Posts Tagged 'tragedy'

The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

Genre: Realistic Fiction and 327 pages

Alex Rufus has had the ability to see into the future ever since his parents died. Every time he touches any item or person he sees what will happen to that person or thing in the near or distant future. For example, he knows the ice cream shop he works at will one day be owned by someone else because he can see it when he touches the ice cream scoop at work. He learned long ago that there is no changing the future he sees, no matter what he does, so he tries to avoid touching anything he doesn’t want to know the future to. Having this ability has made him more closed off with his girlfriend and his brother, Isaiah, but he doesn’t know how to change it since so much of his time is spent dealing with the many visions he sees. Then, one day he sees a vision of himself at Isaiah’s funeral in the not so distant future and he knows he needs to act fast. He needs to reconnect with Isaiah and see if there is any way to change this terrible vision he sees. Is there a way to save Isaiah? Is there a way to ever rid himself of this terrible condition so he can truly just enjoy life as it comes at him? Will the community he lives ever see him as anything but a young, black man?

This story really paints of picture of not only how terrible having the ability to see the future would be, but also how difficult growing up black in America can truly be (even in affluent neighborhoods). Alex struggles to communicate with those around him because he fears no one will be able to understand what he is going through, but along the way they show him that they are there for him no matter what. He also learns that by not sharing his thoughts and feelings with others he has also been missing out on what is going on with them. He and his brother have drifted since their parents’ untimely death and while he understands how it happened he also realizes how precious life really is. The ending is satisfying, but does give the reader a lot to think about long after the book is over. Recommended.

The Project by Courtney Summers

Genre: Realistic Fiction

After a terrible accident kills her parents, Bea is willing to do anything to save her sister, Lo. When Lev Warren approaches her in the hospital he claims he can save Lo as long as Bea commits to his religious community, The Unity Project. Bea agrees, but doesn’t know exactly what that means until she’s expected to give up her sister and everything else she’s ever known and move to the Unity Project. Lo, meanwhile, grows up and believes the Unity Project is a cult who stole her sister. Every time she’s tried to reach out to her, she is blocked by members who claim Bea wants nothing to do with her. Now, as an adult, Lo works for a news publication and longs for the day she can write an article herself. When the opportunity presents itself to investigate the Unity Project she jumps at the chance to expose them, but is it what she thinks it is? Lo finds there are many surprises in store for her at the Unity Project, but can she get to the truth and not just what everyone wants her to see? Can Lo find a way to reunite with Bea or is it too late for them?

This book is for those looking for a more serious read. Bea and Lo both struggle with the loss of their parents and the fact that Lo almost died as well. It has changed the way they see the world, but in different ways. In trying to find truth, both have taken very different paths in life, but Lo very much wants to find a way to have a sister again and she’s willing to do almost anything to get it. The characters are very well developed and it’s easy for the reader to see how everyone came to make the decisions they did. This book has action, suspense, and so much more, but it does tackle some serious topics, such as death and abuse so anyone looking for a light read will want to pass on this one.

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Number of Pages: 326

Kennedy Jones survived a horrible family tragedy, but desperately wants to keep her brother’s science equipment functioning now that he’s gone since it was so important to him. Then, one day his radio telescope starts recording some unusual activity. Meanwhile, in a neighboring county Nolan is struggling to find out what really happened when his older brother and family dog went on a dog and never returned. After an eerie dream, he picks up some ghost tracking equipment to see if his brother is trying to contact him in any way and he ends up picking up some odd signals coming from his brother’s room. Kennedy and Nolan eventually meet up to compare notes on these crazy signals they are finding, but the more they dig the more it feels like the two tragedies are somehow connected. Can they find out what really happened to both of their families that has left them both feeling utterly helpless and alone?

This mystery has a bit of a science fiction feel to it since they are following radio signals, but the heart of what really happened lies with the people who were there when both tragedies occurred. Both Kennedy and Nolan have struggled to deal with their lives in the last few months and haven’t always been the easiest to get along with, even to those people trying to help them. Nolan must even face the hardship that the police think he may have been involved in his brother’s disappearance. It really does show just how complicated family tragedy can be, unlike many procedural mystery shows. Mystery fans will enjoy this title, but the setup takes a little longer than some.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Genre: Fantasy

# of Pages: 286

Tavia has known she is a siren for awhile, but in a world where it is not safe to admit being a siren she must keep her voice quiet at all times.  She’s even gone so far as to explain her silence with a rare medical condition and learn sign language so she can communicate even when she knows it isn’t safe to speak.  In this world, all sirens are black girls which makes Tavia’s plight even more difficult because she is already facing sexism and racism on a daily basis.  Effie has lived with Tavia for awhile and they have come to think of themselves as sisters.  Effie’s mother died and her grandparents thought it would be better if she lived with Tavia’s family, but did not disclose the reason(s) why.  Effie is not a siren, but she knows there is something strange going on because recently she has faced many unusual physical changes, including extremely dry  and flaky skin, exhaustion, and sometimes even blackouts. It scares her that she doesn’t know what is happening, but she’s hopeful that maybe it will get better with time.  They know they always have each other to lean on, but they are both shaken when a murder trial becomes national news only because the murder victim is accused of being a siren.  Does simply being a siren mean someone can kill you and get away with it? What would happen if anyone were to find out Tavia is a siren?  Can they protect each other from the terrible things destined to come for both of them?

There are not a lot of fantasy novels that feature two black teenagers as the main characters and the author does a nice job of showing why life would be even more difficult as a supernatural being if you were already dealing with people not granting you basic rights due to physical features beyond your control.  Both of these girls know the adults in their life are trying to protect them, but in the end it just feels like they are withholding important information.  The fantasy details of the story is unique, inspiring, and revealed in a satisfying way.  Fans looking for a very thought provoking, modern fantasy story will enjoy.

The Bridge From Me to You by Lisa Schroeder

bridge from me to you

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  327

RAC: Yes

Iowa Teen Award Winner 2016-17

Lauren has recently moved in with her aunt and uncle for reasons she would rather not discuss.  Being the new girl in the small football-obsessed town for her senior year can be difficult, however, because everyone automatically speculates about her background.  Meanwhile, Colby is also beginning his senior year as the star football player of their team who hopes to make it all the way to state this year.  The problem is that Colby would rather not play football in college, despite his father’s fervent hope that he will accept one of the scholarships he’s been offered.  Lauren and Colby meet unexpectedly one day and find they really like each other, but after a tragedy shakes Colby to the core he wonders if dating is such a good idea at this time in his life.  Lauren definitely wants to see more of Colby, but she’s also dealing with the demons of her past.  Will their timing ever be right?  Will they ever find the chance to get to know each other better or is it not meant to be?

This story is told in alternating chapters with Lauren’s being written in poetry format making her thoughts mirror her mixed emotions at living with her aunt and uncle instead of with her mom.  Colby’s story is told in prose which also reflects his thoughts and feelings as he walks the line between what he wants in life and what everyone else wants for him.  Recommended for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

we were liars

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  225

RAC:  Yes

Cady, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat called themselves the liars every summer they spent together on the elite Sinclair island.  The Sinclair family was wealthy, beautiful, and envied everywhere they went.  Cady, the narrator, explains how her grandparents built a house for all three of their daughters on this island so that they could all spend every summer together.  Cady, Mirren, and Johnny were cousins, while Gat was the nephew of their aunt’s boyfriend.  Two years ago something terrible happened that no one will tell Cady about.  All she knows is that she was found in her underwear on the beach with no memory of how she came to be there or what happened.  Her family has decided to shield her from whatever harsh truth she has chosen to block out and even refused to let her come to the island the following summer.  When she finally returns the summer of her 18th year she finally gets to see all of her fellow liars again and they seem exactly the same, but even they won’t tell her what happened that fateful night when everything went black for Cady.  How can she learn the truth if no one will help her?  What could have happened that would cause all of this chaos?

Cady is a very unique character who is desperately trying to find out what happened to her two full years ago that her mind simply can’t handle.  The ending of this one is amazing in that not only does it completely fit with the rest of the story, but no one will see it coming.  The characters are well developed and all help Cady remember that traumatic day, but ultimately it’s Cady who needs to put the pieces together.  Recommended for everyone, but especially reluctant readers.


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