Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of page: 322
Becca Jones and her mother just want anonymity after Becca’s father is sentenced to ten years in prison for multiple counts of conning people out of their life savings so that his family could live a very privileged life. Becca is about to start high school and completely humiliated by her father’s actions. Becca and her mother flee Georgia and run to a small town in Ohio where they live very humble, simple lives trying to avoid anyone knowing who they really are. Three years later Becca is an A student and ready to apply to colleges. She has tried tirelessly to prove how hard she is willing to work for her future and that she’s not a cheater like her father. Yet, when she asks her mother for help on financial aide forms her mother gets paranoid and says it won’t be safe for her to do anything online where someone could find them. Eventually, Becca learns that her mother is harboring a terrible secret about the real reason they fled Georgia in the first place.
This book is written in a way that any young adult girl reading can truly identify with Becca and how she must feel learning about her father’s transgressions and being forced to deal with that humiliation. Becca and her mother are written very well and have multiple dimensions and motivations for all of their actions. Becca’s friends start a little flat, but eventually they start to have some real personalities and genuinely seem to care for Becca. The plot definitely has some twists and turns that readers might not be expecting, but the ending is handled very quickly and neatly. Overall, an exciting read that reluctant readers will enjoy.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 359
Kit has been trained to be a killer since she was a small girl by her mother. Kit’s mother felt called to kill, but eventually felt like she was getting too close to getting caught so she retired and trained her daughter to believe she was merely performing a service. Kit truly believes killing is neither right nor wrong, but just is. By day she is the chipper private school girl who blends in everywhere and yet has no close friends. Once every few months, however, she visits a local coffee shop where there is a secret drop box in the bathroom wall where people deposit letters and cash to have the “perfect killer” dispose of their unwanted family and friends. She reads the letters and chooses which victims she feels most comfortable with and takes care of it in a way that no clues, DNA, or fingerprints are ever found. She leaves the letters at the crime scene so that the police know it was her. One day her mother invites the lead detective on the perfect killer case over for dinner and they strike up a friendship so that Kit can know where they are on the investigation, which is nowhere. Can she keep up this facade forever? Will the job ever bother her or have lingering effects?
This book is dark and yet written in a light way so that it appears like Kit is a very normal and sympathetic girl. The more you get to know the character, however, the more disturbing she really is. She is able to kill perfect strangers for money without feeling any remorse or blame in any way. What’s worse is it almost seems like a game to her. Fans of mystery books might enjoy the thrill of living vicariously through someone who truly does what she wants when she wants, but eventually it gets a bit old as you discover how scary someone like this actually is.
Genre: Futuristic fiction
# of Pages: 291
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.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 388 p.
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.
Genre: Futuristic, Mystery
# of Pages: 360
In the town of Claysoot all men are taken at midnight on the night they turn eighteen while the entire town watches. This has been happening since the beginning of the town’s existence, but no one knows what happens to these teens or who is behind it. After watching his brother Blaine get taken, Gray learns they are in fact twins. Therefore, he knows whomever is taking these teens did not know this or else he would’ve been taken too. He decided to take the deadly trip to climb over the wall that surrounds the town in order to find out exactly what is going on and who is controlling all of them. Emma, his childhood friend, follows him and climbs the wall too. What will they find on the other side of the wall? Will they live long enough to find out?
Another offering in the rapidly growing dystopian genre, this book will easily find an audience. The details of the rustic town they live in give the reader an idea of what life was like growing up in Claysoot. For example, Emma and her mother work as the town’s only healers. Many of their priorities and rituals seems a bit shocking, but this town is trying to survive without any adult men so simple ideas of getting married and having families suddenly become an impossibility. The characters that are introduced are colorful, multi-dimensional, and full of a desire to learn the truth no matter what the cost. My high schoolers are waiting in line for this title.
Published February 28, 2014
Mystery , RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: accident, aspirations, college, death, goals, parent/child relationships, scholarship, teenage relationships
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 277
Parker is a high school senior who has always followed the rules and done what she was supposed to, which is why she is currently a finalist for a prestigious scholarship that would give her a full ride scholarship to her dream school. Her best friend, however, feels she needs to break a few rules before graduation. The opportunity surprisingly arises when she is asked by a teacher to mail out notebooks full of wishes and goals written by a group of high school seniors ten years prior. As she gathers the notebooks to send out to these graduated seniors from ten years ago she comes across one for a Julianna. This is a big deal because Julianna died in a car accident with her high school sweetheart shortly after graduation. They have since been immortalized in the town as the “golden couple” who were meant to be together forever. Parker decides to open the notebook and read what Julianna’s last thoughts were in those weeks leading up to her death. What were her aspirations? Her dreams? When Parker starts reading the notebook, however, she is very surprised by Julianna’s words and it makes her question everything the town promotes about this girl. Was there more to that fateful night that led to the horrific car accident? Parker decides to investigate.
Fans of Sarah Dessen and Nicholas Sparks will devour this title. It is full of colorful characters, including Parker who is always pushed for greatness by her mother but deep down she doesn’t really know what she wants for her future. Meanwhile, Julianna’s notebook opens a flood of feelings and fears leading up to graduation that anyone could identify with. Plus, there is the added intrigue of finding out what exactly happened to Julianna and her boyfriend. It’s a fun romance story that will be popular with many young adult teens.
# of Pages: 426
This futuristic novel depicts the U.S. suffering from multiple terrorist attacks at the hands of U.S. teenagers. The army begins gathering up all teens to have them tested for a particular virus they believe is causing special powers in these young adults. Every teen seems to manifest different powers, but they are all extraordinary such as manipulating minds and turning invisible. Alec and Laura belong to one of the terrorist groups trying to destroy national landmarks and industrial buildings. Meanwhile, Aubrey and Jack are merely two teens at a high school dance when they are apprehended and tested for the virus. Aubrey knows she has a special power, but Jack is shocked to learn he tested positive for the virus. Through exciting circumstances all of these characters will come into contact with each other and try to survive this deadly situation. Unfortunately, some want to make the chaos and destruction stop while others want to be the cause.
Fans of futuristic novels such as Divergent will enjoy this title. There’s even a super hero feel to this as the teens learn of their different and amazing abilities. The story moves at a steady pace and the characters are portrayed in a way that really lets the reader know who they are and what they want. However, there are a lot of unanswered questions and unexplained potential that most definitely will be used in future books so readers need to be prepared to end this book with a lot of questions. All young adults will enjoy the title, but boys and reluctant readers will especially enjoy it.