Posts Tagged 'teenagers'

The Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler


Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  462 p.

This novel focuses on five students (Mia, Jake, Whitney, Gregor, and Zoe) who are all placed together in a freshmen orientation group.  They all have to have a bonding experience so they end up deciding to write letters to their future selves, hide them in the school, and then promise to meet in four years to open them.  The rest of the book shows how each of their high school experiences go and how even though they are not best friends their lives all touch at times throughout high school. Zoe is living with her aunt since her movie star mother is in rehab.  Jake is dealing with the fallout from admitting he’s gay.  Whitney is struggling to understand why her popular friends act like they do while also navigating her parents’ divorce.  Mia is struggling to find her identity vs. what everyone wants her to be.  Gregor is a band nerd who desperately wants to find the courage to talk to Whitney.  Eventually, their lives all intersect again at graduation.

For readers looking for truthful, engaging writing that does not hold back from issues that many teens do deal with in high school this would be a great pick.  It does not go into detail on many life changing events for its characters, but the purpose of the story is not to spend too much time on any one character but instead to show how people from all groups and cliques in a high school still connect in different ways throughout their four years.

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

moon and more

Genre:  Romance/Realistic Fiction

# of Pages: 435

RAC:  Yes

Emaline is working for her family’s rental company the summer before she goes to college.  She is very close to her mother, stepfather, and stepsisters, but has never felt close to the father who walked out on her.  She is still bristling from an argument with her biological father that led to him ignoring her graduation completely.  She isn’t sure how she feels when  he calls to say he is in town and wants to meet with her.  Meanwhile, she meets a documentary filmmaker and her assistant, Theo, who have rented one of the biggest properties for the entire summer.  The filmmaker often has crazy demands, but the assistant seems interesting in a different sort of way.  Is Emaline ready to give up the boyfriend she’s had for four years for this intriguing boy from the big city?  Is Emaline ready to face the father she barely knows in order to confront how seriously he hurt her?  Is Emaline ready to go away to college and leave her family and friends behind?

Sarah Dessen fans will enjoy the characters in this one as well.  Emaline is easygoing, but also very hardworking, smart, and driven.  She is not afraid to step outside of her comfort zone in order to fight for what she wants.  Her relationship with her boyfriend, Luke, is hardly established when things go south so it’s hard to feel too strongly about him one way or the other.  Theo, is portrayed differently than most of the rebound boyfriends in Dessen’s novels and this change is a bit refreshing.  The ending lacked a bit of the punch that others such as The Truth About Forever had and was a tad predictable, but Dessen fans will enjoy it anyway.

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Genre:  Fantasy/Romance

# of Pages:  351 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Jessica is a normal American teenager trying to enjoy her senior year, which seems more difficult when a strange Romanian exchange students comes to stay with her family.  Lucius claims to be a vampire who was betrothed to her when they were babies.  When Jessica turns to her parents for answers she learns that they were asked to raise her so that she would be safe until the pact could be realized.  Despite Lucius’s fervent efforts to convince her to marry him, she finds him repulsive and wants to date the normal high school boy, Jake, instead.  When Lucius starts dating a cheerleader at school Jessica is unprepared for the jealousy she feels.  Is it too late to have Lucius to herself?  Does she really believe in vampires?  Does she think she has what it takes to join this dark world?

This vampire story is very original and engaging.  Readers who like vampire fiction will devour this book and wish for a sequel.  Of all the vampire books available right now, this one has the perfect mix of the fantasy world readers love to escape to and the real world that teenagers can identify with.  The characters and plot are much more substantial than readers might be expecting and will be pleasantly surprised by this title.  Highly recommended for fantasy readers.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre:  Fantasy/Romance

# of Pages:  392 p.

RAC list: Yes

When Grace was little she was attacked by wolves, but was saved by a wolf with yellow eyes.  Ever since then Grace has watched out her window for her wolf with yellow eyes and often sees him in the winter.  After a local teenager is attacked and killed, the town immediately tries to hunt down all of the wolves.  As Grace tries to stop them she finds an injured boy with yellow eyes.  She quickly realizes that this is in fact her wolf and wants to get to know him as a human, but unfortunately, his time is running short and soon he will have to change back…maybe forever.

This romance story reads similarly to the Twilight series, but this book is more romance and less action.  Grace and Sam’s relationship is sweet and endearing, but the book itself takes a rather leisurely pace.  Many of the plot twists are predictable and the final resolution seems much too quick, but fans of Bella and Jacob will not be able to put this one down.

Saturday Night Dirt by Will Weaver

Genre: Sports Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of pages: 163 p.

RAC Book: yes

This story about car racing follows many different characters as they prepare for a night of racing at Headwaters Speedway. Melody Waters is the track manager as well as the daughter of the racetrack owner. The track is in serious financial trouble due to several rained out nights and Melody is determined to make tonight a success despite the rain in the forecast. Trace Bonham is concerned that his car is simply not driving correctly despite his mechanics reassurances that it should be in working order. He starts to worry he may not have what it takes to be a good driver. Beau Kim does not have the money to buy a car of his own and has made one out of parts that have been discarded by other drivers. He hopes to remain competitive even with a car of far lower quality than everyone else’s. The story also focuses on the people who work at the racetrack and some of the fans.

For fans of car racing this book will keep their attention. It moves quickly and has a fair amount of racing action. For readers not familiar with this racing world, however, some of the racing rules and traditions may seem odd or confusing. The different perspectives of the characters are interesting, but none of them get fully introduced to the reader since there are so many that the author juggles. Recommended for fans of car racing, but most other readers will want to keep looking.