Archive for January, 2012

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Genre:  Romance/Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  288

RAC Book:  Yes

London suffered a traumatic incident when she was a child and as a result lost her long term memory.  She must keep notes of everything because when she goes to sleep her memory is erased and she forgets everything when she wakes up.  She does have “flashforwards” that allow her to retrieve memories from the future.  She meets a new boy at school and immediately feels a connection, but she has no memory of him in her future.  London begins having one recurring vision that terrifies her, especially when she realizes it is actually a memory from her past and not her future.  In order to understand her future she must face the past that was so painful her parents decided not to remind her once she had lost her memory.  Meanwhile, she must decide if she can trust this new boy or if he is just going to hurt her when he learns the truth about her memory issues.

Stories with characters blocking out painful memories is not new, but this story definitely puts a new twist on it.  The reader gets to put the pieces together right along with London to find out what happened to her that caused her memory to rewire itself and also as the clues slowly come out regarding London’s mysterious vision.  The story has many twists and turns and more overall character development than it first appears.  Recommended for mystery or reluctant readers.

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Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Genre:  Sports Fiction

# of Pages:  311

RAC Book:  Yes

While taking the physical fitness test in his P.E. class, Felton discovers that in less than a year he has grown several inches, gained muscle, and become what he describes as stupid fast.  His classmates immediately notice and he is recruited to the track and football teams.  Felton is a bit worried about becoming a jock since these were the same people who used to pick on him, but he does like the idea of having an activity to keep him busy.  His mother has started to detach from Felton and his younger brother and as time goes on the worse the situation becomes.  She stops buying food or taking care of them in any way.  Felton distracts himself from the fighting and neglect of his home life by throwing himself into his training, but there is a bully there he must deal with as well.  Can he face the difficult home life for the sake of his little brother?  Can he overcome everyone’s doubt that he can truly become a great athlete?

Felton’s story is a good sports story for those who like to read about sports.  However, there is a lot of focus on his home life and the developing relationship between Felton and a neighborhood girl.  The fights between Felton and his mother can get a bit heated at times and some tough language is used, which might turn off some younger readers.  The eventual explanation of his mother’s abandonment is unique and satisfying.  Recommended for sports and/or reluctant readers.

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  296 p.

RAC:  Yes

“Kid” attends a futuristic high school that is actually designed by corporations using an old mall.  In this world the government can no longer fund public education and therefore corporate sponsors have taken over.  Students ideally want to win a sponsorship so that they can enjoy money, free clothes, and tech gizmos.  Kid’s not interested in earning a sponsorship because she is fine being anonymous, but her mother does struggle to pay the bills.  When Kid witnesses an unusual rebellious act she is the only person who takes notice and brings it to people’s attention.  This immediately earns her fame and she is offered a chance at a sponsorship.  Can she take it when it could mean losing her privacy and creative rights to her music?  Can she not take it when it could mean an easier life for her mother?

Fans of futuristic stories will enjoy this title.  The setup of the corporate school system seems unbelievable and yet believable at the same time.  Hopefully the story will encourage teens to think about the affect of corporations and sponsors on our everyday lives.  The story also shows how willing people can be to give up everything in order to gain fame and fortune.  The end seems a bit rushed and might confuse some readers, but overall they will enjoy it and return to find out what happens in the next installment.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  307

RAC Book:  Yes

Waverly and Kieran live on a giant space ship that houses a large community of people who have fled earth due to the inhospitable conditions.  Waverly and Kieran were actually born on this ship so they never knew earth.  The idea is that after many years they will be able to inhabit a planet called New Earth.  They are not the only ship who deserted earth, but the ship that took off before them left an entire year prior to their departure.  Therefore, they are shocked to see this other ship one day.  The captain assures everyone that everything is okay, but naturally everyone is on edge to see a ship after all this time.  Their suspicions are confirmed when soldiers from that ship attack their home and take all the female children hostage.  Waverly is taken to the new ship against her will and believes it is her job to protect the younger children.  Meanwhile, Kieran is left in a position of power on their home ship, but has difficulty getting others to follow his will.  Will they ever be reunited?  Can they ever sort out all of the lies to find the truth?

This story is simply captivating.  Once you begin it is almost impossible to stop.  There are so many things Waverly and Kieran do not know about the people who have been making all the decisions around them.  In most cases, people they either  trusted or hated end up have sympathetic sides as well as deplorable ones.  The situation is unique, yet the actions taken by the humans seem believable and understandable given the circumstances.  Fans of books with futuristic themes will love this book and will eagerly await the next installment.  Highly recommended.

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  248

RAC Book:  Yes

Willa hasn’t seen her dad in so long that she does not even remember what he looks like.  Her and her mom moved away long ago and her mother remarried.  Willa loves her stepdad, but he did come with two kids of his own and since their mother is wealthy they tend to get some perks in life that she simply does not get.  Their lives are completely shaken when Willa comes home one day to find frantic messages from a friend of her mother’s back home.  She doesn’t understand any of them so she tried to contact her mother and becomes panicked when she is unable to.  She calls her stepdad and he assures her that everything will be fine.  When they finally locate her mother she learns that her estranged father was missing with one of his daughters and his other two daughters and new wife were all found stabbed to death.  The police believe he might be on his way to find her so they are all moved into police protection.  Will this news tear her family apart or force truths to come out that they have all been avoiding?  Can she ever shake the reputation of being the girl whose father killed his family in a violent rage?

This story moves quickly as Willa tries to uncover the truth behind her father’s actions as well as what he was like.  She meets the half brother she never knew she had and mourns the loss of her half sisters.  The idea of family becomes a big issue as she is not quite sure which is stronger: blood or situation.  She has always been told her mom’s new husband was her family, but as she examines the situation she is not so sure she has really been treated as family.  There is also some growing resentment toward her mother for keeping so much about her father’s life a secret.  As horrific as the situation with her father is, it also forces her to really examine her life and reevaluate how she wants to continue from here.  Teenage readers will enjoy the story and even reluctant readers will struggle to put it down.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  407

RAC Book:  Yes

The Scorpio race is a difficult race run every November in the small town of Thisby.  The races encourage people to ride water horses, horses who emerge from the water and must be caught, in a dangerous race to the finish.  Many people die in these races.  Sean works for a tyrant who uses him for his talent with these water horses, but manages to keep control of him by refusing to sell Sean his favorite horse, Corr.  Sean therefore feels obliged to stay and work in terrible conditions while the boss’s son torments him just to stay by his beloved horse.  He has won the race four times and believes he will win again, but the truth is that he hates it.  Puck is a young girl who was orphaned along with her two brothers when a water horse killed their parents.  She has recently learned that her older brother plans to abandon her and they are about to lose their house.  She decides she must ride in the races and win to keep her family together.  Can she survive the rough terrain or will she lose everything in this fateful race?

There are many issues at work in this story.  First, there is tradition.  The races have been run a certain way for a long time and no one wants to see that change.  Puck tries to change that not only with the horse she wants to race, but simply the fact that she is female.  There are many strange rules involved in this race, but since it has been done a certain way for so long it is considered unthinkable to change anything.  This could easily be tied to other traditions or beliefs held in the past that were eventually challenged and changed.  Work conditions and poverty are another issue discussed.  Both Sean and Puck have difficulty making a life for themselves in Thisby, but this is their home and they cannot imagine leaving.  With the economic downturns we have had in the last few years this is also easy to understand and identify with.  People simply must do things they do not want to in order to survive.  Finally, loyalty is a very big issue.  Family loyalty, loyalty to a horse, and loyalty to a town are all discussed.  The question becomes what would a person be willing to do in order to remain loyal to someone or something that was important to him or her?  The race itself is not as exciting as readers might hope for considering they build up to it for the entire story.  The general set up of the race actually takes a slow path, but in the end this book will leave readers with a lot to think about long after they are finished.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Genre:  Fantasy/Romance

# of Pages:  484

RAC Book:  Yes

Bethany, Gabriel, and Ivy are all angels who have been sent on a mission to watch over a small town.  Gabriel and Ivy have participated in several missions on earth, but this is Bethany’s first one.  As such, Gabriel is very concerned that she is not ready to live among the humans.  Bethany does have some trouble adjusting to simple human tasks such as eating and grooming because these tasks do not exist in heaven.  When she meets a boy at school she instantly feels an attraction.  While she tries to hide from her feelings, Bethany cannot stay away from Xavier and he begins to fall for her as well.  She has been warned repeatedly that an angel and a human dating can lead to disastrous results, but she cannot help herself.  The only problem is that she does not want to mislead him.  Can she tell Xavier who she really is?  Will he accept her?  Can she stay focused on the evil forces around her that are her mission to stop?

This angel romance story has become extremely popular among high school girls who enjoyed Twilight, Fallen, and Shiver.  The threat towards the couple seems a bit predictable at times, but will entice young readers nonetheless.  The story is definitely unique compared to other similar stories on the market right now.  Bethany’s sweet demeanor and strength to go after a love she knows is special will keep readers begging to know more about what happens to Bethany and Xavier.