by Jacqueline Woodson Year Published: 2016 Real LifeAugust is a lonely girl in Brooklyn longing for her mother after moving from rural life in Tennessee leaving her mother behind. She and her brother are left alone during the summer days in an apartment in Brooklyn where they watch the kids play below in the street. Eventually, August's father lets her and her brother venture out and she begins to form a deep friendship with three girls. The story is told in moving and beautifully fragmented pieces from August's memory. The memory of where her mother is and why she isn't with them is a mystery to her for a while before she finally faces the truth. Her friends, their sorrows and hopes, change and grow as the girls turn from children into teenagers, then young adults. A lovely read for anyone. by H.P. Lovecraft Year Published: 1936
H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness is one of his most well-known and celebrated stories. Many authors have written unofficial spin offs, and there have been several (admittedly terrible,) movie adaptations. Touching on various philosophical concepts, such as Cosmicism and Nihilism, this book is indeed thought-provoking. Narrated in the first person, the story recounts the events of a fictional geological expedition to Antarctica set during the 1930’s. In the Arctic, these men of science encounter terrifying and otherworldly things that forever change their perception of the universe. Anyone who has read other pieces of Lovecraft’s work will appreciate the references to his other stories and characters, such as The Necronomicon, The Plateau of Leng, Shoggoths, Old Ones, and many more. I especially enjoyed the encounter in the book where two men, the main character and his colleague, are pursued by an ancient and “utterly incomprehensible” being, which leaves much of its description up to the reader’s imagination. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Horror / Science-Fiction. It is a refreshing break from the typical aliens and spooky skeletons that pervade both genres. Other works similar to this one are H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour out of Space, The Whisperer in the Darkness, and Brian Lumley's Titus Crow.
by Kevin Brooks Year Published: 2013 Mystery
The Bunker Diary is really like no other book I've ever read. I was both enthralled and appalled by it, truly. It begins with Linus, a teenage boy, being kidnapped and taken to an underground bunker. Soon, the bunker begins to fill with other kidnapped people of various ages. There is only one lift that brings them food and water and various other items as time passes. The person holding them in the bunker begins to play cruel games with his hostages and life gets worse. The story is really about the relationships that build in the bunker and then the slow breakdown of each individual as the days pass. It's very much a page-turner. You never know what will happen next and there was never a prediction I had that panned out. I recommend this for anyone who likes a good mystery....with maybe a little horror story thrown in. This is the winner of the 2014 Cilip Carnegie Medal.
by Amy Reed Year Published: 2012 Realsitic Fiction
Crazy is about two characters, Connor and Isabel who met at a camp over the summer and became close. Since they live in different states, they only communicate through email. The emails are talking about what's going on in their lives and sometimes they're needing advice from each other. It can be hard for the other to help at times. When they don't get the response they were wanting, they tend to get frustrated with the other. Isabel tends to struggle socially and mentally way more than Conner. This is a part of how easy she'll get angry with him. Isabel's family seems to be falling apart and she struggles with trusting that her boyfriend actually loves her and trust in general. Connor, on the other hand, is somewhat newly single after a breakup with his girlfriend after she came out.
Review by: Nora Mitchell
by David Levithan Year Published: 2012Every Day by David Levithan is one of those thrilling books that is so fun to read it keeps you up at night when you should be headed to bed. The protagonist wakes up every morning in a different sixteen year old body. He literally takes over a body for a day and leads that person's life for him or her. A, the protagonist, is neither a girl or a boy, but A falls in love with a sixteen year old girl named Rhiannon when he spends a day in the body of her boyfriend, Justin. They skip school and go to the beach where a day of adventure and romance leaves A wanting more time with her. As the story unfolds, every day A wakes up trying to get back to Rhiannon to spend more time with her. Sometimes he wakes up in the same town or only an hour away and is able to see her. One day he wakes up as her. The story of their relationship, his predicament of never being the same person for more than a day, and a few twists along the way, make this story incredibly good. It's a journey you won't soon forget! by Louise Erdrich Year Published: 2016Two families must face the aftermath of a tragedy that scars them both deeply. Erdrich explores how families cope with the loss of a child and what justice must come in order to regain some control of life after loss. When one family is responsible for the death of another's child, the family decides to hand over their youngest child to repair the damage. The consequence of such an offering leaves both families with a strange and new type of pain and guilt. This is a rich, beautifully written book about sacrifice and strength of character. The reader is torn between both families and then given a chance to be hopeful for them both. by George Saunders Year Published: 2017 Historical Fiction
Short story writer, George Saunders, has written his first novel and what an extraordinary one it is! In the genre of historical fiction, it takes us to the time following the death of Abraham Lincoln's 10-year old son, Willie. When Abraham Lincoln lingers in the cemetery after the funeral, his love and affection keeps his son, Willie, from passing on to the afterlife because he doesn't want to leave his father. Willie is stuck in the bardo, a place between death and rebirth and it is there he meets an ensemble of other ghosts who remain in the bardo. Through their voices, you begin to understand why they are stuck and what happened in their lives that is prohibiting them from letting go. The unusual characters and writing style makes this an engaging and entrancing book, one with little predictability, one you won't soon forget.
by Jesse Andrews; Reviewed by Hayley Bridges Year Published: 2012
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is about a high school senior named Greg Gaines. He’s a normal rat faced teenager, who’s not really interested in his future. His mom is a caring soul, but forces him to do something that basically sums up the book. His dad is a life examining weirdo, who buys strange organic foods and talks to the house cat, Cat Stevens. His two sisters, Gracie and Gretchen, are a few years apart. Gretchen’s a hormonal 14 year old teenager, and Gracie’s a curious six year old that’s really adorable. Greg also has an odd urban friend named Earl. Earl’s the same age as Greg, and they’ve been friends since elementary school. And then, there’s the dying girl named Rachel. She’s also a senior whose diagnosed with leukemia. A while back, Greg and Rachel used to be close. Only because Greg wanted a girl in Hebrew School to become jealous. After years of shunning her and making lame excuses NOT to hang out with her anymore, he gets forced to be with her because of his mom. Their relationship becomes less awkward than when they first start to hang out.
Back when Greg and Earl were younger, they made a remake film of a movie they both enjoyed as kids. Years later, they watched it again and were completely mortified at what an AWFUL job they did. This sparked the idea to make more and BETTER movies. Rachel soon watched them and liked them a lot. Greg’s biggest school crush that he terrorised in grade school, Madison, was good friends with Rachel and noticed that she liked Greg’s movie. She wanted Greg to make one specially made for Rachel. Greg failed to come up with ideas.
Greg went through multiple plans, perfecting this movie for her, but most of them he desperately hated. He was even stressed about time. Greg came to a conclusion to stick with one idea, but screws up, like he normally does! And the rest is in the pudding!
In my opinion, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a really good book for Young Adults. It’s filled with mature humor and mature events that mainly high schoolers can relate too! Middle schoolers and younger wouldn’t understand or get the drama that’s in this book. They may not take the book seriously, because of the humor and language. Jesse Andrews does an amazing job at portraying the mind of a teenaged boy. The disgusting details and all makes the book so flavorful and enjoyable. For me the book was a constant page turner, plus it made me literally laugh out loud! ~~Hayley Bridges
by Jasmine Wanga Year Published: 2015 Realistic Fiction
Aysel is a 16-year-old depressed, girl with a disappointment of a father, a distant mother, no friends, and no will to live. One day, after browsing a website named Smooth Passages, where you can talk about anything suicide and depression, she found a potential suicide partner, FrozenRobot, or Roman, but it has to be done by April 7. This book paints depression out for what it is, a painful mental illness. With colorful descriptions without over explaining, you get a clear image of what is happening. Overall, I do think this is a beautiful book and I would recommend this to a friend.
Review by: Phoebe Martinez-Bass
by John Green Year Published: 2009
Paper Towns by John Green is an amazing novel filled with adventure and love and unusual friendships. Margo is the popular girl. Girls want to be her and guys want to be with her. Quentin, is basically the opposite. In the middle of the night, Margo asks Quentinuu for help on her road of vengeance and payback. After they take a wild trip through their hometown, she disappears leaving behind mysterious clues for Quentin to find her. Margo is a puzzle, and Quentin and his unusual group of friends take on an adventure to try and put her back together. Soon enough Quentin realizes that in order to find Margo, he has to look at everything differently and find a deeper understanding of friendship and love. I think a lot of people can relate to this story, being in love with someone who doesn't feel the same back or who is completely out of your league. This story shows that you don't have to change yourself to get someone to like you because people can love you for yourself. If you enjoy this book there are many other ones similar by the same author, like Looking for Alaska and The Fault in our Stars.
by Brit Bennett Year Published: 2016Seventeen year old Nadia Turner is grieving after her mother's suicide and beginning to rebel against her father. She begins a short, but intense relationship with the pastor's son in their tight-knit African-American church community. Shortly thereafter, they must deal with a tough situation they've gotten themselves in. It's too much for the teens to handle as a couple and they break up just before Nadia goes off to college. As the years pass, the secret and their lives come together and split apart again and again until they must ultimately deal with the consequences once and for all. It's a beautifully written story and the characters are well-developed. A great first novel by a new author that will appeal to teens and adults. by Colson Whitehead Year Published: 2016From the award-winning author Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad is a brilliant tour de force. Cora, a young slave in the antebellum South, breaks free and runs with a fellow slave in the hopes of taking the Underground Railroad to freedom. It is quite literally an underground railroad system in this fictional account of the time period. Along the way, she must fight to stay free and alive. The characters they meet along the way and the places they stop make for lots of suspense and beauty as the story unfolds. Cora's mother, who long ago left her daughter so she could also attempt an escape, is a mystery until the very end when her story is also revealed. This book was beautifully written, heartbreaking at times, but also hopeful. I highly recommend it to high school students and faculty as a great historical fiction account of the pre-Civil War era. by Maria Semple Year Published: 2012
Fifteen year old, Bee, has wrangled her parents into agreeing to a trip to Antarctica as reward for her stellar academic year of all A's. Her mother, Bernadette Fox, many years out of a successful, but halted career as an architect, can't quite get it together following the disturbing end to her acclaimed first creation. Bee's Microsoft star father is always working and not around much. Bernadette's mental health begins to unravel under the distressing idea of having to travel to Antarctica and suddenly the father and daughter are drawn together to try to help get Bernadette back. Agoraphobic Bernadette disappears around the time they are supposed to all go on the trip together. Bee and her father must decide what to do with her disappearance and how to save the family along the way. It's a family farce with all the delights of inventive writing and peculiar characters. This book is fast-paced, quirky and sure to make you laugh.
by by Amy Poehler Year Published: 2014
Yes Please by Amy Poehler is a nonfiction novel where you get a glimpse of who Amy Poehler is aside from the comedian that makes an amaing tag team with Tina Fey. Yes Please brings you what more nonfiction titles should, life lessons from growing up, about self worth and love. Amy Poehler is a phenomenal writer for this being her first ever book. I think that Yes Please is definitely worth the read. I really liked this book, it was very funny and it was hard to put down once you really got into it. Throughout this book, Amy Poehler really opens up about all the things that she did when she was a teenager, you can tell that when she wrote this book she did not have any shame with spilling her secrets. Along with the funny and comedic sides of this book, I really enjoyed how Amy also got serious and poured it all out in some chapters. A memorable quote, "The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others." Review by Kyia Smith
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