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Posts Tagged «Young Adult»

All American Boys

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

518x0cPKHSL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely, 316 pages, Grades 8 and up.

Rashad is Black. His father is a retired police officer. Rashad is taking ROTC because his father believes this will make him an upstanding citizen, but Rashad already is responsible.Quinn is white. His dad died in Afghanistan and everyone in town knows Quinn as the hero’s son.Rashad and Quinn run in different crowds, but they are teammates on the basketball court.

One day Rashad is beaten by a cop and Quinn happens to witness the incident. Quinn is horrified, but also frozen because he knows the cop; it is his best friend’s older brother. This man had once looked after Quinn when his father died.

Quinn can’t believe the same person who helped him could commit such violence. Rashad’s father can’t believe a fellow officer could do such a thing.  People are complicated and life is messy, and sometimes doing the right thing is not easy at all.

If you enjoy reading books about contemporary social justice issues, you might also enjoy: Piecing Me Together, by Rene Watson, The Stars Beneath Our Feet, David Barclay Moore or The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

Monday, November 5th, 2018

9781524701246David Barclay Moore, 294 pages, Grades 5-8

Lolly’s favorite thing to do is build with legos, and it is building that helps him cope when his brother is shot and killed in a gang related incident. When Lolly builds his imaginary cities he creates games and characters and kind of escapes into his fantasy world. Grown-ups around him can see this lego building is helping him feel better; his mom’s girlfriend keeps bringing him discarded blocks from her job, the after school teacher has set aside a big place where he can build and add to his structures day after day, and even though Lolly thinks he prefers this private, quiet space and time, he has to admit it does get more fun when the after school teacher makes him share his space with Rose.

If you enjoy stories about overcoming the death of a loved one you might also enjoy: The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds. If you like books that deal with social justice issues, you might also enjoy: Hold Fast, by Blue Balliett, or The Sky at our Feet, by Nadia Hashimi

One of Us is Lying

Monday, November 5th, 2018

91BHA3Ym2HLby Karen M. McManus, 360 pages, Grades 8 and up.

When Simon drops dead in detention the four other kids in the room become suspects. Investigators discover he died because the water he drank was contaminated with peanut oil and he is highly allergic. The mystery is how did peanut oil get in his water, and how did all the emergency epipens happen to go missing right when they could have saved his life? Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper all claim to be innocent, but they also all have something they would like to keep secret. Can they prove their innocence without divulging their embarrassing secret? And, who did kill Simon, anyway?

If you enjoy mysteries you might also like: Death Cloud, by Andy Lane, I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I Would Have to Kill You, by Ally Carter, or if you like your mysteries creepy try Darkhouse, by Barbara Redecki.

Long Way Down

Monday, November 5th, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 8.36.35 AMby Jason Reynolds, 306 pages, Grades 7 and up

In this novel in verse Will, who is 16 years old, grapples with the idea of street justice; death for a death. He descends in the elevator from his apartment to the street, gun in the waist of jeans, ready to avenge his brother Shawn’s fatal shooting, he is visited by seven ghosts. Each ghost has a story about street justice, “the code,” and the continual cycle of violence. Will is broken hearted about his brother’s murder, what will he decide to do?

If you like novels in verse that tackle difficult topics you might also like Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse, Paper Hearts, by Meg Wiviot, Caminar, by Skila Brown, or The Red Pencil, by Andrea Davis Pinkney.

I’ll Give You The Sun

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

sunby Jandy Nelson, 371 pages, Grades 8 and up

Noah and Jude are twins. In the old days when things were going well and they were a happy family, Noah and Jude were really close, but now they have grown apart, and Jude is wondering if she even knows her brother anymore.  Their story is told in the twins’ voices. Jude narrates her chapters from her 16-year-old self’s point of view, looking back on their childhood and events going on right now. Noah’s pages are narrated from his 13-year-old self’s point of view before their family experienced tragedy, before everything changed. Their stories come together in the end, but can they recover from this heartbreak, heal their family, and reconnect with one another?

If you enjoy books about siblings you might also enjoy: Speed of Life, by Carol Weston, Drums Girls and Dangerous Pie, by Jordan Sonnenblick.  Another great book about family problems is: Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor.

Zeroboxer

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

20320562by Fonda Lee, Grades 8 and up

In the future genetic modification is the norm. We have made so many advancements that humans have been modified to be able to live on Mars without domes or special suits. In fact, every human gets a genetic package when they are born a bit like a vaccination – including anti-disease stuff, straight teeth, average height and weight etc. If you have money you can get super-packages to increase strength, height, beauty, intelligence… etc. Of course, if you are an athlete you are not allowed to have additional genetic modification, or at least that is the common perception, a little like our “no-doping” rules for athletes today.

Carr is an earth human who comes from poor family; he is a rising star in a sport called Zeroboxing. Zeroboxing is a fight in a caged “boxing ring” up in zero gravity. It is wildly popular and a big money-maker; the best boxers are super-celebrities. Carr is rising so fast that he has been assigned a brandhelm – a sort of personal director of marketing, PR and social media – named Risha Ponn. Carr and Risha, a genetic Martian, quickly fall for one another, so when a terrible secret emerges they are not sure how to overcome it. This secret could have devastating effects on Carr’s career, both of their futures and their potential relationship as well. Will the choices they make ruin everything?

If you enjoy science fiction adventures you might also like: Killer of Enemies, by Joseph Bruchac, Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card or Divergent, by Veronica Roth.

Killer of Enemies

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

by Joseph Bruchac, 361 pages. Grades 8 and up

17946249In the not too distant future people had relied on technology for everything. Anyone with money and power has so much faith in tech that they use it to enhance not only their homes and their world but also augment themselves physically. Those with the most power were called the “Ones.” But then the cloud came and all tech ceased to function. Some of the Ones survived and became leaders of walled communities where all people had to live to stay alive; Lozen lives in a walled city called Haven and she is the Killer of Enemies. People in pre-cloud times had also done a lot of genetic splicing and engineering to create incredible zoos, and personal collections of invented creatures. Now that the tech no longer keeps their cages locked and now that their owners have hidden themselves in walled cities and no longer feed their pets, giant alligator-sharks, sabertooth-lion-apes and other giant, hungry creatures roam the earth looking for food. Lozen’s job is to clear an area of these beasts for the Ones that control Haven. It is not only dangerous outside the walls; people die every day inside Haven. The Ones are harsh rulers and they are using the safety of her family to coerce her into working for them. She is just hoping she can stay alive long enough to get her family out of Haven.

If you enjoy science fiction adventure you might also like: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, or Shipbreaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi. If you enjoy science fiction with strong female characters you might also like: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, or Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff.

On The Edge of Gone

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

51+fV4a0zOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_by Corinne Duyvis, 456 pages

Everyone knows a comet is going to collide with earth. Even though time is short, Denise’s mom is taking her sweet time getting ready to go as if it was any normal day. Some of earth’s people have been selected to board generation ships; these ships will have to spend time away from the earth while the planet heals and becomes habitable again. These ships will spend generations away from earth; only a select few get to escape on one of these. Some people have been lucky enough to find a place in a permanent shelter on earth where they will live and wait out the time. Some of the less fortunate could only secure a place that should be safe for the comet’s impact, but where they cannot stay long term; this is where Denise and her mom are headed. Denise’s mom is a bit of a mess; she uses drugs and is not the most responsible of parents, but she is patient with Denise and is also kind. In fact, when they see someone stranded on the side of the road her mom decides to stop and help even though a comet is fast approaching. This act of generosity might just be the thing that saves Denise’s family.

 

If you enjoy science fiction stories about surviving the end of the world Life as We Knew It, by Susan Pfeffer, Divergent, by Veronica Roth, or In The After, by Demitria Lunetta.

Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

hold tightby Laura Rose Wagner, 263 pages, Grades 8 and up

One moment, Magdalie is living an ordinary life in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; she goes to school, spends time with her best friend and cousin Nadine, and helps her auntie with chores around the house. The next moment her world is turned upside down; she has no home, no school, no family and maybe no best friend. When the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010 it caused devastation throughout the region. Magdalie survives the quake but is challenged with surviving the new chaotic world.  How can she embrace her future now that everything is different?

P.S. The author is a former student of Piedmont Middle School

If you enjoy books about persevering after a disaster, you might also enjoy: The Red Pencil, by Pinkney, or Mockingbird, by Erksine.

Kids of Kabul

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

 

by Deborah Ellis, 137 pages, Grades 6-8

This is a nonfiction collection of stories from the perspective of different kids living through the wars of Afghanistan. These children have lived through the violence of war and the challenges of survival in war’s aftermath.  Each chapter is a heartwrenching story of survival; the characters are pragmatic and realistic, and most unbelievably remain hopeful as they look toward the future.  

If you enjoy reading nonfiction books about kids your age you might also enjoy Girl, 13, by Starla Griffin, From Jazz Babies to Generation Next: The history of the American teenager, by Laura B. Edge, or Claudet Colvin: Twice toward justice, by Phillip Hoose.

 

Click here to see if the book is in the library.

Things a Brother Knows

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

brother knowsby Dana Reinhardt     242 pages     Grades 7 and up

CYRM NOMINEE 2012

Student Review

Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has just returned from three years in the marines, years that were very difficult for Levi and his family. The whole town is excited he’s back. Everyone is calling Boaz a hero. But Boaz has changed since the last time Levi saw him. He stays shut in his room and refuses to open up to Levi. Unfortunately, Levi’s attempts to get Boaz back to his old self are shut down by Boaz’s unwillingness. When Levi discovers that Boaz is planning on leaving again, on a trip that will last all summer, he decides to go with him.

This young adult novel by Dana Reinhardt is not too long, but delivers a powerful message. It is a book is for people who are comfortable with adult humour and, at times, emotional situations. Narrated by Levi, a high schooler who has lived in his older brother’s shadow all his life, the story frequently reflects back to before Boaz left for the army when he was a high school star.  The best kind of novel is the kind that makes you reflect back, and thats exactly what Reinhardt has done. Through her writing you can feel the emotions of Levi whom, even though he is physically back, tries to bring his older brother home. AH

If you enjoy books that have to do with family in the army and finding yourself you might also like: Greetings from Planet Earth, by Barbara Kerley and Dogtag Summer, by Elizabeth Partridge.

 

Click here to see if the book is in the library.

Out of My Mind

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

OutOfMyMindby Sharon Draper, 295 pages, Grades 5-8

CYRM NOMINEE 2012

Melody has an amazing memory for detail; she is extremely observant and intelligent.  The only problem is, no one around her can tell how much she understands because her cerebral palsy makes it almost impossible for her to communicate.  Her parents believe she is smart and her caretakers can see she has a good brain, in fact, one of her caretakers comes up with a system that helps Melody communicate simple things, but Melody craves so much more. All of her ideas, thoughts, jokes and insights are trapped inside her.  How can she get the recognition she deserves for her brilliant mind if no one can really tell what is going on in there?

If you enjoy books about kids who overcome adversity you might also enjoy Anything But Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin, or Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor.

 

After Ever After

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

after-ever-afterby Jordan Sonnenblick, 260 pages, Grades 6-9

Jeff is a cancer survivor.  When he was five he was diagnosed with Leukemia, but he has been cancer free for years now.  Still, the has to deal with repercussions from the experience. He has a bit of a limp, but that just means he bikes instead of going out for track, and it doesn’t keep Lindsey from thinking he’s cute, so that’s not a big deal.  He also finds math challenging because one of the cancer drugs messed with that part of his brain, but he is not too worried about that either until the state institute an exit exam for the eighth grade.  Normally, this is something that his big brother Steven could have helped Jeff figure out, but he was off finding himself drumming his way through Africa.  Jeff doesn’t want to worry his mom; he feels like she has worried enough about him.  He also doesn’t want to upset his accountant dad who cannot understand why Jeff doesn’t get math the way he does, so he decides to keep them both in the dark.  Luckily his best friend Tad, a cancer survivor himself with after effects of his own, agrees to tutor him in math.  In exchange, Jeff promises that he will help Tad build the strength to walk across the stage at their graduation; Tad uses a wheelchair because his cancer treatment affected the strength in his legs.  Naturally, nothing is as simple or straightforward as it seems, which anyone who has had to battle cancer at five should have realized.

After Ever After is a companion book to Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie.  Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie is told from Jeff’s brother’s point of view when he is first diagnosed with cancer as a little kid.  

If you enjoy books about overcoming adversity, and challenge you might also enjoy:  Running Dream, by Wendelin Van Draanen, or Waiting For Normal, by Leslie Connor.

Airman

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

airman_book_coverby Eoin Colfer,   412 pages,   Grades 7-8

Conor Broekhart was born in the air.  His parents took a ride in a hot air balloon at the 1878 Paris World’s Fair, and that is the moment Conor decided to arrive.  It is no wonder he is determined to fly; he is a brilliant engineer from very young and is lucky enough to work with another brilliant man, Victor Vigny, advisor to the king.  The king’s daughter admires Conor’s talent as well, and all seems to be perfect for the Broekhart family.

Unfortunately, his life takes a dramatic turn.  The good king has placed his trust in the wrong man; one of his confidants, Marshall Bonvilain, kills the king and frames Conor for the murder!  Conor is thrown into a high security prison on an island, and his parents believe him to be dead.  He is subjected a brutal life in the prison, but also makes some allies that help him attempt to save the kingdom, and his family as well as seek revenge on the evil Bonvilain.

Connections:  If you enjoy steam punk fiction, you might also like: Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, or Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas is the first novel about a man being mistakenly imprisoned and escaping to seek his revenge.

 

Click here to see if it’s available for check out.

Scrawl

Friday, November 19th, 2010

ShulmanScrawlv2Finalby Mark Shulman  p.  230   Grades 7 and up.

Tod Munn has a bad reputation; he has been known to steal the wimps’ lunch money, push his way into the front of the  lunch line and shove people into the lockers when they least expect it.  He is not someone you want to mess with if you don’t want to get hurt.  Naturally Tod has landed himself in detention, and this time it is for something really bad, but he is not outside raking leaves with his “droogs,” instead he is spending time one-on-one with the school counselor, Mrs. Woodrow.

For detention he has  to write in a journal every day after school.   He spends weeks with the counselor in a hot school room writing and writing until it feels like his hand might fall off.  Tod thinks the counselor is trying to “fix the bad guy,” and he doesn’t think it is going to work, either. Who do you think is right; is the bully really a bad guy, or is there more to the story than meets the eye?

Connections:  If you like books about tough kids you might like Small Steps by Louis Sachar or if you enjoy books written in journal form you might also enjoy Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech.

Fat Cat

Friday, April 30th, 2010

fat catby Robin Brande   p. 327   Young adult

No exploding volcanoes for seventeen-year-old Cat (Catherine) Locke’s science fair project!  Instead, the smart, competitive overweight teen makes herself the guinea pig for her project.  Her goal is to live for seven months as a Homo erectus, an early prehistoric human, which means no technology (cars, cell phones, computers except for school work) and no processed foods including sugar.  Cat is determined to win the science fair, mostly to get revenge on her former best friend and rival Matt McKinney, whom she believes betrayed her most terribly in seventh grade.  All the walking and healthy eating causes her to lose weight and feel better, and after her best friend Amanda takes her shopping for stylish clothes, Cat starts drawing a lot of male attention.  This young adult novel is filled with funny, clever teen conversation and portrays friendship at its best.

Connections:  These young adult novels also deal with weight and weighty issues:  Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen, Life in the Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher and Dough Boy by Peter Marino.

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

jessicasguidetodatingonthedarksideby Beth Fantaskey     p. 351  Young Adult

More vampires anyone?   Jessica’s adoptive parents wait until she’s a high school senior before telling her that her birth parents were vampires in Romania!  They’ve also neglected to tell her that she was betrothed at birth to a vampire prince who has just shown up in her hometown to claim her as his fiance.  Of course, this very rational mathlete doesn’t believe in vampires and so is having a very difficult time dealing with the arrogant, but very good looking, stranger who is posing as a foreign exchange student at her high school and living in the apartment above her garage.  Filled with suspense, drama, romance, and humor this is a great read for Twilight fans.

Connections:  Here are some other young adult vampire novels you might enjoy:  Suck It Up by Brian Meehl, Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, and The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause.   Though not about vampires, Beastly by Alex Flinn is a good romance with the beauty and the beast theme.

Cricket Man

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

cricket manby Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.  p. 196  Grade:  Young Adult

During the summer before eighth grade, Kenny Sykes has begun each morning rescuing the hundreds of crickets that keep jumping into his backyard swimming pool.  As an inside joke with his little brother, Kenny assumes the super-hero identity Cricket Man and creates a t-shirt that he wears to school concealed under his regular shirt.  The rest of his time he spends skateboarding or spying on and trying to get the attention of his beautiful sixteen-year-old neighbor, Jodie Poindexter.  When Jodie appears to have fallen into a deep depression, it’s Cricket Man to the rescue.

Connections:  These novels for young adults also focus on special and unusual friendships:  Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes; The Wild Kid; Stoner and Spaz and Define Normal.

Beastly

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

beastlyby Alex Flinn.  p. 304  Young Adult

CYRM NOMINEE 2011

Attention Twilight fans!   This compelling romance puts a contemporary spin on the Beauty and the Beast tale.  Popular fourteen-year-old Kyle Kingsbury is incredibly good looking, charming, rich, and really mean.  After playing an especially cruel trick on a homely girl,at a dance, a witch casts a spell on Kyle turning him into a beast–making him as ugly on the outside as he has been on the inside.  He only has two years to break the spell or live as a beast forever.  In order to do so, he must fall in true love with someone who will love him back and give him, of course, a kiss!

Connections:  Here are some other excellent versions of the Beauty and the Beast story:  Beast by Donna Jo Napoli; Rose Daughter and Beauty by Robin McKinley.

Child of Dandelions

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

child of dandelionsby Shenaaz Nanji, p. 210  Grades: 7-10

What do you do when your whole world seems to be falling down around you?  Do you deny that it is happening?  In 1972, when President Idi Amin of Uganda gave all foreign Indians 90 days to leave the country, fifteen year-old Sabine didn’t think that included her family, as they were all Ugandan citizens.  When her uncle disappears mysteriously, she convinces herself that he will turn up soon.  When her best friend, Zena turns against her, Sabine hopes she will come around eventually.  But, when the soldiers come looking for her father . . .

Connections:  Some other stories that deal with conflict between different groups within one country include Girl of Kosovo by Alice Mead, Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata, or Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Wintergirls

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Wintergirlsby Laurie Halse Anderson, p. 278 – Grades 8 & Up

This novel, for mature readers, tells the story of Lia who has just found out about the death of her once best friend, Cassie. While they were friends, both girls suffered from eating disorders: Lia- anorexia and Cassie- bulimia. On the night of Cassie’s death, Lia received 33 phone calls and messages from Cassie… all of which Lia had left unanswered. Lia’s family (too busy mother, distant father and clueless stepmother) are concerned that the news will send Lia over the edge again and back to New Seasons the rehabilitation center she has already visited twice.

Connection:  For another story that shows a teen dealing with the death of another teen read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.

The Hunger Games

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

the-hunger-games1by Suzanne Collins, p. 374 – Grades 7 & Up

In this book, for mature readers, what was once the United States is destroyed by climate change and war and is replaced by Panem with its wealthy rulers in the Capitol controlling twelve neighboring districts.  Each year the districts must pay tribute to the Capitol by sending two of their teens (12-18) to fight to the death in the Hunger Games, which is televised and must be watched by everyone (think Survivor with weapons and a manipulated environment).  Sixteen year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to replace her younger sister as the tribute from District 12 (the poorest district) when her sister’s name is pulled in the lottery for the 74th Hunger Games.  Since her father’s death in a mining accident, Katniss has had to work hard so she and her family could survive, but in the Hunger Games she will be facing tributes who have spent their lives training for this event.

Connection:  Other examples of survival fiction that will keep the reader on edge are  Deathwatch by Robb White and The Dead & the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  –CRW

Highlight:  Watch this video interview with Suzanne Collins.

Graceling

Monday, May 4th, 2009

graceling__spanby Kristin Cashore, p. 471 – Grades 8 & Up

CYRM NOMINEE 2011

This  award winning first novel by Kristin Cashore will have mature readers begging for a sequel.  The king of Middluns first identified Lady Katsa’s “grace” when she killed a man at age 8, and he has been using her special talent to keep the people of his kingdom and the surrounding six kingdoms in line ever since.  Lady Katsa rebels against the bullying king by secretly forming a council to protect those who have been treated unfairly throughout the seven kingdoms.  The rescue of a neighboring king’s kidnapped father leads Katsa on a quest to find his captor, with the help of his grandson, who has an interesting “grace” of his own.

Connection:  This book might appeal to those who enjoyed the combination of fantasy and romance in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books or the strong female protagonist in Garth Nix’s Sabriel series.  — CRW