Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 198
Franny feels like her life is too ordinary and that she has no special talents. Her sister, Zooey, meanwhile is one of the best ballerinas at her elite ballet school and has just been offered the role of a lifetime playing Juliet in an upcoming production. Franny secretly likes her newspaper editor and desperately wants to write a valuable article for the paper. Things do not work out well for either sister when Zooey breaks her leg and is sidelined from the performance and Franny’s debut article is rejected by her crush. The two are forced to spend more time together than they have in years and they learn that they have many misunderstandings regarding each other. Can they find a way for them to co-exist without one of them feeling less than worthy?
This story sounds simple, but the characters draw the reader in. Even readers who do not have siblings will be able to identify with that person that seems to have everything together while they do not. Everyone has that person and this book really shows that no one has a perfect life and everyone thinks someone else has a better life than they do. There is also a bit of romance and some lighthearted drama in the book that young high schoolers will enjoy. Recommended for readers who enjoy Sarah Dessen novels.
Genre: Sports/Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 266
Slam is called Slam for a reason. He can dunk a basketball right in the face of stiff competition. When he is moved to a new school he has some trouble adjusting. First, he is now separated from his friends, including his best friend, Ice. He also has to focus on his grades because if they slip too much he won’t be eligible to play basketball, which is his favorite thing in the world to do. His new school is much more difficult, so he is having trouble keeping up. Plus, his coach and some of his teachers think he has an attitude problem, which does not help matters. As Slam tries to deal with the many aspects of his life there always seems to be a new distraction to get in the way. Friends from his old school try to convince him that Ice may be into something bad since he has a lot of money to burn all of a sudden. Slam doesn’t want to see that Ice may be dealing drugs because he knows it could be the end of their friendship. At the same time all of this is going on, Slam is fighting to get a place on the school basketball team. Will he ever feel like he has some control over his life?
Fans of Walter Dean Myers will like this book as well. Slam is a likable character with a lot of difficult, yet believable things going on in his life. Many teenagers will be able to relate to dealing with friends, school, sports, and family at the same time. Myers also weaves exciting sports action throughout the story which will make sports fans happy. Most readers will wish that the story was longer just so they can follow Slam as he navigates through all the different people in his life for longer. Teenage boys will be reaching for this one.
Age Level: 14 and up
# of Pages: 264 p.
RAC Book: Yes
Phoebe Castro is a dedicated runner who plans to attend USC after her senior year on a full ride track scholarship. She has planned to go there with her two best friends for many years. Understandably, she is upset when her mother announces she is marrying a man she met in Greece. They will both be moving to a small island in the Aegean sea where her new stepfather is the principal of a private school. Not only does she have to leave her best friends for their senior year, but she also has to go to a new school. The big surprise for Pheobe is that once her and her mother arrive in Greece she is informed that the school she will be attending is actually a secret school for the children of Greek gods. Due to the fact that Phoebe is not a child of a god she is treated as an outcast by many of the people who attend the school, including her own stepsister. Phoebe tries to make the best of it by trying out for the track team and making an effort to meet people, but many make it clear that she does not belong. This is especially hurtful coming from the cute boy on the track team, Griffin Blake. Does Phoebe have what it takes to make it in a school full of “gods?”
This story is a lot of fun and does not require a reader to know a lot about mythology to enjoy it, although it might inspire a reader to want to learn more after reading it. The ending was a big predictable, but still entertaining nonetheless. The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional as Phoebe struggles to make it in this new environment. Despite all the changes thrown at her, Phoebe never loses her determination and resolve to make the best of the situation. There are fantasy elements in it, but readers who like authors like Meg Cabot and Ann Brashares will also enjoy it.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 14 and up
# of Pages: 422 p.
RAC Book: Yes
Ruby was abandoned by her mother just mere months before her eighteenth birthday. Despite her efforts to live alone, she is found out by her landlord and taken to social services. Soon she is living with her estranged older sister, Cora, in her huge house with her wealthy business minded husband. Ruby and Cora were close as children and so when Cora went off to college and never came back Ruby took it very hard. Soon she comes to find out that nothing was as simple as she thought it was. As she struggles to remain a loner in her new caring environment, she also struggles against becoming friends with the ambitious eager to please neighbor boy, Nate, who often gives her rides to school. She finds out that life isn’t just tough for the people who live in low rent housing, however, as she begins to get closer to Nate and catches a glimpse at his real life.
For fans of Sarah Dessen this book will not disappoint. Dessen has once again managed to create characters that are complex and interesting that readers want to know more about. In Cora’s opulent lifestyle it’s hard to imagine that anyone could be unhappy or unsatisfied in any way, but as Ruby begins to get to know the people who live in this world she sees that no one’s life is perfect. This book covers some serious issues such as abandonment, child abuse, infertility, alcoholism, and workaholics. A great read.