Genre: Romance/Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 435
Emaline is working for her family’s rental company the summer before she goes to college. She is very close to her mother, stepfather, and stepsisters, but has never felt close to the father who walked out on her. She is still bristling from an argument with her biological father that led to him ignoring her graduation completely. She isn’t sure how she feels when he calls to say he is in town and wants to meet with her. Meanwhile, she meets a documentary filmmaker and her assistant, Theo, who have rented one of the biggest properties for the entire summer. The filmmaker often has crazy demands, but the assistant seems interesting in a different sort of way. Is Emaline ready to give up the boyfriend she’s had for four years for this intriguing boy from the big city? Is Emaline ready to face the father she barely knows in order to confront how seriously he hurt her? Is Emaline ready to go away to college and leave her family and friends behind?
Sarah Dessen fans will enjoy the characters in this one as well. Emaline is easygoing, but also very hardworking, smart, and driven. She is not afraid to step outside of her comfort zone in order to fight for what she wants. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Luke, is hardly established when things go south so it’s hard to feel too strongly about him one way or the other. Theo, is portrayed differently than most of the rebound boyfriends in Dessen’s novels and this change is a bit refreshing. The ending lacked a bit of the punch that others such as The Truth About Forever had and was a tad predictable, but Dessen fans will enjoy it anyway.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 402 pages
RAC Book: Yes
Mclean has been moving around with her dad ever since her parents’ traumatizing divorce. Her dad is a restaurant consultant who goes into struggling restaurants to help them turn it around before it is too late. This is the fourth city Mclean has lived in over the past two years. Her relationship with her mother is strained at best as she tries to constantly bring her home and Mclean resists. One of the reasons Mclean likes moving with her dad is because she can reinvent herself each place they go. When they reach this latest location, however, she finds it harder and harder to ignore who she really is. She especially has trouble pretending she is someone else when she is with the next door neighbor boy. Can Mclean come to terms with her parents’ divorce? Can she find herself and be prepared for college the following year? Can she keep aloof with her new friends and refuse to form true connections?
Fans of Sarah Dessen will devour this book as it has all of her trademark appeal. The characters are multi-dimensional and true. The story is believable and does not rely on over the top plot twists to keep readers interested. The relationships are so honest that anyone can identify with someone’s situation. Overall, another gem for Dessen. Teenage girls will love it.
# of Pages: 329
RAC Book: Yes
2010 Iowa High School Award Winner
In this father-daughter memoir Cylin and John Busby tell the story of how John was targeted and shot on his way into work in 1979 and the course of their lives changed forever. It was not an accidental shooting and John was in fact targeted for a recent arrest he had made. John did not die from the multiple gunshots to his face and underwent multiple surgeries in order to restructure his face, learn to eat, and learn to talk again. Meanwhile, the family was under intense police protection because it was unclear if they were safe from any subsequent attacks. The overall stress of John’s injuries and their virtual imprisonment in their own home takes a toll on all of them.
The story is told in alternating chapters between Cylin and her dad. This format really helps the reader to understand the situation from multiple perspectives. The fact that it is a true story will interest young readers because it seems so outlandish that something like this could happen in any community. There are some gory descriptions of John’s injuries, but most students will not mind this. Overall, many readers will find this a page-turner and will want to recommend it to their friends.