Monday, September 29, 2014

Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch

Waiting to ForgetWaiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sheila Kelly Welch's realistic fiction book will definitely interest middle schoolers, high school students, and adult readers. Welch does a great job of sinking the reader into the chaotic lives of TJ and his sister, Angela, in the Now/Then format employed in this thin, gripping read. As TJ waits in the emergency room of a hospital, waiting to find out if Angela will live; we visit the Then part of TJ's life which is a horror to say the least. TJ and Angela love their mother but she is not a good mother. She leaves TJ in charge when she goes out and many nights does not return home. TJ and Angela live very tumultuous lives with their mother and later in various foster homes. It is when they are adopted and living with Dan and Marlene that TJ continues to struggle with his life day to day. Still afraid to hope and move on, TJ vacillates between anxiety and his horrendous past as he remembers, while perusing the Life Book he created for his new life with Dan and Marlene. Your heart aches for these two children and you root for this brother and sister to find happiness and peace in their forever home. Compelling, with realistic writing that pulls you in; you will enjoy TJ and Angela's saga.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Girls Like UsGirls Like Us by Gail Giles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for the ARC, Girls Like Us by Gail Giles. What a compelling read; the voices of Biddy and Quincy were so real, it broke my heart. Biddy and Quincy are mentally challenged students who are Special Ed graduates and find themselves paired together living to help a kind and understanding widow, Elizabeth. These girls are so different and yet similar. They come from separate worlds and have suffered various kinds of abuses. Biddy is fearful and loving while Quincy is always angry with a chip on her shoulder. The reader sees what Biddy and Quincy are thinking and feeling in alternating chapters. They are hard workers and through a series of situations, they bond with Elizabeth and come to depend upon each other as their friendship deepens. I have always loved Gail Giles books; students always read them and couldn’t put them down; in our library there were multiple copies and her books were always checked out. Girls Like Us will resonate with teens and teachers alike. I would also recommend this affecting title for adult book clubs too.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read a book by Holly Black that I didn't like- Tana is a character I loved getting to know. She is a teen who likes to rescue people, but she also gets herself into trouble because she won't back down. I liked how the reader knew Tana was scared to death but the people around her never see her fear. She had a strong sense of concern for others and didn't hold a grudge. Waking up after a party she doesn't remember, Tana saves her old boyfriend (who has been bitten), Aiden and a vampire, Gavriel who is chained to Aiden's bed. Gavriel is a monster who has lived for hundreds of years but looks like a teen. It is Tana's saving of Gavriel that sets the tempo for their friendship. Gavriel has been to hell and back; suffered monstrously, been betrayed by everyone and locked up and tortured for over a hundred years. But it is all of this history that makes him a very, very strong and powerful vampire but we don't find this out til much later. But Gavriel will not forget Tana's kindness and Tana is freaked out that she is attracted to him as well (you will love them!!!) The Coldtown she takes them to is for infected Vampires. Many teens who watch the video feeds think Coldtowns are glamorous and run away to these forever horror-filled places. I would love to see this book become a movie (and I would love to see a sequel); Holly Black's writing was very visual and downright scary. But it was also sensual, especially with Tana and Gavriel- you have to read it!!! I could not put this book down; with all the blood and gore, this horror book is a must read!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Goebbels by Peter Longerich

Goebbels: A BiographyGoebbels: A Biography by Peter Longerich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for the ARC, Goebbels by Peter Longerich. This book is a must for Holocaust libraries, academic, public and high school libraries. The research on Goebbels, Hitler, and their campaign against the Jews is extensive and exhaustive. Thanks to his journals, the reader learns what an insecure self-serving man Joseph Goebbels was and how this helped to catapult him to become the Minister of Propaganda in Hitler’s inner circle. His hatred of Jews was as virulent as Hitler’s and together they created the National Socialist Movement in Germany and dreamed of destroying all Jews in Germany and throughout the world. Riveting and revolting.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Aftermath by Jen Alexander

The Aftermath (Aftermath #1)The Aftermath by Jen Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Aftermath by Jen Alexander
Many thanks to NetGalley for this advance reader copy! Never being a fan of the unreliable narrator, I found this book to be quite confusing as Claudia struggles to find out who she is. Is she a fearless character in a videogame, The Aftermath, or is she a person who is being manipulated by a another person who is a gamer in a dystopian world where you become a pawn in a game if you have been determined to contain a violence gene? As a fan of dystopian novels, I liked the pace of the novel, the angst of the characters, the missions, and the friendships in the clans. There will be teens who put this book down because it is so confusing for a large part of the novel. There will also be teens who can’t put this book down because it speaks to their love of videogames and brings an added depth to the characters and begs the question, what if this could really happen to us?


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eternal Knight by Matt Heppe

Eternal KnightEternal Knight by Matt Heppe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many thanks to Judy and Shelley Meier for lending and recommending this awesome, couldn't put it down book! Matt Heppe wove a compelling tale of Hadde (very strong female protagonist)who is a Huntress from Landomere and must venture out to another kingdom, Salador, to save her people from The Wasting. Her people won't survive the winter without her help; once she finds a orb that will bring much needed money to her starving, dying people, she sets off. What I enjoyed about this book was the differences in cultures, The people of Landomere live off the land in lush forests (when The Wasting isn't killing them)where men and women are equal, do not read, welcome everyone and are not afraid of sex and nudity while the people of Salador are class constricted, male dominated, educated and very formal about titles and distrustful of Hadde. When Hadde gets to Salador she is forbidden to leave by the king. I enjoyed Hadde's persona; she was fearless, she loved her horse, she was able to shoot a bow and arrow flawlessly and she was a true leader, always putting her people first. And those Eternal Knights, you just have to read this book to find out who they are!!! I can't wait for the next book!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Fan ArtFan Art by Sarah Tregay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I picked up this ARC at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia. Jamie Peterson has come out to his mom and dad about being gay; but he has told no one in school. As a senior, he realizes he really cares for his best friend, Mason. To tell him or not, these are the questions Jamie wrestles with all year. A great book that really looks at the dynamics of friendship, family, being different. I loved the high school dynamics between friends, the school newspaper, the Gay Straight Alliance, and the realm of graphic design. The poems by students were awesome and the comics by Challis life changing and important. Jamie’s thoughts and discussions about Mason and his sexual orientation are realistic; teens will want to read this book!


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