Posts Tagged 'death'

Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

lock and mori

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  248

RAC: Yes

Miss James “Mori” Moriarty has been living a tough existence since her mother died several months before.  Her father has become a heavy drinker and often takes his frustrations out physically on her and her three brothers.  She knows she needs to do something to protect her brothers but she isn’t sure what at this time.  Meanwhile, she becomes friendly with a strange boy at her school, Sherlock Holmes.  They encounter a murder in the nearby park and are shocked to see the police are severely inept and make terrible and lazy assumptions.  They decide to investigate on their own in order to find the true killer and are horrified to discover this was merely one amongst several similar murders.  There is a serial killer out there the police aren’t even looking for!  Can Mori find the killer and save her family from an increasingly bad home life?

This is a fun mystery story for fans of mystery fiction and TV shows.  Sherlock Holmes is impressive in his deductions and observations as always and it’s refreshing to see a different take on the character of Moriarty.  There is a bit of violence in it and Mori’s father is definitely a force to contend with in her life, but Lock and Mori try very hard to never lose hope that they can in fact prevail as long as their intentions and resolve are strong enough.

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Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

dangerous girls

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  388 p.

RAC:  Yes

On a spring break trip to Aruba a group of high school seniors think they will have a carefree time full of beaches and parties, but instead end up finding one of their own, Elise, stabbed to death in their beach house.  Surprisingly, police turn suspicion onto their group rather than following clues that might suggest an outside intruder.  Within a few days, Anna, Elise’s best friend, is arrested and charged with the crime.  Anna’s boyfriend, Tate, is originally considered until his father’s expensive lawyers convince Aruba to let him go in exchange for testifying against Anna.  Anna feels shocked, sad, vulnerable, and betrayed as she awaits her trial in jail.  As her friends return to school, college, etc. she is forced to face the realization that she may spend the majority of her life in a foreign prison.  Will Anna be convicted?  Did she know anything about this terrible crime?

Fans of Pretty Little Liars and similar series will enjoy this title that packs emotion, suspense, and surprise throughout the entire story.  Readers come to feel like they know what it would be like to be in Anna’s shoes.  There are some passages with heavy language and sexual references that do ring true for how teens often talk and act to each other but may not be appropriate for younger readers.

Golden by Jessi Kirby

golden

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  277

RAC:  Yes

Parker is a high school senior who has always followed the rules and done what she was supposed to, which is why she is currently a finalist for a prestigious scholarship that would give her a full ride scholarship to her dream school.  Her best friend, however, feels she needs to break a few rules before graduation.  The opportunity surprisingly arises when she is asked by a teacher to mail out notebooks full of wishes and goals written by a group of high school seniors ten years prior.  As she gathers the notebooks to send out to these graduated seniors from ten years ago she comes across one for a Julianna.  This is a big deal because Julianna died in a car accident with her high school sweetheart shortly after graduation.  They have since been immortalized in the town as the “golden couple” who were meant to be together forever.  Parker decides to open the notebook and read what Julianna’s last thoughts were in those weeks leading up to her death.  What were her aspirations?  Her dreams?  When Parker starts reading the notebook, however, she is very surprised by Julianna’s words and it makes her question everything the town promotes about this girl.  Was there more to that fateful night that led to the horrific car accident?  Parker decides to investigate.

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Nicholas Sparks will devour this title.  It is full of colorful characters, including Parker who is always pushed for greatness by her mother but deep down she doesn’t really know what she wants for her future.  Meanwhile, Julianna’s notebook opens a flood of feelings and fears leading up to graduation that anyone could identify with.  Plus, there is the added intrigue of finding out what exactly happened to Julianna and her boyfriend.  It’s a fun romance story that will be popular with many young adult teens.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Genre:  Fantasy/Science Fiction

# of Pages:  390

RAC:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award Winner 2013-2014

Cinder is a cyborg living in squalor with her stepmother and two stepsisters.  She works everyday as a mechanic while her family does nothing and spends all the money.  A terrible plague is striking their kingdom and Prince Kai is trying desperately to find a cure.  He has lost his mother to this disease and now his father has contracted it.  When Prince Kai comes to Cinder for help with his broken cyborg she conceals the fact that she is a cyborg because many people look down on cyborgs as less than human.  The plague soon strikes Cinder’s house and she is blamed for bringing it to the family.  Her stepmother sends her away to “volunteer” to be a test subject in the royal labs in order to find a cure.  When Cinder arrives at the testing facility they end up learning much more about her past than she could even imagine.  Who is she?  Who were her parents?  How did she come to be a cyborg?  

This retelling of Cinderella is new and fresh as Cinder has a robotic foot which causes her stress throughout the story.  The kingdom is in peril both from the plague and from an evil outside ruler trying to take over during their time of need.  Fans of futuristic novels, such as Divergent, will enjoy this title for its unique twist on an old tale and will eagerly grab the sequel to see what happens next. 

Crazy by Han Nolan

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  348

RAC:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award Winner 2013-2014

Jason tries to blend in at school and not draw anyone’s notice because he doesn’t want anyone to know how bad his home life is.  His father has always had some mental issues, but when his mother suddenly dies he finds it is up to him to take care of his father and everything else.  When he tries to rebel against some of the rules in class, however, he ends up having to meet with other troubled teens in a counseling session every week.  Soon, he comes to find that others have difficult issues to deal with as well and begins to open up a bit.  Will his new friends help him keep his secret even after they see his deplorable living conditions and the fact that he is solely responsible for his father’s survival?

This is a powerful story about a group of young kids who deal with more than most students can probably imagine in a single day.  Loss of parents, illness, infidelity, divorce, mental illness, and substance abuse are all discussed as these high school students try to help each other cope.  The counseling sessions do help Jason come to terms with the fact that he is not alone and he can reach out to people.  Reading this book could help high school students to be more understanding of each other and hopefully not as superficial.

One Moment by Kristina McBride

onemoment

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.

Reached by Ally Condie

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  512

RAC:  Book

In the final installment of the series, Cassia is back with the Society working as a sorter when the Rising takes control and produces a cure for a mysterious plague that the Society was trying to keep quiet within city limits.  Xander is working in the clinic as a physhic and was well aware of the plague and is thrilled when the Rising takes over simply because he was always on their side and now they can cure these people.  Ky, meanwhile, is working as a pilot for the Rising and his job is to deliver the cure to different locations.  They all end up coming together, but the virus mutates and threatens to wipe out the entire civilization.  Will Cassia choose Xander or Ky?  Will they all even survive the plague?  How will the Rising govern better than the Society did?

This ending was satisfying, but slow and a bit underwhelming.  The first book in this series was so interesting and raised so many questions about society in general and what is considered “normal.”  It seems like the second two books in the series lost their way a bit and struggled to recapture that spark the first one had.  It’s not bad, but just not as good as Matched.  Die hard fans will enjoy seeing what happens, but many readers will find this book tedious and cumbersome.  There are still some unanswered questions as well and the ending, although satisfying, is definitely realistic which hopefully readers will appreciate.