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.
# of Pages: 290
In this sequel to The Name of the Star Rory is recovering from her near fatal encounter with a deadly ghost in Bristol with her parents. After a few weeks, her therapist surprisingly advises she return to school in London to resume her schoolwork and begin to move forward. Rory is thrilled at the idea of returning to school, but she is very far behind on her schoolwork and has no idea how she can make it up. Meanwhile, Stephen and the other shades are trying to solve an unusual murder that occurred very close to where Rory’s attack was. Are they connected? Did her encounter somehow trigger other supernatural attacks in the immediate area of the school where all of her friends go?
This sequel moves very quickly and has a very exciting ending. Fans of the first novel will enjoy this title as the Shades are detailed a little more and the challenges of their group’s existence are explained in a bit more detail. Rory’s future in London seems very unsure at this point, but there are possibilities for how she will proceed laid out that could come into play in future books. The supporting characters from the school are still just as colorful as ever, but are not featured as much as they were in the first book. Overall, it’s a good sequel, but a tad fast and fans will be eager to see another one sooner rather than later.
Published January 17, 2014
Adventure , Mystery , RAC , Realistic Fiction
Tags: dating, drinking problem, family, murder, secret, trust, witness, witness protection
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 312
Meg and her sister, Mary, have been moved from one location to another multiple times over the past year since their family was placed in witness protection. Each time they must change their names and backstories so that no one has any idea where they came from. They do not know why they are in witness protection and Meg blames her father for whatever he did that landed them in this hellish situation. Mary has begun withdrawing and their mother has started drinking heavily. The reason for why they have to be moved so many times is elusive to them too and Meg has about had it with being ignorant about their own situation. When they move this time she vows to remain neutral and distant so that she does not become attached to anyone or anything, but that becomes very difficult when she meets Ethan… Can she stand to lose him if they get moved in the middle of the night again? How can she ever make him understand why she acts the way she does?
This book is highly exciting and engaging as you learn the reason for why Meg and her family are in witness protection in the first place. People are obviously looking for them and Meg often feels as if people are watching her. At the same time, she is beginning to feel angry and bitter about spending her senior year going from school to school, working an after school job to keep her family financially afloat, and taking care of her family emotionally. Once the reality of their situation is revealed, Meg feels responsible to fix their situation even if it means putting herself in danger to do so. The ending is very dramatic, but a tad quick. Most readers will be satisfied by the resolution at the end of the story. Recommended for everyone, but reluctant readers will enjoy.
Published December 18, 2013
Adventure , Fantasy , Mystery , RAC , Realistic Fiction
Tags: betrayal, friendship, futuristic, government, trick, trust, violence
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 344
Cia Vale lives in a very small farming community on the outskirts of their civilization. The civilization was once ravaged by the Seven Stages War and everyone left behind is simply trying to survive. Every year when the local school graduates a class of students everyone secretly hopes that someone from the government will arrive to invite someone to the Testing. The Testing is a super secret test that only the best and brightest are invited to. No one really knows what it entails, but if you do well you get to go on to higher education. Cia’s father underwent the testing in his youth and is a very accomplished scientist, but he does not remember much about the test and seems leery of wanting his children to have this same great opportunity. No one from Cia’s community has been chosen for years, which is why it’s so surprising when four are invited, including Cia. As Cia begins her journey she is warned to trust no one. What has she gotten herself in to? Will she ever return from the Testing?
This book is definitely similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent, but for readers who enjoy that type of novel it is still very engaging. Despite some of the similarities to other stories out right now many readers will care about the characters in this book and wonder what will happen to them through the course of this testing. The book does have a fair amount of violence, betrayal, and overall treachery so readers who prefer lighter novels should keep looking. Recommended for reluctant readers.
# Of Pages: 447
In the third novel of the Ruby Red Trilogy, Gwen is still fuming over her treatment by Gideon in the last book. She feels betrayed and like she cannot trust anyone. She is also convinced that there is more to the story of her ancestors, Lucy and Paul. She does not believe they would simply steal the chronograph for their own gain. She does not trust the Count, but has no way of knowing how to protect herself from anyone because she does not know who to trust. Then, she discovers something hidden in her own house by her late grandfather and she uses it as a means for communicating with him back when he was still alive. Can he help her to decipher the prophesy enough to know what her role in this is supposed to be and manage to keep everyone safe?
This trilogy has been engaging from the beginning, but there were always unanswered questions and this book puts many of those to rest. The final resolution regarding the Count, Lucy and Paul, and even Gwen and Gideon are all interesting and exciting. Gwen’s interactions with her grandfather are also enlightening concerning the overall story. The book has a satisfying ending to the trilogy, but still leaves a little room for more in the future. Recommended for fans of fantasy romances.
# of Pages: 372
Rory goes to England with her parents for her senior year of high school and enrolls in a private boarding school in London. She hits it off with her roommate and finds that she fits in pretty well with their different classes and overall school schedules. Shortly after she arrives, however, a terrible murder is committed mimicking Jack the Ripper’s first murder that occurred many years prior to this on the same date. Despite London having over a million cameras throughout the city there is a shocking lack of evidence. Rory and her new friends live close to where all of these murders occurred and therefore get caught up in the fear that sweeps over London. Can they find the Jack the Ripper impersonator? Will the murders continue and everyone be helpless to stop it?
This book was highly suspenseful, entertaining, and unique. The idea itself captures most people’s interest as Jack the Ripper is one of the most famous unidentified serial killers and the hysteria that sweeps the public is completely believable. The actual revelation of who is committing the murders is unique and yet plausible. The characters are all likable and the ending sets up the series for many more titles to come. This book was named an Iowa Teen Award winner for this year and is highly recommended.