Posts Tagged 'lies'



Between by Jessica Warman

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  454

RAC Book:  Yes

Elizabeth Valchar wakes up to find her own dead body, but she can’t remember anything before she died.  As she watches her friends and family move on from the tragedy she realizes that her life was not as perfect as everyone thought it was.  She had already suffered the loss of her mother at a very young age, and of her father’s hasty remarriage afterward.  She did truly love her boyfriend, Richie, which is why it’s so hard to see him suffer after her death.  She has a ghostly companion in Alex, a boy in her high school who died a year before Elizabeth.  He was very unpopular and people did not react to his death the way they do hers, which makes for an uncomfortable situation.  Can Elizabeth find out what happened to her so that she can be free?

This story grabs readers right from the beginning because there is so much that Elizabeth does not know.  The more she remembers about the months before she died the more confusing it gets.  She is surrounded by a bunch of questionable characters who could either be on her side or working against her.  Her circle of friends is particularly mysterious as they appear vapid, but some of them know more than they are saying.  Fans of The Everafter, Elsewhere, and Thirteen Reasons Why will enjoy this book, but there are some heavy issues discussed.

Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick

Genre: Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  264

Age Level:  13 and up

RAC Book:  Yes

San Lee has been the new student on many occasions since his family has moved so much.  With each new school San would try to create a new image or persona in order to survive, since he is a geeky Asian kid who frequently gets picked on.  This time things are a little different because San is now alone with his mother and he is angry with his father for their current situation. 

On his first day of school he meets a young lady who calls herself Woody and plays the guitar at lunchtime for money.  He decides he wants to get close to her because she seems like someone who could appreciate different and unique people.  In his history class they begin talking about Zen Buddhism and before he knows it he has led the class to believe that he has practiced this religion for years.  It definitely makes him unique and original, but can he keep it up without hurting his new friends and his mother? 

This story uses Zen Buddhism to illustrate how life in most situations, but especially high school, could be improved if people really thought about their actions and words.  By using Zen, San basically creates a new way to remind students of how to treat each other and live life to the fullest.  Unfortunately, San’s failure to be honest with Woody about his past and true ambitions leads him into trouble.  Once again, Sonnenblick has created a realistic high school character who can be selfish and self-serving, while also showing the ability for c0mpassion and friendship.  The supporting characters are rich and developed to make the story engaging and even a little inspiring.


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