Posts Tagged 'high school'

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages: 340

This book focuses on 6 high school students who all have their stereotypical characteristics.  Diana is the senator’s daughter who always looks and acts perfect.  Frankie is the star football player who goes out of his way to prove there are no rules for him. Tad is another football player who is biracial and has also recently come out as gay and is struggling to get people to see him as he is.  Cas is a lonely, overweight girl who feels like she won’t ever fit in anywhere.  Z recently lost his mother, but all people see in him is a colossal screwup who will never get his life together.  Rashid is a Muslim who struggles to be seen as a person and not as religion by those around him.  They are all at school for different reasons days before the actual start to the school year when a bomb goes off and they are all trapped.  As they try to find a way out more bombs go off and the police are clearly scared to enter to try and find survivors.  Then, they find a radio and learn that the police believe the bomber is one of the students trapped with them in the building.  Could it be one of them??

This one has done very well in my school media center.  Some very avid readers were initially bored by the seemingly stereotypical characters, but quickly became intrigued when their personalities came out and most readers were surprised by the ending which is always a plus with a mystery.  The story itself moves quickly as each character reveals intimate details about what led him or her to be in the school that fateful day.  Recommended for fans of thrilling mysteries.

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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

eleanor and park

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  325

RAC:  Yes

Park is a half Asian student who lives in a tough neighborhood of thugs and bullies, but has always managed to stay under the radar.  Eleanor is a new student who has bright red curly hair and is a bit overweight.  She immediately becomes a target for the bullies at school and Park takes pity on her and allows her to share his seat on the bus.  They do not talk at first, but eventually they start sharing music and comics.   Eleanor never talks about home, however, and as their friendship begins to shift toward a more romantic relationship Park begins to understand why she never discusses her family.  Can Park protect her from the bullies in her life?  Does he have the courage to do so?

This powerful modern day romance will connect with John Green fans who enjoy unique and truly memorable characters.  There are many interesting descriptions used and information about both Eleanor and Park is revealed through surprising and yet realistic means so that the reader truly learns certain pieces of information at the exact moment that it occurs to the character.  Highly recommended.

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 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.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  402 pages

RAC Book:  Yes

Mclean has been moving around with her dad ever since her parents’ traumatizing divorce.  Her dad is a restaurant consultant who goes into struggling restaurants to help them turn it around before it is too late.  This is the fourth city Mclean has lived in over the past two years.  Her relationship with her mother is strained at best as she tries to constantly bring her home and Mclean resists.  One of the reasons Mclean likes moving with her dad is because she can reinvent herself each place they go.  When they reach this latest location, however, she finds it harder and harder to ignore who she really is.  She especially has trouble pretending she is someone else when she is with the next door neighbor boy.  Can Mclean come to terms with her parents’ divorce?  Can she find herself and be prepared for college the following year?  Can she keep aloof with her new friends and refuse to form true connections?

Fans of Sarah Dessen will devour this book as it has all of her trademark appeal.  The characters are multi-dimensional and true.  The story is believable and does not rely on over the top plot twists to keep readers interested.  The relationships are so honest that anyone can identify with someone’s situation.  Overall, another gem for Dessen.  Teenage girls will love it.

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  313

RAC Book:  Yes

The Sullivan family enjoys a nice lifestyle living in a big house with a very prestigious reputation.  Their grandmother is nicknamed Almighty because she has so much influence in society.  On Christmas Day Almighty announces that one member of the Sullivan family has offended her and the entire family will be cut off financially if that person does not confess.  The three teenage girls immediately write confessions and deliver them to Almighty on New Year’s Eve.  They all three believe they were the ones to offend Almighty and put their family’s future in jeopardy.  What would you be willing to admit if your financial security depended on it?

This story is very interesting as the three confessions weave together and the reader tries to figure out who was the person who actually offended Almighty.  The characters are well written and easy to identify with, which makes it easier to care about what happens to this family.  The Sullivan parents are vapid and uninvolved, but the kids are all unique and have a healthy dynamic with each other.  The ending is satisfying, but it’s the confessions that will interest readers the most as these girls admit what they have done without thinking about how these actions could influence the family.   Recommended.

Payback Time by Carl Deuker

Genre:  Sports Fiction

# of Pages:  298

RAC:  Yes

Mitch True is a reporter at his high school and is extremely unhappy when he is assigned the sports columns.  Mitch dreams of one day being a star investigative reporter who breaks open huge stories, like Watergate.  He really wants to work on the school paper, though, so he dutifully goes to the football and volleyball games.  At one of the football practices he notices a new kid, Angel, off to the side with an amazing throw.  When he asks the coach about Angel he is brushed off.  When the season starts he sees that Angel is hardly ever played despite his obvious skills.  The more Mitch investigates this student’s past the more confused he gets and he starts to wonder if this is his big story.  Can Mitch find out why Angel’s trying to downplay his skills to everyone, including possible talent scouts?

Carl Deuker is a master of writing sports fiction high school boys love to read, but this might be his best yet.  The football action is written in an exciting and easy to follow manner, but the mystery behind Angel’s past is almost more engaging.  Even reluctant readers will struggle to put this mesmerizing sports mystery down.  Highly recommended.


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