April 12, 2011
The additional copies of the Abe Lincoln nominees have come in at the library and are ready for check out! Check the display in the YA area to get a head start on your reading for the year. There’s still a pile checked in (and will be fewer and fewer the closer we get to summer).
The only title you’ll have to place a request on is Alex Flinn’s Beastly, but I blame that on the movie out in theaters right now (though there’s only one person waiting, so it probably won’t be too long before you get a copy).
April 7, 2011
Amelia is looking forward to a summer in the city of Baltimore, far from her tiny home of Broken Tooth, Maine. Staying with relatives, it is the goal of Amelia’s summer to come away engaged to a young man (or such is her brother’s goal in sending her there). In 1889, Amelia knows there are few options open to her besides marriage, and so goes with the excitement of a trip before her, and summer away from her father and sister-in-law (her parents being dead).
Amelia finds a great friend in her cousin Zora, who has a bit of a mind for trouble as well. The two finish school and then the real joy of the summer begins; two young women, free from classes, looking forward to their futures.
Zora is excessively fond of Thomas Rea, the doctor’s son, and knows that she and Thomas cannot marry until he is finished with school, for he must have a way to support a wife. Amelia is immediately taken with a Fourteenth (a young man hired to make a dinner table sit 14 instead of an unlucky 13), Nathaniel Witherspoon, starving artist. It is not the match Amelia is expected to make. Stolen moments throughout the summer, however, bring the two closer together.
Sounds like just another period young adult romance, no? It’s definitely more.
The book opens with Amelia being locked in the attic of her brother’s house in Maine in the fall of 1889, after her trip to Baltimore. She reveals dark details of why she has been locked up, why she was sent away from Baltimore, and the agony Amelia is living in, trapped.
Mitchell then flashes back to the summer of 1889 and Amelia’s arrival and introduction to the family she will be living with. Witty remarks endear Amelia to Zora immediately, and not long after Amelia arrives, she has the strangest vision as she stares into the sunset from the parlor, a vision of Zora & Thomas dancing together. When this comes true, Amelia confesses to Zora and the two begin sharing Amelia’s abilities with their friends. Once the word spreads, a number of young women are clamoring for Amelia to tell their futures.
It’s fun, at first, but then Amelia begins to see darker futures, mundane futures, and when she starts writing down what she sees, she dreads the visions. Once, she thinks she is able to avert tragedy, but it can never be so easy as that, as Amelia reminds us when she cuts back in from the present.
Nathaniel is not quite what he seems either, able to seemingly suddenly appear when Amelia thinks of him, calls to him. He is mysterious and entirely inappropriate for her, but the two appeal to each other more than either can explain.
When the first tragedy strikes, Amelia is shocked, as it’s a future she thought she had prevented. The trouble is, Amelia could not see how this one future plays into the rest of the futures surrounding her and her world begins to tumble down. The sad events happen quickly and discover why Amelia is sent home.
The story, beginning with Amelia in Maine after the events have taken place, leave the reader constantly wondering just what happened to have her returned home, and ruined. It is an easy story to read, one that keeps the reader intrigued and involved, and the sad Gothic nature of it make the reader wish for a happy ending. A different than expected ending occurs, one that works well with my reading tastes. All in all, The Vespertine is a book I would recommend to young adult readers who like historical fiction and a bit of supernatural. It reminded me a little of Libba Bray’s A Great & Terrible Beauty, but The Vespertine does not delve as much into the supernatural world as Bray’s trilogy. A worthwhile story that leaves the reader with chills.
March 23, 2011
More and more readers are starting to see the appeal and quality of YA books (more than just you guys and me) and Booklist (a book review journal) has an article about top YA titles from 2010 to make good book group titles. The library (naturally) has all of these titles (and I’ve read a few too).
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud
Trash by Andy Mulligan
March 21, 2011
Looking for something light and fun to read on spring break? Not ready to start tackling the Abe Lincoln nominees (or can’t get your hands on them)?
Try this one:
The Queen Geek Social Club by Laura Preble
Fifteen-year-old Shelby doesn’t have a ton of friends. Enough people she knows but not really good friends. She’s a bit of a serially dater, but can’t find a guy that’s up to her intellectual standards. Her dad is a scientist/inventor who has created Euphoria, a robot who takes care of Shelby & her dad, and one that’s got quite a personality to boot.
So Shelby’s just trying to figure out how to survive high school when new girl Becca moves into town. Becca is tall, gangly, tattooed and out there. She and Shelby hit it off immediately, both being intelligent geeks. So Becca decides they should start a club with the intention of finding more people like them. The Queen Geek Social Club is born. While Shelby just wants to make friends, energetic, determined Becca wants … world domination? And she wants to start by feeding models Twinkies?
It’s a great read about being a teenage girl, trying to fit in, and allowing (or not) your friends to talk you into stuff you may or may not be totally comfortable with, some of which has them pushing you to grow as a person (not that’d you’d ever see it that way). There are two more books in the series, Queen Geeks in Love and Prom Queen Geeks.
March 16, 2011
The new readers’ choice award list was recently announced by the Illinois School Library Media Association. Place holds and check out the titles to get a jump start on the list!
After by Amy Efaw
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
Columbine by Dave Cullen
The Compound by SA Bodeen
Flash Burnout by LK Madigan
Ghosts of War by Ryan Smithson (the library doesn’t own this yet, but will soon)
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt
If I Stay by Gayle Forman (watch for the story from Adam’s point of view in Where She Went, released in a few weeks)
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Pena
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff
Why I Fight by J. Adams Oaks
Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser
World War Z by Max Brooks
I will be ordering more copies to keep up with demand (and also give you a chance to read as many as possible). Want to share your thoughts before voting next February? Post your reviews! Want volunteer credit for you reviews? Email me.
March 9, 2011
Not really a surprise, considering the popularity of this book, but The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (662 votes) is the 2011 Abe Award Winner!
Think a different title should have won? Tell me why! Keep watching the blog & the YA area for the 2012 titles.
March 3, 2011
Micah fully admits she’s a liar. She does it a lot. Sometimes it’s small lies, sometimes it’s big lies, sometimes there’s a little truth mixed in, but does she ever tell the whole truth? She promises the readers she’s going to try.
A classmate, Zach, has been missing and then found dead. Micah breaks her story into before this happened, after it happened, and various histories (history of me, history of the school, family history, etc). Each bit reveals more and more of Micah, her classmates, her family, and her history with Zach, which is more than anyone ever expected.
She becomes sort-of friends with Zach’s girlfriend Sarah and his best friend Tayshawn, and ordinarily Micah is in the background of her school life, but with Zach’s death (and a large portion of the school thinking it was Micah who did it) and her relationship with Zach, Micah is suddenly under the microscope, not where she would like to be. These three very different students are grieving for someone who meant a great deal to each one of them, and that’s a great dynamic to see, how they are drawn together.
Periodically Micah will reveal a lie–a tiny one usually, but a lie nonetheless. It makes you rethink her entire story. When one of the biggest reveals come, it left me thinking it was just an excuse Micah had used, another lie, and that left me on uneven footing for the rest of the book, as a great deal of the story required the reader to believe Michah’s reveal.
It’s not made clear in the book why Micah is writing this: is it just for her sake (which is what she claims) or is there a darker reasoning behind it? The book is broken into three parts, all of which have Micah claiming to tell the truth.
I was definitely interested in this book, having read many reviews of it and hearing a lot about it, and really, it’s an unusual idea, and then the werewolf part came in. I’m not against supernatural characters, I just wasn’t expecting one. So perhaps it was my fault, but it threw me for a loop.
One thing I did love about the story is that I still don’t know if Micah was being entirely truthful. I think that was pretty awesome to have this great story, and the reader still is not sure what is laid out before the reader is actually what happened. A well written, engaging story (if you can suspend your disbelief), Liar is recommended for readers interested in mysteries and stories with open endings.