Archive for November, 2009

Waiting for you by Susane Colasanti

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  322 p.

RAC:  Yes

Marisa and Sterling are two best friends who are determined to begin this new school year right.  They set goals for making friends, getting boyfriends, and succeeding in school.  Marisa is a little apprehensive about this year because the previous year she was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and depression.  She feels she has recovered, but always worries those lonely feelings will come back.  She also desperately wants to date Derek, the popular boy in school, which is why she shuns the romantic advances of her male best friend, Nash.  To top everything off, Marisa learns her parents are going to get divorced.  Basically, nothing goes exactly as she and Sterling planned and Marisa wonders if she can handle so many unexpected obstacles in her life.  The only person who seems able to understand her is this mystery DJ Dirty Dirk,  who broadcasts an anonymous show every night.  Will she be strong enough to ask for help if she needs it?

Marisa’s difficulty with depression is handled very accurately in this story as she struggles to make it day to day without feeling hopeless and alone.  Even though she knows she has a lot to be grateful for, she can’t seem to make herself feel that way on her own.  Jealousy, anger, and confusion are all a part of Marisa’s life, which most teenagers can probably relate to.  As she tries to make sense of those around her she realizes that she does not have to have all of the answers at once, but just needs to keep trying to reach her goals.  Fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy this one.

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

another_faust_cover

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  387 p.

RAC List: Yes

When five children living in four different countries disappear one night at the age of ten no one notices.   Five years later, a mysterious governess arrives in New York City with her five unusual adopted children, who will all attend the exclusive Marlowe School.  Christian is a master athlete and can play and dominate five school sports in one season.  Bice has mastered over 23 languages and is still learning more.  Belle is Bice’s twin and has bargained with the governess to become breathtakingly beautiful.  Victoria wants to have the highest gpa in the school as well as become class President and win the debate tournament.  Finally, Valentin is a poet and likes to manipulate time.  All of these children have “gifts” that were given to them by their governess.  The question is what did they have to give her in order to receive these gifts?

Another Faust plays off of the ideas in Christopher Marlowe’s play Dr. Faustus where a man sells his soul to the devil to get what he wants on earth.  In this case, these five children have made “deals” with their governess in order to get what they want, but some have known what they were getting into and others have not.  There are many interesting issues that get addressed in this book such as the importance of earning your accomplishments instead of cheating to acquire them.  Trust, family, and betrayal are all major themes in this story as well.  Fans of fantasy stories, especially series like the Blue Bloods, will snap this up.

GoldenGirl by Micol Ostow

goldengirl

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  193

RAC List: No

Bradford Prep is a rich prep school in Philadelphia where Madison, Paige, and Spencer all attend.  When a new student, Regan, begins attending the prep school tensions rise due to the fact that Paige takes an immediate dislike to the new girl.  Madison and Spencer like Regan right away and cannot understand why Paige has such an issue with her.  Spencer feels especially taken by Regan after Regan catches her in a compromising position with her ex-boyfriend and does not tell one person the juiciest gossip in the school.  Once it becomes clear that Paige is not above sabotage, Madison and Spencer quickly learn that Regan and Paige have  a sordid past.  Who should they believe about what actually happened in that past?

Fans of the Gossip Girl series will love this series as well.  The book goes into detail on fashion, trendy hot spots, and of course teen drinking and partying.  Although the book’s plot develops and strengthens over the course of the story, there is still a lot of fluff to this book.  Teens looking for a light teen drama will enjoy it, but anyone looking for more substance should keep looking.

Slam! by Walter Dean Myers

slam

Genre:  Sports/Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  266

RAC:  Yes

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.

After by Amy Efaw

after

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  350

RAC:  Yes

Devon is lying on the couch when her mom gets home from her evening shift at the local supermarket.  She is unresponsive and drifting in and out of consciousness and her mother assumes she is staying home sick.  When police officers come to the door to inquire about a newborn baby that was found in a nearby trashcan her mother tells them that she just got home, but that maybe her daughter saw something.  At this point it is revealed that Devon had recently given birth and no one around her even knew she was pregnant.  She is arrested for attempted murder and taken to the hospital.  Once she is mildly recovered she is sent to jail where she is working with a lawyer to fight to stay in the juvenile court system as opposed to being tried as an adult.  Devon feels ashamed and confused and does not want anyone to know what has happened.  Did she really try to kill her baby?  Had she really convinced herself that she was not pregnant or is that just what her story is?  Why didn’t she reach out to the many people around her who could have helped her instead of pushing all of them away?

Everyone has heard a story about a young girl who gives birth without anyone knowing about it and tries to “get rid of” the evidence.  This book tries look at this situation through the eyes of the young girl.  What was she feeling?  Did she realize what she was doing?  After the event has occurred, the reader follows as Devon comes to terms with her decision and tries to decide how she thinks she should be punished.  The characters are interesting and well developed and the details of the story are revealed in an interesting manner.  The final outcome feels right and satisfactory for a topic as serious as this.  It will be a hit with high school girls.