# of Pages: 298
Rio and her twin, Bay, were born in the underwater town of Atlantia and it is now their chosen time to decide if they wish to stay below or go up to the surface for the rest of their lives. People in the underwater city believe that life above ground is dangerous, labor intensive, and fairly short while residents of Atlantia are believed to have an easy life where most people live a very long time. Unfortunately, their mother, Oceana, was recently found dead and many suspect foul play. Rio has always dreamed of going above, but now that their mother is gone she has promised Bay she will stay with her down below. All decisions are final in this ceremony and there is no going back and forth allowed. Rio is shocked when Bay ends up leaving her and choosing to live above the water, but she is ushered away before Rio has a chance to ask her why. She does have time to utter one word that alerts those near to her of what she truly is, which is a siren. Her mother has trained her to keep that truth a secret for reasons unbeknownst to Rio. Can Rio survive in the one place she has wanted to leave her entire life without her mother or sister? Why would her sister choose to leave after making her promise they would stay together forever? Is it possible to bridge the two societies together?
This novel is fresh and interesting right from the beginning. It feels like yet another futuristic story, but the setting and characters quickly help you to forget all of that as you cannot help but get immersed in the story. Rio has many plot details to figure out in order to find out the truth of her family and Atlantia itself. While many great characters are introduced, it does take Rio awhile to discern whom she can and cannot trust which makes the journey more interesting for the reader. It also appears that this is going to be a stand alone novel which is refreshing in a world where every book seems to have three sequels. Recommended for students who enjoy fantasy.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
RAC Book: Yes
2014-2015 Iowa High School Award Winner
Every year a list is posted the Monday before Homecoming listing the four prettiest and four ugliest girls, one for each grade respectively. Each chapter follows one of the eight girls and how they cope with the existence of this list. Danielle, the ugliest freshmen, must deal with the fallout of how her boyfriend handles the news that she was voted on this list. Meanwhile, Abby, the prettiest freshmen faces possibly not being allowed to go to the dance at all due to grades. The “ugliest” sophomore is actually a cute, but very mean girl who is deemed “ugliest” on the inside. The “prettiest” sophomore girl is a girl who has been home-schooled for her entire life and is trying to find independence from her mom with great difficulty. The prettiest junior, Bridget, feels pressured into an eating disorder in order to maintain her image while the ugliest junior reacts quite strongly and refuses to shower or change her clothes for the entire week after the list comes out. The ugliest senior is the first ever to earn that particular honor for all four years of high school and she pretends she is totally fine with it. The prettiest senior feels the pressure to follow in her sister’s footsteps who was the prettiest senior the year before and seemed to fall apart afterward. Each chapter follows a different girl as she navigates through this very difficult week.
This book has earned many awards for good reason. This book delves into many serious issues for high school girls including insecurity, the fear of being excluded, worrying about what others think, eating disorders, dating problems, academic trouble, lying, and problems at home. No one on the list finds happiness no matter which side of the list she is on. While the circumstances around the list may seem unbelievable, the issues surrounding it are completely believable and exist at every high school. A great book to recommend to high school girls, especially ones who are having trouble adjusting.
Published December 9, 2013
Fantasy , RAC
Tags: betrayal, curse, family, sisters
# of Pages: 291
Lo lives in the water as a mermaid type creature with her “sisters” and none of them remember where they came from before living in the water. There is a myth that if they find a human to fall in love with them and then they kill that person they can take his or her soul and become human again. They have all tried this, but it’s impossible for anyone to fall in love instantly so they end up murdering innocent people simply because they are so desperate to become human again. Meanwhile, Celia lives with her two sisters on land and as triplets they have a unique connection. One sister can see the future of someone by touching them, another can see the present, and Celia can see someone’s past. This was always viewed as fairly useless, but when Celia meets Lo accidentally one day she realizes she could help her remember who she was before. If that is possible could Lo become human again?
This book was recommended by a student who really enjoyed it, but it moved very slowly and the pieces of Lo’s past take a long time to reveal themselves. The ending was a bit exciting, but far too fleeting and the ending is abrupt and uncertain. It seems it is setting up for a sequel, but the story did not leave me wanting to learn more. The premise behind this is interesting, but the plot just moves too slowly and not many students will stick with it all the way through.
Genre: Romance/Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 356
In this sequel to The Belles, the secret about the true relationship of Isabelle to the Monroes is out and threatening to take down Bill Monroe’s campaign for Senator. Multiple stories keep coming out about the Monroe’s and everyone is bothered by the fact that there seems to be a mole in their midst selling information to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, Isabelle and Mirabelle are preparing to become debutantes at their cotillion. This involves prep classes, dress shopping, and even a hazing ritual. Isabelle does surprisingly well, but Mirabelle is struggling due to the fact that her former best friend, Savannah, has turned everyone against her and she feels all alone. Can Mirabelle find a way to stand on her own without trying to please the most popular girls in school? Can Isabelle survive cotillion training? Will either girl let their father walk her into the cotillion after the way he lied to them?
This follow up is satisfying picking up right where the last one left off. The characters are properly growing and developing and we are learning more about the periphery characters as well. The cotillion preparation was actually fun and interesting as the girls struggle to make it to the big event. Fans of the series will be eager to see more.
Genre: Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 330
The five Taylor sisters live with their mother in Spirit Vale where she works as a medium who speaks to dead people. The older sisters, Mimi and Jane, have long doubted their mother’s clairvoyance abilities, but their younger sisters all seem to believe. The twins even seem to have a special gift of their own. When their fates all collide together on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, Jane becomes worried when her twin sisters show fear that something bad will befall the ship. Can all of the sisters survive one of the world’s most famous disasters?
This story weaves true and false facts about the Titanic’s famous fall. The introduction of the Taylor sisters adds a bit of intrigue as they explore the very popular trend of clairvoyance for the time. Famous faces make appearances throughout the story and are fun for reader’s to identify. The motivations of the five sisters are all clear and justified as they each try to find their own way in this world, but the ending is unexpected and not everyone makes it to New York. Recommended to fans of historical fiction and the Titanic.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 310
RAC Book: Yes
Abby has always looked out for her sister, Maya, but one day when Abby is running and finds the murdered body of Maya’s boyfriend things get a little complicated. Abby is especially disturbed to find Maya’s cell phone near the body. She immediately begins thinking of ways that she can either find the real killer or cover it up so that her sister does not get into trouble. The more she investigates into her wild sister’s life of running away, drug use, and relationships with shady characters, the more Abby realizes that everyone will believe Maya committed this crime. Does she believe Maya committed this crime? Can she find a way to keep her sister out of jail?
This mystery will keep a lot of readers guessing all the way until the true killer is revealed. Abby’s actions often go above and beyond to try and find ways to help Maya, and some readers might question what she is truly willing to do in order to protect her sister. The family dynamic of the two girls and their parents is complicated and difficult, which makes this tragedy harder for them to deal with and comprehend. There are some hard truths in this mystery and none of the characters are angels by any means, which makes it difficult for the reader to decide who they are rooting for. The story is intriguing and will keep mystery lovers reading to the very final reveal.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 198
Franny feels like her life is too ordinary and that she has no special talents. Her sister, Zooey, meanwhile is one of the best ballerinas at her elite ballet school and has just been offered the role of a lifetime playing Juliet in an upcoming production. Franny secretly likes her newspaper editor and desperately wants to write a valuable article for the paper. Things do not work out well for either sister when Zooey breaks her leg and is sidelined from the performance and Franny’s debut article is rejected by her crush. The two are forced to spend more time together than they have in years and they learn that they have many misunderstandings regarding each other. Can they find a way for them to co-exist without one of them feeling less than worthy?
This story sounds simple, but the characters draw the reader in. Even readers who do not have siblings will be able to identify with that person that seems to have everything together while they do not. Everyone has that person and this book really shows that no one has a perfect life and everyone thinks someone else has a better life than they do. There is also a bit of romance and some lighthearted drama in the book that young high schoolers will enjoy. Recommended for readers who enjoy Sarah Dessen novels.