has trouble getting close to lovely, kind Naomi. After graduation, his stepfather kicks him out of the house, and he accepts a job and lodging from another outcast, who knew Sam's late father and dispels some of Sam's misconceptions about his dad. Then, after more shake-ups at home, Sam embarks on a road trip with Naomi to California, hunting windmills and answers left by Sam's dad along the way. Sam and his story are quixotic in the best possible way: he is a good-hearted dreamer trying to do right by his dulcinea. Debut author Friesen has Tourette syndrome, and he brings complexity and nuance to Sam's struggle for understanding and self-acceptance. The pacing is leisurely, but like any good road story, there are enough corners and bends to keep readers eagerly anticipating what lies ahead at the journey's end.--Booth, Heather Copyright 2008 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Sam Carrier's bitter, abusive stepfather, Old Bill, is ashamed of the boy's Tourette's Syndrome, and makes the teen feel that shame at every turn. He also makes Sam's life a misery by constantly telling him that his father was a no-good deserter. Upon his high school graduation, Sam meets George, a friend of his long-dead father, who attempts to undo the harm that Old Bill has done over the years. Sam (whose real name turns out to be Jack) embarks on a cross-country road trip to discover his roots, his identity, and his love for Naomi, who tags along, bringing some unexpected baggage. The story is compelling, especially Sam/Jack's quest for a deeper understanding of himself through his father's legacy. Along the way, he stays in the homes of his father's old friends and puts the pieces of his parents' life together. There is an abundance of inner dialogue, so much that readers may have trouble distinguishing between what Sam thinks, tells himself, or says to others. As soon as he meets George and his period of discovery begins, the book is a quick read, and the excitement of his journey will keep most readers turning the pages to see what's around the bend.-Nora G. Murphy, Los Angeles Academy Middle School Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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2007
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Gail Giles

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-After setting his seven-year-old neighbor in Alaska on fire, Kip McFarland spends four years in a facility for violent juvenile offenders. When he is released at the age of 14, he, his father, and his new stepmother move to Indiana, with new names. For a while, Wade enjoys a normal life. Eventually, however, despite the warnings of his therapist, he sabotages his happiness in a drunken fit of rage. After he reveals his identity, the town turns on him and his family. Now, a coastal Texas town is their final shot at starting over. The cozy community appears to be a perfect haven, but Wade feels compelled to reveal his past to Sam, the beautiful and mysterious neighbor who is winning his heart-and has a story of her own. Will she still accept him once she finds out he is a murderer? This quick read has a compelling story line, but the characters, especially the adults, are at times one-dimensional, with voices that are somewhat indistinguishable from one another. Reluctant readers will be drawn to the story's accessibility, and many teens will be pulled in by the larger questions the novel poses about innocence and acceptance. Despite its flaws, this book will be a hit with Giles's fans.-Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Giles (What Happened to Cass McBride?) returns with another riveting nail-biter. Kip and his father live a spartan life in Alaska until nine-year-old Kip, in a jealous rage, sets a neighboring boy afire, killing him. Put in a psychiatric hospital for criminal juveniles, he is released four and a half years later and moves to Indiana with his father and new stepmother. Kip and his family assume new identities (Kip now goes by Wade). As Wade, who is by all accounts observant, articulate and intelligent, struggles with the sins of his past and finding his place in the outside world, he becomes a star swimmer at the school and even gets a girlfriend, who he nicknames "Absolutely Cutest." However, one drunken evening, Wade reveals his secret to his friends and soon after he and his family are forced to relocate once more, this time to Texas. There he finds a kindred spirit in his new neighbor Sam, a beautiful girl who considers herself to be "damaged goods" of a sort, as well. This story explores, with sympathy and compassion, the nature of guilt, atonement and forgiveness. As Giles delicately handles these delicate issues and questions ("Do you get to kill someone and say, `Oh, really sorry now,' and everything is fine?"), readers should be glued to Wade's story, hoping for his redemption. Ages 15-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list The most horrific moment comes at the beginning: distraught 10-year-old Kip kills another child by dousing him with gasoline and setting him afire. Traumatized, he's sent to a mental ward for serious juvenile offenders (the Loon Platoon), where he's encouraged to examine his feelings and memories. At 14, he reenters the world with a different identity, well aware that his fragile new self and the welfare of his family are built on a lie. Eventually, a girl with her own sad baggage walks into his life. Should he confess his past to her? A cheerleader stepmom and the convenience of finding a soulmate as troubled as he is are hard to swallow, but Kip's halting endeavors to start over are both credible and carefully nuanced. Cynical and smart, Kip is also filled with self-reproach, and despite his crime, he'll earn readers' respect as he struggles to find out who he is and forge a path toward who he will eventually become. Giles' fans won't find outright thrills, but they'll come away with a greater understanding of redemption and forgiveness.--Zvirin, Stephanie Copyright 2007 Booklist

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

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