Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

graduation day

Genre:  Futuristic fiction

# of Pages:  291

RAC:  Yes

In this third installment in the Testing series, Cia is faced with the reality that she must help bring The Testing to an end, but she does not know whom she can trust.  She is given a list of names by the president and ordered to kill those people in order to overthrow the people in charge of the Testing.  Meanwhile, Cia starts to enlist the help of people she thinks she can trust through various tests she creates herself.  When one of her tests goes wrong she must move on her bigger plans quicker than she expected.  Can Cia and Tomas really bring an end to the Testing?  If so, can they survive to enjoy it?

Fans of the series will find this installment quick, action packed, and full of intrigue.  Cia is right not to trust people blindly in this community where most people are simply out for themselves.   She knows the difficult road she has ahead of her, but feels she must do it for the upcoming students who might be spared the horrible actions of The Testing should she succeed.  The motivations of the government are clear and understandable, but Cia proves there is no easy way to determine who a leader really is.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

dangerous girls

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  388 p.

RAC:  Yes

On a spring break trip to Aruba a group of high school seniors think they will have a carefree time full of beaches and parties, but instead end up finding one of their own, Elise, stabbed to death in their beach house.  Surprisingly, police turn suspicion onto their group rather than following clues that might suggest an outside intruder.  Within a few days, Anna, Elise’s best friend, is arrested and charged with the crime.  Anna’s boyfriend, Tate, is originally considered until his father’s expensive lawyers convince Aruba to let him go in exchange for testifying against Anna.  Anna feels shocked, sad, vulnerable, and betrayed as she awaits her trial in jail.  As her friends return to school, college, etc. she is forced to face the realization that she may spend the majority of her life in a foreign prison.  Will Anna be convicted?  Did she know anything about this terrible crime?

Fans of Pretty Little Liars and similar series will enjoy this title that packs emotion, suspense, and surprise throughout the entire story.  Readers come to feel like they know what it would be like to be in Anna’s shoes.  There are some passages with heavy language and sexual references that do ring true for how teens often talk and act to each other but may not be appropriate for younger readers.

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

enclave

Genre: Futuristic fiction

# of Pages:  262

RAC:  Yes

2014 Iowa High School Award Winner

In this futuristic novel, Deuce is a huntress who lives underground in an enclave.  Humans have moved underground because life above ground is believed to be uninhabitable.  Her hunting partner, Fade, is very mysterious and there are rumors that at some point he has been above ground.  Together they work in the tunnels surrounding their enclave to find food for their people, but it dangerous work since there are many mutated “Freaks” in the tunnels fighting them for food.  When Deuce is officially allowed to finish her training and go into the tunnels she is surprised by how well the Freaks seem to fight.  She was taught that they were simple minded and easy to fool, but they appear to strategize and work together to outsmart the other fighters.  Meanwhile, a good friend of Deuce’s is accused of a crime she knows he did not commit so she takes the blame and is exiled to live above ground.  Surprisingly, Fade stands with her.  Can they survive above ground?  Will the enclave be safe without them to help defend the colony?

Fans of futuristic novels like Divergent and The Maze Runner will enjoy this novel because it does have a different spin on the genre.  Deuce is a very strong female character who will not give in to pressure to change her opinions or beliefs.  The story itself moves quickly with a lot of action which will pull in those reluctant readers who do not like slow moving plots.

The Naturals by Jennifer Barnes

the-naturals

 

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  308

RAC: Yes

Cassie has relied on her ability to read people since the mysterious disappearance of her mother five years ago.  She is surprised, however, when she is recruited to join an elite team in the FBI made up of teens with similar special abilities called The Naturals.  Cassie will be trained as a profiler for the FBI to use on cold cases.  She feels it is important for her to do this since her mother’s disappearance and presumed murder is still unsolved.  Once she starts training, however, she is pulled into an ongoing serial murder investigation in which the killer seems to be taunting the teens in the naturals.  More alarmingly, the case seems to be connected to her mother’s case.  Can they solve the murders or will Cassie become the next victim?

Fans of mysteries will love this new title as it combines an intriguing mystery story with tons of great, albeit mysterious characters so that Cassie does not know whom she can really trust.  The ending is very satisfying and will surprise most of the readers no matter how diligently they have followed the clues leading up to the exciting climax.  The book sets itself up well to become a series which is good because readers will want to see more of these naturals.  Recommended.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

the-selection-by-kiera-cass-e1336351123366

 

Genre:  Realistic fiction/Futuristic fiction

# of pages:  327

RAC:  Yes

America Singer is a 5 on a caste system where 1 is the royal family, 2s and 3s are the wealthy and powerful, and 5s are the artists of the world.  She is secretly meeting with Aspen, the neighbor boy who is  a 6.  Girls almost never marry below their station because they then become that station.  One day the palace announces that Prince Maxon is ready to marry and begins The Selection.  Any girl between the ages of 16 and 20 in any province can fill out an application to be entered into a random drawing for The Testing.  One girl from each of the 35 provinces will be chosen to move to the palace in order to be considered as the country’s next princess.  America does not want to do this because she plans to marry Aspen, but when she tells him that her mother is pressuring her he encourages it so that he will never feel responsible for her missing out on something great.  To everyone’s shock, America is chosen and must move to the palace.  Does she try to become a princess where she might be able to make some real changes that could benefit people lower on the caste?  Does she refuse to go and announce she is marrying Aspen?

This book crosses The Hunger Games with The Bachelor.  America is a fun, modern girl with goals and aspirations that have nothing to do with her two suitors, but they are fun as well.  There is a lot of political turmoil that she is not expecting and the relationship she begins with Maxon is very different from anyone else’s.  The cast of characters is very intriguing and vibrant and despite the number you really do get to know several of these girls as people.  As part of a trilogy, the story holds up well through to the end and America never compromises herself for a man or a crown.  Recommended.

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

i am the messenger

 

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  357

RAC:  Yes

Ed Kennedy has zero goals or aspirations for life.  He works as a cab driver, lives with an old dog, and plays card games with his three underachieving friends.  After witnessing the worst bank robbery he’s ever seen, Ed manages to help catch the robber sheerly by luck.  Afterward, he is given quite a bit of notoriety, but more importantly he receives a playing card with three names on it.  He quickly realizes that he needs to find ways to help the people named on the card and some are much more difficult than others.  Each person changes Ed a little bit and he begins to wonder how many names there will be.  He has evidence that someone is watching him to see if he is completing his tasks, but who?  What is the purpose of these little missions?

This powerful story makes you think about the choices you make everyday.  Ed never planned on making much of himself simply because he didn’t think he had any real potential or skills.  These missions help him to learn that he can indeed make a difference in many ways.  What is he meant to do?  His friends are no more motivated than he is, but as he continues his journey he begins to discover that they all have secrets of their own.  There is some sexual references and mild language, but the story will leave you thinking about the character and the message for days to come.

The List by Vivian Siohban

thelist

 

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

333 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

2014-2015 Iowa High School Award Winner

Every year a list is posted the Monday before Homecoming listing the four prettiest and four ugliest girls, one for each grade respectively.  Each chapter follows one of the eight girls and how they cope with the existence of this list.  Danielle, the ugliest freshmen, must deal with the fallout of how her boyfriend handles the news that she was voted on this list.  Meanwhile, Abby, the prettiest freshmen faces possibly not being allowed to go to the dance at all due to grades.  The “ugliest” sophomore is actually a cute, but very mean girl who is deemed “ugliest” on the inside.  The “prettiest” sophomore girl is a girl who has been home-schooled for her entire life and is trying to find independence from her mom with great difficulty.  The prettiest junior, Bridget, feels pressured into an eating disorder in order to maintain her image while the ugliest junior reacts quite strongly and refuses to shower or change her clothes for the entire week after the list comes out.  The ugliest senior is the first ever to earn that particular honor for all four years of high school and she pretends she is totally fine with it.  The prettiest senior feels the pressure to follow in her sister’s footsteps who was the prettiest senior the year before and seemed to fall apart afterward.  Each chapter follows a different girl as she navigates through this very difficult week.

This book has earned many awards for good reason.  This book delves into many serious issues for high school girls including insecurity, the fear of being excluded, worrying about what others think, eating disorders, dating problems, academic trouble, lying, and problems at home.  No one on the list finds happiness no matter which side of the list she is on.  While the circumstances around the list may seem unbelievable, the issues surrounding it are completely believable and exist at every high school.  A great book to recommend to high school girls, especially ones who are having trouble adjusting.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 174 other followers