Posts Tagged 'dating'



The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  391

RAC:  Yes

Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road for five years as he worked for a trucking company, but he has decided to return to his home town so that she can go to a normal school.  Unfortunately, Andy suffers from severe PTSD following his tours in Iraq.  Due to this condition, Hayley is constantly watching out for Andy to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself or anyone else as he often uses recreational drugs to try and cope.  Hayley refers to betrayals in her past that lead her away from trusting anyone now with knowing their troubles.  When she meets Finn she realizes that there might be people out there who also have struggles at home and whom she might be able to confide in.  Can she ever be a normal teenager who worries about boys and schoolwork or will she forever be the parent in her house?  Can she open up to Finn and let him know the horrors she potentially faces each time she goes home?

Fans of Anderson’s titles Twisted and Speak will love this title.  It is very current and relatable while also revealing characters with personality and depth.  Many tough issues are discussed in this book such as domestic violence, drug use, suicide, and death, but they are all introduced in a way that does not feel forced.  The ending may or may not satisfy some readers, but in life things don’t always end perfectly and Anderson’s ending rings true in that respect.

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

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Genre: Fantasy

# of Pages:  290

RAC:  Yes

In this sequel to The Name of the Star Rory is recovering from her near fatal encounter with a deadly ghost in Bristol with her parents.  After a few weeks, her therapist surprisingly advises she return to school in London to resume her schoolwork and begin to move forward.  Rory is thrilled at the idea of returning to school, but she is very far behind on her schoolwork and has no idea how she can make it up.  Meanwhile, Stephen and the other shades are trying to solve an unusual murder that occurred very close to where Rory’s attack was.  Are they connected? Did her encounter somehow trigger other supernatural attacks in the immediate area of the school where all of her friends go?

This sequel moves very quickly and has a very exciting ending.  Fans of the first novel will enjoy this title as the Shades are detailed a little more and the challenges of their group’s existence are explained in a bit more detail.  Rory’s future in London seems very unsure at this point, but there are possibilities for how she will proceed laid out that could come into play in future books.   The supporting characters from the school are still just as colorful as ever, but are not featured as much as they were in the first book.  Overall, it’s a good sequel, but a tad fast and fans will be eager to see another one sooner rather than later.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

The Rules for Disappearing

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  312

RAC:  Yes

Meg and her sister, Mary, have been moved from one location to another multiple times over the past year since their family was placed in witness protection.  Each time they must change their names and backstories so that no one has any idea where they came from.  They do not know why they are in witness protection and Meg blames her father for whatever he did that landed them in this hellish situation.  Mary has begun withdrawing and their mother has started drinking heavily.  The reason for why they have to be moved so many times is elusive to them too and Meg has about had it with being ignorant about their own situation.  When they move this time she vows to remain neutral and distant so that she does not become attached to anyone or anything, but that becomes very difficult when she meets Ethan…  Can she stand to lose him if they get moved in the middle of the night again?  How can she ever make him understand why she acts the way she does?

This book is highly exciting and engaging as you learn the reason for why Meg and her family are in witness protection in the first place.  People are obviously looking for them and Meg often feels as if people are watching her.  At the same time, she is beginning to feel angry and bitter about spending her senior year going from school to school, working an after school job to keep her family financially afloat, and taking care of her family emotionally.  Once the reality of their situation is revealed, Meg feels responsible to fix their situation even if it means putting herself in danger to do so.  The ending is very dramatic, but a tad quick.  Most readers will be satisfied by the resolution at the end of the story.  Recommended for everyone, but reluctant readers will enjoy.

Five Summers by Una LaMarche

five summers

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  378

RAC:  Yes

This book follows four girls who have spent five summers at camp together over the years.  The first summer was when they were ten and the last is a reunion weekend when they are 17.  When they go to the reunion they had not actually all four been together for three years.  The last night of camp three years ago they all had secrets from each other that have been threatening to come out ever since.  Will they still be as close as they were all these years later?  How have things changed since they last saw each other?

Fans of friendship books such as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and  Peaches will enjoy this title.  Maddy, Jo, Skylar, and Emma are four completely different girls who inexplicably came together as best friends.  The secrets they have from each other of course bubble to the surface, but their friendship is stronger than they even thought.  The feelings and motivations of the girls are well described and it’s hard not to care about them even if it is a little hard to believe they would be this close from just interacting at summer camp.  There are some tough issues addressed such as betrayal, sex, poverty, and divorce.

Au Revoir Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  190

RAC:  Yes

Perry is constantly pressured by his parents to get into an Ivy League School and become successful.  They even make him work after school at his dad’s law firm in the hopes of acquiring a letter of recommendation from one of the partners.  Perry does everything they ask without too much complaint, which is why he’s so upset when he is ordered to take their weird foreign exchange student to the prom instead of going to the important gig his band had set up.  Ever since Gobi had come to stay with them she had been distant, cold, and just plain strange.  When they actually head out to prom, Perry is in for a surprise when he learns she is actually an assassin who has been training for this night where she plans to kill multiple people and use him as the getaway driver.  Can Perry stop her or at least come out unscathed?

This fun novel reads like a movie.  Perry is upset with having to take Gobi to the prom and becomes shocked when she suddenly transforms into this sexy assassin with her sights set on killing very powerful people in the city.  The novel twists and turns as facts surrounding her plans are revealed and the ending is very satisfying.  Recommended for people looking for a fun, short, and exciting read.

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

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Genre:  Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  298

RAC:  Yes

Iowa High School Award Winner 2013-2014

In this prequel to Frankenstein, Victor desperately tries to find a cure for his twin, Konrad, when he mysteriously falls ill.  They had always had a spirited rivalry in everything in life, including their mutual interest in the young girl who lives with their family, but despite all the competition Victor simply cannot imagine life without Konrad.  He decides to seek the help of an eccentric scientist in the area who believes he can find the Elixir of Life.  There are many tasks to complete in order to acquire the ingredients for this mixture and Victor must make many difficult decisions in order to try and save his brother.  What is Victor willing to give up in order to save Konrad?

The tasks Victor must complete in order to gather the materials for Konrad’s cure are exciting, dangerous, and in many cases frightening.  Readers will enjoy the journey as Victor tries to save his brother, while also harboring feelings for Konrad’s girlfriend.  The ending is exciting and leads into a sequel.  This title is a hard sell for students who do not like historical fiction, but once they start it they find it is a wild adventure they want to take.

Legend by Marie Lu

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  305

RAC Book:  Yes

In this futuristic story, Day is a rebel who hides in the shadows and pulls pranks on authorities.  He is the number one wanted criminal.  June is a girl living in the Republic whose brother is a soldier for a high ranking official.  She is considered a prodigy because she is the first and only person to earn a perfect score on the training test given to every ten-year-old in the Republic.  After an attempt to obtain medicine from a hospital leaves June’s brother murdered she is led to believe Day was the culprit responsible.  June goes undercover to find and apprehend the biggest criminal standing in the way of the Republic’s goals so she can avenge her brother.  Day ends up being much more than she bargained for, however, and she finds the more questions she answers the more that arise.  Whom can she trust in this government?  Can she believe anything she was told over her entire childhood?

This exciting story will interest readers who like books such as The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games.  The setting is reminiscent of Divergent, but focuses much more on the goals of the Republic and not the little sectors that make up the people.  The chapters alternate between Day and June so that you see each of the sides of this battle and why they see each other as the enemy.  Many secrets unravel quickly, but it’s obvious there are many more where that came from.  There is currently one sequel out and there will probably be more.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  318

RAC Book:  Yes

Augustus “Gus” and Hazel meet at a Cancer support group.  Hazel has thyroid cancer that forces her to use oxygen 24/7 and despite a new miracle drug, has always been given a short life expectancy.  She has adjusted to her relatively simple life, but that changes when she meets Gus, who lost a leg to Cancer, but has been Cancer free ever since.  They begin talking and exchanging favorite books.  Gus makes a huge gesture for Hazel so that a dream of hers can come true.  It isn’t until afterward that Hazel realizes how much he really gave to give her that experience.  As these two begin to fall in love they cannot help but wonder how long they really have and what they should do to make every day count.

This story is well-written and engaging.  Hazel and Gus’s story will resonate with young readers because of their sheer honesty and willingness to never give up.  The issues they have to deal with seem so heavy compared with other love stories, but it comes across as uplifting and life affirming instead of depressing.  Highly recommended.

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  328

RAC Book:  Yes

Tennyson and Bronte are siblings whose parents are English professors.  Tennyson feels very protective of his sister, Bronte, which is why he is upset when he learns she is dating Brewster who is known as Bruiser around their high school.  Tennyson tries intimidating Brewster and even follows him to try and get him to leave his sister alone, but what he ends up finding is that Brewster is covered in bruises and other injuries.  This leads Tennyson to believe that Brewster is being abused at home, but upon further inspection he realizes that Brewster’s situation is a whole lot more complicated than that.  Brewster, through no effort on his part, takes on the pain of anyone he cares about.  As Tennyson and Bronte start to get to know him they start to like having him around and vow never to tell Brewster’s secret.  The problem is that this unusual power is killing Brewster and he does not know if he can stop it before it’s too late.  What will he have to give to protect those he loves?

This story is very different and unique which is why it is so captivating and engaging.  Shusterman creates a set of characters that any reader can empathize with.  The chapters alternate between Bronte, Brewster, and Tennyson, which also helps the reader to see the situation through multiple perspectives.  This book is recommended for everyone, but could be especially useful with reluctant readers.

One Moment by Kristina McBride

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  261

RAC:  Yes

Maggie and her boyfriend climbed a gorge in order to jump hand in hand into the water below, but something went terribly wrong and Maggie woke up at the top with no memory of what happened.  Meanwhile, her boyfriend, Joey, floated in the water below dead.   Afterward, Maggie and her friends must face life without Joey, while also overcoming the guilt they feel for having gone to that place at all.  Adam, one of their best friends, seems to be holding something back and has been steadily withdrawing since the accident.  Is there something Maggie doesn’t know about Joey?  Will she ever remember what happened at the top of that gorge?

Fans of realistic fiction will enjoy this title.  This story is engaging right from the beginning and the individual characteristics of the group are detailed well so that the reader can truly distinguish between each member.  There are a few key elements that the reader will pick up on before Maggie, but the big reveal seems satisfying nonetheless.  The book deals with grief, the aftermath of death, and even the ability to see the flaws as well as the strengths in someone who is gone in a manner that anyone can relate to who has experience with losing a loved one.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Genre:  Suspense/Mystery

# of Pages:  294

RAC:  Yes

This take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, features 10 teenagers who were lured to a weekend house on an island for a party that they find out was never happening.  Instead, they start getting killed off one by one in extremely odd fashion.  Meg accompanied her friend, Minnie, to the party even thought she had some reservations to begin with.  She is also the only one who tries to think of constructive ways to get off of this island.  All of her ideas are thwarted, however.  There is no power, Internet, phone service, radios, or any way to contact the outside world.  They have ascertained they are indeed alone on the island which means the killer is among them.  How can they survive if they do not even know who or what the threat is?

This mystery is still a lot of fun even with the updated characters.  They all have past issues that all teen readers can relate to and in most cases those issues contribute to why they are on this island.  There are some plot revelations that are fairly predictable, but the suspense and overall pacing of the story will keep readers interested all the way until the very end.  A fun mystery story.

The Predicteds by Christine Seifert

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  340

RAC:  Yes

Daphne goes to a school where all of the students have been tested by a program called PROFILE.  This computer program measures the likelihood that someone could have violent or social problems in the future.  After a school shooting incident, the parents all demand that the results of these tests be released so that anyone who is “predicted” to be violent or otherwise abnormal can be removed from classes with their children.  Daphne’s mother was one of the scientists who helped create PROFILE and left the project because it went against her moral beliefs.  She strongly opposes revealing these results.  Then, a teenage girl is found beaten and left for dead after a big party and the accused culprit is Daphne’s boyfriend.  Could he be a predicted?  Could he be capable of something this violent?  Even if a person is predicted isn’t there a possibility they could change or choose not to act on their violent tendencies?

This story raises some interesting questions about how a test like this might affect the behavior of everyone involved.  However, the plot twists are fairly predictable and the plot itself moves slowly.  This could be good for classroom discussions about societal expectations and you could even draw comparisons to internment camps and the Holocuast, but it could be a difficult sell for students free reading.

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

Genre:  Nonfiction

# of Pages:  215

RAC Book:  Yes

Gaby Rodriguez comes from a family with many teen pregnancies.  Her mother and all of her older sisters were teen moms and so far none of her siblings have made it into their early twenties without becoming parents.  Because of her family history, Gaby has been told her entire life that she will become another teen pregnancy statistic.  She works really hard in school and hopes to be a social worker one day.  For her senior project she decides to fake a pregnancy and then monitor all the comments, treatment, etc. that she receives due to everyone believing she is yet another pregnant teen in her small town.  She tells as few people as she can, even her boyfriend’s parents don’t know she’s not really pregnant.  Despite her choice to pursue this project throughout most of her senior year, she is surprised and hurt by some of the comments directed toward her.  By the end of the project she has many observations and revelations concerning how our society treats pregnant teens and how that treatment then affects their behavior.

This book asks you to think about the various ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural stereotypes surrounding teen pregnancy.  It is crazy to imagine a teen undergoing this project for months without getting fed up and just admitting the truth.  Her experience will resonate with many young girls, especially ones who have had obstacles in their young lives and have faced unwanted opinions because of it.  This is a very interesting read, but might be a difficult sell for teen boys.

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Genre:  Futuristic realistic fiction

# of Pages:  327

RAC Book:  Yes

In this prequel to The Maze Runner series, readers learn what happened on earth that led to the events in the trilogy.  Mark and Trina were normal teens going home from school when the sun flares struck and they had to run for their lives from devastating heat, floods, and other disasters.  They ended up living with a few other survivors in a big office building until they deemed it safe to leave.  Eventually they found themselves living in a little village full of survivors from the natural disasters, but are horrified when they witness a plane land near their village and start shooting everyone in the town with a terrible virus.  Once again they are on the run to survive and they can’t help but wonder what will come at them next.  In order to save themselves they must go toward the people who spread this terrible disease.  What if they were already exposed?  Why would humans spread this virus?  Is there ever going to be a time when they feel safe and do not constantly worry about what tragedy could befall them next?

Fans of the trilogy will enjoy the prequel.  It’s a little slow to introduce the characters of the book so that the reader cares about what happens to them, but the book answers any questions leftover where the trilogy ended.  Also, there is a lot of action and plot twists that will keep readers interested.  This series feels very planned out and well-developed.

Variant by Robison E. Wells

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

# of Pages:  376

RAC Book:  Yes

Benson is a foster kid who has been passed from one home to another for years.  He finds information about a boarding school online and applies for a scholarship.  He hopes to find a home for the rest of his high school life so that he does not have to face being the new kid anymore.  When he arrives at his new school, Benson is not as excited as he thought he would be.  The entire school is covered in electrified barbed wire and security cameras.  There are no actual adults in the school and all the kids are responsible for doing everything, such as teach and cook meals.  The kids have broken into three gangs to try and survive, but Benson is not willing to accept that there is no way out, despite the insistence that anyone who tries to escape never returns.  Can Benson find a way out?  Can he handle the answers he finds along the way about the truth behind the school?

Variant is engaging from the second Benson arrives at the school.  There are so many factors involved in the make up of the school that it becomes almost impossible to ascertain why these students are being held captive there.  The author adds an interesting twist about halfway through the book that makes it even harder to determine what the purpose of the school is.  There are many characters, but they are described in a way that makes it easy to understand why they are responding to life in the school this way.  Fans of the Maze Runner series will love this storyline.


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