Archive for the 'Realistic Fiction' Category

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

raft

 

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  231

RAC: Yes

Robie lives in the Midway Atoll with her family, but often goes to stay with her aunt in Honolulu.  One summer, her aunt is called away unexpectedly and Robie decides to take the shuttle plane home to her parents.  The phones are out so she cannot call her parents and tell them she is coming and in the commotion she forgets to get weighed before her and her bags climb aboard the plane.  A major storm knocks out one of the engines and the plane goes down.  Robie ends up struggling to survive in the middle of the ocean with only a raft and a few supplies.  Can she survive out there by herself?  Will anyone come to look for her?

This survival story realistically portrays exactly what it would be like to be drifting on a raft for days including symptoms of dehydration, starvation, and environmental dangers.  The details of the region including geography, animal life, and weather are all perfectly accurate which helps this story to feel even more realistic.  The story itself is very exciting and moves quickly so it is recommended for reluctant readers.

Running For My Life by Lopez Lomong

running for my life

Genre:  Biography

# of Pages:  229

RAC:   Yes

This is the true story of Lopez Lomong and how he was kidnapped from church as a six-year-old and taken to be a child soldier.  He later escaped and was taken to a refugee camp where he lived for ten years.  When he was finally taken to the United States, it was through a program in which a number of “lost boys” were brought to the U.S.  He was taken in by a loving family who introduced him to the modern conveniences of life such as light switches and beds.  Ever since watching Michael Johnson race in the Olympics Lopez has hoped to achieve this goal someday.  Will he have what it takes to make his dream come true?  Will he be able to adjust to life in the U.S.?

This powerful story truly captures the plight of these “lost boys” from Sudan.  Many were forced to be child soldiers and were treated terribly in the process.  Even the ones like Lopez who managed to escape had difficult lives and very little education.  Lopez outlines how family, support, education, and faith helped him to become the man he is today and now he’s dedicated his life to helping others out of the same situation.  Recommended for reluctant readers and runners.

Taken by Erin Bowman

taken

Genre:  Futuristic, Mystery

# of Pages:  360

RAC:  Yes

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.

Golden by Jessi Kirby

golden

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  277

RAC:  Yes

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.

The Program by Suzanne Young

the program

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  405

RAC:  Yes

Sloane and James live in a world where teenage suicide is suddenly very common and often unexpected.  They are still reeling from Sloane’s older brother’s suicide, which they both witnessed.  Despite having many mixed up feelings about all the loss and stress around them they feel compelled to act happy all the time for fear they will be sent to The Program.  The Program is the government’s answer to all of these teenage suicides and so far the only answer available for stopping them.  Teenagers believed to have suicidal warning signs are sent to this building for 6 weeks and when they emerge they are completely happy and oblivious to their old life regarding friends, appearance, and personality traits.  Sloane and James are terrified of The Program because of how some of their friends have returned, but parents are truly terrified of losing their children to suicide and will call the authorities if they are at all nervous about their child falling prey to this epidemic.  Can Sloane and James keep each other safe and out of The Program?  What will The Program entail if they do get sent there and are they strong enough to resist?

There are several epidemic type stories that are popular right now such as Delirium and Blackout and this one will find an audience with fans of those books.  The motivations behind the teenagers and parents are accurately portrayed so that the reader can truly identify with everyone and their fears and motivations.  The setting itself is told in such a believable way that it is easy to imagine how a community could get to the point of instituting something like The Program.  The relationship between Sloane and James proves to be incredibly strong throughout the book and reveals their true feelings for each other.  Like many other YA novels this one leaves an opening for a sequel.  Recommended for reluctant readers.

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

eye of minds

Genre:  Science Fiction/Mystery/Adventure

# of Pages:  310

RAC:  Yes

Michael enjoys playing video games, but he lives in a world where the best games are part of the VirtNet.  In the VirtNet you can actually immerse yourself completely into the game and leave your body behind in your house.  There are many types of games you can play, adventures you can try, and friends to meet in the virtual world.  People like it because they can do things they wouldn’t normally do in real life and if they “die” they simply wake up  safely in their own home.  Recently, there have been reports about a gamer who has managed to hurt people both in the game AND in real life.  Michael and his friends are enlisted to track this gamer down because they are very successful hackers and can see stuff others can’t.  Michael and his friends learn quickly that this is no ordinary gamer and if they are not careful they will not come out of this alive.  If they do not help the Virtual Authorities to catch this guy they will have all of their privileges revoked and can never game again.  Can they face a life without gaming?  Are they willing to risk their lives to keep gaming?

Fans of The Maze Runner series will enjoy this title as well.  Like that series, this one has a fair amount of excitement and violence.  The book is also set up as a series of tasks the characters must accomplish in order to be free.  The tasks are very challenging and often scary, but the characters feel they have no choice but to press on and follow through.  The ending is a bit of a surprise, but fans of  Dashner would be surprised if there wasn’t a twist at the end.  Video gamers, boys, and reluctant readers will enjoy this title.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

The Rules for Disappearing

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  312

RAC:  Yes

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.

Five Summers by Una LaMarche

five summers

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  378

RAC:  Yes

This book follows four girls who have spent five summers at camp together over the years.  The first summer was when they were ten and the last is a reunion weekend when they are 17.  When they go to the reunion they had not actually all four been together for three years.  The last night of camp three years ago they all had secrets from each other that have been threatening to come out ever since.  Will they still be as close as they were all these years later?  How have things changed since they last saw each other?

Fans of friendship books such as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and  Peaches will enjoy this title.  Maddy, Jo, Skylar, and Emma are four completely different girls who inexplicably came together as best friends.  The secrets they have from each other of course bubble to the surface, but their friendship is stronger than they even thought.  The feelings and motivations of the girls are well described and it’s hard not to care about them even if it is a little hard to believe they would be this close from just interacting at summer camp.  There are some tough issues addressed such as betrayal, sex, poverty, and divorce.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Image

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  344

RAC:  Yes

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.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

lying game

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  307

RAC:  Yes

Emma is a foster child who was abandoned by her mother at a young age.  Sutton is Emma’s long lost twin sister she didn’t know she had until Sutton had already mysteriously vanished.  Emma is lured to Sutton’s town thinking she is going to meet Sutton and instead she is threatened and told if she doesn’t pretend to be Sutton she will die.  As Sutton begins to learn more about the kind of person Sutton is she wonders if this is some kind of elaborate prank or if something terrible really has happened to her twin.  Whom can she trust among Sutton’s friends and family?  Would one of them hurt her and threaten her twin into taking her place?

Fans of Sara Shepard will enjoy this title as much as her others.  The story is intriguing, there are many characters who have reason to hate Sutton, and the plot constantly twists and turns.  The only thing readers might not like it waiting for the next one in the series!  Recommended for high school girls.

Agent Colt Shore by Axel Avian

About Agent Colt Shore Domino 29

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Adventure

# of Pages:  368

RAC:  Yes

Colt Shore grew up attending an elite private school where he was trained in many skills required of a spy, but he always intended to enter the profession as an information person and never as a field agent.  He also grew up believing his parents had him after their first beloved child died, which always left him feeling left out.  He is quite surprised to learn that who he believes to be his parents are actually his grandparents and his dad was actually a spy killed in the line of duty.  His mother is still an active agent and introduces him to spy headquarters.  When he is asked to help out with a mission, his mother argues against it, but does not stand in his way.  He finds that the mission is simply too good to resist, but once he gets in the field he must learn quickly how to make decisions as the mission morphs into something much bigger than he signed on for.

The evolution of this mission is done so in a way that seems logical, although there does tend to be a lack of fear on the part of Colt and the person he is trying to protect.  The action sequences are well written and adequately describe how Colt manages to get from one tough situation to another.  He does have luck on his side in a few instances but not in an unbelievable way.  Colt’s personality engages the reader from the beginning and many will want to follow his adventures for many books to come.  Highly recommended for fans of spy novels and reluctant readers.

Legend by Marie Lu

legend

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  305

RAC Book:  Yes

In this futuristic story, Day is a rebel who hides in the shadows and pulls pranks on authorities.  He is the number one wanted criminal.  June is a girl living in the Republic whose brother is a soldier for a high ranking official.  She is considered a prodigy because she is the first and only person to earn a perfect score on the training test given to every ten-year-old in the Republic.  After an attempt to obtain medicine from a hospital leaves June’s brother murdered she is led to believe Day was the culprit responsible.  June goes undercover to find and apprehend the biggest criminal standing in the way of the Republic’s goals so she can avenge her brother.  Day ends up being much more than she bargained for, however, and she finds the more questions she answers the more that arise.  Whom can she trust in this government?  Can she believe anything she was told over her entire childhood?

This exciting story will interest readers who like books such as The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games.  The setting is reminiscent of Divergent, but focuses much more on the goals of the Republic and not the little sectors that make up the people.  The chapters alternate between Day and June so that you see each of the sides of this battle and why they see each other as the enemy.  Many secrets unravel quickly, but it’s obvious there are many more where that came from.  There is currently one sequel out and there will probably be more.

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

bruiser

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  328

RAC Book:  Yes

Tennyson and Bronte are siblings whose parents are English professors.  Tennyson feels very protective of his sister, Bronte, which is why he is upset when he learns she is dating Brewster who is known as Bruiser around their high school.  Tennyson tries intimidating Brewster and even follows him to try and get him to leave his sister alone, but what he ends up finding is that Brewster is covered in bruises and other injuries.  This leads Tennyson to believe that Brewster is being abused at home, but upon further inspection he realizes that Brewster’s situation is a whole lot more complicated than that.  Brewster, through no effort on his part, takes on the pain of anyone he cares about.  As Tennyson and Bronte start to get to know him they start to like having him around and vow never to tell Brewster’s secret.  The problem is that this unusual power is killing Brewster and he does not know if he can stop it before it’s too late.  What will he have to give to protect those he loves?

This story is very different and unique which is why it is so captivating and engaging.  Shusterman creates a set of characters that any reader can empathize with.  The chapters alternate between Bronte, Brewster, and Tennyson, which also helps the reader to see the situation through multiple perspectives.  This book is recommended for everyone, but could be especially useful with reluctant readers.

Suspect by Robert Crais

suspect

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

# of Pages:  309

RAC Book:  Yes

Scott James is an LAPD cop who got caught in the middle of a shoot out on a deserted street in the middle of the night.  His partner was killed and he was badly injured and left for dead.  Despite being encouraged to take a medical discharge, Scott pushes to remain in the department and gets moved to the K9 unit.  The dog he chooses, Maggie, was in a terrible shootout as well in Iraq in which her carrier was killed and she was injured trying to protect him.  They both have some post traumatic stress and scar tissue to work with.  Scott learns some new cops have taken over his case and they want to discuss it with him.  Can he finally get to the bottom of what happened?  Will he ever avenge his partner and come to grips with the guilt he has for surviving when she didn’t?  Will Maggie ever trust a new carrier?

Fans of mystery writers such as Harlan Coben will enjoy this title.  It moves quickly and has a lot of suspense and drama. The actual ending seems a bit quick, but the resolution is satisfying.  The progression of details keeps the reader interested and the inclusion of the dog to the case helps Scott more than once.  Recommended for mystery fans.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

monument

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  296

RAC:  Yes

On a normal school day, Dean gets on the bus for school when all of a sudden giant hail beats down on the bus.  The bus crashes and catches on fire, but another school bus who was behind it drives into a giant superstore and returns to save those who are uninjured.  Dean is pulled from the wreckage moments before it explodes.  Inside the superstore, they learn that only 6 high school, 2 junior high, and 6 elementary school kids survived the hail and the bus crash.  They tend to the wounded and the bus driver leaves in the hopes of finding help.  Meanwhile, they are shaken up by an earthquake and toxic gas that is poured into the air due to a leak caused by these natural disasters.  They are safe in the superstore, but do not know how long they will need to survive there.  Is anyone coming to rescue them?

This survival story is incredibly realistic and forthcoming about what life would be like after several natural disasters.  The kids all have different strengths and annoyances as they strive to find the best way to live together.  Some of their solutions for how to make the store more efficient and inhabitable are very clever.  Other actions are not as clever, but reveal that they are in fact just kids trying to survive.  The story moves at a quick pace and packs a lot of interesting plot developments.  Readers may be disappointed by the abrupt ending, but most likely a sequel will be on the way.



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