# of Pages: 337
Iowa High School Award Winner 2016-17
Fans of sweet teen romances will love this title that follows Lucy and Owen who meet unexpectedly during a city wide blackout in New York City. They are trapped in an elevator when the blackout strikes and by the time they are freed decide to spend the evening together enjoying the city without the usual overpowering city lights. After the blackout reality sets in as Owen’s dad loses his job and they must leave the city to find where they belong and Lucy’s dad gets a new job that transports her to Europe. Throughout their travels, they send postcards to each other as well as exchange a few emails, but since they only had one night together neither one knows how hard they should try to stay in contact. Meanwhile, Owen and his dad are dealing with the loss of his mother and Lucy is handling the new found family life she has found in Europe. Can they find their way back to each other or are they simply too far apart?
Owen and Lucy lead interesting lives in this story as they completely move around the world for very different reasons, but there is still something that keeps drawing them together. This book does not have a lot of supporting character development and the focus is always on Lucy and Owen. Despite the fact that there are not a lot of major plot developments readers stay engaged with these two because their story is so relatable. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han will enjoy this title.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 322
2016 Iowa High School Award Winner
“A” wakes up in a different body every day and has gotten used to this type of life. When A wakes up in Justin’s body one day everything changes since Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon, and A enjoy a very special day that neither of them can forget. Eventually, A breaks down and tells Rhiannon about his unusual lifestyle and she’s cautiously supportive. However, A notices that she does seem to have more trouble accepting A on days when A occupies a female body. As time goes on, A uses any excuse to go see Rhiannon and in the process alerts one of the hosts, Nathan, to A’s existence. Nathan decides to go public and announce to everyone that he was inhabited by the devil and A’s life begins to get complicated. Meanwhile, Rhiannon isn’t sure how much longevity their relationship could really have. Is there a way for them to stay together when there is absolutely no way to predict whose body A will inhabit from day to day?
This award winning book is unique and asks the reader to think about many issues such as how important appearances are and how important gender is. A doesn’t care about gender, sexual preference, or appearance because to A it is fluid and doesn’t reflect the person inside. To others, however, A quickly discovers just how important these things can be. The book also shows how difficult it would be to not have lasting relationships and cohesive memories. All in all, a very engaging read recommended for those who like unique romances such as The Fault in Our Stars or Eleanor and Park.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 338
Kaylee is desperately trying to find a kidney donor for her brother who is very sick. Her and her mother have been tested and are not matches so she really wants to find her father who ran off shortly after DJ’s diagnosis. Her best friend, Nate, then introduces her to a new social media site called Need. Need members can only join by invitation and once you are in you can choose something to ask for that you think you “need.” In exchange the program will ask you to do something in order to earn whatever you asked for. Kaylee distrusts this site, but is desperate and asks for a kidney for her brother. Meanwhile, her classmates are receiving new cell phones, computers, etc. and all for doing tasks they consider innocent. When a boy is asked to deliver a box of cookies to a classmates’ door he does not think anything of it until the next day when that classmate is in the hospital due to a severe peanut allergy. Did he cause her death? What about the other mysterious happenings all over the neighborhood? Are these high school students to blame or are they innocent bystanders?
Morality and responsibility for ones own actions are strong themes in this book. We live in a very media based materialistic society and many teens feel they deserve or “need” all the cool things their friends seem to have. This book asks the question of what would you do if you could get your every wish fulfilled? The eventual outcome of who is behind Need is very believable and satisfying, if not a bit scary in its realistic nature. Fans of The Testing will enjoy this new book from the same author.
Published February 3, 2016
Award Winners , RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: accident, dating, family, football, friendship, tragedy, trust
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 327
Iowa Teen Award Winner 2016-17
Lauren has recently moved in with her aunt and uncle for reasons she would rather not discuss. Being the new girl in the small football-obsessed town for her senior year can be difficult, however, because everyone automatically speculates about her background. Meanwhile, Colby is also beginning his senior year as the star football player of their team who hopes to make it all the way to state this year. The problem is that Colby would rather not play football in college, despite his father’s fervent hope that he will accept one of the scholarships he’s been offered. Lauren and Colby meet unexpectedly one day and find they really like each other, but after a tragedy shakes Colby to the core he wonders if dating is such a good idea at this time in his life. Lauren definitely wants to see more of Colby, but she’s also dealing with the demons of her past. Will their timing ever be right? Will they ever find the chance to get to know each other better or is it not meant to be?
This story is told in alternating chapters with Lauren’s being written in poetry format making her thoughts mirror her mixed emotions at living with her aunt and uncle instead of with her mom. Colby’s story is told in prose which also reflects his thoughts and feelings as he walks the line between what he wants in life and what everyone else wants for him. Recommended for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.
Published December 10, 2015
RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: blended families, college, family life, friendship, life choices, siblings, teenage dating, trust
# of pages: 265
Jane takes a job as a nanny for three small girls one summer because she doesn’t want to take the unpaid internship her mother found for her. The little girls happen to have an older half brother, Teo. Teo does not know Jane very well because she and his best friend do not get along for some unknown reason. As they start seeing each other more often and getting to know each other they start to form a strong attraction. Meanwhile, Jane discovers that Teo has been secretly looking for his father whom he has no recollection of ever seeing. Jane decides to try and help find Teo’s father thinking she is doing him a favor, but things do not go as planned. Will these two every overcome all the obstacles standing in their way to find true love? Will Teo ever find his dad? Will Jane ever decide what she wants to do after high school?
This book is a sweet, light teenage romance for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. The supporting characters are fairly one-dimensional but very entertaining and Jane and Teo have a sweet relationship that young readers will want to know more about. Many ideas are mentioned, but not stressed in too great of detail such as bisexuality, death of a parent, and choosing options other than college after high school. The characters will be relatable to many readers without becoming too preachy or insufferable regarding their feelings and beliefs. Recommended for fans of teen romance books.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 340
Riley witnessed the couple she was babysitting for get murdered and has never been the same since. She blames herself for not doing more to help them. She has tried multiple counselors and the latest one has suggested she come to a weekend-long retreat with other troubled teens. They are not there very long, however, when masked men come in and declare they are holding them hostage until a wealthy teen’s dad pays a hefty ransom for them. Things begin to go wrong almost immediately and it quickly becomes obvious that they may not leave alive. Riley is now getting her chance to see if she were in a life threatening situation again if she would run or stand and fight.
Fans of mystery thrillers will enjoy this title because it is a lot more than it first appears. The beginning even lags a bit as they struggle to find a way to defeat their kidnappers, but then things take a turn when everything Riley thought was happening is completely turned on its head. For the most part any inconsistencies in the motivations of the characters are explained away and the resolution is exciting and captivating. Fans of mystery books and shows should check out this title.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 407
Alex Woods has had a very interesting life. He lives with his single mother who owns and operates a fortune teller business and when he was ten he was hit by a meteorite that actually plummeted through his bathroom ceiling. Since his accident he’s had trouble with seizures and unfortunately, bullies. On one such occasion when he was running from bullies he ended up getting blamed for an act of vandalism on a elderly man’s home. His punishment was to go to Mr. Petersen’s house every Saturday to help him out. All of this leads up to the story that begins with Alex getting arrested by border patrol because he has marijuana in his glove compartment and Mr. Petersen’s ashes in the seat next to him. What happened that led to this moment?
This story is quirky and weird in a way that makes the reader want to know more. The last 100 pages are especially compelling as the facts all start to come together and it becomes obvious what Alex and Mr. Petersen are going to do. Fans of John Green novels will like this title because the characters are smart and unique and the story seems unbelievable and yet believable at the same time.