# of Pages: 360
2016 Iowa High School Award winner
Jazz is the only son of a notorious serial killer named Billy. Billy reportedly murdered over 200 people and Jazz is struggling with the doubts that he could end up just like him. He does not want to become a killer, but he worries it’s already inside him waiting to come out. When he hears of a murder in his small town he goes to the scene to help out since he “knows how serial killers work.” The police reject his help, but eventually come back to him when it’s discovered this new murder is mimicking one of Billy’s early murders. Who would be recreating his father’s grisly murders and why? Can Jazz help the police before more people lose their lives? Can Jazz prove to everyone and even himself that he is not going to follow in his father’s footsteps?
Fans of mystery books will enjoy this title because it has a good amount of plot twists, suspense, and colorful characters. Jazz is truly battling with himself because he will always be the son of the infamous Billy Dent and he needs to figure out what that means for the rest of his life. He does not want to be like his father, but having been raised by him he sometimes does not see life situations the same way that others do. Luckily, he has a small but powerful support system that is helping him realize that he is capable of valuing human life. There is a bit of gore in this title, but nothing worse than an episode of CSI or Criminal Minds.
Published February 3, 2016
Award Winners , RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: accident, dating, family, football, friendship, tragedy, trust
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 327
Iowa Teen Award Winner 2016-17
Lauren has recently moved in with her aunt and uncle for reasons she would rather not discuss. Being the new girl in the small football-obsessed town for her senior year can be difficult, however, because everyone automatically speculates about her background. Meanwhile, Colby is also beginning his senior year as the star football player of their team who hopes to make it all the way to state this year. The problem is that Colby would rather not play football in college, despite his father’s fervent hope that he will accept one of the scholarships he’s been offered. Lauren and Colby meet unexpectedly one day and find they really like each other, but after a tragedy shakes Colby to the core he wonders if dating is such a good idea at this time in his life. Lauren definitely wants to see more of Colby, but she’s also dealing with the demons of her past. Will their timing ever be right? Will they ever find the chance to get to know each other better or is it not meant to be?
This story is told in alternating chapters with Lauren’s being written in poetry format making her thoughts mirror her mixed emotions at living with her aunt and uncle instead of with her mom. Colby’s story is told in prose which also reflects his thoughts and feelings as he walks the line between what he wants in life and what everyone else wants for him. Recommended for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.
Genre: Science Fiction
# of Pages: 372
Micheline is the youngest descendant in the Helsing blood line. Her and her friends work catching ghosts and other supernatural beings. They each have special talents that allow them to track down and properly extinguish these harmful beings. At the beginning of the story they are called to a particularly heinous scene where a ghost has killed people in a hospital. They are supposed to wait for backup, but Micheline decides to go in alone and her team is forced to follow. They are attacked by this being and contract a rare disease known as soulchain. Soulchain will kill them if they do not kill the creature that infected them in seven days time. Their parents wish them to lay low while they hunt the dangerous ghost, but Micheline and her team know it is them who must hunt it down to save their lives.
The plot is much more intriguing here than most readers will expect. There is a lot of backstory on Micheline’s family and how her and her father came to be so estranged. There is a fair amount of suspense and plot twists that keep the story active and fast paced. The characters are interesting as their talents and personalities are revealed. Plus, in this world no one is really ever safe, which makes the suspense all the more real. Recommended for fans of science fiction and suspense.
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
In this final and entralling conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder is still desperately trying to stop Levana from taking control of Earth and her beloved Kai. Thorne, Cress, Scarlet, Wolf, Jacin, and Winter are all there to help her succeed, but it won’t be easy. Due to the fact that Levana has unbelievable gifts in mind manipulation and often forces her enemies to do things they would never do on their own it is often difficult to tell whom they can trust in their quest to stop her evil plans. The characters try hard not to stoop to Levana’s levels, which is amazing considering everything they go through in the story. Fans will not be disappointed with the ending to this exciting adventure.
# of pages: 322
Cassandra is living in a beach house for the summer that her mom and stepdad rented and is finding a hard time filling her time. One day she wanders down to the private beach and meets a young man there who is very polite and friendly. They get to know each other and eventually discover that they both believe they are residing in the same house, but Lawrence is in 1925 and Cass is in 2015. Cass decides to do some research and discovers Lawrence was murdered on that very beach in two weeks from the time they are at now and she believes they can see each other so that she can help save him. Can they save Lawrence from his early demise? Who is the person trying to kill him? How will Cass explain her strange behavior to her family?
This is a very sweet romance story that successfully places characters in two different time periods. The supporting characters are well established to help readers visualize these characters in their own times as well as together. The ending is very satisfying and believable, which is an incredible feat for a story based on people meeting across 100 years. Fans of romance novels or the Ruby Red series will enjoy this title.
# of Pages: 248
Miss James “Mori” Moriarty has been living a tough existence since her mother died several months before. Her father has become a heavy drinker and often takes his frustrations out physically on her and her three brothers. She knows she needs to do something to protect her brothers but she isn’t sure what at this time. Meanwhile, she becomes friendly with a strange boy at her school, Sherlock Holmes. They encounter a murder in the nearby park and are shocked to see the police are severely inept and make terrible and lazy assumptions. They decide to investigate on their own in order to find the true killer and are horrified to discover this was merely one amongst several similar murders. There is a serial killer out there the police aren’t even looking for! Can Mori find the killer and save her family from an increasingly bad home life?
This is a fun mystery story for fans of mystery fiction and TV shows. Sherlock Holmes is impressive in his deductions and observations as always and it’s refreshing to see a different take on the character of Moriarty. There is a bit of violence in it and Mori’s father is definitely a force to contend with in her life, but Lock and Mori try very hard to never lose hope that they can in fact prevail as long as their intentions and resolve are strong enough.
Published December 10, 2015
RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: blended families, college, family life, friendship, life choices, siblings, teenage dating, trust
# of pages: 265
Jane takes a job as a nanny for three small girls one summer because she doesn’t want to take the unpaid internship her mother found for her. The little girls happen to have an older half brother, Teo. Teo does not know Jane very well because she and his best friend do not get along for some unknown reason. As they start seeing each other more often and getting to know each other they start to form a strong attraction. Meanwhile, Jane discovers that Teo has been secretly looking for his father whom he has no recollection of ever seeing. Jane decides to try and help find Teo’s father thinking she is doing him a favor, but things do not go as planned. Will these two every overcome all the obstacles standing in their way to find true love? Will Teo ever find his dad? Will Jane ever decide what she wants to do after high school?
This book is a sweet, light teenage romance for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. The supporting characters are fairly one-dimensional but very entertaining and Jane and Teo have a sweet relationship that young readers will want to know more about. Many ideas are mentioned, but not stressed in too great of detail such as bisexuality, death of a parent, and choosing options other than college after high school. The characters will be relatable to many readers without becoming too preachy or insufferable regarding their feelings and beliefs. Recommended for fans of teen romance books.